Sunday, 27 April 2014

Dragons Part Three

Magic Dragons!!!

As briefly mentioned in Part Two, Magic/k Dragons fall into two main types:

Magic-eating Dragons

Requiring Magic/k in order to survive, feeding from the field of naturally occurring Magic/k, this type of Dragon lives where the magic is strongest. Locations like stone circles, a confluence of ley lines and Toys 'R' Us outlets for example.

Magic-producing Dragons

At the other end of the spectrum, Dragons give out Magic/k. Functioning like Nuclear reactors/bombs-waiting-to-happen, each Dragon gives out an amount of Magic/k for a given amount of fuel (read sacrifices). As one of the major generators of magic/k in the world, this type of Magic Dragon is therefore vital to the survival of other Magic/k creatures, Unicorns, Elves and My Missus as a few examples.


Now of the two situations the second is more fun and as such will be the main event in this blog.
I could talk about the parasitical Dragons but in the distant-ish future I will be doing a different blog about other Parasitical Magic/k entities and want to hold off for now.

Let's look at this in a focused way. Assume that Dragons are real, sacrifices are necessary and we, dear reader, are some cool scientist/adventurer types (think Indiana Jones in a lab coat) who are finally doing some research on Dragons that goes beyond "Shoot it in the face or the squishy bits!!".

Assuming that the Dragon is a generator of Magic/k each sacrifice will act as fuel and enable the Dragon to produce a quantity of Magic/k which will permeate the landscape of their territory providing sustenance and potential power for all manner of creatures and Wizards.

In that case, the world will be a delicately balanced system so that any given Dragon's output of Magic/k is not overtaxed by the local users.

So, to answer the question of how much Magic each Dragon puts out we need to know: How many users there are per territory? How much magic do they consume? How much Magic/k potential is a Virgin worth?

If you have snacks in front of you now is a good time to start munching.

How many users?
In the previous post, a Dragon's territory was estimated at 2000 sq miles. Depending on the size of the Dragon this area of Fantasionia will usually support a minimum of three high level Wizards/Mages and a maximum of one quarter of a Dark Lord.

Dark Lords require more Magic/k to function than other things, what with all that mass evil and floating around as a black cloud etc. and would certainly require multiple Dragon territories.

How much Magic/k do the users...use?
To answer this question we need a scale of energy.

It makes sense to start at the base unit of Magic/k, the Abra(TM). For smaller feats, say sleight of hand (the money disappearing from your wallet or your watch seeming to survive a blow from a 9lb hammer), a single Abra(TM) is the average currency.

However for Bob the Magical Magician to produce a live rabbit from an empty hat requires several thousand Abra(TM), or one Kadabra(TM), as well as a certain minimum size of hat.

For high level Magic/k or sorcery (the translocation of living beings, summoning unearthly fire, low level demon conjuring and transformation of Billy into a toad), several million Abra(TM) would be required, or several thousand Kadabra(TM): a Giga Kadabra(TM).

The activities of a Dark Lord would require a vastly larger quantity of Magic: The Kazam(TM).

For the rare occasions they turn up, high level Demons and Demi-Gods require tens of Kazam(TM)'s to transition onto the mortal plane.

So, now we have a scale to measure the output of a Dragon and determine user requirements. We now need to know the output per horse/virgin wench devoured.

Okay, fine, but why does a Dragon need to eat virgins/maidens? Why not Billy the boy-toad?

The established method for Dragon-keeping-awaying is the sacrifice of a virgin girl/young woman/wench who is pure of heart, randomly chosen or maliciously selected and (if at all possible) important to a Hero. At least two of these conditions must be met in order to placate the local evil Dragon and prevent burny death.

Male virgins fail to attract Heroes of any gender, on a romantic or platonic basis, and thus cannot fulfil the last condition. Also, Dragons are just sexist and prefer long-haired maidens in white dresses, crying and screaming if at all possible. Something to do with the shoulder-to-waist ratio we are told.

Innocence is generally regarded as being beyond price, so we can assume the Innocence of one rural virgin to be around 2000-3000 Blushes(TM), which translate to about 859-1256 Kadabra(TM). Purity of Heart is slightly more useful (while Innocence ensures a clueless victim, the virgin scoring highly for Purity of Heart knows that the Dragon wants to eat her, but trusts that such evil cannot triumph, thus ensuring maximum atrocity) and weighs in at 500 Intentions(TM), which corresponds to roughly 3584 Kadabra(TM).

Importance to a Hero is the key factor however and can be worth 90,000-150,000 Poignants(TM), translating to 50-90 Giga Kadabra(TM), enough to power one Dark Lord for six months.

Err... right. So how many virgins?

Conversion losses within the Dragon are minimal (IT'S MAGIC!!!) so we can safely assume the full potential of the sacrifice to be released.

