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In my current campaign, the PC's have an oppurtunity to aquire not one but three dragon eggs that are hatching soon. I am talking about

the cave dive in the third episode of the Hoard of the Dragon Queen campaign.

Chances are my party will be able to safely transport at least 2, given their history. The manual says they will hatch in a week if kept in a similar environment. Since the party has both a druid and a dragonborn chances are they know how to hatch it. Sadly, I have no idea what to do with the hatchling after it hatches.

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6 Answers 6

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First and foremost, yes, you can definitely allow them to hatch. What they are, how they grow etc is not directly answerable by the rules right now.

A just hatched dragon will have the stats of a wyrmling. That's a good start, you know it's combat efficacy. Most likely, it will not achieve the level of Young Dragon during the PCs' adventuring lifetime (While not directly relevant to 5e, d20srd.org indicates that a dragon is considered a wyrmling until the age of 5, though 5e has done away with several age groups so wyrmling may extend much longer). Now, whether it will fight the PCs is another matter.

I would make them perform a couple of Animal Handling checks to get them to calm down and not attack your PCs.

After that, what they do with it is mostly up to them. They could keep it as a companion (which can be a bit of a test), how well it behaves for them is up to you.

However, more likely, and maybe more thematically, any one of the major groups in Faerun would likely be interested in the dragon for a variety of purposes. Considering it's a chromatic dragon, there is a good chance they will not want to keep it alive, but they would likely pay handsomely for it.

Another alternative is that your PCs use the wyrmlings as a bribe to ingratiate themselves with the Dragon cult an advance the plot.

Generally I would try to shy away from letting the PCs have the wrymling as combat companions, not because they are overpowered or anything, but because more moving parts make combats more complicated. However, if they want them, I would not go after them trying to kill them (unless it's wholly thematically appropriate to the encounter). Remember though that chromatic dragons are almost always evil in alignment, it will take a lot before the PCs can get them to overcome their natural inclinations and trust them or even play ball with them.

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"I would make them perform a couple of Animal Handling checks to get them to calm down and not attack your PCs." Whereas I would take a "are you my mommy?" type approach. Even if the baby dragon is CE, it could still have an attachment to the first beings it sees when it's born. –  Brian S Sep 3 at 13:56
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In that context, I agree with Brian S.... I could easily see the little thing growing up, but being possessively evil in respect to 'mommy'. Completely obsessively attached and willing to kill anyone that gets close to their family in order to be the forefront of the relationship. –  Aviose Sep 3 at 21:37
    
They did the same thing at the beginning of 3e, I had a PC who got the white dragon wyrmling from The Sunless Citadel. I kept him and he was a hilarious problem-causer as we grew and I tried to teach him to be good, eventually using the Leadership feat in conjunction with an age increase to make him more of a proper help to the party. –  mxyzplk Nov 15 at 22:03
    
Remember, be careful around PCs taking wyrmlings into combat - some of your players object to making babies fight. –  GMJoe Nov 17 at 2:22

Let the PCs decide. A newly hatched dragon can make for some very interesting roleplay.

If they keep the dragons as companions, then one thing to keep in mind is that a newly hatched dragon is a baby: a very smart baby (perhaps even able to speak) and a very strong baby, but a baby nonetheless. It might be best to play them like two-year-olds, just because we have better data on the two-year-old mindset, but even metallic dragons (with their penchant for Good) shouldn't seem very mature as hatchlings. There is a lot of comedic potential here.

As @waXeagle noted, many organizations would pay handsomely for dragon eggs. Exactly what they would do with these eggs varies by organization and type, and some of the more ruthless organizations out there might decide to try to steal the eggs or hatchlings if the PCs won't sell to them.

Another possibility is to offer the hatchlings to older dragons for adoption. Dragons do not reproduce often, and even Evil dragons understand the need to continue the species: most would gratefully take an egg or wyrmling of the same type under their wings. The reward for the PCs will vary: some might offer alliances, while others offer treasure, and some might only agree to leave the PCs alone. Careful negotiation might bring more, but the operative word is careful: it wouldn't do if the dragon got mad and decided to just eat the characters who dared to withhold a wyrmling. But the option exists.

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I'm going to go with the 'imprinting' option. When the dragon hatches, it will imprint on the first character/creature it sees. That may sound really awesome at first, and assuming everything goes well across the intervening decades, it may turn out to actually be awesome for the PC's descendant(s).

Just some of the less obvious issues the PCs will have to face are: Dragon Fear: Even if it's not actually the game-effect, people don't like dragons. Dragons sow chaos in the lives of mortals, destroying crops, eating herds, decimating populations, etc.

