On the nature of Dragons

When you think ‘vampyre’, do you think of the old English terror in the night,
The shrouded blood-drinking ghost, or do you think of Edward Cullen and Angel?
Right now there are hundreds of people on the net mocking and defaming Twilight,
and trying to bring the vampire back to its roots. Fine.

But the Dragon has undergone a much more widespread, and less protested,
Gimpification- google image search ‘dragon’ and you will no longer find primal terror-
Instead, the dragon is now an almost noble looking creature, and bland, too- they are no longer monsters.
The so-called, ‘Honky Dragon’, as I so call it, no longer looks fearful even when portrayed
with proper respect in such bastions as Heavy Metal cover art. It’s just weak.

Forget the ridiculousness of color-coding dragons according to alignment,
I don’t feel they should be even possibly good.
The best Dragon I’ve seen recently is the one on page 21 of the childrens’
book ‘curse of the ring’, illustrated by Tudor Humphries. Unfortunately, I
was unable to find a copy online, so here are some pictures that seem to me to be helpful
in explaining what I mean.

mainly for the claws. look at those things!

several core principles, repeated many times over.

A Dragon is not noble. A Dragon is scaly, evil, a writhing Wyrm,
A wracked and ruinous form of life!

When I see a dragon like this:

It just twists my heart with the thought of what we’ve lost.

Our culture is so oversaturated with this kind of dragon
that it isn’t even cool anymore; when you see a guy with a silver dragon ring, which is closer to your first impression: “bitchin’!”, “how long since HE dated”?

How am I supposed to scare my players with this?
In earlier editions (or so I have heard; I don’t have enough personal experience to be OFFICIALLY a Grognard) dragons were treated to fear and awe- but perhaps it’s more of a cultural paradigm shift than it is the fault of the RPG industry.

Clearly, though, this is one of those times when Tolkien’s “childrens'” book The Hobbit seems closer to the ideal RPG mindset than any D&D book published later than 2e.


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