Tuesday, 8 August 2017

My Newfound Fear of Dragons: A Treatise on the Horrific Implications of Dragons in Medieval Warfare (May Contain Spoilers to Game of Thrones)

Now like many people nowadays, I am a fan of HBO's Game of Thrones.  I've been on a bit of a hiatus, in terms of watching the show.  (I've not seen anything past Season 5 and have read the Books up to A Dance with Dragons).  I'm also not one of those people that minds spoilers.  In fact I've been known to spoil shows for myself at my own leisure.  So when a scene from the newest episode of Season came up in my Youtube Recommendations.  I decided to give it a watch, and that is how I came to have an irrational fear of flying, fire-breathing lizards, that inhabit the typical Fantasy World.

Honestly the most scary thing I've seen on screen in recent memory.
I've never really thought of Dragons in fantasy as a serious threat.  What with the typical fantasy novel having the characters either befriending or slaying them.  The above screenshot and a few other choice moments from the scene I watched, shattered that perception.  Now that I think about it, dragons are probably the most deadly and terrifying creatures on the face of the earth.  In A Song of Ice and Fire's Westeros setting they serve as a huge part of the lore.  Mirroring the use of knights by William the Conqueror when he conquered England in 1066 in our own timeline.  Dragons in Westeros are the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, they can disintegrate armies in a fiery blaze.

Hell I don't even think there is weapon in our modern arsenals that could match a Dragon.  It combines the fear-inspiring attack of a flamethrower.  With better ground-attack capability than any helicopter (that I know of) in existence.  In the case of Drogon from Game of Thrones, he can cremate fully-armoured men in a matter of seconds.  A feat that takes an incinerator burning at 1000 degrees celsius two hours.  This is all before you add in the spells, intellect and other goodies that a typical D&D dragon possesses.  Any army trying to engage such a beast with Medieval-level weaponry is doomed to failure.

   Let's take for example a lone soldier that tries to fight a Dragon with a Light Ballista (or Scorpion).  We'll be using a Great Wyrm Red Dragon to fill the role of Drogon (who is at least Colossal size, equal to a Blue Whale) in this situation.  (Found on page 96 of the Pathfinder Bestiary).  While we'll be using a Foot Soldier to represent our would-be Dragon-slayer.  (Found on page 286 of the Pathfinder Game Mastery Guide).  Let's assume for the sake of argument that the Foot Soldier makes their Will save (a Natural 20 perhaps?) against the Dragon's Frightful Presence.  Let's also assume (again for the sake of argument) that the Foot Soldier already has the Ballista loaded.  Under ideal conditions the Foot Soldier would be trained to used the Ballista.  Unfortunately his Stat Block doesn't allow for it, without some customization on the GM's part.  So he's rolling with an Attack modifier of -2 (from his lack of Proficiency in Ballistas), unless he rolls another Nat 20, it's pretty much impossible to hit the Dragon with it's AC of 50 (no joke, do the math!)  Even if our intrepid (or stupid) Foot Soldier were to hit on a Nat 20.  All that would do is piss the Dragon off!  (It's got a few hundred hit points!)  Either way he's getting incinerated, with 24d10 fire damage and a Fortitude Save (which he can't hit) for the faint glimmer of hope he might be resurrected.  Not to mention if this was a Cone (rather than a straight line) his Ballista with it's 50 HP is probably going to be joining him.

So there you have it.  My way of coping with the trauma of witnessing an army slaughtered by a mythical, fire-breathing, flying lizard.  (That sounds a lot more childish when written out, than it did in my head).  It honestly makes me wonder if GMs should rethink, how they portray Dragon slaying quests in their games.  Or even the roles that Dragon's play in their roles.  When you are an intelligent being with this kind of fire-power (pun intended) at your disposal.  What's to stop you from setting yourself up as Overlord of a nation!  There'd really be nothing stopping you, and you could have all the sacrifices you want.  You wouldn't have to collect your own hoard anymore!  You could just have your tax-collectors (read: people that don't want to be cooked alive) bring you all the riches you could ever want.

This was a fun post to write.  Until next time be sure to +1, follow, re-share.  Have a nice day and may you roll many crits.