Food Supply: Congratulations! You've got a brand-new, freshly-hatched, baby dragon. Now, what are you going to feed it? That sheep? Sounds good. Now what about tomorrow? What about in a few months, when a sheep doesn't even count as a single meal any more? Are you really going to keep adventuring just to watch your treasure horde dwindle from the costs of keeping that beast fed? An adult dragon may be able to go weeks or months without a huge volume of food, but you've got a ravenous, growing predator on your hands. It wants... no, needs food. "Feed me, Seymour!"

You're "Mommy": Ever tried to get rid of a 5-year-old who really wanted to stick around? Now imagine that delightful child can kill you accidentally, while playing with you. Even if you decide you don't want to keep said hatchling around, you've got to convince it to leave. You might shoo it away, only to have it show up again at the worst possible moment. Or, you leave it staked out in the forest, only to find that it's strong enough to break loose, and meet you in the town market. Or on the roof of the Inn where you're sleeping.

Lodging: I hope you're good with never setting foot in a civilized town or city again. And being forced away from villages by angry mobs who want to kill your new pet. You know how I said they fear dragons? They also hate them. With a passion. As some future paragon of might, you may be able to make the case that your pet can be trusted not to eat everything and everyone in the area. Until you've built that reputation, however, people aren't going to be happy to see your pet. Or you, so long as you keep it. Even if you do manage to keep good PR, your welcome is going to wear thin as you put strain on the local ecology and livestock. Someone's cow goes missing? Someone's child? It's the dragon!

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It sounds like you already have a growth or life cycle figured out. How long do you think it'll take for a baby to grow? The draconimicon seems a bit dated in this area. –  Kyxsune Sep 4 at 0:24
    
I don't have access to the draconomicon, but I'd imagine that growth from a hatchling (small/medium dog?) size to ride-able (horse size)? Probably a few years at least. To the point where it's big/strong enough to ride while in flight? probably a decade or more. Of course, that's up to individual GMs. Needless to say, raising a dragon probably isn't a short-term task for the less long-lived races. You may well end up raising the dragon that your grandchild rides into battle. –  Theo Brinkman Sep 8 at 19:36

Alternative suggestion - Don't let them hatch.

Make an omelet.

Enjoy.

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An omelet? Perhaps, but I've heard that dragon steak is the most delicious of all meats, truly a rare delicacy, and of course, as with veal or lamb, the most tender meat would come from the youngest of dragons... ;) –  Mason Wheeler Sep 3 at 18:49
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True Story: PCs travelled back in time, defeated the big bad dragon's mom (who was an even bigger bad than her son), acquired the big bad dragon's egg, cast the spell magnificent mansion to include an expansive kitchen, and made every egg dish they could think of from the unborn big bad. It helped that one PC had, in this D&D 3.5 campaign, maximum ranks in the skill Profession (chef). –  Hey I Can Chan Nov 15 at 17:31

Just in case you want to avoid having them hatch, here's a relevant quote from the 3.5e Draconomicon:

Properly tended and incubated dragon eggs have practically a 100% hatching rate. Eggs that have been disturbed, and particularly eggs that have been removed from a nest and incubated artificially, may be much less likely to produce live wyrmlings.

If you go with that, have them make a suitable check to know that they risk a failed hatching if they remove the eggs from the nest. Then, if they go through with it, you can either roll or decide whether the hatching fails. (There are specific rules for it on page 11 of the Draconomicon that could be adapted.)

Alternatively, they might decide to let the eggs be and stay to guard them somehow. If you still wish to discourage them, Draconomicon also tells that "actual [incubation] periods can vary by as much as 10 days either way", so they may be stuck there for two weeks.

If they go with selling them, an interested party will want to know how the eggs have been tended and could demand some sort of "insurance" in case they don't hatch due to mishandling.

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In Hoard of the Dragon Queen the eggs that the PC's may or may not take are Black Dragon eggs that are close to hatching. The adventure already discusses what happens when they are taken out of the incubation chamber, smashed or cracked. My players took the eggs and headed back to Greenest.

Here's how it played out in our world: No one at Greenest had the resources or desire to try and hatch evil dragons and the players didn't want to haul around three foot tall 150 pound eggs on their journey to Elturel. Governor Nighthill arranged for the eggs to be taken to the local apothecary where they were opened and the wyrmlings were parted out as spell components, potion additives, and components for magic items. The PC's were welcome to take anything they wanted.

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That's... pretty horrifying, actually. Also, welcome to the site. Take the tour. Have fun, and thank you for helping strangers. –  Hey I Can Chan Nov 15 at 17:21

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