In the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure, there is a unique magic item (which will go unnamed to avoid spoilers) which among other things, says that the character who wears the magic item is able to "think like a dragon." It indicates that this thinking like a dragon allows the person to negotiate with dragons better.

Page 5 of the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure says:

More importantly, a person who is erudite in draconic lore becomes a wyrmspeaker while wearing the [item], which allows the wearer to think like a dragon, gain favor among dragons, and subtly influence their behavior.

This question isn't necessarily about how dragons think (we have the question Roleplaying a Dragon Better for that). But what does this item mean for the player wearing it? In what way does that character "think like a dragon"? What effect does it have on the character's thought process?

Am I supposed to tell the player that they have a strong desire to hoard gold and can use that in their negotiations? Should I tell the player they see the wisdom in waiting a long time and so will talk slowly to influence the behavior of a dragon?

I recognize that mechanically (per the item description on page 94 of Hoard of the Dragon Queen), this is just supposed to be represented as an advantage in charisma checks with dragons, but I'd like to let the players know what sort of new thoughts they have, and have a better idea of what sort of recognizable things a person is doing while wearing the magic item and interacting with dragons.

Since I know that multiple instances of this magic item will be used in adventures which can only be played at GenCon or other Conventions and official settings, if you have information on how the official WotC GMs ran this magic item, that would really help as well.


2 Answers 2


Draconomicon (v 3.5) has the best information I have found to piece together what dragons think like and for the most part they are like geniuses that feel a small urge to eat sheep and hoard treasure.

The most important element shaping a dragon’s outlook and state of mind is time. Dragons have no desire to live for the moment; they have a vast supply of moments stretching out before them. They do not worry about wasted time. If dragons have anything in excess, it is time, and they do not concern themselves with haste. Even the dullards among dragonkind seek to fill their time by exercising their minds. Solving puzzles is a favorite activity, though the form these puzzles take depends on the kind of dragon involved. Some, such as the bronze and the copper, seek out challenging puzzles of a benign nature. Others, such as the red and the blue, contemplate a much darker brand of conundrums. They plot ways to satisfy their greed, to defeat opponents, and to gain power over other creatures. Many scholars believe that dragons owe their natural aptitude for magic to the mental games they constantly play just to keep themselves occupied.

All true dragons have great patience. They seldom hurry or rush, because they believe anything worth doing is worth doing right. For a dragon, doing something right usually involves spending a long time (from the viewpoint of shorter-lived beings) contemplating the next step.

Are just a few examples from page 25 of the Draconomicon, seek that book for more info.

As for "what does this item make you think like" is somewhat of a different answer as noted in the comments below; the item does not turn you into a dragon with all of the ancestral memories that they would possess. Thus to answer that question "what makes someone dealing with dragons more compatible in mind set?", this would have to give you greater understanding of dragons, more then most; i.e. be closer in alignment to the dragon in question and also have great knowledge on the way said dragon would act or want. The Item does not grant all of these changes but in turn twists your mind so that you simply understand the body language of dragons innately, thus when interacting with them they seem to understand you better and as a result of this understanding you also would understand them to a much higher degree. If said dragon did not know of this item or that you possessed it, it would grant you significant advantage to social encounters with them.

I would describe to my player that while using this item, he suddenly feels everyone around him seems more blunt with their actions, their words seem so plain and open, every non-dragon seems much easier to read and I would grant them a circumstantial buff to their sense motive to any short-lived race. I do not believe they would even notice the item's influence when talking with dragons as it would feel natural.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ While the influence of this item might grant a buff to sense motive against the "shorter-lived" races (that is, most humanoids etc) it might also incur penalties on bluff, intimidate, and persuade as your behavior, while more natural to a dragon, would be more alien and strange to humanoids (and thus less likely to succeed at its intended goal). \$\endgroup\$
    – Doktor J
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 4:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DoktorJ I agree, it makes more sense to have it be a boon to a specific source but also come with its own unique faults. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pro756
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 2:09

It is my estimation that dragon's have 4 different states of mind + 1 special one which isn't exactly a state of mind, but an absence of it: destroy, feed, sleep, explore + (talk OR lay egg).

Talking, much like egg-laying, I'll argue, is a meta-operation on the dragon, and not the dragon-proper, so doesn't count as a "state of mind". Blankness is more the actual state.

So, to communicate in dragonspeak you are gesturing, somatically, between these 4 possible reflexes, in different sequences, waiting for them to acknowledge receipt of the gesture, to produce the conversation. Any dragonmancer must manipulate these four in him/herself in order to speak back.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you basing this on something? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 22:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TimothyAWiseman: Science says I was a lizard once. The knowledge is sound, I tell you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cedric
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 22:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ 1. I am very interested in any science that says you personally used to be a lizard. 2. Mammals descended from reptiles, but not lizards, which are fairly modern in evolutionary terms. 3. Dragons are not lizards from earth. 4. That isn't exactly a complete list of states of minds for modern lizards. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 22:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TimothyAWiseman: I was using the term lizard to mean legged serpent. I believe that incorporates all reptiles that you mention. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cedric
    Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 22:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ No, lizards are a fairly modern (in evolutionary terms) type of reptile. Even if that were right, it wouldn't make your answer right. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 22:53

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