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I was recently playing a D&D 5e campaign, and we came across what appeared to be a newly born dragon. Being a Dragonborn character, I thought "Hey, it'd be cool if I had a dragon mount, right?". After having suggested the idea, I was quickly shut down by laughter, and other such general responses suggesting the idea was foolish and was bound to fail.

At the time, it merely was just an idea, as I am uncertain how I would need to go about it, or what I would need to effectively tame a creature for it to become my mount. I am currently only level 3, and only have a short list of available skills, so I doubt that I would have any of the necessary skills/resources to complete the task.

So what skills/stats/equipment might I need to successfully tame a wild beast? (Obviously it would be dependant on the type of mount to determine the level of the skill)

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You have a few options:

  1. The Animal Handling skill (PH p.178) usually applies to domestic animals, but would still be relevant to the lengthy and difficult process of raising a wild one.
  2. The level 1 spell Animal Friendship (PH p.212) will tame a beast with Intelligence less than 4 for 24 hours if it fails a Wisdom save. This is a short term solution, but it could also be a jump-start for long-term taming.
  3. The Ranger's Companion class feature (PH p.93) is the canonical way to tame a wild animal, but requires 3 levels of Ranger. It's limited to Medium creatures, but if your character were a Small race, you could ride your companion.
  4. Taking the Mounted Combatant feat (PH p.168) gives you a strong metagaming argument for convincing your DM to let you have an interesting mount.

A Starting point for option #1...

Since we're in house rule territory, my suggestion would be to treat taming the wild animal as a downtime activity (PH p.187) similar to item crafting.

  • A proficient artisan can create 5 gp worth of value per day of work.
  • The "Mounts and Other Animals" table (PH p.157) gives market values for various species.
  • Divide the market value of the mount by 5 gp to obtain how many days of successful Animal Handling rolls are required to tame it.
  • The DM chooses a DC based on how appropriate the animal is for domestication.

For example, breaking a bronco and training it as a riding horse worth 75 gp would take 15 days of successful rolls at DC 10 (easy).

It's probably not realistic, but it's playable -- quick enough for a character to actually do it, and balanced to the in-game value of skilled labor.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1, This a great houserule for animal training/taming (and one I hadn't thought of). I'll definitely be using a similar system in my games from now on! \$\endgroup\$ – Tommy Apr 21 '15 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that those aren't relevant to dragons, as they are neither wild animals, nor are they beasts. Also, newly born dragons are already as intelligent as the average human, as Red Dragon Wyrmlings have an intelligence score of 12. So taming the dragon, specifically, is almost impossible, and it would be more of a case of asking it nicely to take you where you need to go. \$\endgroup\$ – xanderh Apr 22 '15 at 8:22
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I think the fundamental problem here is that you seem to be asking about wild beasts / mounts in your question, but actually specifically mean dragons. In many non-DnD settings, dragons are simply apex predators; a rather specialized and powerful animal. In Dungeons and Dragons, dragons are quite a bit more. Their intellect varies from low-human to vastly-superior to humans, their lifespans make elves jealous, and they are proud. Some young metallic dragons have deigned to permit very powerful humanoid servants ride them to better accomplish their own quests for good; any of the servant's quests that got completed on the way are incidental to the dragon's goals. Likewise, a proven paragon of darkness might earn a chance to ride along with a chromatic dragon for a short (to the dragon) time, assisting in the dragon's glorious slaughter.

Sebkha's answer already covers taming an animal; so this one is specific to dragons. If your DM does allow you a shot at riding at a dragon:

  • don't offend it. Ever. If you're lucky (and the dragon metallic), you might just get dumped from it's back and abandoned, which might not be fatal depending on whether you're airborne and how high. Otherwise, you can expect to be dinner.

  • Remember that it's the master in the relationship. Even if it's weaker than you. (If you're evil, you might get away with coercing it into service and then executing it before it grows any bigger - but even then, the chromatic dragons are devious things, so you'll have to watch out for betrayal. Could be a fun experience, though!)

  • Pick up whatever skills you need to convince it that doing your quests is its own idea, or at least in its own best interest. Otherwise you may end up not doing the same thing as the rest of your party ever again.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ On the topic of Dragons, would the relationship be different if I hatched it from an egg? And would being a Dragonborn also affect that relationship? \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Apr 21 '15 at 22:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Probably not, to be honest. Even dragon Wyrmlings have an intelligence score of 12, so even a newly born dragon would be pretty intelligent. They are very independent creatures, and no dragon likes being subservient to another creature. Not to mention, it will be a wyrmling for 5 years before it becomes a young red dragon, which means it will not grow into a large creature for 5 full years. Keeping a newly born dragon to make him your mount is going to take a long time, and is outside the timeframe of a lot of campaigns. \$\endgroup\$ – xanderh Apr 22 '15 at 8:28
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PHB p. 198

While you're mounted, you have two options. You can either control the mount or allow it to act independently. Intelligent creatures, such as dragons, act independently.

