D&D General Talking to Players

I don't know, I can think of plenty of rewards you can find that aren't straight cash.

"There's different kinds of treasure mate."
As an Old School DM I'm big into "other treasure" and "other rewards".

First, I use the Ye Old Silver Economy, so gold is rare. And other then dragons, you won't find piles of gold anywhere.

I do pile on the other kinds of treasure. And I use spells as treasure.

And other rewards like a favor, a title or such too.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Yeah, I've pondered reverting dragons into fantastic animals in my D&D games. The Dragon Age franchise did that.
Not if you read the Codex!

Let us suggest, for the moment, that a high dragon is simply an animal. A cunning animal, to be sure, but in possession of no true self-awareness or sentience. There has not, after all, been a single recorded case of a dragonattempting to communicate or performing any act that could not likewise be attributed to a clever beast.

How, then, does one explain the existence of so-called "dragon cults" throughout history?

One dragon cult might be explainable, especially in light of the reverence of the Old Gods in the ancient Tevinter Imperium. In the wake of the first Blight, many desperate imperial citizens turned to the worship of real dragons to replace the Old Gods who had failed them. A dragon, after all, was a god-figure that they could see: It was there, as real as the archdemon itself, and, as evidence makes clear, did offer a degree of protection to its cultists.

Other dragon cults could be explained in light of the first. Some cult members might have survived and spread the word. The worship of the Old Gods was as widespread as the Imperium itself—certainly such secrets could have made their way into many hands. But there have been reports of dragon cults even in places where the Imperium never touched, among folks who had never heard of the Old Gods or had any reason to. How does one explain them?

Members of a dragon cult live in the same lair as a high dragon, nurturing and protecting its defenseless young. In exchange, the high dragon seem to permit those cultists to kill a small number of those young in order to feast on draconic blood. That blood is said to have a number of strange long-term effects, including bestowing greater strength and endurance, as well as an increased desire to kill. It may breed insanity as well. Nevarran dragon-hunters have said these cultists are incredibly powerful opponents. The changes in the cultists are a form of blood magic, surely, but how did the symbiotic relationship between the cult and the high dragon form in the first place? How did the cultists know to drink the dragon's blood? How did the high dragon convince them to care for its young, or know that they would?

Is there more to draconic intelligence than we have heretofore guessed at? No member of a dragon cult has ever been taken alive, and what accounts exist from the days of the Nevarran hunters record only mad rants and impossible tales of godhood. With dragons only recently reappearing and still incredibly rare, we may never know the truth, but the question remains.

—From Flame and Scale, by Brother Florian, Chantry scholar, 9:28 Dragon
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Touché!

Still, they've never been depicted in the games as anything other than fantastic beasts ripe for the slaying. They might be more intelligent than the game developers have been letting on, but they still don't seem to talk or cast spells or change their shapes in the way that D&D dragons do.
Oh?
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
She's not a dragon. She can just shapeshift into one.
I mean, her response to being asked how she can do that is “perhaps I am a dragon,” and there’s a lot of lore implying that the evanuris (one of whose soul she possesses) either were dragons or had some deep connection to them.

For the record, I actually agree with your argument, I’m just being an obsessive Dragon Age nerd 😜
 

Dausuul

Legend
Right, that’s exactly my point.

Yes, trade goods make sense. Pickled fish just doesn’t seem like a valuable trade good in a Golden Age of Piracy context.
Trade goods were the usual plunder for Golden Age pirates, but there were also hauls of treasure worthy of the gaudiest pirate fiction. The Nossa Senhora do Cabo carried gold, gems, and religious regalia worth a million pounds sterling when it was taken. The capture of the Ganj-i-sawai was a dramatic and bloody sea battle and the ship was laden with gold and silver, between 200,000 and 600,000 pounds' worth*.

You could have the players chase ships loaded with pickled fish, but why would you want to create and run such a dull adventure? Leave that stuff to NPCs -- the PCs should be the ones going after legendary prizes, and facing the attendant dangers.

*Also, if you wanted an adventure centered on cursed pirate gold, the crimes committed by the victorious pirates on the Ganj-i-sawai would certainly justify such a thing.
 

We can really subvert the tropes for pirates and go with Our Flag Means Death.
Also see, Aardman's The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists.

They thing is, pretty much the only time we actually see pirates attacking defenceless merchant ships, it's unsuccessful, and played for laughs.

That's because targets that don't fight back are boring. If ship to ship action occurs, it's usually against other pirates, the navy, or heavily defended Spanish treasure ships. Take Treasure Island. There is no actual piracy in the original pirate story. The treasure was the product of piracy, but that took place before the story beings. The "pirates" are actually just like the "good guys". They are just two rival factions fighting over a McGuffin neither has any legitimate right to. Same goes for Peter Pan, Captain Hook never actually does any piracy. We only know he is a pirate because he dresses like a pirate and talks like a pirate*.


*The upper class, well educated kind.
 
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