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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2012 :  05:09:35  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It took me a while to dig this up, but I finally found it:
quote:
I pray that the world never runs out of dragons. I say that in all sincerity, though I have played a part in the death of one great wyrm. For the dragon is the quintessential enemy, the greatest foe, the unconquerable epitome of devastation. The dragon, above all other creatures, even the demons and the devils, evokes images of dark grandeur, of the greatest beast curled asleep on the greatest treasure hoard. They are the ultimate test of the hero and the ultimate fright of the child. They are older than the elves and more akin to the earth than the dwarves. The great dragons are the preternatural beast, the basic element of the beast, that darkest part of our imagination.

The wizards cannot tell you of their origin, though they believe that a great wizard, a god of wizards, must have played some role in the first spawning of the beast. The elves, with their long fables explaining the creation of every aspect of the world, have many ancient tales concerning the origin of the dragons, but they admit, privately, that they really have no idea of how the dragons came to be.

My own belief is more simple, and yet, more complicated by far. I believe that dragons appeared in the world immediately after the spawning of the first reasoning race. I do not credit any god of wizards with their creation, but rather, the most basic imagination, wrought of unseen fears, of those first reasoning mortals.

We make the dragons as we make the gods, because we need them, because, somewhere deep in our hearts, we recognize that a world without them is a world not worth living in.

[...]

No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith.

And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.

--Drizzt Do'Urden (Streams of Silver, Part 1)


Scoff if you will at the author of the sentiment. Chip away at his poetic use of hyperbole.

But I do believe that that, right there, says it all for me on this subject. Dragons it is!

"'You don't know my history,' he said dryly."
--Drizzt Do'Urden (The Pirate King, Part 1: Chapter 2)

<"Comprehensive Chronology of R.A. Salvatore Forgotten Realms Works">
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3085 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2012 :  14:59:21  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't think anyone would disagree that dragons are awesome creatures, but clearly more than half of the people voting think of a different creature first when they think of D&D. As noted previously, this is a personal opinion poll so there are no right or wrong choices.

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

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Edited by - Artemas Entreri on 09 Jul 2012 14:59:58
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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 09 Jul 2012 :  20:15:24  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

I don't think anyone would disagree that dragons are awesome creatures, but clearly more than half of the people voting think of a different creature first when they think of D&D. As noted previously, this is a personal opinion poll so there are no right or wrong choices.

Understood, but not all opinions are equally supported by rational thought or evidence, or even thought out at all. Sometimes they're just off-the-cuff.

And popularity hardly qualifies as a good foundation for this sort of thing. Clinton became President based on popular vote. Then Bush turned around and did the same thing. Drizzt is arguably the most popular character in D&D & FR, but that doesn't seem to phase many/most around here.

As I previously stated, I am simply trying to demonstrate a reasonable grounds for my opinion. It's not just a kneejerk reaction, for me.

"'You don't know my history,' he said dryly."
--Drizzt Do'Urden (The Pirate King, Part 1: Chapter 2)

<"Comprehensive Chronology of R.A. Salvatore Forgotten Realms Works">
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Derulbaskul
Senior Scribe

Singapore
379 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2012 :  03:40:56  Show Profile Send Derulbaskul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dragons are clearly the most iconic, simply because of the game's name, but drow would have to be in second place due to the overwhelming (and completely baffling) popularity of the Drizzt novels and comics/graphic novels.

Cheers
D

NB: Please remember: A cannon is a big gun. Canon is what we discuss here.
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Tren of Twilight Tower
Seeker

51 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2012 :  05:32:43  Show Profile  Visit Tren of Twilight Tower's Homepage Send Tren of Twilight Tower a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Go beholders! :D

Funny though, I do not recall that my first D&D adventure included a single beholder, but for sure it did include dragons. Still, when I hear about D&D I think of beholders.
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GRYPHON
Senior Scribe

USA
520 Posts

Posted - 10 Jul 2012 :  10:26:21  Show Profile  Visit GRYPHON's Homepage Send GRYPHON a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Demon/Devil...
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 11 Jul 2012 :  00:58:24  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

The world without dragons is a boring world? I don't think so...

