So, one part that stayed consistent with my story drafts regarding one of my dragon characters is the pre-emptive strike.
You see, the dragon, Gyvaris, is supposed to have a bad attitude. He can chase thieves across half the continent and often threatens to use violence if they don't give his stuff back. He's similar to the dragon from Beowulf in that regard, though his rampage is significantly more directed and comes as a last resort after "negotiation" and "confiscation" fail.
He also gives chase to hunters if they break one of his rules (he limits how much of a particular animal can be hunted and how much of the meat he'll take as " hunting tax"). Gyv considers humans to be inferior to dragons and while he gives them a second and a third and a fourth chance, anyone who attempts to take his life (with proper equipment), or breaks the rules many, many times, will be burned and eaten by him.
So, the pre-emptive strike's rationale is that one day, Gyvaris will cause the death of many humans (i.e: torch a village) and when that happens, there will be no stopping him from doing it to other settlements, so it's best to take his life when he's the weakiest, in a place where he feels the safeiest and sleepiest.
Footnote: I'll never allow Bob Crosby to ghostwrite my questions again.
- Dragons are renowned for their incredibly strong scales that can deflect a sword-strike easily and requires either a scorpion (from Mortal Kombat or GoT) or a charging horse and a lance to penetrate.
- However, dragons can also fly, even if it's gliding (ratio: 15:1) 95% of the time with 90-second flapping bursts here and there.
- Dragons have acute senses (can spot hares from 5 kilometers and hear pretty well despite the HOWL OF THE F-KING HEADWIND!)
- They also have a formidable breath weapon, which might appear to be
fire, but is actually "hellfire", a form of grey goo that consumes its
target, causing an intense burning sensation as the nanites gnaw away
the nerve endings.
- Hellfire uses gravity to reach its target, but can also move on its own power, and can survive for around two minutes. It has also been shown to be effective against many different targets, even M1 Abrams tanks( They don't exist in the setting, I just wanted a simple way to demonstrate the flames' power), though they only managed to destroy the electronics and neutralize the shells' propellants.
- Anyways, they can only use their hellfire two-three times a day, as its a rather taxing thing to do. The hellfire is "exhaled" in a 9-meter cone (as per D&D rules), dragons usually compound it with various toxins to euthanize the target(s) before the hellfire begins to disintegrate them, sparing them from a long and painful death.
So yeah, fighting a dragon is basically a death sentence. However, killing the dragon will get you very rare and very special potion ingredients, a hide that can be made into a ridiculously light and strong armor and the Dragon's Heart, a special-grade artifact that can turn a small nation into a superpower under a week when used cleverly.
So, there is an incentive, but I still think it's a bad idea to risk fighting a creature that can quickly relocate and possesses a weapon that can still kill, even if it only grazed the target.
So, what advantage (logistical or strategical) would allow a human army to have a shot at pre-emptively slaying this dragon?
The dragon will hunt down whoever goes after him, keep that in mind. Also, settlements that house dragon hunters will become targets of the dragon as well.
Tech level and society is towards the end of the high medieval period. Magic is limited to the dragons' hellfire and humans don't have access to it, humans don't have access to other dragons either.
They might try to set traps but the chances of the dragon falling or them are low, thanks to heightened senses and intelligence.