Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

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

Post by catwhowalksbyhimself » October 25th, 2009, 4:45 pm

I suggest a good way to explain the lack of drake women is to steal the idea from the amphibious race in Mass Effect.

That species are also egg layers, and their females are also never seen. The reason is that gender is determined by fertilization. All unfertilized eggs are males and all fertilized eggs are female. Females lay large clutches of eggs, so very few are needed. Fertilization is external, so there is no mating as such, and all cases of fertilization are highly ritualized, and carefully chosen and selected. As an result, the very few females who exist control the whole species.

Drakes could work similarly, with the added bit that females are fiercely territorial towards other females, resulting in only one per village. That single female is both leader and mother to the entire village and is carefully protected by them in time of war, like a queen. When a female dies, an egg of a nearby, friendly village is fertilized by a male from that village.

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

Post by Zachron » October 25th, 2009, 11:01 pm

Or, females would make sure to have a few daughters before they died.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by catwhowalksbyhimself » October 26th, 2009, 9:58 pm

Perhaps older females have a female or two before they die, then fly off to live the remainder of their lives alone.

Alternatively, the village never replaces it's queen at all, just gradually dies off of old age. Older females typically lay a few female eggs who then fly off when they mature to start their own villages, often taking over the ruins of old villages.

If on other other hand females grown old, hatch a daughter to replace her and fly off, the relationship between drakes/dragons could be changed so that the elderly females occasionally, instead of dying of old age, develop into a full sized dragon. However, not having played any campaigns involving the dragons much, I don't know if reference is made to dragons reproducing, which would contradict that.

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

Post by melinath » October 30th, 2009, 2:10 am

Zachron wrote:I found some of the assumptions regarding the maximum population of the Drakes to be a tad contrived. All the estimates concerning them hunting instead of raising meat, using the sea to augment food source. They all make the assumption that Drakes are carnivorous. Very few island bound species are carnivorous. Even predators would augment their diets with plant matter of some sort, in fact apex predators on islands are usually omnivorous. Since I imagine them as islanders, and mountain dwellers, it would make sense that they hunted for their meat in the lowlands, but they made gardens up in the highlands for their fruits and vegetables. Up at the peaks would be their dwellings.
Although I agree that drakes could be ominivorous, is there any particular reason they should be? Sure, island-bound species may rarely be carnivorous, but the drakes are not island-bound - they have access to the resources of both land and sea. And the sea is a great resource. Coastal fishing groups in the real world have often not needed to move all year round, given a certain abundance of the ocean. In fact, the land would often supplement the sea, not the other way around.
Zachron wrote:This might also play into their Symbiotic relationship with the Saurians, who while they are a less ancient breed than the Dragon, have for a longer time been familiar with the restrictions of their reptilian biology. [. . .] All in all, this would culminate in the drakes being able to maintain their population size, and not have their population plummet in a downward spiral.
Small corrections: Drakes do not have a symbiotic relationship with Saurians, and in fact have nothing canonical to do with them in most campaigns. (Granted, they only appear in a few.) However, it is very clear that the Drakes lived on their islands for quite a long time before they would ever have had a chance to know who the Saurians were. The reason that Drakes are a dying species in TRoW is not that they can't reproduce, but that their homes are sinking into the ocean.

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

Post by Noskillz » November 1st, 2009, 11:07 am

The easiest thing to do is to assume that all Drakes are the same gender, or males and females share little distinction with only behavioral traits defining the gender roles.

Then we can say all Drakes have the ability to lay eggs, where they hatch with or without fertilization (depending on popularity).

Drakes can also be androgynous, with egg-laying and fertilizing being done by the same gender.
If they don't need to be fertilized (parthenogenesis) then all the hatchlings would be clones of the parent, leading to no genetic diversity and declining numbers.

Similarly, if they need to be fertilised, we can say the decline of the drakes can be attributed to a shrinking gene pool from inbreeding where fewer and fewer drakes are able to reproduce, with the few that can being prized and cherished. Mortality rates would also be increased from mutations from inbreeding?

