How would you roleplay a non-evil dragon


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I was thinking something like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, only with better social skills

Liberty's Edge

Wouldn't that make him Leonard instead?


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When in doubt, remember that Dragons are ancient, highly intelligent, intrinsically magical, gargantuan cats.

Cats can be kind, but they're still mercurial and self-centered.

Dataphiles

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The dragon thinks of the player races as pets, and though it never directly says so, it shows this by calling them by race ("Seoni-human" or "Harsky-dwarf") and asking them things like, "Who's a good adventuring party?" before rewarding them for a task.

Dark Archive

I think it would really depend on the type of dragon, each dragon race seems to be predisposed to a different kind of personality

Liberty's Edge

So if you were going to run it like Sheldon Cooper is the dragon would that mean that his dungeon is like a masterpiece of his Sciences so that he can test it against Adventurer's and that he advertises to come test? Maybe kidnapping a local princess as the reward for the hero as he understands the standard reward system for 'heroes' while eating seafood (see whales XD)


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Quote:
How would you roleplay a non-evil dragon

Poorly. After all, I am not a dragon.

I've run more non-evil dragons than evil ones, and they have a wide range of personalities ranging from utterly disinterested to curious to imperious to [m/p]aternal. My favorite so far is a bit of an absent-minded sage type who spends most of his time in human form but acts very much like someone who learned everything they know about human behavior by reading children's storybooks. (Fitting since we roleplay dragons as if we learned everything we know about dragon behavior by ...yeah.)


Will the party add to his hoard with little effort on his part? Kill them. Will it be risky for the dragon? Talk to them. If he is a good, then more talking. Since they are so long lived they likely don't care too much about the goings on of most adventurers.. so probably they would act rather annoyed at the disturbance. " And I care about this...why?"


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Certainly, it depends on the dragon's personality.

By and large, even a good dragon is probably going to think itself far superior to puny humans, dwarves, elves and the like. It has a far superior lifespan, it comes from an ancient lineage and a superior race.

Will it see the adventurers as an annoyance? An unsettling and dangerous risk? A potentially tasty snack? An amusing distraction? An opportunity to understand the manifold variety of nature or creation? As petulant children who need to be guided, rewarded and punished, according to their actions?

Any of these, a combination of them, or something completely different could be envisioned. Even for evil dragons, for that matter.

The Exchange

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It'd depend on the age of the dragon as well, since even wyrmlings tend to be pretty smart and 'out in the world'. You could go for cute and shy, or arrogant brat, or overexcited and curious about everything ('What's that? And that? Ooh... what about that? Why are you wearing metal? Does it chafe? Remind me again... are you a boy or a girl... um... human? dwarf? goblin? You're one of those two-armed, two-legged things, right?')


With a bunch of Heroes Feast scrolls, custom magic "sustenance" items and a sign outside the cave with the following message:

Genious at work, trespassers will be roasted.


I think that even good dragons are still dragons -- they will be very full of themselves, very protective of their hoard, and they will have dragon-scale appetites.

They might not be malicious, but you still have to watch your step around them.


Depends on the dragon. The individual that is, not the species/color. Might be arrogant, might be humble. Might be dour, might be gregarious. Might be friendly, might be standoffish.


Istari.


I had a recurring NPC in a GURPS campaign who was a dragon who was far more curious about what humans did and thought than how they tasted. He had learned spells that let him take human form, and had acquired a couple of different aliases in his wanderings. Once the PCs found out his secret, they asked him quite a few questions about dragons. Some he answered gladly; others he deflected with hints that they should avoid all other dragons, who as a rule, weren't remotely as friendly as he was.

My current Pathfinder campaign (currently at 3rd level) is set on a desert frontier, so I'm considering having he party meet a wyrmling brass dragon soon. I plan to play her as being essentially a precocious, insatiably curious toddler. Two of the PCs worship gods whose histories are closely connected with the dragon gods, while another PC is a refugee from a country overrun by dragons and kobolds, so it will be VERY interesting to see how they all react to their first dragon!

