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The first step of dragon slaying is pretty established:

First you locate a place that the dragon frequently visits (i.e: considers it to be safe) and place an offering. This is a combination of various food items and one unlucky virgin (and usually serf) woman.

The theoretical reasoning for that is if the dragon's intelligent, he could probably use her as a slave. The virginity thing has no mystical layer to it, it's just signaling that "the product's brand new". I mean, what did you expect from a medieval society?

So, you hide until the dragon arrives to check out what's going on. Then you shoot at it with crossbows. The bolts are contaminated either with a poison or a disease.

And realizing that he's being attacked, the dragon charges at your team, kills everyone then collapses on the ground before losing consciousness.

The problem with poisoned crossbow bolts is that while the real damage they do is getting the poison into the bloodstream, a dragon is a DRAGON. It's huge (vent-snout length is 5 meters), and has a strong immune system. Poisons need time to act and you can't make a suicide squad out of mercenaries, plus suicide squads are outlawed (both in military and on the screen) here.


The Dragon

Size: 10 meters (5 meters of which is the tail)
Wingspan: 12-15 meters
Breath weapon: at around 5 liters of concentrated (0.2-0.1 pH) sulfuric acid; usually used as a fine-grain spray. The dragon's scales and most internal parts build acidic residue into their proteins, making them more resistant to the acid. Heartburn can still occur if this ability's overused.
Flight speed: 16.3 - 24.9 m/s gliding

Dragon's feel home just as much in water as in the sky, though they can't take off frequently, a dragon will usually be able to do an emergency escape after landing, since gliding doesn't take too much power thus allowing the creature to rest his muscles. Terrestrial capabilities are good, but nothing special.

Dragons have six limbs in total, two wings and the hind and fore legs, both of which have little value in combat. Though it's possible to amplify the power of the foreleg's strike by putting the rest of the body behind it.

There's also the most fearsome tail in existence, which can cause major damage (dented armor, heads blown right off) AND has a decent range.

The other major weapon are the jaws, coupled with a long neck, and the spurs on the dragon's wings.

As far as senses go, dragons have excellent smell and good eyesight, they can also sniff out poison in food, so there's that.

Note: You can't really cut a dragon's bone or scales. Crossbows have about enough power to penetrate deep enough to draw blood, but they can't cause serious damage.


Knowing that, just how would could a small group of people hunt down a dragon in medieval times without suffering heavy casualties?

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  • $\begingroup$ Place the poisoned offering right before naptime. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Mar 10 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ I think you have the answer already. A lot of poison work on air, he doesn't need to die, just make him dizzy and the fight will be alot better, take mustard gas for example. Lasts for days incapacitate enemys. Also dragons don't have hands it would be a shame if a lot of thick paint got into his eyes, also throwing some dirty close all around the cave so the dummie gets confused since his sight is not the best at the moment. $\endgroup$ – GaboSampaio Mar 10 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ @GaboSampaio The problem is flight implies nictitating membranes. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Mar 10 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ Where do dragons feel safe (caves, islands, forests x distance away from people, etc)? Exploiting the territory of the Dragon seems like the easiest way. $\endgroup$ – Crettig Mar 10 at 22:11
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed @Mephistopheles I just mean it adds up, because acording to op's description it seems like vision and smell are his main ways to navigate. $\endgroup$ – GaboSampaio Mar 11 at 13:05
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I'd put the poison in glass capsules and then hide them somewhere on some sheep which I'd leave in a field the dragon is known to fly over. The beast will eat the sheep, break open the capsules and become poisoned.

Then I'd take the virgin home for myself.

If one dosage doesn't work, you can always use a "dragon trap". It's just like a bear trap, except larger and with hooked teeth that twist themselves in flesh becoming impossible to remove without tearing a giant gouge out of yourself. Some of the teeth are hollowed out, leaving a straight path from the bloodstream to the outside world. Eventually leading to bloodloss and death.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't know, wouldn't the dragon be able to see the trap? $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Mar 10 at 21:34
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    $\begingroup$ You tend to have an easier time seeing things you've had experience with before. If you've never seen one before it may just look like a funny stack of sticks or a wagon wheel laying on it's side. It may also be disguised as something the dragon wants. Like a gold chain. $\endgroup$ – Muuski Mar 10 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ So, this doesn't work if the dragon's intelligent? $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Mar 10 at 21:42
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    $\begingroup$ Traps work on even the most intelligent species, it does not work however if the trap setter is not... $\endgroup$ – Muuski Mar 10 at 21:43
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    $\begingroup$ @user535733 I mean, I'm killing Dragons with poisons and traps, I'm clearly more practical than heroic, and if his family gave him up to be sacrificed to a dragon, he's probably better off with me... $\endgroup$ – Muuski Mar 11 at 15:48
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The king cobra is not the most venomous snake, but it does inject enough venom in a single bite that it can still take down elephants. To get this much venom in via crossbow bolt, I don't think dipping it in poison will suffice. The bolt needs to inject. I have no idea how to make a crossbow bolt function like an impact-activated syringe, but that seems the best way to get the right amount into the dragon.

Since you need a rather precise hit for the venom to spread quickly, so the more of these available, the better. This might be cheaper than importing and rangling a kingdom of cobras. Alternatively, king cobra catapults.

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    $\begingroup$ Alternatively, king cobra catapults. nah, snakes don't bite dragons, professional courtesy, see? $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Mar 10 at 23:27
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Step 1: Clip the wings

As long as the dragon can fly, your dragon-fighting forces are at a serious disadvantage, not to mention that if you ever gain the upper hand, there's a good chance the dragon could flee and either escape, or even if you mortally wound it, take the corpse too far away for you to recover.

The first step is to take the wings out of commission. Use ballistae for that, modeled after the traditional Roman design. This gives you a highly accurate ballista, not to mention that it's made up of mainly wood which means that it's easy to make. Set up ballistae at your chosen trap location, and then load them with chains. Not darts, chains. This will give you a larger area of effect and will tear larger holes through the dragon's wings. If you're lucky, it'll also wrap around the dragon and send it off balance.

Step 2: Cripple the beast

If you've done everything right, you've dropped the creature from out of the air and the impact should stun the creature, kill it outright if you're lucky. But since when are you lucky? Now you have a downed dragon, and it's mad at you. When it's down, have your skirmishes shoot it full of poison-tipped crossbow bolts. But not just any poison - no, we're going to douse that thing on nightshade-derived poisons, which are both lethal and are hallucinogenics. That's right - we now have a downed, mad, drugged-up dragon. Once they've done that, the skirmishers are to run.

Step 3: Bother it to death

Now that the dragon can't fly and is slowly going mad with hallucinations, we deploy the last line of fighters - our heavy knights. Now, contrary to their name, these knights aren't actually wearing heavy armor - they're wearing padded armor with shields. The padding it to help against blunt-trauma impact. They're also using blunt flails as their weapon of choice - slashing at the dragon won't do a thing. But blunt weapons, especially the kind of power you can get with a flail, can deal serious damage. Working as a coordinated team, the heavies will surround the dragon and dart in and out, dealing blows when it's safe and defending when it isn't.

If we only use these fighters, it should be relatively safe. Tossing the crossbow skirmishers in the mix would risk their lives if the dragon decided to go after them. The dragon can run, sure, but it's not going to get far because reptiles aren't build for endurance running, which means that if it runs, we follow the very-easy-to-follow trail of it and then attack it again once we find it.

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