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Set in 1100 BC, an evil dragon appears and is terrorising the world. All the towns seemed to have everything to prepare the adventurers on their rescue operations. They have blacksmiths to craft and upgrade armours and weapons. They got alchemists to create potions to aid in battle and stay safe. There's even a doctor to patch up any injuries in no time as long as that person still has any breath. It is always the outsiders who took on the challenge! These strangers who would train to become adventurers to embark on a journey only to help a damsel in distress. My question is why can't the townsfolk work with the king on a search and rescue operation?

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    $\begingroup$ Could the downvoters and vote to close people clarify why it was voted that way, and include ways to improve the question wherever possible? $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Jan 20 at 11:12
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    $\begingroup$ I'm intrigued by the 1100 BC date for your fantasy setting. Depending on the location the blacksmiths may not have access to iron. $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Jan 20 at 11:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Trioxidane The answer can be the the story. $\endgroup$ Jan 20 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ How long has the dragon been "terrorizing the world?" If it's only started recently, then obviously the villagers have not yet worked up the courage to do anything about it. If it's been going on for a long time, then obviously the villagers have learned to somehow cope with it. Either way, it's only the folk who have the means and the will to travel who can afford to take on the "adventure." $\endgroup$ Jan 21 at 1:17

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Let's put it another way. Picking a few random brands - no endorsement implied:

  • Heckler & Koch manufacture firearms.
  • ADI manufacture gunpowder.
  • Winchester manufactures projectiles and completed rounds of small arms ammmunition.
  • AstraZeneca manufactures quality pharmaceutical products.

When a hostage rescue situation arises, Heckler & Koch, ADI, Winchester and AstraZeneca do not send a couple of people each to be the shooters and the field medics, because the ability to manufacture firearms, gunpowder, ammunition and pharmaceuticals does not grant the ultimate ability to use them in combat. Instead, governments and/or mercenary organisations purchase goods from these companies and then use them to equip people who are very highly trained in the art of war, not the art of manufacturing and marketing.

As for why the king does not have his own equivalent of modern special forces - basic analysis of the potential food chain means that there are not going to be many huge apex predators in the world. Keeping a dedicated dragon-slaying group on hand is probably not worthwhile, better to hire skilled specialists on the once-every-few-hundred years when one makes a nuisance of itself.

(I am assuming this is some fictional, alternate version of 1100 BC, given that there were no dragons in the real one and the alchemists and doctors had very, very limited capabilities.)

Finally, I would question whether the damsel is necessarily in distress - if she remains undigested long enough for the town to recruit some dragon slayers then she may well be in a better situation than most women were in that era. Quite apart from being a sexist trope, a few historians have looked at the question for the "chivalric" era and found no situations where "damsels in distress" got rescued by anyone. Women who found themselves in a bad situation have historically suffered and/or dealt with their oppressors without anyone coming to their rescue.

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  • $\begingroup$ I agree with everything in this answer, although the Trojan war comes to mind (although Helen was only an excuse). $\endgroup$
    – Stef
    Jan 22 at 12:57
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    $\begingroup$ I think the last paragraph is a bit unnecessary, if OP wants to write a "traditional" fairy-tale esque fantasy story with a "damsel in distress" trope, that's up to them. It seems like you're just pushing your own opinion on the trope there for no good reason. $\endgroup$ Jan 22 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Crazymoomin The last paragraph serves to further explain why the king and townsfolk have not formed their own band of dragonslayers. The dragon capturing a damsel may not have been viewed as something that required urgent - or possibly any - attention. I make no statement on the likelihood of that being their response to a damsel-snatching but I can see why the paragraph adds value to the answer. $\endgroup$ Jan 22 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ @EngineerToast That's a fair point if the OP is planning on something with a more realistic social environment, though I think it could have been phrased a lot less like a rant about why the "damsel in distress" trope is sexist and bad and why you shouldn't use it. $\endgroup$ Jan 22 at 18:01
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Because they have no reason to take lethal risks or kill the dragon.

They're making good money supplying adventurers and the King's warriors. The people who did best in gold rushes were the ones selling shovels, supplies, booze & recreational services. Not the prospectors, only a few of those did well.

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Most people don't have full body magical enhancements.

While they can forge magical equipment, most people have only partial enhancements. Their hands might be enhanced, or their eyes, or their fingers. This lets them craft magical equipment, but in a fight they'd get pulped. A dragon has enough body mass to easily crush a town worth of people.

Adventurers are unique in that they have whole body magical enhancements. This means that when hit hard they won't die, and so they can handle much more dangerous fights. It means they can be faster, stronger, tougher, and handle magical dangers.

Some very brave individuals will go to adventure with the heroes, but they often die regardless of their equipment because of how dangerous it is. It doesn't matter if you have unbreakable armor if you get turned into a pulp when a dragon hits you into a wall. Adventurers can take that, villagers cannot.

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For the simple reason that manufacturing things in one thing, using those things proficiently is another.

Being excellent at one takes usually years of practice and dedication, which, being scarce, cannot be obviously dedicated to improve the other skill at the same level.

