I’m on the autism spectrum. Can somebody explain to me how true dragons with an actual Caster Level have a 10 or higher in Int without having crafting feats?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


1 person marked this as a favorite.

In the thousands of years any single true dragon is alive, how did they never once think “hmm, if I spent my resources crafting magic items, I could improve my survivability, thus allowing me to get more valuables at a faster rate”?

It doesn’t make sense to me. For instance, with Pearly White Spindles, for every 10 minutes that pass, you heal 1 point of HP. If a Red Dragon made as many as he could, as soon as he is able to take Craft Wonderous Item, he could fully heal in a day from 1 hp, instead of like over a week. That means every other day, at the minimum, he can go out and get more wealth.

Eventually, he can space them apart in terms of when they were attuned to him, so he eventually effectively has fast healing, instead of them all healing at the same time. This means he can actually last longer in combat, allowing him to take even more resources for making magic items.

Even if you say they don’t stack like this for some reason, Emerald Ellipsoids do stack, and cost the same. They just give less extra hp per day than the Pearly White Spindles. But you can still do something similar. The time of day when the temporary hp is restored is usually sunrise or sunset, but doesn’t have to be, so he can also space them out somewhat, and if he gets enough of them (14,400) he can have them all spaced out one round after another, throughout the whole day.

And yes, that is 144 million gp, but with the heightened speed at which he will be able to get resources for making more of them, which heightens the heightened speed at which he can get resources to make more of them, he could theoretically get that many. And even if he doesn’t get that many, he can still get a significant amount.

I dunno. Maybe I’m overthinking this.

Liberty's Edge

Dragons are prideful and vain. Even the good dragons see themselves are greater beings who must help those below then, ie: everyone.
This often means that the dragon expects others to craft for him, he should not have to expend the effort required each day to craft, that is the job of his servants. They likely don’t even want to commission a magic item, someone should offer it as a gift.
Dragons are prideful, lazy, and self important.
If you want, you can swap out a feat for craft wonderous items or forge ring or similar, there is no reason mechanically they cannot take them.
The devs have mentioned not giving feats to creatures when it does not need it, I do not know the source so take this with a grain of salt, but they mentioned not liking improved natural attack for monsters because they could just declare his natural attack to use a higher damage die.


Not having hands is a rough deal.

Liberty's Edge

The claws are deft enough to cast spells with somatic components, I would assume that means they can manipulate objects well enough. Even so, a dragon could get a set of tools designed for someone of his stature in mind.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

They can, but like was mentioned, a dragon probably considers it beneath them. Think of it like an artist vs a collector. The dragon is more of a collector, wanting to own, but not really wanting to try making it himself


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Probably because monsters out of the Bestiaries are supposed to represent average specimens that can easily be picked up and run right out of the book.

A dragon having a full set of crafting feats and converting its entire hoard into a small number of powerful magic items (or an enormous number of minor items) is pretty much the exact opposite of that goal. (And also explosively increases the treasure value of the creature!)

Also, I'd say most dragons are neurotic enough about their treasure that the notion of sacrificing part of it fills them with existential dread.

A dragon wants an enormous pile of shinies. A dragon that converted its hoard into a +6 to all stats item would probably go a little nuts, even if the +6 to all stats item is objectively better than 30 million copper pieces.

That being said, making a dragon an item crafter could actually serve as a plot hook or setting dressing. For example, Yrax, Lord of the Howling Storm, is a white dragon who's gone through a lot of effort to create his own golems - and the PCs have to deal with the fruits of his labors while assaulting his fortress.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Another good point, the reason they have the massive horde of treasure is because that's what fantasy lore says they have.


GMs can assign craft skills to any monster they choose. Traditionally, dragons are known more for hoarding and don't really ever seem to build anything.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

The real answer of course is that things are the way they are with the goal of making a fun game, not necessarily a consistent world that totally makes sense.

The shadows having wiped everything else from the planet might make sense, but it isn't a fun game.

That being said, there are some ways that this does make a sort of sense. Dragons live a long time, and they aren't in a hurry so going out every day to grab treasure might not be all that important to them. In addition, usually they have a territory or range, and there is only going to be so much wealth that that area can produce. If your region is going to be attacked by an unstoppable dragon every day, then pretty soon you are going to run out of wealth in the area and no one is going to go there to make more.

One could imagine that converting wealth from a comfortable golden bed to magical items might allow them to have a larger territory to plunder. In that case though they would be competing primarily with other dragons. It is quite conceivable that rather than embark on an arms race that leaves all of the dragons with only boring stat enhancing magical items rather than wonderfully comfortable golden beds is something that the dragons don't want, so they have agreed that conflict between them will be natural, and therefore gaining magic items won't appreciable help a dragon gain wealth. Similar agreements limiting weapons, especially weapons that are considered 'too effective' against the ruling class are not unknown in real world history.

