Why do dragons hoard treasure


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

1 to 50 of 146 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

I KNOW this is the oldest question in the game and I'm sure it's been answered a million ways but I'm wondering if there's a Pathfinder answer. I have searched all through these boards, on the Golarion wiki and on the PFSRD but so far nothing. Does PF have a specific reason for draconic hoards?

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Dragons have hoards because dragons have hoards.

This reasoning works because this reasoning works because...

See also: Smaug.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Dragons hoard treasure for the same reason any intelligent being hoards treasure: Having nice stuff is nice.

Therefore it stands to reason that having a LOT of nice stuff is even nicer.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

What would we steal from them when we kill them if they didn't?


5 people marked this as a favorite.

The stress of wing-based flight creates a lot of strain on a dragon's backbone, therefore they need a very firm mattress material in order to get a good night's rest. Smaller dragons are typically content with a modest pile of coins, while larger dragons need a larger sleep space. As the dragon grows she needs larger amounts of treasure to lie on, and so the hoard typically scales with the size of the dragon.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Smaug.

Lantern Lodge

Well, dragons were initially created to be hunted for sport (metallic dragons came first, then chromatic dragons formed from corrupted metallic dragons). Perhaps Dahak enjoyed all types of hunting, including treasure hunting, and thus when he created Dragons, gave them two fold purpose: To be hunted, and to create treasure hoards to be found.

Another thing to note is that they are all descendants of metallic dragons. While there's no lore for it, I wonder what they were formed from? Perhaps equivalent metals? That might be a reason why they hoard precious metals.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

If you're looking for a mythological reason, it probably goes back to Fafnir, and the old iconography of dragons as personifications of greed.


Beowulf maybe?

I know that the dragon is that had some treasure, and it got pissed when some bumpkin stole like...a gold dish or something.

But for character reasons now?

Pride is one. They get all this nice stuff because they are so big and bad. They may use it to show off their power to lesser races, and to try to make other dragons jealous.

In part, it is due to their age. If you collect or make 1 thing a month as a hobby over a few hundred years, and you end up with a lot of junk. Elves probably have similar problems.

In part, it is a tool to manipulate lesser races to do work for them. Get some adventurers to take care of that orc problem that is eating up your prey. It is basically pest extermination.

It could just be a base compulsive impulse. As flying predators, they most likely rely upon their sight to hunt, much like birds. And much like the intelligent birds (crows, ravens, etc.), if something sparkling catches their eye, they may just decide to pick it up. It is like asking why you have a vase of flowers- your mammal brain likes sweet smells (mammals tend to be near the ground, and can use scent to hunt fairly well, like with wolves).

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
lemeres wrote:

Beowulf maybe?

I know that the dragon is that had some treasure, and it got pissed when some bumpkin stole like...a gold dish or something.

But for character reasons now?

Pride is one. They get all this nice stuff because they are so big and bad. They may use it to show off their power to lesser races, and to try to make other dragons jealous.

In part, it is due to their age. If you collect or make 1 thing a month as a hobby over a few hundred years, and you end up with a lot of junk. Elves probably have similar problems.

In part, it is a tool to manipulate lesser races to do work for them. Get some adventurers to take care of that orc problem that is eating up your prey. It is basically pest extermination.

It could just be a base compulsive impulse. As flying predators, they most likely rely upon their sight to hunt, much like birds. And much like the intelligent birds (crows, ravens, etc.), if something sparkling catches their eye, they may just decide to pick it up. It is like asking why you have a vase of flowers- your mammal brain likes sweet smells (mammals tend to be near the ground, and can use scent to hunt fairly well, like with wolves).

The intrepid explorer should be advised that comparing a dragon to a bird or a squirrel while within earshot of said dragon, tends to shorten one's adventuring career quite dramatically.


lemeres wrote:
It could just be a base compulsive impulse. As flying predators, they most likely rely upon their sight to hunt, much like birds. And much like the intelligent birds (crows, ravens, etc.), if something sparkling catches their eye, they may just decide to pick it up. It is like asking why you have a vase of flowers- your mammal brain likes sweet smells (mammals tend to be near the ground, and can use scent to hunt fairly well, like with wolves).

That's pretty much what I like to do with them. Dragons are smart, but that intellect is in the service of instinctive drives. They're territorial apex predators with strong acquisitive drives. They like shiny things and they're smart enough to understand rarity and appreciate craftsmanship, so they really do acquire valuables.

