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Wild-West Dragonrider Story (1 Viewer)

Elenxes_II

Senior Member
This takes place in a Wild West-like world where cowboys and outlaws are dragon riders.
___
The main character, Virgil Deadwood, was raised by outlaws for much of his early years. His mother regarded him as a nuisance, and seldom looked after him. Her dragon picked up on said instincts, and eventually burned half of Virgil's face off. The bandits left Virgil to die, thinking he would be unable to survive. But he was picked up by settlers, and managed to keep living if not completely recover. He later tamed a dragon, and then got a job as an escort.

As there's multiple dragon riding outlaw gangs, to protect wagon caravans as they head out there needs to be protection in the form of dragon riders hired by the government. Virgil picks up such a job, aiding settlers and such. Virgil's always on the lookout for his mother though, determined to get his justice. One day he finds the survivor of one of his mother's raids, a young man named Addam Baird. Baird's also badly burned from a dragon, and Virgil reluctantly allows him to join him as an escort.

Thoughts or questions?

 

thepancreas11

New Writers' Mentor
WF Veterans
Wow, I absolutely love the idea of a western with dragon-rider cowboys. I'm just imagining all the ways in which that would change that part of American history. It's a fresh idea--so far as I know--and it could break some cool, new ground.

In order for that to happen, I think the idea needs to develop a little more. Right now, there are some very familiar aspects that seem perhaps a bit too common in the genres you're mashing together (the outlaw nature of the protagonist, disfigured and outcast by his society, even the name "Virgil Deadwood"). I would encourage you to explore what it means to be a dragon-rider in the West, how that would affect the world (all the houses are stone, there are frequent brush fires, rivers and lakes are essentially constant battlegrounds because they're the only place safe from the dragons, etc.), and why your Western needs dragons. I think of Shawn of the Dead: it's a zombie movie about a guy who basically lives his life as a zombie. The character informs the setting which informs the character. This character lives in a dragon-rider West. Why? What aspects of that existence can help you examine your themes? Answering those questions will enrich and deepen this idea.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
I like the genre-bending! Pretty cool. I'll add to ThePancreas's ideas that it'll be interesting to see where your imagination takes you as far as taming dragons and what it's like to care for one and ride one. How are dragons tamed in the wild west? Maybe they like whiskey. Maybe burning tobacco under their nostrils while they sleep helps bind them to a person. I don't know but it seems like you've got some interesting things to work with!
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
This intrigues me. I'm in.

I also have many, many questions.

- Who can work dragons? Is this universal, or does one need a special ability?

- Does the government regulate dragons? Depending on how you go, if the dragon is either a) a form of biological helicopter or b) an organic napalm machine, chances are Uncle Sam's going to have something to say about the general public having one. At the very least it's probably going to be heavily taxed and regulated.

- What does this do for settlement? Are your dragons especially suited for one climate or another? Say, if dragons are a source of natural heat, does this open up the ice tundras and boreal forests of northern Canada as habitable?

- How about westward expansion? If the U.S. Army was the primary operator of dragons, the Indian Wars would have gone an entirely different direction. If the Comanche were the sole operators...there wouldn't be any westward expansion because the Comanche would have rolled over North America like an airmobile Mongol horde. Same for the U.S. Civil War - if the Confederacy acquired dragons early on and had given them to some of their ace cavalry officers, Washington D.C. would have been cinders in no time. How does this change history as we know it - and if it doesn't, how so?

- Also dealing with expansion, how does it look with dragons? Bear in mind that the way west for many followed the railroads; planners laid out routes where the terrain was most suitable and wood, coal, and water were readily available to service locomotives. A railroad depot was often the seed of a new town, with company employees living around the station and businesses springing up to serve both them and passengers. How do dragons affect this?

- How do dragons work in the same world as cattle drives? Seems like the big flying lizards gotta eat, and a couple of hundred head of longhorn probably look like an open buffet. If not...what do they run on?

- How long have dragons been domesticated? Do they live in the wild, only in captivity, or as a mixture of the two?

- Is there a practical defense against dragon attacks if feral examples exist?

- How are dragons viewed in your society? Fear? Reverence?

- How has the use of dragons intertwined with history? Certainly there will be stories and legends in the same vein as old tales of wolves and horses. How has humanity advanced differently with aviation as an integral part of its story?

More questions later, probably.
 
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Elenxes_II

Senior Member
This intrigues me. I'm in.

I also have many, many questions.

- Who can work dragons? Is this universal, or does one need a special ability?

- Does the government regulate dragons? Depending on how you go, if the dragon is either a) a form of biological helicopter or b) an organic napalm machine, chances are Uncle Sam's going to have something to say about the general public having one. At the very least it's probably going to be heavily taxed and regulated.

- What does this do for settlement? Are your dragons especially suited for one climate or another? Say, if dragons are a source of natural heat, does this open up the ice tundras and boreal forests of northern Canada as habitable?

