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R Ashby





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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 3:52 am    Post subject: Silly/Juvenile Question         Reply with quote

OK all, you've been a great help to me in writing so far, so now I have another question- and this one is embarrassing...

If you were riding on the back of a dragon, flying of course, say 30-40 MPH, what sort of weapon/s would you choose? No guns allowed!

(Other than the dragon's own nasty bits, I guess I should add..)

Thank you!
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Marik C.S.




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 4:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To me, that seems obvious.
A lance or any other sort of pole-arm, simply because a dragon is fairly large and you need the reach to be able to hit anything.
A bow might work as well, but hitting something at that pace is close to impossible I guess.
But than again, why would you need to be armed?
A dragon can only be compared to a war-elephant - being the largest animal ever used in warfare, at least until they find a use for blue whales - and thus the dragon itself would be the weapon. Or there would be one rider and a couple of archers along with him, but then the rider himself would be unarmed and only present to control the beast.
Also, I imagine a dragon to be quite hard to control if you only got one arm and swing a sword with the other.
And to get a bit less hypothetical and a little more historic, the lance seems to be the common weapon to kill a dragon - if we look at St George - and I think that might be due to the reach issue.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 4:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Big bag of caltrops. Scatter them over an army or camp from high altitude, and they'll hurt coming down as well as being bad underfoot.

Matthew
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R Ashby





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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 4:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Big bag of caltrops. Scatter them over an army or camp from high altitude, and they'll hurt coming down as well as being bad underfoot.

Matthew


I hadn't thought of that- thanks!
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Eric Root




Location: Floyd, Virginia
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 5:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Big bag of caltrops. Scatter them over an army or camp from high altitude, and they'll hurt coming down as well as being bad underfoot.

Matthew



Back at the beginning of the 1st World War, the observer/co-pilot of airplanes would dump buckets of darts on soldiers below.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 6:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Magic baseballs of course!
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Mathieu Harlaut




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 6:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cranequin crossbow or a short composite bow similar to ones used by Mongols, Turks and Middle-East people.
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Eric Meulemans
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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 7:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric Root wrote:
Matthew Amt wrote:
Big bag of caltrops. Scatter them over an army or camp from high altitude, and they'll hurt coming down as well as being bad underfoot.

Matthew



Back at the beginning of the 1st World War, the observer/co-pilot of airplanes would dump buckets of darts on soldiers below.


Such darts were used well beyond WWI, and "improved" versions saw use up through Vietnam. Check out Lazy Dog kinetic energy darts or bombs. Dropped from altitude, such weapons were capable of penetrating engine blocks.
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Joel Minturn





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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 8:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Why the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch" of course. Razz

Putting such silliness aside. Razz Laughing Out Loud
Most likely a bow or crossbow as has been mentoned.
But doesn this dragon breath fire? If it does then not sure my shooting would add much unless its more sniping at other dragon riders.

A lance or pole arm might be nice for defense against other dragons. Keep from being too easy of a target.

Of course there is good chance, depending on how the rider control said dragon, that they may be hanging on for dear life and all effort is in controlling the large, dangerous animal.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Why are folks responding to this in a serious way?
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Marik C.S.




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joel Minturn wrote:
Why the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch" of course. Razz


I think counting to three - and only to three, four is completely wrong and two is not enough - is quite hard whilst flying really fast through the air. It's quite the same really with crossbows, unless it's one of those crossbows with the internal spring - like the assassins Crossbow Tod from Tod's stuff has on his site - it might be really horrifying to load the crossbow.
But then again, is the dragon armoured or are his scales like armour? So would a bow even hurt an other dragon? Hitting the opposing dragons rider at 40 mph is more than far fetched, especially if you imagine dragon-dogfights in the sky.
And if the target of the attack is a non-airborne target - knight, footman, catapult - then the build in weaponry of the beast itself should be sufficient.

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Why are folks responding to this in a serious way?

Because it is fun to think up those hypotheses.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 9:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How big is your dragon? Does it fly by muscle power and the laws of physics or does it magically fly with super-short wings.

Assuming the first, going over 500-1000kg would really be pushing it, but you would probably want your mount to weigh 5-10 times as much as you and all your kit. A horse-weight dragon with a long and sleek build might be about 4-6m through the body and 8-18m overall. 12kg per square meter of wing area is considered to be the limit for avian flight, so using that as a guide we get about 40-80m2, yielding a wingspan, depending on width, of about 15-80m. Compare to Argentavis, the largest known flying bird, at 7m wingspan, 7m2 wing area, 70kg and 2m tall, or Quetzalcoatlus, the largest known flying animal, at 10-12m wingspan and 150-250 kg.

