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Bulhakov
2013-05-28, 05:58 AM
To better picture the difficulty of a dragon fight, I had my players run a scaled simulation thought exercise - they were to imagine they were mice (magical mice, with intelligence, medieval weapons and limited mouse-scale magic) and they were trying to take down a fully armored human equipped with a flame thrower and jetpack (all the equipment was never taken off and could not be sabotaged).

I'm curious to see what creative solutions the community comes up with to the same scenario and if you think it's a good simulation of a big-bad-evil-dragon fight.

Silverbit
2013-05-28, 06:13 AM
That's quite an accurate simulation. My fist idea is to attempt to get inside the human's armour and attack them from within. Actually doing that while the aforementioned human flies around, however, could be difficult. How about poisoned arrows or other projectiles, aimed at weak points like exposed skin, eyes etc? Either that, or waiting until they slept and getting inside the armour as above.

Eldan
2013-05-28, 06:40 AM
Play to your own Advantages? Find a space you can get into, but the human can't.

TheStranger
2013-05-28, 07:47 AM
Go for the eyes, Boo!

Yeah, the scale on that seems about right. Assuming mouse-sized weapons get you at least two or three inches of penetration, killing a human should be possible, though. Basically, you go for weak points where tendons/arteries/organs are close to the surface.

D&D really does a horrible job of simulating this kind of size mismatch, though. For instance, arrows or bludgeoning weapons should be all but useless in this situation, and there are a limited number of body parts that the mice could do meaningful damage to.

So to answer your original question, your thought exercise is an excellent simulation of what a dragon fight might be in the abstract (with the exception of getting inside the armor), but it's not particularly relevant to how a dragon fight plays out in-game.

It sounds like you want to make your players understand the scope of what they're trying to do by fighting a dragon, but the rules just don't support that. Paradoxically, this thought exercise could actually lessen immersion in your next dragon fight, because your players will be that much more aware of how silly it is. (I don't recommend trying to houserule your way around the problem, either - there's no end to how far that rabbit hole goes.)

Saph
2013-05-28, 07:58 AM
Go for the eyes, Boo!

I was just thinking that. :smallbiggrin:

You'd want to lure the human into cramped quarters somewhere he couldn't use the jetpack and would have trouble turning around without bumping into things. That would negate the flight advantage and make it more possible for the mice to get close enough to hit vital spots.

It'd be a fight where you'd have to both outsmart and outfight the target. Even then, you'd expect to take heavy casualties losing 50% of your guys would probably be the good result.

Bulhakov
2013-05-28, 08:34 AM
Just a clarification, this isn't for a D&D game, but an Earthdawn game (though played with minimum dice rolls).

caden_varn
2013-05-28, 08:50 AM
I suggest hiding in the human's boot. Then, when the human finds you are there and tries to extract you humanely and put you back in the garden, bite him hard on the finger.

Of course, this will mean being summarily shaken out of the boot and left to the not-so-tender mercy of the cats that chased you into the boot in the first place, but that's what you get for biting me, I mean the hypothetical human.

Mr. Mask
2013-05-28, 09:11 AM
Why is everyone saying this is a good comparison? Humans can't run up and down a dragon with ease, like a mouse could--and you certainly couldn't get in a dragon's armour.

TheStranger
2013-05-28, 09:17 AM
Just a clarification, this isn't for a D&D game, but an Earthdawn game (though played with minimum dice rolls).

Ok, I don't know the first thing about Earthdawn. But the other posters have highlighted some of the best ideas.

