New OOTS products from CafePress
New OOTS t-shirts, ornaments, mugs, bags, and more
Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    jqavins's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Howard, NY
    Gender
    Male

    Default Phylum Dracoformia

    I haven't been around for a while, spending my forum time over here instead, but I've had this idea that I simply must share.

    Dragons are usually (or at least often) depicted with four legs and two wings. In a fantasy world with evolution that resembles the real world, this presents both a problem and an opportunity that I've never considered or read about being considered by others.

    In the real world, the only six limbed creatures are arthropods. But dragons can't possibly be giant arthropods, because anything that size would need both an internal skeleton and a cardiopulmonary system. So there has to be a new phylum of animals, neither Arthropoda nor Chordata.

    And therein lies the opportunity. What other classes, orders, etc. could there be within the phylum Dracoformia? The true dragons would be the family Draco, with various geni and species. There could be a sister family, Dracoinae or something, with much smaller species that resemble Pern's fire lizards (except that Pern's actually have four limbs and could simply be chordates). And one could really go wild with more diverse classes and the orders within them.

    The pegasus, for example, could have been misrepresented by artists for centuries, and is actually a dracoform from a class that independently evolved horse-like features. And the possibilities for other new creatures are endless.

    What about fairies or fairy-like creatures that evolved into upright, walking beings with wings, with (once again) independent evolution of primate-like features?

    What else have y'all got?
    -- Joe
    “Shared pain is diminished. Shared joy is increased.”
    -- Spider Roninson
    And shared laughter is magical

    Always remember that anything posted on the internet is, in a practical if not a legal sense, in the public domain.
    You are completely welcome to use anything I post here, or I wouldn't post it.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Nottingham, England
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Phylum Dracoformia

    Looking over the Monster Manual, there are quite a few creatures which have six limbs but don't seem like arthropods: chimeras, displacer beasts*, dragonnes, gargoyles, girallons, griffons, harpies, hippogriffs, centaurs, lamias, lammasus, manticores, sphinxes. I haven't looked in the other MMs but I'm sure there are more.

    There are also some outsiders (xorns, some celestials, some fiends) but I'm not sure if I'd count them, possibly the xorns but probably not the others.

    There seem to be two main subgroups, those with two wings and four arms/legs, and those with six arms/legs, so maybe those are our two classes.

    Given this, dracoformia is probably better as the name for the class with wings rather than the phylum as a whole. Orders within this family are true dracoforms (four legs, two wings) and humanoid dracoforms (two wings, two arms, two legs).

    Orders in the other class are probably centaur-type with four legs and two arms, girallon-type with four arms and two legs, and displacer beast-type with six legs.

    Given that most of the above creatures are from actual mythology (and not all from the same one) it seems lots of different people felt there should be six-limbed non-arthropods for some reason...

    *depending whether you count their tentacles as limbs or not
    Last edited by Biggus; 2023-09-21 at 04:16 AM. Reason: typo

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    France
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Phylum Dracoformia

    The problem is phylogenetic trees in D&D are completely botched, in no small way due to dragons themselves mating with everything and everyone. The original dragons may have been quadrupedal (like asiatic dragons) and mated with pegasi, creating the current chromatic and metallic dragons. Alternatively, dragons could have mated with horses, and pegasi are just half-dragon celestial horses, while aurumvoraxes and displacer beasts are half-behirs wolves and panthers. When so many critters are magically-bred combinations of others, it's hard to give a general rule.
    Resurrecting the Negative LA thread, comments and discussion are very welcome!

    Do you want to build monstrous characters with reasonable LA? Join the Monster Mash! Currently, round XII: A Monster is Born! Come judge miraculous entries!
    Nice find! Have a cookie!
    Searchable spreadsheet of 3.5 monsters by abilities, now with all online monsters

    Quote Originally Posted by H_H_F_F View Post
    3.5 allows you to optimize into godhood, yes, but far more importantly, it lets you optimize weak, weird, and niche options into relevance.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Nottingham, England
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Phylum Dracoformia

    Quote Originally Posted by Beni-Kujaku View Post
    The problem is phylogenetic trees in D&D are completely botched, in no small way due to dragons themselves mating with everything and everyone. The original dragons may have been quadrupedal (like asiatic dragons) and mated with pegasi, creating the current chromatic and metallic dragons. Alternatively, dragons could have mated with horses, and pegasi are just half-dragon celestial horses, while aurumvoraxes and displacer beasts are half-behirs wolves and panthers. When so many critters are magically-bred combinations of others, it's hard to give a general rule.
    I did think that "a wizard did it" is the usual explanation. But "a dragon did it...with everything" works just as well.