I haven't really decided much about other good dragons they might meet in the future. (They're far more concerned with dealing with some overtly evil ones someday in the future...)


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I like the idea of a dragon that is enamored, intrigued, respectful and possibly even awestruck with the shorter lived races.
They find it incredible what the shorter lived races (say under like 150 years) can accomplish in their time on the planet. They cite the building of incredible cathedrals, works of art, entire cities that rise and spread in the space of two or three generations.
Bemoaning the fact that most dragons contribute surprisingly little with their apparent power and their longevity.
They are a bit of an outcast with other dragons for touting the ideology that dragons could do with being more like people.

They believe that people have one major shortfall though. The tendency of the masses to become complacent, and to expect those more powerful than them to fix their problems.
Our dragon tried for many years while still little more than a wyrmling to interact with smaller settlements, but they would either panic, or start to worship him. In both cases the society would stagnate due to his presence.
He eventually learnt that he could not be a part of the society of the shorter lived races as a dragon, and began to interact while disguised as members of many different races. He became a patron of the arts, spent time travelling as a "tinker" or cart salesman. Towns he passed through suffering from goblin raids would soon find themselves free of the tyranny.
Our dragon basically strives to allow societies and settlements to progress as a peacetime culture, as they believe that is when the shorter lived races are at their best.,


A few ideas:

For a standoffish sage-type, I’d recommend the occult dragon. It’s neutral good, so it’s benevolent without the arrogance of, say, a gold dragon. Personality-wise, I’m thinking grumpy librarian, with a very specific system of organization for the PCs to ruin. Jenkins from The Librarians would be a good model. Might make for a fun mentor or patron character.

For something a bit more combat-oriented, how about a ronin bronze dragon? A draconic sellsword (sell-breath?) with a heart of gold might make a nice foil for a group of adventurers. Sort of the Han Solo to a silver dragon’s Skywalker. Toshiro Mifune’s character from Yojimbo comes to mind.


I know my gold dragons treat players like you would a child. Their nice and friendly but will constantly talk down to them without meaning to.


They're not evil, but they're rarely nice to the PCs. More important than the creature's alignment is the fact that it is a dragon: It doesn't think it's superior to you, it knows it's superior to you. At best, the PCs can only ever be an entertaining distraction from a boring day.

As a result, from the PCs' point of view, it isn't really a good entity, it is a neutral entity, in the same way an ant might view a human that is indifferent to its survival or well-being. In dragon culture, this individual may be a paragon of goodness, but to a humanoid, it's just a stuck-up jerk sleeping in a cave all day while good men fight and die to stop the strong from preying on the weak.


Related question: how would you roleplay an evil dragon if you wanted the players to interact with it?

I'm running a campaign where I've set up an adult blue dragon as a quest giver. However, the PCs are reluctant to go and meet it at the time and place it told them, in case it decides to kill them.


Matthew Downie wrote:

Related question: how would you roleplay an evil dragon if you wanted the players to interact with it?

I'm running a campaign where I've set up an adult blue dragon as a quest giver. However, the PCs are reluctant to go and meet it at the time and place it told them, in case it decides to kill them.

A lot of threats maybe the occasional warning murder, impatience, bossy arrogant and maybe come off as a bit lazy.


I don't think that would solve the problems of the PCs trying to run away and hide instead of talk.


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I once had a GM note that in his campaigns, all dragons viewed animals, humanoids, and most magical beasts and monstrous humanoids as tuna sandwiches.

Now, yes, the good ones were aware that some tuna sandwiches could talk, after a fashion, and has some rudimentary ability think. (Rudimentary from a super-genius dragon's point of view, anyway). So, as much as possible, they tried to identify which type of tuna sandwich they were dealing with.

But if one woke up with a tuna sandwich trying to steal their wallet awhile poking them in the foot with a toothpick? There's a decent chance even a good=aligned dragon would respond by taking a big bite.