Assuming a dragon in the above size range, for fighting heavily armoured cavalry I would choose a number of short, heavy lances/javelins (2m long, 2-4kg) and maybe a few wurfhakn or fransciscas or maybe just a few big rocks. For fighting lighter targets, I would prefer a bow of some kind and maybe some lighter javelins. As to using a long lance or pike without throwing it, if you were not knocked off by the impact, it would probably disrupt flight. Dragon jousting would be deadly, abrupt and quite exciting to write/read about. I imagine it resembling a raptor-fight. I recently saw a bald eagle fighting a mob of ravens over the Rio Grande, and another time saw two falcons fighting as they plummeted down a 2,000 foot cliff in the Sandia mountains. Another time I saw a golden eagle fighting a half-dozen turkey vultures at a carcasse. New Mexico is a great place to see exciting raptor-fights.

Back to the weapons, I see no reason why you would not carry a sword, though it would rarely be of any use except dismounted. A fight-scene with 2 dragons locked together and spiral-plummeting to earth as their riders katzfecht (close-up cat-fighting such as in a gewalthaufen or pike-square) with flashing blades would be pretty cool though. Or a dragon stooping like a falcon on an armoured horseman, cupping his wings to a half-stop, as his rider thrusts with his lance and lets go, leaving the knight impaled with the lance through his upturned face, out the back of his head and through the horses body. Wow! Writing fantasy novels could be pretty fun!

Now, assuming we are free from the bonds of physics and a earth-like environment, there are a galaxy of possibilities. Huge dragons with wooden, wet-hide-covered forts full of archers and seige weapons on their backs. Horse-size dragons with super-short wings that can manuever like a bumble-bee, able too hover and navigate tight spaces. On something like that, you could use any weapons a horseman could, but better.

Well, thats all I have got time for, thank you for posting your question, Ashby, that was fun!
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Luke Zechman




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 10:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ummmmm you are on a dragon. Do you really need a weapon? Perhaps a short bow would be helpful.
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Connor Ruebusch




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Why are folks responding to this in a serious way?


Hey now! No need to be critical--everybody likes a good fantasy. We get plenty of other folks around here looking for story ideas and realistic ways to depict fantastic characters and events. What's wrong with dragons?

I personally think the comparison to war elephants is a very smart one. Makes me think that if dragons had been used in warfare they might have built towers or battlements on their backs. Something like the fo'c'sle on a medieval cog. The dragon itself would be the main weapon, with someone seated on its neck with reins or a goad, and then you could station a handful of archers inside the tower to pick off enemy soldiers.

Honestly, on the medieval battlefield I can't help but think that a dragon would have been most effective on the ground and not in the air. Aside from getting over walls, there isn't much you could do from a high altitude (at high speed) with medieval technology. Using the creature like an elephant would be best. Plus, you must remember: elephants' most important use was damagin enemy morale. Imagine how tough it would have been for a semi-professional soldier to stand firm against a giant rampaging lizard!

Ex animo,

Connor
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Marik C.S.




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also, due to the fire-breathing, dragons are less prone to attacks with burning pigs. Using dragons against Roman armies would actually save a lot in dragon food I guess.
But the point about the maximum weight a dragon may have in order to fly is an important one, that would collide with the prospect of having a war tower on the dragons back.
Also, are we talking about a dragon with four legs and two wings or more of a wyvern like it is portrait in heraldic devices with two wings and only two legs, sort of like a Archaeopteryx? The latter ones are best used flying I think, but those might me more likely since most animals we know have four limbs.
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T.F. McCraken




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Why are folks responding to this in a serious way?


Jeremy, when you ask a question, do you prefer a non-serious answer? Folks are answering him because he asked. It may seem silly to you, but, I think almost everyone has recognized that the OP is writing....something...whether it is a Sci-Fi short story or novel, or, an RPG game scenario. I like both of those things and agree with most that a lance would be my pick of weapon. (An extra LONG lance!)
Either way, the OP is putting as much real logic into his idea than MOST do -Authors and Game Masters both- and THAT is awesomely refreshing! He came to where he though folks would know. There's a VERY good chance he is (or, soon will be) an enthusaist(sic?) in the subject matter we delve into here. He's, at the least, a fellow myArmoury Forum member and I thank him for asking here.

