The following is a growth chart for New Landing's dragons. Because everyone has a different vision of just how dragons are shaped, we've listed their height at the withers, or where the neck joins the shoulders (where the rider sits) to give the most flexibility in interpretations.
|Month||Ave.Size at ‘shoulder’ |
(base of neck at withers –
where a rider would sit)
|Relative height at withers to 6’ human|
|1||Hatching: 6-8” at shoulder, |
2.5 feet nose to tailtip
End of month: double in size to 12-16”
|2 ||End of month: doubled to 24” (2 feet) ||Lower thigh|
|3 ||End of month: 30” ||Mid-thigh|
|4 ||End of month: 36” (3 feet) ||Groin|
|5 ||Growth slows; end of month: 40” ||Hip|
|6 ||End of month: 44” ||Between navel and ribs|
|7 ||End of month: 48” (4 feet) ||Solar plexus|
|8 ||End of month: 51” ||Lower chest|
|9 ||End of month: 54” ||Mid-chest|
|10 ||End of month: 57” ||Collarbone|
|11 ||End of month: 60” (5 feet; 15 hands) ||Mid-neck|
|12 ||End of month: 63” ||Chin|
|13 ||End of month: 66” ||Nose|
|14 ||End of month: 69” ||Mid-forehead|
|15 ||End of month: 72” |
(6 feet, average adult size with
some *minor* variation)
|Top of head on 6’ human|
There isn't much of a length difference between colors at this point. A longer green may over-lap a shorter bronze, although the queens tend to have a few more inches overall on the other dragons. The majority of the difference is in the build. Browns, bronzes, and golds tend to have a bulkier, sturdier frame while blues and greens tend to be lithe and thin. Just how long do the dragons get? Depending on whether your version of dragons are more ornithopod or serpentine in shape, or something in between, your idea of New Landing's dragons may be anywhere between 20 feet and 50 feet.
The next question that comes up is: When can the dragons safely be ridden? A horse webpage gives us an idea of all that goes into judging when a horse, one of our closest Terran frames of reference, is fit to be ridden:
“Although some breeds and types of horses are, in general, better weight-carriers than others, it's difficult to assign "weight classes" to trail/lesson horses, for several reasons.
One is that the conformation, condition, and soundness of the individual horse are all very important factors: two horses of identical height and weight might have vastly different builds and weight-carrying abilities. Short, strong, and sturdy horses typically have greater weight-carrying ability than tall, narrow, lightly-built horses, but you need to look at each horse individually.
Another is that rider skill plays an important part - a 250-pound rider who is fit, agile, skilled, and considerate can be easier for a horse to carry than a rider who is 120 pounds, unfit, clumsy, unskilled, and inconsiderate.
Terrain is another factor - a horse that could carry a heavy rider around a flat field with good footing, at a walk, might find it impossible to carry the same rider up and down hills.
Gait is yet another factor - a horse that could carry a heavy rider around a flat field with good footing at a walk might find it difficult or impossible to carry that same rider in the same flat field at a trot or canter.
Tack matters, too! After all, it is the interface between the horse and rider. Saddles need to fit both the horse and the rider. If the saddle fits the horse perfectly, a rider for whom the saddle is too large will be unlikely to cause the horse any pain or damage, but a rider for whom the saddle is too SMALL will cause both, and in a very short time. A saddle can fit a horse well, causing it no pain or injury, until it is sat in (or upon) by a too-heavy and too-large rider; at that point, the rider's weight will be in the wrong area of the saddle, and will be causing portions of the saddle to create severe, physically damaging pressure on delicate areas of the horse's back.”
All of these factors, and some others, need to be considered with the dragons, who have the added variable of flight.
Soundness – has the dragon undergone ANY injury or strain, no matter how minor, so far? The slightest weakness could be disaster for an attempted ride. A body undergoing growth is just as fragile – you damage anything and it could end up developing improperly and staying that way FOREVER. This alone is a good reason to hold off riding until the dragons are very near, or at, their adult size. As Sean says in Dragonsdawn, “You don’t attempt to ride a foal, not even a good big one.”
Conformation – the sturdier, more heavyset browns, bronzes, and golds will be able to carry riders sooner and more safely than the lightweight, lean, narrow blues and greens. Rider size – small, lightweight people will be able to ride their dragons, of any colour, sooner than overweight, muscular, tall individuals, and soonest if their dragon in one of the burlier colours. Dropping from a ledge will be a lot easier and doable sooner than jumping off from the ground.
Tack, as the article describes for horses, would be even more crucial for dragons, because that’s their NECK that’s being sat on; ill-fitting gear could cripple them and/or their rider. The partner’s skill in horseback riding may have some effect, too, but could become a hindrance because riding dragons is entirely different.
At New Landing, when the dragons reach the 15 hand mark, when a horse generally is large enough to be ridden, many people will push to try riding the dragons. However, a dragon is not ridden like a horse so it can be dangerous to attempt riding them this soon. Riders sit on the back of a horse, which is the sturdiest part of the animal. Dragon partners, however, sit on the dragon's neck, which is a much more delicate part of the body that is forward of the dragon's point of balance. No matter how strong the dragon's neck muscles are, there’s a real danger of severely straining, tearing, or even breaking the neck should it get enough of a jolt in the wrong place at the wrong time – which wouldn’t be too hard for a rider weighing anywhere up to a couple of hundred pounds to deliver.
Waiting to the one year mark to ride the dragons gives them an additional six inches (remember, the Pernese calendar has 13 months) which translates into several feet in length. If you'd like your character to try riding their dragon before the one year mark, please talk to the BoD first so we can discuss the possibility and, if the plotline is feasible, agree on the in character consequences.
Thank you everyone for all your input that helped us put this page together!
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