This course leads to numerous possibilities such as a Drake Civil War ending with survivors fleeing to wesnoth and establishing a presence.

As well, Drakes are meant to be intelligent creatures that are able to forge weapons. Therefore they should be advanced enough to have animal breeding for subsidence. Maybe desertification on the Drake's island chain from over-use of land could also be a cause for leaving the islands?

Hopefully one of these ideas sound good enough to become canon :D

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

Post by thespaceinvader » November 1st, 2009, 11:35 am

There is an established canon for drake gender dynamics, it is as found in the wiki page linked to from here. It hasn't yet come up in any campaigns, but that is the way it is going to be.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by Mefisto » December 9th, 2009, 4:26 pm

I like to speculate about the possible ways of interaction of "magic" and physical fenomena and I hope to find out how large animal can fly by flapping its wing and breathe fire. I also like to speculate what "magic" is, at least wesnothian magic.

Let's say magic (in form of magical sphere, magical field or sth.) can interfere with gravity and make mass of objects not proportional to their weight. This way an object like huge magical lizard can acquire large draught which help him to fly. But of course large mass means large inertia so this is why drakes and dragons aren't agile nor fast. We can speculate that dragons/drakes evolved from small fying lizards which used their wings in the same way like bats and birds. They became more and more magical so they could sustain larger and larger mass. They became quite smart but not not in scientific, rational way. So they instinctively flew like their ancestors not knowing that their magic helps them to uplift. They didn't formulated theory of flight and didn't realize that they do not need to flap their wings at all, just concentrate and levitate.

About their "internal fire". I think that in this case magic interferes with laws of thermodynamics. I can slow or direct the dispersal of the energy. Living creatures gain energy by oxidation of food by means of enzymes and reactions which make this process slow and not rapid like burning of hydrogenium. Small part of this energy is bound in chemical bonds of certain substrates like ATP and the rest is wasted. Let's say that magic can contain free energy gained by oxidation like plasma generator contains plasma in magnetic field. Then drakes and dragons can use 100% of energy of eaten food to fly. They require plenty of energy to fight their inertia - to accelerate, to change the direction of flight and to brake so this is a nice evolutionary adaptation. But if they lose a control on their internal magical equivalent of plasma generator, for example when the are gravely wounded, they oxidize in a moment and spontaneously burn to ashes.

What is your opinion about this explanation?

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

Post by thespaceinvader » December 9th, 2009, 5:06 pm

That's pretty much it. But you really don't need to think that hard about it ;)
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by Mefisto » December 9th, 2009, 5:22 pm

I don't need but I like to. I prefer the things that make sense to me.

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

Post by uzytkownik » December 9th, 2009, 8:48 pm

Mefisto wrote:Let's say magic (in form of magical sphere, magical field or sth.) can interfere with gravity and make mass of objects not proportional to their weight. This way an object like huge magical lizard can acquire large draught which help him to fly. But of course large mass means large inertia so this is why drakes and dragons aren't agile nor fast. We can speculate that dragons/drakes evolved from small fying lizards which used their wings in the same way like bats and birds. They became more and more magical so they could sustain larger and larger mass. They became quite smart but not not in scientific, rational way. So they instinctively flew like their ancestors not knowing that their magic helps them to uplift. They didn't formulated theory of flight and didn't realize that they do not need to flap their wings at all, just concentrate and levitate.
Well - there is inertial and gravitational mass. According to our (i.e. humans') experiments they are equal to very fine degree. According to General Theory of Relativity they are equal. But one can imagine a system where they are not equal.

