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A baldor

Baldors were worm-like mutated monsters which appeared in Panzer Dragoon Saga and Panzer Dragoon Orta. They are notable for their long snake-like torsos and huge jaws with the potential of inflicting a devastating bite on their opponents. Unlike worms such as those found in the Garil Desert, baldors had the ability to fly through the air. It is unclear how they stayed in the air given that the small fins attached to the sides of their heads would not be enough to support the baldor's weight, and with the fins being non-existent in the Panzer Dragoon Orta variety. However, like many of monsters and ships in the series, the baldors that were ultimately of Ancient origin somehow managed to maintain altitude.

Baldors in Panzer Dragoon Saga

Baldors first appeared in the Panzer Dragoon series when Edge and his dragon encountered wild baldors in the valley near Excavation Site #74. This type of baldor, which differed considerably from the domesticated baldors featured in Panzer Dragoon Orta, lived in rocky regions such as the valleys. The baldors hunted their prey in pairs. Those who attempted to attack the baldor pair from the side would be assaulted by spinal arrows which the baldor would eject to weaken its prey. However, the more deadly attack came from the front of the baldor pair, who would perform a ‘terrible bite’ on those unfortunate enough not to avoid the attack. The baldors would use their spinal arrows to weaken their prey, with the terrible bite typically used to finish the prey off. The baldors were, however, weak from behind, having no defences there; this was the optimal place to attack a baldor pair in battle.

A baldor queen

The baldors in the valley in Panzer Dragoon Saga were led by a dominant female called the baldor queen. There was one baldor queen for every one hundred of the normal baldors. Their physical form was completely different from the smaller baldors, appearing more like a spider than a worm. These baldor queens existed solely to reproduce and create the smaller baldors. It is unclear whether the baldor queens controlled the actions of the smaller baldors as well or whether they were capable of limited autonomy. The baldor queens suspended themselves over the canyons in the valley, with their leg-like structures acting as supports, like a spider. It is unclear to what extent the baldor queens could move, however, and the defeated enemy data record for the baldor queen states that “she secretes a resin that hardens and allows her to suspend herself above canyons”, suggesting that what appeared to be legs were actually immobile.

In Panzer Dragoon Saga, Edge and his dragon fought and defeated exactly two baldor queens, which took the role of sub bosses in that game. There may have been more baldor queens in the valley that the dragon/rider pair did not encounter, however this is not confirmed in Panzer Dragoon Saga. Although the baldor queens could not attack from the front or behind, and had weak points in those areas, they could quickly produce a ‘vile brood’ of smaller baldors that could inflict terrible bites on opponents. The baldor queens were not entirely without their own defences, however; when Edge and his dragon circled above a baldor queen, she would spray acid at them. Upon defeating the baldor queen, the nearby baldors appeared to shatter into many pieces and fall to their deaths, suggesting that they had no purpose being alive once their queen had been destroyed.

Baldors in Panzer Dragoon Orta

The baldors took an altogether different role in Panzer Dragoon Orta by hunting with, rather than preying on, human beings. These baldors were domesticated by a tribe of hunters called Wormriders. The Wormriders placed structures on top of the backs of the baldors, which allowed three humans to ride the baldor, one human in a basket on top, and two in baskets at either side of the baldor’s back. The Wormriders travelled in groups mounted on the backs of baldors. They were first encountered by Orta in the Forest of Mutation riding as a group of four baldors with three humans riding each baldor.

Panzer Dragoon Orta’s Imperial enemies encyclopaedia entry on the Wormriders, which appears to have been written from the Empire’s viewpoint, states that scientists did not understand how the baldors came to be domesticated by the Wormriders. One theory proposed by the scientists theorised that the humans did not control the baldors, but rather the baldors controlled their human riders. It was speculated that the baldors emitted “some sort of pheromone” to influence their riders actions. Regardless of whether or not this theory contained any truth, the Wormriders appeared capable of at least some autonomous action while riding their baldors. Panzer Dragoon Orta’s manual explains that the Wormrider leader used a staff which contained a power stone; this stone kept the baldor’s actions under control. This would apparently mean that the scientists who proposed the theory that the humans were the ones being controlled were wrong, however as with the dragon/rider bond, the full relationship between the Wormriders and their baldors is not clear.

The domesticated baldors in Panzer Dragoon Orta had a different visual appearance from the wild baldors in Panzer Dragoon Saga. These baldors did not have the long crests on either side of their backs that were seen in the wild baldors. They also did not have the small fins on the side of their heads, giving them an overall more minimalistic appearance. Along the length of the baldor the Wormriders had wrapped the beast in decorative materials. The Wormriders appeared to have blindfolded their baldors, perhaps so that the baldor would only see the light of the power stone. The domesticated baldors in Panzer Dragoon Orta also differed in how they attacked. No where in the game do these baldors fire spinal arrows or perform a terrible bite, suggesting that these attacks were not physically possible, had been never learned, or had been trained out of the domesticated baldors. Instead, these baldors depended on smoke bombs that their riders let off, or fired purple orbs at their opponents.

Due to the differing appearance of the baldors in Panzer Dragoon Saga and Panzer Dragoon Orta, as well as the great geographic distance between where the two sets of baldors were found, it is possible that they each belonged to a different species or subspecies of baldors. However, it is also possible that the Panzer Dragoon Orta baldors’ physical form changed after many years of artificial selection at the hands of the Wormriders, like the domesticated dog compared to its wild wolf cousin. The Panzer Dragoon games do not confirm why the Panzer Dragoon Orta baldors appear physiologically different, but regardless of their differences there are enough similarities to recognize them as baldors by sight.

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