Monstrous Compendium Ch 13 Ficbit – Reasons Why

“He doesn’t want the Nations to win, he doesn’t want to leave us alone – he just wants us to fight each other.” Yui gulped. “And keep fighting, and never solve anything! How can anyone want everyone to hurt each other like that?”

Euryale reached down to ruffle black hair and snakes. “He’s a dragon-”

Yui bristled. “Caerulus is a dragon and he’s not like that!”

“Caerulus is a very strange dragon,” Euryale said solemnly. “Besides. He likes his lair right where it is, on the border between here and the Shadow Marches, so no one ever tries to burn his books again. And you know the first rule of dragon lairs, right, little one?”

Yui nodded emphatically. “Never mess with a dragon’s stuff!” She winked. “Unless you want them really mad.”

Euryale stifled most of a laugh. But her deadly eyes were dancing. “Your strange friends would think so, little Yui.”

“A pity we can’t mess with Beniryuu’s,” Stheno murmured.

Euryale gave her a quick glance. “Valentine still hasn’t tracked down his new lair?”

“Not yet,” Stheno sighed. Vincent had invaded every last one of Beniryuu’s old lairs as soon as they knew the players had logged out. Not alone; even the strongest elan ranger couldn’t face a red dragon alone and hope to tell the tale. He’d taken Zack’s pack with him as well. Which had taken more time. Not much, but – apparently, more than enough for a prepared red dragon to utterly vanish.

We’ll find him. Somewhere. Somehow. I am Stheno of the True Sight; I will find him. For what he did… and what he tried to do.

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18 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch 13 Ficbit – Reasons Why

    1. It would put him beyond the reach of the people he really ticked off.

      On the other hand, that would involve leaving his horde in Aincrad unguarded. And also imply that he felt he needed to run away. So I’m guessing not. Pride is a Fatal Flaw for a reason!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. /“And keep fighting, and never solve anything! How can anyone want everyone to hurt each other like that?”/
    Ah but you’re thinking of the various mortal/humanoid races and civilizations as people. Beniryuu doesn’t do this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. /As expected of the handbag./
      Any dragon that’s lived for as long as Beniryuu has knows A: when to cut and run and B: make himself very hard to find until he’s back to full fighting form.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I wonder if Benny //chose// to go into hiding, or if there was an interesting backlash from the players’ cobbled together Smite Red Dragon spell?

    Liked by 4 people

  3. One of those things that helps to predict a sentient being is to know their base concept of things they interact with.

    Benniryu is a dragon, and that’s important. but it’s not the /only/ important thing about Benniryu;
    Dragons are..hyper-ridiculous apex predators. Their armament is /overkill/ for anything except literal actual giant monsters. It’s insane overkill against 99.999999999% of all humanoids. Only intelligence, magic, /insane daring/ and a lot of luck is going to allow a human to /hurt/ a dragon, much less kill one, and size wise…after about ‘adult’ even a family of humans is nothing more than a light snack for a dragon.

    Red dragons still eat people. Two legs are amusing – but two legs are also food.

    By the standards of his homeworld, Benniryu is likely a /cannibal/. For him, humans are ‘easy food’. He doesn’t want to hunt huge dangerous prey all the time. That’s dangerous after all and living to be thousands of years old leaves you with an understanding of why doing dangerous things is to be avoided if possible.

    He’s likely perfectly content to ‘not eat just one’.

    And he has a guidepost to the future which tells him ‘if humanoids get their collective shit together, there’s a difference between ‘a humanoid’ and ‘a city of humanoids all working together’. The latter, with the right gear, can absolutely kill even an ancient red.

    Eberron mostly doesn’t have that kind of gear/cities *except* they sometimes do: high level adventurers with the leisure to pursue dragonslaying.

    The kind of dragon that eats people? Doesn’t want that.

    This is the probable guding light of the evil dragon’s interpretation of the prophecies. Keep the two legs around, sure. Let them populate, great.

    They make a nice easy food source.

    Let them get too uppity, let them become a persistent and /effective/ threat?

    Oh no.

    Like a lot of beings, neutral and good dragons would be horrified at this perspective.
    Like a lot of beings, they probably wouldn’t even /think/ of it, though, until it got rubbed into their faces.
    Which leaves the ‘E’ part of the spectrum a lot of leeway to distort the rest of the dragon’s actions with respect to the prophecies..

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thing is…

      There’s a old school DnD guy who programs mathematical simulations. Stuff like, 10,000 level one fighters, fighting monsters randomly selected in the usual way, what is the level distribution of the surviving population after so many iterations.

      3.x gave us a lot of statistical details on dragons. To include combat stats for age categories. I understand that dragons advance over time by age category. IIRC.

