Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

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

Post by Daxion » December 10th, 2009, 10:55 pm

Oh my, here it goes...
thespaceinvader wrote: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...
I'm doing this for fun. Doing things like differential equations, statistics and error analysis for serious matters, it's nice to do something for fun from time to time (and something even trying to get some use out of it, but that's just a side effect). Most of the thoughts are already there, developed over quite some time. You just can't study serious science and play role playing games without venturing in that direction here and there (at least in my humble opinion).
Turuk wrote: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.
At least it doesn't bother me. Can't say for anybody else of course.

Now to the fun part:
uzytkownik wrote: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).
That "specualtive" theorie is called: general theory of relativity. All you need is an "exotic matter" with a negativ energy-impulse-tensor (i.e. negative mass), and you can travel faster than light (by doing some nice tricks which require this matter for certain regions of space). However the existence of such matter is not only speculative, but also not motivated by real-world problems (other than wanting to travel faster than light).
uzytkownik wrote: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).
Yes and no. Such an exotic particle would probably behave that way. As you stated in our everyday world the electromagnetic force is dominant (however gravitation can't neglected). Two particles with negative mass attract each other, exotic and normal repel.
(after all: F = gamma * m1 * m2 / r²)
uzytkownik wrote: I'd be much happier if such particle have inertial mass twice bigger then gravitational (or 10x or no gravitational mass at all).
The ratio of intertial mass to gravitational mass, does matter but only in the sense that it is important for the energy a drake will use to fly. No gravitational mass (i.e. exotic mass = - inertial mass) would mean, our little drake can float into the air without doing anything. Even a negativ gravitational mass would be possible, and that would mean drakes would need to flap their wings to stay on the ground 8) . So it is save to assume gravitational mass to be positive. (Bounds are: 0 < gravitational mass < intertial mass).
uzytkownik wrote: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?
We have 1 type of matter, and a mechanism to produce some negative mass. If we want to venture this way. The mechanisem could well be based on some exotic matter. Then you can introduce something like a magic-quantum number (like spin). But at the same time you have the repulsive gravitational force. What would come out? Well if you really can answer such a question on a real competent level, you'd have to combine a gravitational theory (general relativity) and quantum theories, and if you could to this, you'd probably be a candidate to travel to Stockholm (that is, after some experiment has proven you right which does not mean that you have proven magic, just that you have proven to combine quantum mechanics with gravitation).
What would happen if we have those two charges and can neglect quantum effects (such as being on a large scale)?
That's simple, you get two balls (planets,solar systems,galaxies). One consisting out of ordinary particles, and one out of exotic matter. Both would repell. In other words, we should quickly forget that idea (at least to magic anything quickly away). If we want to hold on to that idea, we'll get some serious implications...such as being: necessary quantum interaction of such exotic matter with normal matter (containment inside the drake), and generation of exotic matter (after all drakes need to be able to grow with such a thing).
To be honest, I don't see the need for a "negative mass" particle (which different from the already proposed "thaum". "thaum" is often used by Terry Pratchett, so I call this particle Wesnothion :eng:
uzytkownik wrote: If anybody with background in physics could clarify it I'd be happy.
Done. Weeelll...sort of. I'm pretty sure I made things worse.

@Mefisto: give me a day to dwell over those ideas.

@TSI: This reminds me of a quote from Disneys Aladdin:
My mum always said: magic is, what magic does
edits: typos and some clarifications

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

Post by thespaceinvader » December 10th, 2009, 11:10 pm

To be fair, I'm studying genetics at the moment, and I have a reasonable and logical explanation for how the dynamics of major orc/minor orc/goblin works. But it's nowhere near that complicated :P
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by uzytkownik » December 11th, 2009, 12:24 am