- Limit the human's ability to escape. Easier said than done, since the human can just walk off with the whole party clinging to him. Maybe some type of net trap? If the human chooses the battleground, this could be almost impossible.
- Cast protection from fire, or invest heavily in asbestos clothing.
- Make the size discrepancy work for you. Snipe from places the human can't reach, or trap the human in a too-small area where he can't fight effectively (under the kitchen table, for instance.) Also easier said than done.
- Go for weak points/vulnerable organs (the Bard of Laketown method)
- Get some flight magic of your own. Not only does it help with reaching the eyes, it will come in handy when you inevitably get grabbed and thrown across the room.
- Attack from multiple directions. One of your few advantages is that the human can only effectively focus on one mouse at a time. You might use summons to get even more numbers.
- Poison the human's food (preferably his cheese, for maximum poetic justice).

Mr. Mask
2013-05-28, 09:23 AM
If you can lure the human, lure them to a beehive. Their armour might stop mice from getting in, but it's unlikely to stop bees.

Sneak around and wait till the human has taken their armour off, to treat their bee stings. Then, attack him with as many mice as possible. Even a small number of committed mice can be deadly.

Eldan
2013-05-28, 10:40 AM
There's also another method:

Bribe another human.

Or anonymously call human law enforcement and tell them there's a lunatic with a flamethrower and jetpack on the loose.

OverdrivePrime
2013-05-28, 11:38 AM
The human breathes. Mess with his lungs through various mean inhalants (or just bloody his nose and mouth until he's forced to withdraw.

The human hears. Turn sound against him. The better his hearing, the better you can use auditory clues to scramble his perception and disorient him.

The human sees. Overwhelm his sight with dazzling images, or just flat-out blind him. (The aforementioned advice to Boo... but with a harpoon or ballista bolt.)

The human eats. Poison him.

The human needs sleep. Deny it to him, and wait for him to make mistakes.

The human feels. Mess with his emotions, and turn him against the ones he needs most. (In the current example, this is most easily accomplished through Facebook.)

The human... evacuates waste. Let's just leave that one alone for now.

Aside from sleep and emotion, all of these examples include a physical way in and a weak spot... either for poison, disease, or a weapon. Due to the scale difference, mouse-sized bludgeons won't do anything against his plate armor (nor bare flesh, really). Piercing and slashing weapons will only work against exposed weak points (mouth, eyes, ears, armor joints), and will need to be sufficiently sharp enough and long enough to actually inflict damage to the beast's internals, or clip a major blood vessel nerve.

The parallel breaks down where the mice have easy access to poisons and diseases that the human is extremely vulnerable to. A dragon's vaunted constitution will casually ignore all but the most rare and virulent poisons and diseases that a human opponent can lay hands on.

Traab
2013-05-28, 12:05 PM
You dont even have to include the armor in this. A mouse wouldnt have the strength to just flat out stab a human in a lethal manner. At best some minor flesh wounds. Hmm, I would have a set of decoy mice with a number of effective escape techniques handy. Play a modified whack a mole game to distract and enrage the human while the bruisers in my party sneak up on the human from out of sight. Next step is to try and climb him going for ankles, knees, shoulders, then neck. Cut down the achilles tendon to cause horrible pain and greatly limit mobility. Take out the knees so he goes down to the ground. Take out the triceps and deltoids and partially cripple his arms, then go for the gusher veins in the neck for the kill. Once he falls to the ground, swarm him so he doesnt have time to fend you all off as you move in for the kill. The jetpack can be negated by fighting him indoors. Put him in enough pain and even hovering will be more than he can manage to do.

Zahhak
2013-05-28, 12:06 PM
Crawl inside its mouth and start launching magic attacks down its throat.

Amaril
2013-05-28, 12:27 PM
Ever played Shadow of the Colossus?

Me neither, but I gather it would be something like that.

Mr. Mask
2013-05-28, 12:38 PM
Ever played Shadow of the Colossus?

Me neither, but I gather it would be something like that. The Colossus were pretty slow, and couldn't really grab at you because it would risk injuring themselves. While mice are a lot faster than humans in some way,s humans hands are quick enough that you plausibly could smack a mouse off you.


