1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Size and number of legs of dragons?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by ClearDragon, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. ClearDragon

    ClearDragon Scribe

    44
    10
    8
    So in my writing I've got a breed of dragon that can grow to a thousand feet long. Is that excessive?
    Also I really like dragons that have four legs and wings, most dragons (especially on tv and movies) have two legs and weird looking wing arms.
    Just why is that? The four legged dragons are much cooler! Actually I suspect the reason dragons are depicted this way, but it's really stupid if true....
    So what do you think, are my dragons too big? And how many legs?
     
  2. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Archmage

    802
    382
    63
    May be, but in some fiction they get really big. At the end of the day, and you may hear this on here quite a bit, but it's all up to you and how it works in your world. You've got to at the least suspend some disbelief. What does a thousand foot beastie feed on? How often does it eat? What impact does it have on the environments it goes through. Who get's the lucky job of slaying it? How did they get so big in the first place?

    As for the legs, eh, I'm one of those who is fine with all dragon types. Though I do like the six limbed ones due to the old knight and dragon cliche. But the wyvern style four limb and even lack of limb serpents and wyrms I'm fine with too. Or a many legged dragon too. As for your shot at the t.v. and movie dragons, I'd argue there's more regular six limbed dragons when not the asian types. True there's been several of the four limb types since GoT, but overall most seem to be six limbed.
     
  3. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Staff Leadership

    1,745
    908
    113
    In our urban fantasy series we have six different types of dragons so their number of limbs can vary, but none of them get much more than 65 feet long, tail included. They also have a human form and a nine foot-tall half form intended for close-quarters combat.

    At this size, what do they eat? A lot. Big things, like cattle. People. And they will sleep for a few days after consuming a big meal. They aren't retiles, but they're something close-ish, like a saurian. Think a big dinosaur with human intelligence and a desire to steal your stuff, as dragons collect treasure and do not much care who it belonged to, first.
     
  4. ClearDragon

    ClearDragon Scribe

    44
    10
    8
    Hmm, from what I've got so far in my fantasy world I think there would be enough food for this dragon, they would be rare though. Also four legged for support. As for slaying it, lol I can't imagine a single guy having a chance! It would need a whole army and take heavy casualties with uncertain success! I'd imagine these dragons would be the oldest ones, possibly many centuries old to get that big. They more likely would be worshiped as gods by the tiny people, lol!
     
  5. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

    1,200
    286
    83
    The dragons in my novels are more like the one in the old 1980s movie Dragon Slayer...so not with 4 legs plus 2 wings. Great Wyrms, huge snake-like dragons with no legs? Not in my novels, but I vaguely recall them in some novels. The 4 legs and 2 wings dragons, if that's what works for your world, it's perfectly fine. I imagine that giants, trolls, ogres, goblins and such also vary from one fantasy world to another.

    A 1000 foot dragon, while requiring a lot of food, if nothing else to reach that length, would definitely have an impact on the local ecosystem. A mating pair? Now that would have a real impact.
     
  6. MrNybble

    MrNybble Minstrel

    78
    12
    8
    Dragons are a fictional race. How it looks and acts depends on the world they are in. Dozens of dragon types can be found in lore throughout the centuries. Because I like some depth in my stories, I have left anchors for the possibility of complex dragon ecosystems. Not just a single rogue dragon running around causing trouble for a hero to clean up. There are three major types dragons I started with. The western type with four legs and two wings. The wyvern type with two legs and two wings. The eastern type with a long body, short legs, no wings, but can still fly. Used these three to start with because they are the most common.

    I do have a special kind of dragon that can be around a mile long. Super rare kinds that are called Guardian dragons. Any dragon can be this type, but they sleep most of the time. Only waking to defend their chosen location. A Guardian dragon of say the mountains may lay dormant for hundreds of years until some idiot tries to mine the mountains. They look like they are made of the thing they are protecting and are very hard to spot.
     
  7. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Vala

    3,999
    1,214
    163
    TV and Film Dragons need to be CG'd and 4 limbs are much easier [and cheaper] than 6. Someone that builds VR worlds was explaining to me how creatures are built from internal skeleton frames and those are based on existing animals [and then adapted]. And there aren't any six-limbed animals with an internal skeleton [wait to find out about the Madagascan six legged Banicote].
    And for the record...
    Four limbs good.
    Six limbs better!
     
