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31  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Re: Dragonbird on: 21 April 2010, 05:03:45
Thanks for adding in your thoughts Athviaro. I'll be running through all these comments in the next few days and will add on the edit icon shortly.

A quick search of the compendium shows dissolved is a pretty commonly used word, over 20 instances of it in existing entries. I've given it some more thought from discovering this and have decided I don't think it's either too scientific for Santharia, nor inappropriate for what would happen to the nest when caught in a deluge of rain.

I'll post again once comments are incorporated.

Happy Dreaming :)
32  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Re: Dragonbird on: 20 April 2010, 04:22:28
Thanks a lot for the Uri check M'ruk, you spotted a good number of things to fix.

I'll get most of those sorted out, although some I think are fine and are more stylistic differences than incorrect grammar. For example, I see no need to add the 'that' you suggested. It's a dirty little word which very rarely needs to be there.

~

Dissolved I think is fine, it's a nest of mud, and spit, with a few twigs. It's the mud and spit that would dissolve with a lot of water, more than 'break apart'.

~

The parents don't go in the nest. The egg is incubated by the mother, and then the new born chick is pushed into the nest to keep it out of harms way. It's entirely enclosed save for the entrance hole.

~

I think it'd take modern equipment, tagging, remote nest cameras and all sorts to get to the point where a decent infant mortality rate could be expected to be known. Beyond the realms of a single researcher in such a remote location. But I'll add some reference to how very protective the couple are of their one youngster per year. Good point.

~

Thanks again for going to the effort of such a full check. + Aura for your good self  :D

Happy Dreaming :)
33  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Re: Dragonbird on: 16 April 2010, 20:19:55
We've just done some research of our own into what is the difference between a rainforest and a jungle. Apparently the thing I described, with the tall trees, and thick, high canopy, with little light below is rainforest, and a thinner canopy, with thicker ground coverage of bushes and plants is jungle.

Typically rainforest is surrounded by jungle, as the trees get thinner towards the outer edge. So I think that's how we'll look at it here. The centre of the island will see the highest concentration of the big trees, making it more 'rainforesty', with the strong canopy for nesting. And it gets more and more 'jungly' as you head outwards to the coast, which will be more likely where the ground based animals will be, hiding in the undergrowth that can grow. So that'll be where the hunting/ambushing goes on.

Good thoughts all round, and we'll expand the Habitat section to incorporate some of these details to make it clearer, as Seth suggested.

~

We are pondering ideas for a pygmy deer, but will likely be looking at the Eyelian researcher first - as (s)he will have discovered all sorts of animals in this location whilst researching the Dragonbirds so that gives us a good basis to jump from for other animals  grin
34  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Re: Dragonbird on: 16 April 2010, 07:08:04
Excellent comment Shaba... all points are well made, and I will be likely using your examples. I especially like the idea of the flittermouse for the 'wooing' of the mate.  +Aura for that one alone :D

Eyelian researcher, makes perfect sense... I  shall have a look around to see if we have one that might have liked to spend some time so far south (or tentatively consider making one ;-) )

I see your point about thinner branches, and that is typical of forest habitats, however I see jungles as being a little different. From my own knowledge from Nature documentaries, Jungles tend to have very tall trees, with long relatively bare trunks, leading to thick strong branches high up where the light is, in the canopy. Agreed, at the very, very top, the branches will get thin, but it's still pretty high up before any significant branches appear, and the thick forks of such branches will make good nesting sites.

~

I agree they could be considered a bit too large, but as they are birds they have the typical hollow bones in the wings, and other adaptations birds have to make them considerable lighter than a mammal of the same size. Combined with the slender build we have given them, I think it's just about justified. I don't see them weighing much more than the larger jungle monkey species we have, such as howler monkeys. However, if other commenters also think they should go a little smaller as well I'll happily comply.

~

The deer, you're again right about them being too large a prey, when considering typical deers. I was imagining, but incorrectly didn't specify, the smaller, pygmy type deer that are known in jungle habitats on earth. I'll amend references to deer, and possibly consider creating an entry for just such a creature if there isn't one. I'm sure those shunui cats wouldn't mind some variation to their dinner either  evil

The terep rabbit I thought I had removed, it was a placeholder animal we'd used in our draft (we've been writing this on and off for several weeks), I had used it in my Sunth entry, and knew it didn't live in that region. Good spot  :)

Thanks again for your comment :)

35  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Dragonbird on: 15 April 2010, 20:13:57
Hey all..

