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Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?

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Ixal

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« 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.
« Last Edit: (14:07:42/10-05-18) by Ixal »

fseperent

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« Reply #1 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.

Ixal

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« Reply #2 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.
« Last Edit: (15:32:04/10-05-18) by Ixal »

Seras

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« Reply #3 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

I apologise for my posts beeing weird to read, I am fluent in english, but almost never write in english anymore :-(

Reaver

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« Reply #4 on: (15:53:52/10-05-18) »
.
..
...


And how do you know that things aren't happening EXACTLY as Lofwyr wants?
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

SpellBinder

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« Reply #5 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.

Marcus

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« Reply #6 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.
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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #7 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...
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Mirikon

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« Reply #8 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.
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Ixal

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« Reply #9 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.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #10 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?
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Reaver

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« Reply #11 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)....

Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

Ixal

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« Reply #12 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.

Michael Chandra

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« Reply #13 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.
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PingGuy

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« Reply #14 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.