An independent mount retains it's place in the initiative order. Bearing a rider puts no restrictions on the actions the mount can take, and it moves and acts as it wishes. It might flee from the combat, rush to attack and devour a badly injured foe, or otherwise act against your wishes.

PHB p. 155

Acquiring such a mount often means securing an egg and raising the creature yourself...

So you can't tame a dragon, but you can raise it and use it as a mount if you want but it won't listen to what you say. And you would have to buy a saddle for the mount. And the dragon may not even want to listen to you, and it's they mature slowly.

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  • It's a Charisma check using Diplomacy to convince the Dragon to move from "Indifferent" to "Friendly".
  • Make the PC use insight to determine the characteristics of the creature. Give advantage if they play on the characteristics; but if they go against it they get disadvantage; otherwise it's a straight roll.
  • If they move the dragon to hostile (by failing by 10 or 5 or whatever it says) you fail permanently, if your check says you fail and the dragon stays indifferent you can't really use it as a mount either.

This is permanent unless magic or serious action (like saving it's life etc.) Then it is 250 days at 1gp per day to train the dragon to accept a rider. This then gives you a Dragon that only needs charisma checks made to convince it to take a serious risk and doesn't need a check to ride in combat.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you edit to add some rules citations? \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Jul 26 '15 at 4:30
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For a dragon, I'd agree that he's more like a hireling. Think of the Dragon Riders of Krynn, or Eragon and Saphira; no matter what else is going on, between them, their relationship as rider and mount is one of friendship, and respect. The same would be true in D&D; unless you captured a red dragon as a small specimen, and tortured the crap out of it, entirely breaking its will, the only way to get it to carry you is to get it to want to carry you. Even the Githyanki only get red dragon mounts because they have an arrangement with Tiamat, herself, and even then, some reds don't deign to serve.

If you were going for a good dragon, you'd need to persuade it to help you, through good role-playing, and if your cause is just, and the reward is worth it (sorry, but even metallic dragons are a bit greedy; they're dragons), it'll serve alongside you, because it understands that you can help it, too (another set of eyes, and another set of hands that can hold powerful weapons, like enchanted bows, or true dragonlances.) if you and the dragon are friends, it might certainly allow you to ride it, when there is need, but if it decides it doesn't like you, it'll leave.

Evil dragons are much the same, even if they don't want to think it. You'll need to placate it, suck up a bit, and make it worth their while, but you can bring the same advantages, and something that powerful will have something it wants; something you might be able to help it get.

As said, though, it's always more of a hireling relationship, or a real friendship, in D&D, just as it would be with a unicorn, nightmare, or other exceptional mount. Even the dumbest white dragon is still a D&D dragon, and they're in the title for a reason. You won't force one to carry you, barring divine intervention, or the most potent mind-control magic, and it will only continue to serve alongside you as it sees fit, but if you can manage, you have one of the most powerful creatures that you can ride, supporting you while you hurl spells, fire off enchanted arrows, or just lead an army into one hell of a battle, from above. To use it again, those in Dragonlance who could ride real dragons, be they good, or evil, were forces to be reckoned with.

I do like the house rules for taming more mundane animals as mounts, even if it wouldn't work on a dragon.

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Dragons are smarter than you so you can not tame on but many dragons are greedy and will take you somewhere for a bribe. A magic item or something around 1000 to 10000 depending on your Charizma check

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any rules references or personal experience to support that assertion? Or, a guideline for how the CHA check should affect the price? \$\endgroup\$ – minnmass Aug 25 '17 at 21:33
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Ok, so you had a low leveled character at the time of this encounter.

Our first adventure actually ended in a dragon lair, now there were some very specific conditions surrounding the event but here are the main points: The dragon was injured, we spoke to it in a respectful manner, it was a brass dragon (this is quite important), it was a wyrmling at the time (5 years 11 months), I was a wizard Harry, we healed it, our DM was quite lenient, I communed with the god of metallic dragons (Tiamat's counter) as part of my backstory, DM rolled a natural 1 for their persuasion, I rolled an 18 for my persuasion, I rolled an 18 for my int stat and we had a druid with quite reasonable animal handling.

To sum all that up; it is possible to tame a dragon without hatching it. However if the dragon was any older it would be more likely you would make a pact or you would be required to present it some extraordinary artifact or have very specific conditions. Now this does not mean I can mount the dragon, it still needs to age (I have chronomancy might be able to do something there) and make equipment for such a purpose, train the dragon etc. Two important factors to mention are the fact that it can be entirely down to your DM and that D&D is a game of the imagination, technically anything is possible.

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