On a different level, those who are excellent at making pizza are never the same who are good at growing wheat, tomato and making excellent mozzarella. And even the person making excellent mozzarella is not the same person raising great cows and milking them.

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Politics

We often see things in the light of today. A government, which can be embodied by royalty, should protect the people. Though this is largely true throughout history, we can see there are a lot of different perspectives on how and what they should protect. Slaves, women, coloured people, certain religions or even just regions are wildly different in their need of protection. Not just in history, but even today you see such sentiments all around the world. Let's not go into details to prevent political debates, but current wars, elections and separatist movements and even open talk about enslaving some people again in some smaller communities should give plenty of examples.

Now you have a dragon in a region. It can be dismissed as fiction, or simply seen as not worth the effort for the king. The region might want to separate, have the wrong religion, or be led by a nephew he doesn't like. Maybe he's at war with another nation and can't be bothered to send manpower, which he might lose, to kill a dragon. Maybe the king has an ineffective reign, not allowing him to truly handle the problems. Or the request for aid is intentionally blocked to make the king look incompetent.

Whatever the reason. Politics. They need to find some other way to rescue the princess, which isn't at the castle any more.

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There is a Terrible Terrible Price

Anyone can craft legendary weapons. Anyone can teach a legendary spell. Well, anyone with enough skill and expertise.

These weapons and spells are forged from shard's of the Blood God's brain. In the long long ago he was toppled and his body was used to craft the sky.

The Blood God had a big brain, so shards are quite common. But the downside is that if you try to use them, they suck all your blood out your eyeballs.

enter image description here

Ouch!

To use these weapons safely you must make a pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Dead God and pay The Terrible Price of Terribleness.

Once you have paid The Terrible Price of Terribleness you can use the weapons and spells without killing yourself. The price is that every seven days, all the blood is sucked out of everyone around you through their eyeballs except you.

The only way to delay this is to slay something large and use its blood to feed to blood god. A whole dragon could delay the process for six whole months. That means ever adventurer for miles wants to kill that dragon.

It also means that once an adventurer, always an adventurer. The adventurers must either continue adventuring and slaying, or isolate themselves from society, or become villains. In any case they can never go back to being regular old villagers.

Image Source.

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I have trouble finding out what specifically your situation and question is. And I can come up with infinite answers.

Here are some possibilities:

-The outsiders have special powers. Maybe they are the only people capable of leveling. The king can't control them because they can make more bank slaying monsters.

-A blacksmith can't afford a full set of his own best armor. The materials are only found in monsters, so only Adventurers have them.+

-Fighting a dragon, is only done by people with a screw loose: Adventurers. The archmage that can teach you a spell to kill a dragon would rather not risk it, and continue studying magic.

-Depending on how risk friendly the doctor is, he may get recruited to be an adventurer. Then we call him the party healer.

-The King could be an adventurer himself, and deal with it. Or send the Prince with the royal armory and his loyal to the kingdom adventurer bodyguards. It is all possible.

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    $\begingroup$ - The king forbids the townsfolk from going on adventures, because he's afraid that a victorious townsfolk adventurer would gain popularity and power and be a rival to the king; - The townfolk have families and going on a quest to find the dragon would mean spending months or years away from family; - Slaying a dragon is less profitable for the townsfolk than for the outsiders, because dragonskin is expensive elsewhere but cheap here. $\endgroup$
    – Stef
    Jan 22 at 13:07
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    $\begingroup$ - The townsfolk have great weapons and magics, but the dragon's firebreath is imbued with a countermagic that makes the townfolk powerless against it, whereas the outsiders each have an amulet with a countercountermagic that protects them from the dragon's countermagic. $\endgroup$
    – Stef
    Jan 22 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ - Dragons are sacred and the townsfolk's local religion forbids them from killing dragons themselves, so they send outsiders to do the killing instead; $\endgroup$
    – Stef
    Jan 22 at 13:10
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"In a gold rush, sell shovels."

The townsfolk are quite happy to sell endless amounts of supplies to a steady stream of adventurers. The economy has never been so good...

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Division of labor.

It takes a lot of training and invested time to become competent at blacksmithing, alchemy, medicine, or slaying monsters.

The blacksmith isn't gonna go slay the monsters for the same reason he's not going to do alchemy or patch up adventurers.

Life is short, training is long, and once you have acquired skills, it's time to put them to good use and earn a living.

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Just a probability game

You say the dragon is terrorizing the world, let's say that it needs to eat 1k people every week to live.

That's ~52k people a year (realistically it will also hunt wild animals that will be easier to find ad won't fight back as much so the number will be much lower), the 1000BC world population is estimated to have been somewhere between ~100mil and ~50mil so let's take the lower number as a worst case.

That means there is a 0.1% probability you will get eaten in a given year (yes i know statistics don't work like that but the population is estimated to have almost if not doubled by 500BC so for the sake of simplicity let's say it balances out) while everyone that tried to purposely fight the dragon never returned so that's 100% death rate.

Compound this with tales of "the dragon ate 50 people" that retold many times will become "it destroyed a village" that will get blown up to "it decimated a whole town". People might just accept those odds and play the defensive game instead, only the bravest (or most stupid) will try to actively fight the dragon. I bet there won't be many of them.

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