I like it but tuna sandwich is a weird food choice I feel. I like tuna well enough but would not of been my go to.


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Frozen Mustelid wrote:

They're not evil, but they're rarely nice to the PCs. More important than the creature's alignment is the fact that it is a dragon: It doesn't think it's superior to you, it knows it's superior to you. At best, the PCs can only ever be an entertaining distraction from a boring day.

As a result, from the PCs' point of view, it isn't really a good entity, it is a neutral entity, in the same way an ant might view a human that is indifferent to its survival or well-being. In dragon culture, this individual may be a paragon of goodness, but to a humanoid, it's just a stuck-up jerk sleeping in a cave all day while good men fight and die to stop the strong from preying on the weak.

Suddenly, I have this vision of a Dragon like Garfield . . . .


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The dragon could become memorable if they overly focus on a certain trait of normal mortals, like the lifespan:

1) My name is XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. But given you have only a short lifespan, you may save time and call me XXXX instead.
2) It's not surprising you humanoids scurry around like ants - you try to squeeze a life into a few decades.
3) Now hush, no more talking, go for your mission. I don't want you to die from infirmity before you finished my quest.


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My PCs have been treating kobolds like inferior beings, fit only for servitude and slaughter. I might have my dragon explain that humans have a similar status from the perspective of a dragon.


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There was a character in the Dragonlance novels that was a Silver Dragon Polymorphed into an Elf, and she and another Elf fell in love and had adventures together.

It is possible and even likely that a Good dragon would have some character flaws: arrogance, no sense of the flow of time, socially-presumptuous, and so on, but these are not particulary the traits of good people.

When I do think of good people, I don't normally think of people that seek power or want to run everything. I could envision a society of dragons, both good and evil dragons where the evil dragons run everything. Why? because evil dragons seek power the same way evil people do, and the good dragons don't. They just want to be good people and do good in the world.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what a dragon would do with his hoard. I imagine that the CEO of Bank of America is a Blue Dragon named Roboforeclosure. What would a good dragon do? Use his hoard to capitalize local farms and factories, open schools and libraries, manage sewer systems, stuff like that. If this is a polymorphing dragon, you might never know he is a dragon. He might spend his time living as a human, the town Reeve, loved by everyone, and nobody even thinks about the fact that the Goblins seemed to have just disappeared from he roads right after he was appointed Reeve. They might remember the time he approached The hobgoblin orc general with a tribute payment that everyone thought was pretty small, but after a short meeting, the polymorphed dragon and the hobgoblin general looking into each other's eyes, the Hobgoblins took the tribute and luckily never returned for more.

Maybe the lending library IS the dragon's hoard, and religious fanatics want to burn the library down. The fire-breathing dragon can't defend her own hoard: how does bringing even more fire prevent a holocaust? This dragon needs the party's help to protect or move her books.

Silver Crusade

Is the dragon good or just non-evil.

What sort are they?

I mean that will have a massive influence on how they act.


How would they react to high level heroes from short-lived races? About the same way that you would react to a teenager who was a professional basketball player, like Lebron or Nancy Kerrigan or something. Like a fan, but trying to keep cool.


Depends on the dragon. I always roleplay copper dragons as tricksters and silver dragons as regal honor focused people for example. The thing you have to remember is that unless your playing a young dragon dragons are ancient creatures that live centuries and what could be a lifetime to us will seem like last month to them. So they might often seem arrogant and socially awkward due to the time displacement


Must be annoying if they just keep mixing up the names of nations or official territories, or blurring together famous individuals.

Kind've like a kid differentiating between 60s and 70s.


In my experience, as a player and DM, the way good-aligned dragons are aligned is essentially these greater beings. Players are essentially beneath their notice unless they do something to aggravate them or bring them something they want, or they are benevolent dictators, accepting tribute and fealty in exchange for protection or services.

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