Well here's a little surprise I've been working on along with our newest Dreamer, Tikky (whom also created the delightful pictures for them). It's just about done, and ready for some comments.

I would also like to get some thoughts from Nsiki, if he's still around, (or others) as to whether he wants/thinks the Eyelian's are worth a mention in here? If anyone is going to have a chance of bonding with these creatures and really seeing what they can do, it'd be an Eyelian.

Cheers, and

Happy Reading :)

Edits in green, yellow and Shaba  ;)

Dragonbird



Introduction :

A rare and beautiful species, the Dragonbird is as mysterious as it is colourful. Found only in the deepest jungle territories, they enjoy long lives amongst the treetops. Possessing a keen intellect, and capable of being trained for various purposes, they are highly sought after as exotic pets to the wealthy but their rarity and remote habitat ensures such uses are the exception rather than the rule.

Appearance:



Standing over one ped tall, sometimes reaching one and a half peds, the Dragonbird is a formidable size. Added to that, a tail as long as their body and a wingspan reaching upwards of three peds, it seems mysterious such a large creature can be so elusive.

Despite their size, a slender, almost reptilian body, makes them graceful and agile, able to navigate spaces much smaller than expected. When they're not flying, their rounded wings fold up neatly, and they use their tail for balance, creating a sleek, elegant frame most suitable to the dense jungle habitat they are found in.

Silky, highly coloured feathers grow over most of their body. Their legs and the diamond-shaped tip of the tail are the exception, covered instead with tiny iridescent scales, tough but smooth to the touch. Their feet end in long talons, sharp to provide a strong grip on slippery branches and for grasping food.

A long neck leads to a surprisingly unthreatening head, lending itself much more towards a domestic bird than the draconic beasts they inherit part of their name from. A golden crest a top of their head grows throughout their mature years, getting thicker and more elaborate in shape and design as they age. Large, gentle eyes, usually of various shades of blue and green (and occassionally purple or violet) belie some of their intelligence. Their ochre coloured beaks are modest in size, but still sharp and capable of both violent stabbing for hunting prey, as well more delicate work such as prising open nutshells and snapping up small insects.

Aside from colouration, differences between males and females are minimal. The females tend to be slightly larger, and have green or blue plumage, while males are typically red or orange, and occassionally a bright pink. With such colour variation between the sexes telling them apart is very simple, although this is only true in the adult bird. Dragonbird chicks are all born completely white, and it's only as they fledge their colour appears. Some of this white colouring, particularly with females, can remain throughout adulthood on the throat and breast.

Special Abilities:

The need for speed and manoeuvrability through the forests in which they live, means that the Dragonbirds' wings are designed for such flight. They have large, rounded wings, allowing them to swoop easily and gracefully through the canopy.

Dragonbirds have a unique call, a complex melody, comprising of several seperate tones produced at once and mingled into one. Research is being done in to their song, enquiring whether it might almost be varied enough to be considered a language; it certainly seems to play a crucial role in communication between one another.

Mating pairs use a distinct and very loud, deep throaty call, capable of travelling for many miles even in the warm damp air of the jungle, to stay in touch when out hunting, or seperated for whatever reason. The cries are unique to each bird, making it easy for them to distinguish the cries of their mates, from all other Dragonbirds.

During the mating season, and occasionally (when opportunity presents itself) throughout the year, Dragonbirds add meat to their mainly fruit and insect based diet. Due to their bright colouring, which makes it difficult for them to camouflage themselves, they will hunt for meat at night. They have keen night vision, and intellect, enabling them to devise and enact impressive ambush hunting techniques. Remains of hobbit deer, monkeys and other game have been found next to carefully piled stacks of berries, and fruits thought placed there by the Dragonbirds to act as a kind of bait, where they can silently swoop down onto their stationary prey without risking a dangerous night flight through unfamiliar parts of the jungle. Their nocturnal hunting means this behaviour has yet to be witnessed in its entirety although some Dragonbirds have been spotted (unusually) on the forest floor, piling up the fruits.

Territory:

Dragonbirds are thought exclusive to just a small part of Sarvonia, around the islands of Scattersand Shoal in the far south, several hundred strals off the coast of Strata. Although they have been sighted flying between most of the islands, nesting sites have only been discovered on the largest island, Aiden, where their favoured deep jungle habitat is most prevalent. It is here where the trees grow much taller, creating a dense canopy for easy nesting, and also block out sunlight from reaching the forest floor thus making the undergrowth much less dense and easier to fly through.

