Shadowrun

Shadowrun General => The Secret History => Topic started by: Ixal on (13:57:58/10-05-18)

Title: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (13:57:58/10-05-18)
Having brushed of on the latest SR lore I came to wonder why dragons have the fearsome reputation they have?
When people talk about them they are portrait as highly intelligent and master manipulator which gave rise to the "never deal with a dragon" saying. But when you look at the recent history dragons seem to fail with everything they do.

- Dzitbalchén got imprisoned, executed and dissected by Azlan/Aztechnology without anyone being able to prevent that
- Celedyr got played by Aztechnology which used their access to Eliohann to develop Blue-227 and other anti dragon weapons, failed to bring back Eliohann and instead unleashed Deusdragon (whats the current status of that anyway?) and then got outsmarted by Villers during the NeoNet breakup.
- Lofwyr was unable to prevent the rise of Spinrad who seems to always be ahead of him, didn't look all that good during his conflict with Alamais, even though he prevailed in the end and S-K lost the top AAA spot to MCT and a lot of influence in the middle east
- Sirrurg and Hualpa got both defeated by Aztechnology (either directly or by proxy) without inflicting any serious or lasting damage
- Hestaby lost everything and is apparently doing nothing currently (or is there any hidden information on her actions besides that she might possibly be in Seattle?)
- The war with the Black Lodge is going badly for the dragons
- Dragon killing seems to be quite common considering all the people who have done it (even UCAS government officials)

The list of successes for dragons doesn't look all the impressive compared to that and are often followed by a "but".
- Dunkelzahn got elected president, but died one day later
- Ghostwalker got control of Denver, but got defeated by Harlequin+Aztechnology and currently seems to be involved in heavy fighting for Denver (sketchy, where can I read more about the current situation?)
- I guess Perianwyr music label is still going well, but that alone is hardly impressive.
- Pobre getting Yucatan as a puppet of Aztechnology might count as a win? Not sure.

Have I missed some big spectacular win for them which makes them deserve their reputation? Or have the storywriters overused the "if you want to make someone look dangerous, have him defeat a dragon" method of characterization without realizing that by now dragons are more or less the laughing stock of the 6th world?

So far I can't really find any reason why someone should not "deal with a dragon" as compared to "deal with the Vory/Yakuza" or even "deal with a AAA backed Johnson". Especially Aztechnology looks way more dangerous than S-K as they seem to always win and have blood magic.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: fseperent on (14:53:19/10-05-18)
IMO, metahumanity has finally caught up to them.
Dragonkind might also have grown overconfident in their abilities, and are paying the price.
The line, "don't believe the hype" springs to mind as well.

Dunkelzahn commited suicide to power an artifact that could break down astral bridges.
The discovery of the astral bridge that prompted the suicide was destroyed, so I would call that a win.
Read the Dragon Heart Saga for the juicy details.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (15:28:58/10-05-18)
I know the events of Dragon Heart. Still, neither the public or even the shadows know about it and I also doubt Dunkelzahn had originally planned to have to sacrifice himself before Aztechnology messed with Horrors. It was necessary, but hardly a win.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Seras on (15:43:34/10-05-18)
A handfull of Dragons destroyed Brazils 300.000 man army in a few weeks and said: This is amazonia now, bitch

Lowwyr took over the Worlds largest corporation, before anyone new what was Happening.


Basically the puny humans multipled like rabbits and invented awesome Technology. But they are still trying to catch up.


It still takes a nation or a megacorp of metahumans to stop a single dragon....so walk carefully

Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Reaver on (15:53:52/10-05-18)
.
..
...


And how do you know that things aren't happening EXACTLY as Lofwyr wants?
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: SpellBinder on (16:22:44/10-05-18)
As of early 2079, Ghostwalker kicked the other nations out of Denver and declared it his own domain.  Harlequin's involved, but not likely the way you might think.

And don't forget what Aden did in Tehran in 2020:  leveling 200km^2 of the city by himself.  Kinda helps establish that fearsome reputation.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Marcus on (16:43:48/10-05-18)
Dragons don't play according to rules human understand, their goals maybe understandable, but the scope of the plan to achieve them is not.
We don't really know what happened to Big D. Maybe he lost, Maybe he won? With their magic Death itself maybe temporary.  Any defeat of one dragon very likely represents the victory of another. So each item on the list is also most probably the success of some other dragon's scheme.

Next Dragons are magic beyond the scope of human understanding. Their magic is legendary, including the ability to literally alter-reality by shear force of will.

Even fair minor dragons or dragon minions can alter the balance of power in a city.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (17:55:47/10-05-18)
Two of your examples are of conflicts between Dragons, so I fail to see why those matter here.

Anyway: Sure, the Great Dragons might still make mistakes. And sure, the normal dragons can be killed at great cost, or by a secret society. But they are still scary as fuck, and we still need to make sure not to piss them off. When it takes a country to deal with a single dragon, and you never know when a dozen might unite against you...
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Mirikon on (21:01:19/10-07-18)
Dzitbalchen wasn't a great, just a 'normal' dragon, and they CAN be brought down by people who have enough force.

But as for why people are like "Oh shit, dragons"? Dunkelzhan was LEGENDARY for his machinations, and was still screwing with the world for DECADES after his death through his will. Ryumyo is basically one of the major behind the scenes powers in the Yakuza and MCT, and everyone knows it. Lofwyr took over Saeder-Krupp and the first anyone knew about it was when he stepped in, told everyone he was the majority shareholder, and kicked the board to the curb. Ghostwalker shows up, and proceeds to kick the asses of several national militaries for days before the Draco Foundation stepped in to convince people that it would be best if they all just accepted him as overlord of Denver. Hestaby did much the same when CalFree and Tir Tairngir were fighting and got too close to Mt. Shasta. And then there's Amazonia.

Sirrurg was only brought down after an Immortal Elf helped Aztechnology complete a magitek superweapon and lost almost 1/3 of all of Aztlan and Aztechnology's combined forces ramming it down his throat. AND HE STILL WASN'T DEAD!

Lofwyr tanked a ritual magic attack in the middle of a dragon fight and still won.

And that has nothing to do with how dragons can manipulate things behind the scenes. Dragons are schemers, never forget it. They are at their LEAST dangerous when you're trying to deal with them with direct violence. It is telling that the only times anyone manages to defeat the great dragons, it is because they were using the resources of a megacorp, or they were immortal elves or fellow dragons.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (13:50:54/10-08-18)
Dzitbalchen wasn't a great, just a 'normal' dragon, and they CAN be brought down by people who have enough force.

But as for why people are like "Oh shit, dragons"? Dunkelzhan was LEGENDARY for his machinations, and was still screwing with the world for DECADES after his death through his will. Ryumyo is basically one of the major behind the scenes powers in the Yakuza and MCT, and everyone knows it. Lofwyr took over Saeder-Krupp and the first anyone knew about it was when he stepped in, told everyone he was the majority shareholder, and kicked the board to the curb. Ghostwalker shows up, and proceeds to kick the asses of several national militaries for days before the Draco Foundation stepped in to convince people that it would be best if they all just accepted him as overlord of Denver. Hestaby did much the same when CalFree and Tir Tairngir were fighting and got too close to Mt. Shasta. And then there's Amazonia.

Sirrurg was only brought down after an Immortal Elf helped Aztechnology complete a magitek superweapon and lost almost 1/3 of all of Aztlan and Aztechnology's combined forces ramming it down his throat. AND HE STILL WASN'T DEAD!

Lofwyr tanked a ritual magic attack in the middle of a dragon fight and still won.

And that has nothing to do with how dragons can manipulate things behind the scenes. Dragons are schemers, never forget it. They are at their LEAST dangerous when you're trying to deal with them with direct violence. It is telling that the only times anyone manages to defeat the great dragons, it is because they were using the resources of a megacorp, or they were immortal elves or fellow dragons.

