Weyrling Growth Information

If you've never read the primary book series upon which this game is based, you'll need to check out the stuff in this section before reading Game Information, as Game Information largely describes how the game world differs from the original Pern canon. So if you're a Pern newbie -- or if you're just not certain about something -- check this section.

Weyrling Growth Information

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Joined: December 19th, 2011, 6:38 am

September 23rd, 2012, 1:52 am #1

IMPORTANT: This information is more or less the same for canon Pern as for Storm Nexus. Therefore it is included in this section. There is some SN-specific information here, which will be included in its own area under each life stage. No size estimates are provided for canon because the Pern books were set in many different time periods of Pern, and the dragons changed in size -vastly- over the two thousand-plus years in canon from their creation to the books set in the 9th Pass, which are the ones furthest along in the timeline in the canon series. The first canon queen, Faranth, was, at BEST, one-third the size of her many-times-great-granddaughter Ramoth, who lived during the Ninth Pass and was said in canon to be the largest dragon ever to live. As the canon information provided here is as generic as possible, without drawing overmuch on any one part of the series, it is therefore impossible to offer canon size estimates.


Current Junior Weyrling Classes: Gemstone Clutch

AGE 0 - 2 Sevendays: NEWBORN
Feeding Frequency: Minimum three times a day, but, more realistically, whenever the dragonet demands it. However, they are never fed to the point of full satiation. Stop when the belly begins to bulge.
Bathing Frequency: After each meal.
Oiling Frequency: After each meal, and anytime the dragonet complains about feeling itchy. or if you notice flaking or cracked hide anywhere on the body. Dragon hide is soft and flexible, but they grow so quickly when young that they still end up stretching it almost beyond its capacity to endure. Without frequent oiling to keep it flexible, the hide dries out and becomes flaky. These problems itch, and eventually hurt, but more seriously, a dragon with imperfect hide may become ill or even die if it goes between in that condition due to a condition called 'cracking'. Oiling is therefore a life-and-death necessity at all ages, but especially during these early days of rapid growth.

This is because dragons with imperfect hide become distracted by the pain and itching and lose the ability to perform between jumps accurately. And a poorly performed between jump is the number one killer of weyrlings in any Weyr, for whatever reason. Even very experienced dragons can suffer from this malady and possibly transfer improperly (damaging themselves or their rider or both) or fail to emerge at all. (Dragonriders believe, and tell Weyrlings, that imperfect hide cracks in between, but this is not the literal truth. Still, this is what everyone believes and is told, both in canon and in SN.)

Newborn dragonets are very wobbly and uncoordinated, and often seem to have very rudimentary personalities. They spend the vast majority of their time either eating or sleeping and it may be a struggle to keep them awake long enough for bathing and oiling. While their dragonets sleep, the riders receive lessons in the theoretical aspects of being a dragonrider; largely, in canon, the reasons they fight Thread and its specific properties and dangers, and, for queenriders, the theory of using a flamethrower from dragonback (as opposed to while standing on the ground) and so forth.

During Threadfall, Weyrlings of this age group are assigned to whatever chore they can make themselves useful in; generally sacking firestone and aiding with small tasks in the Infirmary. A handful of newborns may be less sleepy than others, wanting to accompany their riders to their lessons; this is permitted, but the newborns almost invariably end up falling asleep at their riders' side. Newborns have very little stamina and live entirely in the moment, even moreso than adult dragons do. At this stage, all colors (castes) receive essentially the same training, but queen and bronze riders are often given separate lessons as well, to prepare them for the future burden of leadership.

This stage of Weyrlinghood is full of onerous chores for the rider which, thankfully, recede as their dragon ages. At this age the dragonets cannot fly, and they therefore eliminate in a specific part of their 'weyr' in the Weyrling Barracks. Thus, beyond feeding, bathing, and oiling, the Weyrling must muck out their own quarters at least once per day. In addition, newborns have, to quote the Pern books, "precious little sense," and their riders must keep a close eye on them when they are awake.

Overeating is a particular issue. The very first thing all Weyrlings are told is, "Do not let them overeat." This is because a newborn dragon's digestive system is not fully developed, and overeating results in the dragon equivalent of constipation, in which the waste is too large to pass through the tail to be eliminated. This is an extremely painful condition, and can be fatal if not immediately attended to. The entire Weyr will suffer as the newborn broadcasts its torment, as well, so newly Impressed pairs are watched -very- closely to ensure this does not happen.

SN-Specific Information on NEWBORNS:

At this age the carbuncle is hardly visible on most dragonets, but the area where it will eventually emerge will probably itch and require extra oiling and rubbing to soothe the pain. The armor plates on the spine (and wherever else the individual dragon may have them) must be oiled as well, but a different type of oil is used, and the plates need only be oiled twice a day, once in the morning and once just before the Weyrling riders go to bed. They are too young to consume metal or gems at this stage; their grinding molars have not yet grown in and their 'second stomach' is immature. For the same reason they cannot yet handle bones in their food.