- How about westward expansion? If the U.S. Army was the primary operator of dragons, the Indian Wars would have gone an entirely different direction. If the Comanche were the sole operators...there wouldn't be any westward expansion because the Comanche would have rolled over North America like an airmobile Mongol horde. Same for the U.S. Civil War - if the Confederacy acquired dragons early on and had given them to some of their ace cavalry officers, Washington D.C. would have been cinders in no time. How does this change history as we know it - and if it doesn't, how so?

- Also dealing with expansion, how does it look with dragons? Bear in mind that the way west for many followed the railroads; planners laid out routes where the terrain was most suitable and wood, coal, and water were readily available to service locomotives. A railroad depot was often the seed of a new town, with company employees living around the station and businesses springing up to serve both them and passengers. How do dragons affect this?

- How do dragons work in the same world as cattle drives? Seems like the big flying lizards gotta eat, and a couple of hundred head of longhorn probably look like an open buffet. If not...what do they run on?

- How long have dragons been domesticated? Do they live in the wild, only in captivity, or as a mixture of the two?

- Is there a practical defense against dragon attacks if feral examples exist?

- How are dragons viewed in your society? Fear? Reverence?

- How has the use of dragons intertwined with history? Certainly there will be stories and legends in the same vein as old tales of wolves and horses. How has humanity advanced differently with aviation as an integral part of its story?

More questions later, probably.

I’ll answer your questions in order.

Technically anyone can ride a dragon, but it’s fairly uncommon. Dragonriders are less than, say, a fifth of the population overall.

Dragons are regulated, but their eggs even more so. It’s illegal to sell or own dragon eggs without a permit, and the vast majority fail anyway. They’re also toxic and sulfurous, so the vast majority of eggs are disposed of.

Dragons run very hot, but hate wet and cold. In colder climates they hibernate in burrows (or stables) when it gets really cold, but they can still be ridden in a pinch. They prefer open plains, and rocky regions.

Well, this is a completely alternate universe, but your questions are still applicable. The natives ride dragons as well, but as they don’t herd like the main nation they have fewer dragons. The in-universe version of the Civil War was a brutal affair, with entire cities on both sides razed in days.

Dragonriders are excellent scouts and surveyors due to their flight, which allows for much better planning for settlements. Trains are still needed due to their greater carrying capacity, so the dragons are more like additional support.

Dragons mainly feed on cattle and horses. In this universe, said cattle drives still exist due to the need to keep the dragons fed. However, they can consume most flammable materials, assuming there’s nothing toxic in it.

Dragons have been tamed for several hundred years, although there’s plenty of wild specimens to find. Wild dragons are usually warded off simply by the scent of their larger, better-fed kin.

Dragons are regarded with a lot of fear, and a lot of respect. Most people tend to give a wide berth to a dragonrider.

History has definitely changed dramatically. The in-universe Roman Empire never fell, and sent voyages across the sea to find the ‘New World’. The biggest change to history is probably how the world’s a lot more interconnected. Messages can be carried in weeks instead of months, and military aid is much swifter than in our world.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
- How about westward expansion? If the U.S. Army was the primary operator of dragons, the Indian Wars would have gone an entirely different direction. If the Comanche were the sole operators...there wouldn't be any westward expansion because the Comanche would have rolled over North America like an airmobile Mongol horde. Same for the U.S. Civil War - if the Confederacy acquired dragons early on and had given them to some of their ace cavalry officers, Washington D.C. would have been cinders in no time. How does this change history as we know it - and if it doesn't, how so?
Good Lord, I have never been interested in writing historical fiction until just now. Except this is steampunk...with dragons instead of steam...DRAGONPUNK. Boom...Elenxes...you've got your own genre!
 

MistWolf

Senior Member
Dragons are regulated, but their eggs even more so. It’s illegal to sell or own dragon eggs without a permit, and the vast majority fail anyway. They’re also toxic and sulfurous, so the vast majority of eggs are disposed of.

If the government has the power to enforce permits on dragon eggs, westward expansion is done. There are no more wagon trains of settlers on the Oregon Trail. Commerce has been given over to the railroads.

The in-universe version of the Civil War was a brutal affair, with entire cities on both sides razed in days.

Who fought the Civil War? If Pax Romana never fell and sent their legions across the sea to the New World, America was settled by the Romans. Dragons might make up for the weak Roman Navy.

If the Romans followed their pattern of conquest, they would have absorbed the natives into the Roman Empire and used them in their armies.

The question is, did the natives of the Americas have dragons before the Europeans arrived? Quetzalcoatl is a feathered serpent, an apt description for a dragon.
 

Elenxes_II

Senior Member
If the government has the power to enforce permits on dragon eggs, westward expansion is done. There are no more wagon trains of settlers on the Oregon Trail. Commerce has been given over to the railroads.



Who fought the Civil War? If Pax Romana never fell and sent their legions across the sea to the New World, America was settled by the Romans. Dragons might make up for the weak Roman Navy.

If the Romans followed their pattern of conquest, they would have absorbed the natives into the Roman Empire and used them in their armies.

The question is, did the natives of the Americas have dragons before the Europeans arrived? Quetzalcoatl is a feathered serpent, an apt description for a dragon.
Guess I’ll need to reconsider the first part.

It’s not the Roman Empire, just a similar entity.

The natives had dragons native there, yes.
 
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