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The adult white dragon in the Monster Manual is listed as Chaotic Evil.

I allowed my players to roll on a stronghold chart (homebrew) and they got a natural 100, yielding them an adult dragon, which they rolled for a 1 and got White.

After reading the Chaotic Evil guides here: http://easydamus.com/chaoticevil.html I have determined it would not be good for the party to have this as their ally.

Is it possible to have this dragon as a follower? Would the nature of this specific dragon (feral, animosity, vicious) contradict what a powerful follower would be?

I think this dragon would murder the party the first time it got the chance, or if they left it to guard their stronghold it would steal everything it could and take no prisoners.

Is the simple solution to change to an adult brass dragon?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I am 90% sure that this will get closed, since we deal more with specific rule questions here, rather than fixing homebrew. Check out reddit.com/r/dnd, r/dndnext, r/unearthedarcana, r/DMAcademy, or r/behindthescreen for more subjective and opinion based answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shem
    Feb 23, 2017 at 4:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ If it's not possible to have an adult white dragon as a follower, why was it on the homebrew chart? \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Feb 23, 2017 at 5:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Can a Black Dragon Hatchling be raised to be good? Or is it inherently evil? \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Feb 23, 2017 at 7:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Questions about what behaviours would follow from a specific alignment are off topic at RPG.se because they're impossibly subjective. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2017 at 8:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Arguably, OP is bypassing this discussion by answering that part of the question for us. He feels that a CE dragon would not be a good match for his party. He's asking about the homebrew strongholds system, and how to fix it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shem
    Feb 23, 2017 at 12:04

3 Answers 3

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You are the DM. Rule 0 says that you have the right to change anything, if it serves the goal of making the game fun for everyone.

Will the party having an adult white dragon be less fun? Probably. Unless your party is TN/CN/LE/NE, they aren't going to get along. It's up to you to decide if this will be fun for them or not. Will they enjoy babysitting a dragon who wants to kill everything in sight?

If so, great! Keep playing.

But, since you said it wasn't going to be a good fit, you'll have to change something.

You could change it's alignment. It's your world. Are all white dragons evil? Maybe they are just more self seeking, and this one is a rare selfless one. Maybe it's CG or TN. You are allowed to make these sorts of changes.

Alternitively, use your DM rule 0 ability and say "guys, a white dragon isn't going to be fun for anyone. I'm going to roll again" or "I'm switching it out for a bronze dragon"

Remember, when it comes down to it, D&D is a system to guide gameplay, not a set if rigid rules you are required to follow. In general, if a rule makes the game less fun for all, and removing it will make it more fun, you should scrap it. And when it comes to homebrew, this rule applies doubly so, since that is rarely play tested, and never to the extent that the official rules were.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Switch to Bronze Dragon is a solid suggestion. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2017 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aren't silver the arctic-environment Metallic? They would be the "most similar", I think, to White but actually be good. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wtrmute
    Feb 23, 2017 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ They are. I chose the non-equivalent to make the point that you don't have to replace with kind, you can pick anything on the table. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shem
    Feb 23, 2017 at 18:49
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Dude, seriously? That's nothing less than awesome.

Look, dragons aren't just oversized geckos peddling castle insurance. They're intelligent, sentient creatures, with agendas that span decades and even centuries. And a chaotic evil one has just adopted your PC's party and decided that he's now going to be their best buddy. This just writes itself.

Are they key to some nefarious scheme that's going to come to fruition in another 10 years? Is he just doing it for the lulz? Or does he actually, legitimately like these dudes, and wants to help them out the best he can, with the inevitably catastrophic results that are sure to follow? ("Hey, look guys! I dropped off some trolls for you to slay at the village down the road! This is gonna be the best harvest festival ever!")

Sure, you could change out the results if you like, but playing it as it rolled? You were handed a gift.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ A fun way of looking at this, but also remember that canonically in D&D, white dragons are dumb as rocks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Feb 23, 2017 at 7:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkCogan No, they are dumb as humans. They have 8 int, 13 Wis, and 12 Charisma. That's even a pretty robust mind compared to your average human. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2017 at 8:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Min Max players dump Int with some frequency. An adult White Dragon presents a min-maxer with a large appetite and a possible bipolar personality disorder. (Hmm, like a few people I've met at tables ...) STR 22 (+6) DEX 10 (+0) CON 22 (+6) INT 8 (−1) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 12 (+1) A blast to role play, yes? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2017 at 15:52
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You made a homebrew system that gives an Adult White Dragon as a potential follower/ally, so yes, in your game, an Adult White Dragon can absolutely be a follower/ally. The dragons alignment isn't really a problem, even if your party is entirely lawful good, unless they decide it is. There's a lot of reasons a chaotic evil super-powered dragon might decide to work with your PCs. An ally makes a lot more sense than a follower, though, I think, based off of the typical hubris D&D dragons have. Oftentimes people play chaotic evil characters as insane evil-worshipers who act with no regard for anyone but themselves and often not themselves either. You don't have to represent the dragon's alignment that way.

"creatures act with arbitrary violence, spurred by their greed, hatred, or bloodlust. Demons, red dragons, and orcs are chaotic evil." -- Chaotic Evil description

Now, you also have some descriptors (vicious, feral, animous) that tell you things about how to play the dragon. But even so we can make ways for the dragon and the party to bond and stay bonded.

