Friday, April 13, 2018

Dealing With Dragons

It is an unfortunate truth that, in any fantasy world involving dragons (even normally-friendly ones), you or your characters will eventually have to face an angry attacking dragon. If you're particularly unfortunate, you'll have to face multiple attacking dragons at the same time. In either case, it's best to be prepared with some basic strategies beforehand. And that's why, today, I'm going to give you five tips that will hopefully keep you alive next time you find yourself facing down an angry furnace-with-wings.

Dealing With Dragons

1. Aim for the wings. Ok, look. This might not be the advice you'd find in the hundreds of dragon legends, myths, novels, and other forms of narrative, most of which recommend going at the underbelly or the neck or something of that sort. And, you know, that advice is fine . . . if you want to go for the one-shot-one-kill-almost-died-five-times strategy that works mostly because there's a million-to-one chance it won't. And, you know, if that's how you want to live your life, I won't stop you. However, if you're more interested in being effective than dramatic, here's my advice: aim for the wings first. Why? Well, let's take a quick look at some dragons.

What do they all have in common? That's right: scales everywhere except the wings. Instead, we've got a material that looks more like layers of skin, probably with blood vessels in it. That doesn't mean the wings will be easy to take out (they've got to be pretty strong to hold the dragon up), but they are a lot more vulnerable than the rest of the dragon. Plus, you know what happens if you tear enough holes in the wing? That's right, the dragon falls! If you're lucky, the fall alone will finish it off . . . but most of the time, the dragon will only be stunned. And that's when you grab your chance and attack the eyes, the neck, the head, anything, and put an end to the fight before the dragon comes to its senses.

2. Keep moving! Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule. If you've got, say, a ballista or cannon or proven-dragon-proof fortress, by all means, stick with it. But, in general, even for dragons, moving targets are harder to hit and catch. So, keep moving from cover to cover as much as you can . . . or else your battle will be over in very short order.
These people are going to die, but they've got the right idea, at least.

3. It's dangerous to go alone. Look, I get it. You want to be a hero and get the glory or prove your worth or whatever. So, you think you need to take on the dragon all by yourself. But what you don't realize is that this attitude is basically asking to get killed. Dragons are bigger than you, stronger than you, and much more deadly than you. Your best chance is to work together with people who you trust to have your back. How that works out is up to you. Maybe you all concentrate your fire on one spot; maybe a few of you distract the dragon while the rest take aim; maybe half of you focus on the dragon and the rest defend against threats on the ground. Just do it together. Remember: it's better to be alive than famous.

4. Do NOT try to make friends with the dragon. I know some of you would much rather befriend the dragon than fight it. I get that, and I honestly agree . . . but the time to befriend a dragon is not in the middle of a battle. That's what you do to prevent the battle in the first place. Sadly, unless you have a prior relationship with the attacking dragon, attempting to befriend it will probably end with you as a pile of ash.

5. Accept that everything will probably be on fire. Speaking of piles of ash . . . yeah. Dragons are big, they're powerful, and they have the destructive power of a whole guild of wizards. Just think of what Smaug did to Laketown! Even if you do everything just right to bring down the dragon, it'll take time. So, if you think there's a chance of a dragon attack, don't depend on your fighting abilities alone to keep local civilians alive. Have a plan to evacuate them that will keep them as far from danger as possible. And, after you've taken out the dragon's wings, don't hesitate to drop a building on it if you need to. Once again, keeping the maximum number of people alive is your priority, not fame, glory, honor, or your city. Keep that in mind and you'll go far.

What strategies would you suggest for dealing with attacking dragons? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)


  1. Great post! Very useful tips. I've been trying to impress upon my fictional friends these very concepts for years, but they never seem to hear me through the TV-screen or the page. You, my friend, are a wise woman.

    1. Thank you very much! Yeah, unfortunately, characters never do seem to listen all that well . . . they really need to work on that.