Notes on Dragon Size.

kelkyag began asking some questions about dragon size in re. meeks‘ drawing of Diapering Dragons.

kelkyag:
How big are the adult dragons?

aldersprig:
Me, neither 🙂 Um. Large or huge but not gargantuan. Maybe that long (30+feet), but only because rather sinuous. Sort of a xbreed between western and eastern dragons. (like Trex, they probably grow into the legs, too)
http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Table:_Creature_Size_and_Scale_(3.5e_Other)

kelkyag:
Hmm. Well, they appear to be small enough that if one licks a human, they can do so at least somewhat delicately, rather than a dragon’s tongue being bigger than a human. And drunken James (who could plausibly be close to full size?) passed out on the lawn is small enough that a broom handle is long enough to poke him in the ribs with (from a safe-from-accidental-clawing distance? Does that make his legs not more than, say, five feet long?), while talking to him at the same time, though a long flexible dragon neck could make the latter easy. I get the impression from that scene that carrying/rolling James home was not a feasible option, though that could be more about flaming or acidic hiccups than about size. And an offering of biscuits and gravy, presumably in reasonable human-home-cook quantities, is tempting, which suggests they don’t eat multiple whole cows at a sitting …

So, is that room big enough for the adults to fit into comfortably? Is the window high enough for them to see out of? Or is the window deliberately baby-scale (perhaps in a corner of an adult-scale room)? It looks like the little fellow could fit out of the open window if he tried, though I don’t know that he’s that agile yet.

Baby there is decidedly not sinuous yet, especially with those whomping huge back feet, but that, too, can be grown into. 🙂

aldersprig:
… I guess you’re just going to have to help me figure out what they look like! 😀

Hrmm. What if length vs. circumference is a function of age?

kelkyag:
Do they grow their whole lives, or do they reach some maximum size and then stop? Do they grow in stages (as with the color change(s)), with major molts in between (like poor Jimmy is going through, or wrapping up), or is it more continuous? Is adolescent Jimmy close to full size?

Could Jimmy, or one of the adults, carry Juniper, her whole family, more? In his claws or on his back? And still fly? Are their wings (and the skeletal structure they’re attached to) big enough for them to fly mundanely, or is there some magic/handwaving involved in that? If they fly mundanely, they’re going to need a huge breastbone/keel for the flight muscles to attach to, and it would make sense to keep everything else as light as possible — which could work with the length/circumference changes. Where do their wings sit/attach relative to their legs? It looks like Baby’s wings are no further forward than his front legs, and could be well behind them, depending on how they fold — and if he’s going to fly mundanely, his wings are going to grow a whole lot relative to the rest of him.

On the ground, do they usually walk on two legs (t-rex?) or four? Can/will they do the other, or is it impossible/undignified (if sufficiently sinuous, walking on two legs could get awkward)? If four, how do they routinely carry things around? If they’re outside/have space, do they prefer to walk or fly?

… I, umm, might think about things by asking questions, which does not work for everyone. Or I could try to ask more story-oriented questions. Juniper is imagining warrior-princess-and-dragon — does she think the “and dragon” is a fellow warrior or a faithful steed? How do they travel? Do her storybooks/imaginings usefully reflect real dragons, or is she going to run into some “but all the stories say …” issues?

aldersprig:
I actually work really well from questions, actually! (laughs at self… actually)

I think they grow in stages.
I think Jimmy is at, say, the middle of 5 stages (baby, child, teen, young adult, old adult).

Jimmy can carry Juniper on his back, and her dolly in his claws (not sure on that one)
Jimmy’s parents could carry both of Juniper’s parents on either of their backs and still fly.

They fly either mundanely or mostly-mundanely.

Perhaps they can’t fly until early adolescence?

Not sure about the two/four. Thinking four, and now I’m picturing a dragon carrying a baby in its jaw like a stork.

They enjoy flying, but locomote comfortably in cities by walking.

Juniper’s and-dragon fell in Telepathic Horse Who Fights when I was imagining the story. They travel by flying, and her imaginings are realistic, sometimes more than the stories, which can get a bit more fanciful.

C/P’ing this to my journal, if you don’t mind.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/78928.html. You can comment here or there.

13 thoughts on “Notes on Dragon Size.