    A. E. Lowan likes this.
  8. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Sage

    308
    134
    43
    The 'logical' dragons of my primary world are restricted to four limbs. The ones that fly don't get all that large, as the same physical laws apply there as here, but I suggest there are larger wingless dragons off somewhere in unknown lands, as well as water-dwelling dragons of fair size. Those latter would have less restriction on growth and could become whale-like.

    Having said that, in theory and/or potential, any sort of strange dragon-like creature could (and would) exist in other worlds with other logic and laws. Legs? They could be centipede dragons or legless dragons. They could be big enough to swallow worlds or small enough to go down ant tunnels. But they would be encountered only by wizards who might have the ability to visit such worlds and unlikely to impinge on my primary universe.
     
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    5,418
    3,427
    313
    Leg of dragon sounds yummy.
     
    Orc Knight likes this.
  10. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Archmage

    802
    382
    63
    Grilled, roasted or bar-b-qued?
     
  11. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    5,418
    3,427
    313
    Raw. Dragon tartare.
     
  12. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Archmage

    802
    382
    63
    Must have some fortitude.
     
  13. MrNybble

    MrNybble Minstrel

    78
    12
    8
    There is the eight limbed Dracolisk. Six legs and two wings. More dark meat on that one.
     
  14. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Staff Leadership

    1,745
    908
    113
    I think they would taste a whole lot like chicken, based on being potentially descended from saurian-like creatures.
     
  15. ClearDragon

    ClearDragon Scribe

    44
    10
    8
    Thats interesting and neat.
    I've got several types of dragons being made up g]for my universe. Part of the plot involves the main characters trying to find the world's biggest dragon for possible use as a war beast.
     
  16. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Minstrel

    65
    25
    18
    I imagine dragons that big living in spaceā€”or at least a big planet.

    I had this discussion before, and an artist made the point that two legged dragons were easier to depict. Perhaps that's why there are more on film.
     
  17. Gavrill

    Gavrill Acolyte

    8
    2
    3
    I have dragons in my world as well. The main sort of dragons are the drakhan which are humanoid. When a dragon young is hatched it can be one of two things: a drake or a drakhan. The drake is more like an animal and are often large wingless dragon/dinosaur kind of beasts. Wyverns are subspecies of drakes and have hindlegs and a pair of wings. They are however rather small.

    They live in herdes, that are being cared for and protected by their herders the drakhan who live in nomadic tribes.
    Every tribe dreams of having one of his drakes growing into a full grown dragon.

    A true, full grown dragon in my world has 4 legs and a pair of wings. They can grow quite big but do stop growing at some point. The biggest winged dragons are maybe as large as a couple of houses, but they don't live in the civilized, inhabited world. They have short necks, scales and horns. Some can breath fire but not all, their saliva is acidic and their blood a powerfull ingredient in rituals.

    I also have wingless seadragons. They can come in several forms, resembling landdragons but without the wings or great serpents. The seadragons aren't relatives of the landdragons. They just resemble them.
     
  18. A 1,000 foot dragon would have to be magical, that's for sure; no creature that size could fly or sustain its body through normal natural mechanisms. But that's no problem at all in fantasy. It would ease my spirit to have some explanation of what a creature this big eats (or how it otherwise sustains itself); that always bothered me about Temeraire. My nerd brain keeps squealing, "There's a reason why herbivores are generally much bigger than carnivores! Each trophic level up from plants has only a small fraction of the biomass of the previous one due to the amount of energy lost as heat! This is taught in high school biology!" *sigh* But the majority of fantasy readers don't care, because dragons are badass.

    Two-legged-two-winged dragons are definitely more realistic; forelegs occupy space that could otherwise be devoted to muscles to move the wings, and in that sense having forelegs wouldn't make impairing the wings "worth it." In a drawing of a dragon, it's hard to figure out where exactly those muscles *go.* A dragon would have to have a keeled breastbone, right? *clutches hair* But my dragons have four legs because...I like them that way.
     
  19. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

    520
    198
    43
    Not necessarily. Keeled breastbones are only necessary if they fly like birds do, rather than like pterosaurs, bats, and flying non-avian members of Paraves (the dinosaur clade that's most closely related to - and I believe includes - birds).
     
Loading...

Share This Page