Pseudopolis Light Dragons

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Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby JAK » Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:40 am

In Snuff we meet Colonel Charles Augustus Makepeace the last remaining member of the Pseudopolis Light Dragons, a failed attempt to breed dragons stable enough for use in warfare. He is a whiskery old warrior with burn scars to his hands and face and has written his memoirs "Twenty Four Years without Eyebrows"

There is no other information on these troops in the book and I’d be interested in your thoughts on this unit and how they tried to use the dragons.
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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby Tonyblack » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:07 am

I think at least part of it is to use the 'pun' of dragons rather than dragoons. My understanding is that the very first French dragoons, (who were sort of horse-transported infantary rather than cavalry) carried an early wheellock firearm called a 'dragon' because they were decorated with dragons. Indeed, that seems to be what dragoon originally meant: dragon.

Terry has taken the idea of such troops and given them a Discworld twist - real dragons. :D
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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby JAK » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:13 pm

Tony – thanks this is what I thought – a progression on how Vimes threatened to use Errol in Guards - a unit of hand held or herded flame throwers.

However the Discworld Wiki on lspace.org states the Dragons were “An [[Army]] regiment that unsucessfully sought to trade in its horses for dragons.”

I just wondered if Terry had said anything at a Convention, Wincanton or other event that had made the author of this Wiki believe they were dragon cavalry.
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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby Tonyblack » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:11 pm

:lol: We seem to be following each other around with this one. This is what I posted to your reply to my replay on the CA board.

I don't think it's ever been expanded on and, as far as Wiki goes - who knows how much is based on the books and how much is poetic licence? :?
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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby JAK » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:28 am

Tony – I’m glad you are following me – I’ve asked this question on a number of sites – over 150 views (OK some duplicates like you) and you’re the only person to have offered an opinion.

When some fans nit-pick to the Nth degree I would have thought I would have got a few more comments even if only to say they agreed with us.

Was also hoping the Wiki author might frequent one of the forums and explain.
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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby Tonyblack » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:52 am

I've only read Snuff once so far, but you question has got me wondering if the Light Dragon would be horse troops as real dragoons would be. One imagines that the thought of having a live dragon on its back might be enough to terrify a horse. :lol:
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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby =Tamar » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:59 pm

JAK wrote:Tony – thanks this is what I thought – a progression on how Vimes threatened to use Errol in Guards - a unit of hand held or herded flame throwers.


Hand held might work, but you can't herd them once they get to breeding age - they will try to puff up bigger than each other and then they explode. I think Lady Sybil keeps the breeding males in separate pens.

JAK wrote:However the Discworld Wiki on lspace.org states the Dragons were “An [[Army]] regiment that unsuccessfully sought to trade in its horses for dragons.”


I think they must have forgotten that only the small dragons are common; Draco Nobilis hasn't been seen lately.
Besides, the competitive aspect would have prevented that . Even if they managed to breed one big enough for a dwarf to ride, as soon as they tried to have two in the same area, boom!

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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby Tonyblack » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:54 am

I agree - they'd have never been able to ride a swamp dragon, or breed one that was big enough to ride. And even if they did, it would take a brave (or foolish) man to sit astride a dragon. I see them more as a portable flame thrower.
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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby JAK » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:27 pm

Thanks for the above comments. I’ve tried to contact the Wiki author and the owners of lspace to see if they could give their reasoning behind their comments but they’ve not responded; so I registered on the Wiki and have altered the entry to remove the comments about cavalry and concentrate on the flame throwing aspect.


The original Roundworld Dragoons had horses but they always dismounted and fought on foot. Perhaps that’s what Terry intended they did in Pseudopolis.
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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:19 pm

JAK wrote:

The original Roundworld Dragoons had horses but they always dismounted and fought on foot. Perhaps that’s what Terry intended they did in Pseudopolis.

I think you may be right. :)
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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby JAK » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:59 am

The real reason for asking the above question is that for some time I’ve been building a Warhammer Army based on Discworld and had planned to model the Light Dragons as hand held flame throwers. Recently in the Warhammer world a cavalry unit mounted on Demigryphs (wingless griffins) has been introduced and someone I know has used dinosaurs as an alternative mount which made me think of the Dragons and the Wiki entry.