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

Post by Daxion » December 10th, 2009, 10:27 am

Mefisto wrote:I like to speculate about the possible ways of interaction of "magic" and physical fenomena and I hope to find out how large animal can fly by flapping its wing and breathe fire. I also like to speculate what "magic" is, at least wesnothian magic.
Mefisto wrote:I don't need but I like to. I prefer the things that make sense to me.
One of the reasons why I started the topic. Actually I wanted to get from Biological restrictions (food consumption etc.) to some social implications. Seemed to be a bit too long of a shot. From things said in Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes I gather there are alot of things about Drakes which is suppost to be mainline lore, which is not documented, or at least documented in the Wesnoth Wiki: Drakes (race) (now specially about Drake society which would be important for a Drake campaign). I personally just don't want to invent things, which are lore (or at least lore in the heads of the devs).

flying:
Mefisto wrote:Let's say magic (in form of magical sphere, magical field or sth.) can interfere with gravity and make mass of objects not proportional to their weight. This way an object like huge magical lizard can acquire large draught which help him to fly. But of course large mass means large inertia so this is why drakes and dragons aren't agile nor fast.
uzytkownik wrote:Well - there is inertial and gravitational mass. According to our (i.e. humans') experiments they are equal to very fine degree. According to General Theory of Relativity they are equal. But one can imagine a system where they are not equal.
My usual approach to magic involves a field of magical "particles" which make sure energy and momentum is conserved, but since a change of weight doesn't really have much dynamics involved we could get around without such a "thaum" particle. As uzytkownik said, we don't really need to assume that Mass that produces the weight is the same that is in the equation for momentum and kinetic energy. Having the same Mass for kinetic energy and momentum makes sense, since this ensures that physics still work in pretty much the same way (just think about a collision experiment, and the results you could get if the both are not the same...).
So the normal equations would be:

Code: Select all

F_gravitation = Mass_gravitation * g
with g being the normal gravitational acceleration. This is the same force that out hugh flying lizard needs to produce as lift to stay aloft.

Code: Select all

a_norma = Force / Mass_intertial
which is well, the acceleration the Drake can make (depending on his "flapping force").
Normally Mass_gravitation = Mass_intertial. If we assume our Magic bubble to have a property of:

Code: Select all

Mass_gravitation(magic) = -something
Mass_intertial(magic) = 0
we get the desired results (and as a side effect, we broke the standard "general theory of relativity". So we have to assume that the GTR does not work in the wenoth universe, but that seems to a small price to pay for the getting magic).
The intersting result is: for a drake it is easier to fly up and down, than to fly horizontally (compared to a non-magic bird). Also a dive from great heights (and with that one of my assumptions for wing span/mass) does not result in such high speeds (since height stores less potential energy for a drake). That is at least a non trivial implication. If we would like to also keep this as "normal" it would require that Drakes can magically alter the properties of their magic bubble. But this messes with energy conservation (and mass conservation, which isn't the same, unless you assume that GTR works, but we have thrown that out of the window earlier), and momentum conservation. A solution to this would be (as mentioned earlier) the introduction of a magic thaum-field (or several thereof). A scalar-field doesn't work (since we also need to ensure momentum conservation).

evolution:
Mefisto wrote:We can speculate that dragons/drakes evolved from small fying lizards which used their wings in the same way like bats and birds. They became more and more magical so they could sustain larger and larger mass. They became quite smart but not not in scientific, rational way. So they instinctively flew like their ancestors not knowing that their magic helps them to uplift. They didn't formulated theory of flight and didn't realize that they do not need to flap their wings at all, just concentrate and levitate.
This seems logical. Their intelligence always bothers me a bit since the wiki states that:
Wiki wrote:The only technology drakes value is armour- and weapon-smithing, and neither know or need other science and culture besides this. However the few implements they do fashion are almost unrivaled in quality, only matched by those produced in the finest Dwarven foundries.
Having little or no culture seems to be a bit contradicting (at least with a few statements made by Jetryl in Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes. But in order for this to work they don't need to understand it (the physics and math used to throwing a stone via catapults is from our modern standpoint rather wrong. They used a triangle to describe the trajectory, but it did work well (this is the case of you have a rather big influence of drag)).

