Ecology of the Dragon Hoard
Not unlike wealthy humanoids, dragons tend to have tastes in treasure that are as varied as they are. Though some are definitely predisposed at birth toward the types of treasure they find among their parent's promising possessions, many develop tastes that are definitely unique. Not unlike other people of means, dragons can collect at a whim and, at the same time, some give purpose to their wealth, searching or crafting objects of function, artistry, and power that are of particular use to them. Dragons can be covetous and greed-stricken; likewise they can collect wealth and possessions for a given cause or purpose. Some seek power over others, and some dragons collect only whatever might be among the possessions of their next meal. Goodly dragons might seek to acquire the tools they need to assist those in need, or even to depose those with power over others. This article provides, for whatever purpose you might use them, a collection of dragon hoards that might be dropped easily into your campaign. Each is very definitely the work of an individual dragon with particular tastes and desires. Feel free to change and mold them to whatever purpose you find useful in your game.
Qaiunthe'leum (Young Gold Dragon) CR 9
As a young gold dragon, Qaiunthe'leum hasn't had a great deal of time to build upon her collection, though she is rather fond of gems of all types. Many of her possessions are what remain of her "trust," so to speak, left to her by her parents to give her a head start, and thus allowing her to begin serving good and her sovereign deity Bahamut. The one notable exception to this would be the warhammer Geode, a powerful weapon gifted to Qaiunthe'leum after she drove a host of goblins out of the valley. She slaughtered those servants of Maglubiyet foolish enough to remain and fight for their home, a border keep previously built by the good dwarves that have only recently begun to return to their ancestral demesne. The rest of the goblins fled up into the hills, only to be hunted down by the wily gold dragon. Though a few escaped, their numbers only served as a warning for those who might consider attempting to retake the liberated keep. Qaiunthe'leum's treasure contains the following items.
Qaiunthe'leum aspires to paladinhood, though she does not know the way. She can make a group of mid- to high-level characters a powerful ally, or even serve as an able student/acolyte of a high-level cleric dedicated to a lawful good deity. To low-level characters, Qaiunthe'leum might serve as a unique patron, enlisting the heroic to assist her with clearing evil away from the lands surrounding the newly reacquired border keep, and the goodly dwarves within. With plains on one side of the keep and the foothills of a vast mountain range on the other, the variety of opposition can greatly vary -- particularly if any goblins made it into the mountains successfully to warn the goblinoids within of the coming of the young gold dragon.
Vlag'karenis (Juvenile White Dragon) CR 6
Fleeing from the wreckage of his mother's death, Vlag'karenis started his life as a dragon with very little in the way of material possessions. Though smaller than many other dragons his age, Vlag'karenis has proven himself to be a cunning hunter, choosing his quarry with extreme care. Up until recently, the juvenile white dragon had very little in the way of material possessions, though a few months back he came upon a trio of frost giants. Though the giants were victorious in battle against a band of interloping adventurers, they were greatly injured from the fight and moved particularly slowly through the mountains on their way back home. It was in the night, when the three were resting and doing a poor job of keeping watch, that Vlag'karenis hit them. Striking hard and fast, the half-sleeping frost giant on watch was dead before he could warn the others, and they died in their sleep as a result. Vlag'karenis has spent the intervening months feeding on the frozen corpses of his victims and taking stock of their possessions, inordinately proud of his meager find. Vlag'karenis's treasure contains the following items.
As Vlag'karenis grows stronger and bolder, he begins to venture farther afield, looking for prey among the low-lying villages. Dragging away livestock and other easy prey, the juvenile white also looks for opportunities to increase his personal holdings. He might even grow bold enough to harry small caravans passing through the mountains on their way to the southern markets. Either way, the good folk of the northern territories may be looking for assistance before long. At the same time, the frost giants in the higher mountains are bound to come looking for their kin. They are very likely to find Vlag'karenis in that search, and they might seek to settle the score by subduing the dragon and forcing it to serve them as a sentry or watchdog.
