Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

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wesfreak
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by wesfreak »

the nonsentient female thing is weird, but it is in the wiki.......

I remember looking at a dragon site (i know i'm a nerd) which also tried to find scientific explanations for things such as dragon flight. It assumed, basically, that a dragons (in this case drakes) inner fire would help it fly (think hot air balloon). i suppose there could be other similar explanations, like the drakes have tiny slots in their scales from which the heat could come out and provide some lift for their wings: this could explain the not being able to fly according to the laws of physics thing.

in your "how much land do drakes need to live question" i'd have to say that you miss alot of potential food sources. they would hunt wild animals, (not raise sheep) all kinds of fish, maybe mermen, nagas and sea monsters, and maybe even the occaisonal gryphon that flew by. And they would make lunch of adventurers sailing that way too.

you assume also assume that drakes would have a stable population: it would probably fluctuate all the time, depending on food sources. a school of fish or a flock of gryphons can fly into their hunting ground, which would lead to an increase in drakes, which would mean a decrease in all prey, which would lead to a decrease in drakes, and so on.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by solsword »

wesfreak wrote: in your "how much land do drakes need to live question" i'd have to say that you miss alot of potential food sources. they would hunt wild animals, (not raise sheep) all kinds of fish, maybe mermen, nagas and sea monsters, and maybe even the occaisonal gryphon that flew by. And they would make lunch of adventurers sailing that way too.

you assume also assume that drakes would have a stable population: it would probably fluctuate all the time, depending on food sources. a school of fish or a flock of gryphons can fly into their hunting ground, which would lead to an increase in drakes, which would mean a decrease in all prey, which would lead to a decrease in drakes, and so on.
I disagree. In general, Daxion's analysis was pretty good, except for neglecting the possibility of getting food from the sea. Besides fish, he didn't "miss a lot of potential food sources": he just assumed that sheep work as a general model of how much land is required to sustain carnivores. Since in Wesnoth, the mix of other things that drakes actually eat would take more space to sustain than cultivated sheep, sheep serve as a good tool for calculating a lower bound (in the absence of magic, etc). His point wasn't that they would eat sheep, his point was that if they ate sheep or anything less efficient in terms of land per biomass (which pretty much includes anything they might reasonably eat that lives on land), they'd have to have at least X amount of space to survive.

In terms of the population being stable: that's just ecology jargon for "enough to survive in the long term." Of course the population would fluctuate, but *taking that into account*, a "stable" population size usually refers to the average population level necessary to avoid being wiped out by those fluctuations. That having been said, I suspect that intelligence puts a big hole in the assumptions about stable population size. Unlike most animals, intelligent creatures can help each other when a disaster hits and are more able to think ahead and to regulate their food intake to survive harsh conditions. Given these properties (and the fact that larger animals, especially ones that could fly, would fare much better against a variety of natural disasters than, say, wolves), I'd imagine that a much lower population of drakes could be stable. If we wanted numbers, I'd argue that the best place to look would be at populations of humans on isolated islands, like Fiji or even Easter Island (although that group apparently died out due to overpopulation).
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by Aethaeryn »

solsword wrote:Also, I don't think that we can say that drakes evolved from dragons in the normal, biological sense, without some issues. Because dragons themselves are an intelligent species, and presumably didn't gain intelligence after their split with the drakes (they've been magical all along, after all...) it strikes me as odd that they'd be able to evolve into a separate species. Intelligence generally mucks with evolution, and the evolutionary story would at the very least put intelligent dragons tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands or millions of years in the past. If I were on an island where food constraints were that much of an issue, I'd leave at some point in the next 100000 years. Imagine a group of humans in the same situation. Long before they evolved into anything, their intelligence would do something about the situation. And if we assume that neither drakes nor their dragon ancestors were intelligent until recently, we're greatly straining the limits of how quickly (and how many times, separately) intelligence can credibly evolve.
How about insular dwarfism? Drakes did originate on an island chain and left only because it was gradually sinking.

