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So, you've decided to be a dragon slayer. There are less convoluted ways of assisted suicide. However, if you aren't here to end it all and genuinely think you will be hailed as a hero, well, you won't be. Why?

1. Dragon avoids direct confrontation

The plural form isn't necessary as we only know about one dragon. This one steers clear of larger units, attacking defenseless supply lines and snatching the nibbles. You can simply survive him by not backing him into a corner, but you won't get far without those snack.

2. The dragon causes the least number of casualties among dragon slayers

Most actually starve to death, go AWOL or get murdered by naruto-running titan zombies that come out during night. Most of that is on the insane leaders here, "friendly fire" is also a common cause of death. This brings us to

3. Anti-dragon rifles are very effective, but you'll never get to use them

The .50 Barret rifle can most definitely injure and kill a dragon (I never tried it, but if it can beat an engine block...), problem is the dragon has time and time again spotted the sniper, hid himself and gave the sniper a leg day by flying to an elevated position. Had to call off the mission because it was about to get dark.


To summarize, we have a creature that read Sun Tzu's The Art of War, has insane mobility (flight) and is pretty fast and nimble in general. He also has the ability to hide himself really well. The dragon is around the size of a large horse, but can somehow squeeze through much smaller spaces. His hide protects against everything up to a .50 BMG.

He can go on for long without food, as long as he isn't using active flight, maybe half of what crocodiles are capable of.

So, this is a battle of attrition right now, and the dragon is winning. How could we catch this dragon without throwing out lots of resources?

Tech is medieval, but with modern-day firearms, but no vehicles, the infrastructure is also inadequate for producing ammo in larger quantities.

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    $\begingroup$ What is your world building question? You've got a plot point here, near as I can tell. $\endgroup$ – puppetsock Dec 3 '19 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ @puppetsock I Want to extrapolate this to hunting down (or at least trying to) dragons in general, so I can adjust other things. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Dec 3 '19 at 22:15
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, that's plot. $\endgroup$ – puppetsock Dec 3 '19 at 22:19
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    $\begingroup$ Where's the mocking in all of this. I was promised "mocking" dragons. Do they fart in one's general direction? $\endgroup$ – Spencer Dec 3 '19 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ Employing the scarecrow tactic: erect a few silhouettes of a sniper across the city to ward off the dragon. It works because the dragon knows the most effective tactic in Sun Tzu's book! $\endgroup$ – user6760 Dec 4 '19 at 0:48
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Poison.

/This one steers clear of larger units, attacking defenseless supply lines and snatching the nibbles./

A tracker of this dragon will understand what it favors as "nibbles". Maybe white horses. Maybe virgins. Maybe mustard pork jerky. The tracker obtains said nibbles and then arranges caravans thru dragon territory which contain favored nibbles. Or arranges that the correct nibbles occur within caravans that the tracker suspects will be targeted; the caravans themselves might be unaware of the fact that they are likely targets. These efforts will require many, many iterations. That is OK; the tracker is patient.

The nibbles will be poisoned. An ignominious end for the wily dragon. Or not; if the tracker finds it when it is sick and weak it might be captured alive.

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Bribes

Or, more specifically, negotiation.

To summarize, we have a creature that read Sun Tzu's The Art of War

This means the dragon in question has some a high degree of sentience, and is well-read as well. Any attempts to capture a dragon and keep it captured will probably consume vast amounts of resources. If we wanted to keep it alive and tame it as well, any acts of aggression could diminish the possibility of goodwill between the two parties.

Thus, consider raising a flag with the word NEGOTIATION written on it in big letters in whichever language the dragon knows. Paint it with phosphorescent paint if it's night time.

Note that if the distrust between both sides is already very strong, for negotiation to happen, there must be a character strong or smart enough to defuse the situation (maybe that's where a dashing dragon slayer comes in handy). This character has to be sympathetic to both sides, and risk something in order to soften the lack of goodwill between the two already fighting parties. It will take something drastic to earn some degree of trust from the sneaky dragon.

Once both sides have cooled down, negotiation and communication is not out of order. The two sides can come to a compromise; perhaps the dragon wants gold, perhaps it wants food, perhaps it just wants a friend to ride it into battle.

