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D&D General Are dragons wings too small/little?

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Dragon wings are too small to fly, Giants are too big to not have their bones crushed under their own weight, Barbarians can fall from the stratosphere and walk away from it, lifting capacity increases linearly without regard to the square-cube law, etc, etc, etc.

Gravity just doesn't work in D&D the same way it works in the real world.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
The largest flying animals were pterosaurs. The largest ones we know of had a wingspan of a small plane and when on the ground were probably about as tall as a giraffe. The wings in proportion to their overall body length wasn't really all that large, but they were almost all wing and they had hollow bones. In addition, there's no way a flying creature could have forelimbs like a dragon - there's no place for the muscle to attach.

But dragons? Magic. After all we are talking about a creature that breaths fire. Oh, and just because I've always found pterosaurs fascinating I've included a couple of images

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Also worth noting, the atmospheric conditions of Earth were different when pterosaurs were around. If Jurassic Park happened and we cloned a quetzalcoatlus, it probably wouldn’t be able to fly today.

For folks who really need a physics-based explanation for dragons flying, I suggest that the fantasy world’s atmosphere may similarly be more conducive to flight. Also, dragons breathe fire, yeah? So, maybe the air in their lungs is very hot, making them more buoyant than they look.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Peter Dickonson in The Flight of Dragons posits a lighter-than-air hypothesis where dragons have evolved so that their stomach acid dissolves large amounts of calcium (from bone and limestone) which releases massive amounts of gas (hydrogen) which gives the dragons body lift and supports the body above the ground.

The dragon's wings arent used for lift, just propulsion and steering (and can thus be smaller). The evolution of fire breathing is a byproduct of the need to remove of excess gas.

It makes sense to me
I was a huge fan of that book as a kid. However, aesthetically, I prefer dragons that fly by wing lift - even if the dragon must be given supernatural strength and lightness to do so - rather than floating along like living blimps.

Also, a dragon that is stabbed by a knight's lance should not pop and deflate like a balloon. :)
 


dave2008

Legend
Peter Dickonson in The Flight of Dragons posits a lighter-than-air hypothesis where dragons have evolved so that their stomach acid dissolves large amounts of calcium (from bone and limestone) which releases massive amounts of gas (hydrogen) which gives the dragons body lift and supports the body above the ground.

The dragon's wings arent used for lift, just propulsion and steering (and can thus be smaller). The evolution of fire breathing is a byproduct of the need to remove of excess gas.

It makes sense to me
However they have to look like blimps to make that work - which is definitely not acceptable to me. I would rather stick to magic.
 


Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Yes, dragon wings are too small for them to fly under natural laws. It's the same problem as giants standing under their own strength.

The issue is endemic to fantasy. If you tried to change it, it would look weird.
Giants would have elephantine distortions .

There myths about beings who gained magic from touching the earth ... maybe if you can lift a giant off the ground their strength would fail them and their heart would burst.
 


The wings on this gliding reptile allow for some impressive gliding capabilities, of which dragons should also be capable of similar gliding capabilities as well as flying abilities.

And magic is not a suitable explaination for the flying ability of dragons since it lacks in empirical evidence and explaination. Although I do like the super strong bones, carbon fiber like skin, etcetc. Weapons out of Dragon Bone can even be better then steal or titanium etc.

And if Dragons do have "Anti-Gravity" properties in their blood or physiology, then that ingredient should be able to be harvested and used in other applications, such as air ships. Although I do not agree with this claim without there being proof first. And I also don't support the idea of senselessly killing dragons just because all of the components of their body are worth a serious fortune.
 

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dave2008

Legend
And magic is not a suitable explaination for the flying ability of dragons since it lacks in empirical evidence and explaination.
What are you talking about? Dragons are fictional, are you writing in character or something? In the context of D&D magic has plenty of empirical evidence, just take a trip to the nearest school of magic.

If your talking about making dragons IRL, well you need to get some really advanced degrees in bio-engineering (some which don't exist yet) and maybe a century (or more) of technological advancement before we get there.
 

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