Chroniques de Féérune : la Quête des Origines

The Compleat Dragon Hunter (épisode 20)

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The Compleat Dragon Hunter (épisode 20)

Message  Admin le Mer 8 Juin - 20:04

Following are some excerpts from "The Compleat Dragon-Hunter", a manual composed
by Smerdiuk Dragonbane, famed dragonslayer of Arabel.
As might be expected for any project so ambitious, other experts are lining up for their turn to poke holes in Smerdiuk.s conclusions.
In general, however, the author seemed to have most things right . . . although, with any creatures as powerful as dragons, a little ignorance goes a long way.
It must also be noted that Smerdiuk left Arabel two years ago on a journey to Mount Angaroth, greatest of the peaks among the High Forest, with the avowed intention of destroying the red dragon Inferno reputed to live there. He has not returned.
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Re: The Compleat Dragon Hunter (épisode 20)

Message  Admin le Mer 8 Juin - 20:04

On Finding a Dragon
As all who wander the Realms know, dragons are highly territorial.
The problem is often not so much how to find a dragon, as how to prevent the dragon from finding
you before you are ready. It is best to be prepared at all times, but there are several unmistakable
signs that should serve to set you on your guard when a dragon is in the area.
The scent of a dragon is strong, a powerful musk with an edge to it reminiscent of the scent of the
lemon blossom. While it seems likely that the scent varies from dragon species to species, I have
found myself unable to differentiate the odors. I can only assume that a difference does exist, but is
so subtle that only dragons them themselves can remark it.
It seems to me that many dragons use their musk to mark the boundaries of their territory.
There may be marks on the ground, such as tracks or the signs of a large object passing by. These
signs are rare, however. Dragons are large, but they move with a grace that belies their size. More like cats they are in carriage than lizards. Many, so it seems, can pass through the most tangled forest
leaving nary a fallen branch broken underfoot. Then, too, dragons are cunning and will conceal their tracks, or perhaps lay tracks leading in a false direction. Recall that the spoor of a dragon is small considering his size, and it is his wont to hide them in any case. Do not depend on sighting the droppings of a dragon.
The second most vital clue as to where a dragon dwells is, simply put, experience. One must learn to think like the quarry, absorb its likes and dislikes and its prejudices.
Red dragon lairs are often near the highest point of the surrounding region, for example, as
these fell creatures relish the sense of power this gives them, and the clear view it provides of approaching enemies.
Yellow dragons (aye, there are yellow dragons) will lair at perhaps the lowest point of their
territory. Their reasoning is that creatures who are lost, wounded, or tired often travel downhill
rather than up, even when they are unaware that they do so. Lying in wait at a low spot, the yellow
tries to maximize the chances that a meal will stumble by and be devoured with the least possible exertion by the dragon.
Although I may seem arrogant, I can honestly say that I can scan the lay of the land and unerringly
pick out the best prospective lairs for every race of dragon in Faerun.
Short of experience (which, if truth be told, very few people enjoy) the best source from which
to learn the location of a dragon lair is from others. Common folk who live in the lands surrounding
a dragon.s lair, and who typically suffer most under its depredations, frequently know more about
the lair.s location than the so called wise. Never ask directly, since the very people you speak with might be under the dragon.s sway. But nevertheless lead the conversation around to the topic of
nearby terrain. Much can be learned from what people do not say, perhaps more from what they
do say. Give everyone your ear. What you learn will surprise you.
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Re: The Compleat Dragon Hunter (épisode 20)

Message  Admin le Mer 8 Juin - 20:26

On Selecting Your Time
As is well known, dragons are active both day and night.
When, then, is the best time to confront them? My own preference is night, or at noontime when the sun stands directly overhead in the sky. My reason is simple. If the sun is sinking low, you will cast
shadows, and sometimes these shadows will be even larger than your true form. Dragons know this, and prefer to hunt soon after dawn or before dusk, since at these times the enlarged shadows of
their prey make them easier to spot from on high.
If you have magic that enables you to see at night, then an hour or so after the light of the sun has left the sky is a fine time. Those dragons that have hunted at sundown are at their most sluggish.
You should temper this advice with what knowledge you have about the particular dragon you
hunt. Remember, the main purpose as yet is to draw near to the dragon unannounced. If you know
that it has under its sway certain animals, then be assured those animals will be set on guard to detect or stop you. Choose your time of approach so that these creatures are at the greatest disadvantage.
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Re: The Compleat Dragon Hunter (épisode 20)

