If I had to pick a favorite of the traditional D&D dragons, I'd have to say that I like the Silver Dragons. They like to be with humans and even take the form of humans for extended periods of time. It wasn't hard for me to imagine that at least one silver dragon, over time, would have fallen in love with a human and somehow opted to stay human for the life of their beloved. As bloodthirsty as some of the groups were, no one every killed or even attacked a silver dragon.
Having said that, I will always remember the day I borrowed a friend's copy of Best of Dragon 3. With a title like That's Not in the Monster Manual, I skipped everything else and started reading there. Since that time in 1984 (I know it was published in 1983, we were in the middle of nowhere), I have always enjoyed the Gem Dragons.
First off, these guys were neutral. That meant I could have a druid dragon, if I really wanted. More than that, these guys worked out situations for their personal benefit without the cumbersome issue of working for the greater good. When my guys encountered an emerald dragon, it offered information and a bit of treasure in exchange for some information the players had. Later on when they met, the emerald dragon fired on all cylinders because the party had nothing valuable and it wanted its treasure back.
I also enjoyed that, as written, gem dragons were psionic. When the party once arrogantly went after Sardior, the ruby dragon, they were shocked (for some reason) that the dragon was unsuprised by their attack, prepared for their tactics and employed ESP and Clairvoyance to gain a tremendous advantage. I was able to voice something along the lines of the following:
For all you know, I changed my breath weapon just before you got here. You didn't think the leader of the gem dragons would actually be alone, do you? Look up before you die, love, I would so like you to enjoy my handiwork before the trap I laid ends your life.
Dragons are tough enough, but one with a psionic blast is really tough. Without a psionic character, many PCs didn't stand much of a chance.
Nowadays, I play dragons differently. I use E.G. Palmer's Random Unique Dragon Generator to make the dragon. On top of that my dragons use their mouth to deliver any magic spell. It looks like they are using their breath weapon, when in fact, they are casting a spell. This means that all magic-wielding dragons breathe fire, but only because it is a common spell among dragons. When you think about dragons delivering spells like their breath weapons, you can easily come up with some fairly nasty spells that have limited to no use to human Magic-Users.
I also take out an old monster entry from 1984 about Striped Dragons that I wrote. Sometimes the striped dragon looks like a striped dragon, other times it looked more or less like one of its parents. Regardless of its ancestry, though, a striped dragon always had the breath weapon of each parent.
Before signing off for the night, here are some other thoughts on dragons.
- How Dragons Are Born explains why dragons are so longed lived.
- Granite and Thunder dragons were created as an alternative to the chromatic or metallic species.
- One day, I'll even stat the three pearl dragons I mentioned in the Drakkangraal series of posts.
Just for fun, put a dragon you made with the Random Unique Dragon Generator in the comments. I'm curious what we come up with.