Adalanthas (Young Adult Bronze Dragon) CR 12
Making his home in a submerged coral cave, Adalanthas finds great sport in hunting up and down the coastal territories looking for pirates and other such buccaneers foolish enough to attack unwary vessels that make their trade at sea. Whenever a particularly nasty band of pirates begins to work the shipping lanes farther out than the dragon is likely to traverse, it doesn't take long for the good people of the surrounding villages to come together to ask him for assistance from their would-be champion. In these times of need, Adalanthas enjoys taking a ride on a merchant vessel, hiding in the hold (or on deck, covered by canvas) until the vessel is attacked. Then the pirates generally find that they've bitten off more than they can chew. The villagers have, in times of pressing need, offered up portions of the pirates' bounty for Adalanthas to keep. Though he is constantly on the lookout for unusual and unique magical trinkets, he always takes less than is offered him since he enjoys the challenge, and the chance to pit his strength against evil. Adalanthas's treasure contains the following items.
Any time that a group of characters needs assistance handling pirates, they might be directed to the great bronze dragon of the coast for assistance. Of course, when dealing with seasoned adventurers, Adalanthas definitely expects some kind of payment, being fully aware that such folk are likely hunting pirates for monetary gain. He also requires such adventurers to endure a lengthy interview process that might take several visits to complete, while the wary dragon attempts to ascertain any possible ulterior motives they might possess for undertaking the hunt of pirates (a dangerous venture at best). Adalanthas is no fool, and he is painfully aware that those of a more evil or neutral bent might be looking for a permanent "pet," which is an accommodation that he is entirely unwilling to undertake.
Hazde'ladus (Adult Black Dragon) CR 11
Having been the terror of any number of swamps over the course of her long life, Hazde'ladus is no stranger to adversity. Each time she feels as though her lair has been sufficiently threatened, she picks up and goes. It is no wonder this particularly intelligent black dragon has survived into adulthood. Over the course of her years, Hazde'ladus, given to vanity as many dragons are, has developed a fascination for skulls, particularly since her own visage resembles a large black skull with horns. In addition to her considerable collection of coins, Hazde'ladus has taken up a collection of skulls, each of which represents a race that has minted coins from ancient civilizations long since gone from this world, that she finds particularly attractive. Since there is no shortage of dead bodies in and around a swamp of any considerable size, Hazde'ladus has also taken up the study of magic that is necromantic in nature, and she is likely to guard her lair with a host of zombies and skeletons. Hazde'ladus's treasure contains the following items.
The cultural value of Hazde'ladus's collection of skulls is likely quadruple that of its actual monetary value -- if sold to the right collector. However, finding the collector willing to pay this amount may be a quest in and of itself. Regardless, the legacy of Hazde'ladus, as well as the threat that she poses to any community that exists in or around her home, is likely enough to attract adventurers. Hazde'ladus's attraction to necromantic magic may bring characters with any degree of power into contact with the dragon as well.
Fhellkandor (Mature Adult Brass Dragon) CR 15
Moving among the vast bazaars and marketplaces of the desert nomads, Fhellkandor likes nothing better than to scour the wares and trinkets of these desolate emporiums for odd bits of strangeness, looking for that perfect item to add to his collection of oddities. Frequently using magic to take whatever guise best suits him, Fhellkandor is on an eternal quest to hunt down magical and nonmagical peculiarity and oddity in the form of obscure items (or perhaps mundane items with obscure uses), and then spend days dickering over the price with its current owner. Fhellkandor delights in the give and take of negotiation as much as he does the search for unconventional possessions. While he has found a few items to be sure, he maintains a constant state of vigilance for something stranger, and he hopes to achieve a state of perpetual amazement to shake him from the doldrums of living in a wasteland among what frequently can be an unimaginative collection of humanoid tribes. Fhellkandor's treasure contains the following items.
A seasoned traveler and trader, Fhellkandor is a well of useful (and sometimes useless) knowledge. Considered to be a sage among his kind, the brass dragon might be someone that a group of heroes can rely on to give them information on nearly any topic of discussion, particularly odd treasures. The key to dealing with Fhellkandor, however, is to catch his attention (likely with some oddity that could be offered as a gift) and then engage the dragon in friendly banter and marketplace style negotiation.
