View Full Version : Opinions RE: Silver Wyrmlings?

2008-12-19, 04:07 PM
Hello, all!

Thought I'd stop by and ask your thoughts on a matter. For my game tomorrow, I just came up with an idea I think would be fun, but a little help in preparation would be appreciated :P

I'm switching out a white dragon wyrmling, which was "captive" of kobolds for worship/dragon love reasons, and would generally be summarily executed by the PCs. Buuut, I thought it'd be fun to switch it to a Silver Wyrmling, same circumstances, but being as it's good (and there's a PC who's char has studied dragons in depth), the PCs should (theoretically) go on a hunt to return the tyke to her mother, or at least a better territory than deep inside an underground citadel. (No animal handlers of any sort, thank god :P)

I've read the MM entries and the Draconomicon for info on Silvers and wyrmlings, but I'm still not sure I've got enough info to make this work.

I've got the preferred territory and general attitude down, methinks. But, I'm not so sure on the wyrmling herself.

By the look of the draconomicon entries, a wyrmling that's nearly 5 years (oldest age for a wyrmling) should know draconic (raised by kobolds, after all). Maybe would possibly have a similar language facility and mentality of a 5 year old human child. This idea is mostly based on the thought that an older wyrmling would be possible to influence through diplomacy and good roleplaying, and thus able to bring along, though difficult in the way of a child.

Any thoughts? Book suggestions? Thoughts on how to make this more fun? Insight into likely attitudes of the wyrmling and mother?

Thanks for your help ^-^

2008-12-19, 04:53 PM
Sounds like a good idea to me. I have no direct suggestions, but one thing: what did the wyrmling itself think of being "captive"? Did it like it? Dislike it? What does it feel of being taken back to its mother/wherever?

2008-12-19, 04:59 PM
Sounds like a good idea to me. I have no direct suggestions, but one thing: what did the wyrmling itself think of being "captive"? Did it like it? Dislike it? What does it feel of being taken back to its mother/wherever?

The wyrmling hates it. Raised by kobolds, put on a pedestal (actually, a cage to small to spread its wings) instead of let free... in all it's years, was never once allowed to fly. And in fact, since it's never been able to exercise it's wings, the muscles have degraded to the point it Can't presently fly (can only glide) until it gets enough exercise.

It wants freedom, but doesn't even know how to go about it. It's young, naive, and yearning for something instinctual it's never known. The players could talk it into virtually anything that sounds like it'll satisfy that instinctual longing.

That's my present angle.

2008-12-19, 09:24 PM
I am of the opinion that the Silver Wyrmling idea is made of awesome. Real players (http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Noh) seem to tend to be nicer than the CoDzilla or Batman builds would predict. (Don't scroll down too far, NSFW stuff at the bottom.)

2008-12-19, 09:31 PM
Pretty awesome idea, giving it a reason it cant fly also helps a bit with the PCs having to help it back to its parents, since its an act that screams "favour to come later" from an adult Silver Dragon.

2008-12-19, 10:15 PM
Hehe, thanks, both of you ^-^ I guess I'm just nervous about being a new DM... this is my 2nd game. I'm really relieved to hear you guys think it's a good idea... I'd love it, personally, but then, I'm a dragon nut, so that's not saying much. :P

2008-12-19, 10:53 PM
Hmm, silver wyrmlings have Alternate Form, don't they. An interesting way of showing how naive and sheltered it is could be limiting its forms to animals and humanoids it knows: Kobolds and cave animals like dire weasels. The group enters a town, the sage of the group asks the wyrmling to disguise himself as a humanoid, it turns into kobold because it thinks the whole world is kobolds.

You might play with some of the metagame knowledge to fish for sympathy. Maybe due to malnutrition the wyrmline isn't /quite/ immune to cold damage when the party wizard throws a cold subbed Fireball. It not knowing how to fly would be a logical consequence of its captivity.

2008-12-19, 11:01 PM
Sounds like a good idea to me. Now, things to think about....

Even a wyrmling silver dragon has the alternate form ability, the breath weapon, the immunity to cold and acid, the cloudwalking, the vulnerability to fire....Given your concept here, it almost certainly hasn't made use of many/any of these. It may not be aware of all of these things, or has chosen not to use them for whatever reasons. This may be a point to develop further, should you be expecting the wyrmling to accompany the PC for any period of time.

Come to think of it...consider what the wyrmling will think of the PCs. Specifically, if it'll try to get away from them as soon as they get to the surface or otherwise believes itself to be out of it danger. It could certainly have developed distrust of non-draconic creatures in general, and if it's yearning for freedom (something common to dragons in general) it may jump at the opportunity to run off by itself rather than becoming (in its mind, at least) a prisoner to different captors. Is this another stage of adventure for your PCs? Possibly.

