Playing Dragon PCs


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aramis erak

Legend
Not only that, but you don’t keep a crossbow readied for very long without shooting. It puts needless strain on the moving parts (arms and cord) and it risks accidental fire, or loss of the arrow.
loss of the arrow: The issue with crossbows that most hold the bolt ready only by it sitting in the groove. Any turbulence? arrow lost.

There's also the issue of most crowsbows require 3 limbs to ready, not two.
 


aramis erak

Legend
Castle Falkenstein featured dragons as a playable PC species, and I believe they could shapechange (they could definitely do magic in a unique way). Check it out!

(I had all the books and read them, but never found anybody to play it with.)
CF's Dragons also aren't classic dragons... the species binomial is telling Pterodraconis sapiens.
They're literally just sentient Pterosaurs.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Absolutely.

You can fire a bow much faster, you’re less likely to lose arrows, and you don’t need to either have a buddy to help you or improve the tech of the weapon to not need a lot of power to load.
loss of the arrow: The issue with crossbows that most hold the bolt ready only by it sitting in the groove. Any turbulence? arrow lost.

There's also the issue of most crowsbows require 3 limbs to ready, not two.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
There's also the issue of most crowsbows require 3 limbs to ready, not two.

So, on dragonback, your saddle has a horn you use to brace for pulling the string back, rather than your foot. Or something - it can be managed.

This is one of those quibbles that seems out of place when you have flying beasts larger than elephants. Really, getting a crossbow cocked isn't the big problem here.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Thoughts?

So, I think the idea can have legs, but there are questions that probably need to be hashed out for an RPG that don't usually need to be hashed out for a story.

Dragons - assuming they are like D&D dragons - big, powerful, can take down a whole town if there aren't some really epic people around to stop them. They can shapeshift into humanoids...

... so why do these dragons need non-dragons around? I mean, they have all the power of a dragon, but hands with thumbs and the ability to go indoors when they want to, too. What are the humans around for? With what we'd expect to be a pretty massive power disparity here, how do you handle the spotlight-sharing issue that usually accompanies power-disparity?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, I think the idea can have legs, but there are questions that probably need to be hashed out for an RPG that don't usually need to be hashed out for a story.

Dragons - assuming they are like D&D dragons - big, powerful, can take down a whole town if there aren't some really epic people around to stop them.
I’m not sure they are as powerful as dnd dragons, but they’re still powerful.
They can shapeshift into humanoids...

... so why do these dragons need non-dragons around? I mean, they have all the power of a dragon, but hands with thumbs and the ability to go indoors when they want to, too. What are the humans around for? With what we'd expect to be a pretty massive power disparity here, how do you handle the spotlight-sharing issue that usually accompanies power-disparity?
I’m not sure the dragons need non-dragons around, but they can’t (and most aren’t inclined to) exterminate them, so they’ve gotta coexist to some degree.

There is a place for ancient draconic powers, but they’re something like gods, or Fizban’s Great Wyrms (if the Great Wyrms had always been such, rather than growing into that power).

Like how many gods look human because they are concerned with mortal affairs, the great dragons look draconic.

What mortals can hang out with are more similar to Pern dragons, And they’re generally horse sized in body with wingspans similar to quetzalcoatlus. I’m undecided on whether they have 4 or 6 limbs.

that still leaves a powerful creature, though. One way to balance spotlight time is to give less powerful characters more narrative control, and tools for driving social scenes, etc. Something like how Monster of The Week balances the mundane guy with the chosen one.

Another is to give the dragon character less stuff from outside their Ancestry. So less of thier power comes from Archetype, to make up for a noticeably stronger Ancestry.

Or bring up the power level of humans to match dragons! 😆
 


Aldarc

Legend
So, I think the idea can have legs, but there are questions that probably need to be hashed out for an RPG that don't usually need to be hashed out for a story.

Dragons - assuming they are like D&D dragons - big, powerful, can take down a whole town if there aren't some really epic people around to stop them. They can shapeshift into humanoids...

... so why do these dragons need non-dragons around? I mean, they have all the power of a dragon, but hands with thumbs and the ability to go indoors when they want to, too. What are the humans around for? With what we'd expect to be a pretty massive power disparity here, how do you handle the spotlight-sharing issue that usually accompanies power-disparity?
Quadratic Dragons, Linear Humans?
 


Ixal

Hero
I’m not sure they are as powerful as dnd dragons, but they’re still powerful.