As no real answer has been forthcoming I’ll wait and see if anything is said in November when Turtle Recall is issued – hopefully it will still be ambiguous and then I can model two separate units, one infantry flame throwers and the other mounted on Dragons.
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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby JAK » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:58 pm

Sorry for the delay in updating this – but not my fault. All set to buy Turtle Recall myself when I was informed it would be coming at Hogswatch. Due to a number of reasons it didn’t materialise and I’ve just received as an early Easter Pressie.

Like the comments in other threads I’m not impressed with the book as it’s not really an update but more of an inclusion of new material among the old unamended original entries.

From this threads point of view nothing to help resolve my conundrum – in fact Mr Briggs has put another spanner in the works as he fell into the trap of the pun calling the unit the Light Dragoons rather than the Light Dragons. :oops:

Thanks for your help - at least I know how I’m proceeding from here. http://www.terrypratchettbooks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5837&p=273283&hilit=pseudopolis&sid=637a018a5957ea491fb449f31dfbef2d
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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby AgProv » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:16 pm

wow, interesting!

Sorry, JAK: over at the wiki we've been having a problem with tons and tons of unwanted spam and spammers generally taking the p, so any genuine new people and new entries tend to get lost in the swamp.

Thank you for tidying up the entry:

http://disc.osiris-web.com/mediawiki/in ... ht_Dragons

I will agree your version makes more logical sense, especially when you factor in Sybil Ramkin's assertion that swamp dragons do not get to be more than seven or eight hands at the shoulder (thirty inches max) so they'd be difficult even for dwarfs to ride. And who would argue with Sybil? The dragoon thing - mounted infantry using horses for mobility but fighting on foot - makes a lot of sense. You may well be on to something here! Especially given that Makepeace is the sole survivor.

The tendency of dragons to spontaneously explode if roughly handled - perhaps even when jiggled about on the back of a horse - would be germane here. You'd also have misfires in combat - I bet the one time a dragon will not flame is when you actually really want it to flame. Which gives your foe time to swing a sword of fire a crossbow. And a problem with training any sort of cavalry is getting the horse not to react if you have to fire a weapon from the saddle. That takes some doing - horses are highly strung and aren't keen on being near fire... and you also have the logistic considerations. How big a baggage train is needed for the fodder - hey for the horse, food and water for the troops, coal and charcoal for the dragons.. (Do Warhammer rules allow for logistics? Any Army unit that runs out of supplies and ammunition loses fighting capacity very quickly).

Stay with us o the Wiki - you have some good ideas and we need people!

(Of course, it still doesn't rule out dragons for riding - maybe an intermediate step between swamp and noble dragons. Which raises new questions of how biddable the mount will be... a horse that turns round and flames its rider is going to be very unreliable.)
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Re: Pseudopolis Light Dragons

Postby JAK » Sat May 11, 2013 2:09 pm

Hello AgProv – Sorry I didn’t see this earlier – but it’s good to find the source of 6 months aggravation :D .

Your entry on DWWiki was the only suggestion that the dragons were used to replace horses rather than my initial thoughts of a flame thrower.

I did try to contact you via the Wiki and changed the entry but this was at the time when the site was being spammed and my correction disappeared. Your current comments seem to confirm the original entry was more towards poetic licence rather than something Terry might have said at a Convention or similar.

I’m pleased that you’ve solved the spam problem and I’ve been allowed to have my correction on the Wiki – I do think to add my full history of the regiment would be taking things too far although it doesn’t contradict anything I’ve seen in print and does ensure that a horse sized mount wouldn’t be able to flame its rider.

http://www.terrypratchettbooks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5837&p=273283&hilit=pseudopolis&sid=0ea3284f04213eb19f79676f4b07da40

In a way I’m glad you didn’t comment earlier – if you had I might not have built the dragon riders.

I like your WWII stuff – I model rather than game and have dabbled in that period but gave up due to to many rivet counters. I've deviated to fantasy where I now worry about whether an author’s words actually meant what he wrote.
I’ve made a number of units based on Discworld – many can be viewed here.

http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=37887.0
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