I believe the mother would be highly concerned with the well-being of her offspring. It does raise the question of why she didn't extract the wyrmling herself...offhand, I'd guess she has other children to watch over, and such a deep underground citadel poses too much danger to make it worth the risk. Hmm...At this point I'd make the mother a young adult, and this her first attempt at parenting.

If the wyrmling does flee from the PCs once they break surface, and the PCs decide to try to track it so it doesn't get hurt/recaptured, remember that the mother is capable of assuming the form of any Medium or Small humanoid. The PCs might just "happen" to come across a tracker who "happens" to be looking for a wyrmling silver dragon at the behest of its parents.

2008-12-19, 11:43 PM
Silver dragon wyrmling with the mental faculties of a 5-year-old child? The MM disagrees: they have Int 14, Wis 15, and Cha 14 - much smarter than the majority of humans, elves, dwarves, etc. They have Diplomacy and Knowledge skills at up to 10 ranks (and bluff at 10).

It's not canon anymore, but Council of Wyrms did a fair job at explaining why dragons are very capable as wyrmlings; they're taught by their parent while in the egg, and hatch with a great deal of knowledge and facility with the world around them. Even less intelligent species - like the whites - aren't child-like as wyrmlings, they're just no good at complicated thinking and more bestial and instinctual.

That, and, you know, they're dragons. They're contrary to all laws of nature anyway - why wouldn't they be intelligent, knowledgeable and mature as hatchlings?

Inyssius Tor
2008-12-20, 01:39 AM
On the other hand, it's been locked in a three-foot cage half a mile underground and fed on kobold fare (mostly fungus, fungus-y weasel bits, and Low Draconic nonsense) for most if not all of its life. (And, if "all", who's willing to bet that these kobolds know how to properly take care of a silver dragon egg?) So, um, brain development may be a little slowed.

2008-12-20, 01:50 AM
they're taught by their parent while in the egg,
I'd bet 10gp a gang of Kobolds wouldn't go anywhere near an actual dragon, they'd steal an egg. Therefore, that could actually perfectly explain why this Wyrmling might not have many of the abilities that most of it's kind do.

2008-12-20, 02:32 AM
I really appreciate your input, everyone ^-^

My backstory for the hatchling is that she was captured in egg, and a bit of a long story (wouldn't want to make this easy for the PCs, after all :P)

Completely sheltered, uneducated. Picked up Draconic either by egg or by her keepers; hardly matters. Bound in a small cage and hand-fed cave rats for her entire life, never hunted or spread her wings fully in her life.

And I never meant to imply she wouldn't be Intelligent... children are actually more "intelligent" than adults; they just lack the experience to know how to use that intelligence properly, such as correct reasoning. I figured her youth + sheltered upbringing would make her child-like.

I imagine her to be like those cocky kids, 7-8 years old, cocksure of themselves, acting like they think they're adults, but too inexperienced to really think like an adult yet. I imagine a certain pride of simply Being dragon.

I already passingly described a dragon with "white scales," so she's already starting with a birth defect from poor care in egg, causing her to be so pale she looks white. So, maybe some slowed mental function (int of 10?), and not as in touch with her instincts (doesn't know her alternate form?) would also be appropriate.

All of this has been really helpful! I think I'm most likely ready to handle whatever the PCs will throw at me. Considering none are disruptive.

2008-12-20, 02:57 AM
How do you run "usually" and such when it comes to alignments? Do you run you are born evil for being born a certain creature (or in this case dragon color)?

If not, then perhaps throw a little twist in there where it is actually evil/wrong to kill the baby creature just because of it's scale coloring?

For example, I threw this at my first group of players, and I had already written in my houserules that there are no set alignment (it even said that you are almost as likely to see an evil gold as a good red), and one of the players remembered that when they got a hold of a clutch of red dragon eggs (one of which was dying, but the healer saved it). If the paladin had slain the (until then) innocent creatures I he would have fallen.

You might want to see the raising hatchling dragons article from Dragon Magazine #320. I believe it is called the "Fostered Dragon" article on p.46.

2008-12-20, 07:00 AM
IIRC dragon #332 had an article on fostering young dragons.

It had an interesting nugget that baby dragons, for all their intelligence, don't have the self control or subtlety that adult dragons do; all their characteristic traits are writ large. It'd be up to the foster parents to make sure the dragon doesn't get itself into harms way when out of its element. You could play up the young dragon only having its inherent draconic instincts (territoriality, avarice, unwillingness to tolerate rivals) under partial control.

Have the young silver fixate on its parent so that it becomes jealous of all his/her other relationships ("He doesn't like you! He likes me best!"). A young bronze dragon will do the 'small child trying to be a brave knight' schtick, even when hopelessly outclassed ("I'm a bronze dragon: we fight injustice!"). Similarly a young blue would inexpertly bully people, and a neonate green would never stop trying to hatch clumsy plots to manipulate people into doing its bidding.