I’m not sure the dragons need non-dragons around, but they can’t (and most aren’t inclined to) exterminate them, so they’ve gotta coexist to some degree.
Why not? Or while complete genocide might be hard, reducing humans to small bands of nomads which are no threat should be achievable because of humans need for technology. Burn the farms and mines and they won't be able to forge weapons or feed non productive member of society like full time soldiers and wizards. They might not even be able to have cities and larger towns.

But on a more personal scale, in most dragon rider stories the dragon is subservient to the rider, sometimes even going so far that the dragons life depends on the riders. Why when the dragon is obviously more powerful and in many cases as intelligent? Why isn't the dragon in charge and why even have a rider?
 
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Silvercat Moonpaw

Adventurer
But on a more personal scale, in most dragon rider stories the dragon is subservient to the rider, sometimes even going so far that the dragons life depends on the riders. Why when the dragon is obviously more powerful and in many cases as intelligent? Why isn't the dragon in charge and why even have a rider?
I think too many examples work off D&D-style world-logic, where dragons are both smart and powerful. At the very least in such worlds anyone who rides a dragon should be pants-shittingly powerful.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Why not? Or while complete genocide might be hard, reducing humans to small bands of nomads which are no threat should be achievable because of humans need for technology. Burn the farms and mines and they won't be able to forge weapons or feed non productive member of society like full time soldiers and wizards. They might not even be able to have cities and larger towns.
Humans have ranged weapons and can build shelters, and are much more numerous. If dragons were an existential threat to humans due to their behavior and individual power, humans would exterminate the dragons.
Or possibly form mutually beneficial relationships, as early humans did with wolves, leading to modern humans and modern dogs.
But on a more personal scale, in most dragon rider stories the dragon is subservient to the rider, sometimes even going so far that the dragons life depends on the riders. Why when the dragon is obviously more powerful and in many cases as intelligent?
I think a symbiotic relationship is vastly more interesting, and while an individual Dragon is (usually) more powerful than an individual human, they aren’t generally inclined to hurt their family, which the humans they grow up with are.

In fact, part of the concept would be that dragons are bonded so closely to family that they can feel each other’s emotions. By bonding with humans (and alfar and whoever else) as they grow, they form these same bonds with them, imparting a small part of their magic to their bipedal family.
 

Ixal

Hero
Humans have ranged weapons and can build shelters, and are much more numerous. If dragons were an existential threat to humans due to their behavior and individual power, humans would exterminate the dragons.
Or possibly form mutually beneficial relationships, as early humans did with wolves, leading to modern humans and modern dogs.
It won't be that onesided. Large number of humans are only possible with a constant food supply and that is their weakness. A dragon would not need to attack settlements, so let the humans hide in their shelters, but attack the fields and farmland (especially effective when wheat is the main crop as it is requires a lot of space). Without food large number of humans are not sustainable, especially in one place.
In addition hit the mines and bridges to stifle their production of advanced tools and weapons. Sooner or later humans cease to be a threat.
And if they come for you? Dragons are much more mobile than human forces and can simply evade them and strike where there are no ranged weapons. Not to mention that the range of most bows and even ballistas is very limited, especially vertically so dragons would usually be able to fly above them to strike whatever they want.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Unlikely. Large number of humans are only possible with a constant food supply and that is their weakness. A dragon would not need to attack settlements, so let the humans hide in their shelters, but attack the fields and farmland (especially effective when wheat is the main crop as it is requires a lot of space). Without food large number of humans are not sustainable, especially in one place.
In addition hit the mines and bridges to stifle their production of advanced tools and weapons. Sooner or later humans cease to be a threat.
And if they come for you? Dragons are much more mobile than human forces and can simply evade them and strike where there are no ranged weapons. Not to mention that the range of most bows and even ballistas is very limited, especially vertically so dragons would usually be able to fly above them to strike whatever they want.
That all assumes a lot about dragons, and vastly undersells humanity’s ability to make war. Like you really can’t imagine structures to protect crops from aerial assault?

Not to mention you’d need a high birthrate for dragons to even have a chance of them winning, and your flight assumptions require both soaring flight with an incredible range (because you assume they can stay in the sky long enough to evade ballista), and probably very long range on their fire breath. If they have to swoop in within even 100 ft to burn crops, they’re within accurate now range, much less readied ballista.

Then we add in that you’re assuming humans…can’t adapt and invent new strategies to combat a new threat, in spite of “making new war technology and strategy” being one of the things humans are best at.

