How Common Are Dragons In Your Worlds?

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Greylurker wrote:

For my own games. Feral Dragons are more common than True Dragons. This is because of the Horde. Metal absorbs magic, gold more so than other metals. True Dragons feed on magic as much as meat, so the Dragon Horde isn't about greed it's about food and it's growth in power. The older the Dragon the more magic it needs thus the bigger horde it needs.

An Egg raised in a horde will be a True Dragon. Intelligent, spellcasting, the works, because it feeds on the ambient magic of the horde while it grows.

A Dragon Egg raised not in a Horde will hatch a Feral Dragon. With no magic to feed on during their development they are more like animals. Big, Scaly, immensely dangerous animals. Most of these are Wyverns or Drakes but occasionally you get a Dragon with the Feral Dragon template.

A True Dragon only raises an Egg in it's horde when it truly wants progeny. If it doesn't care or sometimes just wants some extra guardians it raises the eggs outside of the treasure horde.

I also ruled that a True Dragon's color is determined by it's driving personality trait as it grows. Chromatics are driven by Sin while Metallics by Virtue. That way I can have a Red Dragon and a Gold Dragon be siblings or otherwise related in some way.


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Greylurker wrote:

An Egg raised in a horde will be a True Dragon. Intelligent, spellcasting, the works, because it feeds on the ambient magic of the horde while it grows.

A Dragon Egg raised not in a Horde will hatch a Feral Dragon. With no magic to feed on during their development they are more like animals. Big, Scaly, immensely dangerous animals. Most of these are Wyverns or Drakes but occasionally you get a Dragon with the Feral Dragon template.

That's a super-cool idea, and lends itself to some neat GM ideas, like that the Feral template doesn't have to be applied at birth, but can afflict an adult dragon whose lost its hoard, or been separated from it for too long (as in years, not out hunting for too long...). Maybe there's even mechanical features, like can only recover spell slots after resting on its hoard.

For one 3.X campaign, I had one 'true' dragon of each color (and no metallics at all).

The white was a brutish thug, and had unhappy frost giant 'allies' who tried to keep it appeased and flattered sufficiently that they could try to manipulate it into fighting their enemies. (But had failed at this a time or two in the past, so that there wasn't a huge frost giant kingdom or anything...).

The blue was the 'Storm Queen' of the pirate sea, who would arrive in a tempest of her own creation, and sink ship and eat most of the crew, while her minions (flying kobolds / urds) would show up afterwards and loot the ships for shiny tribute to bring back to her fog-enshrouded island/mountain lair. The inevitable survivors of her attacks (she always leaves at least one) describe her as mad as a hatter, ranting the entire time as she tears ships apart with thunder and fury. But she was actually crazy like a fox, and her lair was on the same island that held the pirate haven of the setting, and she scrupulously avoided ships coming to and from this haven, since they all were unknowingly paying her vig, since she was the secret Pirate King! (A figure to whom all pirates paid a tithe to use the port, not having any idea it was the Storm Queen, and that anyone who didn't pay up, or shorted her, or tried to defraud her, or just said the wrong thing to the wrong person would meet the next time they put to sea...)

The black was a necromancy and shadow-magic specialist (and, unknown to most, undead), surrounded by a blighted land of mildly acidic undead-infested swamps. Unfortunately for anyone thinking to kill this spiteful creature, she's got simulacrum on her spell list, so be prepared to kill her *a lot.* I was reading way too much Scarred Lands when I came up with this one, and she's pretty much a one-creature Penumbral Pentagon worth of shadow magic, with a dash of undead necromancer for flavor.

The red was an adventure path in his own right, being the shadowy ruler of the 'Empire of Flame' in the mountains. The first hint that anything has gone wrong is an invasion of goblins and bugbears, who are discovered to be refugees, fleeing the Empire's advance! The next wave will be hobgoblins (fire hobgoblins, from Unearthed Arcana, where my go-to here) serving as 'mamelukes' and the footsoldiers of the Empire's armies. Their suspiciously good armor and weapons will turn out to be crafted by enslaved Azer working for the Efreeti Vizier who is the chief ally of the Flame Emperor, and a later adventure will be to free (or kill...) them, and get rid of the Vizier, to eliminate these resources. The apparent leaders of the Empire will turn out to be fire giants, accompanied by scurrying red-scaled kobold 'slaves' (that the fire giants never seem to mistreat or casually harm or kill like the azer or hobgoblins who are *actual* slaves...). The leaders among the fire giants have the half-red-dragon template, and class levels, and are a brutal fight, and their temporal leaders are the 'mothers,' fire giant women with class levels who have had one or more 1/2 dragon children. The actual ruler is, of course, the Flame Emperor himself, a great wyrm red dragon, and he only takes the field when his grand dream of expanding his 'empire' far from his mountains is dust and ashes.

