I am old beyond time.
(Not actually true, but I ain't young. I still get carded every single time I go to the liquor store or buy cigarettes, and they always make a big deal about it when they read my birthdate off the ID, so I guess that's good.)
I am omnipresent.
(Okay, not true either. But I've lived in a lot of places. Currently adjusting to living in a smaller town after coming from a huge one.)
I have watched your kind over the years, learning.
(Well, I can be a little antisocial; I'm an introvert. Social situations exhaust me. But I'm actually pretty friendly and have learned, with painstaking practice, to hold up my end of a conversation.)
I have watched you evolve.
(I like all sorts of games. I have some over-analytical tendencies, and when no one's looking, you might actually catch me playing with a notebook and pen at my side, taking notes. I love to see games do new things, create new systems and new ways of playing. Games like Catherine, Journey, or Child of Eden - or even little indie strangenesses like Passage and One Chance - always get my imagination fired up.)
I have participated in your rituals.
(Music - Electronica, darkwave, ambient, 80s, chillout, punk, rock, conscious hip-hop, some folk and indie. See last.fm for things I tend to listen to; the profile's out of date, and of course doesn't account for any non-digital music I own.)
I have absorbed your literature.
(Books - Stephen R. Donaldson, Michael Moorcock, Gene Wolfe, Warren Ellis, Stephen King, Chuck Palaniuk, Hunter Thompson, Richard Morgan, Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, Lovecraft, Haruki Murakami, Jeff Lindsay, Mervyn Peake, Borges, Harlan Ellison, Emma Bull, Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Banana Yoshimoto, bros Hernandez, Nancy Collins, Jessica Abel, Brian Wood, Mary Roach, Mary Karr, Jane McGonigal - and many more.)
I have aided your heroes.
(Fondly remembered games - Final Fantasy series and FFT, Persona series, SMT and DDS, Portal, Bioshock, Batman Arkham Asylum, Fallout, Silent Hill, Valkyria Chronicles, Culdcept, Baroque, Katamari Damacy, Odin Sphere, The Red Star, Rez, The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, Soul Calibur, Panzer Dragoon, Oblivion, Planescape Torment, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Civilization, Limbo, Puzzle Quest, Demon's Souls, Okami, Parappa the Rapper, any and all co-op beat 'em ups, PixelJunk Monsters, and I'm probably forgetting tons worthy of mention).
I have chosen you to hear my words and bear them to all who will listen.
Well, let's get this thing started. Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to visit - find a seat anywhere, it's a spacious cave and there's plenty of room down front. My name is fulldamage - thanks, hi, thanks - and I'd like to take a moment to talk to you a little bit today about a serious problem facing dragonkind. Something that impairs our ability to focus on long term goals, to develop ourselves, to grow as a species, and to contribute to life on this planet. Drakes and gentlewyrms, I'm here today to talk to you about hoarding, and how it is ruining us.
Now, just hold on a minute. I know what you're thinking. "Fulldamage, hoarding is what dragons do. It's just a part of how we behave! It's natural. We attack towns, we raze crops, we kidnap princesses, we slay knights, we fight each other, and we hoard gold. Forever. Look it up on wikipedia, it's just how we are! You can't change what you are." I know, believe me, I've heard it all before - I've thought the same things myself over the centuries! I'm not here today to tell you to apologize for that. These are great qualities - rightfully belonging to gorgeous beings at the top of the food chain such as ourselves. What I'm saying is this - there's a right way to go about things, and a wrong way. And if we don't go about things the right way, then as a species, we're simply not going to make it.
It's a problem.
Now, show of claws - who in here is a big fan of Gold? Yep, yeah - okay, you can put them down. That's about what I thought. Gold is a wonderful thing, and it comes from many places in the world - mostly from humans! You can get it from burning down their farms, burning down their towns, ransoming kidnapped princesses, ambushing royal caravans - it seems like it's everywhere, so who cares how much we collect, right? But I'm here to tell you today that gold, and the humans that create it, are a limited resource. If we hunt them to the point of extinction, then there's less gold in the world, and our sweet gold beds get less fluffy with each passing year. I need you to think about cultivating humans. If you want to succeed at the long game, you need to let them build up their towns and farms to a certain level before attacking them - they're much more valuable that way, and you'll save a lot time, which can be put to use napping and dreaming of sweet, sweet slaughter.
Why keep them in here? They make gold. GOLD, you understand.
I'm already hearing some grumbling in the back - settle down, you malcontents. I'm no peacemonger. Listen, what I'm talking about is a balancing act. You have to be an activist, you have to engage daily in the process of improvement. If you let them build too big, all of a sudden there are castles and wizard towers all over the map, taking potshots at you if you so much as stick your nose out of your lair. That's obviously a fatal situation. What I'm talking about is harvesting them sustainably. Let them build up to a sufficient level - and burn them down just as they become a threat. Or even better - show them fear. Cause just enough havoc to terrify them, without destroying their cities entirely - and when they rebuild, they will worship you, and deliver money right to your hoard without you having to so much as flap a wing, leaving you free to expand your control of the map and work on your long term goals. Think about it.
And you should have long term goals. For Ouroboros' sakes, you need to better yourselves. All dragons are blessed with innate strengths - flight speed, fire breath, carrying capacity, and armor. If you really want to run the map, you need to not only develop those skills, but develop them tactically. Because let's face it, the world is a small place, and we're competing with each other, not just the humans. You need to be able to take care of yourself and strategize for your long term gain. A maxed-out breath attack is handy, but not if other dragons are making it to all the gold deposits faster than you! Sneaking into other dragon's hoards to steal from them is a time-honored trick - but if you're not strong enough to carry out more than a couple clawfuls, then it's a total waste. You'll often find spells all over the map that will let you freeze targets, blast things across the length of the map, and more - but you need to focus on the ones that apply to your current situation, and you need to use them when the time is right.
Humans, again, are the same way - you need to use them tactically. Think about protecting towns and castles that are close to your enemies' lairs. If you can do this, eventually your opponent will be plagued with archers and magic bolts downing them prematurely, leaving you free to eat up their resources and build your powers.
My friends, there are at least thirty maps out there, all featuring human settlements in different locations and arrangements. There are thieves sneaking into your hoard from every which direction, who will zero your score multiplier and ruin your ability to meet your money making goals in a timely manner. There are princesses being carted around in flimsy conveyances, begging to be kidnapped. There are knights which come charging into your hoard after princesses. There are wizard towers guarding valuable gems, if you can dodge their devastating blasts. There are archers, there are massive giants, there are plunderable caravans, and most of all there are other dragons.
Dragons interfering with your tribute wagons, dragons decoying you into chasing princesses so they can steal from your hoard, dragons nabbing your powerups, dragons leading trains of knights in your direction, dragons ambushing or sniping you when you're in mid-raid and far from home. Managing each map requires an ability to react quickly, to strategize, to adapt, to make critical decisions between offense and avoidance, and to shift focus between short and long-term goals. It's frenetic, and it is challenging.
The lives of dragons span aeons, and the rise and fall of your entire empire can hinge on the events of what seems like 10 or 20 minutes. Fellow dragons, I challenge you to take an active part in managing this world of ours, in overcoming its obstacles, and in becoming the bravest, strongest, richest creatures this world has ever seen. With your help, I believe we can accomplish this goal, and accumulate hoards the size of which our ancestors could never have dreamed possible.
And if I catch any of you within seven leagues of my lair, I will straight-up murder you into ashes.
Thank you for your time. Be safe.
(with apologies to Big Sandwich)