In any event, there are doubtless other justifications you could come up with for why things are the way way they are. The trick is finding one that is feasible enough for you to maintain verisimilitude.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Also, I don't think a dragon collects its wealth by killing things. That's a lot of work, has to get the gold off the body (or worse, after he's eaten the body.) Allowing the kingdom to pay you to *not* attack it is way easier. You just sit there being a threatening dragon and they just keep paying you.

Every once in awhile someone uppity comes along and you actually gotta go fight to prove that "Yes indeed, I am still very killy"; but aside from that the Dragon is much more at home passively collecting mountains of wealth than it is killing every peasant on the countryside to get another 4 silver.


Probably because they can take stuff sooner than they could craft it. Take the iconic red dragon. It could qualify for Craft Wondrous Item upon hitting the Juvenile age category at 26 years old, and a CR of 11.
Before that, it was CR 10 from age 16 to 25. So, that is a long time at a high CR to gain whatever level appropriate equipment it might want/need. So, anything the dragon wants to use, he should already have before he could start crafting it.


I can think of several reasons.

1. It's not just money, you have to buy the goods. People in town may not like a dragon swooping into the general goods store.

2. Dragons collect loot, not give it away. So they may not like crafting.

3. The idea that some of its dragon horde may get spent, thousands of shiny coins to make a single cloth headband? May actually hurt some dragons deep inside.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Some canon dragons are experienced craftsmen. Arantaros for example is a master alchemist (just not quite good enough to make the Star Orchid Elixir). The beastiary entries for creatures only ever have combat feats because they're supposed to simply be used for combat.

If you're creating a dragon for a campaign, *you* should be the one creating and designing it and putting thought into the dragon's lifestyle and personality and what that given dragon would choose to study. As another example, there's the green dragon Aethervox in Cheliax that's a noted astronomer and spends a great amount of her time studying the heavens and actually lives in an observatory near a town. The bronze dragon Tiruvinn, living off the coast near Sandpoint, is a noted librarian.

Dragons do not only live in caves far from civilization. Several dragons, especially brass, silver, gold and blue, are known to work with people on a daily basis to expand their influence, power and wealth.

There very much are dragons out there who have crafting feats, and dragons who have levels in wizard too. One in particular, Aashaq, is a cleric. Just because the beastiary entries don't have those doesn't mean every dragon is the same, anymore than every single human is a lvl 1 commoner because that's what the beastiary says.


Statting creatures with magic items was too much work, so its left up to DMs to improve upon the bestiary.


First and foremost: Monsters only exist to support the story the GM is telling. They don't live some realistic life that the players are going to demand to know where they grew up, the socio-economic situation of their childhood, or for that matter the monster's name and occupation.

Most of the time treasure gets assigned to a monster after you select the monster and design the encounter. Sometimes you incorporate the treasure into the monster's stats, lots of treasure isn't usable by the creatures it gets assigned to. Like for instance, all that gold is a classic example. Money is just potential wealth that the monster can't use in its brief existence of one encounter. It only exists to reward the players.

NPC and Monsters aren't players. You don't really consider what they could do with 'their' treasure because its not meant for them, its meant for the players. The only reason you'd think about it is to improve the feel of the encounter, to improve the story (or backstory) that the players will probably never hear the whole thing because its not appropriate.

But lets go off the rails for a bit, and consider it. First, when you make magic items you don't literally take gold and magic it away to make something. You go out and you trade that gold for components to make your magic item. Dragons have 2 strikes against doing this. First strike is giving away their treasure! Even good dragons don't like to part with their horde, no way a dragon is going to 'invest' in some item that might increase their ability to gain treasure. They'll meet said human merchants and just take what they want.

Which leads to point 2: Dragon have bad relationships with civilizations. Mostly known for destroying cities and towns to plunder their wealth, any population of humanoids are going to be anywhere from leery to hostile when it comes to dealing with dragons. Especially if said dragon gained its wealth from raiding. Other non-raiding dragons still take a huge risk when dealing with civilized people because if those people gain knowledge of the dragon it increases the risk that adventurers or other murder hobos will find their lair and kill them/loot their horde.

Though if you wanted to be more realistic, dragons are powerful, intelligent, long lived, patient. If they ever herd of economics they would all be bankers, industrialists, and merchants. Sitting at the top of a corporate pyramid raking in the money while those lesser beings it hold in such contempt work themselves to death to increase the side of the horde. Honestly, its not a story anyone wants to tell, right?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Meirril wrote:
Though if you wanted to be more realistic, dragons are powerful, intelligent, long lived, patient. If they ever herd of economics they would all be bankers, industrialists, and merchants. Sitting at the top of a corporate pyramid raking in the money while those lesser beings it hold in such contempt work themselves to death to increase the side of the horde. Honestly, its not a story anyone wants to tell, right?

