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Why do dragons have this fearsome reputation?

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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #45 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.
« Last Edit: (15:46:16/10-18-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Ixal

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« Reply #46 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.
« Last Edit: (16:12:23/10-18-18) by Ixal »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #47 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.
« Last Edit: (16:08:05/10-18-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Marcus

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« Reply #48 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.
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The Wyrm Ouroboros

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« Reply #49 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.
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Reaver

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« Reply #50 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?
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.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #51 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.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Marcus

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« Reply #52 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.
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The Wyrm Ouroboros

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« Reply #53 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:
  • Perianwyr shows up in two adventures, Mercurial and I don't recall the second.
  • Arleesh shows up (along with another dragon) in Bottled Demon.
  • Eliohann is the Johnson in Dragon Hunt.
  • Dunkelzahn hires you (okay, indirectly) in one of the Election year mission compilations, possibly because you did something to help save his rep in an adventure in the prior mission compilation.
  • Masaru rescues an egg in ... hm.  One of the adventures.  I believe you get hired by him to do it, and he 'takes delivery' in the midst of downtown Seattle rush-hour traffic.
  • Hestaby hires you, whether directly or indirectly, for all of the 'Survival of the Fittest' adventures -- which forces you to directly encounter, IIRC, both Aden and Ghostwalker, indirectly run into the astral forms of Lung and Ryumyo, and of course get face-to-face with Lofwyr there at the end.
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.
« Last Edit: (20:00:05/10-20-18) by The Wyrm Ouroboros »
Pananagutan & End/Line

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Michael Chandra

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« Reply #54 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.
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Bull

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« Reply #55 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. :)
« Last Edit: (19:21:45/11-01-18) by Bull »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #56 on: (22:16:20/11-01-18) »

RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Bull

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« Reply #57 on: (22:52:54/11-01-18) »


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. :)

PingGuy

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« Reply #58 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.

Ghost Rigger

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« Reply #59 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.
« Last Edit: (15:45:25/11-30-18) by Ghost Rigger »
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