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    Default How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    For the purposes of how many dragons there should potentially be in a world building project I'm working on... How much territory do dragons of the various age categories control? Like... a couple square miles for a Young? Entire regions for Ancient?

    I tried googling and digging through the forums a bit but was not able to find anything relevant. Has this been discussed somewhere already?

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Probably depends heavily on the environment - a low-life environment such as a desert (arctic or hot) is likely to have to be very large to support a dragon, a life-heavy environment such as a jungle may be much smaller.
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    I don't think you will find any sort of official answer in square feet or anything like that. You could just say a square mile per age category or something like that.

    On the fluff side, dragons claim whatever land they want, often vast areas. Some dragons claim small areas, and some much larger.

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Assume standard biome distribution. Mostly flatland/plains and forests, some marshes, a little arctic, a few mountain ranges strewn throughout. No major deserts in this world.

    Yeah, figured it'd be difficult to answer. Guess I should look up hunting grounds for major solo predators like tigers or t-rex and base it off that.
    Last edited by miinstrel; 2017-02-18 at 12:06 PM.

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    In a region rich enough to support it and other dragons or other large predators, I wouldn't imagine it would be more than a day's flight in radius; it'd be too hard for the dragon to adequately defend its territory. But a lot of places would require much larger amounts of territory to support a dragon.

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    I know I've seen a map somewhere outlining the territories of various dragons in the Forgotten realms...

    Ah! Here it is.



    D&D dragons don't need live prey to survive, remember they can quite happily make meals of ore and who knows whatever else. I'm not sure just how useful the map really is, but it and the article can help give you ideas for different ways to have dragons handle territories (if they claim and defend one at all, which some of them don't).

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    That said, going by 4e's Draconomicon, many chromatic dragon types hate inorganic materials even if they can live off them.
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    I don't deny that dragons can have preference for meat, it did seem like in the 3.5 draconomicon that the ones with a strongest preference for minerals and things were the coppers, and possibly blues. (maybe because they both tend to prefer deserts?)

    That's another interesting thing about that article for Faerun though, the first two dragons they discuss are white dragons, which are very prey driven creatures. A lot of emphasis is put on how they will allow certain things in their territories specifically because it gives them more prey options. (ignoring mining operations because once they are set up there will be lots of yummy draybeasts to eat for the time being). I'm not sure if the other dragons gone over also have their eating preferences discussed, but who says they must always hunt, when they can just terrorize a town into giving them livestock from time to time?

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    I would guess, the older and smarter the dragon, the more likely it is to contrive means of feeding that aren't hunting.

    Young dragons I would think are the most likely to hunt in a "conventional predator" way.
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    How much terrain does the forty foot long, flying, fire breathing lizard which may or may not have magic consider its domain?

    As much as it god damn wants.

    Okay, snark aside, serious question. Are dragons in your setting sapient? If so, the amount of terrain they "own" might be colored by personality more than anything else.

    If they are the equivalent of wild animals, that changes it. Do your dragons maintain an abode like a cave or a nest which they'll return to to rest, or will they just hunker down in any safe place they can find?
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Also, if the dragons are more animal-like, it is still relatively normal for animals to have some or even a lot of overlap in their territories, it really depends on how you want the dragons to be.

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Okay, first off, they don't like the word "dragon," that's the name humans gave them. And secondly, they don't hold territory. They've got the land surrounding their people's four sacred places and that's...

    Oh wait, sorry, those are the dragons in my world. In yours, it is likely completely different! Depending on the intelligence, demeanor, size, biology, dietary restrictions, and a whole host of different factors of your dragons.

    So...tell us about your dragons! And then we can try to hash out how much territory they claim! Or if they even claim any!
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    My instinct is to say "All of it." Or, more practically, "All of it up until it runs into the territory of a dragon I'm not positive I could kill."
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Dragons are like cats: "this is mine; that is mine; all this is mine. Except that bit; I don't want that bit. But all this is mine...."
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Winter_Wolf View Post
    Dragons are like cats: "this is mine; that is mine; all this is mine. Except that bit; I don't want that bit. But all this is mine...."
    If nothing else comes out of this thread, this is probably the most accurate statement for the largest number of dragon interpretations.
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    A normal dragon probably controls a few miles around its cave. However, it probably will claim that it owns any land not claimed by stronger dragon within a few hundred miles.
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    That's as meaningless a question as "How much territory does a human consider its domain?" Different dragons can be as different as peasants and emperors.

    Whatever it can successfully defend, and that changes over time, based on their own power and who their current neighbors are.