Pianch'leron "the Alchemist" (Old Green Dragon) CR 18
Pianch'leron is singularly successful because of his ability to observe and imitate. Growing up in the forest doesn't typically lend itself to the work of an alchemist, except where an alchemist might have a plethora of plant and animal life from which to sample and experiment. From an early age, Pianch'leron watched as adventurers imbibed draught after draught of magical elixir, potion, and whatnot so that they could gain abilities and strengths not their own before attempting to find his lair. To this end, the observant green dragon has sought to study the fine art of alchemy and potion-making, even dabbling into the creation of wondrous items where it might produce a substance that he could use either to inflict greater harm upon those would-be dragon hunters, or to protect himself from seasoned veterans. The dragon has painstakingly set up a laboratory, hidden to even the most dedicated hunter, and spends much of his time working to create magical concoctions to enhance his already impressive abilities. Pianch'leron's treasure contains the following items.
Characters in pursuit of Pianch'leron's hide are up for a tough chase indeed, since the dragon is constantly on the lookout for dragon slayers, even as he diligently works in his lab. How he maintains productivity and a constant state of alertness is a mystery, though magic of some kind is definitely involved. Those in search of a capable, even if impatient, instructor in the art of brewing potions might have an easier time of finding Pianch'leron. However, if he is not impressed with the payment they offer (and it must be significant), he is just as likely to make a light supper of prospective pupils. In any case, Pianch'leron did not achieve his current age by foolishly cavorting with every humanoid that happened to share in his interest. Given his overall attitude, one might suppose that even if the payment offered is significant, the entrance examinations to achieve tutelage with the dragon carry a stiff price for failure. This supposition would be correct.
Ecandor'loskal (Very Old Copper Dragon) CR 20
A wise human once told the wyrmling Ecandor'loskal that to get anywhere in life you must have vision. The copper dragon took him very literally, and he has spent much of his life on the lookout for any magic that might assist him with maintaining his "vision," or, in his case, the ability to simply look in wherever the nosy busybody of a copper dragon might have a passing interest. Being an incorrigible prankster and storyteller, Ecandor'loskal loves to watch the races around him, which he finds to be filled with a great deal of hilarity. Patient and wise, Ecandor'loskal is far from being above setting up a prank, and then sitting back with his crystal ball to see the results of his handiwork. As a dragon, Ecandor'loskal is a collector of all kinds of shiny treasure, some of which he parts with annually to some other good-hearted prankster that he discovers among the lesser races. Ecandor'loskal is constantly on the lookout for rogues who share his amusement (typically at the expense of others), but only if the fun is innocent, even if humbling, to the unfortunate recipient. Ecandor'loskal's treasure contains the following items.
To be sure, an encounter with Ecandor'loskal is cause for a kind of merry celebration. However, you generally don't find the dragon before the joke is likely already on you. There is a saying among those knowledgeable in the ways of dragons, "If you can see Ecandor'loskal, he can see you. If you can't see Ecandor'loskal, the next time you see the beast may be through a veneer of cream pie." Those who would choose the unfortunate path of dragon hunter where Ecandor'loskal is concerned generally find that the dragon's inventiveness and humor take on a more lethal aspect, and that the pranks, jokes, and traps quickly cease to be of a humorous nature. On the lighter side, however, any character who is given to pranks and practical jokes of a harmless nature might attract the attention of this joyful patron of the art.
Xak'tanalarian (Ancient Red Dragon) CR 23
Adventurers can be the most dangerous sorts of people that you might ever have the pleasure of knowing. Among them, accomplished dragon slayers are quite possibly the most formidable, having mastered the art of tracking down and destroying the most powerful beings to walk the land. So what if the dragon slayer is in fact a dragon? That would be the case with Xak'tanalarian, a cruel and evil red dragon whose sole purpose in life is to track down and exterminate as many goodly metallic dragons as she can find. To this purpose, Xak'tanalarian's treasure is a very purposed collection of magic items of such lethal nature that she might be quite capable of destroying any other dragon that happens to be unfortunate enough to cross her path. An ingenious hunter, Xak'tanalarian takes pride in what she does, spending as much time in libraries among dusty tomes learning about her prey, even as she spends time watching them from a distance -- typically over the course of many years. Patience has been one of her greatest tools. Xak'tanalarian's treasure contains the following items:
Characters unlucky enough to cross paths with this ancient red dragon frequently don't know it until it is too late. Xak'tanalarian uses magic to conceal her identity; she often walks among the lesser races in the guise of a beautiful woman with deep auburn hair and golden eyes. That said, if the dragon quarry of Xak'tanalarian learns that the red dragon is on its trail, it might come to powerful adventurers for assistance in flushing her out for a confrontation rather than allowing her to choose the time and manner of its seemingly fated meeting. Either way, attempting to turn Xak'tanalarian into the quarry has been the fatal error made by many.
