As with their larger relatives, dwarf gold dragons hoard gold, gemstones and other treasures. Their hoards are rarely found due to their small size.
Dwarf gold dragons are commonly mistaken as younger members of the non-dwarf species, and are thus rarely remarked upon themselves. Their hoards, which are often small and apparently of little value, are only occasionally noted, usually believed to be small treasure caches of other, larger species.
Traits and Behavior
Gold dragons, a type of treasure dragon, are typically gold in color; their scales can occasionally range into shades of copper, but this is uncommon. Their eyes are said to resemble gemstones and can be almost any color. They are of the Western dragon variety, having four proper limbs and two flight-capable wings. They are a non-feathered dragon species.
Dwarf gold dragons are possibly the smallest dragon species, typically ranging from 3-5 inches from snout to tail tip, with a similar wingspan. They have the same fangs and claws of their larger relatives, though dwarf dragons have a lethal venom that larger dragons do not. They lack fire breathing capabilities, but are heat resistant and have been known to swim in magma. There are other dwarf species of gemstone dragon, but they are exceptionally rare; dwarf golds are the most common dwarf species.
Dwarf dragons hoard treasure as other species do, but they are significantly smaller than classic dragon hoards, as a dragon’s hoard is only as large as they can guard and maintain. If a hoard grows larger than the dragon can protect, it is a sign of illness and concern for other dragons.
All dragons are extremely protective of their hoard, and will defend it to the death. This is only ever not true in the case of nesting parents, who will abandon the hoard if necessary to protect their young. However, as dragon eggs closely resemble uncarved gemstones, there are many cases of fleeing dragons being attacked for what appears to be valuable treasure and dying to protect their eggs. Dragon eggs need extreme heat to hatch, and can survive without hatching almost indefinitely, so a thief may never know they have stolen dragon eggs.
Dwarf dragons, once they hatch, are soft skinned and nearly blind; they will have their golden scales and eyesight after 3-4 weeks, at which point they are fairly independent. They may stay with their parents for years, but are more likely to travel away after 3-4 months. Typically a dragon is believed to reach adulthood when they begin their hoard; at that point they will settle down and find a safe place to store their hoard. Due to their small size, dwarf dragons will have very small hoards, often consisting of only a few coins or gemstones. Many are known to hoard buttons or fabric scraps and set up their nests inside the walls of a home. They are frequently mistaken for mice. Dwarf dragons rarely set up their nests far away from settlements, and are considered a domestic nuisance species.
As with all dragons, they can sense if anything in their hoard has been moved. If anything is stolen, they will seek to reclaim their possessions regardless of the material value. Dragons are bonded with their hoard, and it represents more than treasure to them. A dragon does not keep any random piece of treasure, no matter the value; each piece is carefully selected, and the criteria will be specific to each dragon.
Dwarf dragons generally live for 50-80 years. They are of average intelligence and enjoy solving puzzles, but rarely desire companionship or conversation until they begin seeking a mate.
A dragon of either gender, once their hoard has reached a respectable size, will then lay trails to lead others to their hoard. For dwarf dragons, these are usually carefully made scratches at eye level, and these trails can go for miles away from their home. If they come across a similar trail while out, they may choose to follow it, or they may wait to see if any dragons come to them. Should two dragons meet and choose to mate, they will combine their hoards, often in a new third location. Dragons mate for life, and may raise several groups of nestlings together.
Dragons have their own language, and dragons of all sizes use it, despite the differences in pitch and tone resulting from their different sizes. Their written language is simplistic as they rarely choose to write, but many dragons learn to read human scripts and can often write with them as well with practice.
Dragons are omnivores, primarily eating insects and occasional fruit, but they will occasionally scavenge for scraps from other species if there are no better options, as they do not like to be far from their hoard for long periods of time. They do not hibernate during heh winter, so they are more likely to try to steal food from human homes during this time (again, often mistaken for mice).
Dwarf dragon venom can be lethal but as their teeth are not particularly long, thick clothing is an effective deterrent. That being said, dwarf dragons are rarely combative unless their hoard is threatened. If their hoard has something you desperately need back, a trade may be an option, as they are capable of communication and can feasibly be persuaded. Same with a dragon that has settled in your walls. They do not want their hoard to be bothered, so making it clear it will not be safe in your home may convince them to leave.
They can also be a helpful member of the household as they do eat insects, so a mutually beneficial relationship may be the better option. Simply offer food in exchange for them being pest control, and perhaps some protection for their hoard. It can be insulting to offer something for the hoard itself, if the item does not meet that dragon’s specific criteria, so best to avoid doing so.