And then you have to establish why on earth the dragons want to eradicate humanity. They wouldn’t be significantly in competition for resources, they don’t fill the same ecological niche, so why would the dragons put forth an expansively organized and prolonged campaign or eradication in the first place?
 


Ixal

Hero
That all assumes a lot about dragons, and vastly undersells humanity’s ability to make war. Like you really can’t imagine structures to protect crops from aerial assault?

Not to mention you’d need a high birthrate for dragons to even have a chance of them winning, and your flight assumptions require both soaring flight with an incredible range (because you assume they can stay in the sky long enough to evade ballista), and probably very long range on their fire breath. If they have to swoop in within even 100 ft to burn crops, they’re within accurate now range, much less readied ballista.

Then we add in that you’re assuming humans…can’t adapt and invent new strategies to combat a new threat, in spite of “making new war technology and strategy” being one of the things humans are best at.

And then you have to establish why on earth the dragons want to eradicate humanity. They wouldn’t be significantly in competition for resources, they don’t fill the same ecological niche, so why would the dragons put forth an expansively organized and prolonged campaign or eradication in the first place?
Its ok if you do not want this scenario in your game. But saying "humans will invent something" can be countered with "dragons will invent something".
It all depends on the technology available and before the invention of gunpowder aerial defence would be quite hard, simply because of the strength required to shoot upwards, coupled with how inefficient farming is and the lack of mobility and communication for humans.
To protect crops you would essentially need greenhouses which in turn would require high quality glass in large quantities which simply would not be available. Likewise putting a ballista every 200 feet and manning them day and night would not be feasible either because of the space needed for farming. We are talking miles upon miles of farmland to support a single city.
Having underground crops like carrots and potatoes might minimize the damage from fire as might water crops like rice, but in a typical European diet wheat will be one of the main crops and is very vulnerable to fire, same with corn.

No idea how you get the idea that flying higher than the range of ballistas (at best 300ft, probably even less) will be a problem for the "typical" dragon. Not to mention that there are ways to cause fires without swooping down like dropping heated rocks on the field and houses.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Its ok if you do not want this scenario in your game. But saying "humans will invent something" can be countered with "dragons will invent something".
So, we’re also assuming dragons have opposable thumbs now?
And you still haven’t provided any reason for dragons to do any of this.
It all depends on the technology available and before the invention of gunpowder aerial defence would be quite hard, simply because of the strength required to shoot upwards, coupled with how inefficient farming is and the lack of mobility and communication for humans.
Lol not really. A longbow can shoot pretty damn high, and be fire upward from a horse.
To protect crops you would essentially need greenhouses which in turn would require high quality glass in large quantities which simply would not be available.
Why wouldn’t it? But never mind that, because no, you wouldn’t you need the ability to build a structure like a greenhouse, with locking hinges and a pulley system, and metal slats that can be locked into place via rope and pulley. All things medieval Europeans could do. Add patrols and watchtowers, and a kill sight order against dragons, and you’re solid.
Likewise putting a ballista every 200 feet and manning them day and night would not be feasible either because of the space needed for farming. We are talking miles upon miles of farmland to support a single city.
You know that modern tech isn’t required to condense farming, right? Like there are places that didn’t have as much open space so they focused on crops that didn’t take as much space. It would be wild to assume that our humans besieged by dragons would just…farm the same way that medieval Europeans did.
Having underground crops like carrots and potatoes might minimize the damage from fire as might water crops like rice, but in a typical European diet wheat will be one of the main crops and is very vulnerable to fire, same with corn.
Why would we assume a typical European diet?
No idea how you get the idea that flying higher than the range of ballistas (at best 300ft, probably even less) will be a problem for the "typical" dragon. Not to mention that there are ways to cause fires without swooping down like dropping heated rocks on the field and houses.
You’re still assuming dragons can just…fly all day. And heated rocks!? Lol come on!

This is getting well into silly territory now. So now dragons can ride the winds for days like an albatross, are immune to fire, can carry heated rocks over miles without having to land and grab them, or can pick up rocks and heat them and drop them over and over, all day, without wearing themselves out.

And we still haven’t dealt with the assumption that dragons would want to do this, that humans wouldn’t hunt them down after the first town they burn, and that dragons would organize and all agree to exterminate humans, that they’re smart enough to develop strategies like hot rocks but not smart enough to be bribable by the humans, that there are no other fantastical creatures the human can tame to help them fight dragons, like…

Why are you so stuck on this, anyway? Like…either address why on earth dragons would want to do any of this, or please stop detailing the thread with this.
 

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