Every beginning has an end.
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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3747 Posts

Posted - 11 Jul 2012 :  01:10:27  Show Profile  Click to see Alystra Illianniis's MSN Messenger address Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dennis, when's the last time YOU spoke to a dragon? THAT would sure be an interesting conversation! I'd say the world is a lot more boring without them.

The Goddess is alive, and magic is afoot.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins" -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

"You idiots! You've captured their STUNT doubles!" -Spaceballs

Lothir's character background/stats: http://forum.candlekeep.com/pop_profile.asp?mode=display&id=5469

My stories:
http://z3.invisionfree.com/Mickeys_Comic_Tavern/index.php?showforum=188

Lothir, courtesy of Sylinde (Deviant Art)/Luaxena (Chosen of Eilistraee)
http://sylinde.deviantart.com/#/d2z6e4u
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 11 Jul 2012 :  01:16:12  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

I've read a lot of fantasy novels where there are no dragons in them and still find them quite interesting and wonderful. Some don't even have fantastical creatures at all...

Every beginning has an end.

Edited by - Dennis on 11 Jul 2012 01:20:07
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coach
Senior Scribe

USA
476 Posts

Posted - 11 Jul 2012 :  05:12:25  Show Profile Send coach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
ummm. it's called Dungeons and DRAGONS

/thread

now if you said most iconic Realms monster/race i can see some other thoughts

Bloodstone Lands Sage
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coach
Senior Scribe

USA
476 Posts

Posted - 11 Jul 2012 :  05:27:31  Show Profile Send coach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
and i agree with Kivlan, when i started playing i wanted to fight a dragon (eventually)

and before we start talking about Dragons being non-original and beholders/illithids being original:

tentacles (beholders and illithids, heck even displacer beasts and rust monsters) do not make something iconic, they make it Cthulhu-ian, which was stolen from Kraken, which has been around for centuries

so tentacle based creatures are just as "old" and non-original

Bloodstone Lands Sage
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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2012 :  04:56:37  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


I've read a lot of fantasy novels where there are no dragons in them and still find them quite interesting and wonderful. Some don't even have fantastical creatures at all...

Do said alternative fantasy novels still have some sort of conflict, be it in the form of a personal enemy or precarious calamity?

Maybe the writers thereof were doing as RAS/Drizzt wrote: making the "dragons" as we make the gods? Like I mentioned before, the English language has that familiar phrase "to slay the dragon", which is often allegorical or metaphorical for something else. So maybe those other fantasy novels ultimately had their "dragons", after all?

"'You don't know my history,' he said dryly."
--Drizzt Do'Urden (The Pirate King, Part 1: Chapter 2)

<"Comprehensive Chronology of R.A. Salvatore Forgotten Realms Works">
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2012 :  06:06:57  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BEAST

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


I've read a lot of fantasy novels where there are no dragons in them and still find them quite interesting and wonderful. Some don't even have fantastical creatures at all...

Do said alternative fantasy novels still have some sort of conflict, be it in the form of a personal enemy or precarious calamity?


Of course.

I wasn't referring to allegorical representation of dragons, but actual dragons. You know, bloated, ugly lizards with bat wings?

And dragons are hardly the most powerful beings in any fantasy setting that one should refer facing the greatest threat as 'to slay a dragon.' Heck, in Feist's books, dragons are mostly transport animals.

Every beginning has an end.
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3085 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2012 :  14:39:50  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

quote:
Originally posted by BEAST

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


I've read a lot of fantasy novels where there are no dragons in them and still find them quite interesting and wonderful. Some don't even have fantastical creatures at all...

Do said alternative fantasy novels still have some sort of conflict, be it in the form of a personal enemy or precarious calamity?


Of course.

I wasn't referring to allegorical representation of dragons, but actual dragons. You know, bloated, ugly lizards with bat wings?

And dragons are hardly the most powerful beings in any fantasy setting that one should refer facing the greatest threat as 'to slay a dragon.' Heck, in Feist's books, dragons are mostly transport animals.



Also, "conflict" in storytelling has been around far longer than dragons.

