The Gold Dragon (Dungeons & Dragons) is a type of dragon in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. It is a metallic dragon. Also called royal dragons or imperial dragons, gold dragons are the apex of an already unimaginably powerful race. Of all metallic and chromatic dragons, only mithral dragons might be more powerful–but they don't often overtly involve themselves in mortal events as golds do.
Lairs and Terrain
Gold dragons tend to favor gently rolling hills and open plains as sites for their lairs, but exceptions to this tendency abound. Gold dragon lairs can also be found in craggy mountains, in deep caves, and even in the midst of humanoid communities (though this last sort oflair is less common for gold dragons than for steel or silver). A gold dragon often settles near a society it has involved itself with or near a great source of magic it has chosen to protect. The actual terrain or climate is often a secondary concern, but golds do dislike living in frigid regions.
Though they have a few preferences, gold dragons can live almost anywhere. And, frankly, if a gold dragon wants to live somewhere, who's going to tell it otherwise? Territorial disputes are the most common cause of conflict between golds and other dragons, and unless there's a major age discrepancy in favor of the opposing dragon, the gold usually proves victorious.
Gold dragons prefer magic items to other valuables, but a gold's hoard isn't likely to consist entirely of magic items. Gold dragons also enjoy well-crafted works of art they can admire, as well as collections of gems and raw ore that are not merely valuable but can serve as a backup larder.
Gold dragons prefer larger prey and deliberately hunt down dangerous monsters. In so doing, they combine their biological needs with their ethical leanings. When appropriate prey isn't available, a gold dragon is more willing than other dragons to subsist on inanimate matter–preferring gems and valuable metals, which befit its high status.
Gold dragons are born with dull coloration that shifts to gleaming gold and then to illuminated radiance as they age. A gold is one of the most sinuous of dragons, graceful and flexible, and its wings are almost finlike, running the length of its body. It has impressive horns, but they are ineffective as weapons. Facial tendrils, thin strands of muscle that appear almost mustachce-like, descend from around its mouth and nostrils. These tendrils are neither strong nor dexterous, but are just prehensile enough to aid the dragon in cleaning food from around its mouth or between its teeth.
A gold dragon gives off a faint scent, which some adventurers liken to the smell of molten metal. They say this aroma is one of the few hints that a humanoid might be a shapechanged gold dragon in disguise.
Personality and Motivations
Gold dragons are strong believers in the rule of order and the greater good, but they are also arrogant and dismissive, more concerned with unfathomable goals than with the needs of "lesser creatures." For every gold dragon champion that aids a community of humanoids, or rules it with a just and benevolent hand, there is another that has become a tyrant, demanding the obedience it deserves "by right," or crushing individual freedoms and creativity in the name of law. Even these dragons tend to view themselves as morally in the right, making the hard choices nobody else can.
Even when cooperating with or benevolently ruling other creatures, gold dragons seem dismissive of the concerns of lesser beings. This attitude isn't necessarily a sign that they don't care for the good of their subjects or allies (though some might not); rather, it's because gold dragons believe in their superiority over other races but don't necessarily understand what that means. A gold dragon watching over a community might not acknowledge the complaints, needs, or troubles of citizens because it truly doesn't realize how bad things are. Even after dwelling for years among humans, gold dragons are frequently shocked at just how weak and fragile such creatures are.
Relations with other Creatures
A gold dragon sees itself as the pinnacle of living creatures and almost never acknowledges any other creature as its superior. It might do so for an older dragon, but that's only temporary. If a gold dragon serves as a mere advisor to a ruler or chooses to stay uninvolved in a region's events, it's because that dragon doesn't feel like taking on the burden of leadership, never because the dragon doesn't think it could do a better job.
Gold dragons and red dragons have a particularly strong rivalry–in part because reds resent the more powerful golds and scheme or gang up against them. Gold dragons rarely consume humanoids, unless the people in question are blatantly evil (or pose some threat to the dragon or its domain). Even a starving gold dragon won't consume a sentient being that it doesn't think deserves to die–though, of course, the definition of who deserves to die varies from dragon to dragon.
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