Sure, but most of the stuff isn't known to the public or even runners.
In the public and shadow perception many things dragons did in the last few decades turned out to be failures for them. The time when dragons easily took over stuff is long gone.
I simply feel it is hard to find a justification in game for the "never deal with a dragon" rule, when it is perfectly ok to deal with the Vory and other syndicates which have a much better track record than dragons in getting things done.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (13:57:35/10-08-18)
Hestaby waged war on Lofwyr and destroyed corp sites and nobody managed to take her down. Scary as heck. And sure, maybe some machinations failed. But it still takes an entire army to take these guys on. Are you an army?
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Reaver on (15:17:18/10-08-18)
Dzitbalchen wasn't a great, just a 'normal' dragon, and they CAN be brought down by people who have enough force.

But as for why people are like "Oh shit, dragons"? Dunkelzhan was LEGENDARY for his machinations, and was still screwing with the world for DECADES after his death through his will. Ryumyo is basically one of the major behind the scenes powers in the Yakuza and MCT, and everyone knows it. Lofwyr took over Saeder-Krupp and the first anyone knew about it was when he stepped in, told everyone he was the majority shareholder, and kicked the board to the curb. Ghostwalker shows up, and proceeds to kick the asses of several national militaries for days before the Draco Foundation stepped in to convince people that it would be best if they all just accepted him as overlord of Denver. Hestaby did much the same when CalFree and Tir Tairngir were fighting and got too close to Mt. Shasta. And then there's Amazonia.

Sirrurg was only brought down after an Immortal Elf helped Aztechnology complete a magitek superweapon and lost almost 1/3 of all of Aztlan and Aztechnology's combined forces ramming it down his throat. AND HE STILL WASN'T DEAD!

Lofwyr tanked a ritual magic attack in the middle of a dragon fight and still won.

And that has nothing to do with how dragons can manipulate things behind the scenes. Dragons are schemers, never forget it. They are at their LEAST dangerous when you're trying to deal with them with direct violence. It is telling that the only times anyone manages to defeat the great dragons, it is because they were using the resources of a megacorp, or they were immortal elves or fellow dragons.

Sure, but most of the stuff isn't known to the public or even runners.


And you think what the Vory and Yaks are other mobs are up to is common knowledge?

What you are missing is the very fact that NO ONE knows what the dragons are up to, and there is no way to know!

You know you are working for the Vory or the Yaks or the any other Mob gang by the very way they do business... They want you to know who you are working for! - its part of their power.


But a Dragon? (let a lone a GREAT Dragon!), They don't come and sit down and chat about the job they want you to do. They hire an intermediary to do the meet.

Their plans are also highly involved and detailed, to the point that even Niccolò Machiavelli's head would explode in trying to figure out what they are up to.

There are several stories in the older editions (2e and 3e) where some runners thought they pulled a fast one on a dragon.... only to find out that everything they did, right up from the rumor that "dropped into their lap" right on down to the fence that bought the stolen goods where ALL part of said Dragon's plan....

And those Runners that thought they pulled a fast on a Dragon and made off like bandits? they ended up on Interpols top 10 international terrorists lists and where promptly hunted down and killed by LE.

And the Dragon? He made billions, even after he lost millions.... And other then the shadow community, who pieced it all together after the fact, knows onw knows which dragon was responsible (Lofwyr, Aden, and Hastby are the favored choices)


And then there is the Runner that "pulled a fast on of Lofwyr" in 3e..... Found dead in his bed a year and a day after the run (and bragging about it)....

Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (16:41:54/10-09-18)
And pissing of people like the Mafia, even bragging about it, won't get you killed? Or one of the AAA (or even AA)?
Just saying, the other organizations seem to be a lot more competent than the dragons have in the past few decades and often equally vindictive, so singling them out as a great threat which should always be avoided seems kinda silly.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (01:08:20/10-10-18)
There are plenty of ways to get killed, but would you say random street hobos are as dangerous as a Greater Dragon? The news doesn't tend to go into 'hey, there's mob wars going on' but the footage of Hestaby completely devastating a corporate site of Saeder-Krupp shortly after her Voice got assassinated? The leaked rumors of an entire ARMY waging a war against a Greater Dragon and only winning thanks to some secret new weaponry? Now THAT will hit the news and the gossip mill.

And look, I can kill some mobsters then go underground. A Greater Dragon? HAH. I'll take my chances with making deals with the Big Five, please.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: PingGuy on (09:26:54/10-10-18)
Is it even fair to say that Sirrug was defeated by Aztechnology?  I mean their weapon put him on the ropes, but it sounds like something magical came in at that point and swooped him away while he was weakened.  Didn't a council of dragons then sentence him to imprisonment or something after that?  I've been reading the wiki so I might not have the full picture of the events, but it seems like Sirrug probably wasn't done fighting and the outcome probably wasn't a forgone conclusion.

Also, I want to say that Lofwyr's IQ is listed as being around 300, which should be frightening for any opponent.  He would have a broader and longer-term view of the machinations of the world than pretty much any other being that isn't a great dragon.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Beta on (09:42:39/10-10-18)
Yes, the greatest powers on (and above) the planet can occasionally take on even a great dragon.  But even 'lesser' dragons are more power, intelligence, and knowledge in one place than you will find pretty much anywhere else short of possibly a megacorp HQ.  And you don't understand them, and cannot expect any empathy from them.  (with a megacorp or organized crime some members of the organization may have empathy for you, even if the top bosses and organization as a whole doesn't).

On a more practical level:
- You can't damage them
- You won't resist their spells,
- You won't penetrate their masking. 
- They can easily get you to reveal any information they are interested in and then make you forget that happened. 
- They can decide not to honor their agreement with you, and they really won't suffer much in the way of consequences from that. 
- You won't understand their plans, because they are almost always many layers and moving pieces, because their intellect is extraordinary as is the timelines in which they work, and hence you won't understand how much value you hold for them.

As a GM my biggest problem with including dragons in the game is that I can't possibly be clever and cunning enough to fully do them justice.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (12:05:07/10-10-18)
Good point about Sirrurg: He was defeated because he was too much of a pain, so they let him get his ass kicked, then ended the fight and took him for sentencing. If any dragon had decided to help him instead...

And good point about how much power they have. Even Urubia has over >100 billion in assets. Mob bosses don't have that much at their disposal to get rid of you.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (12:38:58/10-10-18)
...
As a GM my biggest problem with including dragons in the game is that I can't possibly be clever and cunning enough to fully do them justice.

An old trick I hang my hat on for GMing entities smarter than any human ever could be, including myself as the GM, is to not bother fully pre-statting the NPC. Whatever the players come up with, it doesn't catch the superhuman intellect by surprise and countermeasures or contingencies are retroactively in place.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Beta on (14:46:35/10-10-18)
...
As a GM my biggest problem with including dragons in the game is that I can't possibly be clever and cunning enough to fully do them justice.

An old trick I hang my hat on for GMing entities smarter than any human ever could be, including myself as the GM, is to not bother fully pre-statting the NPC. Whatever the players come up with, it doesn't catch the superhuman intellect by surprise and countermeasures or contingencies are retroactively in place.

Oh, for sure!  Also whatever the outcome of things are, the dragon (or its ilk) has considered that outcome, and it is probably part of some branch of their plan.  i.E. I don't have to know its full network of plans, I can use the power of hindsight to make it look frightfully cunning.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: HP15BS on (15:36:00/10-10-18)
Retroactively make it into a Xanatos Gambit (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/XanatosGambit), then.

Dirty
... but I like it.

Gotta be careful with how you do that though, lest you be called on it
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Beta on (17:17:17/10-10-18)
Retroactively make it into a Xanatos Gambit (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/XanatosGambit), then.

Dirty
... but I like it.

Gotta be careful with how you do that though, lest you be called on it

Curse you for tempting me into a TV Tropes wormhole!