    Edit: it occurs to me that another problem with the OP's idea is that it requires a LOT of convergent evolution, as pegasi are no longer related to horses, landwyrms and asiatic dragons are no longer related to other true dragons, etc.
    Last edited by Biggus; 2023-09-21 at 09:28 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    jqavins's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Howard, NY
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Phylum Dracoformia

    Quote Originally Posted by Biggus View Post
    I did think that "a wizard did it" is the usual explanation. But "a dragon did it...with everything" works just as well.
    lol

    All good points. I agree that outsiders would not fit anywhere in this or any other attempt to apply evolutionary pyogenesis. "A wizard/god did it" could still be on the table for some cases. Also, I've never liked half dragons, but, yeah, they are RAW, like it or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Biggus View Post
    Given this, dracoformia is probably better as the name for the class with wings rather than the phylum as a whole. Orders within this family are true dracoforms (four legs, two wings) and humanoid dracoforms (two wings, two arms, two legs).

    I like it, but I'm not sure I follow exactly. By "Orders within this family..." I assume you mean "Orders within this class...", since family is a lower level of taxonomy.

    Are you suggesting that within the phylum (by a new name) there would be a class of dracofoms, with the true dragons and humanoid dragons as orders, and presumably the six legged ones as a separate class within the order? Or are you saying that the whole thing is a class within cordata, with the true dracoforms, humanoid dracofoms, and the six leggers as orders.
    Last edited by jqavins; 2023-09-22 at 07:18 AM.
    -- Joe
    “Shared pain is diminished. Shared joy is increased.”
    -- Spider Roninson
    And shared laughter is magical

    Always remember that anything posted on the internet is, in a practical if not a legal sense, in the public domain.
    You are completely welcome to use anything I post here, or I wouldn't post it.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Nottingham, England
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Phylum Dracoformia

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post

    I like it, but I'm not sure I follow exactly. By "Orders within this family..." I assume you mean "Orders within this class...", since family is a lower level of taxonomy.

    Are you suggesting that within the phylum (by a new name) there would be a class of dracofoms, with the true dragons and humanoid dragons as orders, and presumably the six legged ones as a separate class within the order? Or are you saying that the whole thing is a class within cordata, with the true dracoforms, humanoid dracofoms, and the six leggers as orders.
    Sorry for the confusion, I was using "family" loosely, I momentarily forgot it's the name of a taxonomic rank too.

    I originally was going with your idea of dracoformia as a new phylum, but when I thought about it later it occurred to me that all the creatures we've listed above (except possibly gargoyles and xorns) almost certainly have backbones, so it would probably make more sense as a new class within chordata. After all, not all chordates have four legs (some don't have any at all) so it's not unfeasible to have a six-legged group. If we did it that way, obviously all the classes and orders I suggested would need to be moved down one rank.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    jqavins's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Howard, NY
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Phylum Dracoformia

    Quote Originally Posted by Biggus View Post
    Sorry for the confusion, I was using "family" loosely, I momentarily forgot it's the name of a taxonomic rank too.

    I originally was going with your idea of dracoformia as a new phylum, but when I thought about it later it occurred to me that all the creatures we've listed above (except possibly gargoyles and xorns) almost certainly have backbones, so it would probably make more sense as a new class within chordata. After all, not all chordates have four legs (some don't have any at all) so it's not unfeasible to have a six-legged group. If we did it that way, obviously all the classes and orders I suggested would need to be moved down one rank.
    My original thought was that Dracophorms must have skeletons, but not necessarily spines as we know them.

    I don't know about fish, but I'm pretty sure that all land chordates have four limbs, even if only vestigial. Yes, a snake's skeleton has vestigial legs. There's no reason that the six limbers certainly couldn't be chordates; I thought it made more sense, but either way works.
    -- Joe
    “Shared pain is diminished. Shared joy is increased.”
    -- Spider Roninson
    And shared laughter is magical

    Always remember that anything posted on the internet is, in a practical if not a legal sense, in the public domain.
    You are completely welcome to use anything I post here, or I wouldn't post it.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Nottingham, England
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Phylum Dracoformia

    Quote Originally Posted by jqavins View Post
    I don't know about fish, but I'm pretty sure that all land chordates have four limbs, even if only vestigial. Yes, a snake's skeleton has vestigial legs. There's no reason that the six limbers certainly couldn't be chordates; I thought it made more sense, but either way works.
    It appears that at least some extinct chordate groups didn't have four limbs:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrapod
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chordate

    (In the second link, look at the list of subgroups on the right-hand side).
    Last edited by Biggus; 2023-09-22 at 07:37 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •