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Author Topic: Dragons
JeanneT
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I'm trying to decide what would be a danger to a dragon--now I mean the good kind of dragon. They would be big, ancient, wise beyond human knowledge, and normally perfectly capable off brushing of any danger. Forget the killing it with a sword--maybe an army. Carey used a powerful magical weapon (bow) in Godslayer, but I don't want to repeat that and the bow was a plot element anyway.

But something needs to be a big danger to the dragons--something big enough to fight a war over.

Hah. I always think about plots when I have insomnia and I'm nearing the end of the 1st draft of one of my current novels so it's planning time. I got an emailed contract on an earlier novel a few days ago. Yay!

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited December 10, 2007).]


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KayTi
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Meteors?

Not that you're going that direction, but that's what conventional wisdom says got the dinosaurs...


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DeepDreamer
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A single sword couldn't kill these good dragons of yours... but what about a hefty dose of poison?

Other possible threats to an otherwise-impervious dragon:

Starvation/cut off from food supply/Pollution of main water sources

What about an anti-magic weapon, like a magic dampener, something that would seriously hinder the use of the dragon's inherent magic, making it unable to fly or breathe fire, etc?

Or, my personal favorite (since I'm using a variant of it in my WIP) -- Destruction of a site holy to the dragons - ancient nesting/mating grounds, etc.



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Vanderbleek
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Depends on time period...a hydrogen bomb would be perfectly capable of killing a dragon methinks.

Medieval wise, maybe a plant, or metal...something that would cause a deadly allergic reaction?


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Zero
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A nuclear dagger.
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JeanneT
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I like the destruction of holy grounds/nesting grounds but since you're using it, I won't consider it. Sounds like a good idea. I decided in a recent discussion on this forum that my next story would have dragons and a warrior princess which is what this is. I'm afraid my dragons would laugh at allergies. You're confusing it with Eragon's dragon.

Destroying their food and water supply would involve doing the same for humans so that's not an option. Dragons would survive that better than humans actually.

I have a large part of the plot already in mind but this threat to the dragons (sorry, no hydrogen bombs ) has me a bit stalled although I have plenty of time. I just have insomnia which always makes me work on plots. I lay in bed with plots running through my head which makes me have even more insomnia--a bit of a vicious circle but gives me a lot of plots. LOL

Edit: I like the meteors, KayTi. Unfortunately, it would be beyond anything that my people could do. It's a low magic world except for the dragons and they couldn't make a meteor. Nice idea though.

Come to think of it I believe I left that part out--this is a deliberate attack on the dragons, not just something that happens to them.

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited December 10, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited December 10, 2007).]


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skadder
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Kryptonite?
Magical wood?

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ArCHeR
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Don't ignore the food idea. It's what I thought when I read the first post. For one, it gives a good environmentalist message, and for another it's a very plausible thing. Men are over hunting. If they're doing that, then it's not hurting them because they get the food.

They could also be damming up the river that gives their prey and themselves a water source. Make it about man's greed and desire to control nature, and make the dragons a symbol of protecting and harnessing nature in a nurturing way. Hell, they can be protecting the trees themselves as well.


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DeepDreamer
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A purposeful attack... well, what else would the dragons consider to be sacred? What would make them absolutely enraged if it were destroyed/harmed/a human even stepped foot in there and damaged the pattern of the leaves on the ground? Is there anything - or anyone - that they are especially protective of?

And also, if this is a purposeful attack from humans toward an enemy that's a monumental task to defeat even one of - what reasonable human is going to do something that provokes them? Perhaps this action that sparks the war, the dragons perceive as being on purpose, but really isn't? Or would this attack be toward something that is their weakness?

Even with low magic, could a prayer or prophecy influence a meteor falling into just the right place?

Also, if you want to use destruction of nesting grounds, go right ahead and use it. I won't be using my variant of the idea for a long time yet, and I guarantee you it'll be sufficiently different from what you write that there won't be any comparison. To get into the specifics a little bit, in my world, there's a dozen or so holy sites sacred to the main goddess of that world, which are being destroyed (by demons) one by one. The dragons protect one, but don't acknowledge that their god is the same god as the humans' until theirs is also targetted and destroyed.