Also, I have no problem with thinking that Drakes and Dragons didn't directly come from each other, but rather from a common ancestor, a Protodragon, and they both developed independently. The Protodragon might not have had as much of a range, and got trapped on the island gradually over time, and therefore trended to smaller, and not true flight. The Protodragon on the continent would've gotten bigger, spread out, scarcer, and would have a huge hunting range.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by solsword »

Aethaeryn wrote: How about insular dwarfism? Drakes did originate on an island chain and left only because it was gradually sinking.
Well yeah, that is basically the existing explanation. My argument is with the time scales involved... I didn't see any comments on that on the Wikipedia page, but in general, evolution takes *many* generations.
Aethaeryn wrote:Also, I have no problem with thinking that Drakes and Dragons didn't directly come from each other, but rather from a common ancestor, a Protodragon, and they both developed independently. The Protodragon might not have had as much of a range, and got trapped on the island gradually over time, and therefore trended to smaller, and not true flight. The Protodragon on the continent would've gotten bigger, spread out, scarcer, and would have a huge hunting range.
The protodragon is another good way to address the evolution + intelligence issue. I like mine better :P . But no hard feelings, I don't care that much which gets used, if any (heck, leaving it ambiguous, as we are doing now, makes a lot of sense to me).

On the subject of females, I agree with melinath: I think that non-sentient females are a silly idea, and I'd rather see them relegated to childcare and/or gathering (of things like building materials or fuel, if not plants) by society than simply non-intelligent. Also, if they did childcare, it would probably be only for the very young, since at some youngish age drakes would presumably be sent off to a training school to learn to fight and begin to be indoctrinated with the rules of drake society.

Of course, this explanation makes the drakes as a whole a bit less likeable... but in a fantasy setting, realism and political correctness are often going to be at odds.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by wesfreak »

about the math: i'd think that the nutritional requirements of reptiles (komodo dragon can be accurate, i suppose) or maybe bats would be more accurate then those of birds. so to find out almost exactly how much land they need you can look up those calculations and try your sheep farming thing with them. i'd say you could account maybe 10% of that "land" as water, because drakes on islands would probably hunt for fish occaisonally. i think that would be more accurate, mainly because reptiles don't need to eat as often as mamals do, which would account for the smaller size of drake islands in game.

as for gender: what if drake females also participated in war and hunting? drakes could have gender equality, so that way the males don't have to support an entire tribe. in most tribal, animal communities the females hunt as well as the males (i'm only thinking of hyenas and lions, because those are the only ones that come to mind right away, but i know the females of both species hunt.)
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by Aethaeryn »

wesfreak wrote:as for gender: what if drake females also participated in war and hunting? drakes could have gender equality, so that way the males don't have to support an entire tribe. in most tribal, animal communities the females hunt as well as the males (i'm only thinking of hyenas and lions, because those are the only ones that come to mind right away, but i know the females of both species hunt.)
I thought the females were the hunters when it comes to lions? "Lionesses do the majority of the hunting for their pride, being smaller, swifter and more agile than the males, and unencumbered by the heavy and conspicuous mane, which causes overheating during exertion."
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by Qazerowl »

Well, I think that even though WINR, that it should be "sorta" realistic. ex: A dagger doing 1000 arcane damage make no sense. I would think a fair weight would be 400kg.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by Zarel »

thespaceinvader wrote:do you think a drake could still mate with a dragon in the wild...?
Going from our current description of drakes and dragons, that would be considered pedophilia. ;)
solsword wrote:Of course, this explanation makes the drakes as a whole a bit less likeable... but in a fantasy setting, realism and political correctness are often going to be at odds.
I dunno, I think non-sentient females are even less likable. It's "exotic", but more "sci-fi" exotic than "fantasy" exotic. The main thing is that in a somewhat Earth-like planet like Irdya, I wouldn't expect something with that divergent male/females on a race as large as drakes. (Weird stuff like that is usually confined to insects and below.)