Daxion wrote:
uzytkownik wrote: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).
That "specualtive" theorie is called: general theory of relativity. All you need is an "exotic matter" with a negativ energy-impulse-tensor (i.e. negative mass), and you can travel faster than light (by doing some nice tricks which require this matter for certain regions of space). However the existence of such matter is not only speculative, but also not motivated by real-world problems (other than wanting to travel faster than light).
I quoted directly from wikipedia (second thought - nowhere is stated that teleportation is FTL) - however good to know. In such case I would like to resign either from exotic matter or GTR since... well I get used to causalty.
Daxion wrote:
uzytkownik wrote: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).
Yes and no. Such an exotic particle would probably behave that way. As you stated in our everyday world the electromagnetic force is dominant (however gravitation can't neglected). Two particles with negative mass attract each other, exotic and normal repel.
(after all: F = gamma * m1 * m2 / r²)
Sorry - I didn't make myself clear. I meant that large amount of exotic matter may just escape into infinity.
Daxion wrote:
uzytkownik wrote: I'd be much happier if such particle have inertial mass twice bigger then gravitational (or 10x or no gravitational mass at all).
The ratio of intertial mass to gravitational mass, does matter but only in the sense that it is important for the energy a drake will use to fly. No gravitational mass (i.e. exotic mass = - inertial mass) would mean, our little drake can float into the air without doing anything. Even a negativ gravitational mass would be possible, and that would mean drakes would need to flap their wings to stay on the ground 8) . So it is save to assume gravitational mass to be positive. (Bounds are: 0 < gravitational mass < intertial mass).
Sorr - I don't see the relation between comment and this part of text
Daxion wrote:
uzytkownik wrote: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?
We have 1 type of matter, and a mechanism to produce some negative mass. If we want to venture this way. The mechanisem could well be based on some exotic matter. Then you can introduce something like a magic-quantum number (like spin). But at the same time you have the repulsive gravitational force. What would come out? Well if you really can answer such a question on a real competent level, you'd have to combine a gravitational theory (general relativity) and quantum theories, and if you could to this, you'd probably be a candidate to travel to Stockholm (that is, after some experiment has proven you right which does not mean that you have proven magic, just that you have proven to combine quantum mechanics with gravitation).
To be honest - I sometimes try to understend wikipedia articles on quantum gravity and once I have strings explained 'deeper then in newspapers' (but still we haven't touch anything advanced and I haven't even touch math of quantum physics beyond simple calculations) - but I don't pretend I understood 25% of it.

Therefore I would prefer to think about magic either as gravitational-like or electric-like since for those we have good approximations (Newton, Maxwell & co.). And since we started to talk about magic as a field I'd prefere to know with what am I dealing.
Daxion wrote: What would happen if we have those two charges and can neglect quantum effects (such as being on a large scale)?
That's simple, you get two balls (planets,solar systems,galaxies). One consisting out of ordinary particles, and one out of exotic matter. Both would repell. In other words, we should quickly forget that idea (at least to magic anything quickly away). If we want to hold on to that idea, we'll get some serious implications...such as being: necessary quantum interaction of such exotic matter with normal matter (containment inside the drake), and generation of exotic matter (after all drakes need to be able to grow with such a thing).
To be honest, I don't see the need for a "negative mass" particle (which different from the already proposed "thaum". "thaum" is often used by Terry Pratchett, so I call this particle Wesnothion :eng:
What I doubt is wheather such material would not escape in early stage of cosmos creation (during forming of clusters). It would samehow get into drakes etc,

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

Post by Daxion » December 14th, 2009, 3:45 pm

uzytkownik wrote:What I doubt is wheather such material would not escape in early stage of cosmos creation (during forming of clusters). It would samehow get into drakes etc,
That about sums up the problems with this approach.

I personally would let Drakes just fly though the effects of aerodynamics (like birds). No magic, no handwaving explanations. However giving the Drakes an effect that reduces their gravitational weight (through whatever machanism) has an advantage: they don't need to be able to fly fast. Having a weight (gravitational mass that is) of 200-400 kg, means that they either have a hugh wingspan (which they don't), or they are rather fast.

I'll reference the wiki and the game mechanics here: http://wiki.wesnoth.org/Drakes_(race)
In the game Drakes have a lower MP than a fyling creature (Bat or Griffon), and roughly the same as a horse of good terrain. Horses can't sustain a high speed over a long time (due to insufficient heat IIRC, http://kottke.org/06/05/horse-versus-human), so let's assume they don't dash. I did a quick calc on the referenced material (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wale ... 801177.stm) and the fastest horse was around 16 km/h fast (22 miles in 127 minutes = 10.3 miles per hour or 4.64 m/s). So I assume Drake normally fly that fast. In the first post I calculated that Drake would need a minimum speed of 20 m/s to fly (that assumed a gravitational constant roughly close to that of our own earth).
In other words. If we want Drakes to fly that slow (because of the game mechanics) and have the weight and size they have (because of the main line lore), we need a little magic something. I think the best way is to reduce the gravitationl weight.

