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

Dausuul

Legend
All of that is fine, but at some point magic needs to be involved. Dragons as we know them could not exist without magic. That doesn't mean that like beholders they can only fly because of magic, just that they are magically lighter than their mass would indicate.

To me that makes sense. If there is magic, evolution will at least in some cases take advantage of it. So a dragon (at least while flying) weighs as much as a very large bird and it's bones are supernaturally strong. Of course it's scales are also supernaturally strong and it breaths fire so it's just part of the package.
Yes, that is exactly what I was going for. Start with a real creature; scale it up; figure out the hypothetical properties (weight and strength) that would be required to keep it airborne at that size; and then invoke magic to make it so.
 

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Simplified theory:

Young dragons can fly without issue.
Old dragons can fly because they've flown their whole lives and aren't about to let a little physics tell them what they can and can't do.
 

Oofta

Legend
Yes, that is exactly what I was going for. Start with a real creature; scale it up; figure out the hypothetical properties (weight and strength) that would be required to keep it airborne at that size; and then invoke magic to make it so.

Which is why I pointed out the pterosaur in my first post. It's the best analogy we have and basic dimensions are fairly close to dragons in size with reasonable wing size.
 


Dausuul

Legend
Interesting side note: The dragons of "Game of Thrones" look very like what I outlined above. They have hugely muscular, deep-keeled chests tapering sharply toward the hips, and enormous, robust wings. Their tails are long and thin, and their legs are bony, more birdlike than reptilian.

I prefer my dragons with four legs, but that's a matter of taste (and it requires explaining how a vertebrate ends up with six limbs, and how the forelegs and the wings attach without crippling each other). In physique, they're exactly how a dragon built for powered flight ought to look.
 

I look at dragon art and I notice that the wings of dragon are pretty small for such a large creature.
Shouldn't the wings have more surface volume? I know it is all fantasy and such, but it just seems to defy the laws of physics.
It kind of reminds me of an Amnizu, although I don't know if they can actually fly.

Shouldn't the wings of dragons be larger, plus extend down into their tails for more muscle and attachment to the body for longer wings?
The answer is "yes, dragon's wings are too small". Oddly enough this is actually something a lot of the earliest writers and creators for d&d have known since the early days. As a result there are a couple different times in the canon where a weird little reference will be made to this fact usually accompanied by another entry saying something to the effect that the reason the wings arent larger is because the dragon's supernatural or magical nature assists it in staying aloft easier than it should be able to with such small wings. Its the mother of all lazy explanations imo unless you really lean hard into the idea of dragons being a bit of a massive avatar of the cosmic/planar/mystical. Then i suppose its acceptable.

Such a creatures wings realistically should be so large that it would essentially stop being a practical creature to use though. I cant remember what the exact dimensions on it are, but ive seen calculations for humanoids with realidtic wing size and honestly they already breach that limit and humans are WAY smaller than dragons.
 

Well, if you make dragonbone some really awesome stuff, and make their muscles magical, and you can do it...



It is less "impossible" and more "our animals chose fewer limbs a long, long time ago, and adding functional limbs is so unlikely as to be unthinkable". There is no real engineering reason to not have a six-limbed animal - the only reason we don't is that the tradition of genetics is very, very hard to break.
also wyverns. Wyverns would require far less genetic deviance. So they are actually mathematically easier to arrive at. I dunno. Random thought.
 

Oofta

Legend
But dragons don't fly. They're just so powerful that they move the universe around them with their wing flaps.
I seem to remember a Sci-Fi (Alan Dean Foster?) like that. Basically they had "befriended" all the dark matter in the universe or some silliness. It presented as a small alien but they eventually decided that it was stationary and the universe moved around it. There were sooo many problems with that premise.
 

Simplified theory:

Young dragons can fly without issue.
Old dragons can fly because they've flown their whole lives and aren't about to let a little physics tell them what they can and can't do.
Im using this in my campaigns now.
Dragon: ah! Beautiful day for flying.
Physics: no! You ca-
Dragon: what's dragon's law again?
Physics: a physical law that is breathing tends to stay breathing so long as it pays its local dragon the courtesy fee for protecting it from other dragons and psionics...
Dragon: good boy. You're welcome!
Physics: yes sir. Will that be zero gravity or 1 % gravity today?
Dragon: better make it 5 % today. I feel like getting a work out.
Physics: yes sir. Thankyou sir.
Dragon: you're damn right!
 

Interesting side note: The dragons of "Game of Thrones" look very like what I outlined above. They have hugely muscular, deep-keeled chests tapering sharply toward the hips, and enormous, robust wings. Their tails are long and thin, and their legs are bony, more birdlike than reptilian.

I prefer my dragons with four legs, but that's a matter of taste (and it requires explaining how a vertebrate ends up with six limbs, and how the forelegs and the wings attach without crippling each other). In physique, they're exactly how a dragon built for powered flight ought to look.
That seems to be the direction in which contemporary fashion of dragon design is going. You see similar in Skyrim's dragons and Peter Jackson's Smaug. For that matter, Todd Lockwood's (gorgeous) dragon designs for this game have a lot of the same anatomical proportions, just with the extra forelimbs.

On that note, draconic hexapody seems to me a nonissue in a fictional setting where the young earth creationist's claim that "God did it" is patently correct in every way except the singular subject. It's remarkable that anything in D&D looks like the product of evolution at all, really.
 

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