I originally started playing them this way after playing in a couple of games with only ancient legendary nearly godlike manipulator style dragons. Ruling empires or powers behind the throne or just sleeping legends. I wanted them more common and earthly.

As for the original question? I don't think there's anything specific in the rules or settings material. Is there a dragons book? It may just be an unquestioned assumption. So basic to the thought of dragon no one bothered to ask.


LazarX wrote:
The intrepid explorer should be advised that comparing a dragon to a bird or a squirrel while within earshot of said dragon, tends to shorten one's adventuring career quite dramatically.

Well, ravens are technically one of the best birds though. They can use tools, recognize faces, etc, etc.

I compared myself to a mutt sniffing around on the ground for scraps as well.

....don't eat me.

EDIT- also, I compared adventurers to pest exterminators. So ...yeah...


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Barbara Hambly gave them a really cool reason: gold and gems and jewelry make music that only dragons can hear. They are entranced by its melody!


Compiled fantasy reasons for dragons having treasure (could not find Pathfinder reasons though):

a. Least satisfying reason.... Just because. Dragons collect treasure just because they do.

b. Nesting material

c. Racial collecting hobby/prestige/pride

d. Intrinsic need (kinda like birds and shiny bobbles).

e. DND example: Magical connection/need in order to achieve age categories (Size, Powers, Abilities) after they reach the right age.

f. Many Fantasy Novel Examples: Dietary supplement... Kinda like vitamins. Also is the explanation for their hard hide (or metallic one in some cases).

g. A way to pay the bills so to speak (minions, living arrangements if wanted, what ever the heck they want that they can't just take).


They are also spell casters, and many powerful spells need expensive material components. Either storing the items, or an easy means of trading for those items, seems like a fair enough idea.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Long-lived apex predator has stuff. How could it be any other way?


Most of the wealth of dragons is invested in buisnesses. The hoard consists of all the items that have personal meaning to the dragon. If you live for hundreds of years, that stuff piles up.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

A dragon hoards treasure for the visual appeal, the bragging rights, and on occasion the boosts to the dragon's own strengths.

Dragons crave power, whether it be physical, magical, knowledge, financial, etc.


Mark Hoover wrote:
I KNOW this is the oldest question in the game and I'm sure it's been answered a million ways but I'm wondering if there's a Pathfinder answer. I have searched all through these boards, on the Golarion wiki and on the PFSRD but so far nothing. Does PF have a specific reason for draconic hoards?

I think it is in their genetics to have as much swag(loot) as possible. Otherwise I don't think they would risk battle with other dragons to get more loot.

Shadow Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

A group of morons who were over wealth by level showed up thinking they could take on a dragon. Rinse gold. Repeat.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I had a short-lived setting where dragons were 'spirits of greed' that manifested in places where great riches had been lost, usually at sites of old ruins and places where treasure was hidden. Being such aspected beings, they liked to gather more.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

To attract a mate; also you have no idea how good a hoard of coins feels for a giant lizard sleeping on it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Otherwhere wrote:
Barbara Hambly gave them a really cool reason: gold and gems and jewelry make music that only dragons can hear. They are entranced by its melody!

I feel bad now for stealing their playlists.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Umbral Reaver wrote:
I had a short-lived setting where dragons were 'spirits of greed' that manifested in places where great riches had been lost, usually at sites of old ruins and places where treasure was hidden. Being such aspected beings, they liked to gather more.

Did they perhaps begin as covetous serpents?

http://darksouls.wikidot.com/covetous-gold-serpent-ring


3 people marked this as a favorite.

D&D dragons do it because Smaug did it. Early D&D cribbed alot from Tolkien.

Smaug did it because Fafnir did it. Tolkien cribbed alot from Scandinavian myth, particularly the Nibelung.

Fafnir did it because of a cursed ring, which If I recall correctly bore a curse because he stole from the dwarves. The ring had inflicted the dragon with a powerful greed, such that he hoarded every scrap of treasure he could get.

So, dragons hoard treasure because one dragon had a cursed ring, and everybody used that dragon as the template for dragons.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Dragons are attracted to other shiny dragons.

Real gold is even shinier than real dragons.

Hence, that pile of gold coins is dragon p*rn.

(No, obviously this is not canon)


Scythia wrote:

D&D dragons do it because Smaug did it. Early D&D cribbed alot from Tolkien.