Kindaru'Towen (Wyrm Silver Dragon) CR 25
As a paladin dedicated to his sovereign deity Bahamut, Kindaru'Towen spends the vast majority of his time interacting with the goodly humanoid races in human form. In that form, Kindaru'Towen appears as a tall, regal human male with a full head of salt-and-pepper hair and a large drooping mustache. His fierce blue eyes are welcoming to those whom he protects, and they instill great fear in those who would do evil. Kindaru'Towen has an easy laugh that causes people to immediately trust him, knowing that they're dealing with an individual of genuine goodness. Kindaru'Towen challenges himself to be humble, though it is difficult at times for a silver dragon as old as he is. Kindaru'Towen's lair is in a remote stone cathedral (of his own construction), to which he has dedicated a larger portion of his financial resources. Aside from that, Kindaru'Towen has a significant collection of possessions that he uses in direct service to his god. Kindaru'Towen's treasure contains the following items.
Any character that serves the cause of good and law may possibly find a strong ally in Kindaru'Towen if the need is great enough. The silver dragon takes his duty as a protector very seriously. Additionally, any character that worships Bahamut or who wishes to train to become a paladin might learn of this venerated hero and seek him out directly. At times, Kindaru'Towen might also seek the assistance of powerful adventurers, should he be torn between protecting the innocent and tracking down evil in its lair. Either way, Kindaru'Towen is a powerful force for good, and an implacable enemy of evil, seeking it out wherever it might be and putting it down -- violently if necessary.
Nebtu'dalaran (Great Wyrm Blue Dragon) CR 25
Nebtu'dalaran is truly a monarch among dragons. Fortunately for many, this creature prefers to spend the vast majority of time outside his lair, flying across the skies of the deep desert or burrowing deep within the hot sands to set up an ambush for potential prey. This great wyrm has discovered that the key to survival is to remain as unobtrusive as possible. Only when he receives word of some treasure (likely a rare or magic gem) truly worth taking a risk for does he emerges from his home to walk (or fly) among the lesser races. Otherwise, Nebtu'dalaran is content to graze off the fat camels raised by wandering tribes of desert-dwelling kobolds that find comfort in living near the pyramid that houses his lair. The kobolds believe they gain power over the desert by existing near the great blue dragon, and they even harvest blue dyes from a strange tuber that seems to grow plentifully in a number of oases near the dragon's lair. They use this dye to mark their skin, showing pride in their chosen affiliation. Nebtu'dalaran is particularly entranced with rare and valuable gemstones, and he stops gazing at his collection only to look upon his own visage in a rather large mirror that dominates one wall of the interior chamber of his lair. Nebtu'dalaran's treasure contains the following items.
Characters in search of rare and valuable ioun stones might learn from scholars (or even a wealthy lord who lost one) that a great blue dragon that covets such gems lives in the deep desert. Characters traveling through the deep desert might learn of Nebtu'dalaran after being attacked by any number of bands of strange kobolds that paint themselves blue. A character that possesses a rare and valuable gem (or a magic gem of some kind) might find himself the subject of an attack by Nebtu'dalaran if he comes too close to the dragon's lair (within several hundred miles), with the coveted gemstone being the main subject of the attack. However the characters come into contact with this creature, they won't soon forget the encounter. If all that happens is they lose a gemstone (or even a single magic gem), they may want to consider it the price of traveling too close to such a creature and find greener pastures in which to travel. If, on the other hand, they believe they are truly mighty, a trek into the deep desert to pursue the Nebtu'dalaran might be a challenge worth undertaking.
About the Author
Born in sunny California, Christopher Lindsay moved to the Northwest early in his life and has lived there ever since. Having lived in Oregon, Alaska, and now Washington, he has nearly forgotten what that great yellow orb in the sky is actually called. Currently, Christopher lives in not-so-sunny Renton, Washington, with his lovely wife, four very excitable children, a handful of fish, and a cat who is convinced he is master of the house. During the day, Chris is a dutiful Wizards of the Coast employee, and in the evening he plots the destruction of Dungeons & Dragons characters everywhere.
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