City Image - Medhar, the City that hides.
Settled two hundred years before, the people were fleeing war and tyranny. Establishing a comfortable existence in the fertile, but empty valleys, they soon learned who the lands belong to. A mighty dragon called only Death, came and burned the city to the ground, and later again, and again, sending with fire also his (hers?) evil laughter and shouts of pleasure at the destruction. The survivors did not wish to leave, and decided for a new strategy.
The whole city is built low, and from high up practically invisible. Many trees, particularly fruit trees, cover the walkways, creating a permanent shadow. Most houses are wide, with thick walls and cellars sized for the whole family, if necessary; grass is grown on the roof. Most walkways are covered with cobbled stone, tree roots deform them in many places.
With all the wonderful nature around, the danger is a part of living here. The locals are no-nonsense types, serious and careful. It is remarkably quiet here, unlike in most towns of similar population (on the other hand, it is more spread out). Even the street vendors do not offer their wares with shouting, they address potential customers with a calm voice, and cut back on the praises. Some dwarwes seem to favour this way of selling. No light is allowed outside after dark.
Intense crop farming is limited in size, so fruit trees, and herding are the main sources of food. The sheep have excellent wool, it is processed into fine clothing, in high demand far and wide. Because of the irregular streets, goods are transported in two-wheeled carts, ponies or their owners pulling them. Caravans stay on the towns' border only.
There are still several ruins of former cities, mostly broken down, but left to remind of the lesson. Soon after Death's visit, a new Potemkin village is built, with fake houses of wood, to make them burn better. The young and curageous run amidst the burning houses in panic, to appease the dragon's lust for destruction. Some fools occassionaly still try to kill him, and die in the process. The large herds of sheep also stay visible, to attract the dragon, let him feast and leave soon. So far, the dragon prefers to come back every 6-8 years.
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? Responses (6)
I must be missing something, but I've read it twice, so here goes: Why are the people trying to 'hide' from the dragon. Surely he knows that they are still there. He's destroyed the place a couple of times now (at least) and the sheep have to come from somewhere. Do they believe that they can remain in hiding?
I like this place, it has a certain feel to it, paranoia. I can see all sorts of superstitions abounding, gestures to ward off dragons, matrons telling their children to hush lest they wake the dragon. It could even be just the opposite, with a painfully blind eye, none of the locals know anything bout dragons, and it isn't good to go asking for trouble when there isnt any to be found.
This is pure genius. I love how the people erect a decoy village to help maintain the facade, though I can't imagine that this would work forever. Were I a ruling member of this city, I would do my best to cut down on traders to the city itself, for an incautious foreigner could lead to the death of all. Rather, I would send caravans away under cover of night, or build well-concealed tunnels through which traffic could enter and leave the valley unobserved. Maybe the dwarves could help with that. I would also forbid people in my trade caravans from speaking of the city to untrustworthy outsiders, and certainly never give its location. Perhaps a wizard or two could also find employment in creating subtle yet powerful illusions to further hide the city from the dragon's view.
Thanks for the post -- it's spawning lots of ideas and I'd love to use this in my campaign world one day. Please accept my patented "Smashing Sub of the Day" award, and an HoH.
A dragon's pure might does not have to correlate with intelligence. This one especially seems of the "hurr durr me burn people for teh lulz" type who might actually be fooled by this charade.
This seems to me a practical adaptation people would make to such a threat, if they were unwilling or unable to move elsewhere, or destroy the threat.
This is especially true if your dragons are more like giant winged fire breathing red-necks then Smaug.
Witsec for a town.
Maybe the dragons in this universe are more like Tyrannosaurus rather then being clever?