Smaug did it because Fafnir did it. Tolkien cribbed alot from Scandinavian myth, particularly the Nibelung.

Fafnir did it because of a cursed ring, which If I recall correctly bore a curse because he stole from the dwarves. The ring had inflicted the dragon with a powerful greed, such that he hoarded every scrap of treasure he could get.

So, dragons hoard treasure because one dragon had a cursed ring, and everybody used that dragon as the template for dragons.

It goes farther back than Fafnir, though the trope in modern use does come through Tolkien. Fafnir seems one example of a long established connection, not an originator.

Beowulf's another early north European example. There are references in Classical Greek and Roman writings. The Roman fable of The Fox and the Dragon, for example. Little more than moral commentary, but enough to show the connection.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Scythia wrote:

D&D dragons do it because Smaug did it. Early D&D cribbed alot from Tolkien.

Smaug did it because Fafnir did it. Tolkien cribbed alot from Scandinavian myth, particularly the Nibelung.

Fafnir did it because of a cursed ring, which If I recall correctly bore a curse because he stole from the dwarves. The ring had inflicted the dragon with a powerful greed, such that he hoarded every scrap of treasure he could get.

So, dragons hoard treasure because one dragon had a cursed ring, and everybody used that dragon as the template for dragons.

Actually Fafnir was a dwarf who became a dragon because of his overwhelming greed and treasure lust. In the original Icelandic tales, Dragons, or Serpents in general are symbols of greed.


LaxarX wrote:
Actually Fafnir was a dwarf who became a dragon because of his overwhelming greed and treasure lust. In the original Icelandic tales, Dragons, or Serpents in general are symbols of greed.

I'd never heard that version, interesting.

thejeff wrote:

It goes farther back than Fafnir, though the trope in modern use does come through Tolkien. Fafnir seems one example of a long established connection, not an originator.

Beowulf's another early north European example. There are references in Classical Greek and Roman writings. The Roman fable of The Fox and the Dragon, for example. Little more than moral commentary, but enough to show the connection.

I don't recall a dragon in Beowulf, but it has been awhile.


Scythia wrote:


thejeff wrote:

It goes farther back than Fafnir, though the trope in modern use does come through Tolkien. Fafnir seems one example of a long established connection, not an originator.

Beowulf's another early north European example. There are references in Classical Greek and Roman writings. The Roman fable of The Fox and the Dragon, for example. Little more than moral commentary, but enough to show the connection.

I don't recall a dragon in Beowulf, but it has been awhile.

It is the very last thing in Beowulf.

Basically, Beowulf became a king, and lived a long successful life. Then some peasant pissed off a dragon, and B had to take his men to deal with it.

He puts up a good fight, but Dragon was poison based, because this is old school and it is a serpent. He then gets an assist from some young warrior, and they kill the dragon. Beowolf then dies from the poison.

It is a whole 'end of an age' thing, as ancient beasts and legendary warriors meet their end.

Liberty's Edge

Gold is the universal target of avarice.

Dragons enjoy acquiring and keeping treasure from others.
They enjoy that others wish they could have some of the treasure for themselves but are too afraid to try to take any.
They are the metaphorical misuse of wealth that could be used for more beneficial purposes.
Defeating them means ridding the kingdom of a vast threat, bringing great rewards.

Unless, of course, it is a metallic dragon, in which case what they have is only because they want it, and that's ok!


Or they're oriental dragons, who have an entirely different thing going.

As for Beowulf "some peasant pissed off a dragon" by stealing a goblet from its hoard.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

[flight of dragons]Because gold is a soft metal to sleep on, and is less flammable than a straw mattress if you happen to snore. [/flight of dragons]


[Myth Adventures]Gold is soft and corrosion resistant so it's good for baby dragons to teethe on.[/Myth Adventures]


Dragons were originally guardians placed by gods and wizard-kings to guard golden treasure. When Jason and the Argonauts went to steal the Golden Fleece they had to contend with King Aeetes' pet dragon, as did Hercules when he was sent to fetch the Golden Apples guarded by Hera's multi-headed dragon.
So the image of a dragon coiled around the golden treasure is thousands of years old. Even the word dragon, ancient Greek drakon, means watcher, guardian.