In SN, the rider lessons at this stage also include some basic, introductory lectures about the Pernese Charter document and its most important tenets, and why enforcing it is the Weyr's job. This is not true in canon as this was not a canon duty of the Weyrs, but it is true for our game. Other differences are that flamethrower use is not bothered with yet, as our queens are able to chew firestone and flame, unlike in canon, and that it is Queens and Officers rather than Queens and Kings whose riders are given extra lessons in future leadership. The riders of Kings, Knights, and Soldiers can sign up for these lessons but are not expected to and most do not.

Overeating is a slightly less critical issue in our game, as magic can be used to help a dragonet who has overindulged, but not all Weyrs have a Talented Healer at all, much less one that is capable of doing such things, so it is still a major consideration in our game. (Plot Note: And so long as the Magic Blackout plot continues, even Talented Healers will not be much use, so this is just as big an issue as it is in canon for the moment even at the typically magic-rich Plateau Weyr.)

Approximate Size of Newborn Dragons at BIRTH:
Scout/sport: Always smaller than the minimum size for its genetic caste, but too variable to estimate any more specifically.
Soldier: Roughly 4-5 feet long.
Knight: Roughly 4-5 feet long.
Officer: Roughly 5-6 feet long.
King: Roughly 6-7 feet long.
Queen: Roughly 8-9 feet long.

Over the course of the NEWBORN age category, they will grow very rapidly, adding half again their birth size by the time they reach the next life stage.

AGE 2 sevendays - 1 Month: BABY
Feeding Frequency: Twice to three times a day, but not more. If they complain of hunger, give them something to chew on to distract them until the next scheduled mealtime arrives.
Oiling Frequency: Same as for newborns.

Baby dragons are less somnolent than newborns, but no more sensible. Overeating is still a potential problem. Though they still spend a majority of their time either sleeping or eating, the older they get, the more and more they will want to spend time tagging along with their riders (or, in some cases, wandering off to do their own thing.)

Lessons are still primarily lecture-based, but there are more activities in the mix (primarily designed to lightly exercise the baby dragons), and the lectures are composed to address both the riders and the baby dragons, unlike the lectures during the Newborn stage, which almost exclusively address the riders. The same general topics continue to be covered, but with more emphasis on the baby dragon's participation alongside its rider. All colors (castes) are still receiving essentially the same training at this stage.

SN-Specific Information for BABIES: By now the carbuncle has broken through the hide on almost all dragonets, though it still is nothing but a low bump on all castes (except in the case of those mutants who are born with fully developed, or even overdeveloped, carbuncles, naturally - but this is rare.) The fleshy edges around the carbuncle should be given close attention at each oiling of the hide, though the carbuncle's surface requires only one application of scale oil per day. The armor plating, however, should be oiled every time the hide is. Babies still cannot process metal, stone, or bones as of yet.

Approximate Size Range of Baby Dragons:
Scout/sport: Too variable to estimate.
Soldier: From 6-7ft to 8-10ft
Knight: From 7-8ft to 9-11ft
Officer: From 8-9ft to 10-12ft
King: From 9-10ft to 12-14ft.
Queen: From 10-11ft to 16-18ft.

Note that, by the time they are one month of age, they have typically doubled in size since birth. This incredible growth rate is why they require so much food and rest during these early life stages.

AGE 1 Month - 3-4 Months: JUVENILE
Feeding Frequency: Once or twice a day at 1 month, tapering to once a day or once every other day at 3-4 months.
Oiling Frequency: Minimum of once per day, regardless of feeding frequency; if flaking or cracking of the hide is noted, oiling should be done at least twice daily.

Juvenile dragons, while still growing at a remarkably rapid rate, no longer spend most of their time either sleeping or eating. They do spend a good deal of time doing both of those things still, but they no longer feel the ravenous, all-consuming hunger they did when they were younger, and therefore feel less driven to stuff themselves. Overeating usually stops being a problem at this age, with the exception of particularly gluttonous individual juveniles.

At this age, the Weyrling riders are taught how to make their own riding straps, a skill all riders are expected to have, and how to fit a saddle to their beast. The golds and bronzes are educated more and more separately from the rest in canon; they are essentially placed in officer school, while the others remain in the standard rank-and-file training. This is partly because of the difference in rank, but also because bronzes and golds begin to age slightly more slowly than the smaller colors at this age. (While the other colors will be physically mature at roughly one Turn of age, the bronzes and golds will not be fully mature for a further six to eight months beyond that. Some golds are not sexually mature until a full two Turns of age.)

