Eating a dragon, is that okay?

Just finished up a great session of Pathfinder. We got some sweet gear and were able to unload cumbersome treasure and consolidate our wealth into more portable forms. The final encounter of the session was a Young White Dragon, and that is where our debate begins.

After the dragon was defeated it was determined that its hide might be useful for crafting winter cloaks, and one character requested that my character who was busy skinning the dragon cut him off a big steak. This caused another player to get rather upset as he felt that eating a [sentient] creature was akin to cannibalism and would cause his character to leave the group. A rather heated discussion ensued during which the other players left the room until things cooled down.

So is it okay to eat a dragon given that it is an intelligent creature capable of advanced thought and reasoning? Dragon hide is a listed material for constructing armor and presumably other metal or leather-like goods; is it then not acceptable to use the hide of such a creature for creating goods?

We will be getting together to play a different campaign later today and will likely continue this argument so I would like to get some comments so that I can present a consensus of other gamers.


~ by katallos on January 23, 2010.

7 Responses to “Eating a dragon, is that okay?”

  1. Well, you heard most of my arguments (and will likely hear more tomorrow), but for the sake of the post here it is: Cannibalism is a relatively common cultural tradition, even between cultures with little to no contact, i.e. Native American groups, African tribal groups and Pacific Islander groups, to name a few. The mistake was applying a personal, or even in this case, cultural taboo as a universal principal. If he leaves the group based on his own personal issues, than it is supportable. If it is due to the belief that the dragon connoisseur was violating a universal taboo, than it isn’t, as it has been demonstrated in that very campaign that cannibalism is not taboo among all ‘intelligent’ creatures, otyughs being the point in case.

  2. I think the whole question falls on whether dragons shed or not. I was under the impression that dragons shed their skin, so making stuff out of it was okay.


  3. I wouldn’t think of eating a dragon as cannibalism or taboo. The only weirdness I can think of (for me personally) would be if the dragon had spent a significant amount of time shapechanged in humanoid form around the PCs, so that they thought of it as a humanoid.

  4. In a fantasy game of the imagination. The group who just killed an intelligent evil creature and the argument is wether they should eat it. I wonder what the dragons family would think.

    Seriously I think it’s a great opportunity to role play a characters revulsion of eatting dragon meat. Instead of his character leaving the group I’d suggest having the character give humerous jabs at the rest of the group. Maybe he can start being especially cautious around them in case the evil meat would infect them.

  5. Technically eating a member of a different species is not cannibalism – only eating a member of your own species is. Since we think of ourselves as the only sentient species on our planet this issue has never come up – though some would debate whether whales and dolphins might be sentient, and hence question whether hunting those species is unethical.

    At best then someone can find the idea of eating the flesh of another sentient being as distasteful, but it’s not cannibalism.

  6. I’d be more inclined to consider the practical points over philosophy. What will the dragon meat taste like? I’d be inclined to say that it would taste most like alligator, since that’s the closest thing on Earth to dragon. However, we’re also talking about an evil magical, even unnatural creature. What has the beast been eating for the last 16-25 years too? Goblins? Trolls? Worse? After all, you are what you eat.

    So, I guess my answer to this little conundrum is that the meat would very likely make the character quite sick with some pretty violent stomach cramps. I don’t think the meat’s even going to be palatable, otherwise they’d sell dragon at the meat market for it’s plentiful quantity.

  7. Okay, to settle this question once and for all, I ate some dragon yesterday.

    It was a little sinewy, but I didn’t have any feelings of guilt or remorse for eating a sentient creature.


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