Welcome back to the column that breaks down gaming into what’s really important, ten things at a time!
The dragons of D&D hold a much bigger place in the world than ordinary monsters. They can be movers and shakers, bullies or living gods. They can command legions or demand solitude. These ten plots use the strengths of each type of dragon.
A black dragon has been snatching traveling nobles and merchants from a major road. It takes them into the wilderness and steals their gold and jewelry, then claws them and sends them out into the wilds so they can bleed out as they try to get back to the road. People know the dragon is out there somewhere, building a hoard and looking for new victims to torture.
A shipwreck beaches the adventurers in the territory of an arrogant blue dragon. The coastline and some nearby rocky hills were once the territory of a human tribe, but they’ve been subjugated and turned into servants of the dragon and her monstrous allies. The dragon perches atop an old library and awaits the greatest storm in a century—due in just three days.
Elves living in a mist-shrouded forest have been disappearing. A green dragon approached one of their shamans to reveal that the elves’ enemies—a group of human foresters and merchants—had been kidnapping and killing the elves. In truth, the green dragon is trying to get the elves to strike against the humans and weaken their numbers so it can destroy the rest of them and loot their holdings.
A vicious red dragon leads a horde of orcs, ogres, and goblins as they rampage across the land, laying waste to town after town. Every settlement that tries to placate the horde ends up being overrun eventually. The only way to stop the dragon is a showdown at is mobile lair amid the army that idolizes it.
Tribespeople that dwell on the tundra are starving. A white dragon has been savagely devouring the wildlife they rely on. They sent their bravest warriors to the dragon’s ice cave only to see them devoured by the brutish creature.
Three cities on the border of a desert compete fiercely for resources, and exist in a constant state of near-war. A brass dragon has taken up residence atop a rocky mesa near a crossroads between the three lands. It makes it well known that it’s services are available for a price, whether the customer needs detailed information on the situation or wants to pony up the high price for a dragon attack.
A group of island dwellers under the rule of a coastal kingdom have been raiding the mainland, stealing animals, cloth, and other basic goods from the settlements on the king’s shores. A bronze dragon living nearby has made its intentions known: It will attack the islanders the next time they come to raid. In truth, the islanders have been raiding the shore because the king has stripped their islands of natural resources and they’ve turned to desperate means to survive. The dragon’s hearing none of it. A lawbreaker is a lawbreaker!
In a large, metropolitan city, the new toast of the town is a copper dragon! It shows up at all the best parties, and a family or organization faces social disaster if the dragon ignores their invitation. Rumor in the underworld says that someone wants the dragon dead, and will pay top dollar. Who has it in for the creature?
The adventurers return to a land they were familiar with and find that the somewhat lawless land has come under the control of a gold dragon. The dragon has brought order and reduced crime, but the people bristle under the dragon’s strict laws.
A silver dragon needs assistance and seeks out the adventurers. A vicious rival dragon captured a royal heir and holds him or her hostage. The silver dragon challenged its rival to a duel for the heir’s freedom, but she knows knows the rival has no honor and will have its monstrous jailers kill the captive if it loses. The dragon sends the adventurers into her domain, a dry, mountainous landscape dotted with caves, to disable the jailers so the heir can be freed—but only if the silver dragon wins the duel. To do otherwise would be to break the dragon’s word.