There's a good chance they may be found deep in other areas sharing similar climates, such as the Jungles of Shar, in the southwest of Nybelmar.

Mating:

The mating season, for Dragonbirds, takes place after the seasonal heavy rainfall, so as to cause the least amount of disruption to nest building

Dragonbirds mate for life. Though they are mainly a fruit-eating bird,the male will attract a life mate, using a fresh kill of flittermouse, rabbit, or other choice meat, which becomes a necessary part of their diet for building strength and body fat during the mating season.

Each year at the start of the mating seasion, the female will gorge on meat to grow a thick fold of fat that hangs down from her stomach almost to her feet, covered in a soft down. This will be used to later incubate the egg.

A single egg is laid per season, pale blue in colour with lilac speckles, and this will be incubated for around nine weeks by the female; carefully balanced on her feet and surrounded by the specially grown fold to stay dry in the humid jungle air. Should anything happen to the egg before it is hatched, some females have been observed with a second egg later in the season, but young from such eggs tend to be weaker and less likely to survive to adulthood.

During the incubation period, the male will work to build a special nest, just for the chick, constructed out of mud, saliva and strong, flexible sticks. Over the top, a limit roof of waterproof leaves is woven in to stop it dissolving in the frequent downpours. The nest is roughly circular in shape, approximately a fore across and has only one entrance, through which the parent birds will first line the interior with feathers and soft mosses and later push the newly hatched chick through. Once safe and secure in the nest they can both work to feed the chick, passing a diet of fruit and insects through the entrance for it.

The chick will fledge at around eight months old, breaking through the nest as it grows and no longer requires its protection, but will remain near its parents until fully mature at the age of eighteen months, when it will leave and seek out a mate of its own.

Habitat and Behaviour:

Dragonbirds inhabit the tropical forests of Aidan. They make their nests in the upper layers of the canopy, giving them shelter and height as some protection for their eggs and young from the larger predators. Snakes, monkeys and other meat-eating tree climbers still threaten them, so the nest will always remain protected by one of the adults.

They prefer to nest in trees which have growths of white flowers, providing extra camouflage for their pure white chicks. Examples include the waterfruit tree, (which comes with the added benefit of attracting a large supply of shimmerwings, a tasty snack for a hungry dragonbird chick, or even a bored adult) and any tree with a flowering flaming star vine entwined around it.

Finding food is usually not a problem for the Dragonbird, as they jungle canopy provides a wealth of fruits, and insects forming the large part of their diet. They will hunt for meat during the mating season, and these hunts take place at night, when the jewel-like colouration of the bird's plumage is hidden. They use their incredible night vision, to track down and ambush prey.

Mating pairs spend most of their time in the inner forests, rather than venturing out towards the coastal regions or the other island. With their canopy home providing all that they need to survive, and their one egg or chick requiring constant protection they devote all their time to maintaining their home. It is the young adults, particularly the males still without a mate, that are seen soaring high between the islands, or hopping curiously amongst rock pools or the palm trees on the other islands. Their intelligence fills them with an insatiable curiosity when young, constantly looking for distractions and new discoveries. An older male may occassionaly be spotted flying to an old haunt from his younger days, to acquire a favoured type of fruit or other food type to return to his mate with. The showing off of such discoveries appears to strengthen the bond between them in much the way the initial offering of meat attracted her when they first paired up.

Dragonbirds are scarce, and, aside from their mates and young, they rarely come into contact with any other Dragonbirds. When this does happen, however, they tend to behave peacefully towards one another, so long as the visiting bird does not intend to steal territory, or pose a threat to the young birds. Any implied threat will be responded to with a warning call at first. If this warning is not heeded, they will launch an attack, using their talons and beaks as weapons, as they would with any other intruder. The fact they recognise a member of their own species enough to offer a warning first, when usually they just attack, lends further credence to their natural intelligence.

Though they are, on occasion, kept as domestic pets, in the wild, Dragonbirds are large and require a lot of upkeep. Without a mate, they can become very restless and anxious in captivity requiring constant care, and a wide variety of activities to keep them distracted and entertained. If they are caught young, and trained well they can become fiercely loyal companions and protectors capable of following a wide range of commands.