I dunno. Shadowrun seems to run Dragons pretty well considering :>


MerlinCross wrote:
Meirril wrote:
Though if you wanted to be more realistic, dragons are powerful, intelligent, long lived, patient. If they ever herd of economics they would all be bankers, industrialists, and merchants. Sitting at the top of a corporate pyramid raking in the money while those lesser beings it hold in such contempt work themselves to death to increase the side of the horde. Honestly, its not a story anyone wants to tell, right?
I dunno. Shadowrun seems to run Dragons pretty well considering :>

Was gonna say, Shadowrun dragons are exactly this.

And on top of that, Blue dragons, according to Dragons Revisited are ALSO this, only they do it illegally as shadowy crime lords instead of publicly corporate ones.

But even disregarding that, dragons do interact with civilization on Golarion very frequently and commonly. Heck, there's two separate countries ruled by dragons, Hermea by Mengkare and over in Tian Xia there's the Dragon Empires ruled by... w/e that one imperial dragon's name is that I forget off the top of my head. Terrendelev lives in Mendev and works with the paladins there frequently, Aashaq the Annihilator has an entire cult that lives around her lair, Athervox has human students from Cheliax studying astronomy at her observatory, Susurex rules over the Glazen Sheet in Osirion, and there are plenty others.


Falcar wrote:
The claws are deft enough to cast spells with somatic components, I would assume that means they can manipulate objects well enough. Even so, a dragon could get a set of tools designed for someone of his stature in mind.

True, a dragon's foreclaws are prehensile, but they are primarily suited for walking on... a dragon might be able to hold onto an item, and do basic manipulation, but I doubt he's deft enough for complex or delicate stuff, for instance, he might take hold of a sword, but the limb is not suitable to let him be skilled in swordsmanship, so maybe it's the whole forelimb that makes him unable to craft, not just the prehensile foreclaw.


I would like to point out that quite a few dragons who would have the capability of crafting magic items also have spells or abilities that would allow them to transform into humanoid creatures thus allowing them to have an easier time crafting things.


Point to you, sir, I'd totally neglected this aspect of things


Meirril wrote:
Though if you wanted to be more realistic, dragons are powerful, intelligent, long lived, patient. If they ever herd of economics they would all be bankers, industrialists, and merchants. Sitting at the top of a corporate pyramid raking in the money while those lesser beings it hold in such contempt work themselves to death to increase the side of the horde. Honestly, its not a story anyone wants to tell, right?

Dragonstar is D&D in space with dragons running the empire. Plenty of good opportunities for all sorts of adventures related to this, from rebellion to political conniving to heists, to Shadorun-esque skullduggery, to space adventure, to invasions stories...it works very well.

Mystaran dragons have their own kingdoms and hierarchies and society and culture and technology and magic - the ones adventurers meet tend to be the rebels and lowlifes without much by the way of sensible wealth.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Look at it this way the top 4 most valuable degrees are all in engineering. Why is not every student majoring in engineering? Not everyone has the interest and aptitude to become an engineer. Becoming an engineer takes a lot of time and effort, and many people find it difficult and boring. Taking crafting feats are the same thing.

When building characters you get a feat at certain points automatically based on level or HD. The details about how you actually gain the ability are ignored. Learning a skill or taking a feat is more than just picking something of a list. You don’t just wake up one day and decide you want to be able to make magic items and are in business by the end of the day. You spend a lot of time studying and learning and practicing.

As several people have already brought up dragons my consider crafting to be beneath them. In the real world engineers make a lot of money, but look at where the background where they come from. For the most part engineers don’t typically come from old money. An engineering degree is expensive but you seldom see the children of the extremely wealthy going into engineering. In the game world dragons are the ultimate “Old Money”.

Also consider the nature of a dragons magic. They are spontaneous caster and as such they have a limited number of spells known. This means that they will probably need to adjust the difficulty to create the item by +5 per prerequisite not meet. So to craft a Headband of Mental Superiority they will probably need to increase the DC by 15. So while the dragon can take crafting feats they are not really going to be good at them. At most they would be able to easily create a limited number of items, but will have difficulty creating a variety of items.


Okay, y’all have been most helpful. There are a lot of things I don’t consider because of being on the autism spectrum. I never even considered that them being prideful would matter until y’all brought it up.

Anyways, thank you all for the help.


Zhangar wrote:
A dragon wants an enormous pile of shinies. A dragon that converted its hoard into a +6 to all stats item would probably go a little nuts, even if the +6 to all stats item is objectively better than 30 million copper pieces.