I do see 3 methods to accomplish that:

1) The already stated method of assuming hypothetical particles with negative gravitational mass. uzytkownik basically pointed out a big problem with it: how could such particle exist inside the drake body (and only there?)
One solution would be to postualte a generation mechanism. But such a mechanism would have neccessarily be of the nature of a nuclear reaction. Somehow I thinks that's even harder to believe (a controlled nuclear reaction inside a drake).

2) postulating a "magic" charge (which cannot easily flow through organic matter). A "magically" charged planet, and our Drakes that have somehow been able to also be charged. Since such a charge distribution show the same distance behaviour as gravitation, it effectivly reduces the effect of gravitation.

3) a "magic" charge, and a charged planet as in Point 2. However our Drake now has a "neutral" charge (as has every other/most living creature on the planet). However Drakes can control the charge distribution. Make their top negative charged and their bottom positive (thus repulsing from the assumed positive charged planet). Down side would be that, such a charge distribution tends to be instable (i.e. our Drake has a tendency to flip over, the tendency is stronger if the drake is close to the ground), but since Drakes have grown up with that, I quess they somehow managed to have the fitting reactions programmed into their cerebellum.
It has one big advantage: They can control the charge distribution (it's kinda hard to controll the charge without being in contact with anything), thus they can turn this effect on and off. In otherwords they can have a noraml weight of 200-400kg if they wish, dropping out of the sky like a stone (for example to get the speed to make a impressive dive attack, with some smashing force...).
I will provide that math for it sooner or later.
(I think that was your main idea Mefisto?)

Working with an analogon to a magnetic filed is I think not possible, due to the fact that we want to produce an upward force. An magnetic field has a south and a north pole, which means that the direction of the field lines change necessarily in a way that makes the Drake sometimes to be "heavier" and sometimes to be "lighter". Or we accept that fact that there is just a small region in which Drakes can live, because they can't fly in the other... :hmm:

I should point out that Approach Number 3 doesn't influence the energy Drakes need, since the charge seperation does pretty much cost just the same (from an ideal theoretical "no air-friction" point of view)

Comments?

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

Post by Mefisto » December 14th, 2009, 5:05 pm

I think that we can discard the idea of negative mass particles production. I would be not only draining unbelievable amounts of energy but also it would produce at the same time positive mass particles. So at the end the mass of a drake would be the same but he would waste huge amounts of energy.
About "magic charge" - it is probably the best way to neutralise certain aspects of gravitation and do it gradually as I imagined. So I'll stick with it.
About their flight skills - I imagined the drakes flying like overgrown bumblebees (for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxOlKqJbDMQ). Rather slow and unwieldy like in the description. I think that their primary hunting method would be searching for large animals and roasting them from the air or from the ambush so they would not need any agility in the air unlike the hawks or eagles. but of course this would be obsolete in confrontation with human or elvish archers or dwarwish thunderers. The harpoons also would be deadly for them. And now I understand why the clashers decided "screw all that magic, kung fu rocks".

