Shoot It or Ride It

The writing cogs are jammed, so I’m going to try and clean the system with a silly little game I’m making up as I write this sentence. Below is a list of a variety of mythical beasts. It becomes your job to consider whether you would like to shoot the beast (and therefore have to put in the effort to destroy it and everything that entails, from risks to expenses) or ride the beast (and therefore have to put in the effort to tame it, feed it, keep it, and train it). If you decide to play, please provide your reasoning in your comments. Here’s the list:

  1. Griffon
  2. Dragon
  3. Hydra
  4. Pegasus
  5. Basilisk

Ready? Here are my answers:

lz2levrz#1: Griffon

Okay, so first off, griffons are awesome. They look cool, they fly, and they’re sort of the best mix of bird of prey and great cat. As any good bird of prey or great cat, they’re smart enough to be trainable, I’d imagine, and they aren’t so titanically huge that they’d be impossible to feed. They eat horses, primarily, so finding food won’t be that hard. They’re really big, but not so huge you couldn’t keep them in a barn. Sure, you could hunt them down relatively easily, too, but why bother when you can get them to fly you around?

Answer: Ride!


#2: Dragon

dragonwallpaper2Dragons are even more awesome than griffons – on that score, I think most of us could agree. It would be really cool if you could train it to let you ride it, convince it to lay waste to your enemies, and so on. Thing is, though, you’ll never pull it off. Even assuming it doesn’t immediately roast you or you find some clever way around it’s fire/poison/acid breathing capabilities, where on earth do you keep a creature of that size? What the heck do you feed it? What happens if you stop feeding it?

Dragons, as intelligent reptiles, don’t really have much of a history of working well with people. Furthermore, there is no reasonable way you can ever feel safe around the thing – they have a noted tendency to eat people and steal their stuff. Are you going to supply it sufficient gold to keep it from sacking the nearest castle? Even if you do get up there, how do you control it? It’s too big to really tug around with reins and spurs aren’t going to make a mark. It even has a neck that can reach around and eat you off it’s own back. Ooof.

Granted, killing the thing would be really tough, but if you decide to tame it, you’d probably have to kill it anyway.

Answer: Shoot!

#3: Hydra

Okay, so how do you propose to ride this thing? Hydra._GreenWhere do you put the saddle? How, once in the saddle, do you actually see where you’re going? Seems impractical. It should be noted that the Hydra has some advantages over the dragon on this score in that it isn’t notably intelligent, can’t breathe fire, and is a good bit smaller. They’re semi-amphibious, so they can live in swamps and lakes and such.

You also, of course, have to consider just how damned hard it’s going to be to kill the things. The ol’ Hercules cut-and-burn technique sounds good on paper, but that’s going to be pretty damned hard to pull off in real life. Even if you employ flamethrowers, there’s a lot of heads there. Shooting it from a distance might not even work. These are prickly beasts, to be sure. Weirdly enough, I think the regenerative properties alone mean trying to tame it might just be worth the effort. Kinda lose-lose, though.

Answer: Ride!

fereepegasus#4: Pegasus

This is a no-brainer, right? Well, not so fast. Pegasi are beautiful and supposedly kind and tame and are just like horses, right? Well, yeah, but consider that, if it’s just like a horse, it isn’t going to be able to generate enough lift to fly with a grown person on their back, or at least not for long. Dragons and Griffons are both significantly larger and stronger, meaning the odds of getting some good flying time in are much higher. So, instead of a flying horse you get to ride, you instead wind up with a flying horse that runs away. Okay, okay, so you can train it to stick around and win it over with sweetness and love, granted. You can do that with a regular horse, though, and without the trouble of chasing it around as it takes itself out for exercise. At least with a griffon, you get the added bonus of being able to fly with it and scare the crap out of your enemies.

On the flipside, killing a Pegasus would be really, really easy and save you a lot of trouble. So, if one showed up on your lawn and was trashing your car, a hunting rifle might be in order.

Answer: Shoot!

image20#5: Basilisk

Depending on which legends you go to, this thing is a giant, venomous snake or a giant lizard that either petrifies or kills with a glance. In both cases we’re looking at a pretty terrible ride. How do you train a creature you can never look at? That mirror thing is only going to get you so far, and having it on your property is going to result in a lot of your friends becoming corpses or statues when they go looking for a trash barrel during your annual barbeque. Lets not even get into the fact that it’s venomous and fatally so. Oof.

Shoot it! Kill it with fire! Ahhh!

Answer: Shoot! Shoot it now!


Okay, your turn internet. Or not. Whatever – I’ve distracted myself long enough that I can probably get real work done now.




About aahabershaw

Writer, teacher, gaming enthusiast, and storyteller. I write stories, novels, and occasional rants.

Posted on December 19, 2012, in Critiques, Theories, and Random Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I’m with you on dragons, pegasi, basilisks, and hydras. I’m more wary of griffons though. They combine everything that’s dangerous about birds of prey with everything that’s dangerous about a cat. How many loyal cats have you met? Do you really want to be in the air with it when it decides “fuck you, naptime” or “kiss my ass and stop touching me, human!”? Shoot.

  2. I offed everybody except the griffon. I don’t trust any of those fuckers, especially the pegasus. Cause usually the pegasi require you to be a virgin or someshit to be allowed to get close to it… so if I can ride it, it means I’m either never getting laid, or else it actually belongs to someone else.

    • Ha!
      I think you may be mixing pegasi up with unicorns, as they usually have the virgin restriction. Perseus could ride one, and he was getting some.

      • Yes, you are in fact correct, I was mixing up my fantasy horses. I’d still impale the pegasus to the wall with two large harpoons like what happened to Angel in the Mutant Massacre storyline though.

  3. Have to disagree on Hydra and Pegasus.

    Hydras: Every problem you listed with dragons, but now with multiple heads! This thing will not only eat you, it’ll fight over your still-living, half-eaten body with itself while doing so! Hell no! Kill it with fire and themsome!

    Pegasus: No reason not to ride it. As trainable as a horse, you can use most if not all the same equipment you use to ride a horse, and it FLIES as an added bonus! Sure, smaller than griffon or dragon, but that has its advantages. You can feed it without having to hunt for its food–got a grassy meadow nearby? Bag of feed? Bam, your pegasus is fed. Fast, nimble, rideable, trainable. Unless you’re starving and need some horse meat, there’s no reason not to ride.

    Oh, and no, pegasi do not require virgins, that’s the unicorn (and only in some stories).

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