You dont even have to include the armor in this. A mouse wouldnt have the strength to just flat out stab a human in a lethal manner. At best some minor flesh wounds. Hmm, I would have a set of decoy mice with a number of effective escape techniques handy. Play a modified whack a mole game to distract and enrage the human while the bruisers in my party sneak up on the human from out of sight. Next step is to try and climb him going for ankles, knees, shoulders, then neck. Cut down the achilles tendon to cause horrible pain and greatly limit mobility. Take out the knees so he goes down to the ground. Take out the triceps and deltoids and partially cripple his arms, then go for the gusher veins in the neck for the kill. Once he falls to the ground, swarm him so he doesnt have time to fend you all off as you move in for the kill. The jetpack can be negated by fighting him indoors. Put him in enough pain and even hovering will be more than he can manage to do. Don't need to stab them lethally. Get a razor, and just cut across the skin. Do that a few time,s and those nasty scratches will build up into the thread of bleeding out. If they get busy trying to stop their bleeding, then yo ucan murder them.

Andrewmoreton
2013-05-28, 01:06 PM
Just a clarification, this isn't for a D&D game, but an Earthdawn game (though played with minimum dice rolls).
Then I suggest praying it is not a great dragon and then if it is committing suicide to save time :smalleek:
You neglected the bit where the human can mess with your destiny, and cast an immense range of magic

Jay R
2013-05-28, 03:32 PM
Crawl inside its mouth and start launching magic attacks down its throat.

Of course, in this extended metaphor, that's the equivalent of jumping into the nozzle of the flame thrower.

Zahhak
2013-05-28, 03:41 PM
Crawling into the mouth of a flame thrower, and casting icewall.

warty goblin
2013-05-28, 04:33 PM
Yeah, the scale on that seems about right. Assuming mouse-sized weapons get you at least two or three inches of penetration, killing a human should be possible, though. Basically, you go for weak points where tendons/arteries/organs are close to the surface.

Most mice are about three inches long, excluding tail. There's no way they have the raw strength to jab something three inches into a person; certainly not something broad enough to make a threatening wound.

Really, I think the only choice lies in the creative use of some of nature's more extreme poisons. The kind where minuscule doses are still rapidly lethal. Although how a mouse can go about harvesting blue-ringed octopus venom remains another mystery.

The other way 'round this problem is to simply use smaller dragons. If you look at a lot of medieval illustrations of said, the dragons are certainly bigger than a person, but not hundreds of times so. A skilled warrior killing an armored fire-breathing lizard the size of a big horse is just this side of believable. Not so much when the thing's the size of a multi-story building.

TuggyNE
2013-05-28, 06:58 PM
Really, I think the only choice lies in the creative use of some of nature's more extreme poisons. The kind where minuscule doses are still rapidly lethal. Although how a mouse can go about harvesting blue-ringed octopus venom remains another mystery.

MAGIC. :smallwink:

Also, creative reinterpretation of sea rats and other more water-savvy rodents.

Ozfer
2013-05-28, 07:05 PM
Yea... I hate to be a stick in the mud, but this isn't really a great comparison. First of all, the size ratios, IMO, are totally off. A mouse is like 1/6 the size of a humans head, whereas a typical dragons head is about the size of a human. Additionally, humans don't tend to hang out in small caves that constrict their movement.

Of course, this isn't to downplay the fact that you are right, killing a dragon can be rather ridiculous if done wrong.

Geordnet
2013-05-28, 09:36 PM
Really, I think the only choice lies in the creative use of some of nature's more extreme poisons. The kind where minuscule doses are still rapidly lethal. Although how a mouse can go about harvesting blue-ringed octopus venom remains another mystery.
Wrangle some Black Widows. :smallamused:


...Dang. I just got a mental image of a party of medieval mice fighting one of those goliath bird-eater spiders. :smalleek:

It was awesome. :smallbiggrin:

TuggyNE
2013-05-28, 09:54 PM
Wrangle some Black Widows. :smallamused:

Wait, you get octopus venom from black widows? :smalleek: Clearly I've been doing it wrong all this time.

warty goblin
2013-05-28, 10:12 PM
Wrangle some Black Widows. :smallamused:


Optimally you'd want a poison that incapacitates its victim quite rapidly, so as the wielder has a chance to get away. Black Widow venom apparently doesn't drop a person all that fast. Blue-Ringed Octopus venom can be lethal within minutes.