Usually I find the best place to start when playing a creature against-type without changing its fundamental motivations is to ask "What else does this person value?" It's a dragon so it's a fair bet that it hoards something for some reason, but there are a lot of different things one can hoard and a lot of different reasons to hoard them and you can use that to create a compelling character that furthers your interests. You can also add an additional value-- perhaps this dragon has a particular reverence for and dedication to nature. Perhaps it shares a religion with the party Cleric. Perhaps as a child it was enslaved to a human empire, and there befriended the equally-enslaved Fighter or Rogue. Perhaps the PCs have been advertising themselves as monster slayers and it's interested in taking out a contract on problematic rival (almost any draconic rival will be problematic for an adult White Dragon-- they kinda get the short end of the stick when it comes to stats). Perhaps it is the Draconic Ancestor mentioned in your sorcerer's class feature of the same name (it's just an Adult, but that's still well over a century in which to have potentially sired the sorcerer's less draconic ancestors).

In any case, the point is that the dragon can be tied into the player group as desiring an alliance without too much trouble for any of a variety of reasons. At that point it's up to the players to keep it around if they want-- once they start working together things like "How do I feel when I'm around them" will far outweigh anything like "we both are dedicated to the protection of the wilderness" as there's always more people who could be found who also meet that criterion if the relationship is abrasive.

At this point things like shared humor, public displays of affection, respect, standing up for each other when external factors pick on someone, being included in the group decision-making process, seeing other people modify their behavior out of respect for the dragon's beliefs and preferences, being generally hygenic/good travelling partners, etc play a large role in determining the nature of the ongoing relationship between the dragon and the players.

Examples of powerful, chaotic evil allies of at-least purportedly good parties I have GMed for:

In 3.5 we ran a high-level campaign that eventually led to the PCs invading hell in search of a particular Balor demon lord who they wanted to kill for reasons. This particular demon lord had carved out a realm in the midst of what used to be a Bebilith hive, enslaving or killing the demon-spiders, and was using the area's fearsome reputation (and his enslaved Bebeliths) to keep his subjects from leaving without permission. When the party assaulted the realm, the demons misdirected them into a region of the webbing known to be occupied by a rogue Bebilith engaged in a guerrilla war against the demon lord, hoping that the two problems would take care of each other. Unfortunately for them, the Bebelith convinced the party to parley and they teamed up to murder all the demons. They got along well enough (the party was, perhaps, a bit more brutal in their demon-killing methods than most of the players I GM for) that after the demon lord and his army was slain, they decided to work together on a number of relatively nearby demon camps, which turned into the formula for the campaign. The Bebilith (which had several class levels in rogue) would swap stories of potentially attractive (i.e. challenging and demonic) targets with the Cleric and the Wizard while the three enjoyed resting in the ruins of whatever place they had most recently genocided until someone mentioned something that peaked the others' interest, and then they'd discuss in sort of vague general terms what an attack would be like, and then if it sounded good they'd get more concrete and go kill it. Both the Bebilith and the PCs liked (as in really enjoyed) killing demons, both weren't particularly scrupulous as to how they were killed and enjoyed coming up with clever/painful/humorous/etc ways to defeat their opponents, and both respected the others' skills (though the Bebilith definitely struggled to keep up in power later on, which was a big part of why we decided to end the campaign). It didn't really matter to either of them that the Bebilith couldn't care less what happened to the demons' mortal prisoners (if any), while the PCs cared quite a lot about that. Once they had a problem because trying to take out a particular marilith would be almost trivial if they were willing to capture, defile, torture, and abandon to further demonic ravaging several extremely vulnerable angels (a planetar and three astral daeva) that were right over there but by that point the party was close knit enough that when the Cleric said to 'think of it as a challenge' (or some such) the Bebilith grudgingly agreed. And it was close knit enough that when the Bebilith later decided to kill one of said angels on its own 'just cause', the party decided (when they found out after the fact) that that was legit.

In another campaign, a player playing a CG/CN pseudodragon rogue joined up with a CE half-orc wizard in a particular campaign arc, and they bonded over shared experiences regarding racial prejudice and everyone else being stupid. The pseudodragon was already someone else's familiar (specifically a Ancient Silver Dragon Sorceress/Rogue who happened to be dead and sealed in a soul gem at the time), so they weren't about to serve in that capacity with regards to magic, but they did team up for a couple campaign arcs longer and then remained friends after that. This resulted in a particularly great scene where the orc's newfound NG elf friend got screwed over by a local beuracrat who wanted to force her into accepting his marriage proposal to keep her family from being turned out into the street. The elf was all like "There's nothing we can do, the baron has refused to hear the case cries" and the psuedodragon and the orc broke into the guys house that night and roughed him up, killed his guards when they tried to intervene, and forced him to sign over the property in question and rescind his notice of eviction (and also some financial holdings to the orc lady cause, hey, why not, we could use some cash) and then the pseudodragon refused to tell anyone what had happened in-character.

In that same campaign a player fell for a CE human's promises of power in exchange for extremely 'reasonable' monetary compensation, and his friendly offer of guaranteed high-yield-on-returns investment opportunities. This developed into the central conflict in the campaign, with the human drawing in ever more well-to-do clientele with impossibly cheap magic items and spellcasting services as well as the impossibly high-dividend business enterprise. The PCs struggled to find the source of various mass kidnappings which turned out to lead back to said human's growing industrial complex, but even then the particular PC in question refused to doubt the loyalty of his 'friend'/source of cheap custom magic items. Much interparty drama, conflict, murder, etc. ensued, as well as an eventual inevitable villainous reveal, treachery, collapse of the global economy, and dramatic stand offs. This is an example where the evil character functions as an extremely useful ally for a long time, but secretly does not have the best interest of the party at heart-- rather than caring about the party despite their alignment, they care about the party because of their alignment and seek to use their privileged position as an ally to gain yet more influence eventually culminating in dependence such that when the support is dramatically removed and the true plan revealed the doom of the party is assured.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Recommend an edit to get out of the "wall of text" format. There's a lot of good info here, but we live in a very visual, short attention span world. Breaks are good for visual presentation. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24, 2017 at 1:07

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