In this world, some dragons are bred by humans, some are feral. Some are domesticated and trained for work or war, while others are free, and can make lifelong friends with humans and their families. They are intelligent, and some of the older ones (too old for battle) can understand human speech. It is clear that the army whose dragons can quickly direct their fire at targets below, above, and to the sides of their flight path have distinct advantage over those who must steer to fly directly at their targets and fire. Assuming a bridle bit in her mouth for steerage (it could some other way) how do I set up the classic video game scheme of moving vs. pointing and shooting - on a dragon’s back? Thank you!

After some feedback, thank you:

The reason the king must put riders on dragons is because his enemy does it. Guided by their pilots, the dragons strike at human infrastructure with precision: battlements; dwellings; water supplies; food stores; caches of arms; factories. The king does not understand his enemy is the problem, and unless he figures it out, he and his people are doomed.

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    $\begingroup$ if they can understand human speech wouldn't a simple word order suffice to make them spit fire. $\endgroup$ Mar 30 at 21:08
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    $\begingroup$ A bridle bit seems to be the worst possible solution if the dragon is breathing fire, not to mention unwanted by the free ones. If dragons are intelligent then the solution seems both trivial and unnecessary - let the dragon pick its own targets and get rid of the unnecessary human weighing it down! $\endgroup$ Mar 30 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ @KerrAvon2055 a rider is still probably essential so the dragon can pick targets. I mean yeah a dog can understand certain words but still is not intelligent enough to understand the situation it's in. So i don't think a dragon knows battle tactics automatically. And even if it does how does it know how to contribute effectively in battle with out communication? $\endgroup$ Mar 30 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Fallenspacerock: "With out communication": What's wrong with bugle calls and military music in general? Those were used for millennia to signal attack, retreat, charge, wheel left, wheel right, form line and so on. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 30 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ How accurate do you need to be? I mean, are you aiming your dragonfire at a big block of hundreds of troops, or are you trying to pick out specific individuals, or something in between? $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Mar 30 at 22:15

2 Answers 2


You could use whistling (like sheep herders use to control sheepdogs) with different pitches meaning different commands. Or some kind of instrument that the rider can use. If it's a string instrument, the rider can bend the string against the board to modulate the pitch to make it go up or down, which could correspond to the dragon's actions. A separate drum beat could mean to start and stop breathing fire.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh that is beautiful! Thank you so much. $\endgroup$
    – Clarkman
    Apr 1 at 3:42
  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't an instrument sound a little complicated i mean that would require a lot pf attention from a rider. So he might just fall of or something $\endgroup$ Apr 1 at 6:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Fallenspacerock have you ever thought about how horseback archery works. $\endgroup$ Apr 2 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Starfish Prime i mean wouldn't a simple word command be enough? $\endgroup$ Apr 2 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ @fallenspacerock I assumed the din of battle would make it difficult for the dragon to hear voice commands. Also voice commands for precise directional movement will be inefficient and inaccurate $\endgroup$
    – Tvox
    Apr 3 at 11:45

Vocal Orders are best

Since the dragons seem relatively intelligent they should probably understand Vocal Orders. These would probably just be short key words uttered by the rider to initiate a breath attack.

I imagine them working similar how you would order a dog around. So really the dragons should due to their intelligence have no trouble following these Orders.

You would probably need to train the dragons like you do with a regular dog. This probably works best with a trusted person a.k.a. the rider but i think this also works generally for multiple person. You could also make the dragons learn different Ordersfor other maneuvers or different kind of attack with its breath weapon.

Selecting a target is just a easy as telling a horse where to go. Really the dragon should be smart enough to recognize what is a target and what is not given their intelligence. Should there somehow still be a need for selective targeting just use additional voice commands to differentiate between targets.

Additionally: Don't nail me down on this one but looking up dog training or better how war Elephants were trained should be helpful. Because they really deal with a similar problem and as far as i am concerned war elephants had special orders to make a stomp attack though on this one i am not sure so you should still look it up.

Note: English is not my primary language so please excuse any grammar or spelling errors.

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    $\begingroup$ Assuming dragons can see their riders (by turning their heads), you could just have a "Look where I'm pointing my spear!" command, and then a few commands for what to do about it. Go there, burn that, bite that, pick that up in a non-destructive manner, etc. $\endgroup$
    – g s
    Apr 4 at 4:33
  • $\begingroup$ @g s Would probably also work if all else fails. $\endgroup$ Apr 4 at 7:40

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