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

Post by Daxion » December 14th, 2009, 6:10 pm

Mefisto wrote:I think that we can discard the idea of negative mass particles production. I would be not only draining unbelievable amounts of energy but also it would produce at the same time positive mass particles. So at the end the mass of a drake would be the same but he would waste huge amounts of energy.
You are correct with the energy problem. However they might be able to build that up over their lifetime while they grow.
You are also correct that such a mechanism would probably have to produce positive mass particles. Actually both points are a bit, vague on my side. We do not know of such a process (obviously), and the fact that a negative mass hold a great many problems with many physical theories. Just think of E = mc**2. A negative mass would mean negative energy. If we assume strict energy conservation, we could produce such particles for free, if we produce a positive mass particle at the same time. Now all we would need is a possible way to just trap the negative mass particles. But that's just for a sidenote.
Mefisto wrote:About their flight skills - I imagined the drakes flying like overgrown bumblebees (for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxOlKqJbDMQ). Rather slow and unwieldy like in the description.
What makes them slow and unwieldy? Having a effective lower mass (as with a charge etc.) only affects the up and down motion. Not the motion sideways. A bumblebee can be quite fast for their size (have you ever seen bees in front of their hive, coming and leaving?), just not in hover flight.
What makes Drakes automatically slow, or at least apparently slow is their size (at least optically). A big plane seems to fly slower than a small plane, even if the true air speed might be much faster. This is because we are used to see angular movement.
A drake would still have to overcome airfriction by flapping its wings. So for them it's probably more like running on the ground.
Mefisto wrote:I think that their primary hunting method would be searching for large animals and roasting them from the air or from the ambush so they would not need any agility in the air unlike the hawks or eagles. but of course this would be obsolete in confrontation with human or elvish archers or dwarwish thunderers. The harpoons also would be deadly for them. And now I understand why the clashers decided "screw all that magic, kung fu rocks".
I personally think that roasting is similar to using a flamethower. Wikipedia states that a "Contemporary flamethrowers can incinerate a target some 50–80 meters (165–270 feet) from the gunner" Wikipedia: Flamethrower. For WWI Flamethrowers this went down to 21 Meters, maximum range. For a bird of the size of a Drake this is short. It can be seen in the sky. So they either:
+find their prey airborne, and then stalk it out on the ground
+Outfly it (meaning flying faster than it can run away)
+fly in high altitudes, and drop down fast (same as Hawks do it).

The proposed static charge solution (both the planet and the drake have the same "magic" charge), the drake cannot fall out of the sky fast (exect by flapping it's wings to go faster...). It could with the "magic" static dipole solution. However dropping out of the sky like a stone is easy, but pulling out of that dive, is not (since they have a higher weight at that time, meaning also a higher wing load), and would probably take alot of skill (and they would need to use their kinetic energy to gain a bit height afterwards).
I'm leaning towards the "dipole" solution exactly because of that. The Drake Glider has a dive attack, and to me this seems logical that only one unit has such an attack, if it is hard to carry out (or at least to get away with it against an opponent who fights back).
We "buy" this advantage with the instability problem, and bit more complicated math (though this is IMO no problem).

The proposed hunting attack profile would be:
The Drake flies at a "high" altitude to spot a prey.
Drake nullifies charge speration, and starts to drop.
Builds up dropping speed, after about 2/3 of the drop, drake starts to build up charge speration. Still speeds up. (In my imagination charge speration is rather slow. In the order of minutes, but maybe the first 1/2 goes in one minute...)
Roasts prey form maximum distance, in a swooping motion, using its stubby wings and now high speed to pull out of the dive.

The key is going to be the ratio of reduces mass to air drag. If it is comparable to that of a hawk it can drop like a hawk (mainly).

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

Post by Mefisto » December 17th, 2009, 4:34 pm

My hypothesis for the hunting methods and flying of drakes are different.

1. They would not prey on single birds. Too much effort for almost nothing to eat. So they wouldn't need to be really fast or agile. Besides with this specialization they wouldn't evolve into such large beasts. The only exceptions wouls be large flocks of birds, easy to burn with one flame throwing, for example colonies of seagulls.

2. They need to be fast enough and to have enough stamina to go after some large animals: deers, buffalos, large lizards, humans, wild horses etc. They only need to fly in straight line and throw flames to the left or to the right if the wictim is trying to escape to the side.

3. Probably they would join their efforts - like she-lions.I think that probable and available speed would be about 60-70 kmph for maybe 10 minutes in the pursuit and about 50 kmph for few hours when they just need to fly from point A to point B. They can also glide in searching for the prey.

4. In my model inertia of drake's mass is left intact so they cannot attack the earth target this way because they would have problems with going off the dive. With the possible exception of gliders but they need to be light. I don't know, about 100-200kg? This is the estimated mass of one of largest pterosaurs - Quetzalcoatlus.

I don't really see the drake as equivalent of a hawk because of inertia. Rather like a kind of dirigible with wings, which can be fast in the free, large airspace but the earth surface with rocks, trees, buildings canions etc would be a danger for him. That's why I compared the drake to the bumblebee: not really aerodynamical and needing to be slow and precise when approaching to the target unless he wants to smash his bones.

