[PnP] Dragon skinning blues...
bchoinski at comcast.net
Wed Mar 28 05:50:23 CEST 2007
101 ways to skin a dragon...
Well, the last session was an interesting one, and all sorts of plot
undercurrents are springing up. The players managed to get their 20-
Hunfrithi force to the hills west of Caldo without human detection.
They left 10 at the chosen site and headed back with the other 10 to
make a report to the elder.
On the trip out they been detected by something (they blew their
ambush chance, it made it). It followed and monitored trhem until
they left the Caldan area.
When they arrived back, the players noticed an Elder dragon (Kototh)
flying high over head, sort of keeping pace with the group, but not
Silly players, they decide to taunt it in order to get it down to
where they can attack it. I have the main warrior character make
his case and make an influence chance ... 01! Holy crap -- you just
flippled off the dragon and now he's coming in.
Over the course of the battle the dragon pretty much flew at 100' or
so, huffing up a flame on the main tank. Now this character has a
very high MDV to begin with (character), plus he is immune to 5
levels of magic as a special (yea, it's gross, but these are our old
80's characters and we decided that if we reupped this once-a-month
game they would be doing big things).
As the battle went on, the tank was getting slowly burnt up. The elf
was doing his best with the bow and was getting the draggon nibbled
down (side note: this was the first time the new SIZE rules were
really felt and there was quite the heated discussion on it. see
below). The dragon was getting weaker, but since it refused to
grapple with an obvious combat monster the tank would be done before
it was. They gambled on another taunting to get the dragon close
whough for the law wizard to cast a spell -- killing light.
And they did it. That kototh dragon had the biggest look of suprise
on it's 3 heads.
Ok, now they have the dragon and they want to "loot the body". And
of course, with no rules in the books on this it comes to rule makeup
time. Comments are very welcome, especially since the next game is
this sunday (the 1st).
Okay, first off we figured this elder dragon was 30' or so. A lot of
that, obviously, is tail and neck. Nothing to go on for weight, so I
had to play with numbers.
An eagle scaled to 30' would weigh 12,000#.
A Komodo dragon scaled to 30' would weigh 10,000#
A nile crocodile scaled to 30' would be 3,300#
A salt water croc scled to 30' would be 5,500#.
Ok, splitting the difference from reptialian and large wingspan bird,
I come up with 7,500# or so. Looking at it again, and rounding
numbers for taste, we come to 8,800#. This means that dragons weigh
in at 100#/AHP.
This all assumes that dragon meat is even edible, much less Kotothi
dragons. Assuming it is, the obvious plan is to preserve what they
can of the "best" meat and sell it as a novelty. I presume they will
be using the wizard's preservation spell to keep it okay for now
(have to investigate spell limits).
presumably we are talking top-grade cooks for this. it looks like
EL20 is about fair for your normal trained cook, with EL40 for a "x2"
cook. Assuming the meat is nothing special I suppose that EL40 is
sufficuent to cook it given the instructions on preparation, but
presumably requires character-class cooks to actually figure out
those instructions of how to cook, season, or otherwise make it
edible. I guess we can figure on losing at least some of the meat in
Looking into it online, it looks like herbivores come in with a wide
range of "meat ratios" , but fumbling the numbers a bit and rounding
for ease of use it looks like wild herbivores come in at 25% weight
for meat and domestic herbivores at 50% weight. The remainder is
waste and non-meat products (bone, blood, intestines. (Domestic is
higher since it is raised for meat).
From Wik: "Beef is first divided into primal cuts. These are basic
sections from which steaks and other subdivisions are cut.When
looking at a diagrams such as the ones below, note that the closer to
the middle back, the more tender the meat is. Since the animal's legs
and neck muscles do the most work, they are the toughest; the meat
becomes progressively more tender as distance from "hoof and horn"
One would assume that would normally apply to other animals, but
dragons have a big honking set of wings that impact the area where
the sirloin would be. I guess by this rule of thumb, the tail meat
is what ends up being the tenderest, with the rest being relatively
tough. Also, I figure that as a flying beast at least hal it's
weight will be in the huge wings, and there will be hardly anything
usable in that, so cut all yields in half.
With beef, "the good cuts" (Sirloin) end up being 10% of the meat
weight. About another 20% are "fair" cuts (roasts and chuck). The
rest is stew meat or burger.
So this 8800# dragon will render 1,100# of meat, of which 110# are
the tenderest cuts and another 220# are decent steaks and roasts.
