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Friday, November 18, 2011

Pellatarrum: My Dragons are Different (part 6)


Written as a cooperative effort by Erin Palette and Mike Kochis



Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave?
Beautiful tyrant! Fiend angelical!
Dove-feathered raven, wolvish-ravening lamb!
Romeo and Juliet, Act 3 Scene 2



VII. Draconic Resources  

Contrary to expectations, ploys rarely diminish a dragon's wealth. Firstly, the average dragon rarely has more than a quarter of their resources invested in their network, and rarely more than half in various markets, banks, trade caravans, and other long-term investments; the treasure trove a dragon possesses is usually a quarter (or more) of what they own.

Not all of this is in coins; magical and mundane traps, hired guards (usually half to two armies per lair), captive monsters to feed intruders to, and such are also part of the dragon's "possessions.”

All dragons are avid collectors of things they value. One dragon will hold the knife widely held to have assassinated a king. Another will collect the small silver chalice it suspects was used to poison him. Still another has the animated skeleton of the skullery maid rumored to have poisoned him at the queen's behest. If it is rare, valuable, or unique, some dragon somewhere wants to collect it.

Not all such "collections" are physical things. Some dragons collect music, or folklore, or gossip, or tall tales. And some dragons collect ransoms, or kingdoms, or lists of famous people they've eaten. Like all things draconic, it depends upon the dragon.

As such, they keep a substantial amount of coin, gems, and jewelry on hand. One never knows when the third diary of Mu Ling is going to show up, after all. And when it does, one has to hire spies, con men, thieves, assassins, and (when they have to) purchasing agents to attain it. Naturally, there are several items that cross interests of competing dragons. Their discovery both stimulates the economy and leaves a bloody trail of unsavory professionals.

Dragons rarely employ linear thinking, such as "I'll just eat them all and take the book." after they pass juvenile age. In fact, it is possible for the collector of rare crystals to also make a "bid" for the book – she has no interest in the book, of course, but she just absolutely must have that elven glass tea set another dragon once offered her for her set of matching canopic jars of Pharoah Mushu (and she knows our book collector has a mural of Mu Ling ordered constructed by Pharoah Mushu, a win for all three of them – especially her, if she gets the book first.).

So dragons normally have all manner of "clutter" and "junk" in their lairs, some of it quite fragile, and easily mistaken for common items. Those traps you disabled, those monsters you killed, those guardian giants you slew? All of them are part of that dragon's hoard.




To be continued. 

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