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

Post by Daxion » December 17th, 2009, 6:10 pm

Actually this is something we cannot deduct from our given information. I was hoping one of the devs could say something here.
Mefisto wrote:3. Probably they would join their efforts - like she-lions.I think that probable and available speed would be about 60-70 kmph for maybe 10 minutes in the pursuit and about 50 kmph for few hours when they just need to fly from point A to point B. They can also glide in searching for the prey.
I think we could deduct their average speed by matching their MP to that of a unit with know speed (horses, which average 16km/h over longer distances, probably in our given scenarios 30).

If we can agree that the maximum range of their "weapon" (i.e. natural flamethrower) does not exceed 50 meters, we have a good starting point for their "hunting" profile.

I think there are several possibilities:
1) surprise drop out of the sky, like birds of prey like to do.
2) stalking/waiting for their prey (like human hunters)
3) attrition (i.e. running the prey down in a group)

3 is IMO unlikley since it does involve heavy team work (somehow I don't see the drakes doing that), and hey, they can fly. Attrition usually involves being able to (moderatly) steer your prey to hold it in the open.
As for 2: Possible, their hard hitting attack speaks for this. But 1 is still possible. The difference is really between: long waiting for an opportunity against being able to pull out of a dive.
It's a pretty bone-crushing dive, I agree, but all they need to be able to do is pull out to a point where they fly almost level with the ground (and just gaining little height).
As for the stalking: I can't imagine them doing it in the air. They are bit big for not being seen (which is important after all)
Mefisto wrote:I don't really see the drake as equivalent of a hawk because of inertia.
True. I think their way to hunt will be quite unique. We don't have after all large animals who do have a 100% success attack.

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

Post by Turuk » December 17th, 2009, 8:35 pm

Daxion wrote:Actually this is something we cannot deduct from our given information. I was hoping one of the devs could say something here.
Read earlier statements made by qualified individuals. All of this thinking and theorizing will not be put into the game, as it has not really been considered in super fine detail. Why? It allows each person to bring their own perspective to the game, and so we are not restricting their imagination. Much as you all have done here.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by fabi » December 23rd, 2009, 9:03 pm

Moderators, please feel free to split this post away to another thread if it doesn't fit in the context.

Esr and my humble self are working on a drake campaign with the preliminary working name "Wings of Victory" that shall fill the lack of mainline drake campaigns some day.
In order to fit our story needs some extensions and changes to the current knowledge of the drake race have to be made and hopefully accepted to be canonical for mainline.

Therefore I post the contents of the "Drakipedia" that defines the drakes we plan to implement in the campaign.
Spoiler:

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

Post by pauxlo » January 4th, 2010, 5:52 pm

Do you really need the breeders to be "nonsentinent"?

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

Post by melinath » January 4th, 2010, 9:06 pm

pauxio: this already got asked on page 1 and the discussion continued until TSI shut it down on page 4 by reaffirming the official non-sentient line. My guess is that changing this line would involve talking to some people who don't get on the forums much. Even talking to them might not be enough, since they might not want to discuss it, and might not change their minds even if they do. Do you use IRC?

As long as I'm posting, here's what my friend sitting next to me says: A race that has non-sentient females for breeding purposes would make an interesting sci-fi story. It could be making a feminist statement. (She's never played Wesnoth.)

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

Post by thespaceinvader » January 4th, 2010, 9:47 pm

Interestingly, one of the first space opera writers, E E 'Doc' Smith did the exact opposite - a female-run society where the men were basically nonsentient and only good for breeding. It was VERY ahead of its time, given that it was published in the 30s. Overall, generally this does make for an interesting societal angle, and sets the drakes apart from most societies.
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Re: Drakes - some thoughts on Drake society, biologie and origin

Post by Zigg » January 5th, 2010, 4:58 pm

I agree with thespaceinvader, this sets the Drakes apart from the other races.

:-)

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

Post by catwhowalksbyhimself » January 18th, 2010, 1:44 am

Actually one of the Known Space races is the same way. Females are nonsapient and males must earn the right to mate.

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