The hulking dragon beat its leathery wing and raised its sinuous neck, screeching with rage. Powerful winds buffeted Sir Brock, but he gritted his teeth, standing firm in the face of certain death. The great beast opened its maw, spewing forth liquid flame and igniting an inferno in the cave.
He raised his wooden shield, taking the brunt of the flames, his gaze locked on the foul creature. He reared back and then hurled his broadsword forward, the blade flashing as it spun through the air. It slammed into the dragon’s chest, burying itself to the hilt in a welter of blood.
A final screech escaped from the beast before it slumped to the hard cave floor. The dragon, bane of Lochinar, was dead.
– Chronicles of Darkness: Rise of Darq Evol (a.k.a, ‘How not to fight a dragon’)
If fantasy novels have taught us anything, it’s that the average person has at least one in five chances of being transported to a magical realm at some point in their lifetime. And if this ever happens to you, you need to know how to slay a dragon.
Sure, if you’re ever sucked into a fantasy realm, you’ll probably have some time at first to take in the local culture and impress the residents by defeating some comically inept ruffians. But once the fun is over, the superstitious people of the kingdom will expect you to face your final challenge — saving them from a dragon.
In hindsight, it was probably your fault for being thrust into the role of dragon slayer. Showing off a cat video on your smartphone may have earned you the adoration of the peasants, but it also marked you as a powerful wizard – someone capable of taking down the scaly lizard wreaking havoc on the countryside.
And coming clean isn’t an option. Not after you ate all their food and let them lavish you with gifts and attention. No, you’re going to have to march out and face down that dragon, even if you are only a part-time clerk at the local S-Mart.
So, when you find yourself staring into the cold eyes of the dragon, feeling sweat trickling down the small of your back, what do you do? Thankfully, after careful research and hands-on testing (once again, I’m sorry about your iguana, Mr. Humperdinck), I’ve identified the best ways to fight a dragon.
Fight the Dragon from a Distance
Gazing back into prehistory teaches us the best method for fighting dragons — fight it from as far away as possible. If you carefully examine the cave paintings of Europe, you’ll notice that no one is hunting a woolly mammoth with a stone knife. They’re all using spears – preferably throwing spears – to hunt the great beasts. The hunters who went the dagger route all became perfectly preserved fossils – flattened in the shape of a mammoth foot.
And while spears are great, bows are better, and siege weapons are the best. This would be the perfect time to call in that favor the King owes you and have the royal smithy craft an enormous ballista. Now when the dragon wakes up, yawns, stretches, and is busy pondering whether to burn and then pillage, or pillage and then burn, you can wheel the ballista into its den of terror, and bravely shoot the great beast in the back.
And if the dragon is one of those pesky ones that have impenetrable scales, then you can always fall back to plan B — archers. Lots of archers. While a dragon may have diamond-hard scales, it still has leathery wings and vulnerable eyes. If the siege weapon fails, have a group of peasant archers standing by, should you have to courageously flee the beast’s den with soiled undergarments. A hail of arrows should hopefully finish the job.
And as an added bonus, if the stars align, the falling body of the dragon will hopefully squish the archers, leaving you to claim all the credit. Bring on the parade.
Poison the Dragon
If you’re more likely to trip and fall on the pointy end of a weapon than use it to kill a dragon, don’t lose heart — you can still poison the great beast. Of course, you’ll have to lie outrageously when the bards ask you how you defeated the lizard, but that’s a small price to pay for eternal fame. Otherwise, you’ll be regaled with tales about how you ran away, while a heroic poisoned bovine slew the dragon.
Unfortunately, at least one cow or goat will be harmed in the making of this plan. While the average human looks delicious to a dragon, a convenient cow located outside its den looks even tastier. Talk to the locals and find some poisonous herbs, or failing that, find anything toxic you can find to poison the lizard.
That way, when the dragon lumbers out of its den, it finds a ready-made food source. One gulp later, and everyone in the kingdom is wearing dragon skin shoes for the next decade. And you become the renowned dragon killer, who lies outrageously every time you’re asked how the dragon was killed.
Trap the Dragon
Sometimes, weapons and poison won’t work against a great beast. Maybe it’s scales are too hard, or it’s too smart to be tricked into eating that suspicious cow in front of its lair. After all, wouldn’t you be wary if a Big Mac showed up on your front porch? I wish I had been suspicious that time one showed up at my door….
But moving on, if Plan A and Plan B have failed, it’s time to get creative. It’s time to trap the dragon. Probably the best way to do this is to simply seal the dragon’s cave. This can be done by starting an avalanche above the entrance, or finding some brave – or possibly stupid – masons to wall it in.
No matter how large the beast, it’s unlikely it would ever be able to dig through a few tons of rock. Once it’s entombed in its cave, add a few apostrophes to your name to make it sound more epic, and then add dragon slayer after it.
If it’s one of those annoying dragons that live high in the mountains or doesn’t have a lair, then you’re probably out of luck. Odds are a gigantic bear trap or a cage isn’t going to hold an enraged dragon. Which brings us to our final point…
If the dragon has swatted away flights of arrows, turned up its nose at all the tasty poisoned livestock you’ve offered it, and the plan to bury it in its lair has failed, it’s time to fake it. Burn a patch of nearby crops, scatter a wagon load of fish scales, and then stagger back to the village, claiming you slew the great dragon.
When the villagers go to inspect, they’ll see what looks to be the charred remains of the dragon. You’ll most likely be treated to a night of merriment and drink, at which point, you probably want to slip away while the village sleeps off its hangover. Unless you can somehow explain the appearance of yet another dragon in the kingdom. One who looks suspiciously like the first one.