Maybe female drakes could be in the clasher caste? They're the strongest, so they get to carry armor and heavy weapons?
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by uzytkownik »

Zarel wrote:
thespaceinvader wrote:do you think a drake could still mate with a dragon in the wild...?
Going from our current description of drakes and dragons, that would be considered pedophilia. ;)
Well - since drakes can mate it would not (well - it would be at most sex with the underaged, or how this legal term is in English).
Zarel wrote:
solsword wrote:Of course, this explanation makes the drakes as a whole a bit less likeable... but in a fantasy setting, realism and political correctness are often going to be at odds.
I dunno, I think non-sentient females are even less likable. It's "exotic", but more "sci-fi" exotic than "fantasy" exotic. The main thing is that in a somewhat Earth-like planet like Irdya, I wouldn't expect something with that divergent male/females on a race as large as drakes. (Weird stuff like that is usually confined to insects and below.)

Maybe female drakes could be in the clasher caste? They're the strongest, so they get to carry armor and heavy weapons?
Well - but there may be cultural/physical small diversity. Well female are for example weaker and smaller but can handle pencil etc. so they are priests, scribes, artists etc.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

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uzytkownik wrote:Well - since drakes can mate it would not (well - it would be at most sex with the underaged, or how this legal term is in English).
Many people use "pedophilia" to refer to a broad range of behaviors, even if it doesn't technically match the definition.

But sure, we'll call it statutory rape.
uzytkownik wrote:Well - but there may be cultural/physical small diversity. Well female are for example weaker and smaller but can handle pencil etc. so they are priests, scribes, artists etc.
Meh, why would the females be weaker? It's not like they're humans.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by Vendanna »

Also in some species the female is usually even bigger than the male (like some calamari).
So there is no reason to assume female = weak.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

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Zarel wrote:
uzytkownik wrote:Well - but there may be cultural/physical small diversity. Well female are for example weaker and smaller but can handle pencil etc. so they are priests, scribes, artists etc.
Meh, why would the females be weaker? It's not like they're humans.
If they were stronger they would likely to participate in battle . Also - it is a common property of all known intelligent species ;)
I guess similar developments may occure during division of labour in gathering-hunting society.

But it is sufficient they are more agile so they are too precious in hierarchy to fight in battle.
Vendanna wrote:Also in some species the female is usually even bigger than the male (like some calamari).
So there is no reason to assume female = weak.
Of course not - except that they not fight in battles (last time I checked). And explanation that they are not-setinent - well...
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

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uzytkownik wrote:If they were stronger they would likely to participate in battle . Also - it is a common property of all known intelligent species ;)
I guess similar developments may occure during division of labour in gathering-hunting society.
I don't think you realize this, but the point is to make drakes seem less like humans, not more like humans.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by uzytkownik »

Zarel wrote:
uzytkownik wrote:If they were stronger they would likely to participate in battle . Also - it is a common property of all known intelligent species ;)
I guess similar developments may occure during division of labour in gathering-hunting society.
I don't think you realize this, but the point is to make drakes seem less like humans, not more like humans.
Hmm. We have to base on something. Unfortunatly we will not escape certain restrictions - for example we cannot think how would think non-humans as our thoughts about non-humans are inherently human. We have to base on something. To make drakes 'scientific' we have only one setient specious and principle of medicory.

Currently we have 1. only Drake males fighting in battles 2. people not like the current not-sentient female (which is much not human at all IMHO).
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

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uzytkownik wrote:Hmm. We have to base on something. Unfortunatly we will not escape certain restrictions - for example we cannot think how would think non-humans as our thoughts about non-humans are inherently human. We have to base on something. To make drakes 'scientific' we have only one setient specious and principle of medicory.
How is "females cannot fight" possibly a restriction?
uzytkownik wrote:Currently we have 1. only Drake males fighting in battles 2. people not like the current not-sentient female (which is much not human at all IMHO).
Did you completely ignore my suggestion that we can retcon the Clasher line to female? o_O
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