Excerpt from
Draconomicon
By Andy Collins, Skip Williams, and James Wyatt

Let this book inspire you. Whether you use it to build new draconic adversaries and exciting dragon lairs stocked with legendary treasure, or to build a character who rides a silver dragon into battle against the servants of Tiamat, you are sure to find not just the rules you want, but the wonder you need to make your game more fun. Dragons are creatures of legend, and with this book you can be a part of that legend. Retell it, relive it, reshape it in your character's or your campaign's image. Draconomicon will show you how.

Draconomicon offers such a wealth of details on all aspects of dragons that it's hard to choose the best subject for a sneak peek. So here we offer a look at the very beginning of a dragon's life. . . .

Eggs

Dragon eggs vary in size depending on the kind of dragon. They are generally the same color as the dragon that laid them and the have the same energy immunities as the dragon that laid them (for example, black dragon eggs are black or dark gray and impervious to acid). A dragon egg has an elongated ovoid shape and a hard, stony shell.

A female dragon can produce eggs beginning at her young adult stage and remains fertile though the very old stage. Males are capable of fertilizing eggs beginning at the young adult stage and remain fertile through the wyrm stage.

The eggs are fertilized inside the female's body and are ready for laying about a quarter of the way through the incubation period, as shown on the table below. The numbers given on the table are approximate; actual periods can vary by as much as 10 days either way.

Table 1-1: Dragon Egg Characteristics

Color Ready to Lay Total Incubation Size
Black 120 days 480 days Tiny
Blue 150 days 600 days Small
Brass 120 days 480 days Tiny
Bronze 150 days 600 days Small
Copper 135 days 540 days Tiny
Gold 180 days 720 days Medium
Green 120 days 480 days Small
Red 165 days 660 days Medium
Silver 165 days 660 days Small
White 105 days 420 days Tiny

Rules: Dragon Eggs

Although it contains a living embryo, treat a dragon egg as an inanimate object with the following statistics.

Dragon Egg Game Statistics

*A dragon egg has a maximum diameter equal to about 1/2 its length.

Egg
Size
Length* Weight Hardness/
Hit Points
Break
DC
Tiny 1 ft. 1 lb. 8/10 12
Small 2 ft. 8 lb. 10/15 13
Medium 4 ft. 60 lb. 10/20 15

Laying Dragon Eggs

Dragon eggs are laid in clutches of two to five as often as once a year. Ovulation begins with mating, and a female dragon can produce eggs much less often, if she wishes, simply by not mating. Mating and egg laying can happen in almost any season of the year.

Most dragon eggs are laid in a nest within the female's lair, where the parent or parents can guard and tend them. A typical nest consists of a pit or mound, with the eggs completely buried in loose material such as sand or leaves. A dragon egg's ovoid shape gives it great resistance to pressure, and the female can walk, fight, or sleep atop the nest without fear of breaking her eggs.

Dragons sometimes leave their eggs untended. In such cases, the female takes great care to keep the nest hidden. She or her mate (or both of them) may visit the area containing the nest periodically, but they take care not to approach the nest too closely unless some danger threatens the eggs.

Rules: Incubating Dragon Eggs

Once laid, a dragon egg requires suitable incubation conditions if it is to hatch. The basic requirements depend on the kind of dragon, as described below. The embryonic wyrmling inside a dragon egg can survive under inadequate incubation conditions, but not for long. For every hour during which incubation conditions are not met, the wyrmling must make a Constitution check (DC 15 +1 per previous check; an embryonic wyrmling has the same Constitution score as a hatched wyrmling) to survive.

An embryonic wyrmling inside a dragon egg becomes sentient as it enters the final quarter of the incubation period.

Dragon egg incubation conditions are as follows:

Black: The egg must be immersed in acid strong enough to deal at least 1d4 points of damage per round, or sunk in a swamp, bog, or marsh.

Blue: For half of each day, the egg must be kept in a temperature of 90 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a half day at 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brass: The egg must be kept in an open flame or in a temperature of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bronze: The egg must be immersed in a sea or ocean or someplace where tidewaters flow over it at least twice a day.

Copper: The egg must be immersed in acid strong enough to deal at least 1d4 points of damage per round of exposure, or packed in cool sand or clay (40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit).

Gold: The egg must be kept in an open flame or in a temperature of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Green: The egg must be immersed in acid strong enough to deal at least 1d4 points of damage per round, or buried in leaves moistened with rainwater.

Red: The egg must be kept in an open flame or in a temperature of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Silver: The egg must be buried in snow, encased in ice, or kept in a temperature below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

White: The egg must be buried in snow, encased in ice, or kept in a temperature below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hatching Dragon Eggs

When a dragon egg finishes incubating, the wyrmling inside must break out of the egg. If the parents are nearby, they often assist by gently tapping on the eggshell. Otherwise, the wyrmling must break out on its own, a process that usually takes no more than a minute or two once the wyrmling begins trying to escape the egg. All the eggs in a clutch hatch at about the same time.

Properly tended and incubated dragon eggs have practically a 100% hatching rate. Eggs that have been disturbed, and particularly eggs that have been removed from a nest and incubated artificially, may be much less likely to produce live wyrmlings.

Rules: Hatching Dragon Eggs

To hatch, a wyrmling needs to break out of its shell. From its position inside the egg, the wyrmling cannot bite the eggshell, and the wyrmling's claws are too weak to overcome the shell's hardness. To escape the egg, the wyrmling must break the shell by making a Strength check. Fortunately for the wyrmling, it can simply take 20 on the check, breaking the shell in about 2 minutes.

To determine the day on which the eggs in a clutch hatch, roll 1d10. On an odd number, the eggs hatch 1d10 days earlier than the norm (see Table 1-1). On an even number, the eggs hatch 1d10 days later than the norm.

If the egg has been tended by at least one of the wyrmling's parents, it needs to make no further checks to survive.

If incubation conditions have been less than ideal, however, the wyrmling must make a Constitution check to survive. The table below provides a list of circumstances and the DC of the Constitution check to survive despite the bad conditions.

In the case of a disturbed nest or an egg removed from a nest, the creature tending the egg may make a Heal check, with a +1 bonus if the creature has 5 or more ranks of Knowledge (arcana). The wyrmling can use either its own Constitution check result or the Heal check result, whichever is higher.

Opening an egg before the final quarter of the incubation period causes the wyrmling inside to die. If the egg is opened during the final quarter of the incubation period, the wyrmling can make a check to survive, but if successful it takes nonlethal damage equal to its current hit points. This damage cannot be healed until the wyrmling's normal incubation period passes, and the wyrmling remains staggered for the entire period. During this period, a prematurely hatched wyrmling must be tended in the same manner as an unhatched egg in order to survive.

Circumstance Constitution
Check DC
Undisturbed nest --
Nest disturbed, but restored by parent 10
Nest disturbed, but restored by dragon other than parent 15
Nest disturbed, but restored by nondragon 20
Removed from nest, tended by dragon 20
Removed from nest, tended by nondragon 25
Egg opened prematurely 5


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