I didn't know that term before, but yes, I assume that dragons use Xanatos Gambits as basic strategy, and move up from there.  Yes you have to be careful not to 'be caught' (although I'm quite open in this sort of situation that the NPC is smarter than me and I don't understand all of their plans).  The trick is to ensure that the NPC has broad and nebulously defined interests that that a loss here can always be a win on another front (one not directly involving the players).  And don't have them monologue in too much detail.

So the dragon's agents were thwarted by the players who got to the tarot card first (to use current metaplot).  How might that benefit the dragon?  Let's say that it is trying to build up the frenzy around the cards, making the information that it has about who has this card a more valuable bargaining chip, while getting other parties to pit more resources into this hunt while it consolidates its power elsewhere.  And probably also it was either testing those agents or trying to get them killed off for some reason, or possibly it just wants to find out others who are better than its current agents so that it can recruit them, which drives future plot as it works on recruiting the player characters ....



Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (17:27:27/10-10-18)
Is it even fair to say that Sirrug was defeated by Aztechnology?  I mean their weapon put him on the ropes, but it sounds like something magical came in at that point and swooped him away while he was weakened.  Didn't a council of dragons then sentence him to imprisonment or something after that?  I've been reading the wiki so I might not have the full picture of the events, but it seems like Sirrug probably wasn't done fighting and the outcome probably wasn't a forgone conclusion.

Also, I want to say that Lofwyr's IQ is listed as being around 300, which should be frightening for any opponent.  He would have a broader and longer-term view of the machinations of the world than pretty much any other being that isn't a great dragon.
Sirrurg was heavily injured and cornered. He tried a big magic spell to end the battle, but Atzechnology countered with a massive blood magic ritual (I still think Harlequin had a hand in that as he needed Aztechnology troops freed up to attack Ghostwalker in Denver). If the ritual had worked correctly it would likely have killed Sirrurg, but it failed and pretty much everything in the area died or was at least knocked out. Sirrurg was as good as dead and only got rescued by a big spirit send by the other dragons which carried him away.
That and the sentencing is unknown to the public and only known to few in the shadows thanks to Frosty.
The public celebrates Aztlan as dragon killers, or at least has having defeated a great dragon, twice even as they also won against Hualpa and Amazonia. For a time maybe even a triple victor as they also forced Ghostwalker to surrender in Denver.

And thats what I am talking about, as far as most people, even shadowruners, know dragons have lost again and again in the past decades. So why do they retain their special reputation? Shadowruners regularly deal with very dangerous entities. Megacorps, extensive crime syndicates, etc. All of which are nearly guaranteed to kill any runner who annoys them enough (see what happened to Dankwalther), same as dragons. And many of them have a much better success ratio than them in the past few decades.

Good point about Sirrurg: He was defeated because he was too much of a pain, so they let him get his ass kicked, then ended the fight and took him for sentencing. If any dragon had decided to help him instead...
Sirrurg had several adult dragons in his army. They ended up as Blue-227 advertisement.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Reaver on (17:45:06/10-10-18)
Ok, let me see if I understand you.....


It takes an ENTIRE ARMY just to WOUND a single great dragon.... and you are wondering why they are feared....



I think that alone speaks for itself...
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: HP15BS on (17:56:03/10-10-18)
Curse you for tempting me into a TV Tropes wormhole!

Bahahahahahaha!

IKR?!

I started down that wormhole myself when I saw a reference to the Batman Gambit (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BatmanGambit). Then I saw Xanatos, and just had to read what they had to say about my all-time favorite villain.  ;D

And then, I had to see how that related to Slade, and then, and then, and then....
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (18:59:04/10-10-18)
Ok, let me see if I understand you.....


It takes an ENTIRE ARMY just to WOUND a single great dragon.... and you are wondering why they are feared....



I think that alone speaks for itself...

And how often does a Great Dragon come after the runners in person? About as often as the head of Aztechnology decides that you have to die, so basically never. And still, why be more afraid of a GD than Aztechnology? Aztechnology seems much more competent.
And if you go down a level why would an adult dragon be more dangerous than the local crime syndicate?
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Mirikon on (20:53:35/10-10-18)
Ok, let me see if I understand you.....


It takes an ENTIRE ARMY just to WOUND a single great dragon.... and you are wondering why they are feared....



I think that alone speaks for itself...

And how often does a Great Dragon come after the runners in person? About as often as the head of Aztechnology decides that you have to die, so basically never. And still, why be more afraid of a GD than Aztechnology? Aztechnology seems much more competent.
And if you go down a level why would an adult dragon be more dangerous than the local crime syndicate?
For the same reason that Doctor Doom is a better villain than the Green Goblin. Doom has wheels within wheels, and you never know quite when something failing serves another of his purposes. The only people that can match them for intellect and planning are other immortals.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (04:06:46/10-11-18)
Ok, let me see if I understand you.....


It takes an ENTIRE ARMY just to WOUND a single great dragon.... and you are wondering why they are feared....



I think that alone speaks for itself...

And how often does a Great Dragon come after the runners in person? About as often as the head of Aztechnology decides that you have to die, so basically never. And still, why be more afraid of a GD than Aztechnology? Aztechnology seems much more competent.
And if you go down a level why would an adult dragon be more dangerous than the local crime syndicate?
For the same reason that Doctor Doom is a better villain than the Green Goblin. Doom has wheels within wheels, and you never know quite when something failing serves another of his purposes. The only people that can match them for intellect and planning are other immortals.

He also got beaten up by Squirrel Girl.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Mirikon on (23:06:47/10-11-18)
Ok, let me see if I understand you.....


It takes an ENTIRE ARMY just to WOUND a single great dragon.... and you are wondering why they are feared....



I think that alone speaks for itself...

And how often does a Great Dragon come after the runners in person? About as often as the head of Aztechnology decides that you have to die, so basically never. And still, why be more afraid of a GD than Aztechnology? Aztechnology seems much more competent.
And if you go down a level why would an adult dragon be more dangerous than the local crime syndicate?
For the same reason that Doctor Doom is a better villain than the Green Goblin. Doom has wheels within wheels, and you never know quite when something failing serves another of his purposes. The only people that can match them for intellect and planning are other immortals.

He also got beaten up by Squirrel Girl.
Name a villain that hasn't been beaten up by Squirrel Girl, and I'll show you a villain she hasn't met. She defines 'deus ex machina'.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (04:20:34/10-12-18)
I have come to the conclusion that this topic is simply Azzie-propaganda, and since I hate Aztech I'm off. Y'all have fun now! :P
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Magnaric on (17:59:27/10-12-18)
So, I think Ixal you made a good point but you may not realise it. Namely propaganda. Shadowrun is a game of conspiracies, plans within plans, and no one ever having all the pieces of info. This works equally well for different groups depending how they use what they know and what they take away.

Take the war against Sirrurg from 3 different points of view, Aztechnology, Shadowrunners, and Sirrurg/other Great Dragons.

First Aztechnology. As far as their own citizens and the rest of the world at large know, Sirrurg repeatedly attacked military AND civilian assets(Aztechnology had bases within civilian population centres), and finally after a protracted battle the brave Aztechnology forces defeated and nearly killed the Terrorist Dragon, and he only barely managed to flee in order to survive.

However, the public will never know that about 60% of Aztechnology/Aztlan(is there really a difference?) Military got absolutely MAULED during this conflict, they lost 80% of their food production, something the Corp is known for, and their Secret Anti-Dragon Superweapon, while successful, also caused massive casualties and collateral damage in that it makes non-dragons go completely fucking homocidal-crazy for a while after they've been exposed. So they technically won, but they were in a very, very rough spot afterwards, and so they HAD to use it as a PR Victory.

