Dunsany’s early example of dragon subdual

Hoard of the Gibbelins

How pass, you may say, the unpassable? This was his plan: there was a dragon he knew of who if peasants’ prayers are heeded deserved to die, not alone because of the number of maidens he cruelly slew, but because he was bad for the crops; he ravaged the very land and was the bane of a dukedom.

Now Alderic determined to go up against him. So he took horse and spear and pricked till he met the dragon, and the dragon came out against him breathing bitter smoke. And to him Alderic shouted, “Hath foul dragon ever slain true knight?” And well the dragon knew that this had never been, and he hung his head and was silent, for he was glutted with blood. “Then,” said the knight, “if thou would’st ever taste maiden’s blood again thou shalt be my trusty steed, and if not, by this spear there shall befall thee all that the troubadours tell of the dooms of thy breed.”

And the dragon did not open his ravening mouth, nor rush upon the knight, breathing out fire; for well he knew the fate of those that did these things, but he consented to the terms imposed, and swore to the knight to become his trusty steed.

– Lord Dunsany, “The Hoard of the Gibbelins”


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3 Responses to Dunsany’s early example of dragon subdual

  1. Jonas says:

    That is definetly in top ten of the coolest things to do in D&D. Also good reason to play platemail and sword types, it’s the dude that slapped the dragon silly who gets to use it as mount.

  2. kent says:

    What do you make of ‘Playing at the World’ assuming it arrived?

    • Scott says:

      I enjoyed it and think it’s worthwhile, although it has little “utility” for gaming purposes. The meat of the book is the material about the wargaming and ur-RPG scene in the 1970s, with lots of excerpts from various newsletters and APAs. There’s a lot about the Lake Geneva scene in particular and it’s not soaked in the gormless credulity, hagiography, and self-fellating that’s usual for internet discussion of that subject. It seems even-handed and properly skeptical.

      I found the stuff about wargaming pretty interesting, and there’s significant space devoted to that, including the various German kriegspiel variants, Diplomacy, Bath and Featherstone’s work, etc.

      So again, I enjoyed reading it, but I would’nt expect it to be actually “useful” unless you’re trying to nail the proper aesthetic of twee nostalgia and historical reenactment. (I won’t pretend I’m wholly above that.)

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