internal fire:
Mefisto wrote:About their "internal fire". I think that in this case magic interferes with laws of thermodynamics. I can slow or direct the dispersal of the energy. Living creatures gain energy by oxidation of food by means of enzymes and reactions which make this process slow and not rapid like burning of hydrogenium. Small part of this energy is bound in chemical bonds of certain substrates like ATP and the rest is wasted. Let's say that magic can contain free energy gained by oxidation like plasma generator contains plasma in magnetic field. Then drakes and dragons can use 100% of energy of eaten food to fly. They require plenty of energy to fight their inertia - to accelerate, to change the direction of flight and to brake so this is a nice evolutionary adaptation. But if they lose a control on their internal magical equivalent of plasma generator, for example when the are gravely wounded, they oxidize in a moment and spontaneously burn to ashes.
For having fire, we really only need energy (and energy conservation, no momentum conservation is needed). There are alot of way how to do that. A scalar-magic-energy-field would to the trick (and probably be a rather easy way to do that, at least as long as we assume the interaction between the magic field and the normal world is, without a magic user, small or nill).
Mefisto wrote:Small part of this energy is bound in chemical bonds of certain substrates like ATP and the rest is wasted.
I do sense a problem here. All energy not deposited in chemical bonds of "usable" substances like ATP is stored in chemical bonds of substances that go into excrement. If we assume they use 100% they would have the possibility to digest 100% of their prey into usable "ATP-like" substances. Is there any biological organsim close to that?
I highly doubt that going the way over a plasma is really giving you a net energy, unless of course you are suggesting they use a "plasma reactor" for nuclear fusion (in which case they don't need food at all for their energy). Howevery looking at the problems we have with building such a reactor and knowing a bit about our sun, I would say this poses quite a problem (unless we "magic it away").
I would suggest their internal fire, is mainly a weapon (or evolved as such). Contained in a "non-magic" well isolated bubble. Since it's just hot in their, and unless they actually loose heat (due to breathing fire) they don't need alot of energy to sustain their fire (it really then just depends on their insulation).


(edit: corrected a few typos)

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

Post by thespaceinvader » December 10th, 2009, 1:09 pm

You're HUGELY over-thinking this. Seriously. MST3K Mantra, people. And Bellisarios Maxim.

Chill out. It's just a game. Don't think about it too hard. It works by magic, and that's more than enough handwave. If you really want to over-think it like nobody's business, I guess you're welcome to, but don't expect the work to make it into the game...
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by Turuk » December 10th, 2009, 2:15 pm

thespaceinvader wrote:If you really want to over-think it like nobody's business, I guess you're welcome to, but don't expect the work to make it into the game...
Stated for truth. Having fun trying to figure out a working system is fine, it can prove interesting, we just don't want you to do all this and then be bothered about non-inclusion.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by uzytkownik » December 10th, 2009, 3:18 pm

Daxion wrote: flying:
Mefisto wrote:Let's say magic (in form of magical sphere, magical field or sth.) can interfere with gravity and make mass of objects not proportional to their weight. This way an object like huge magical lizard can acquire large draught which help him to fly. But of course large mass means large inertia so this is why drakes and dragons aren't agile nor fast.
uzytkownik wrote:Well - there is inertial and gravitational mass. According to our (i.e. humans') experiments they are equal to very fine degree. According to General Theory of Relativity they are equal. But one can imagine a system where they are not equal.
My usual approach to magic involves a field of magical "particles" which make sure energy and momentum is conserved, but since a change of weight doesn't really have much dynamics involved we could get around without such a "thaum" particle. As uzytkownik said, we don't really need to assume that Mass that produces the weight is the same that is in the equation for momentum and kinetic energy. Having the same Mass for kinetic energy and momentum makes sense, since this ensures that physics still work in pretty much the same way (just think about a collision experiment, and the results you could get if the both are not the same...).
So the normal equations would be:

Code: Select all

F_gravitation = Mass_gravitation * g
with g being the normal gravitational acceleration. This is the same force that out hugh flying lizard needs to produce as lift to stay aloft.