Anywhose, on topic an in all seriousness, I think this picture displays what everyone means by lance.



One of my favorite series' of books back when was Dragonlance novels.

Hope I helped, sorry 'bout the rant to both the OP, Jeremy and the rest of the readers. That just kinda bugged me.

Murphy Cool

aka "Murphy"
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Ken Speed





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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 11:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy asked, "Why are folks responding to this in a serious way?["

The answer is pretty simple there's a bit of craziness and romanticism in those of us interested in swords and armor and the like.

My question is: If you already have a dragon, who do you need the weapon for? Your antagonists or the dragon? Getting off the dragon would be a classic case of riding the tiger wouldn't it? The rides OK, getting off ( and surviving!) is the tricky part!


I can see the ad now:


FOR SALE CHEAP!!

Dragon, ridden only once!

Inquire at the Widow's house
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Long LONG lance as mentioned but probably light weight bamboo for strength and flexibility, a quiver of javelins or heavy darts and a crossbow using a cranequin to load.

The crossbow might be hard to use at high speed but if your dragon can hover like a helicopter one could position the dragon over the battlefield at strategic positions and harass with precision crossbow shooting when hovering and throwing darts from up high at large formation targets. Oh, incendiary or explosive grenades would also be useful.

Sword and maybe even a shield ( Having some sort of dragon saddle on which to carry numerous weapons from axes to mace to large steel mesh nets that could be dropped to tangle up formations. ( I'm thinking of the dragon cavalry being used in a combined arms sort of way within a larger army: Scouting and arial observation being very useful to the commander on the ground or for signalling to troops the commanders orders ).

Now if your dragon can also function as a flame thrower it makes it mush more effective but there might be limitations on range and your dragon could run out of fuel quickly ..... have to make it eat lots of beans to generate " GAS ". Wink Laughing Out Loud

Armoured dragon would also be hard to shoot down but they might be costly in food and difficult to maintain in large numbers.

The dragons would also be less than effective in large groups if they tend to be loner animals who want to fight each other and hard to use in any formation. If they are more like herd animals then large dragon formations would have different tactical qualities.

There could be a few different species: The smaller but social herd dragons and the irritable and hard to manage super dragons that could only be used in isolation from each other. An army might have a " wing " of 200 herd dragons and a dozen or so of the super dragons.

Oh, and there could be huge land only dragons that could support a battle tower on it's back with 20 or more archers: Slow ponderous, non-flame breathing but carnivorous dragons. Very expensive to feed so only half a dozen could be logistically supported by a large army ) These could be heavily armour plated by nature but added scale plate linked by mail armour would make them almost impossible to kill except by a huge siege type balista/crossbow.

Very strong they could break though almost any castle gate and knock down anything but the heaviest walls .... Hmmmm siege dragons. ( Heavy spiked club type tail end it can use to sweep away infantry and smash stuff ).

Oh, swarms of tiny dragons could be trained and used in huge numbers like trained land piranhas. ( But again keeping all these fed and happy would be challenging since if you run out of food all of these dragons would start looking at you funny. Wink Razz Eek! Laughing Out Loud

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Marik C.S.




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If we are talking about the dragons from the likes of Smaug or other fantasy novel dragons - meaning those with a rather difficult and cunning personality - we have a problem on our hands, because these dragons won't like to be treated rather like cattle or the ordinary mount.
So I guess the Dragon will either be rather kind-hearted towards his rider or will be more animal than mystical beast.

Also, instead of arming the rider - who is well occupied with controlling the mount and also has a fairly limited reach - we could supply the dragon himself with blades - attached to the tips of the wings like they would be on the wheel of a chariot - or reinforce his fangs and talons with steel. One might even go so far as to train the dragon to drop stuff, a large stone or a pot of scolding oil will do some damage if dropped over a field or even a fortress.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Dec, 2010 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Littauer and Crouwell comprehensively demonstrated that it is impossible for two charioteers to charge each other with long lances. The problems outlined by their work are magnified many times on something like a flying dragon - so lances are out.. If you look at the speed that the dragon is alleged to be flying at combined with the stronger air currents at higher altitudes, any bow would be equally useless. The only practical tactic would be to drop things on targets on the ground like darts or large caltrops as already suggested. I agree that a dragon would be more use on the ground against more traditional troops and that an elephant would be the closest real-world analogue. Any rider would be nothing but a passenger if two dragons enountered each other while in the air.
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