      One could assign a body mass to statted monsters, and make sure one has occurrence tables for those monsters. Then one could, in theory, do a numerical simulation of dragon feeding battles, based on different assumptions about what fraction or multiple of their own body mass a dragon needs to eat over time. My intuition is that the danger of feeding battles, and of running across prey that is too dangerous, makes it most credible that dragons live off of a very small fraction of their body mass over relatively long periods of time.

      If so, the danger of the required food is not enough for so strong an impact on behavior. More generally, I suspect this is a case where considering both the fluff and the mechanics is going to show that the mechanics are not designed to bear up under such rigor, and that it is better to stick to fluff and fanon.

      I dunno.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dragons up north probably herd reindeer, caribou, wild cattle, etc. They harvest meals periodically. Herd your critters on inaccessible plateaus elsewhere.

        Other dragons subscribe to a meat delivery service, like butcher carts, except aerial. Maybe it is carcasses that have been salted or made into hams. That is why it is important for them to make money.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. The one gaming group I’m in tried reconciling the discrepancies between “age categories” and “level” for dragon PCs (along with several of the other aspects of dragons that just did not work right), while using the assumption that there was some basis to the canon stats, and came up with an interesting possibility. Dragons cannot be mundane creatures (there’s too many things that just don’t add up), so that provides the first premise: dragons are magical. Not just “can wield magic”, but instead “their bodies rely on magic, and their abilities (even the ‘mundane’ ones) work because of magic”.

        This leads to the next part. A dragon grows with magic, but because a dragon is magical, it also produces magic. A dragon that holes up in its lair, pulls the roof down on the entrance, and sleeps for a century, continues to live on the magic it generates, and even slowly grows because of that. This explains both the stories of dragons doing just so, and also the idea of “age categories” in relation to power. A dragon that wants to play it safe will still eventually grow more powerful. It’s just going to be very slow.

        On the other hand, the mind also affects a being’s magic, especially if that being is a caster and not just using a few natural magical abilities. A dragon that is constantly active, fighting and gaining experience, also builds its magic faster because of that increased experience and mental exercise, and thus becomes more powerful. A dragon PC (or otherwise actively adventuring dragon) can thus gain power, size, and ability as it gains experience (and levels), at a much faster rate than its age would suggest it should have based on standard “age categories”. Of course, since its body grows with its magic, someone who didn’t know what its actual age was would think it was much older, if it was sufficiently successful, because most people don’t realize that “age categories” are misleading.

        Now, with that basic premise, and the first two conclusions drawn from it, we get into some of the interesting features of how this extends into how dragons live and work in their worlds, and how that actually matches up with campaigns and stories. First is that a dragon that plays it safe can eventually become extremely powerful, but must survive an extremely long time to reach that point, without drawing attention along the way. And it’ll still be weaker in some ways than it could be (since it was playing it safe, it wasn’t acquiring loot or other such things that might boost its chances in combat), but potentially more skilled in things that make that unnecessary. This would explain the cases where a large/powerful/old dragon appears with basically no warning, and proceeds to lay waste to its surroundings until the lucky heroes put it down and get a (level appropriate) disappointingly small amount of loot (despite often having impressive lairs), as the dragon decides it’s played it safe long enough and bites off more than it can chew because of not having the actual experience with actively courting threats to its life.

        Second is all the small/weak/young dragons in relatively large numbers make nuisances of themselves and get killed regularly by lower leveled adventurers. These are all the young ones that either aren’t lucky enough at playing it safe or simply don’t try (whether because they are going for high-risk/high-payoff, or simply giving in to their instincts too much). Most of them actually are young and foolhardy, while some of them are actually older and tried playing it safe but didn’t wait long enough or got uncovered.

        And then there’s the mid-level dragons, who are actually competent threats to small regions despite heroes, and who take serious work to bring down, yet are usually encountered out raiding instead of having established major lairs (and associated major loot). These are the dragons that went high-risk, and survived past that early stage, and are now settling into actually being successful, but are actually much younger than the “age category” their size and power would imply for them, so haven’t actually had the time or opportunity to actually amass a sizable hoard or build “real” lairs.

        And fourth is the seriously powerful and actually old dragons, the ones that not only have real lairs but also real loot. The ones that are in the campaign Lore as having been serious threats in ancient times, even if they disappeared for a few centuries to nap after proving their undisputed success. The endgame threats, or at least major side-quest bosses that you may try to avoid during the campaign, or that require serious major preparation before dealing with them. These are the dragons that survived going high-risk until they were successful, then continued to survive until they were also old. These are the ones that not only match their “age category”, but did so while adventuring and gaining class levels and accumulating loot over centuries of continent-spanning activity. And they are commensurately the most deadly and devious.

        Anyway, we figured that this both explains the odd distributions of dragon age/power/loot/lairs/etc in standard campaigns and stories, while working with the game mechanics and justifying/fixing the apparent discrepancies in them.

        Liked by 3 people

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