Geordnet
2013-05-28, 10:17 PM
Optimally you'd want a poison that incapacitates its victim quite rapidly, so as the wielder has a chance to get away. Black Widow venom apparently doesn't drop a person all that fast. Blue-Ringed Octopus venom can be lethal within minutes.
It's certainly much easier to acquire, though. :smalltongue:


Going with my previous thought, those mice are now mounted on goliath bird-eaters. How would that factor into things? :smallcool:

TuggyNE
2013-05-28, 10:56 PM
Going with my previous thought, those mice are now mounted on goliath bird-eaters. How would that factor into things? :smallcool:

If they're lucky, they can pull off Frightful Presence in reverse.

If they're not lucky, the human just scorches the mounts as easily as the rats and doesn't care about spiders much.

Geordnet
2013-05-28, 11:47 PM
Hm... This reminds me of Terry Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. Those were rats, but the principle remains the same...

It involves biting into the mans... Vulnerables. :smalleek:

Jay R
2013-05-29, 01:13 PM
Getting back to the point of the exercise: I really like the though experiment. It's not to get people to really plan to take down a human as mice, but to make clear what the different scales of power are between people and dragons.

Blightedmarsh
2013-05-30, 11:04 PM
Use the humans pistol as some kind of siege weapon.

When it comes to dragons (and really big giants) you can't go far wrong with starting with cannons.

Slipperychicken
2013-05-30, 11:16 PM
Get to level 18 by grinding other mice, rats, cats, foxes, dogs, eagles, human children, and other threats. Use unlocked potential to beat the snot out of the human.

Use magic to fly up to the fuel supply and explode it.

Salbazier
2013-05-31, 10:10 AM
Shingeki no Kyojin comes to my mind. Its a manga about humans fighting giants using ...eh, basically swinging ala spiderman only with cables instead of web. Would not work so well here since the oppoenent, though.




The human... evacuates waste. Let's just leave that one alone for now.



Eh, planting bombs in the toilet works. IIRC people made biological weapons that way in the ancient days (making bombs containing human waste I mean, not blowing up toilets). It would also serve as a form of psychological warfare.


Wrangle some Black Widows. :smallamused:


...Dang. I just got a mental image of a party of medieval mice fighting one of those goliath bird-eater spiders. :smalleek:

It was awesome. :smallbiggrin:

... I now want to play an game starring mice adventurers. This also reminds me that I need to finish Watership Down.

soveliss24
2013-05-31, 10:34 AM
... I now want to play an game starring mice adventurers. This also reminds me that I need to finish Watership Down.

Mouse Guard is pretty sweet. You might want to check it out :smallsmile:
http://www.mouseguard.net/books/role-playing-game/

supermonkeyjoe
2013-05-31, 11:05 AM
Shingeki no Kyojin comes to my mind. Its a manga about humans fighting giants using ...eh, basically swinging ala spiderman only with cables instead of web. Would not work so well here since the oppoenent, though.


I wouldn't say it works particularly well in the manga either.

I'd say the mices biggest priority is to ground the human, take the flight out of play and find a way to bring the human down to their level, trip him up and tie him down gullivers travels style.

Slipperychicken
2013-05-31, 11:40 AM
Mouse Guard is pretty sweet. You might want to check it out :smallsmile:
http://www.mouseguard.net/books/role-playing-game/

I own the sourcebook. It's mainly seems to be about trying to survive the wilderness, and overcoming one's natural cowardice to do great things... while also maintaining your humanity so you can interact with normal people.