Second, Shadowrunners. So, it's mentioned in a few different places that there were a TON of "irregular assets" used  by Aztechnology as backup, scouts, and to clear out one of Sirrurg's lairs in order to goad him out into the open. Now in an operation of this importance, info would be compartmentalised to an insane degree, and most Runners wouldn't know what they were involved with until the very end if at all. So they wouldn't know how monumentally high their expected mortality rate was going to be. A lot of them got pulped in the battle and the ops leading up to it, but by that time they never had a choice. You really think once you accept a high-paying job only to find out the Azzies hired you to help take on a Great Dragon and his party pals, that you can back out? You say no, they kill you for now knowing too much. You cut and run, they hunt you down afterwards as a liability. So in this case, the rule is Never Deal With Aztechnology.

But for Runners that weren't involved directly, all they really know is Sirrurg fucked up a lot of Azzies over a couple years, then got stomped by the ENTIRE AZTECHNOLOGY MILITARY. It doesn't matter if you were on one side or the other or just in the area, it wasn't safe for nobody that day.  So just by association, Dragons and whatever they're involved in is fragging dangerous, Omae. Best to stay away.

And then look at the Great Dragons. So, they "rescued" Sirrurg, got to see what effect he had on Aztechnology's concentrated forces and vice versa, and they got to see and know all about Blue-227 and it's effectiveness(and side-effectiveness). And they waited and saw how the Azzies spun the story, what they revealed and what they lied about. And the takeaway here is, if you push the metahumans to the point of desperation, they have the ability to rise up and threaten even the Greats. Granted, not all at once, and not without catastrophic damage to themselves, but a threat nonetheless. And that's information that absolutely CANNOT be known to the world at large.

So let Aztechnology claim the victory here. Let the public see them as heroes for a moment. I guarantee you the Dragons won't oppose Aztechnology so soon, at least openly considering Sirrurg was Public Enemy #1, but you better believe their info and shadow game just went up like crazy.  Which means you really never know when that balding middle-aged fixer is actually on a dragon's payroll. Heck HE doesn't know it. And that certainly means you have no clue if what you're being paid to do is ACTUALLY what you're being paid to do, or who your real enemies and opposition on the run is.

When it comes to dragon's, all you know is that they're dangerous, their enemies are dangerous, and you'll never see their true plans unless they want you to. THAT is why you never deal with a dragon. Because Shadowrunners live and die by the information they have, and if a dragon enters the picture, you'll never have all the pieces, or the right ones. Live or die, the decision isn't up to you anymore at that point. It's up to Them.

And it was made before you ever got the call from your fixer.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: The Wyrm Ouroboros on (20:14:33/10-13-18)
Thing is, most (if not all) of the examples given are 'large numbers of humanoids focusing exclusively on a specific project, at which they defeat a great dragon'.  What is repeatedly not said is that those specific projects are far and away not the only iron said great dragon has in the fire -- that when the aforementioned group beats the dragon, the dragon is paying attention to three or five dozen more projects as complicated and important to it as the specific one at whch the aforemention group beats it.  Want to take on the great dragon Sirrurg in combat?  You'd better have massive planning, a huge number of military assets, a couple of immortal advisers in your corner, and you had damn well better achieve the element of surprise.

So sure, beating a Great can be done, with a huge amount of time, effort, dedication, money, blood, toil, sweat, and tears.  But always keep in mind that you're fencing against it in just one of its projects.  To completely destroy a Great Dragon?

... good luck.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (03:24:58/10-15-18)
Thing is, most (if not all) of the examples given are 'large numbers of humanoids focusing exclusively on a specific project, at which they defeat a great dragon'.  What is repeatedly not said is that those specific projects are far and away not the only iron said great dragon has in the fire -- that when the aforementioned group beats the dragon, the dragon is paying attention to three or five dozen more projects as complicated and important to it as the specific one at whch the aforemention group beats it.  Want to take on the great dragon Sirrurg in combat?  You'd better have massive planning, a huge number of military assets, a couple of immortal advisers in your corner, and you had damn well better achieve the element of surprise.

So sure, beating a Great can be done, with a huge amount of time, effort, dedication, money, blood, toil, sweat, and tears.  But always keep in mind that you're fencing against it in just one of its projects.  To completely destroy a Great Dragon?

... good luck.

I didn't limit the original post to great dragons.
Oh sure, they are powerful and can destroy nations if they want, but so can any megacorp. Likewise, a megacorp as an entity is as invulnerable to runners as a GD is. Runners might annoy a megacorp, maybe even manage to disrupt one of their plans, but they won't destroy one. And depending on the manager in charge they will be hunter or at least put on notice like what would happen when you show up on the radar of an GD.

And if you go down a level and look at normal dragons there is even less of a difference. Yes, most of them have lots of resources and are hard to kill and have many plans. But this applies to many other groups like organized crime, AA corp or even large policlubs. And a Vory boss can be as vindictive as a dragon can.

A lot of the danger of dealing with dragons is in my eyes overhyped. As seen in the past dragon fail constantly with their plans and dealing with other organizations is as dangerous as dealing with a dragon.
This saying is in my opinion an artefact from the past and doesn't really has any reason to exist in the current Shadowrun except tradition.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Reaver on (07:08:17/10-15-18)
.
..
...

Just remember:

Be kind. Lofwyr likes his snacks with mustard, so carry as many packets as you can to your meetings....
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Longshot23 on (08:47:08/10-15-18)
.
..
...

Just remember:

Be kind. Lofwyr likes his snacks with mustard, so carry as many packets as you can to your meetings....

I thought tomato sauce (ketchup) was Lofwyr's thing . . . .
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Magnaric on (15:24:26/10-15-18)
One other point, building on what The Wyrm Oroborous said. Dragons are usually working on many different plans and angles simultaneously. So Ixal when you say that dragons' plans fail constantly, I feel like 1) your definition of "constantly" and mine are very different, and b) who's to say how many of their plans have worked perfectly and no one ever knew about it, or at least could prove anything?

I feel like the times we learn about dragons' plans getting thwarted or them failing to accomplish a task, it's directed because that's the one plan that failed. Think about the perfect Shadowrun. Well executed, meticulously planned, and afterwards no one directly or indirectly involved is any the wiser as to what happened. Sure, they might have a piece or two, but they don't know the full scope of who did it, what they did, how, etc.

Dragons are like that but multiplied by many times. The best plans they have are the ones where the various pieces moving about to accomplish it have no idea they're being manipulated.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Mirikon on (23:06:42/10-16-18)
Dragons are like that but multiplied by many times. The best plans they have are the ones where the various pieces moving about to accomplish it have no idea they're being manipulated.
Who do you think helped Knight set up the Nanosecond Buyout?
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: The Wyrm Ouroboros on (03:49:43/10-18-18)
Enh.  At this point, Ixal is not looking for 'Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation,' but rather 'this is why I think dragons don't/shouldn't have fearsome reputations.'  Looking for proof of his viewpoint, and decrying anything offered him.  I mean, he's been offered plenty of examples as to why dragons are feared; his response is pretty much always 'but nyah!', whether that's trying to explain how dragons (adult or great) get 'beaten' all the time, disdaining their overall capacities as being like so many other things in the SR world (such as megacorporations), yadda yadda.

Ixal, you think it's 'legacy', and 'overblown', and whatever.  Fine.  Look at all the arguments you're making against our points -- that other things exist at their level (megacorporations), that dealing with big groups is like dealing with a dragon (organized crime, whatever) -- and, simply put, you're cutting the branch out from under yourself.  What you're saying isn't incorrect; it is correct.  But you keep failing to take the step necessary and go 'oh, yeah, all that 'equivalent of an organization' is resident in one individual'.

So sure: shadowrunners should stay at arm's length from corporations, megacorporations, organized crime families and syndicates, conspiracy groups, all that shite.  Because any of those could do major damage to a shadowrunner, whether in the short or long term.  Oh, and maybe they should stay at arm's length from dragons, because just one dragon is the equivalent of a corporation, megacorporation, organized crime family or syndicate, conspiracy group, and all that shite, and can bring all their equivalent force to bear immediately, instantly, in its current very-present state.

