Dragons! Big scaly (or feathery or what have you) beasties with maws of sharp teeth and a tendency towards breathing gouts of flame, venom, or the gods know what at you. Tangling with a dragon, violently or otherwise, can be a Big Thing. A Big Thing with, depending on the dragon, a Big Payoff.
Sometimes it even comes from the dragon itself. It might not even mean slaying the beastie!
Which is good, because some dragons may be like unto gods.
So how does this work?
Here are a few possibilities.
Gifts Granted Freely
To seal a pact, to grant a boon to a loyal friend or follower or worshiper, to give a representative the power to act in their name, to demonstrate power, to sow a little chaos here and there — there’s any number of reasons a dragon might grant a token to one of the “lesser” folk. Whether reshaping an existing object or shaping one wholesale from its own flesh and spirit, the dragon creates a gift for its chosen recipient.
Many of these tokens are weapons, but not all of them. If you don’t have a form in mind, you can always roll for it:
07. Instrument or Tool
And also for the mark that the object bears to show its origin:
01. Carved from the dragon’s fang(s)
02. Sheathed in the dragon’s shed scales or other plumage
03. Sports one or more dragoncrysts
04. Contains dragonsblood ampoule
05. Carved from dragon’s horn or talon
06. Dyed or enameled with dragonsblood
Needless to say, all such tokens are finely made specimens. (Dragon magic can do wonderful things.) They aren’t unbreakable, however, unless granted by a dragon of divine power — which isn’t to say that even a more “mundane” token may not show some quirk such as a faint glow, slowly reshaping itself or its ornamentation over time, or slight changes of size and proportion to suit its current owner.
But what does such a token do? The possibilities are endless and boil down to the whims of the dragon in question (and the GM, of course *lol*); here are some basic ideas to get things started:
01. +2 (or more!) to attacks made with it, or while bearing it, as appropriate
02. Grants Advantage when used (or when used for a specific purpose, whether hunting sorcerers, penning the perfect sonnet, or making a first impression)
03. Absorbs incoming energies aligned with those of the dragon (fire, light, death, winter, passion …)
04. Grants (additional) protection equivalent to a specific armour type, such as chain or fullplate
05. Grants the ability to cause injuries that wound like flame, frost, venom, or other draconic energies
06. Will heal one wound, even a lethal one (or one given wound within a certain time cycle)
07. Grants an additional sense or senses (nightsight, magic sensitivity, draconic sensitivity, direction sense, tracking ability …)
08. Protects against a certain type of enchantment or affliction (flame magic, poison, paralysis, mind-tampering …), or grants Advantage against it
09. Allows the owner to take on a draconic form
10. Opens a portal to a specific location or locations
11. Will produce a certain amount of a specific substance (bread, raw metal, stormwinds, water, sunlight), or for a specific amount of time, daily
12. Allows owner to tap into the dragon’s knowledge or wisdom
13. Grants the ability to cast a specific spell or spells as if learned, once a day at maximum efficiency
14. Owner’s magic is resisted at Disadvantage by a specific type of target or targets
15. Subjects of the token (injured, touched by, marked by, they hear it, etc as appropriate) are magically “stained” by it and may be tracked by the owner
16. Grants the ability to communicate with spirits and shades of all types, or other unusual subjects, such as animals
17. Owner is always clean, groomed and generally immaculate-looking
18. Deal maximum damage with an attack involving the token (or, once a day, or once a battle; or a certain number of times a day, or after spending one’s own essence)
19. Grants unusual physical capability, such as aquatic adaptation, flight, burrowing, or resistance to a specific hostile environment
20. Increases one or two attributes by anywhere from 1 to 3
Gifts granted by a draconic token reflect the dragon bestowing the gift — a martially-inclined beast will favour weapons or armour or other such things, a reclusive scaly scholar will gift sources of knowledge or means of defense, a flamedrake a gift of fire, and so on. In many cases a token’s gift or gifts will echo the abilities of the dragon as well, be it elemental affinity, breath weapon, unique sorceries or even the dragon’s own famed feats.
Similarly, a token’s power reflects that of its creator. A young beast is not about to grant a gift loaded down with half a dozen abilities, no matter how much it wishes otherwise — and a gift from an elder dragon means the favour, and attention, of such a vast and powerful creature.
A dragon cannot be magically or physically coerced into making such a token. It must be freely given, of the dragon’s own choice. A dragon is always aware of its gifts, and may glean a vague sense of location, presence, and purpose put to with a bit of concentration.
A canny dragon knows that the lesser folk are just as covetous as any drake can be. A wise dragon keeps its gifts from falling into the hands of any random creature that may take advantage.
There’s a way around these troubles, to a certain extent. If the gifting dragon crafts its token to be bloodmarked, only those who bear its mark may make use of the token’s benefits, while all others wield a finely-made object and nothing more.
Some dragons make this an unseen, spiritual marking but most prefer to drive the point home more viscerally, as much a test of the would-be recipient’s resolve as a proper binding. Anointed with the dragon’s blood — a draft of which must also be swallowed, fresh from draconic flesh — that one is now bloodmarked and their new gift responds to the diffusion of the draconic donor’s power and will through the giftee’s body.
Whether the mark will pass on to their chosen’s descendants is a matter of draconic choice in the moment of marking. It’s generally considered courteous to let them know one way or the other (and sometimes that’s even the point).
Torn From The Fallen
But — the notes above are not quite true. There is a way to claim such treasures from a dragon against its will — or one such, at least, a single token from a single draconic source.
It’s not pleasant, and it begins with the death of the dragon in question.
Through flensing butchery, darkling alchemy, and necropotent sorceries, a dragon’s fading, fleeing power may be bound into a token made by another’s hands. All such objects are crafted from the dragon’s bones, in their entirety or nearly so, and should they bear any ornamentation at all it is of black-scorched inscriptions, bloody enamel and gory dragoncrysts.
These are not pleasant things to look upon, no matter how finely crafted they may be.
They also come with a price for tearing draconic gifts away along with the dragon’s life. All such balegifts grant at least two abilities, and are Advantage weapons against dragons, but also inflict one or more afflictions unto their owner. Some possibilities include:
01. Heal at half the usual rate
02. Constant nightmares, affecting social interactions (-2 modifier)
03. Vulnerable to a specific form of injury (an element, poison, necromantic magic, bleeding …), taking twice damage
04. Haunted by the slaughtered dragon’s restless shade
05. 1-in-6 chance of berserking in combat or under duress until subdued or there are no targets
06. Will rise as undead horror if driven to brink of death
Balegifts may also be bloodmarked, if the first owner consumes the dragon’s blood and at least a sliver of its heart or pearl. On the one hand, this will always bind the token to the owner and also their bloodline; on the other, they will never rid themselves of the acquired afflictions.
We Know Of You
Any dragon that sees a pact token — let alone a balegift — will know exactly what it is and very well may also know exactly who granted the token in the first place, simply by looking at it. This can have some immediate and terrible repercussions in the latter case!
Life And Death
Yes, it is possible for a living dragon to bestow its blessing and then later be killed and butchered to have it stolen from them.
Yes, a bestowing dragon might then become some sort of undead horror later. Such an abomination can still sense its given gifts.
Or other such interesting situations.
Just what may happen? Well, that’s hard to generalize, now isn’t it ~?