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So an area has a bunch of dragons. These dragons are intelligent, but instinctively solitary (that is, the way they feel about living in a group is analogous the way a human would feel about living alone) and therefore do not have a very integrated society. Usually, a single individual lives in a 'territory' and only interacts with others as necessary, although the concept of living in a group is not alien (again, roughly comparable to the way a human would think about living alone). Communication is not a problem.

How would these dragons be forced into organizing themselves to fight a war against a nearby nation of humans (medieval technology)? That is, what kind of threat would said humans need to pose to incentivize an organized response?

Note: I am not asking whether this scenario is viable. If you do not think it is viable, and have a reasonably similar alternative that is, please share it. Otherwise, please do not answer with some version of "they wouldn't."

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    $\begingroup$ I live alone and I quite enjoy it. Does that mean I'm not human? $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 5 '15 at 4:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre Maybe it means... you're a dragon! (Or you're an exception...) $\endgroup$ – PipperChip Dec 5 '15 at 4:23
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    $\begingroup$ I guess that means you haven't seen my portrait. :) $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 5 '15 at 4:37
  • $\begingroup$ The idea is that living alone is uncommon in humans, because we are instinctively social. Dragons have the situation reversed; they can be social, they just aren't by default--just like a human can be perfectly happy living alone. $\endgroup$ – Peter Zach Dec 5 '15 at 4:39
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    $\begingroup$ Amusingly enough @Frostfyre actually does sound like a name a dragon would use to interact with humans.. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Dec 5 '15 at 7:41
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The situation here seems to have an easy solution; the humans must present a threat that the dragons must respond to, but requires coordinated effort, such as:

  • mass egg theft or mass egg extermination (dragons lay eggs, right?). If the dragons think every human is out to rob/destroy their eggs, they all need to respond to the threat. Warring against the humans seems a reasonable thing to do in this situation.
  • incarceration/subjugation of dragons on such a scale that a single dragon doesn't stand a chance. It's hard to imagine a Smaug-like dragon getting beat by a bunch of humans, but I'm afraid you didn't say how large each dragon is.
  • All humans are driving off prey/dragon food. (I would think humans are dragon food, but I don't know about your dragons.)

The other way to get dragons to coordinate with each other in a war is to individual motivate each dragon. This could be:

  • Each dragon who wars gets so much money/food/slaves
  • Dragons who kill of humans have some social or other incentive. For example: Trogdor is obviously a much more attractive dragon now that he's burninated all the peasants. He gets all the dragon ladies.
  • Fighting this war is "right" in the minds of dragons.

I would also see such dragon warfare involving dragons doing the tasks that most armies send groups to do. Unless this is all-out, total warfare, in which case dragons must work together. (An uncomfortable arrangement for the dragons, I'm sure, but they can live with it, or die without it.)

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    $\begingroup$ Smaug was beaten by a bunch of humans. Well, one, technically. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 5 '15 at 4:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre Yes, and people found that really hard to imagine! Bard didn't really seem to know if it would work. In any case, there were special circumstances! $\endgroup$ – PipperChip Dec 5 '15 at 4:22
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Consider the nations of middle earth reacting to Sauron's threat. Or the western powers, plagued by depression, as Hitler came to power in early 20th century.

At first dragons would seek to huddle in a secure corner. Prey upon man as convenient. But once the threat became too great (humans develop ground to air ballistas, perhaps), or a dramatic turn of events occurs à la Pearl Harbor, such as an elder dragon being slain, dragons would see cooperation as a necessity to survival. What a glorious story it would make, for the dragon broods to unite and burn away mankind, just as elves, dwarves, and men defeated Sauron at an apex of that Maiar's potency.

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  • $\begingroup$ For some reason, "dragon" and "huddle" don't belong in the same sentence. ...Unless they invent (American) football. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Dec 5 '15 at 4:17
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Humans who prefer to be completely alone are rare, but they exist. Perhaps with dragons it's the other way around: perhaps, very rarely, a dragon comes along who is outgoing and charismatic towards other dragons. With a sufficiently Machiavellian mindset, perhaps such an exceptional dragon could convince the other dragons to put aside their instinctive indifference to one another and unite as a single force.

In order to do this it might be useful for this new dragon to have a scapegoat, an enemy for the dragons to unite against. Even if the human threat is not in reality all that credible or severe, the charismatic dragon might be able to drum up fear and resentment against them in order to achieve its aims. ("My fellow dragons, yet another of our number has been senselessly slain. How many more dragon lives must be lost before we put an end to the encroaching human menace once and for all," etc. etc.) Then the humans would suddenly find themselves under siege by a powerful force against which they are not really prepared to defend themselves - which might make for good drama if that's the sort of thing you're going for.

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One of the novels I've read reasoned out why dragons live alone.

Dragons are the messiah of destruction, wherever they go, destruction follows. That's why they are solitary, since they bring destruction to everything including their brethren.

It is very hard to find reasons for an organized response from the dragonfolks.

One way to organize a dragon group is to have:

  1. A Very Strong dragon leading the group
  2. External Threat (Dragon extermination and such.)
  3. Ancient Alliance with a race they go to war with them.
  4. A Dance of the dragons (Dragons fighting one another for honor or whatever reason that requires an organized response.)
  5. Beneficial to the race itself.
  6. A horde of treasure that will benefit the whole race. (Dragon Hoard)

I'll edit this later if I find out more

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