Dragon Hunting in different cultures


Homebrew and House Rules

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So I was working on incorporating the Empyreal lord Simad into my home game when I started to question how exactly he would work in other faiths that aren't quite as inspired by european backgrounds. As it stands most depictions of dragon hunting we see use tactics and concepts that seem to be informed by western practices such as using knights in heavy armor, siege weaponry, and large heavy bladed swords or other devices to take them down when in reality most cultures either didn't have access to or didn't have training with any of those devices.

So now I ask you, paizo board, how do you think other cultures (or those inspired by them) that don't fall into the medieval formula might hunt dragons that plague their land?


Very, very carefully.

Also nets, ranged weaponry, gunpowder-based rockets. Anyone dumb enough to actually charge a dragon with heavy melee weaponry is probably named 'dinner'. :s

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Raiderrpg wrote:

Very, very carefully.

Also nets, ranged weaponry, gunpowder-based rockets. Anyone dumb enough to actually charge a dragon with heavy melee weaponry is probably named 'dinner'. :s

I don't know. In a lot of pre roman european traditions individual glory was more important than group success. I could totally see a germanic or viking inspired dragon hunting party that uses nets and harpoons to drag the creature to the ground where the unruly mob of individual warriors go charging in to cut it down, each hoping to be the one that lands the killing blow and add another slaying to their roster. Hell the Ulfen probably hunt drakes and other non ice burrowing dragons like that.


Those cultures didn't have fire-breathing, winged lizards of death to contend with.


There is dragons in most every culture, oddly enough. In some they were revered as Gods, while others whould challenge them as an initiation ritual for x achievement or some test of might. Dragon hunting were mostly the domain of the fools as they whould bring woe wether they succed or fail. Exept in few culture, ppls whould associate themselve as a particular quality of those beast, like strenght, courage, magnificence, ect.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Raiderrpg wrote:
Those cultures didn't have fire-breathing, winged lizards of death to contend with.

Actually having a bunch of highly skilled individual killers scattered about charging a pinned fire breather would probably be more effective then a group firing in formation. The fact that they are spread out would make it harder for the dragon to kill them all in one fell blast. Also if we are assuming this is happening in a pf mechanics world the ones who survive could have enough time to waste the thing while its breath weapon recharges.

Now I'm not saying this is safe or wise by any means. The point though is that if you have dragons existing in a game setting like pf or golarion where they are a threat to all cultures then each one would probably invent their own way of hunting and processing them that fits their cultures. Now again all of them do have to be safe (or hell totally sane) but hell that's the job. It's like whaling or deep sea crab fishing, they each will try to make the job safer but there is no real way to make it completely without risk.


Don't be afraid to create/incorporate unique "dragon-hunting" weapons, such as dragon piercing crossbows, razor sharp dragon-killing lances, etc.; also anti-dragon magic weapons or devices.

Also, you could create a dragonslayer PrC (or use the Dragonslayer PrC or Dragon Stalker PrC from the 3.5 Draconomicon) and slap it on a Ranger.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Elghinn Lightbringer wrote:

Don't be afraid to create/incorporate unique "dragon-hunting" weapons, such as dragon piercing crossbows, razor sharp dragon-killing lances, etc.; also anti-dragon magic weapons or devices.

Also, you could create a dragonslayer PrC (or use the Dragonslayer PrC or Dragon Stalker PrC from the 3.5 Draconomicon) and slap it on a Ranger.

Yes but that feels kind of like missing the point. The idea is to start thinking about how other cultures besides the classic medieval western ones might hunt dragons given the tools they had at their disposal.

For example in a culture like the Mongols they probably did it on horseback, with a small group acting as bait to draw the thing into a chase. Once the beast is in hot pursuit the other horselords come charging from off in the distance, closing the gap and then enfilading it with arrows until it falls out of the sky. Seriously Dragons probably wouldn't even mess with them since they could literally fire backwards off their horses as they retreated which means they could do serious harm to a drake or most dragons who decided to actually chase them.