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

Amazon "KindleUnlimited" Free Trial: http://amzn.to/2AJ4yD2

Try Audible and Get 2 Free Audio Books! https://amzn.to/2IgBede
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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2012 :  20:24:36  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

I wasn't referring to allegorical representation of dragons, but actual dragons. You know, bloated, ugly lizards with bat wings?

I know that, Dennis.

I'm simply suggesting that those books' authors were substituting other types of conflict instead of the all-too-familiar "to slay the dragon" trope, as a way of reinventing the fantasy wheel. They may have been doing exactly what RAS/Drizzt described: creating their "dragons" in their own light, as they saw fit or needed. Seen in that light, then they could be said to have still had their "dragons".

quote:
And dragons are hardly the most powerful beings in any fantasy setting that one should refer facing the greatest threat as 'to slay a dragon.' Heck, in Feist's books, dragons are mostly transport animals.

Oh, I get that dragons are hardly the most powerful. Somebody mentioned the tarrasque earlier in this very thread.

And I can certainly appreciate a fantasy tale in which dragons are beneficent beasts of burden, rather than adversarial monsters. I fondly remember Anne McCaffrey's "Dragonriders of Pern" trilogy from when I was a kid.

But "iconic" doesn't require that the monster be the most powerful. I would imagine that excessively high power levels probably lead most gaming groups to avoid ever introducing such creatures into their campaigns. And an essentially unused, theoretical monster probably shouldn't be viewed as "iconic". It doesn't really represent D&D, if it's just some theoretical entry in a reference book, somewhere.

"'You don't know my history,' he said dryly."
--Drizzt Do'Urden (The Pirate King, Part 1: Chapter 2)

<"Comprehensive Chronology of R.A. Salvatore Forgotten Realms Works">
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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2012 :  20:37:35  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

Also, "conflict" in storytelling has been around far longer than dragons.

Quite true.

But when conflict is personified, or rather monsterified, the classic, archetypal, oft-repeated-down-through-history method is to figure it as dragon. That reptilian, fire-breathing, gigantic form resonates with people across almost all cultures, and all time periods. Some scribes were reluctant to cite dragons as being the iconic monster of D&D because they're overused throughout fantasy. But I submit that there's very good reason that dragons are used so often. I think we should all recognize that.

I believe that TSR, and then later WOTC, did just that in embracing this particular name of the game. Sure, part of it must've been the cutesy factor of the alliteration. "Ramparts & Tanar'ri" just doesn't have the same ring to it! "D&D": it just rolls right off the tongue--almost like "Double-D's"! But part of it must've been a nod to the dragon's place throughout virtually all of fantasy as a pervasive, time-tested, enduring symbol of evil, fright, and destruction. The designers recognized that about dragons in choosing the game's name. It's only fitting that we do so in playing the game or reading the novelizations thereof, as well.

"'You don't know my history,' he said dryly."
--Drizzt Do'Urden (The Pirate King, Part 1: Chapter 2)

<"Comprehensive Chronology of R.A. Salvatore Forgotten Realms Works">
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3085 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2012 :  20:56:49  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
That reptilian, fire-breathing, gigantic form resonates with people across almost all cultures, and all time periods.


Black, green, blue, and white dragons will be offended by this statement.

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

Amazon "KindleUnlimited" Free Trial: http://amzn.to/2AJ4yD2

Try Audible and Get 2 Free Audio Books! https://amzn.to/2IgBede
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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3747 Posts

Posted - 12 Jul 2012 :  22:21:50  Show Profile  Click to see Alystra Illianniis's MSN Messenger address Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As would Bronze, Brass, Copper, and Silver, I'd imagine. And the entire spectrum of gem dragons, Steel, Mercury, Mist, Shadow, Deep- you get the idea..... On further speculation, although I've personally encountered or used relatively few of the mighty wyrms, they DO pretty much sum up the fantasy element of the game. Nothin says lovin like a giant, magical, destructive monster that flies, breathes some sort of nasty elemental emission, and is smarter and longer-lived than just about everything around it!

