After having been asked by the local village or town to get rid of the local dragon, the adventurer swiftly climb up the mountain.
While entering the lair, however, they find traces of an almighty fight, with the recently charred or torn bodies of a whole company of dragon slayers strewn in every direction. Going further in, they see the walls of the caves glittering with dragon blood, still wet, and broken lances testaments to the many wounds sustained by what must have been a tremendous beast. The footprints left in the gore by the dragon are easily larger than the group’s biggest warrior…
after many turns and freshly broken bodies, the party will edge cautiously into the main chamber, and are confronted by a literal mountain of dead bodies from previous dragon slayers. Amidst the dead, lies a colossal female dragon, clearly mortally wounded, with lances protruding from her flesh and deep cuts to her wings, it is clear she has only hours to live.
“Come closer, approach Bellissa, I will not harm you now, and I would leave this mortal plain but for one thing, and perhaps you will help Dying Bellissa… What say you?”
“You are my last hope, adventurers. And I have no other choice but to ask for you help. Perhaps you came here to kill me, but as you see other men have already succeeded in this before you, and my fate is at this moment sealed… But make no mistakes humans, I fear you not, even now, I could kill a group such as yourselves easily before I pass to the next plane, but perhaps you wish to hear what I have to say”
“You see adventurers, I have business unfinished on this here plane, and will not live to finish it. My eggs were laid several moons ago, And are soon to hatch. Noble Adventurers I beg you to care for my young. This is my last chance to save them. none of my kind have responded to my plea, and without help my children will die.”
“Noble adventurers I beg that you take my eggs and see them hatch safely. you must help me. I ask this as a mother about to die, with little hope of seeing my children live. You are my only hope. Would you let defenceless sentient beings die? Would you watch while a child starves in front of you? I believed humans to be kinder than this. Perhaps I was wrong… ”
“All in this here lair is yours to possess. And I offer a greater gift. I offer a pact that we will, you and I both, be forced to uphold. I willingly offer my blood to protect you, should you promise to guard my children from harm.”
“I shall part with the essences of power which courses through my veins, if only you will take care of them. I, Bellissa, hereby swears it. You will age as we age and see as we see, and until your death, the blood of the dragons shall flow through your vein. But be warned, betraying this pact is a curse worst than death and the abyssal plains will never hold as many horrors as you will bear if this pact is broken.”
“Noble adventurers, Old Bellissa would be most grateful. What say you…”
Bellissa is badly wounded and will soon die from her wounds. she however remains a formidable foe, and will still be able to kill a a party of 5 or 6 highly skilled warriors with relative ease, although she will not attack unless attacked first. There are several ways this could go:
They threaten the eggs:
If the eggs are threatened she will fly in a furious rage and tear the PCs to blood-soaked meat shreds. (armour an’ all)
They refuse the offer:
If the PCs refuse the offer but do not attack, she will plead with them till her last breath, always remaining calm and forgiving any insult that they throw at her. (she will remain alive for about five hours)
They try to kill Bellissa:
If the PCs try to kill her she will defend herself but will not use lethal force, instead trying to restrain and reason them. (she is still a formidable foe and may crush someone by mistake)
They agree to help:
If they agree to help, she will ask all members to step forward and mix their blood with hers, sealing the agreement. she will then die, blessing the adventurers with her last breath: “I did not think that humans wo… Thankyou adventurers, may the spirit of the great dragon forever protect you…Goodbye, Goodbye for now…”
The Dragonlings are approximately the size of a dog, and will be defenseless, slowly hatching from large eggs when the adventurers enter the next chamber. They should be described as adorable and utterly defenseless. the players should ideally really empathises with them. Their cries should have the same effect as those of a newborn child, and bring great emotions to the characters.
The Dragonlings, with no other parental figure in sight will naturally accept the party, and will try and cuddle up to the adventurers. Ideally, there is one dragon per adventurer.
The characters are now faced with many options:
They made the deal but kill the newborn anyway:
Nothing less than death is suitable here, but the pact may slowly rot their flesh or mind, killing them with visions of horror and death, or they might be forced to turn their own weapons on themselves. This curse is irreversible by magic. it runs in their veins, and nothing less than bleeding to death will remove it. (funny that!)
they did not make the deal, and kill the newborn:
Gosh, you’ve got yourself a pretty heartless party. Its like shooting fish in a barrel. The newborn will not understand the danger, and when they see their sibling die might attempt to defend themselves, but they are much too weak to resist. Perhaps the ghost of the mother tries to defend her youngs, or perhaps the ghost will haunt the party until party death. Up to you.
They made the deal but leave the hatchlings to die:
Guilt will eventually consume them (its in their blood) and they will commit suicide. The mother definitely comes back and haunts them
They didn’t make the deal and leave the hatchlings to die:
nothing happens, they get a large loot, some cool weapons from the dead knights and can go and claim a reward for killing the big bad dragon.
They didn’t make the deal but care for the hatchlings:
Whoa! Fantastic. Unbeknownst to them, the mother comes back as a protecting ghost until the dragonlings are old enough to go out into the world (10-12 years), when she reappears again, and thanks them for protecting her brood. She then grants a small blessing on them, and speeds into dragon afterlife. The hatchlings take a long time to get used to their new surrogate parents, and will always remain detached, as soon as they gain the ability to talk fluently and breath fire (speak: 4-5 years; flying:7-10 years firebreathing: 8-9 years) they will strike out on their own. (they will be about the size of horses then) It will be necessary for the party to learn how to look after a baby dragon. How they do that is up to you
They made the deal and will keep to it:
The mother will rest in peace in the after life, and will be available for the characters should they need advice or guidance by simply thinking about her enough.
The Hatchlings will develop a special affinity for the humans, and strong bonds will be formed between man and beast. The Characters will each bond with one dragon in particular and this dragon will remain with the characters until the character dies. the development rate of a dragon is approximately the same as a human, although the dragons continually develop both physically and mentally. the characters will have to teach the dragons to speak, and generally take care of them as they would a infant. Most tasks however will come naturally, although the dragons will be very demanding in term of knowledge. Thus character’s dragon will soon learn the character’s skills and will slowly take on the personality of their surrogate. This is campaign changing stuff, so this might not fit the game being played. you could always have the party find an appropriate same-kind surrogate.
The players may also gain a plethora of abilities from the pact, linked to how much they care about the dragonlings. Their lifespan is tripled or quadrupled and they will often be able to take incredible punishment from any kind of weapon, and are almost immune to fires, magical or otherwise. They may be immune to magic too. (all this makes sense in term of game balance, since a man with a dragon friend is plain asking for trouble, although the balance is really up to you.)
Up to the adventurers really. They could all become dragon riders, or great scholars, helped by their dragon friend. Alternatively, they could also be corrupted by the newfound powers. This is where the fun really begins!