And the green was most changed of all, substituting sorcerer spellcasting for bardic spellcasting (and inspiration!), and an acid breath weapon for a burst of sonic energy centered on her mouth. Nobody knew this particular dragon existed, or, at least, that she was a dragon, as she has spent the last few centuries as the nigh-immortal queen of a decadent elven forest kingdom, inspired at least in part by Melnibone. Visitors first clue that things are very wrong is that these elves keep human slaves, and snakes and forest drakes (and tree frogs?) are considered holy creatures and allowed to run riot. A human 'intruder' to their woods is sure to accidentally kill a snake or forest drake at some point (in self defense if nothing else), and the sentence is, of course, slavery...

Basically, I wanted each of the 'big five' to be an adventure in their own right, after seeing dragons as *random encounters* in places like the Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. I wanted more from them than that.

In one dragon centric game session, the dragon was sleeping
in a dormant volcano. A secret back-entrance into the dragon's
burrow -- specifically into the rear of the burrow where
most of the treasure has been pushed -- was discovered after
investigating and putting together a series of clues (secret
back-entrances are a Gold Standard in dragon scenarios btw).

The way started at an old town behind the mountain in which the dragon
slept. A caved in mine shaft is unearthed (know from a clue.) The secret
door is found leading to a lost museum of Dwarven artifacts (existence of
lost museum another set of clues.) At the far side of the museum, a wall
has caved in (the linchpin clue discovered last) and a pathway into
lava tubes (maze) found open.

An open lava tube leads upwards into the dragon's nest. And... oh wait,
the dragon sensed the party's approach (because they were arguing about
every little detail), so, of course, gruesome fight leading to a few PC deaths
and an eventual retreat.

It was glorious.

Adjule wrote:
Only a single specimen from each color lives a now immortal life, due to a strange property of my campaign world where the last being of a sentient creature becomes immortal. That being gets to choose to either remain on the planet, or be transported to a plane of existance of their choice (such as Elysium, the Abyss, etc).

Holy plothook batman!

If I was a villainous fellow in your world, I'd try to wipe out my species.

In my game, dragons are fairly common, both in natural shape and polymorphed to look like humans (I've given all true dragons the power to plymorph that was previously reserved to gold, silver and copper dragons)... actually, they are so common that dragons are the power behind the curtain in the Evil Empire..e... Of course, most of them have never realized that their main triad has been replaced by Dragon gods, starting with Tiamat (Juno Atra Mater, yes, the empire is largely Roman like)

Of course, more goodly powers also have draconic allies, (known as such or reserving the reelation of their nature for truly dire circumstances)

I mean, my favorite introduction module is one whos BBE is actually a wymling black dragon

As an Apex predator they must be at least very rare.
That being said, red dragons can also eat coal, drink brandy, and consume other flammables.

Dragons that want to become adventurers are mutants and replace normal magic powers with the abilities to take humanoid form. They also choose their alignment rather than are born that way.

Dragon greed might be a way to attract a mate, or just an evolutionary quirk that lots of creatures have different theories about.

can White dragons also survive on consuming snow, ice, and other frozen stuff?

Green dragons eat snakes, poisonous mushrooms and other toxic aliments?

Blue dragons drink and eat lots of electrolytes, probably.

Gold and Silver dragons don't have a hoard, they have a larder.

I tend to keep dragons as being fairly rare. IIRC, back in my college AD&D 3E campaign, I tried to have one dragon encounter per academic year--we were playing Dungeons & *Dragons*, after all. They faced a very young black dragon near the end of the first year (when they were about 3rd level), and met a friendly copper dragon the next year.

My first long Pathfinder campaign was a Freeport game that switched to PF from 3.5 about halfway through. I never used any true dragons in that campaign, though they do exist in Freeport canon, where they are very rare. The final adventure for that campaign featured several drakes rather than true dragons, because they were better suited to the PCs' level (8th-9th).

In my current homebrew PF campaign, the PCs are 4th level, so have not met any dragons yet. However, dragons have a prominent place in the world's history and cosmology, as well as in the PCs' backgrounds, as two belong to dragon-related cults, and another comes from a land overrun by a dragon-led army and hopes to return someday to reclaim his home from its conquerors. So it's inevitable that they will meet some dragons as the campaign progresses--and the first one will be very soon now...

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