  1. So Jimmy is quite a bit smaller than an adult, and the “mostly physically grown but not emotionally mature” teenager mapping I had in mind doesn’t really apply. Perhaps they can’t fly until early adolescence? That would make for a reasonable growth stage. It would also play up the newly-licensed-to-drive human teenager to newly-able-to-fly adolescent dragon parallel. I think Jimmy is at, say, the middle of 5 stages (baby, child, teen, young adult, old adult) Given that, I imagine that “baby” is a short, mostly-immobile stage, which lasts long enough to stuff enough food into them to provide them with the energy and mass they need to make it to the next stage? “Child” is ground-mobile but probably not up to fending for itself; I could see this lasting a few years or a few decades depending on dragon lifespans. Do they learn to talk in this phase? Is talking a/the normal mode of dragon communication? “Adolescent” is (becoming) flight-capable, and could in theory fend/hunt for themselves, at least by the end of the phase? (I’m assuming carnivorous/predatory dragons, which may be wrong.) Again, this could be a few years or a few decades. “Young adult” is sexually mature? The Smiths have multiple children of different ages; do (some?) dragons pair off for life/long periods of time? How long do dragons live, and how long do they tend to their offspring? I assume this phase is long enough to raise at least one child to the “young adult” phase. What distinguishes “old adult” from “young adult” biologically? Do they cease to be able to reproduce? Change sex? Become too heavy to fly? Are these phases distinguished only by another growth spurt/metamorphosis? Jimmy can carry Juniper on his back, and her dolly in his claws (not sure on that one) That makes it sound like his hands/forepaws are pretty small/delicate — useful for fine manipulation, maybe complicated if they need to bear a decent fraction of his weight when he’s walking. He can bear Juniper’s weight; could he pick her up (with his teeth, maybe)? Or is this more like a horse being quite able to carry a human but having no way to pick up that sort of weight unassisted? Could Jimmy transport Baby unassisted? Thinking four, and now I’m picturing a dragon carrying a baby in its jaw like a stork. Or by the scruff like a kitten? Can a dragon talk (clearly) while carrying something in its mouth? (I imagine they’ve worked out sane pocket technology by now if they can’t talk and carry something at the same time.) Juniper’s and-dragon fell in Telepathic Horse Who Fights when I was imagining the story. They travel by flying, and her imaginings are realistic, sometimes more than the stories, which can get a bit more fanciful. Bwahaha. I wonder what the older Smiths think of these stories, and/or what the draconic-viewpoint equivalent story is.

    • That would make for a reasonable growth stage. It would also play up the newly-licensed-to-drive human teenager to newly-able-to-fly adolescent dragon parallel. *chortle* yes. And that’s an awesome point. Given that, I imagine that “baby” is a short, mostly-immobile stage, which lasts long enough to stuff enough food into them to provide them with the energy and mass they need to make it to the next stage? Yes, that sounds about right. Call it a couple years, maybe, subject to change if that ends up way too short. Do they learn to talk in this phase? Is talking a/the normal mode of dragon communication? Yes and yes. These dragons are, despite my telepathic horse crack, vocally communicative. (I’m assuming carnivorous/predatory dragons, which may be wrong.) Again, this could be a few years or a few decades. They are carnivorous/predatory, yes. They keep the deer population down in the ‘burbs. I’m thinking not Aeons-long lifespans but longer than humans, maybe 500 years? “Young adult” is sexually mature? The Smiths have multiple children of different ages; do (some?) dragons pair off for life/long periods of time? How long do dragons live, and how long do they tend to their offspring? I assume this phase is long enough to raise at least one child to the “young adult” phase. Sexually mature, yes. I’m picturing 2-pairs that evolve: two or three adolescents might group off, only to shift to another pairing as young adults, one better for raising children. So say… yes. the livespan of a dragon to this point X 1.5 What distinguishes “old adult” from “young adult” biologically? Do they cease to be able to reproduce? Change sex? Become too heavy to fly? Are these phases distinguished only by another growth spurt/metamorphosis? I think they cease reproducing, become, why not, calmer and wiser

      • I’m picturing 2-pairs that evolve: two or three adolescents might group off, only to shift to another pairing as young adults, one better for raising children. So do adolescent dragons usually leave home and live with their peers, or is the grouping at that stage more about who they hang out with when they go out to play? Is Jimmy early or late adolescent? I think they cease reproducing, become, why not, calmer and wiser I hesitate to assume “wiser” due to age alone. 🙂 What fraction of a dragon’s life would it spend in the last phase, and what function would it be serving? Do they help raise kids? Provide suddenly high-energy, high-mobility adolescents with adults who aren’t their parents to consult with? How does having this phase benefit dragons evolutionarily?

        • So do adolescent dragons usually leave home and live with their peers, or is the grouping at that stage more about who they hang out with when they go out to play? Early adolescence, at home, late adolescence, they move out and den with friends. Is Jimmy early or late adolescent? Early.

        • Whoops, only answered half! 🙂 I think dragons spend about 1/4 of their life in the last phase, and, evolutionary, it provides guidance not based on head-butting mating rituals and extra claws around for child-rearing. Wiser primarily by benefit of less mating urge. 😉

    • That makes it sound like his hands/forepaws are pretty small/delicate — useful for fine manipulation, maybe complicated if they need to bear a decent fraction of his weight when he’s walking. He can bear Juniper’s weight; could he pick her up (with his teeth, maybe)? Or is this more like a horse being quite able to carry a human but having no way to pick up that sort of weight unassisted? They have at least some dexterity in their forepaws, yes. He could pick her up with his teeth or, carefully, with his forepaws. Could Jimmy transport Baby unassisted? Yes. Or by the scruff like a kitten? Ha, yes. Can a dragon talk (clearly) while carrying something in its mouth? (I imagine they’ve worked out sane pocket technology by now if they can’t talk and carry something at the same time.) Pocket,s yes. I’m imagining dragon messenger bags. Bwahaha. I wonder what the older Smiths think of these stories, and/or what the draconic-viewpoint equivalent story is. That would be a fun story to write! *cough* Hi, I’m Lyn. 😀

      • They have at least some dexterity in their forepaws, yes. He could pick her up with his teeth or, carefully, with his forepaws. A good bit of dexterity in their forepaws, I hope, if the Smiths are smiths. I have tried blacksmithing; it takes a great deal of controlled strength, for a human. That would be a fun story to write! <waits impatiently> 🙂

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