Same basic concept as destroying nesting grounds etc, but there's plenty of room for variation, both in the kind of site and the means and method for destroying.


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skadder
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I was thinking about petrification. In a short story I am doing, a dragon is unpetrified--comes back to life.

What if your dragons were killed by being petrified (not frightened, but turned to stone)? I thought a splinter of petrified wood from an ancient magical grove could be quietly inserted between a sleeping dragons scales (or flung using magic). Then the dragon would slowly petrify starting from where the splinter entered.You could have dragons who had half turned to stone,unable to fly, raging in agony and frustration, knowing thier fate. It could take days, months, or years for them to die depending on you...god.

That would be annoying, esp if you don't know the location of the petrified grove.

In my short story it is set in modern times and a dragon is being de-petrified, it is how dragons are born, from the land so to speak...so it's different enough for you to use it if you want. here is no mention of weapons or anything.

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited December 10, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited December 10, 2007).]


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Pyre Dynasty
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I saw something recently on a children's show (Jane and the Dragon) the only weapons that could harm a dragon were ones that the Dragons themselves helped to make.

I like the nesting ground destruction thing too.

There is also the dead bear idea. (You come upon a dead bear and you get to thinking, "I don't want to meet whatever killed the bear.") Perhaps there is some greater monster that the humans have perhaps not gained mastery over but at least unleashed.

Then again it could be the mind controlling of a dragon, (perhaps one raised by humans to hate dragons)

Or the setting off of a volcano at a strategic point.

Or a human disease that can spread to dragons.

Something I'm doing in one of my DWIP (doomed works in progress) the only way to kill a dragon was to puncture its fire sac (the organ that produces flame) to do that the warrior would have to convince the dragon to swallow them whole.

(Oh I do like throwing out ideas.)

Perhaps there is some object that contains the life essence of a dragon and to destroy it will kill the dragon.

Every living creature should have something that is poisonous to them.

Perhaps the most dangerous thing to the dragons is an idea. This idea planted into the dragon society might have created a civil war.

Perhaps the dragons only think they are in danger.

I've always wanted to try lintel soup.

Perhaps the humans have developed some kind of ballistic that's massive enough to pose a danger.

Perhaps in their meager magic the humans have found some loophole that subverts something about the dragon.

Death by a thousand pin pricks. The dragons underestimate the risk until it is too late.

There might a vulnerability in their eggs. (unless your going for live birth dragons, which I'd like to see).

Pollution? Perhaps the dragons are so tied to the natural world that by the humans polluting it they are poisoning the dragons.

If they are creatures of fire perhaps it is water that is their danger. I can see a cavern where dragons live and the humans divert a river to flood the cavern. They could do it from miles away so the dragons wouldn't see it coming.

And finally my favorite, The butler did it.


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rstegman
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Keep in mind that Dragons are not likely to be built like a T-rex. they fly. They are likely quite delicate, easy to damage.
Unless magically amplified, their body armor will be equally light. There would be no armor on the leather of the wings so they would be a prime target. Disable the wings in some way and it can be hunted down and killed like any other big firebreathing beast with a bad temper.....

Consider an arrow with a line attached, which is attached to a tree or rock. The dragon flies low overhead, possibly for a straifing attack.
Archers fire their arrows. Some arrows miss ahead, some hit, something is going to stick, especially if passes into the wings. The lines catch on the scales, the wings are stopped mid flap.
Boulders lift up for a moment before their lines break, but in that moment, they slam through dozens of soldiers and archers.
The combined lines pull the dragon down for a nose dive. It might break free before crashing, but then again, might slam into a tall tree.
Whatever it hits, it is stopped. Most likely hurt. Possibly stunned. It might be tagled in the lines or the wings might even be tangled in the brush.
the soldiers run to the dragon and attack it with all their weapons all over, stabbing between scales, climbing on board and try to get to the head where they can blind it. If archers are in front of it, arrows into the eyes and nose would cause some problems.
Lins wrapped around the mouth to seal it closed, mud or rocks shoved up the nose to block that so sending fire would be less likely.
Soldiers might tie ropes on the legs and wings and use trees to tie it down, ropes thrown over the top and staked down on the ground so it has difficulty getting up, basically gulliver it... they can then take their time and work through the armor to kill it.

