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The Patronage of a Dragon

by Sean Meaney

The first and most significant thing that a Dragon can do is share its knowledge and provide its support. Of course it will never do so openly. With a Charm Person Spell the Dragon can employ charmed minions of Average to Low intelligence making loyal Spies and Agents of them (renewing the Charm on a weekly visit). Thus the Dragon can gather regular intelligence, and watch for trouble coming its way, all without revealing its identity to anyone other than its ‘new friends’.

#charmed minions & agents = number of possible Charm Person Spell Slots x 7 Days - 95%

Patronage changes the nature of the Dragon’s Participation in the surrounding landscape from an inactive role to an active one. Now the Dragon can openly engage in the trade of information. A Dragon who knows where to find Caves and Ruins can trade that information for a Share of the booty.

%Annual chance of knowing of existence of a Cave or Ruin in its region of interest = 10% x Hit Dice

This is the chance of knowing of a Cave or Ruin that might have treasure within its radius of interest (beyond its lair). The Dragon will make this information known to the PCs (or NPCs) through its Agents for a share of the loot.
As the Benefactor (a provider of financial support) the mutually beneficial relationship of Patronage can expand to the point where the Patron Dragon might provide Healing in the form of Scrolls or Potions, and might even offer low power Surplus Magic to PCs or NPCs who have acted reliably on its behalf in the long term.

% Chance of Magic Support by Dragon = Levels earned by PCs while in Service to Dragon x months of service

Example: B5 – Horror on the Hill has a Dragon Lair deep below the Hill that the Adventurers will explore. The Dragon there is a 7HD Red Dragon with minimal Magic items and some Spell craft.
A Quick Tweak and we have:

MERAHILMUSIHIR (Red Magic): Undersized Red Dragon; AC-1; 7HD; 22hp; MV 90’(30’); AT 2 Claws / 1 Bite / Breath Weapon; D 1d8 / 1d8 / 4d8+22; Save Fighter L7; ML 10; AL C;
Spells – Ventriloquism, Charm Person, Detect Magic / Detect Invisible, Continual Light / Dispel Magic;

Description: An undersized Red Dragon with one charmed minion (the old timer in Fort Guido who pops by once a week to drop off news in trade for a silver coin and have his charm person renewed) and 70% chance of knowing of a Cave or Ruin other than it’s lair where the PCs might seek treasure (Using his minion in Fort Guido to direct Adventurers to the Ruined Monastery with rumours of the Hill above his Lair and its occupants). He will also make a Charmed Minion of the Kobold Chief who’s small clan reside adjacent to the Dragon’s Lair if the Dragon can ever get his hands on the wretch (previous contact resulted in the Dragon roasting a bunch of Kobolds).

Of course if we take Bruce A. Heard’s Dragon Magazine July 1991 Article ‘Who’s who among Dragons’ MERAHILMUSIHIR lives in a cave on the edge of Argosyl - territory under the control of ARGOS (A Huge Green living in the Dymrak Forest). With Guido's Fort falling inside Argos area of interest.