Hot answers tagged

152

Growth / size The main argument against mountain-sized dragons is the square/cube law. As an animal increases in size in its linear dimensions, but retains roughly the same proportions, its surface area and strength increases proportional to the square of its length, but its mass increases proportional to the cube of its length. To give an example of ...


106

Ordinarily, you'd delegate. Farm out the mucky business of war to someone else, found one of these kingdoms of your own, get generals to rampage. But an exercise in nation building doesn't seem your style. Too much work, you won't get them all, and eventually someone will figure out how to kill you anyway. Have you considered planning for retirement? You'...


105

Apart from the fact that only the very rich and very few might actually get real dragon hide there are options. Dragon hide requires internal fluids in the epidermis to be fireproof Dragon hide needs constant replenishment of substance to stay fireproof, just like duck feathers lose their water-repellent properties rather quickly once "dead" Dragons are ...


96

All of his other abilities are dwarfed by the "shapeshift into a human" option, which would make him an invaluable weapon for surprise attacks and assassinations. Even if his dragon form isn't tremendously powerful in combat, it doesn't need to be as long as the enemy isn't actually expecting a shapeshifter. Modern physical security is largely based around ...


96

They have stronger tendons, bones, and scales, scales that can vary in size. CNT is flexible, thus armor, made with it, can be too. So, I just eliminated the last practical reason for why dragons have soft underbellies and neck... No, you haven't! Just because they have the metabolic pathways to produce CNTs doesn't mean they have the metabolic pathways to ...


93

Dragons would run the FAA One day, you're flapping along, torching pigeons, and those runty little ground creatures that taste good with ketchup start making an awful racket. "Must be that Henry Ford again," you think to yourself. Humans these days and their internal combustion engines. Something sounds different this time. You look around and do a double ...


92

You don't want harder steel, it breaks, you don't want softer steel, it bends, you want more control of the temperature of the steel at every stage so you can get the exact properties you want. Better is more control of the process. Dragon blood is just a non-flammable liquid with thermal conductivity similar to oils or water but unlike water and oils it ...


88

Human-sized garments aren't big enough to be effective heat sinks. Dragons are much larger than humans. By the square-cube law, a dragon that's roughly 5 times the length of a human will have about 25 times as much skin, and 125 times as much mass. It's possible that dragon skin is a very effective conductor of heat, allowing otherwise dangerous, ...


85

There is a possible way for a dragon to succeed for a while, but it depends on his communication skills. Humans would have to kill other humans. On every continent, the dragon would need to come in contact with nomadic tribes and make these tribes worship him. He would request massive gifts and sacrifices from his followers. In the process of serving the ...


81

Logistic support Boring as hell, but that's the most realistic option. Most other uses are replaceable by other means. Why send a dragon on a special ops mission when highly trained operatives already exist that can do the job better and more quietly? If he's a private, then he's inexperienced, so he's potentially a liability in the field. Why use a dragon ...


81

The wind isn't such a bad excuse. Say there is a prevailing headwind, which for most of the path is faster than the average speed of the dragon. Dragons can fly one way but not the other. Your ships, however, have a keel and triangular sails. These two inventions together permit a ship to sail upwind, tacking back and forth. This revolutionized the ...


80

It is a common misconception (likely spread by crafty, older dragons) that only young dragons are tasty. Much like their avian relatives (related via the dinosaurs), mature dragons develop a depth and richness of flavor much prized among those fortunate enough to survive to the tasting step. Their flesh has toughened during those centuries of survival, ...


70

The older, wiser, more experienced horses might have an easier time of it. The wiser horses will pick up on fear cues from their riders, if they trust their riders. Horses are herd animals. There is rank within the horse herd. Has the group of adventurers that has been traveling together for a while? Have they kept the same horses together for a while? If ...


68

Cities in the Middle Ages were flammable. Like, really flammable. London suffered from two devastating fires and several smaller ones before the Great Fire of 1666 that destroyed most of the inner city. Amsterdam suffered two massive fires in 1421 and 1452, the latter of which destroyed three-quarters of the city. Lubeck in Germany burned to the ground three ...


67

From about 1933 onwards, a dragon on your side is no longer a win button as that year saw the deployment of the Flak 18 by German army. It first saw action in the Spanish Civil War a few years later. The Flak 18 would later improve into the Flak 36 and 37 used in WW2. This weapon was built on the requirements demonstrated in WW1 to be able to apply rapid ...