Message  Admin le Mer 8 Juin - 20:27

On Where to Face Your Dragon
Many self-proclaimed dragonhunters will tell you .tis best to face the dragon within its lair.
It may be sleeping, they will tell you, and you may be able to fall upon the beast and slay it without cost to yourselves.
Believe them not. Aye, the dragon may be sleeping. But even the basest white dragon will have
ringed itself with traps, noisemakers, and deadfalls so as to make a riotous clamor should any
approach. Only if you can guarantee that your approach will not be detected.and the only reasonable
way to so guarantee is to approach magically, perhaps in ethereal form.should you consider bearding
the dragon in his den. Remember that the dragon knows his den. He has probably dwelt there for as long as you have lived or longer. He knows every nook and cranny, every cave and arch, every pit and deadfall. He will have it warded with magic and poison and beasts with fang and claw. He knows the exact compass of his home, and every avenue of approach to where he lies. You know none of these.
For these reasons I tell you it is best to fight and defeat the dragon immediately outside his den, as he arrives or as he leaves.the latter is the better. Use your wiles to draw near to the opening to his
den. As he sets out to hunt, set upon him. With the gods. blessings, he will be surprised and you
can strike him grievously from ambuscade. You must so time your actions, and so dispose your
forces, as to prevent him from retreating back within his lair.
Consider the tactics of this. You have chosen the place of combat, you have had time to dispose your
forces to your best advantage. Although it is the dragon who chooses the time, you have under
your command two of the three major facets of any battle.
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Re: The Compleat Dragon Hunter (épisode 20)

Message  Admin le Mer 8 Juin - 20:27

On Approaching the Lair
Recall that a dragon.s sense of vision is one of his weakest senses, while scent is his strongest. As you
approach the opening to his lair, you must do so from downwind.
As a guide: if you can smell the musk of his lair, he cannot smell you in your approach. You can disguise your scent by wearing the undressed skins of animals, although this might arouse the great
creature to hunger. Always approach in silence, whether magical or no. Bind all metal on your clothing, as the sound of a metal sheath striking a rock can be heard from a surprising distance. Shun metal armor, or silence it with spells.
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Re: The Compleat Dragon Hunter (épisode 20)

Message  Admin le Mer 8 Juin - 20:28

On Battling Your Dragon
As any who have seen one will know, a dragon close up is a fearsome foe. He is fast, lithe, and powerful almost beyond belief. For every time you hew him with an axe, he will tear you twice with a
claw. He will snatch you in his talons and chew on you like a bone. He will smash you senseless with
his tail and buffet you from your feet with his wings. I say to you, close with a dragon only when he is sorely wounded.
Dragons can destroy you from a distance with breath and with magic. You must do all within your
compass to force the beast to exhaust both these sources of power.
Feinting advances, particularly by forces immune to the dragon.s powers, can turn the tide of battle.
If one of your number is protected against fire, have him try to draw the red dragon.s attention and his attack. If one is unharmed by lightning, send him first toward the blue. Do what you can to draw the dragon.s attacks to those quarters where they do the least damage.
Also, do whatever is needful to prevent the dragon from taking to the sky. As in any form of combat,
he who holds the high ground commands the field. A dragon a-wing commands the highest
ground of all. Forestall his initiative. Take up superior positions around the exit from his lair. As he emerges, drop nets weighted with boulders upon him. Entangle him with magic.
With archers or spellcasters arrayed on high ground around him, he would have to climb through
their concentrated fire to take to the sky, something he may not have the will to do.
These two things above all: exhaust his distance attacks and prevent his flight. Do these two things,
and you will probably triumph. If the dragon achieves the skies and still retains breath weapon or
magic, unless the gods smile on you, you are lost. Remember, strike him grievously from the outset. An injured dragon cannot fly. Once he is unable to escape to the clouds and his breath weapon is expended, the advantage is yours. Strike him from a distance, with missile weapons and with magic.
Do not let him close. Engage in melee only if there are no alternatives open to you. Never accept the surrender of an evil dragon; he will not honor it.
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Re: The Compleat Dragon Hunter (épisode 20)

Message  Admin le Mer 8 Juin - 20:28

On Breath Weapons
There are purportedly ways in which to decrease the effectiveness of your dragon.s breath weapon. I have tried none of these, and so I cannot vouch for their veracity.
Wrapping oneself in watersoaked cloth or in green hides is said to mitigate the damage of
dragon fire. Some claim the breath of the green dragon will not penetrate hides soaked in urine or in
vinegar. Metal pikes driven into the ground before you may divert a blue.s lightning. A covering of lard over all open skin reputedly can diminish the torture of a black.s breath.
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Re: The Compleat Dragon Hunter (épisode 20)