1000x this. A dragon converting shinies into items would be a very unusual dragon.

(Now, what I would like to see is something draconic that grants bonuses, perhaps even substantial ones, from the presence of a pile of treasure they are attuned to. Perhaps a variation on item crafting: "Spend" retail cost and normal crafting time of a non-slot item, you are attuned to the treasure pile and get the benefits of the item so long as you are within long range (traced by a string, not by line of effect--it continues to work if you go around the corner) of the treasure pile. No treasure is consumed in the process, though. Should the treasure pile ever drop below what you "spent" the effect will temporarily cease to function, if the pile ever drops to 1/4 of what you "spent" it collapses. Multiple effects may derive from one treasure pile so long as it is big enough to cover the total. If it becomes too small the weakest effects go first.

The effect would be to make dragons much tougher in their lairs and would be very consistent with how a dragon thinks.)


On a more general level, most monster-type enemies are not created with magical items factoring into their stats. They meet their intended challenge level through other ways, such as naturally high stats, innate spellcasting, and/or unique racial powers. This occurs regardless of their potential ability to access such things.

Magical equipment isn't standard on such creatures, but it is a good way to quickly modify an encounter without raising its overall difficulty too much. This can range from consuming potions (to give them the effects of a spell they wouldn't normally have, like a warrior going invisible to escape/ambush) to minions using wands of Scorching Ray to try and keep players from advancing down a hallway.


I suspect evil dragons just force their humanoid slaves to make all their items or get eaten.


Whites may not even be intelligent enough for that. Blacks and reds are most likely to have this kind of attitude. Greens and Blues might get more diplomatic and devious about it, extracting items from humanoids as taxes, ransoms (or get eaten), or even commissioning such items through patsies and trying to browbeat or convince others to pay the full price so they won't have to deplete their precious reserve of shinies...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Klorox wrote:
Whites may not even be intelligent enough for that. Blacks and reds are most likely to have this kind of attitude. Greens and Blues might get more diplomatic and devious about it, extracting items from humanoids as taxes, ransoms (or get eaten), or even commissioning such items through patsies and trying to browbeat or convince others to pay the full price so they won't have to deplete their precious reserve of shinies...

Blacks explicitly hate things of beauty and rip them to pieces, are horrific torturers and mutilate pretty people just because, and even prefer rotten food. The idea of a black 'creating' anything is wildly out of character for the most misanthropic of the dragons.

Reds would totally seek out skilled craftsmen for slaves. Their slaves are treated as a part of their horde itself and often many adventurers that slay a red find their slaves are better hidden/protected than the rest of the horde itself.

A green that took up crafting would likely be one of the best magical artisans on the planet, with the way they're set up to super OCD about their particular obsession, as a point of pride to the dragon and their own innate discipline.

Blues would extort, steal, rob, and even legitimately purchase items, and like greens, also have enough discipline to learn crafting (Arantaros being a great example of an alchemist).

Whites... yeah. Feral and savage. Until they're Old, they're not really smart enough nor would they particularly care.

For the metallics, bronze's are noted scholars and authors and all of them have a library as part of their hoard. A bronze that's a scribe or has craft wondrous to make spellbooks and such sounds entirely possible. Silvers are basically paladins and would have zero qualms using some of their coin to gear themselves up in the pursuit of crushing evil. Copper and brass dragons are more social and pretty unlikely to shut themselves into a workshop for days to make something when they could be out having fun. And golds find themselves just too busy trying to help the world to laze about crafting with all of the suffering that needs to be alleviated.


Why do people not go to the gym or eat unhealthy food? Because taking the optimal choice is often more work. Dragons can be lazy too!


Mythically, dragon tend to be tied to destruction. It is in their nature to take what they want, not create what they want. There are of course canon exceptions to this, but most of these take a more supervisory role in creation. Honestly, as long lived as they can be, investing in objects is not going have the same sense of permanence that the more ephemeral species are going to have in item creation. Also because this is a world designed for adventurers, creating items just makes you more of a target, so it is a lot less of a survival trait than you are portraying it.


"I don't do menial labor. You, on the other hand, look suited to it. In fact, you should start making something for me right now...."


Isn't Apsu a patron God of craftsmanship?


Who's to say they don't? You can give dragons any feats you want (well as long as they meet the prereqs)


Dragons are born with an alignment, so normally, they have their instinctive behavior. Evolution says mutations happen and a few are more survivable. Your crafting dragon might also be an off color, like pinkish purple or polka dotted.

I think Spike's egg was given to the ponies because it was small or the wrong color.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / I’m on the autism spectrum. Can somebody explain to me how true dragons with an actual Caster Level have a 10 or higher in Int without having crafting feats? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.