One of the groups I'm really interested to hash out is native american cultures particularly Navajo. They had a history of horsemanship and bow wielders but also hefted lances and eventually firearms and I'm trying to think of ways to incorporate that into a working model for dragon hunting. Maybe something like the former but with lancers who ride at the read with lances off in the flanks and when the dragon comes low enough charge it.

Silver Crusade

Well with the alchemist class and delayed bombs... fill a cow full of those, then send it towards a hungry dragon. Dragon eats the cow... and BOOM!...


So you're looking for tactical suggestions.

For Native American cultures, this would depend on which group you are talking about. As many of them use a counting coup type challenge to prove bravery (being able to get as close to the enemy without getting attacked), many would likely develop methods of trickery (The Raven) to bring down a dragon.

The Navjo lived generally in canyon/cliff areas like the Grand Canyon. To battle a dragon, I would surmise they used the terrain to great advantage. Using counting coup they could draw a dragon into a canyon, then once the dragon is in the strike zone (whether on foot or flying) they spring the trap-likely huge extremely strong nets trhown/dropped from above, or nets lauched from devices that entangle the wings, OR collapsing stone colums atop them. Weapon-wise, they tended to use stone clubs, spears, bows, and flint knives. They could adapt these to create large heavy clubs with stone spikes used to pierce dragon scales, or develop large lance-like spears to pierce or gut dragons.

Other tribes, say a Great Plains tribe would likely utilize bows, nets, and their horses to help draw the dragons out, keep ahead of them, but also to keep a downed and netted dragon subdued between a number of horsemen. They might even use dug pits covered in animal hide, and try to draw a dragon to the ground and get it to attack that way, in hopes that it would fall into the pit, breaking a wing or something.

Forest tribes would use the trees to their advantage, creating large tree-size projectiles using ropes, net traps to entrap them, using their own flying animals (eagles, ravens, etc.) to draw the dragon in. You just have to be creative.

Really, research the terrain that any particular group you are interested in inhabited, their tribal weapons and tools, and their normal hunting tactics, then extrapolate them into the proper tools, weapons, and tactics needed to take on dragons. While we all tend to think such tribes were primitive, they were extremely intelligent and adaptive. The reality is that dragons don't exist, so there was no need to deveopl weapons/tools/tactics. That's the approach I'd use, relying on real world knowledge of the individual group, and extrapolate it into what you are looking for.

Sovereign Court

It's possible that a Mongol culture might consider dragons the "hardest foe", because dragons will absolutely terrify your horses. If a Mongol has to fight something on foot, now that's baaaaad.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:
It's possible that a Mongol culture might consider dragons the "hardest foe", because dragons will absolutely terrify your horses. If a Mongol has to fight something on foot, now that's baaaaad.

I don't know with the mongols I think they would train horses to be at least slightly more inured to a dragons normal presence (at least the more common and less absolutely destructive true dragons that are able to drop a frightful presence) so there would be a little less worry of them running off. That being said big true dragons that drop a frightful presence would probably be the stuff of nightmares.

As for Navajo practices I don't really see the nets but I can get behind the dropping parts of a canyon on them. Maybe use bolas to try to tangle up their limbs or mouth so they can't breath weapon people.

Another interesting one is something like Amazonian or certain african tribes with the use of specialized poisons. If you can get enough of it and of the right stuff you can make the fight a cake walk. Hell a good Con poison not only weakens it but makes it harder for the beast to summon up it's breath weapon. Now if you can say soak a food item in it then you really got something going.

Now you can also include some of the fantasy races from pf here too. Like how the hell do you defend your dwarven hold from dragons that can literally burrow in and around all your tunnels, leaving you unable to see them until they pop out?


doc the grey wrote:

...

Now you can also include some of the fantasy races from pf here too. Like how the hell do you defend your dwarven hold from dragons that can literally burrow in and around all your tunnels, leaving you unable to see them until they pop out?

