Plague Dragons of Tameltyne
Prophesies exist for a reason, legends of dragons destroying the lands and violent struggles for survival often have a grain of truth to them. The Plague Dragons grain of truth is large, angry, and due to return sooner than anyone is ready.
The Plague Dragons don't do anything as nice as spread disease or famine, they ravage the land during their mating cycle, destroying property, buildings, even affecting entire lakes and rivers with the destructive nature of their courtship and mating.
The cycle begins with a Queen Plague Dragon making her lair deep in the earth where the temperate is stable. The injuries the Queen sustains during mating often results in her death, and her decaying corpse provides her clutch of eggs with the correct temperatures to encourage a new generation of strong male Plague Dragons and a new Queen Plague Dragon for the next cycle to renew. Some stronger Queens will survive, and tend to their clutch during the several hundred year incubation period. These Alpha Queens will often seek out the queen egg and either cast it out of the nest to die, or actively smash it to keep a new queen from competing for a mate.
After the incubation period is over, the times the prophesies warn of occur: the new generation of Plague Dragons hatch. After breaking free of their shell, they have to break through a second shell of rock to emerge and look for a new mate. After a year of hunting and eating anything it can, the young hatchling begins to groom a territory suitable for a Queen to mate with, and gifts to entice her. Although there are some exceptions, Plague Dragons typically like gifts that are meaty or shiny, or both in the case of a paladin. Once a Queen has chosen her mate, she will defend her mate and territory until she is ready to mate, or is presented with a more enticing gift. The mate dragons will often fight and kill each other over territory or gifts for the Queen.
Once the courtship is over and the Queen Plague dragon has a clutch of eggs ready, the dragons will mate, and then the Queen will try to kill and eat the male, mantis style. If a male can make it away without dying, he may remain in his territory and set up a lair to hoard gifts for the next generations queen and further tend his territory. With mating and murder over, the Queen will use the territory available to dig a lair for her clutch. This often starts in the soft soil of a swamp, or a river or creek bed. Not only does this make the initial digging easier, it also conceals the lair's location from outside forces.
Most Plague Dragons only survive two or three generations, but they have no known age limit and no signs of aging have been observed
The time draws nigh ...
Recent small earthquakes point to the return of dragons, and the PCs have to help evacuate towns, or battle the young hatchlings before they become too powerful.
They dug too deep...
A dwarven mine discovered a Queen Plague Dragon lair. She's alive and protecting her clutch of natural disasters, and the dwarves want her gone.
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? Responses (5)
I really like the idea of rampaging dragons just because that's what they do. A force of nature much like a tornado.
I have some confusion about how things work. You say that the queen digs a lair to lay her eggs and often dies during the mating, but then you say that the Queen travels to the most enticing territory to mate and will afterwards use that territory to dig a lair to lay eggs. So does the queen mate first or dig a lair for her eggs first? And if she mates first and dies, does that mean that the young will be born above ground instead of in a lair giving them an easier time with rampaging as young? And what is the second shell of rock?
Aside from unanswered questions, I really like the idea. The dragons don't attack the city as much as they just clumsily crash through it while courting.
I like it. But I have a few questions. First and foremost, what do they look like? Generic-dragon-number-seven? Typical scales and wings and claws? When I read 'Plague Dragons' I envisioned something decaying or at least with some physical mimicry of death.
And that brings me to my second question: Why are they called 'Plague Dragons'? I'm kind of assuming that it's more of a 'plague of dragons', but I'm still not sure.
And one more question. What or where is Tameltyne? The name is what drew me in, and then the sub didn't really deliver or explain the name.
But, with all that said, I really like the idea of it. It gives lots of opportunities to throw it in somewhere (including male Plague Dragons that didn't make the cut the last time, and are now trying to gather up enough power for a second chance with the new batch of queens).
The one-year period is full of chances for adventure, battle, and glory. You could even have a whole campaign made of hunting down these dragons and killing as many as possible- either to save the kingdom or to help out one of the queens that hired the party. Power-scale would be easy, since the dragons would be growing all the time, as would the party's power-level.
Good apocalyptic cycle for a world to have to go through. One of those ticking timers you can put on a campaign or story that forces action before the coming of The Plague.
Like it for that aspect especially!
We dug too deep. WE DUG TOO DEEEEEP!
There's a solid idea in here. Vicious, earth-cracking subterranean dragons that have the mating habits of mantises or insects.
Why not make them more like moles? Or-hell-ants?
Also, since these are harbingers of the dracopcalypse, why not have them be agents of a terrible plague as well? They carry a terrible, flesh-eating disease that they are immune to. Apocalypse on two fronts. And then the name is more appropriate as well.