If the dragon's hunger can be appeased, you could instead obtain a valuable ally in defending against the other deadly creatures (naruto running titan zombies) in the world, as well as gaining an edge on other kingdoms.

After all, who would want to fight a dragon that read Sun Tzu?


Backstab

Then of course, if you wanted a plot twist, and the dragon slayer to be the real snake, who not only read Sun Tzu, but understood it too, you could have him 'risk it all' to get 'both sides' trust, before getting a 'negotiation' started, at which point the dragon slayer and his army can either poison, tranquilize, trap the dragon while its guard is down.

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  • $\begingroup$ You'd have to find someone who can write Ancient Chinese first. And use phosphorescent paint, not neon $\endgroup$ – nzaman Dec 4 '19 at 11:08
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    $\begingroup$ @nzaman the dragon could have read the translated version xD. And good point, meant glow in the dark paint. Fixed my answer accordingly. $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Dec 4 '19 at 12:31
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This is a pretty interesting problem to solve tbh. A few ways to kill/immobilize/stop this dragon:

  1. Nets and ropes: Watch this Sun Tzu-reading diabolical, magical, genius get taken out by humanity's 4th/5th invention. Ideally instead of properly trying to fight/kill it (you've shown how pointless that is) you can just find a way to attach ropes to this dragon. This can be done with harpoons and stuff, but metal is expensive, so instead why not just have some very sticky substance? So just have ropes with a bunch of gooey stuff on on end stick to the dragon. It doesn't even have to all happen at one go. Have your dragonslayers sporadically shoot ropes at this dragon while baiting it. Once it has enough ropes on it, bait it one more time and have enough buff dudes/machines grab the ropes and pull down the dragon. For best effect, fire these ropes at the dragon's wings.
  2. Poison: If you pierce the dragon and poison it successfully, just wait for the dragon to die and keep it busy. Most likely this poison is passed into the bloodstream, so make sure the bait is placed far away on all sides to maximize blood-flow inside the dragon. It'll die faster if it flaps its wings more. For gas-based poison, make sure all your bait is surrounded by containers of flammable poison so if it tries to get too close, your red shirts/suicide warriors/dragonslayers can set it on fire and let the dragon take a deep breath. Another delivery method is to poison the bait, but then you have to wait for its digestive system to get to work too. If you just want to capture the dragon, make the poison be some sort of sleeping potion that works on dragons.
  3. Greek Fire!!!!: I like Greek fire - it's really cool! Fire small globules of Greek fire at the dragon's wings and vulnerable body. Dragons are very fire-resistant, but there has to be a limit especially at the thinner parts of its body. Take advantage of it.
  4. Make friends with it: This is me saying that I like dragons please don't kill it.

I hope this helps. Fun question!

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    $\begingroup$ Well, the dragon was supposed to be a protagonist, but if he was so awesome, despite having no powerful abilities, how did he end up being captured? I wanted to find a believable answer. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Dec 3 '19 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ I see - I hope the answers I gave were somewhat believeable. Sun Tzu would also agree that even if you execute your plans perfectly, there will be gaps. The ideas I presented would be relevant as being cheap ways to take it down/kill it. I'll edit the poison part to get rid of killing dialogue. Also, dragons like Smaug were prideful beings. Maybe the dragon got overconfident? If you give anyone enough wins, they'll eventually get careless. I didn't mention this strategy because cost-effectiveness was a priority and I assumed this dragon was very smart. $\endgroup$ – cyber101 Dec 3 '19 at 22:09
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Track it down to its lair and use poison gas.

From what you've said, it seems that this dragon is hiding underground, or in some location in can easily escape from, but can't be spotted, which suggests a cave system. The first step is to track him, which is actually pretty easy.

If he's flying, he can be seen. If he isn't, it's a dragon. It'll be draggin' itself through grass and dirt and who knows what else, so it won't be that hard to find. Once you do find the lair, simply send it some gas canisters to kill the thing, and you're good to go. If you have access to modern firearms, you have access to poison gas.

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