Look at what your argument actually is.  If you don't want to admit that your argument is in favor of dragons having a serious rep, hey, whatever floats your boat; feel free to be one of those people that says black is white, fact is fake, and the reputation of an individual that can functionally ignore any counterattack while tearing apart a 30-story building with only its bare hands is overblown.  Just ... you might consider keeping that to yourself, or maybe to Plan 9's conspiracy boards and the Lunatics 'R' Us chatrooms.  Because any way you slice it, a dragon -- adult or Great -- is a major force to be reckoned with.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (11:17:01/10-18-18)
As a fresh point, I'll throw a meta observation out there:

Dragons were given stats.  Uber NPCs of similar power (the Bottled Demon, Harlequin, etc) are pointedly not given stats.  For the express reason that statting something just invites players to try to kill them.

It might have been a better decision to have never published stats for Dragons and instead just have them do whatever they want, immune to the rules of the game.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Reaver on (11:59:49/10-18-18)
As a fresh point, I'll throw a meta observation out there:

Dragons were given stats.  Uber NPCs of similar power (the Bottled Demon, Harlequin, etc) are pointedly not given stats.  For the express reason that statting something just invites players to try to kill them.

It might have been a better decision to have never published stats for Dragons and instead just have them do whatever they want, immune to the rules of the game.

They tried that. All that happened was an overwhelming cry for them TO stat dragons.....

(Doesn't mean you are wrong though) 
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (12:19:45/10-18-18)
Harlequin has stats. They do state 'Magic 30+' iirc and '30 should be plenty but feel free to increase', but he has stats.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (12:29:19/10-18-18)
Harlequin has stats. They do state 'Magic 30+' iirc and '30 should be plenty but feel free to increase', but he has stats.

He didn't for a good long while. Notably during the course of at least one, and IIRC two campaign packs centered directly on him.  And their sheer ridiculousness probably supports the point anyway that he never should have been given stats.

There are NPCs that are forces of Plot.  Nothing the PCs can ever do will directly defeat them... they can only exploit Plot objectives that in turn foil some aspect of such NPCs schemes.  Or did the PCs actually do exactly what the NPC actually wanted after all?

That's how the (Great) Dragons shoulda/woulda/coulda been handled. Lofwyr and Dunkelzahn never needed stats because if you ever beat them, you weren't playing Shadowrun anymore anyway.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Marcus on (12:59:15/10-18-18)
That’s a very old debate within the gaming community. There is inherent argument that if you give something stats it’s “ok” to pcs to beat it. SR has gone both ways at different times under different writers. Though I would say I think 5th has always given stats excepting nanotech plot virus.

In general imo if its’ going to matter to the plot then stats Need to be there.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (15:16:56/10-18-18)
Enh.  At this point, Ixal is not looking for 'Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation,' but rather 'this is why I think dragons don't/shouldn't have fearsome reputations.'  Looking for proof of his viewpoint, and decrying anything offered him.  I mean, he's been offered plenty of examples as to why dragons are feared; his response is pretty much always 'but nyah!', whether that's trying to explain how dragons (adult or great) get 'beaten' all the time, disdaining their overall capacities as being like so many other things in the SR world (such as megacorporations), yadda yadda.

Ixal, you think it's 'legacy', and 'overblown', and whatever.  Fine.  Look at all the arguments you're making against our points -- that other things exist at their level (megacorporations), that dealing with big groups is like dealing with a dragon (organized crime, whatever) -- and, simply put, you're cutting the branch out from under yourself.  What you're saying isn't incorrect; it is correct.  But you keep failing to take the step necessary and go 'oh, yeah, all that 'equivalent of an organization' is resident in one individual'.

So sure: shadowrunners should stay at arm's length from corporations, megacorporations, organized crime families and syndicates, conspiracy groups, all that shite.  Because any of those could do major damage to a shadowrunner, whether in the short or long term.  Oh, and maybe they should stay at arm's length from dragons, because just one dragon is the equivalent of a corporation, megacorporation, organized crime family or syndicate, conspiracy group, and all that shite, and can bring all their equivalent force to bear immediately, instantly, in its current very-present state.

Look at what your argument actually is.  If you don't want to admit that your argument is in favor of dragons having a serious rep, hey, whatever floats your boat; feel free to be one of those people that says black is white, fact is fake, and the reputation of an individual that can functionally ignore any counterattack while tearing apart a 30-story building with only its bare hands is overblown.  Just ... you might consider keeping that to yourself, or maybe to Plan 9's conspiracy boards and the Lunatics 'R' Us chatrooms.  Because any way you slice it, a dragon -- adult or Great -- is a major force to be reckoned with.

Any more personal attacks because I don't bow to your wisdom without thinking for myself?
One dragon equivalent to a corporation? What are you smoking? No, a dragon with the resources of a corporation is equal to a corporation.
Sure if you strip everything away a single dragon is much more powerful than a single person. But add money, influence and modern weaponry to the mix and it evens out a lot. Unless you are in the middle of the wilderness where no one cares a dragon can't run rampage to crush its enemies. They are strong but far from invulnerable as the lore, both old and new, and their stats show. They have to work in secret through proxies, the same way any other organization has to. So in the end, despite their more impressive physical and magical attributes, they are most of the time not more dangerous than organized crime or corps. They all hire the same people to deal with problems. It all depends on how many people they know and how much Nuyen they can throw around.
Sure, Great Dragons could get you wherever you are if they wanted to, but they still have to deal with the fallout of that. The same way Villers would have to deal with the fallout when he Thor Shots his enemies like he did with Dankwalther. So again, nothing that Great Dragons alone can do. Their human "equals" have the same kind of power and the same limitations.

So as dragons are not inherently more dangerous than others unless in the very rare cases they can come at you directly (but if you are in a place where this is possible then a corp or syndicate would have no problem to bring in so much firepower unhindered that the result would be the same) maybe they are just better in finding people they want dead?
Well if you look at the recent events that does not seem to be the case. In fact, many things dragons have done in the recent past seemed to end in failure. And not only did many of their plans not work out, many of them got killed in recent years/decades by various factors. Sure they always have multiple plans going, but so has anyone with real power in SR. And the "maybe failure is part of their plan" excuse only works for so long until it loses its effectiveness. From time to time one needs to land a big win for it to continue to work and when was the last time a dragon managed to pull off some impressive win which wasn't immediately thwarted (like when Dunkelzahn blew himself up)?
Oh sure, out of game knowledge mitigates some of those events like knowing the real story behind the "assassination". But Never deal with a dragon is not an out of game saying, but actual in game advice given to fresh runners. Yet what in game reason is there to specifically single out dragons except "Sensei said it to me and I never questioned it, and so I am now telling you"?
As far as I see there is no real reason to fear dealing with a dragon more than dealing with many other people and organizations which usually contract runners.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (15:40:37/10-18-18)
Game stats aside... a primary reason people in-universe fear dealing with dragons is because dragons aren't known (or assumed) to have metahumanity's interests at heart.  Dealing with a Dragon is pretty much the Sixth World equivalent of making Deal with the Devil. 

Corporations and crime cartels will betray when they profit by doing so.  Their motives are understandable and can be reasonably anticipated.  Neither is true of Dragons.  Plus, they just might eat you.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (15:41:59/10-18-18)
Game stats aside... a primary reason people in-universe fear dealing with dragons is because dragons aren't known (or assumed) to have metahumanity's interests at heart.  Dealing with a Dragon is pretty much the Sixth World equivalent of making Deal with the Devil. 

Corporations and crime cartels will betray you for simple profit.  Their motives are understandable and can be reasonably anticipated.  Neither is true of Dragons.  Plus, they just might eat you.

Thats an explanation I can accept. But then many other things, basically everything not metahuman, like spirits of just Nagas would also fall under that.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (15:44:05/10-18-18)
Game stats aside... a primary reason people in-universe fear dealing with dragons is because dragons aren't known (or assumed) to have metahumanity's interests at heart.  Dealing with a Dragon is pretty much the Sixth World equivalent of making Deal with the Devil. 