Preservation does not indicate a quantity limit -- Give the base time
I assume the original intent was a man-day of food (3FP, or 3#) that
could be preserved for travel. To keep it simple, I suppose we can
figure the effect is a combined value -- at EL4 we have an effect of
32 -- this is one man-day of food preserved untouched for 32 days, or
32 man-days of food left safe and unspoiled for 1 day (even if it's
full of mayo :) or any range in between. Presumably the caster can
refresh the spell each day, so if need be he can spend it all on
quantity, but the time is never less that a full day.
The tank character is an armorer, so he wants the hide to make
leather armor from. An elder dragon's AV is 6, but this is on a 30'
beast (of which we can figure that about HALF that is body). The
question becomes one of "how much of this AV is due to thickness, and
how much is due to properties?
As a flying creature, weight does become a premium, so a good portion
of the AV is due to properties of the hide. many of the larger
reptiles that are ground based seem to hit around AV2, so I can feal
comfortable with have a base of 2 for larger creature (increased for
size, decreased for flight). If we consider dragon hide to be
scaled, an actual dragon's hide is a lot like scale mail or lamilar
-- AV2 in raw hide, with AV4 in overlapping plates.
Your average modern cow can be peeled for about 50 square feet of
hide. This is presumably fairly thin and needs to be doubled up when
making leather armor (to get AV1). When a cow is layed out it's
pretty much a squarish rectangle, but a dragon would be more drawn
out. Given a main body size of 15', we can probably look at about
25' (body plus some usable tail and necks) by 6', or about 150 square
feet of hide and scale (about triple that of a modern cow, or five
times that of a medieval cow). It takes about a week to prepare raw
skin into leather, though a process of soaking, scraping, tanning
(often using the brains of the creature as a part of the tanning mix)
and smoking. Presumably the dragon hide will need a bit more work.
I think a good guess is that it will take at least four times as long
(twice as long for the size and efort to soak and scrape, and twice
as long for the smoke time to cure it). In addition, one will be
going somewhat slower so as to not losen the scales before the hide
is fully cured, so ut the time by another 2 factor to SIX times as
long. My cost estimates have it at 1SC to cure a cow hide into
leather. A dragon hide will presumably require more expensive (and
probably caustic) materials, so I would have it be at least 1GC in
materials as a minimum for the hide alone. Presumably the scale
would need even more treatment so that they would not loosen from the
hide, so I would up the material cost by 4GC more for the scales for
a minimum total of 5GC.
Ok, so how much leather is needed? About 4# of leather go into
leather armor (by the books) which is about 8 square feet of 8oz
leather (8oz per square foot). Cow hide is easily thich enough for
this, but we obviously have to thicken it up by doubling over when
you make armor. Call it 15 square feet of cowhide for leather armor.
If we go by the same rule of thumb, the underlying hide of the dragon
is normally AV1 right off the bat and thick enough to not need
doubling (and in fact cannot be so, since we havethe scales on the
outside). The scales themselves only provide AV3 since they are
stiffer and don't provide the coverage they did on a live dragon.
Accounting for waste, call it 10 square feet of hide for AV4
dragonscale leather, with a weight of 10# for the hide alone. Assume
the scales are tough and thin, but with an equal weight, so this
dragonscale armor would weigh 20#.
Given all that wonderful dragon leather, how long will it take to
form? The underlying hide will take at least twice as long to cut
and sew. The armorer is not actually cutting the scales (hard as
plate and cannot be hammered or shaped like for metal armors) but
instead cutting out the leather underneath to form the peice, which
is then sewn together much like normal leather armor.
In my armorer rules I tried to figure out appropriate times to make
armor based on the sale price and material cost. If an armorer makes
2GC per month then obviously that is the sale price of all his armors
after taking into account materail cost. By my figuring, leather
armor takes a tad less than a day to make (1SC, with a material cost
of 4CC. Labor value is 6CC. 200CC/30 days is 6.667CC per day).
using the same concept and a few assumptions, we can generate the
numbers we need.
Assuming a final price of 40GC, and materials value 200x that of
leather (for comparison, steel has a value of 10x that of leather), I
jiggered the material% until the numbers lined up. It works out to
240 days of work to account the armorer's labor costs in order to
justify the 40GC of sale price. Now this is a special item, so I'm
tweaking the umbers a tad. One, any armorer who can do this is
obviouly skilled enough to justify a greater rate. If we figure a
rate of 5GC/month, that would assume labor is actually 100 days. But
that still seems awfully long just for cut and sew (essentially)
thick leather. I'm willing to cut the time by a third (round to 30
days, or one month) to call it a "luxury" peice...any armorer who has
the chance to make it can make one and then relax the next 60 days.
That's enough for this tome. The other items of Question are TEETH
and BONES. Any suggestions there?
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