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Would caves in general be practical lairs for a dragon?


So, I was writing an outline for the battle between a dragon and a bunch of humans. However, a key component of the humans' battle plan was to place a hidden stash of ballistae near the entrance when the dragon was away. Then, raid it during the night, corner the beast in his own cave, and pepper him with poisoned ballista bolts while meekly hoping that St. George's paladin skills are strong enough to withstand dragon fire.

But there's the problem. Why would a dragon choose a place where their main selling point (insane mobility via flight) can't work? I mean, we don't play by Hollywood rules. When a dragon sees they're in big trouble they won't hesitate to do the legendary maneuver, the "Fly you fools!" "Nigerundayo, Smokey!"

Sure, dragons need quite a bit of space, but there must be other places they can sleep in besides caves, right?

So why caves?

To be more concrete, the aforementioned plan relied on the cave having only one entrance. Just how common is that? Because if a large majority of caves are like that, where many openings are too small for a dragon (a creature slightly larger than a horse), then it's not worth it. There's also the humidity (some of the dragon's hoard is sensitive to that), temperature (not too hot, not too cold), general safety (i.e: the roof won't fall on your head when sleeping), and accessibility. Dragons like to fly (even more so than swimming) but it is a last resort.

So, would caves be a good lair for a dragon, if yes, then why?

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1 answer


Man. When you said a dragon I though of a really huge dragon. But horse sized dragons? Well. Caves have certain appeals to them.

  • If they are in a mountain they can be up the mountain thus an added element of being harder to get to thus a better home.
  • Similar to the point above a dragon might find a lair or help make it so that it is only accessible if you can fly.
  • Finding and using an existing natural thing is much more in line with animals than trying to create a city or a new thing.
  • If the dragon or dragons are smart enough they can work in the cave system to separate the thing into different bits, much like a human creating rooms, and thus they can store gold in a place that is very hard to get too while also enjoying life in the close to the outside places. And so on.
  • A lair limits the creature. It's true. But that limitation could be handy. For example a lair with one small entrance leading to a small cave system means that the humans coming at the dragon can only come in small groups. An open field where the dragon can fly might seem tempting, but remember they can bring their rifles or bows or whatever to bear at it in the open.
  • Fear. Another element in making a lair for the dragon. Now our brave heroes won't care. But most people would be afraid of being in a small place with a dragon.
  • Immunity. If the dragon is immune to fire and smoke then trapping its attackers in a place where a small amount of fire, of course it can't breath fire for long amounts of time anyway, can kill them outright or suffocate them makes more sense. Again in an open plain they can scatter, much like they would do if artillery is trying to hit them, and that means that the dragon has to try to target individual targets all the while it's open to fire. But in a cave they are in trouble.
  • Natural reasons. Maybe they hibernator, or maybe they use active volcanoes because of the heat.
  • Might be cultural thing. Honestly. Like you have somewhat intelligent dragons or they are just used to caves. Might even make fun of it.

That's all I could think of now.

Also the likes to fly thing must be absolutely exhausting for such a large creature.

I'd imagine they spend more time walking around and trying not to fly because of how much energy they much burn up when they do.

And I'm saying this because you did mention humidity so they are not pure magic.

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