Dwarven priests or earth specialists, using earth elementals and various other magical creatures of the earth that they call upon to help defend against them. Spells that hamper digging, or even encase the dragons is stone, hold monster, temporal stasis, time stop, etc.

Sovereign Court

Another angle to consider: how will non-western cultures incorporate magical abilities into their warfare?


How they deal whit Dragon mobility? Fight, above average land speed, climb, swim, burrow, téléportation and plane shifting kind of moovement. For flight i have made some mundane specialised arrowhead once, they whould force fly check or inflict a single point of dmg everytime the 10 ton beast remain in the air until healed. This could have been done from stone age technology.

How they're gonna survive the key ability of the beast? Fire breath, frightfull presence, full control and knowledge of their environnement, modern day best technology accurate sense, sheer size, alternate form and spa. I have build a Dragon slayer pc that were to grapple dragon and wrestle it to submission. Hell, climb the titanesque foe if need be.

How do they handle the formidable spell casting capacity of the real dragons worth naming to make urself a name? Rangin from arcane to domain spell and divine access, from cantrip to miracle spell. I, well ... so far the few Dragon ive met so far as pc werent well into spellcasting or were dead before they could breath twice. .. on the other hand, my player always complained i cheeze Dragon ...

How in the nine hell are they even able to outwit a Dragon? Living well over a millenia, beeing on the top over the top of the food chain, knowing ally and ennemy, disposing of the wealth of an average party, controlling area of the mightyest kings and having family (well rarely close knit but still). I usually annoy my gm by actually looking for as much info as i can on a particular Dragon. End up as more a role play thing than roll play.

Now my point is, as long as you can find only one answer to anything above, you have a Dragon Slayer! And if it worked only once (aka against a whelp) you now have a Dragon slaying culture. Too many killed a rat and were known as bane to every wererats around the world.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ascalaphus wrote:
Another angle to consider: how will non-western cultures incorporate magical abilities into their warfare?

Are you referring to in dragon slaying specifically or to all war in general? If the latter then you might want to throw up a new thread for that, if the former then it again depends on the culture.

Like with Navajo or plains Indians I could see them preferring magic that helps with the range of their shots, their accuracy, and the speed of their horses. At the mid tier I can see magic that helps them force them out of the sky, most likely wine magic or earth magic to drop canyon walls on them when dragons are lured into pad traps. Potentially electrical spells that drop lightning on them but I remember seeing info that says lightning struck items were considered unlucky so people who throw down lightning might not be the most welcome.

Ohh I could also see Indian sorcerers on horse back firing acid arrows into drakes they've lured out of hiding.


I could see jungle dwelling elves combating green and black dragons by firing arrows coated in Dex poison. Then coating themselves in clay mud to protect from acidic breath.


Wivern riders using entangling to crash land Dragon and fininsh the job at the tip of a spear. A cliché.


The two classic examples of Dragonslaying I can think of in European tales are Sigurd in the Volsung saga and Beowulf fighting a dragon.

Sigurd did use a standard-issue magic sword (Gram, forged from the fragments of his father's broken sword), but rather than engaging in open battle he dug a pit, hid in it and waited until the dragon walked overhead. When it did he drove his sword into it's belly, killing it. So stealth and trickery can play a big part, regardless of culture.

Beowulf is slightly more straightforward. Beowulf, the local king, goes to fight a dragon with a band of his men. All his men apart from Wiglaf flee in fear, and Beowulf goes to face the dragon. Beowulf and Wiglaf together slay the dragon, but Beowulf is mortally wounded. From what I can see they're equipped with pretty standard mail, helms, shields and one-handed swords which would have been available to most cultures across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Their tactics aren't particularly advanced - they just attack and fight it with melee weapons.


Dragon Hunting techniques: Hire a bunch of (culture appropriate) high level adventurers to do it for you. They'll use a bunch of magic and their normal magic gear.

Low level punks won't be able to handle a real dragon regardless of tactics or special gear.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Homebrew and House Rules / Dragon Hunting in different cultures All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Homebrew and House Rules