The main thing is that other than the fire, once it is on the ground, it is vulnerable to any other method of attack.


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Lord Darkstorm
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I hope everyone will forgive me...but I'm a little confused over an earlier statement from another thread.

quote:

That's ok. You don't have to. No, I don't want to write a story that is made up of someone else's ideas. As I said, it's another way of looking at it. I obviously look at it differently than you do.

Some things, you know, aren't a matter of right or wrong but of what works for me doesn't work for you.

Reality is that not everyone works that way. I never have and never will post asking for ideas. They simply wouldn't work for me. They wouldn't be mine.

Is there any rule that we have to look at it the same way?



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wetwilly
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In Dennis McKiernan's "Dragondoom," people killed very ancient, very powerful dragons by setting up traps using very mundane, non-magical materials that were intelligently used. The one trap I remember (kind of) is a trap they used to kill a dragon that couldn't go in the sunlight without dying. They made this big thick covering (two sheets of sailcloth with a layer of lead between them, if I remember correctly) and srung it across the entrance to the dragon's lair, then they lured the dragon into the front chamber of the lair and dropped the covering so the sun finished him off. I'm not suggesting you steal that exact idea, but maybe something along the lines of a well-planned trap for dragons. Then, as the dragons caught on to how the traps worked, humans could think of different traps, and it would become a battle of wits.
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RMatthewWare
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I giant mongoose?

For some reason I'm thinking back to Moby Dick. Didn't three of the people pursuing the whale forge a harpoon in their own blood? If these people don't have a lot of magic, I'm thinking maybe something forged in blood. Maybe a sword or arrow or something forged part in human blood and part in dragon blood. You'd have to have your characters go and collect dragon blood, which could be fun. If dragons are magical, and their blood is magical too, maybe coupled with human blood it could be deadly. Fight fire with fire and all that.

As far as I know, I haven't seen this done on a dragon level. And I don't plan on using it in any of my own work, so its yours to play with


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JeanneT
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Huh. Do I see myself asking for a plot here, Lord Darkstorm? I don't think so. I know the plot which I mentioned having already decided on. But thanks for your interest.

Thanks for all the brainstorming. Some good ideas and if I don't use them they may spark something for someone else. On of them clicked with my plot and set off an idea that will work.

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited December 10, 2007).]


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RMatthewWare
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quote:
I hope everyone will forgive me...but I'm a little confused over an earlier statement from another thread.

Perhaps you should discuss it in that thread, then. We're talking dragons here.

But if you insist, I have just a couple points:
1. All humans are capable of changing their minds.
2. A lot of my ideas came from sharing what I'm writing with others and receiving their input.
3. A person asking for advice may not be asking for a direct answer. It is possible they are simply starting a brainstorming session to get creative juices flowing. A lot of ideas I get don't necessarily come from someone else, but are the result of my own mind working as the result of a discussion. In other words, someone else's idea gets my creative juices flowing but I'm the one to actually come up with the idea.

Now, back to dragons.


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JeanneT
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Well, I don't consider saying 'this particular point has me stumped can I get people's thoughts?' to be the same as 'someone give me ideas for a plot.' *shrug* If Lord Darkstorm wants to consider it the same or other people do, that's fine with me. At the time my comment was this: Is there any rule that we have to look at it the same way? That is still my reaction.

Back to dragons, someone mentioned dragons being delicate. That would be quite out of the usual for dragons--not necessarily bad but I think it might be hard to sell since it's not what readers expect and would kind of negate the reasons for having dragons in my case. They are usually extremely difficult to kill and that is the case with the ones I'm planning. Dragon magic is the explanation for their impossibility to kill and they are (in my case) pretty much immortal they are so long lived.

Again, thanks for all the brainstorming. One of the storms did give me the spark of something that I will change to fit into mine. The petrified wood thing will work, I think and fits great with some other plot points. Obviously, not just any petrified wood and that's where the rest of the plot comes in. It can simply be made into an arrow--no magic required.

Some great thoughts in there for anyone else who's planning dragons.

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited December 10, 2007).]


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rstegman
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unlike elves and dwarves, Dragons have a lot of wiggle room on how you design them. As long as they are more than acid spitting lizards, one can have some fun. I did a couple unpublished pieces where they were based on pteridactals.