Usages:

Owing to the rarity and therefore expense of acquiring anything from a Dragonbird, their basic usages are minimal. There are no common receipts for their meat, as to waste the life of such a beautiful creature for only a few meals, not to mention the expense means it simply isn't done. The same goes for their eggs, although it's likely they are as tasty as any egg if you were desperate. Their feathers make only average quills, being either excessively large from the outer wing, or too hard and unyielding nearer the chest and legs where their scales begin. Only a few feathers near the centre are any real use as a quill. An intricate arrangement of Dragonbird scales glued to the outside of a pot or bowl makes for a very strong, and decorative coating, but again very expensive.

Myths / Lore:

Dragonbirds, along with a lot of the native life in the Scattersand Shoals, all add to the tales of hauntings arising from the islands. Their strange, multi-tonal calls create distorted echoes amongst the trees, spreading out for long distances.

"Short extract from the Ghosts of Scattersands, by Rhjorin Feradan"

"Do you hear that?

"What?"

"That noise, it came from the trees. Ol' Baraj was right, these islands are haunted!"

"Shut your mouth and keep digging, Cap'n wants this stuff buried before sundown."

The two rough looking men turned back to their shovels as they dug into the sand on the shore of Aiden, one of the islands in the Scattersand Shoals. Long shadows spread out on to the beach, as the sun lowered behind the backdrop of jungle which spread right to the edge of the sand. Some distance into the trees, a lone female Dragonbird stretched her long neck and called out again for her mate, the hallowing cry piercing the evening mist beginning to settle over the jungle.

~

They also contributed to the stories of monsters and other deadly creatures as they were spotted flying between islands, their large profile seeming much more threatening than their character and not easily dismissed as a gull or 'large' eagle.

~

It has become something of ambition amongst some of the wealthiest families in South Sarvonia, to own a trained pair of mated Dragonbirds. Aside from the prestige from such incredibly rare pets, the belief goes that for as long as the Dragonbird pair remain together, so too will the couple that own them. As Dragonbirds mate for life, and can expect to live for well over thirty years in captivity if treated well, the commitment suggested by a husband buying such a gift for his wife is considered a great sign of their long term love. The current Mayor of Marcogg (newly married) is well known to be on the market for such.  

Researcher

Most of our knowledge of dragonbirds derives from the work of Genani Tallclimber Ra'nouf, an Eyelian who left her native land and ventured south. She settled in the Scattersand Shoals and researched their varied animal life. G.T. R. is widely respected for the dangerous expeditions she undertook to get close to the subjects of her studies.
36  Organization and General Discussions / Newbie Information, Joining Requests and Recruitment / Re: Hello Santharia! on: 15 April 2010, 20:07:40
*chuckles and waves at Tikky*

Welcome here, finally.  :P
37  Santharian World Development / Miscellaneous / Re: The Wanderer's Hot Meal on: 14 April 2010, 21:16:29
It's definitely looking much better, Agran. Keep it going - my mouth is beginning to water.

But reading through the comments, I see we've progressed from meat, to meat covered in carroots with bread. Progress, but not quite a tasty meal I don't think.

Have a look at the entries for neeps and tuberroots, research a little into some herbs (I think there's one called the Arv, which (whilst addictive and can cause problems), in small amounts has caffine in it, and boost the energy of those who eat it. Sounds like it could be popular on a traveller's meal?), and maybe consider some form of gravy to provide something for the bread to mop up, and make the whole thing a little less dry.

Just some thoughts,

Happy Dreaming :)
38  Santharian World Development / Places and Map Design / Re: Sunth ... village in Manthria on: 10 April 2010, 23:18:38
Ok to stick a blarrow on this and sign it off complete... or other comments?
39  Santharian World Development / Places and Map Design / Re: Sunth ... village in Manthria on: 30 March 2010, 05:30:23
Cheers, Arti... your corrections have been amended.

Quote
You just tend to make longer breaks every now and then, obviously to travel around the country and make first hand research...   grin

Haha, yeah, something like that.

40  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Re: Xaul on: 30 March 2010, 03:13:59
There's also mention of a covering of mud fooling their heat sensing eyesight - a committed researcher may have done this. It isn't conducive to note taking, but observations could have been quite detailed depending how close he/she dared get.