Most wilderness creatures are rated by the number of mice it takes to defeat them. I recall a single bear is in the thousands. A blowtorch-wielding jetpack human (even though humans don't exist in the setting) I imagine would be somewhere in the tens or hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions.

JusticeZero
2013-05-31, 12:59 PM
Yea... I hate to be a stick in the mud, but this isn't really a great comparison. First of all, the size ratios, IMO, are totally off. A mouse is like 1/6 the size of a humans head, whereas a typical dragons head is about the size of a human.
Which makes it.. what? Closer to housecats trying to kill a human?
Because in disaster response class, we had someone trained in animal control, and they were pretty clear and vivid that in case of major natural disaster, if you open a door and there's one housecat or purse dog on the other side of the room, you quietly mark the door unsafe and go the other way. (I know this sounds like a D&D joke, but it was truth.)

warty goblin
2013-05-31, 02:05 PM
Which makes it.. what? Closer to housecats trying to kill a human?
Because in disaster response class, we had someone trained in animal control, and they were pretty clear and vivid that in case of major natural disaster, if you open a door and there's one housecat or purse dog on the other side of the room, you quietly mark the door unsafe and go the other way. (I know this sounds like a D&D joke, but it was truth.)

There's a wide variety of creatures I rate as 'potentially unsafe' - pretty much anything wild and not currently dead falls into this category. Many of them present no threat to my life, but can still cause painful and unfortunate injuries.

Zahhak
2013-05-31, 02:48 PM
Which makes it.. what? Closer to housecats trying to kill a human?

And on that note:

Average weight of a mouse: 25 grams (http://answers.ask.com/science/biology/how_much_does_a_mouse_weigh)
Average weight of a cat: 4 kilograms (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070527153145AAI96kn)
Average weight of a human: 82 Kilograms (http://answers.ask.com/health/other/how_much_does_the_average_person_weigh)
So, a mouse weighs about 1/1640 what a person does and a cat weighs about 1/20s what a person does.

There doesn't seem to be much in the way of weight listed on SRD or my copy of the MM or PHP. Instead I'm going to make some wild and largely unfounded assumptions by doing the following:


On page 131 of MM (3.0) there is a picture of different creatures by size category, with human at medium and a Great Wrym Red Dragon at Colossal.
From toe to head the human is 1 inch tall
From foot to head the dragon is 8.5 inches tall (note that I'm assuming dragons are sized the same as humans, rather than say a horse)
From this I conclude that a Dragon is 8.5 times the size of a human (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130405064636AAhv49y), or about 49'7", which fits with the face/reach list of 40'+
Now for the really wild guesses. The animal I found after a half-assed wikipedia search is the Sperm Whale (averaging up to 52') and weighing around 41,000 KG on average.

So, let's say the average Great Wrym Red Dragon is about 50' tall and weighs about 40,000 KG. That would have a human weighing about 1/500 what a GW Red Dragon weighs (with some rounding). So, basically, neither a cat or mouse is a good approximation, assuming my BS math works right. 1/500th what an average human weighs is 0.16 kilograms. So, a mid-sized naked mole rate. (http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/naked-mole-rat/)

Interestingly, a goliath bird eating spider weighs 70 grams (http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/goliath_bird_eating_spider.htm), so imagine an adventuring party of goliath bird eating spiders riding naked mole rats to slay humans. Have fun sleeping tonight!

Salbazier
2013-05-31, 03:47 PM
I wouldn't say it works particularly well in the manga either.


Well, they did manage to kill some Titans, at least the dumber ones. It just that their casualty rate are staggering. Anyway, I meant to say that it would be even worse since the opponent can fly (somehow forgot to type these two words earlier).


Mouse Guard is pretty sweet. You might want to check it out :smallsmile:
http://www.mouseguard.net/books/role-playing-game/

Yes, I seriously need to give it a check one of these days.