Consider an intellegent creature that flies and breaths flames. If it is smart enough to know that one does not get below a certain elevation to a large group of men, it is going to be hard to catch. If it lives in rocking mountainous area and goes from hill to hill to escape persuit, it is going to be hard to kill.
If it sees the people at a distance and they don't see it, and it comes in fast and low, flaming as it passes by, it can do a lot of damage and be gone before the hunters even know it is there.

If the dragon is able to flame as far as or even farther than a normal arrow can fly, then a dragon is going to be very hard to kill.

The armor the dragon has is more likely protective from flame, than from projectiles. Poisonous snakes are immune to their own poisons. A dragon is likely immune from the worst of its own heat. If it is not, firing in a cave would not be a good action for the dragon.

One can have a very fragil animal that is hard to kill. One just has to give it some other advantages like intellegence or environment.


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JeanneT
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That could certainly be one concept for dragons.

I don't know that you can necessarily say their armor would probably be mainly protective from flames. It could be though.

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited December 10, 2007).]


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wrenbird
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maybe they could make a powder or potion that, when burned, will give off copious amounts of a poisonous smoke.
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Robert Nowall
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Well, I tried my hand at a novel about apparently invincible dragons. Petered out after about seventy or eighty pages. In the (never written) part where the dragons were defeated, I was going to have the characters develop and use gunpowder---giving them the element of surprise and ending the threat for another generation, or until the dragons regroup for the sequel.

Unfortunately, around that time, I read a fantasy novel (maybe by Barbara Hambly, though I don't really remember now) where the characters developed gunpowder to deal with a magic (but, I think, non-dragon) threat. I think that killed my own story for me, though I did try again about, oh, twenty years later (and didn't get near as far.)


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JeanneT
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I don't really see any reason why gunpowder (that is to say bullets) would work better on dragons than arrows. It's pretty easy to say that a dragon's spells make them impervious to any physical penetration unless it was accompanied by some magic that nullified the dragon's spell.

In the case of these, ordinary swords or arrows would simply have no effect. And no, no one would dare try to ride them. *snorts*

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited December 10, 2007).]


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annepin
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If it ate the gunpowder it might explode... a gunpowder-stuffed carcass, maybe? I bet it could smell it, though.
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Grant John
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I know the original discussion is pretty much over, but I thought I would throw my own ideas into the dragon discussion.

The perfect thing to defeat a dragon: another dragon. If two dragons fight one will eventually win, therefore defeated dragon either way. And human's fight each other, so why not dragons?

The only other thing I have that really messes with my dragons is a God.

Grant


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JeanneT
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Well, you have a point. But since the dragons aren't fighting and no gods are cooperating, I needed something. The petrified wood from a sacred grove will have some power from a god which will work because -- I say it will.
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Rommel Fenrir Wolf II
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well when my PLT got attacked by the CONNERY DRAGON, we fended him off with .50cal, MK19, and AT4's.

i dont thinkthat the people in your story have access to those weapons. in my twisted mind dragons are cold blooded so they hibernate in winter. that would be the easest way to kill one.

RFW2nd


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TaleSpinner
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How about this: The mother dragons have to eat a certain kind of rock to be able make the shells for their eggs. No rock, no eggshells, runny eggs--blech.

The rock is unique to a single mountain range and the evil king won't let them near it...

Just an idea,
Pat


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TaleSpinner
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Or, in order to make fire they must eat certain herbal grasses which are easily combustible. But the grasses are threatened by plagues of locusts/the evil king/strip mining/global warming/you get the idea ...

Just another idea,
Pat


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Pyre Dynasty
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I was wondering when you'd share your experiences Fenrir.

Oh and Wrenbird I love the idea of the thing burnt making poison gas. It reminded me of the old SpiderMan comics they used gas whenever the guy was too powerful, (Like the Rhino, Molten Man, the King Pin, and Jameson's son when he got ultra strong.)


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Rommel Fenrir Wolf II
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well the snow is here in the higher elivations and i think it is a good time to find the CONNERY DRAGON. a werewolf vs a mostly frozen dragon. and i habve the advantage of .50cal AT4's and a 203.
i dont realy mind dragons until they anger me. i am the kind that would not mind them being on my land if they left my s$$$ alone.

