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Old 11-29-2020, 06:12 PM   #1
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Dragon guano

I've a player who's keen on guns and I'm bound to make a gunpowder shortage soon, just so he has to go find a dragon.

But some of you have said guns come up regularly in your games, so I'm hoping you can give me some ideas for how much usable guano one can find around a dragon. Obviously (and don't quote me on this), size matters.

And just as obviously, finding and hauling are two different things.

I'm also puzzled about how fastidious dragons are. I guess they're like housecats and pick a small cavern to do their bidness. "Fire in the Temple" suggests that useful dung must be fresh (within three days of deposit). It gives an amount that's available, but it's obviously unclear whether that's a day's deposit or more or less.

I thought my most pleasant option was to ask here. My other option is to google how much feces a human or elephant (or komodo dragon?) produces and extrapolate, but I really am not keen on putting that in my search history. It's not an entirely trivial question, since dragon dung is $40/oz (ITL 146) so any clever adventurer will be keen to collect it.
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Old 11-29-2020, 07:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Dragon guano

I realize it contradicts canon, but I prefer that dragons aren't the primary source for gunpowder on Cidri. If you follow that premise to it's logical conclusion, you end up with kingdoms building dragon farms in order to support large standing armies with rifles and other explosive weapons.
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Old 11-29-2020, 08:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Dragon guano

The dragon dung amounts are listed at ITL 80. (Apparently the same amount from one and 14 hex sizes?)

Have a visitor from Earth tell the local chemist to combine cotton and nitric acid.
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Last edited by hcobb; 11-29-2020 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 11-29-2020, 09:16 PM   #4
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Dragon guano

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
The dragon dung amounts are listed at ITL 80. (Apparently the same amount from one and 14 hex sizes?)

Have a visitor from Earth tell the local chemist to combine cotton and nitric acid.
Thanks, Henry! I should've looked there.
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Old 11-29-2020, 09:57 PM   #5
David Johansen
 
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Default Re: Dragon guano

Thinking about literary precedents:

Lawrence Watt Evans novel Dragons Blood deals with government dragon farms that harvest dragon's blood for use in spells.

In Joel Rosenberg's The Sleeping Dragon, the city of Pathandaway uses a chained dragon to destroy garbage. While the engineers of Home produced gunpowder they don't seem to have experimented with dragon dung, even thought they had a ready supply of the stuff.
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Old 11-29-2020, 10:30 PM   #6
Axly Suregrip
 
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Default Re: Dragon guano

Of course there are other sources of sulfur. Volcanic area are often the location of sulfur mines.

If a dragon is protective of its dung due to the threat of gunpowder weapons, then you should expect every volcano to have a dragon or dragon living there.

Then again dragons in TFT are not immune to fire and their treasures certainly are not. So maybe mining sulfur would be free of dragons.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: Dragon guano

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Originally Posted by TippetsTX View Post
I realize it contradicts canon, but I prefer that dragons aren't the primary source for gunpowder on Cidri. If you follow that premise to it's logical conclusion, you end up with kingdoms building dragon farms in order to support large standing armies with rifles and other explosive weapons.
Well, there might be a catch to that. Per ITL pg 80:

"A dragon may run away if defeated, but will often fight to the death instead, and will never surrender. A dragon cannot be enslaved and will not act as a servant or a beast of burden. To a dragon, most men are beneath notice – except possibly as food."

It'd be very hard to "farm" an intelligent creature with such an ego and sense of pride. Frankly, I think a dragon would let itself starve to death rather than be used in such a way. Magic won't even work, since there is no control spell for dragons.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Dragon guano

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Have a visitor from Earth tell the local chemist to combine cotton and nitric acid.
In a world where magic works, I'd say there's a good chance chemistry doesn't always work the same as it does on Earth. So it might not be possible to create gunpowder any other way than from dragon's dung. I know it's not in my game.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dragon guano

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Originally Posted by Oneiros View Post
It'd be very hard to "farm" an intelligent creature with such an ego and sense of pride. Frankly, I think a dragon would let itself starve to death rather than be used in such a way. Magic won't even work, since there is no control spell for dragons.
Just grab 'em young and breed them in captivity. And who's to say that some clever wizard can't invent a high-IQ spell to control dragons?

Personally, I prefer a model similar to that from our own history when only the Chinese knew the secret of gunpowder... only in my campaign, it is the dwarves.
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Old 11-30-2020, 06:49 PM   #10
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Dragon guano

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oneiros View Post
Well, there might be a catch to that. Per ITL pg 80:

"A dragon may run away if defeated, but will often fight to the death instead, and will never surrender. A dragon cannot be enslaved and will not act as a servant or a beast of burden. To a dragon, most men are beneath notice – except possibly as food."

It'd be very hard to "farm" an intelligent creature with such an ego and sense of pride. Frankly, I think a dragon would let itself starve to death rather than be used in such a way. Magic won't even work, since there is no control spell for dragons.
There's an relevant adventure involving some of the issues discussed here. I'll spoil-tag it so that I don't give away the plot.

Spoiler:  


I've not played it, but it looks pretty good.
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