So assuming a unimportant virgin, not particularly pure of heart, a single sacrifice has the potential to enable an average Dragon to put out 40 Giga Kadabra(TM).

Realistically then, assuming that magical towers, lay-lines and stone circles work as capacitors, powerlines and regional distribution hubs, probably half of this quantity can be stored.

Given the high intensity with which Magic/k is used in Fantasonia this would last about a month. So we can safely assume that twelve sacrifices are required each year in order to prevent a Dragon from failing to output the needed magic/k and burning the bollocks off of the local countryside, reducing it to a smoking ruin.

So, over the course of a year the average dragon will put out a minimum of 6 Kazam(TM) or 480 Giga Kadabra(TM). This fuels the Magic/k consumption in their territory enabling the various Dark Lords (whose territory probably covers four or five Dragon territories), Mages, Unicorns, Wizards, Elves and my missus to levitate/summon demons/buy shoes.

Obviously the average Dark Lord will have a very large capacitor (Doom Fortress(TM)) with which to store the bulk of the Magic/k output of the local Dragon-reactors over the course of several years. Thus Magic/k harvesting can be considered a giant game of Risk with added fire and capes. The bigger the destruction planned the more Magic/k required and larger the drain on the output of local Dragons.

But Dragons aren't generally welcomed as valued members of the local community, except by Dark Lords obviously. What happens if too many Dragons are quested to death? 

Due to the obviously vital role which Dragons play in Fantasonia their slaughter is a closely monitored thing and can be likened to the emergency shut down of a faulty Nuclear reactor. In order for the system to work and continue to function there needs to be a constant supply of young Dragons reaching maturity at approximately the same rate as the elder and seriously cranky Dragons are being put down. These replacement Dragons also need to be scattered in such a way that no single territory suffers a dip in output for more than two weeks. This being the longest that the natural and man/elf/god-made capacitors could supply the Magic/k demands of the given territory. 

The short answer to the above question is that everything grinds to a halt and people have to actually work to effect anything in the world rather than getting the passing hedge-wizard to meddle with the fundamental nature of reality in order to boil the kettle twenty seconds quicker. 

Alright, smart arse, how do Dragons not get quested to death too quickly then?

In order to understand this we need to know how long the average Dragon lives for.

Given an active phase of about 7-10 days per 30 day lunar (ish) month with the remaining 20 odd days spent in hibernation on their hoard of gold (which also has some Magic/k filtering properties) and using intellect as a rough marker for the length of existence, we can determine that, despite various personality flaws, Dragons are in fact clever bastards. Much more so than the average Wizard. And as such they will live longer than a Wizard.

Now given that it is a known fact that Wizards can/do live an average of 10-15 times longer than the normal slopmonging peasant we can safely assume that the average Dragon, left unmolested, will survive for some 6000 years.

However, given the proliferation of Dragon Slayers (1 in 15 Heroes tend to be Dragon Slayers and Heroes make up 10% of the average idiot population) we must assume that most of the slain Dragons are in fact juvenile, contribute little to the overall output and are indeed the menace that they are assumed to be. 

That, or after twenty years a Dragon will become bored of being used as a vital part of the machinery of life and decides to go out in a literal blaze of glory with as many bits of people stuffed into its face as possible.

This quite possibly being the case a Dragon hatchling would require a very rapid gestation and maturation period. Probably about a week. 

The life-cycle would be aided by the stored Magic/k in the local vicinity which would help to accelerate the process.

I think you're making this up as you go?

Bugger off.

So if the Dark Lords effectively rely on Dragons to fuel their evil powers, why don't the Dark Lords farm Dragons intensively for a greater Magic/k yield?

Firstly, by their very nature Dark Lords would be unable to cultivate large enough crops of sufficiently Pure, Innocent and Virginal young women to sustain a large Dragon population. Human social mechanics would necessitate a Quisling-like attitude in order to survive in the Dark Lord's citadel, thus negating most of the required attributes of a sacrifice.

Secondly, Dragons are big, nasty, egotistic and narcissistic (even the good Dragons tend toward these traits in most cases). They have large territories for a good reason. Two Dragons meeting do one of two things, mate, or fight (though it can be quite difficult to tell the difference). Either way the landscape for a good few miles on every side tends to get flattened, charred and gouged to buggery. No self-respecting Dark Lord would allow their territory or their armies to be thus rampaged over by anything but themselves and so they have to rely on manipulating the Magic/k capacitors, forming links to their lairs and carefully hoarding what is produced.

Well, I'm convinced. These posts are very useful, full of solid scholarship and razor sharp logic. Certainly this will inform my next Fantasy retail purchase.

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So, there we have it. Magic/k Dragons and their place in the average Fantasy realm and a useful scale to measure Magic/k use and production.

Ten Dietrich Points and a pithy answer to whoever comes up with the best Dragon Farming idea. Post below.