Corporations and crime cartels will betray you for simple profit.  Their motives are understandable and can be reasonably anticipated.  Neither is true of Dragons.  Plus, they just might eat you.

Thats an explanation I can accept. But then many other things, basically everything not metahuman, like spirits of just Nagas would also fall under that.

They don't have the power (nor usually the supra-human intellect) that Dragons have.  Imagine a megacorp or crime cartel that DIDN'T behave rationally (by metahuman standards). Be pretty hard to consistently work for/with them.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (15:53:30/10-18-18)
Game stats aside... a primary reason people in-universe fear dealing with dragons is because dragons aren't known (or assumed) to have metahumanity's interests at heart.  Dealing with a Dragon is pretty much the Sixth World equivalent of making Deal with the Devil. 

Corporations and crime cartels will betray you for simple profit.  Their motives are understandable and can be reasonably anticipated.  Neither is true of Dragons.  Plus, they just might eat you.

Thats an explanation I can accept. But then many other things, basically everything not metahuman, like spirits of just Nagas would also fall under that.

They don't have the power (nor usually the supra-human intellect) that Dragons have.  Imagine a megacorp or crime cartel that DIDN'T behave rationally (by metahuman standards). Be pretty hard to consistently work for/with them.

Evo has several free spirits on its board (which can also be plenty powerful on their own). And as I said, most of the time individual power doesn't matter as much as your resources as no matter who you are, you rely on proxies and deniable assets to act.
And how rational some Vory or Tamanous leader is can be debated.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (16:04:57/10-18-18)
Granted that while there are powerful entities out there other than Dragons, they just don't have Dragons' reputation for using metahumans as expendable pawns for inscrutable purposes.  Maybe there's an argument for entities that deserve the "Never Deal with a Dragon" rep more than Dragons do, but that's an argument best made in-character on in-universe conspiracy theory chatrooms.

There's a certain point where you just have to accept that it's an in-universe trope.  "Everyone knows" that elves are out to rule the world and that dragons will betray you for reasons you'll never even anticipate.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Marcus on (16:43:47/10-18-18)
Ixal, Wyrm makes some commpelling points. It seems very clear this isn’t going anywhere useful. I’d suggest locking it and moving on.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: The Wyrm Ouroboros on (22:49:25/10-19-18)
First, wasn't a personal attack; more like a hand buzzer to try to get you to do a double-take at your own stuff.  While I was going to chop everything you said up and do a point-by-point debate, I realized that it wasn't necessary.

What it boils down to is this: not only is a dragon a living, flying, spell-casting tank, but it is a cut-throat supergenius (minimum Logic and Intuition attributes of 8 each) with a crystal-clear memory (literally at times) and an eye for any and every advantage, weakness, hesitation, or other point of leverage its opponents display.  It by nature and habit takes the long view, regarding a 'short-term plan' as one that wraps up within ten or twenty years, it never forgets a slight, and makes absolutely certain that it not only 'lives well' as the best form of revenge, but also makes sure that the life of whomever hurt or insulted it (except, perhaps, another dracoform of equal rank) is turned to both its own benefit and is ended prematurely.  It is insatiably drawn to power and the ruthless use of it, acquiring millions, billions, and possibly trillions (or more!) of nuyen in assets, all to serve the interests of one being: itself.

Now, you argue that this is no different than any other corporation or syndicate, and to an extent, you're right; the Mob has a long memory, the Yaks don't play that sort of game, and screwing with a megacorporation is a short road to a long rough patch.

In time, however, most metahumans forget; they can forgive, or have their forgiveness purchased.  They don't generally make plans that include 'make Gerald's life a living hell' as an aside that keep 'Gerald' in poverty and anguish for most of a decade, whacking his legs out from under him -- possibly literally -- if he manages to get a leg up.  There (likely) isn't a file folder that says 'Making That Gerald Guy Pay For Looking Scornful When I Said That One Thing' in the cabinet of a corporate CEO.  Most groups -- especially corporations -- have to serve the bottom line, and so the vast majority of activities pursued by them, whether that's at the behest of a corporate Johnson, a power-player, or the CEO (or a made man or the Don himself), have to serve that bottom line.  In some situations, yeah, that's gonna be 'Jimmy the Fink done did us wrong; go make an object lesson out of him.'

But that still isn't 'Jimmy the Fink done did us wrong; let's wait six years, then blow up his car, burn down his house, whack his wife making it look like a traffic accident, plant a sympathetic hooker on him, get him to turn himself into a mule for the organization by way of a couple/three cutouts, and after eight months of running CalHots, see if we can't set up a link into Tir Tairngire, using him as the mule for it.  He gets nailed, fine, the elves will roast him over a slow fire.  He doesn't get nailed, fine, we got a pipeline into the Tir.'  This latter is the way a dragon thinks.

It just popped into my head, someone in a movie that a) actually resembles a Shadowrun dragon and b) has earned the reputation for it: Terry Benedict, from Ocean's 11.  "The last guy they caught cheating in here? Benedict not only sent him up for 10 years, he had the bank seize his house and then he bankrupted his brother-in-law's tractor dealership."  "If you're gonna steal from Terry Benedict, you'd better goddamn know. This sort of thing used to be civilized. You'd hit a guy, he'd whack you, done. But with Benedict... at the end of this, he'd better not know you're involved, not know your names or think you're dead, because he'll kill ya, and then he'll go to work on ya."  Because this is what dragons do -- their vengeance tends to be all out of proportion to the scale of the insult.

In addition, dragons are -- even at baseline Charisma 8-9 -- compelling and competent negotiators.  Which means that the likelihood of there being a mild-looking sub-clause that will mean the dragon can sell your organs if you screw up is pretty damn high, even if the 'contract' was verbal-and-a-handshake.  (See 'out of proportion vengeance', above.)

Which is why the advice is to avoid cutting a deal with them, or better, don't deal with them at all.  Because, see, a corporation or syndicate -- which are collections of individuals -- require multiple people.  To be mastermind, to be negotiator, to be legbreaker, to be mystic, to be historian, analyst, accountant, everything else.  A dragon ... can be all of those himself, if he so wishes.  They don't always wish; 'exercise of power' means having minions, and making those minions do things.  But the information his organization collects does get to the dragon, and the dragon does put two and two together, faster and in ways different than people do, and holds onto that information far longer -- and then puts this 'two' together with a 'two' that happens ten years down the road, and winnows out a secret that is otherwise incredibly well kept.

Can people do this?  One or two of these roles, yeah, sure, but even people who can do that are few and far between.  All of them at once?

"Well, that's what you have the corporation for."

Yeah.  Yeah, that's my point.  Because a dragon with the assets of a corporation, but not the people, pretty much is a corporation -- because he is, simultaneously, all those people at once.  Does this have limits?  Of course it does!!  But a dragon's limits, a dragon's 'point of failure', are far further out, in many many more directions, than any single metahuman -- and than most groups of metahumans, if only for the simple fact that a dragon that owns a corporation can and will do things that harm the corporation in order to achieve a 'point of satisfaction' understandable only to him.

In any case.  If it's not good advice in your world, then that's the way your world is.  You're 'thinking for yourself', which is good.  But the way you're thinking of dragons isn't the way dragons are canonically thought of in the Shadowrun universe, for all the reasons given so far.

Otherwise, good luck, have fun, tell us how it works out for your players.  Or, well, for you, if you're a player and your GM doesn't buy in to your 'dragons are nothing to be feared, respected, and kept at arm's length' philosophy.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Reaver on (00:50:14/10-20-18)
Here's a question for everyone:

How many Runners do we know of that have worked with dragons?

And:

Where are they now?
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (01:07:32/10-20-18)
There's an old 1st ed adventure (going nameless due to spoiler...) that puts the runners between two dragons.