During this life stage, the juveniles master walking and running -- as much as canon Pernese dragons do such things at all, which is to a minimum -- and they begin to strengthen their wings and prepare for the real flight training which is to come in the next life stage. By the end of the juvenile stage, dragons can fly competently enough, but they have little stamina and are not yet strong enough to carry their riders. They also have not let learned to go between, but, fortunately, their riders no longer have to muck up after them; juveniles are mature enough to be lead to the midden when they need to eliminate. They also learn to hunt soon after learning to fly alone, thus relieving their riders of the need to chop meat for them all the time. Firestone practice begins toward the end of this life stage, although very slowly and cautiously at first.

SN-Specific Information on JUVENILES:

This is the age at which the heavy grinding molars begin to grow in, and therefore the age at which dragons begin to chew metals and rocks. Their 'second stomach' is now fully able to digest such fare, although the habit typically begins as a form of teething, to soothe their aching gums, which then continues into adulthood as the dragon develops a taste for certain metals and/or minerals. Due to this nutritional shift, carbuncle begins to show more overt development in this stage. Queens and Kings' carbuncles begin to show a definite elongated shape, while those of the other castes become more developed as well as simply larger in size. (That is, what was once a mere bumpy lump may now resemble a small, if still rough-edged, crystal.) The juvenile's armor, too, loses its soft baby flexibility and takes on the general qualities of the minerals and/or metals that individual dragon tends to consume the most. (Many dragons go out of their way to consume things that will enhance the look of their carbuncle and/or armor.) The carbuncle and scales now require regular twice-daily oiling. Neglecting to oil the carbuncle can result in it developing cracks or even splintering/breaking, while the still-growing scales may crack, warp, or curl if they are not kept supple via frequent oiling.

At this age, more advanced lessons in the Charter begin, including lessons where actual enforcement is practiced; adult riders and wherhandlers pretend to be criminals or Holders or Crafters involved in various disputes or crimes, which the young riders and their dragons have to handle successfully.

Approximate Size Range of Juvenile Dragons:
Scout/sport: Too variable to estimate.
Soldier: From 8-10ft to 12-16ft
Knight: From 9-11ft to 13-18ft
Officer: From 10-12ft to 14-20ft.
King: From 12-14ft to 15-24ft.
Queen: From 16-18ft to 18-28ft.

AGE 4 months - 6 months: PREADOLESCENCE

Approximate Size Range of Preadolescent Dragons:
Scout/sport: To adult size range as listed in Game Information; sports stop growing at this point.
Soldier: From 12-16ft to 16ft-18ft
Knight: From 13-18ft to 18-20ft
Officer: From 14-20ft. to 20-22ft.
King: From 15-24ft. to 24-26ft.
Queen: From 18-28ft. to 28-30ft.


Current Senior Weyrling Classes:
The Silmarils (11 Months)
The Wanderers (14 Months; 1 Turn 1 Month)

AGE 6 months - 1 Turn: ADOLESCENCE

Approximate Size Range of Adolescent Dragons:
Scout/sport: No more growth.
Soldier: From 16-18ft to 20-22ft
Knight: From 18-20ft to 22-25ft
Officer: From 20-22ft to 25-29ft
King: From 24-26ft to 26-30ft
Queen: From 28-30ft to 30-35ft

Age 1 Turn - 1.5 Turns: Continued ADOLESCENCE for bronzes/Kings and golds/Queens; sexual maturity/ADULTHOOD for all others.

Approximate Size Range of Post-Adolescent Dragons:
Scout/sport: No more growth.
Soldier: To adult size range as listed in Game Information.
Knight: To adult size range as listed in Game Information.
Officer: To adult size range as listed in Game Information.
King: From 26-30ft to 35-40ft.
Queen: From 30-35ft to 40-45ft.

1.5-2 Turns and beyond: ADULTHOOD and GRADUATION!

Approximate Size Range of Adult Dragons:
Scout/sport: 15-17ft normally; 12ft minimum, 20ft. maximum; No more growth.
Soldier: 25-35ft normally; maximum 40ft, minimum 20ft.; Very slight growth for remainder of life.
Knight: 30-40ft normally; maximum 50ft, minimum 20ft.; Very slight growth for remainder of life.
Officer: 40-50ft normally; maximum 60ft, minimum 30ft; Very slight growth for remainder of life.
King: To adult size range (50-60ft normally; maximum 70 feet, minimum 40 feet), then slight growth for remainder of life.
Queen: To adult size range (60-80ft. normally; max 90ft., minimum 50ft.), then slight growth for remainder of life.

Senior Weyrlings graduate to the fighting wings anytime between the age of 1 and 2 Turns, depending on the color/caste of their dragon and their individual maturity and readiness. Kings/bronzes and Queens/golds take longer than the others because they take longer to become physically mature.