If I find time this week, I'll try to get through the whole thing, get these basic errors nailed once and for all - although that shouldn't stop Exmortis continuing to look/check for them himself.
41  Santharian World Development / Santharian Artists Workshop and Resources / Re: Shayan's picture resources on: 28 March 2010, 18:59:12
+ Aura from me - that is a very cool pic.

Happy Dreaming  :)
42  Santharian World Development / Places and Map Design / Re: Sunth ... village in Manthria on: 28 March 2010, 01:08:42
Cheers Azhira, and a good spot. I've rearranged it.

Happy Dreaming :)
43  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Re: Xaul on: 27 March 2010, 22:24:48
Hey Exmortis,

I've gone over the first part - up to where you begin separating them into the different types, but reading through the .... 8 .... pages of comments it looks like it might be worth going over it all.

Some things to get you started...

Quote
packs of two to five that hunt, scout or bring back prey items to for their parasitic offspring.
The 'to' doesn't need to be there.

~

Quote
This tail can measure from between one peds in length in length to twelve peds.

A double 'in length' slipped in there. Also, in general this sentence is wordier than it needs to be.

"The tail can measure between one and twelve peds, depending on caste."

On a side note... twelve peds seems absolutely huge to me! Something this long I don't seeing having the strength to be used for impaling - it'd be more used as a flail, whipping, and tripping an enemy. If it was rigid enough for impaling I would have thought it would cause mobility problems in narrow tunnels and caves.

~

Quote
It seems that this cold-blooded beast devours the daoles fungus, which consists of a cocktail of acidic substances, these chemicals react which the number of properties within the make-up of the Xauls blood causing an intense heat source (70+ degrees) which is retain for a period of roughly 48 hours.

Quite a few slip ups in this paragraph, that makes it a little confusing to read. I'll write it out again, with a few rearrangements and see if it helps.

"The daoles fungus consists of a cocktail of acidic substances which, when ingested by this cold blooded beast, reacts with their blood causing an intense rush of heat (over seventy degrees). This warms the Xaul, and can last as long as forty-eight hours or more as the fungus passes through their digestive system."

~

Quote
In fact the act of eating a daoles isn't regularly done by most Xaul. In fact many have speculated that eating the daoles constantly is detrimental to the Xaul's health.

This confused me... it was a few sentences later than the one before. Originally you implied they all eat these fungus as their way of adapting to the cold. And now you contradict this by saying it's just 'sometimes'. Perhaps they store them up for important times - like when the nest is under attack, or a large source of food is nearby and they want to kill it all before it moves away. During these times they can't waste time staying near heat sources so they eat the fungus to give them a couple of days with lots of energy to take advantage of this important time.

You also have a double use of 'In fact' which makes it sounds a little clunky. Look out for repetition of phrases and words throughout your whole entry. I believe someone has commented on this before.

~

Quote
"The Xaul's current burst in activity within caverns of such depth of the Xaul suggests some kind of underground heat source.
"

The red part doesn't need to be there.

~

Quote
These monstrosities attack anything that is wanders anywhere near their hive located in the north end of the Caaehl Mountains.

The red parts don't need to be there.

~

Quote
They have been listed from least to most impotent.

I'm guessing you meant 'important'..  buck

~

They are fascinating creatures, and you've gone through a lot to get them this far. But from just my look at the top, I'd say there is still some work to be done.

Aside from a very careful look for repetitive sentence starts, and words, and some misspellings (that won't be caught by a check, you have to find them) the entry also seems a little mixed up. You have mentions of things like the tail in different places, rather than saying everything in one place.

It's not the most exciting part of entry writing, but it's important, so that these creatures are described well and can be seen for exactly how they are.

Happy Writing :)
44  Santharian World Development / Places and Map Design / Re: Sunth ... village in Manthria on: 27 March 2010, 02:56:49
Fauna and History section added, completing this entry (right on time *cough*)...  now ready for further comments.

(Apologies for the slight delay  rolleyes )

Happy dreaming

P.S On re-reading, I realised I neglected to add some of Shab's kind comments, the larger of which have now been added in green.
45  Organization and General Discussions / Discussions, Development Ideas & Proposals / Re: What? You mean to tell me that Sylvia's at it again? on: 04 October 2009, 07:47:20
It's all sounding ok to me, aside from the name. That sounds a little... comical for something so deadly.

But I'm by no means a Brownie expert - I'll leave that to the Rookster.
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