RFW2nd+


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rstegman
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When I said that dragons have wiggle room, I meant it.

The flame can be many things beyond just fire and smoke. They can be created by mundane means, enzymes reacting with volatile oils causing comustion. the oil could cumbust with contact with air, so it be spit out in a stream and catch fire like a flame thrower. On the other hand, it could be blown hot air with some fuel in it.

The fire could be created magicially and follow its own rules. Magical fire could represent normal fires, spreading out from the mouth/nose. The fire could, though, hit just the person or place aimed at, which would have a different effect and range than a straight out flame. It might even hit a target the dragon cannot see.

A dragon sending out poison gas is quite acceptable, especially if it is like an acid or alkili and burns.

I wrote a dragon that sent images, sounds and sensations of fire into a person's mind. The "flaming" also suppressed other kinds of magic for a while.

I even wrote a fire breathing dragon that was spelled to be cold, so it had to hunt down fires and breathe in the heat in order to survive. It created havoc when it got desparate enough to go after camp and home fires.

The armor could be magical, magical enhanced, or mundane in nature.

One mainly has to create the rules that help the plot line the most, and then follow it through the story.

Edited to say that the recomendation that the dragon has to be something more than an acid spitting lizard should be followed.

[This message has been edited by rstegman (edited December 11, 2007).]


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lehollis
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I guess I'm not sure what you're looking for. It sounds like you're set on nothing physical hurting them, such as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trebuchet.

If gunpowder does exist, its not just the guns, but the cannons and explosives.

Yet, I'm guessing trebuchet and cannon are out. You mention they have spells to protect them, too.

It sounds to me like the invincibility is complete, so the only thing they have to fear (other than each other) is something you make up, like magic weapons and so forth.

If the spells are the problem, then something anti-magic or magic-eating would be nice. Perhaps something to turn their spells against them or "poison" their magic. Maybe make it so using their magic actually hurts them (perhaps only spiritually). Are they still invincible without the magic? This gives them more even footing with the warrior princess, who can then roll out the meteor-launching trebuchet or whatever you choose.

Not sure if any of that is useful to your story, but it gave *me* some interesting ideas. Best of luck.


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lehollis
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quote:
Consider an intellegent creature that flies and breaths flames. If it is smart enough to know that one does not get below a certain elevation to a large group of men, it is going to be hard to catch. If it lives in rocking mountainous area and goes from hill to hill to escape persuit, it is going to be hard to kill.

If it sees the people at a distance and they don't see it, and it comes in fast and low, flaming as it passes by, it can do a lot of damage and be gone before the hunters even know it is there.


Sorry for being a bit off topic, but this caught my attention.

My most recent novel has a young girl turned into a dragon. She's captured exactly because she doesn't grasp the danger of flying low over a large group of men. She did live in rocky, mountainous terrain and she eventually figured out the basic tactics, such as you mention--using hills and terrain to avoid projectiles, diving tactics.

I just thought the comparison was interesting.

Okay, back to the real topic now.


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JeanneT
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Glad it gave you some ideas, lehollis. That is the nice thing about discussions like this. It can give several people's imaginations a nudge.

You're right that only something that would interfere with or dispell my dragon's magic would harm them. I'm going with the extremely powerful variety.

You're right that something that would interfere with their own magic, thus making them vulnerable, is an interesting idea. I'm going to give that one some thought.

Edit: However, my warrior princess doesn't fight the dragons--she fights the people who attack them. When the dragons who are allied with the royal house are attacked and destroyed it upsets the balance of power and allows their enemies to invade them. (At least that is the current plan open to change since I'm still in the very early planning stages)

I need to up the stakes somewhat. I haven't decided what about their enemies (other than wanting to kill the ancient dragons and take over the world) is evil enough. I've never done a "they will take over for all eternity or destroy the gods" kind of story--a true epic. I've always done more sword and sorcery type with someone taking over a kingdom and they simply fight for their own existance. So for me this kind of story will be a change.

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited December 11, 2007).]


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JasonVaughn
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Not sure what item you could use but I'd make it one more ancient than the dragon. ie It is immune to anything created in its lifetime. That way it would be an item difficult to find. Gives plenty of scope for wars to be fought over it.
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skadder
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It seems fashionable to poo-poo dragon stories, yet this post has had loads of replies in a short amount of time--despite JeanneT saying she had solved her problem.