The Goddess is alive, and magic is afoot.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins" -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

"You idiots! You've captured their STUNT doubles!" -Spaceballs

Lothir's character background/stats: http://forum.candlekeep.com/pop_profile.asp?mode=display&id=5469

My stories:
http://z3.invisionfree.com/Mickeys_Comic_Tavern/index.php?showforum=188

Lothir, courtesy of Sylinde (Deviant Art)/Luaxena (Chosen of Eilistraee)
http://sylinde.deviantart.com/#/d2z6e4u
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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 13 Jul 2012 :  03:40:26  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

quote:
That reptilian, fire-breathing, gigantic form resonates with people across almost all cultures, and all time periods.


Black, green, blue, and white dragons will be offended by this statement.

Perhaps. But they don't resonate across the world and the ages like a flame-belcher.

"'You don't know my history,' he said dryly."
--Drizzt Do'Urden (The Pirate King, Part 1: Chapter 2)

<"Comprehensive Chronology of R.A. Salvatore Forgotten Realms Works">
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Ozreth
Learned Scribe

180 Posts

Posted - 14 Jul 2012 :  10:20:34  Show Profile  Visit Ozreth's Homepage Send Ozreth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not sure how Kobolds and Mind Flayers didn't make the list but I went with Beholder as well : p
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froglegg
Learned Scribe

317 Posts

Posted - 14 Jul 2012 :  13:48:50  Show Profile Send froglegg a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A dragon.


John

Long live Alias and Dragonbait! Kate Novak and Jeff Grubb the Realms need you more then ever!

On my word as a sage nothing within these pages is false, but not all of it may prove to be true. - Elminster of Shadowdale

The Old Grey Box gets better with age!
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LordXenophon
Learned Scribe

USA
116 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2012 :  22:20:28  Show Profile  Send LordXenophon an AOL message Send LordXenophon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

quote:
That reptilian, fire-breathing, gigantic form resonates with people across almost all cultures, and all time periods.


Black, green, blue, and white dragons will be offended by this statement.



All Dragons can breathe fire. Red Dragons just happen to be able to do it without a potion.

Disintegration is in the eye of the Beholder.
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 20 Jul 2012 :  01:54:54  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BEAST

quote:
Originally posted by entreri3478

Also, "conflict" in storytelling has been around far longer than dragons.

Quite true.

But when conflict is personified, or rather monsterified, the classic, archetypal, oft-repeated-down-through-history method is to figure it as dragon.


Are we talking about fantasy in general or just FR? If it's just FR, then maybe that's the case. Though that's still highly debatable...

In fantasy in general, no, that's simply NOT the case. How can one personify conflict into a fire-breathing dragon if in the first place, as apparent in many fantasy novels, there's no dragon in the setting?

Every beginning has an end.
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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 20 Jul 2012 :  05:22:26  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis

quote:
Originally posted by BEAST

But when conflict is personified, or rather monsterified, the classic, archetypal, oft-repeated-down-through-history method is to figure it as dragon.

Are we talking about fantasy in general or just FR? If it's just FR, then maybe that's the case. Though that's still highly debatable...

In fantasy in general, no, that's simply NOT the case. How can one personify conflict into a fire-breathing dragon if in the first place, as apparent in many fantasy novels, there's no dragon in the setting?

I said "when" it is personified/monsterified, classically it's a dragon. That simply IS the case, Dennis. As several other people lamented earlier in this same scroll, dragons seem ubiquitous in fantasy down through the ages.

Now, again, that's when it gets personified.

But there are certainly other types of fantasy that don't use dragons. In those cases, then there is no way to personify conflict as a dragon.

Even then, though, dragons are still the classic, archetypal monster used to personify conflict. Exceptional, dragonless fantasy tales don't change that.

"'You don't know my history,' he said dryly."
--Drizzt Do'Urden (The Pirate King, Part 1: Chapter 2)

<"Comprehensive Chronology of R.A. Salvatore Forgotten Realms Works">
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Quale
Master of Realmslore

1757 Posts

Posted - 20 Jul 2012 :  11:01:37  Show Profile Send Quale a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In ten years I've used a beholder I think once, a dragon maybe three times, personally it's goblin or elf.

Edited by - Quale on 20 Jul 2012 11:01:57
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