I've run it three times in three different campaigns. 3 for 3 on TPKs.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Marcus on (09:06:03/10-20-18)
The only two times I have ever had players have a real chance to run into a dragon, was one of the official mods for breaking the response chart, and once when i ran a drake game. Nether time did the group elect to face the dragon. For the official one it would have been a tpk maybe one or two left alive to serve as a warning. The second, they would have lived but as unwilling minions.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: The Wyrm Ouroboros on (19:58:01/10-20-18)
If you're running through published adventures, dragons show up a number of times.  Spoiler alert, adventure style:
These are the ones I can remember off the top of my head, but I'm sure you bump into another one or three here and there.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (04:28:20/10-21-18)
In Dragon Song CMP, your first run is saving Perianwyr from Ghostwalker's prison and you have to escort him later to various clubs of his in the other runs, iirc.

Incidentally, given how there are two dragons in the Redmond Barrens, both invested in how things are going there, I had my players run into them a few times. When you have a gunfight right next to an active construction site of Stonehome, obviously Kalanyr will have an opinion. And when you assist in the kidnapping of whatshisface in the OU-campaign from Missions season 4 (homegame based on that storyline), who we KNOW ends up in Urubia's hands later on, it was a logical twist to have the runners end up delivering him straight into her hands. One of the runners never forgave their fixer for setting them up like that.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Bull on (19:20:06/11-01-18)
*Steps up to the podium*

*Clears through to get everyone's attention

It's worth noting that you're all missing something very important, which makes the entire argument flawed.

The very first actual game text we see in 1st edition Shadowrun, page 6, is the street proverb:

"Watch your back. Shoot straight. Conserve ammo.
And never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon."

"cut a" is the important part here. With sufficient firepower you can face down a dragon.  You can run and hide from a dragon if you didn't irritate it too much. But dragons will never strike a bargain unless it greatly benefits them far more than it does you. And even the youngest, weakest, most non-great dragon is still smarter than you'll ever be. :)

So the entire argument is flawed, based on a misquote. :)
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Stainless Steel Devil Rat on (22:16:20/11-01-18)
(https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1388724363i/351451._UY475_SS475_.jpg)
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Bull on (22:52:54/11-01-18)
(https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1388724363i/351451._UY475_SS475_.jpg)

And that post-dates the original quote, and abbreviates it for a novel title. It's the source of the misquote, likely.  Doesn't erase the original quote, nor the intent. :)
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: PingGuy on (09:46:06/11-02-18)
It's definitely the source of it.  That trilogy is what cemented Shadowrun in my brain at a young age.  I think it's fair to say that at the place in the timeline where that novel takes place, very few entities could deal with a dragon.  It's been a long time since the awakening, mankind is starting to catch up via magic and technology, but only enough for a mega-corp to go toe-to-toe with a great dragon.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (14:53:45/11-30-18)
I once had Shadowrun dragons explained to me thus: imagine that you and a few dozen other people got to live for thousands of years in the prime of their lives, while everyone else was stuck being toddlers mentally and physically for their entire lives. Sure, the toddler-men could team up and possibly overcome your physical superiority, but who cares? You can just run circles around them mentally. You can think in ways they can't even understand, and know things they couldn't possibly comprehend. They can barely focus on what's right in front of their faces, while you can think of, implement and execute multiple plans simultaneously, all of which would be better thought-out than any plans they came up with. Not to mention that your greater attention span and memory allows you to plan on much, much longer time scales than them. Where they might give up and cry when confronted with a problem, you will always overcome the problem. You already know the solutions to many problems, and you also know how to find solutions for problems you have never encountered before. You can tell them all but the most obvious lies and they'll believe you every time - and sometimes you can even get away with the obvious lies. They are also easily fooled by the slightest trick of misdirection or sleight of hand. This gullibility, combined with their inferior planning and problem solving capabilities, makes it very difficult for them to discern your motives and intentions. Meanwhile, you always have an easy time judging their motives and intents, except for when you forget to account for how ignorant and incompetent they are compared to you. Geez, you don't even need to be many times stronger, tougher, faster and more agile than these punks to absolutely dominate them but oops! You're many times stronger, tougher, faster and more agile than them anyways. And atop this banana split sundae of superiority there is a cherry: you have more resources than they do, and you always will, because you're better at acquiring them. A cherry made all the sweeter by the fact that you're also better at using them.

That is how a dragon sees metahumanity. As such, a runner should fear dragons for the same reasons a toddler should fear strange adults.

And as a side note, there is one "experience" I've had "involving" a dragon: we were in Hong Kong, and we made a really big mess of something the Red Dragon Triad was up to. Specifically, we'd heard of a ship that would be carrying about 30 children to be sold into slavery in Cambodia. For no reason other than boredom we decided to perform a rescue mission. We snuck aboard while the ship was in harbor, violently took control of the bridge when it was out at sea, violently lost control of the bridge, called our decker who was still in Hong Kong, had him hack the thing and send it back to Hong Kong. Then we called the police and gave them a really hot tip. The higher-ups of the Hong Kong police might be corrupt, but they are also desperate for something that will make them look very good in the public eye. The police chief called Lung and told him that this was something too big for them to turn a blind eye to, and he had to clean up. Surprisingly, us two streetsams got off scot-free. The GM explained that we sort of impressed Lung, we didn't do him too much financial harm and he's more interested in knowledge anyways. Now the fifty guys we'd gone up against, on the other hand.....fifty of them, two of us, and we still came out on top. He was disappointed, and so they burned, even the mage. So yeah, that's dragons for you.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (09:05:32/12-03-18)
I once had Shadowrun dragons explained to me thus:
snip...
For being so superior dragons, especially normal ones, do get smacked around a lot.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (10:05:19/12-03-18)
Adults get smacked around a lot too. Then they get back up and carry on, whereas a toddler in the same situation would, if not dead or unconscious, be crying loudly for its mommy. What point are you trying to get at? That because dragons aren't effortlessly winning at everything forever, you shouldn't be afraid of them? Because remember, you're the toddler in this metaphor. It doesn't matter if a particular adult is considered a loser and a failure by his peers. It doesn't matter if he's been smacked around a lot recently. He can still mentally and physically dunk on you all day, every day. If he wants to do something to you, only another adult can stop him. And did you miss my little anecdote about Lung?
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (13:12:44/12-03-18)
Adults get smacked around a lot too. Then they get back up and carry on, whereas a toddler in the same situation would, if not dead or unconscious, be crying loudly for its mommy. What point are you trying to get at? That because dragons aren't effortlessly winning at everything forever, you shouldn't be afraid of them? Because remember, you're the toddler in this metaphor. It doesn't matter if a particular adult is considered a loser and a failure by his peers. It doesn't matter if he's been smacked around a lot recently. He can still mentally and physically dunk on you all day, every day. If he wants to do something to you, only another adult can stop him. And did you miss my little anecdote about Lung?

Well lets wait for Ditzelbachen or all the unnamed dragons we only hear about when Jackpoint talks about how this or that person has killed a dragon or when another dragonkilling group makes its appearance get back up again...

And yes, for beings which are so superior as you make them out to be, or at least cunning and dangerous enough for there to be a special warning given to shadowrunners to not deal with them I would suspect them to succeed more than they currently do.
It would be nice if the lore would match up, meaning that if you want to continue to use the "Never deal with a dragon" saying and have dealing with a dragon actually raise notoriety as the rules suggest, that there be an actual in game lore reason as for why dragons are so fearsome apart from nostalgia. Because in my opinion in the last few years of the metaplot dragons were not displayed as cunning and dangerous opponents, only defied at great costs, but as walking trophies which are defeated (either directly killed or their plans foiled) whenever some other character needs to be made look dangerous or badass. And that happened so often that by now dragons seem to be as dangerous as Saturday morning cartoon villains which are defeated at the end of every episode.