Code: Select all

a_norma = Force / Mass_intertial
which is well, the acceleration the Drake can make (depending on his "flapping force").
Normally Mass_gravitation = Mass_intertial. If we assume our Magic bubble to have a property of:

Code: Select all

Mass_gravitation(magic) = -something
Mass_intertial(magic) = 0
we get the desired results (and as a side effect, we broke the standard "general theory of relativity". So we have to assume that the GTR does not work in the wenoth universe, but that seems to a small price to pay for the getting magic).
The intersting result is: for a drake it is easier to fly up and down, than to fly horizontally (compared to a non-magic bird). Also a dive from great heights (and with that one of my assumptions for wing span/mass) does not result in such high speeds (since height stores less potential energy for a drake). That is at least a non trivial implication. If we would like to also keep this as "normal" it would require that Drakes can magically alter the properties of their magic bubble. But this messes with energy conservation (and mass conservation, which isn't the same, unless you assume that GTR works, but we have thrown that out of the window earlier), and momentum conservation. A solution to this would be (as mentioned earlier) the introduction of a magic thaum-field (or several thereof). A scalar-field doesn't work (since we also need to ensure momentum conservation).
1. With such properties magic particle would be exotic (BTW. " It is used in certain speculative theories, such as on the construction of wormholes." - Silver Mages' teleportation). As a side effect, I belive, it would repel from normal matter and I'm not quite sure if cumulation of large amount of magic particles was possible (on small scale it can be argued that other elementar forces overhelm the gravity). I'd be much happier if such particle have inertial mass twice bigger then gravitational (or 10x or no gravitational mass at all). If anybody with background in physics could clarify it I'd be happy.
2. The mass-energy equivalency is present in special relativity so we don't necessary throw it away

--------------------------------
Sorry I ask but:
- Do we have 3 types of matter - magical, non-magical and semi-magical (magical does not interact with non-magical so is massless, chargeless etc.)?
- Do we have 2 types of magnetic charge (+ and -) or one? Assuming atom is neutral does nucleus and electron neutral or there are neutral in netto?
- Does magic attract itself or is it repulsive?
- If there is 2 types of charge and we have special relativity we should observe magic-magnetic field. It is also possible that Irdya have some natural magic-magnetic field which on the pools would allow to have very crude maglev. But would it be sufficient to compensate the mass?

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

Post by Mefisto » December 10th, 2009, 8:57 pm

TSI - don't worry, I know that my fun is my fun and nobody's else. I don't expect anybody to include my theories into canon because they are only for my satisfaction. I respect the fact that there are people like you who need only a handful od basic rules, not contradicting each other. I also don't want to discover a Theory of Everything in Wesnothverse. I just have little less tolerance to handwavium and I like to exercies my braincells this way. An I can see I'm not the only one.

Disclaimer: below are my speculations. Maybe I would include them in my potential campaigns involvint drakes and maybe mages but I don't intend to make everybody embrace it and worship. Againt the flight and internal fire of drakes:

My image of "flight support magic" is rather not a physical-like particles but rather the way to neutralise to the certain degree the interaction between drake and Irdya's gravity field. Something like changing the ferromagnetic oject which is inside the magnetic field into non-ferromagnetic. It's acceleration than is not g (or whatever is it's equivalent in Wesnoth) but something less. But this is only for gravitational field of a planet and the drake remains one koherent object. And neutralization of gravitation is proportional to the willpower of the creature: it wants to fly, so it floats. [After some wikipedia reading: well it looks like I invented drake/spacecraft. I can assume that in my concept drakes are able to produce antimatter with reverse gravitational mass but with unchanged electrical charge. I don't know what is a cost of it.]

About energy from food: I mean that of all energy of digested and oxidized parts of food (I don't include the part which cannot be digested because of lack of enzymes, like cellulose) only about 40% is changed into chemical energy and the rest is wasted - it becomes a heat and is dispersed. My idea is that the drakes store this part of energy too and make use of it when necessary: either producing really hot fire or enhancing the work of their muscles [or to produce antimass particles? It would require either to produce huge amounts of energy or to ease the process somehow].

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