I think there is a lot of milage in dragon stories. The problem is no the subject matter by how it is presented.


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lehollis
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quote:
I think there is a lot of milage in dragon stories.

I agree. When I was developing my most recent work, I debated if I should use a dragon or something original. I received a lot of feedback that dragon would fit better in that case.


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annepin
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Yeah, the funny thing is, I poo-pooed dragon stories. But my latest novel attempt involved one, though it only makes a brief appearance. Funny, that.
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JeanneT
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I agree. Like any trope that has at times been copied or over-used you have to be sure and look for a different handling, but dragons can be great--as long as it isn't Eragon.

And thanks for all the suggestions. I haven't worked out all my problems with this plot but the suggestions gave my imagination a needed nudge for how to handle that particular issue.

Edit: Rommel, I missed your suggestion about going after dragons in the winter. It won't fit in my plot but I think it would be great used in a story. I've never seen that done.

Ha. And I like your grass suggestion, Talespinner.

[This message has been edited by JeanneT (edited December 12, 2007).]


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lehollis
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quote:
I need to up the stakes somewhat. I haven't decided what about their enemies (other than wanting to kill the ancient dragons and take over the world) is evil enough. I've never done a "they will take over for all eternity or destroy the gods" kind of story--a true epic. I've always done more sword and sorcery type with someone taking over a kingdom and they simply fight for their own existance. So for me this kind of story will be a change.

Perhaps the dragons somehow keep the evils gods bound in a prison or some such. With the dragons gone, the gods will escape and reign again or whatever works in your setting. (That raises the question of why the antagonists would do this. Perhaps they think it is merely myth? Perhaps they are in league with the evil ones, etc.) Just thoughts that came to mind when I read that.


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rstegman
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lehollis,

quote:
Perhaps the dragons somehow keep the evils gods bound in a prison or some such. With the dragons gone, the gods will escape and reign again or whatever works in your setting. (That raises the question of why the antagonists would do this. Perhaps they think it is merely myth? Perhaps they are in league with the evil ones, etc.) Just thoughts that came to mind when I read that.

Consider if those trying to get rid of the dragons are serving the gods that are trapped? Of course, they will learn after the fact that the Dragons were easier to deal with.

Janet T.

[quote]Edit: However, my warrior princess doesn't fight the dragons--she fights the people who attack them. When the dragons who are allied with the royal house are attacked and destroyed it upsets the balance of power and allows their enemies to invade them. (At least that is the current plan open to change since I'm still in the very early planning stages)[/quote/


If one has gods involved, then the gods would likely find a way to get a usable weapon to the people against the dragons.
Having groups of special agents getting to the dragon's lairs and destroying them, would really mess things up for the dragons, possibly killing the last generation. Think of an previous attack, sort of a suicide run, where the caves were attacked rather than the palace, and the dragon caves were destroyed. The offspring were either trapped or killed. There are ways of creating explosions with fine oils or vapors.
The dragons that are left are mostly male, and are now growing old and feable. The remaining females are having as many offspring as they can, but it is not optimal conditions. It could have been that the females outnumbered the males, now males are higher in number and fight over who gets the right to mate with the remaining females, messing things up, possibly even killing offspring to have their genetic line prosper. their society could well be in disarray.
Now the people who were alligned with the dragons are slighted or recieve damage, they demand restitution, the dragons refuse, the argument esculates, and there is a battle. The kingdom is devistated, the dragons suddenly find their supplies are gone. They are struggling.
Lower number of dragons, most now past their prime, no human defences, less food availability. A concerted attack and continuous harrassment around food supply areas, could starve the dragons enough to where they have to go some place else to survive. They are defeated.


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JeanneT
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Some great suggestions both of you. Thanks!
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Rommel Fenrir Wolf II
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go ahead and use it for any story if you like. the idea is fact. i know a few dragons ie the CONNERY DRAGON which i took cair of.
i found him frozen in a cave in the high afganie mountains caped with snow. placed several shaped charges and cratering charges then placed charges to seel the cave for good.
oh the binifets of being a combat engneer.

RFW2nd


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