Why do Pathfinder dragons do this? I suppose you could rationalize it by saying that the first mythic dragons were set by the gods to guard holy golden treasures, and their descendants are irrationally wired to covet and guard hordes of gold. The only reason is a sort of instinctual compulsion. Other mythic creatures are similar, sphinxes like riddles just because Sphinx no.1 did.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maybe dragons are just gigantic, scaly flying raccoons.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
I had a short-lived setting where dragons were 'spirits of greed' that manifested in places where great riches had been lost, usually at sites of old ruins and places where treasure was hidden. Being such aspected beings, they liked to gather more.

This is the closest thing to what I was considering in my own setting. The idea was that greed and pride are inherited traits from their divine origins. Dragons literally cannot help themselves and even the most good among them has a need to hoard.


Maybe for the same reason people do.

But that leads me to ask: Why do people hoard treasure? It can't buy you love, happiness, wisdom, enlightenment, heaven, or true friends.

C'mon. You all are people. Why do we do it?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm pretty sure money can buy all those things, because magic.


DominusMegadeus wrote:
I'm pretty sure money can buy all those things, because magic.

flips through rulebooks

I couldn't find the happiness spell. What level is it? And can it be made eternal with permanency. ;)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This, and any spell can be permanent with DM consent.


I give the reason BigNorseWolf gave. It's a soft bedding material that never rots or catches on fire. I picture them shaping it with their weight body heat and fire into the perfect nests.
This also means the coins are often melted together

Grand Lodge

Dustin Ashe wrote:

Maybe for the same reason people do.

But that leads me to ask: Why do people hoard treasure? It can't buy you love, happiness, wisdom, enlightenment, heaven, or true friends.

C'mon. You all are people. Why do we do it?

It lets you buy the illusion that you have those things.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

For a Freudian take, dragons are symbolic of the primordial malevolent father-figure, the woman-hoarding patriarch Freud hypothesized in Totem and Taboo that dominated ancient human society (if it could be called such at that point). So dragons, big phallus shaped monsters, show up and take women (the source of reproduction) and gold (valuable material that came to ensure survival and prosperity as societies developed) because we all evidently need some mythic symbol of our latent anxiety of our ancient unresolved daddy issues. At least that's what I wrote in a lit. analysis paper over a decade ago.

P.S. Anyone who wants to vent about how Freud was a phallocentric, nutball and how psychoanalytic criticism is inherently reductive, feel free. I don't care beans about any of it or whatever post-colonial, neomarxist, school of resentment perspective I should have used.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

It's more practical.

Dragons snore when they sleep. And, the breathe fire/acid/lightning etc... when they snore. So, they ignite most normal bedding. Thus, they need a soft metal to sleep on so as not to ignite it.

- from the 80s TV movie "Flight of Dragons"


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't know enough about anything to tell you who is or isn't a hack, but I know one thing.

Something is wrong with you if the first thing Dragons bring to mind is your father's penis.


The answer is very simple.
Dragons, like most other creatures, have their own list of bugs, mites, fleas, etc. that plague them. By sleeping in mounds of hard substances, like gold, they scratch the things that itch & scrape off the bugs.
They prefer gold, silver and gems because, unlike other things, they don't rust, rot mildew, stain or smell bad.

Morag

The Exchange

Despite all the reasons here, I always ruled it that the dragons don't HAVE TO HAVE a hoard, but when they sleep in treasure hoards of coinage, gems, and gold, their scales relax and the metals and gems get caught in them strengthening the armor of the beast.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

True dragons have enormous egos, as appropriate for something that was CR 3+ and fully intelligent from the moment it hatched.

Chromatic dragons are born knowing that all of the world belongs to them. Every piece of treasure that exists rightfully belongs to that dragon, even if it's inconveniently in the hands of others (for now). In a sense, everything that everyone else possesses is on loan to them from you, and it's already overdue to be paid back. Blood is acceptable interest.

Metallic dragons are born knowing that they are the caretakers of all the world (or least the chunk they can defend). All of that precious treasure is safest where the dragon can personally oversee it. Though the metallic dragon can "let go" enough to recognize that that treasure can be and sometimes should be utilized used by others, that possibility that it's going to waste or to stupid/evil ends causes no end of anxiety.

And so, both kinds tend to hoard treasure where they know it's "safe." The more socially adept ones (gold, blue, etc.) even put their treasure for work for them, though they almost certainly take precautions make sure they could liquidate it and get it all back in physical form whenever it's necessary.

A dragon without bling is a neurotic dragon.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Because I don't trust banks........

1 to 50 of 146 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / Why do dragons hoard treasure All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.