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Walls And Fantasy Armies

Mad Swede

Maester
There's three directions I think for dragon fire.

Firstly, the most easy is "because dragons!" Basically, it's magic, and they just breath fire because that's what dragons do.

For the other two the main distinction is, is whatever the dragon breathes self-combusting or does it need to be ignited in some way?

If the first, then some kind of pyrophoric substance is needed, that is, something which spontaneously combusts when it comes into contact with air. Fine metal powders do this, as does fine uranium dust for instance. But there's plenty more. These kinds of dragons would be flying bombs. They would keep whatever pyrophoric substance they use in a gland somewhere. And once they die, and oxygen gets into that gland they'd likely explode.

If the second, then you're looking at something like rocket fuel, which can be either liquid or solid + a spark. The easiest spark is to have the dragon generate some kind of electricity in its jaw, similar to an electric eel. There are plenty of substances which are fairly stable until you ignite them with a spark. These dragons would be safer to kill, since you would need a spark to ignite the flameable substance.

Once you have this figured out, the next thing to decide is how the dragon generates the flamable substance. Either it's internal, and they just create the flameable stuff, or they chew up rocks or metal or whatever and store that somewhere in their body. Or a combination of both of course.

Of course, there's also a difference between what's really going on and what people in your world believe is going on. If dragons are fairly rare and they tend to explode once they die, then it's very likely people have no idea how they breath fire, and they will believe the reason is "because dragons!" even if it's something completely different. Also, if your world has a lot of magic, people will probably simply accept "because magic" as an answer even if there's a different explanation.
You don't need fine metal powders. Almost any fine powder will do. Explosions are historically the biggest single cause of the destruction of flour mills. Flour, especially finely ground flour, is amazingly explosive - all it takes is the right concentration of powder in the air and a spark or small flame. Just sliding across a leather seat is enough to generate the static electricity needed for a spark. Or a lightning strike during a summer thunder storm.
 
You don't need fine metal powders. Almost any fine powder will do. Explosions are historically the biggest single cause of the destruction of flour mills. Flour, especially finely ground flour, is amazingly explosive - all it takes is the right concentration of powder in the air and a spark or small flame. Just sliding across a leather seat is enough to generate the static electricity needed for a spark. Or a lightning strike during a summer thunder storm.
That would explain why dragons terrorize the countryside, especially during harvest season. They need to stock up on grain... Suddenly a lot of fantasy stories make sense. :LOL:
 
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