Interestingly, a goliath bird eating spider weighs 70 grams (http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/goliath_bird_eating_spider.htm), so imagine an adventuring party of goliath bird eating spiders riding naked mole rats to slay humans. Have fun sleeping tonight!

Sounds like a great idea for a campaign. :smallbiggrin:

Zahhak
2013-05-31, 04:41 PM
Sounds like a great idea for a campaign.

Or the worst Lovecraftian nightmares of all time. Or a hilariously disturbed photoshop job.

Bulhakov
2013-05-31, 04:52 PM
For the exercise I let the players picture they were about rat-sized, not field mouse-size, so about 250grams, even 500grams for very large specimens. This makes the 1/500th size estimate seem about right.

Interesting that my friends were mostly fixated on mechanical solutions, i.e. constructing or modifying mouse-operated weapons that could pierce the armor (e.g. guns, crossbows, spring knives or traps), then setting up an environment where they could use them reliably (tunnel/cave), or finding ways to get the human in his sleep.

Raimun
2013-05-31, 05:13 PM
I'd cast Shivering Touch. Twice, if the first one didn't do the trick.

... What? :smallcool:

Zahhak
2013-05-31, 06:41 PM
For the exercise I let the players picture they were about rat-sized, not field mouse-size, so about 250grams, even 500grams for very large specimens. This makes the 1/500th size estimate seem about right.

I check that. A rat weighs 250-500 grams (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_does_a_rat_weigh) like you said, which would be 125-250 kg, or about 275-550 lbs. How many people do you know weigh that much?


Interesting that my friends were mostly fixated on mechanical solutions, i.e. constructing or modifying mouse-operated weapons that could pierce the armor (e.g. guns, crossbows, spring knives or traps), then setting up an environment where they could use them reliably (tunnel/cave), or finding ways to get the human in his sleep.

The most effective solution would probably be to wait until they're asleep and launch your most powerful offensive magic you can get into the ear canal, throat, or eye. Preferably coordinated attacks into both ears and eyes so that if you don't insta-kill it, its still deaf and blind.

Salbazier
2013-05-31, 09:46 PM
Or the worst Lovecraftian nightmares of all time. Or a hilariously disturbed photoshop job.

If only I'm good with photoshop I would make that. I love those photoshopped spider pictures. :smalltongue: Put up some spider wardrummer as well for good measure.

Bulhakov
2013-06-01, 01:20 PM
I check that. A rat weighs 250-500 grams (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_does_a_rat_weigh) like you said, which would be 125-250 kg, or about 275-550 lbs. How many people do you know weigh that much?



I weight 115kg, add 15-20kg for the armor, 20-30kg for the flamethrower, you'll get 150-165kg. Half my friends from the medieval fighting reconstruction group are over 100kg (and in pretty good shape).

Zahhak
2013-06-01, 06:18 PM
I was talking only body mass. How many people do you know break 125kg, because I don't know one.

Wardog
2013-06-02, 04:58 PM
Get a mouse to climb on to the human.

When the human is flying with its jetpack, sabotage it (gnaw through the fuel line, etc). Human crashed (jetpack and flamethrower may also explode for extram damage. Mouse migh survive, if really really lucky).

Translation to dragon fight:

Human climbs onto the dragon. When dragon is flighing, human attacks dragon's wing (cuts a tendon, or damages the wing membrane). Dragon loses ability to fly and falls from a great height and injures itself when it crashes. (Depending on how far it fell, how well it can glide with one wing, how tough it is, and how heavy, this could range between "minor additional damage" to "splits open and explodes"). Surival probability of the human is probably worse than for the mouse in the comparable situation.

Asmayus
2013-06-03, 07:54 AM
The scale of a dragons breath weapon is way out of whack, actually; a flame thrower can have serious reach (especially of its spraying burning oil instead of just flames) compared to a dragon's breath weapon.

I'm seriously tempted to drop a utterly huge dragon on my party after reading this. A quest to slay the biggest dragon in existance, perhaps :D