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    4e had, as a starting point (Draconomicon) "within a day's flight of the lair" as the territorial range (poor hunting grounds need to be larger, hunting grounds densely populated with prey can be smaller).

    Other factors can modify that, of course. But it's a good place to begin.
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Roughly half a day's flight from the lair.

    Edit to add : strictest control is of the space closest to the lair, but out to 'nearly half a flight-day' is what the dragon would consider their own territory, as it could conveniently hunt it and return home by day's end.
    Last edited by ArgentumRegio; 2017-02-18 at 05:39 PM.

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArgentumRegio View Post
    Roughly half a day's flight from the lair.

    Edit to add : strictest control is of the space closest to the lair, but out to 'nearly half a flight-day' is what the dragon would consider their own territory, as it could conveniently hunt it and return home by day's end.
    Thats my outlook. He isnt going to want to spend days away from his lair hunting food. Lord knows who or what would sneak in while he is gone? And this would make for a good description of territory. Each rank of dragon has its fly speed and you can estimate its territory range that way.
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Quote Originally Posted by miinstrel View Post
    How much territory do dragons of the various age categories control?
    Well, to put it simply...



    Quote Originally Posted by Winter_Wolf View Post
    Dragons are like cats: "this is mine; that is mine; all this is mine. Except that bit; I don't want that bit. But all this is mine...."
    Also, +1 to this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quiver View Post
    How much terrain does the forty foot long, flying, fire breathing lizard which may or may not have magic consider its domain?

    As much as it god damn wants.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiver View Post
    How much terrain does the forty foot long, flying, fire breathing lizard which may or may not have magic consider its domain?

    As much as it god damn wants.
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Ultron View Post
    I don't think you will find any sort of official answer in square feet or anything like that. You could just say a square mile per age category or something like that.
    That is ridiculously small. That's more appropriate for a grey squirrel. A grey wolf has a territory of hundreds of square miles. Even a small dragon should cover more than that.

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consider "its domain"?

    What do you mean? An African or European dragon?

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Dragon: Uh the appropriate term is Kingdom, mere mortal? Much like your fake kings that you put little golden hats on and proclaim they are your king to give yourselves an illusion of having control over your fate by making them your representative to my true rule? Obviously. My domain is you and everyone that I see and everyone that sees me.
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Agreed with "as much as it wants" and the cat thing

    Though also, the territory a dragon is likely to consider its domain and the territory the dragon can project force into conveniently enough to actually enforce such a claim as a matter of course could differ rather substantially, given the greed and arrogance that are stereotypical dragon traits. So it's possible an area could be within some dragon's claimed territory with nobody there knowing it until something happens that the dragon perceives as actually infringing on its claim enough to be worth the inconvenience of flying out (like a rival dragon being brought into the area); a dragon's territory is less "the land it uses" and more "any place it is likely tocould conceivably visit without being a guest of another dragonsomeone the dragon respects".

    There's an adventure seed. A city on the fringes of some dragon's domain has finally caught its attention (or possibly is right next to something that caught the dragon's attention), and now it shows up demanding a hundred years of back tribute.
    Last edited by Beneath; 2017-02-19 at 04:15 AM.

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconium View Post
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    A lot? A dragon's territory isn't really determined by food. Food is easy, most can just create it with magic if need be. Or eat pretty much anything. So basically it's everything that the dragon can make obey them until they hit another dragon, or something else big and nasty enough to actually be able to resist the dragon. So it's likely to come out to the size of a kingdom or two.
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    What do you mean? An African or European dragon?

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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    It starts with a radius of half-day's flight and adjust based on abundance of resources and other alpha monsters.

    Few other alphas, few resources? Expand untill it can cover the dragon's needs (stealable treasure, edible dwarves, virgin sacrifices) or you hit the border of another alpha's territory.

    Lots of other alphas, lots of resources? Shrink to the smallest area which a) can be defended and b) covers the dragon's needs.

    Lots of other alphas, few resources? A small territory with a foraging range overlapping with other alphas. May not have permanent lair.

    Few alphas, lots of resources? Become god-king of puny mortals, found an empire.
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    Default Re: How much territory does a dragon consier "its domain"?

    Rule of thumb: Figure out how far the dragon can fly in one day... beyond that, it gets difficult to maintain territory. Anything within half a day is its core territory; it can fly out and fly home.

    You might have two dragons closer, but they'll be compatible. You might have two dragons with overlapping "expanded areas", but you'll have very few dragons with overlapping cores, or with their cores covered in someone else's expanded.
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