My first encounters with dragons were with Puff and Pete. They were friendly and benevolent. They were huggable. Kid friendly dragons.
Years later I encountered Smaug thanks to J.R.R Tolkien. Smaug was a dangerous conquer who, to put it kindly, could have used a hug and some friends. Smaug was the terrible side of dragon kind incarnate. Smaug is the archetype dragon to inspire fear, pile treasure and to be crossed only by the most brave.
Interestingly enough, thanks to a quick Google search, I discovered that much of my knowledge dragons is based on myth and legend (and the Monster Manual) rather than a rogues gallery of dragons. I read the Dragonlance novels in the 1980s (and so want new Dragonlance materials for 5e), but the dragons didn’t stand out like Smaug, Puff or Pete. I can’t name them without looking them up. My Google search turned up the 10 most famous dragons and many were not that forefront in my knowledge as they were from Pokemon, Dragon Ball and other pop culture that was aimed at youth after I became, as they say, “OLD”. On the list is Viserion from George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series. His siblings Drogon and Rhaegal only get briefly mentioned. We don’t have a huge number of famous dragons to fear or love.
And yet we do fear and love dragons. We dream of seeing them swoop, flexing their muscular and lethal bodies as they hit us with their legendary powers. They breath fire, ice and fear into our nightmares. Like us, they can be terrible or heroic. We want to befriend them and fear them in the same thought. Get your tankard of ale everyone, the dragons are coming over for some stew and combat. Fantasy wouldn’t be the same with out dragons to dance at the edges of our imagination.
As my follow Scouters and I venture forth in Wayisloth we don’t know everything we will encounter out there (so far we know their will be Orcs, Halflings, Gnomes and Cinnamon Mini-Buns), but I will promise you this, there will be dragons.
We would love to know about your favorite dragons. Please share your favorites in the comments.