66

It's difficult to come up with an evolutionary pressure that would select for intelligence when most dragons will survive regardless. This is, of course, the key point. What do dragons do? Hunt the prey we hunt. Eat the cattle we herd. Like the stones we like. The more humans, the more opposition to dragons. We learnt to kill them. Even simple villager like ...


65

You make it a semi-religious order, or a military order. The 'Order of Slayers' is a prestigious order dedicated to studying, and combating, the dragon problem. Out of this order, very few can actually be 'dragon slayers', with the majority of the order being support staff, scientists/scholars, and so on. You make a series of strict rules and regulations ...


65

If you're a dragon, why are you gathering coins one at a time? If I'm a dragon, the biggest baddest dude on Middle Earth or Faerun or wherever, I'm not going to pick-pocket people. I'm not robbing local barons, I'm going to knock over a king's palace and take the Peacock Throne and the Crown Jewels. I'm not going after the loose change in the offering plate,...


57

Dragons can't swim. Your dragons can fly 1000 miles but they cannot see 1000 miles. Nothing can. On the ground you can see 10-15 miles. In a plane maybe you can see 150-200 miles. If a dragon sets out over water and it sees only water in front of it, it will turn around before it loses sight of the land behind it. A flying dragon wants to always have ...


54

I'm going to go with underground shelters being a major part of defense, like bomb shelters. Buildings would be made of thick stone. It mainly sounds like they would be a problem in the spring. So I don't know if underground only living would be worth it, but people might move most of their belongings down into the shelters toward the end of winter, ...


53

Bows are not as useful against dragons. The dragon’s fire breath gives it a superior ranged attack as well. A one-on-one ranged duel with dragon usually ends in the dragon's favor, save in the case of the most skilled bow man. Even massing a large body of archers is not the best. The dragon will either close the gap and enter melee combat with the poorly ...


51

The Dragon does not store FOOF in its body. It stores Fluorine and oxygen separately in PTFE organs. It has “standard” dragon fire breath capability allowing it to preheat an internal chamber with an opening at one end to 700 degrees C. It then squirts a stream of oxygen gas around the walls of the chamber and a stream of fluorine through the centre. Some ...


51

just to add to the other answers: Tiny dragons setting an entire city on fire not only is realistic, we have something similar in our world too: Let me introduce you to the Australian Firehawk Raptor This little sh*t not only does start fires to force its prey to come out of hiding, they were HELPING spread the Australian bush fires. So just replace ...


49

Anything can be hit by lightning, as long as it can get in lightning's path, dragons included. Animals, in particular, are more conductive than dry air, so they provide an easier path for the lightning to travel though. The real question would not be whether they can be hit by lightning, but whether they can survive it. That depends on how the electricity ...


47

I'm going to assume you're not talking about something that is genetically engineered for this purpose (otherwise I think the answer is pretty straightforward). The closest analogue to your dragon would be a jet-powered, pressurized Cessna 172. You're going to have a few hurdles to overcome here. Environment A Cessna 172 has a normal service ceiling of ...


47

1 - Messenger. Pidgeons sent information but had to fear hawks. I would like to see a hawk intercepting mail when the messenger is badder and meaner than them. Also the intelligence would allow for training, and with some selecting breeding, lighter breeds for more speed. Use as pack animals are limited since the food would be a nightmare for logistics on ...


46

Some uses for non-flying Dragon Wings Fan a flame Stabilize the Dragon while chasing someone/thing down (run on two legs, grab with 2 claws, pump wings like how humans pump arms when running) Regulate Heat (too hot? spread out your wings, too cold? wrap your wings around you like a blanket, or even blanket your young) Provide shade to lesser beings ...


44

Same way a lighter works. See wikipedia. But to summarise, you might want to ask yourself why a lighter doesn't melt. It appears as though the flame is coming from the lighter, and yet the inside of the lighter is not burned. You can look at the mechanics and principles behind the way a lighter works and apply it to a biological creature. So the creature ...


44

Dragons are heatproof, you have to serve them raw. We're talking dragon sashimi here. It has to be fresh young dragon, no more than a few hours dead. Not some tough old elder dragon. Finely sliced on a bed of white rice. (Please note: the question is now vastly different from the one this answer was written for which was about cooking and eating)


44

"This is Lord Mountjoy Quckfang Winterforth IV, the hottest dragon in the city. It could burn your head clean off." Commander Vimes limped forward from the shadows. A small and extremely frightened golden dragon was clamped firmly under one arm. His other hand held it by the tail. The rioters watched it, hypnotized. "Now I know what you're ...


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