No, I did not miss your anecdote, but instead of Lung the exact same scenario could have happened with a metahuman triad leader, yet we do not have a "Never deal with the triads" saying.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (16:11:17/12-03-18)
And yes, for beings which are so superior as you make them out to be, or at least cunning and dangerous enough for there to be a special warning given to shadowrunners to not deal with them I would suspect them to succeed more than they currently do.
Do I really need to regurgitate all the explanations that have already been given to you? Dragons succeed all the time. They succeed in private affairs that take place in the shadows, as well as more public ones. They succeed so often that it isn't even worth mentioning most of the time. 'Man bites dog' is front page news, 'dog bites man' is third page news, and 'dog bites chew toy' isn't news at all.

Quote
It would be nice if the lore would match up, meaning that if you want to continue to use the "Never deal with a dragon" saying and have dealing with a dragon actually raise notoriety as the rules suggest, that there be an actual in game lore reason as for why dragons are so fearsome apart from nostalgia.
Notoriety has nothing to do with it. Dealing with a dragon is tantamount to entering a white, unmarked van because some creepy-looking guy told you there was free candy inside; you're going to get fucked. I don't understand why this is such a hard concept for you to grasp.

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Because in my opinion in the last few years of the metaplot
Newsflash: there's more going on in the world than just the metaplot. Shadowrun is a huge, dynamic world where everyone is always up to something (multiple somethings, even), and you don't get to hear about all of it, period. In fact, you get to hear even less of it when you only pay attention to one plotline. While that one dragon whose name I cannot even be bothered to look up got screwed by the CFD saga, every other great dragon went on advancing their personal agenda and making bank. You know, business as usual.

Quote
No, I did not miss your anecdote, but instead of Lung the exact same scenario could have happened with a metahuman triad leader
Lung's actions were the opposite of what you'd expect from a metahuman Triad leader. Triads are families; they are described as taking care of and standing by their own, whereas some other syndicates have no qualms about disposing of spent assets. A metahuman Triad leader would've told the crew to abandon ship or to allow themselves to be arrested without resistance, promising them good lawyers and that their families would be taken care of if they were imprisoned. Lung killed them all because they had failed him, and this is an individual "described as a reclusive and patient dragon who tends to plan and manipulate things in the shadows, slowly spreading his domain rather than taking aggressive actions." Says a lot about the whole species, doesn't it? Meanwhile, he let the two outsiders responsible for the whole mess, the two who actually tried to sabotage one of his enterprises, get away scot-free because he thought they were cool guys. If you don't understand by now why you don't want to deal with dragons.......well, sorry, but Shadowrun isn't the game for you.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: neomerlin on (18:07:27/04-01-19)
This seems... Kind of silly.

Why should you be afraid of dragons and never deal with them? Why do they have a fearsome reputation? Because if they don't like your face, they will eat you. Or step on you. Or make your terrible face explode with magic beyond your understanding and beyond the greatest initiates achievements. Like, that's reason enough not to get in one's path, isn't it?

"But the megacorps!"

Yeah. Be afraid of the megacorps too. How does that detract from dragons? I mean, the whole point of Shadowrun since 1st edition has been the megacorps always win. The beautiful dystopic irony of the game's premise is we radical, rebellious, social outsider, criminal experts who defy society... Are still working for the corps like good little drones.

The only reason Shadowrunners exist is because they're useful. If the corps decided they no longer need them, they don't even have to send in wet teams to frag 'em, they just need to stop hiring them and Shadowrunners will fade into extinction.

None of this detracts from dragons. None of this detracts from dragons especially because they often have resources and networks comparable to corps. Regardless, intimidation isn't a zero sum game.

"Look at all the dragons metahumanity done kill/beat!"

Cool. Yeah. That's bad news for a dragon's reputation I guess. But "never deal with a dragon" is shadowrunner wisdom and last I checked, no Shadowrunner is Aztechnology. A team of Shadowrunners isn't going to bring down a great dragon any more than they're going to topple a AAA corporation and they're probably not going to bring down a major yak syndicate either.

And? So what? None of this has any baring on the fact that a dragon is equal or greater than these threats and any more threats you name.

If your argument is "dragons are no big deal and not that tough or scary" well that's silly. The dragon can still step on you.

If your argument is "There are other threats beside dragons that people should be afraid of" then... Yeah. Yes there is. That's true. That has always been true. That would be silly to deny.

And?
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Marcus on (18:12:13/04-01-19)
Ugh Please let this tragic thread Rest in Peace.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: neomerlin on (18:33:34/04-01-19)
Ugh Please let this tragic thread Rest in Peace.
Yeah, that's on me. I spotted it, had a read through and misread the last post as being March '19. Oops. I try not to resurrect threads this old in the usual course of things.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (02:46:59/04-02-19)
Ugh Please let this tragic thread Rest in Peace.
Yeah, that's on me. I spotted it, had a read through and misread the last post as being March '19. Oops. I try not to resurrect threads this old in the usual course of things.
It makes for a nice April's Fools joke though! Here I was wondering 'urk, now what' and bam, accidental necro.

Remember, people, no resurrection possible in Shadowrun.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: DeathStrobe on (23:17:50/04-05-19)
Honestly, the Secret History board is the one place I think necromancy is really good as it's fun to bring up the old context and add new perspectives on it.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Reaver on (08:40:25/04-06-19)
Remember, people, no resurrection possible in Shadowrun.

This is technically not true....


but, what comes back, isn't what died.....
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (12:52:57/04-06-19)
Which is why you put a double-tap in it and move on. Preferably with an Ares Barrett 122: 14P/-22AP with a bullseye Semi-Automatic burst.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (17:35:42/04-06-19)


If your argument is "There are other threats beside dragons that people should be afraid of" then... Yeah. Yes there is. That's true. That has always been true. That would be silly to deny.

And?

And yet, dealing with corps, (not even just AAA), organized crime, cults, free spirits, etc. each which are as scary and powerful or even more so when you take average dragons as baseline and not only talk about greats does not carry any negative stigmata with it.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (17:52:36/04-06-19)
This has already been explained to you multiple times, and you still just don't get it. Let's face it: we might as well all be talking to a brick wall in this thread.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (18:01:03/04-06-19)
This has already been explained to you multiple times, and you still just don't get it. Let's face it: we might as well all be talking to a brick wall in this thread.

You are right, you really are a brick wall.
But continue to have your characters live in fear of dragons because they have a lot or resources and can send minions after you and limit yourself to only dealing with corps, organized crime, terrorists, cults, etc. At least they only have access to a lot of resources and can send minions after you. Totally different!

By now "Never deal with a dragon" is a trope, nothing more and most active runners probably don't even know how it came up or what the point is.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (18:19:02/04-06-19)
Nice strawman. I would explain why the scare factor of a dragon is not those resources and minions, but rather how they would use them differently from a megacorp or other group of metahumans, but we both know that wouldn't get anywhere.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Michael Chandra on (18:21:23/04-06-19)
Can we just get a lock on this old thing?
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ixal on (18:36:36/04-06-19)
Nice strawman. I would explain why the scare factor of a dragon is not those resources and minions, but rather how they would use them differently from a megacorp or other group of metahumans, but we both know that wouldn't get anywhere.

Yeah, I can really see how relieved characters would be when they find out that the Vory send those hitman to capture, torture and kill you and your family and not a dragon.
Title: Re: Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?
Post by: Ghost Rigger on (07:50:58/04-07-19)
Strawman again. Let me spell out what "differently" means: instead of kidnap and torture, a dragon would get your kid hooked on novacoke and use that addiction to manipulate either you or your kid into spraying bullets in the general vicinity of that Yakuza boss they've been meaning to eliminate since five minutes ago. Will the boss catch a few stray bullets? Maybe, maybe not. It doesn't matter. The dragon's sniper on a nearby roof is going to make it look he did. If the dragon has another use for you, you and your family will be offered complete protection from the Yakuza in exchange for becoming the dragon's property. If not, you will be left to the Yakuza.

That is, by the way, the simplest and least sadist scheme I could come up with. A dragon might pull off something more complex and sadistic, but it will always end the same way: you will do something that benefits the dragon without ever realizing it, and then either become the dragon's property or die.