The article also suggested including in the young dragon's personality elements of childlike curiosity and confusion about social boundaries. Take the archetype of a curious child who won't stop asking awkward questions at inconvenient times ("What's that? Why do you do that? How do...?") or poking its nose in where it shouldn't, then add all the power of a young dragon ("I didn't mean to break/burn/corrode/freeze it. I'm sorry").

They say you should never work with kinds or animal; if your DM is sufficiently evil that goes double for baby dragons. :smallbiggrin:

2008-12-20, 08:20 AM
Similarly a young blue would inexpertly bully people, and a neonate green would never stop trying to hatch clumsy plots to manipulate people into doing its bidding.

Stay away from the dark forest! Don't bring large sums of money in an easily opened container! Go the long boring way!

Magnor Criol
2008-12-20, 08:36 AM
I don't really have anything constructive to contribute to you that either A) hasn't already been said, or B) doesn't already exist in the various dragon books out there. You have Draconomicon; do you have Dragon Magic and Races of the Dragon, too? They're not as useful for specifically dragons, but they have plenty of extra dragon-themed material, including spells and alternate abilities, that can be useful for the overall theme.

What I do have to say is that this idea sound really awesome. It lets the players do something nice and heroic, it provokes thought and emotions, and it sets up things really well for future plot hooks and NPC interactions. Nicely done, your players sound lucky to have you as a DM, if this is an example of the quality of your plots.

2008-12-20, 09:06 AM
Silver dragon wyrmling with the mental faculties of a 5-year-old child? The MM disagrees: they have Int 14, Wis 15, and Cha 14 - much smarter than the majority of humans, elves, dwarves, etc. They have Diplomacy and Knowledge skills at up to 10 ranks (and bluff at 10).
Draconomicon states that, for all their mental powers, they're still just children. They're just irritatingly clever (and knowledgeable), annoyingly perceptive, and downright endearing children. It's not like maturity is actually a function of Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma, after all. There're plenty of smart, wise people out there who're immature enough to make me wanna strangle them.

Heh. This plot reminds me of something similar I wanted to do to my players (the adventure died before I could pull it off). Kobolds and everything - I was running it off the Return to the Keep on the Borderlands adventure. I was using a copper instead of a silver, though. Copper dragons are mischievous little dragon-shaped monkey-cats, after all.
I think I'll have to drag that old adventure up and do that. Curse you.
But yeah, you've nothing to fear from this plotline. It's pretty good and sound, what with the adventure hooks and follow-ups and all. My suggestion for follow-up is to explain how the mother has yet to find her baby. You could go with "Kobolds are sneaky" and have her simply not have found it yet, or you could go with "Red dragons are mean" and she ain't around no more. I'd recommend a next-of-kin be readily available, such as the father. If you want to leave the wyrmling in the PC's care, have the father ask them to foster it. This'll help build ties between them and a potential patron, plus, y'know, a dragon is always fun.

2008-12-20, 10:16 AM
I did something similar with a baby bronze dragon being held in an old fort by some kobolds (kobolds love taking babies, eh?). In my case the baby stuck around with the PCs for a little while because:

A) The party became a free meal ticket since the PCs were willing to share their food with her. Sure beats running off on your own to forage.
B) The party was researching an old artifact and baby dragons are the most curious of creatures so she loved going into libraries to read EVERYTHING.

Sure in your case the baby silver may just run off once it's freed, but it could be fun if she stuck around just for a little while. It gives the players an interesting RP opportunity, especially if the kobolds mount an offensive to reclaim their stolem wyrmling and now the PCs got to keep her alive. :smallwink:

2008-12-20, 10:36 AM
I did something similar with a baby bronze dragon being held in an old fort by some kobolds (kobolds love taking babies, eh?).
They also like to eat 'em, but that's another story.

2008-12-20, 12:46 PM
They also like to eat 'em, but that's another story.

Hooray, Kobolds-Ate-My-Baby references!

While I'll admit, the "kept in a cage" part does provide a good reason for why the dragonling doesn't just fly off (other than, of course, not knowing where the nest is), I don't see why the kobolds would keep the dragon in a cage in the first place.

Kobolds worship dragons, and know very well that eventually, this little dragon will be a very big and very powerful ice-breathing lizard. Why would they risk getting their clan horribly murdered (not to mention angering the thing they worship), when they could just steal the egg, raise the baby in an very large and open cage, and horribly spoil it in their attempts to appease it and keep it happy?

I'm not trying to pick on your story idea, there. I'm just pointing out another option.

2008-12-20, 04:41 PM
You guys Rock ^-^

My game is in 2 hours and 20 minutes, and I now feel completely ready for it. I really appreciate your thoughts and input; as I feared, I had indeed, in my newness, missed some rather crucial details. I really think that with your input, I've got all the bases covered.

Thanks so much!