Are dragons wings too small/little?

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
There's a theory that we haven't evolved to accurately understand reality, we've evolved to survive. So the world does not necessarily work the way we think but the way we perceive the world is good enough.

On a related note, ancient Greeks like many old civilizations didn't see the color "blue" because they had no word for it and the sky was just a shade of green. :geek:
I’ve dived into that phenomenon, including modern remote cultures that have no word for blue as a separate color form green, and in both cases (old and new), there is terminology for different shades of “green” that include “the shade of green that the sky and those one flowers are”, etc.

So, they certainly saw a difference between leaves and the sky, and probably did actually “see blue”.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
People from the Himba tribe literally cannot distinguish between a blue swatch and a green swatch of the same hue. They will tell you that both swatches are green. I'll let the philosophers debate what that, along with the fact that nothing is really a solid object, means.

For purposes of this thread, the point is that anyone observing two flying dragons probably could not distinguish between a dragon flying because they weighed less than expected or because the dragon is relying on magic in addition to the downward force exerted by their wings to fly.
They absolutely can, though. They call both the same thing, but see them as different “greens”.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I care about the mass because I want my dragons to be powerful, F=ma. The mass is important.

Personally I like the idea of GoT dragons with their extremely heavy "iron" bones, thus needing to be even more powerfully magical!
If they lose mass, but gain momentum via greater strength (stronger muscle attachments, more of their total mass dedicated to muscle, skeletal structure that better supports strength), their power can remain the same.

If what you need from them is for them to shake the earth when they land, then yeah you need more mass.
 
Not really relevant because there is a reason this experiment works and the thing about the color green and the greeks didnt (though in a controles setting there probably is a way to make this happen with enough brute force) but, in the context of historically significant psychology experiments, does the pairing of the words "kittens", "stripes", and "tilt" fill anyone else here with a burning lust to murder a certain someone in a labcoat who also in real life comically wore what seems to be a villain cape? My fellow psych nerds know about the a-hole im referencing.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
They absolutely can, though. They call both the same thing, but see them as different “greens”.
As anthro student at one point, this is sort of true. The actual test is that culturals that don't have separate words, and thus ideas, for blue or green are better able to sort a range of shades from what we considerly obviously green (the colour of grass) to blue (the colour of the sky) and everything in between. So there's a link between ideas and ability to express those ideas in a physical context.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The issue with blue vs green is that you can do a test with three different color swatches that certain (even most) people cannot distinguish. Show the swatches to one person and they can't pick out which one is different. But some people can tell the difference and will pick out the unique color every time.

If you don't have a word for the color blue you literally cannot pick out a blue swatch from green swatches of a similar hue. On the other hand if, like the Himba you have lots of words for green that we don't have they can pick out a different shade of green every time that most people simply don't see. You can read about it here if you want.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
The issue with blue vs green is that you can do a test with three different color swatches that certain (even most) people cannot distinguish. Show the swatches to one person and they can't pick out which one is different. But some people can tell the difference and will pick out the unique color every time.

If you don't have a word for the color blue you literally cannot pick out a blue swatch from green swatches of a similar hue. On the other hand if, like the Himba you have lots of words for green that we don't have they can pick out a different shade of green every time that most people simply don't see. You can read about it here if you want.
I read a research paper on it in the 2001 as part of an anthropology course. I'm a little rusty on the details, but I'm familiar enough.

There's also an interesting bit of biology where some people have quadchromatic vision rather than trichromatic vision like most of us. It lets them seem partially into ultraviolet ranges so they can more easily distinguish shades of colour across the entire spectrum.
 

Greenfield

Adventurer
Have any of you seen the McFarland dragons? (Okay, better to ask who hasn't, I suppose).

Here's one with credibly Large wings

One Sci-writer used intelligent avians in his tales, and the challenge he addressed was getting enough oxygen to handle the metabolic demands of flight. His solution was slits under the wings, something akin to gills on a fish, that pumped when the wings flapped, becoming an effective supercharger right when and where you needed it.

As for wing size, I've just figured that they scare the hell out of the laws of physics, sy physics tries to avoid them whenever it can.
 

dave2008

Hero
Have any of you seen the McFarland dragons? (Okay, better to ask who hasn't, I suppose).
Yep, I love those dragons. I have even used a few as "minis" in some D&D adventures.
Here's one with credibly Large wings
Actually, if you assume RL animal construction (density close to water, etc.) those wings are not even close to being large enough. They may look large enough, but in terms of RL physics, not so much.
 

Greenfield

Adventurer
I didn't say they were actually right, just credible. Something I learned a long time ago regarding game rules: There are three things to consider in game rules: Realism, credibility and playability.

We've had lots of discussions about physics and magic, and we know that they don't mix very well. Realism is nice, but if normal play requires a scientific calculator, something's wrong. (I recall a superhero game that required the extraction of square roots to calculate damage in some situations.) Rules that sound right can be credible without having to be purely scientific. Think of them as a bit more cinematic, if you like.

Also, there are occasions where real world physics goes 100% against what most people would expect. (Check orbital mechanics, for example: If you want to catch a ship ahead of yours while both are in orbit, you have to fire braking thrusters. Try to accelerate and you'll fall farther behind. More velocity pushes you into a higher orbit, which means a longer orbital period.)

So credible trumps realistic, but playable tops them all. It's nice to get all three, but rare. Two is good, but one of them has to be "playable".

The size of dragon wings has very little impact on how playabale an encounter is, so we can decide which is more important, realistic or credible. Since we're talking about a creature that flatly can't exist in the real world, credible is my choice.

So sue me. :)
 

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