Threadfighting 101 Mar 5, 2018 23:35:32 GMT -5
Post by Zen on Mar 5, 2018 23:35:32 GMT -5
Ideal Wing Composition
10 Bronzes & Browns
20 Blues & Greens
This puts 20 pairs in the air at all times, with 10 blues and greens flying at a time, and 10 blues and greens on reserve to rotate in half way through Fall, after the first group has tired itself out. However, Weyrs lacking dragons may choose to fly all, or nearly all blues and greens all at once, especially during shorter Falls that the smaller colors will be able to make it through without too much strain, as is often the case at Mavros. The minimum number of dragonpairs required to make up a Wing is 12. If a Wing ever falls below that number, it will be dissolved and the riders will be assigned to other Wings, or, if possible, will acquire enough transfer riders from other Wings to avoid dissolution.
Most Weyrs have several Flights which rotate fighting Thread. A Flight is a group of three Wings. One Flight is the minimum acceptable number of dragonpairs to fly against Thread safely and efficiently. A portion of the Queen's Wing also flies every Threadfall. During Fall, the Flight will be arranged with a High Wing, Middle Wing, Low Wing, and then the Queen's Wing in the very lowest position. This gives the Weyr FOUR chances to ensure no Thread reaches the ground, and is highly efficient. Though Holders lock themselves away during Threadfall, there is really very little risk at all of a nonrider being scored if a Weyr is flying Thread over an area. The Flight's Wings will rotate thoughout the Fall if it is much longer than an hour so no single Wing is in the most dangerous and taxing High position the entire time.
Types of Threadfall
Thread falls in three types, but can fall in any combination of the three during the same Fall.
- Strands are long and thin, and easily dispatched by even a green's smaller flame, but they are often missed when falling with either of the other two types and are the most likely to get through to the Queen's Wing. A Fall consisting of only, or mostly, strands of Thread makes for the easiest Falls, and rarely result in more than minor scoring if they manage to hit a dragonpair.
- Clumps are patches of strands that have gotten tangled together. They can be relatively small, consisting of only two or three strands each, or they can form into large writhing masses of more than a dozen. Luckily they make for easy targets for flaming, but they have real potential for serious scoring.
- Sheets are the most dangerous type and deaths are most common when fighting against it, as Thread falls in massive, thick conglomerates that can often easily envelop an entire dragonpair. The larger, wider flames of bronzes and browns are most useful against this type of Thread, with blues and greens darting in to 'mop up' the remains. Even greens and blues require heavy use of Betweening against Falls of thick sheets and few dragonpairs will come away completely unscored.
During the start of a Pass, Thread falls once* every 3 days for 6 hours. Every turn after, until the 20th turn of the Pass, Falls increase in frequency by 3 hours every turn. This increase, logically, happens gradually throughout each turn rather than all at once at the beginning of each turn. This is important for predicting the next Threadfall, for as the turn progresses, there will be marginally less time between each Fall. From the 20th turn to the 30th turn of the Pass, Threadfalls even out to a predictable once every 14 hours. After the 30th turn of the Pass, Falls decrease in frequency by 3 hours every turn until, during the last turn of the Pass, Falls again occur once every 3 days, until they stop completely.
Although each Fall lasts for 6 hours, that doesn't mean a Weyr is necessarily flying against it the entire time. Some Threadfalls occur over the oceans, falling harmlessly into the sea, and do not need to be flown against at all. Some fall in the frozen wastes, where the cold and snow kill Thread. And sometimes a Fall passes from the ocean to land, or land to ocean, or through two different Weyr's protectorates, meaning one Weyr will fly against it for part of the time and then the next Weyr will take over when it passes into their range. There are plenty of Falls that only need be flown against for 3-4 hours, and Fort Weyr rarely flies longer than 2 hours thanks to their protectorate being a peninsula.
At Mavros, with a protectorate consisting of many islands, Falls can be even shorter, with most lasting only an hour, or little more than. It is only when Thread falls over the Western Continent that Mavros riders must fly for longer periods, though never more than 4 hours at a time. This is fortunate because currently the Weyrhold hardly boasts enough dragons to do so, having to rely on all their blues and greens to fly the entire time in order to have enough dragons in the air to fight effectively until their dragon numbers increase. This puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to longer Falls because of the necessity of splitting their green and blue dragons into rotating groups. At the start of a Pass, Mavros riders fly against Thread five times a month, with one Fall passing over the Western Continent for a period of 3-4 hours, and all other Falls passing over the Isles and lasting only around an hour. At the height of the Pass they'll be flying against Thread twenty times a month, five of which will fall over the Western Continent. Which means that approximately every turn and four months, riders at Mavros are flying against 1 more Fall a month.
*To clarify, when I say Thread falls once every [insert amount of time here], I mean it falls somewhere on Pern, not specifically at Mavros.
Seasonal & Weather Effects On Threadfall
The winters of the more temperate climates (such as Mavros and the Western Continent) offer some relief from Threadfall. While the Weyrs who protect tropical climates must fly against Thread throughout the turn, the cold and snow of winter kills Thread for the rest, meaning they get a couple months of downtime so long as the weather holds cold enough, with only unseasonably warm temperatures and lack of snow cover requiring the occasional Thread fight. Heavy rains (and by that I mean torrential downpours too thick to see through) also kill Thread before it can reach the ground, offering scant relief for riders during the warmer months.
Alas, riders must fly against Thread in all other sorts of weather. A clear, windless day is the best of conditions that a Weyr can hope for, but the weather rarely cooperates so nicely. Wind is a heavy factor in planning a Weyr's strategy for any particular Fall, as there are variations to the Wing Formations for just about any wind condition. Even light breezy days have been known to kick up stray gusts, which can toss Thread in an unexpected direction and is the cause of many minor scores. Downdraft and updraft winds put plenty of strain on dragons to stay in formation, constantly fighting against a wind that either wants to push them back toward the ground or throw them up into the Thread descending on them. Downdrafts press Thread down upon the Wings at a more intense pace, while updrafts are marginally more concerning, flinging Thread back UP toward the Wings when most riders are paying more attention to what is above them than what is below. The worst wind conditions the Weyr faces are the unpredictable. Not only is this the most taxing on the dragons trying to stay in formation against winds trying to push and pull them every which way, but it has the same effect on Thread, flinging it about wildly and making it extremely difficult to keep up with. Strong winds of any sort quickly take a toll on a dragon, especially the smaller blues and greens, and there is greater risk of wing strain the stronger the wind blows. Wind obviously also affects a dragon's flame, and a strong, unpredictable gust could very well throw flame right back in a dragon's face at worst, or at the least make aiming for Thread more difficult.
On top of wind are other forms of weather. Fog may seem harmless, but it can make Thread near impossible to see and is actually one of the most dangerous conditions to fight in. Hail offers the obvious hazards of falling chunks of ice striking both rider and dragon, and depending on the size of the hail, has the potential to be either annoying or life threatening. Rain in any amount but the heaviest falling is not enough to reliably kill all Thread that falls and hinders visibility to various extents. Thunderstorms, while obviously accompanied by some amount of rain, also offer the dangers of lightning, which riders have to get up close and personal with.