Message  Admin le Mer 8 Juin - 20:28

On Dressing the Corpse
The art of dressing a slain dragon is similar to that of dressing a hart, save that the creature is so very
much bigger. If you can hang the creature, by its hind legs, do so. If this is impossible, lay it on its
back. Once the creature has been bled and gutted, you may proceed with other matters.
The hide of the dragon can be of considerable value to armorers.
The smallest piece that can be utilized is three feet on a side. This piece must be free of puncture and
slash wounds, and must not be burned or otherwise weakened. If the truth be known, I have retrieved in my career enough hide for four sets of armor, no more. The reason is that damage grievous enough to slay a dragon will often make its entire hide unusable.
Though only a fool would hunt dragons for food, their flesh can be eaten if properly prepared, with
the sole exception of the mercury dragon, which is grievous poison.
This preparation varies from race to race.
The flesh of the black and of the green must be soaked overnight in vinegar, then again overnight in
fresh water. This will usually remove the harsher oils from the meat, although it will still have a
taste reminiscent of swamp mud. The flesh of the red must be aged. It must be exposed to the air
for at least two days before it is fit for consumption. Eating it before this time is an invitation to cramps and other highly painful complaints.
Even after aging, the meat is highly spicy.too much so for some tastes, although I relish it
(more so at the time than the next day, however).
The flesh of the white requires no preparation, other than perhaps seasoning. It is tough and
generally tasteless. I have tried many ways of preparing the meat of the blue dragon: soaking, aging, seasoning, cooking, marinating, and charring. Although it is not poisonous, I can find no way to make it fit for human consumption.
As to the flesh of the goodaligned dragons, I have no direct knowledge since I have never hunted such a creature. From various sources I have heard that the flesh of the gold is reminiscent of
finest venison, and that the flesh of the bronze tastes somewhat like chicken (of course, in the final
analysis everything tastes more or less like chicken).
I have heard that in the grim and magical south, the offal and other glands of dragons are considered
the highest of delicacies. A traveler related to me that a past lord of Mulmaster would dine on nothing but the brains of red dragons, and that another worthy of Chessenta relished dragon tongue. After various experimentations, I will say that such cravings must undeniably be acquired tastes, and that the south is even more decadent than I had once believed.
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Re: The Compleat Dragon Hunter (épisode 20)

Message  Admin le Mer 8 Juin - 20:29

On Magical Preparations
Dragons are innately magical creatures, and this magic permeates the parts of their body even after
their death. For this reason, there are many parts of the dragon.s body of use to spellcasters and alchemists.
Although I pursue neither career, I have spoken with those who do, and I will try to distill
herein what little I could understand of their discourse.
(A Note: If you are a wizard or alchemist, then the remnants of a dragon can be of significant use to
you. If you are neither, then you can sell them to those who are.
From my experience, however, it is almost impossible to determine beforehand how much you will be paid for these substances. Market forces have as great an effect on the value of such substances as they do on the wages of dragonhunters for hire. As an example, I once sold a pint of black dragon.s blood for 11,000 gold coins to an alchemist. The next time I slew a black, his blood fetched little more than 200 gold coins per pint.)
Chief among the bodily parts of a dragon is his blood. This is of use in potions and as the material component of many spells. It also finds wide use in the inks used for magical scrolls. In general, the blood is most sovereign for spells that somehow relate to the principal powers of the dragon. Thus the blood of a red would add power to fire magic, while the blood of a blue might find use in magic relating to electricity.
As it was explained to me, the power and applicability of any such substance relates to the symbolism surrounding that substance and the creature it came from. For example, dragons are
able to detect objects that are invisible; thus the eye of a dragon might be used in magic that confers
the same ability.
Dragons are huge and continue to grow throughout their lives; thus the pituitary gland from the base of a dragon.s brain might be used in magic that confers growth. There also seems to be a symmetry to this symbolism. If the creature wields a certain power, then his blood or bodily parts may prove
sovereign in magic that resists that certain power.
I have come across the resting places of various dragons, and it is obvious that others have learned
what I have learned about the bodily parts of dragons. It is obvious because the entire area has become a foul-smelling abattoir. I have also seen.and smelt. adventurers returning to town after
killing a dragon and stripping its corpse. There is one thing that these adventurers did not know,
but now do.The blood and internal organs of a dragon corrupts with almost magical rapidity. Within six hours of the creature.s death, the body begins to stink; within eight it becomes literally unbearable. With equal rapidity, the bodily parts removed from the dragon become corrupted and useless unless they are suitably preserved. (The reader will note that this applies only to those parts of the body referred to as glands or offal. The flesh of the dragon, once it has been suitably drained of blood, corrupts no faster than the flesh of any other creature. You will now understand why I explained in such detail the correct procedure for blooding and draining a dragon.)
Dragon blood can be sealed in airtight containers, stoppered with corks or closed with wax. The air already in the bottle will corrupt the upper finger.s-breadth of the blood, but the rest will perhaps remain usable. Solid material must be immersed in biocidal material such as the formalin available from alchemists. This immersion must be almost immediate.
This all poses a problem, as the astute reader will already have surmised.
To return to civilization with large quantities of the slain dragon, the dragon-hunters.and here I use the term loosely.must be so weighted down with containers and preserving liquid that they would be unable to track and slay the dragon in the first place!
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Re: The Compleat Dragon Hunter (épisode 20)

Message  Admin le Mer 8 Juin - 20:29

On Disposing of the Dragon Corpse
Fire is the sovereign means of destroying the corpse of a dragon. It is also one of the only ways of eliminating the smell of corrupting dragon blood. Anything soaked by the blood should be burned.
I have as yet found no efficient way of removing the smell of spoiled dragon blood from the skin of the hunter.
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Re: The Compleat Dragon Hunter (épisode 20)

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