|Natural magical beast (dragon)|
|A gold dragon|
Grassy plains and mountains
Gold dragons are the most powerful of the metallic dragons, and the most dedicated to defeating evil. They spend the bulk of their lives in human form, seeking out evil and punishing wrongdoers to the best of its considerable abilities. Its typical mode of operation runs roughly along the lines of a sting operation: the dragon will listen for stories of dangerous or evil creatures or persons, then reveals its true form and metes out punishment. They prefer to turn villains over to law enforcement if available, but will ultimately take whatever actions they deem necessary in order to see justice served. They are best summarized as the paladins of the draconic world.
Gold dragons can often be seen talking and teaching their acquired wisdom to humans, elves, aasimar and other non-hostile races. When forced to fight, gold dragons prefer to converse with intelligent creatures, using Intimidate and Sense Motive to gain the upper hand. Their attitude towards visibly evil characters is not as forgiving though, as it will try to eradicate any evil aspects in its territory.
Physically, gold dragons are quite spectacular. Several large horns tipped with umber shoot sideways from their cheeks, and two very prominent horns point backwards along their heads. The most obvious feature is probably the tentacle whiskers that sprout from the top and bottom of the gold dragon's jaw, giving the appearance of a beard of sorts. Their wings, like those of brass and copper dragons, connect to the body all the way to the tip of the tail. From below, the overall shape resembles that of a brass dragon, but the different coloring and dramatic difference in size enables easy differentiation. When in flight, the gold dragon's wings ripple, giving the appearance of swimming rather than flying. They smell of saffron and incense.
Unlike most other species of dragons, gold dragons devote immense time and energy to the construction of their lairs. The layout of their lairs often resemble those of elegant human mansions, albeit buried underground. Rooms are well-constructed and elegantly decorated with the many art treasures the gold dragon has collected over its lifetime. Typical rooms in a gold dragon's lair include a main hall, a banquet hall, a resting chamber, a study, a kitchen, a lobby, a storage room, and perhaps even a lavatory. Many gold dragons even have a glass-walled observatory, especially if they live underwater.
Gold dragons prefer to talk rather than to fight. They will never engage in combat if they believe it is unnecessary. Once they believe it is necessary, however, they are amazingly powerful opponents. Their ability to breathe fire rivals that of the eldest red dragons, and they will pour their entire being into a battle against evil. Gold dragons dislike killing, but they do not hesitate to do so if it is necessary in order to defeat an evil foe.
Parenting and Development
Gold dragon eggs must be incubated in a nest of open flames. A newly hatched gold dracoling appears similar to an adult, except that it lacks horns or tentacle whiskers. At some point, however, the biological parents may send the dragon to live with foster parents; this allows the parents to undertake their own quests, as well as exposing the dragon to new experiences. Wyrmling, very young, young, juvenile, and young adult gold dragons tend to be solitary or live in a clutch of 2-5 dragons; adults, mature adults, older dragons, will live solitary, in a pair, or a family consisting of a couple of adults and several offspring.
Unlike many species of dragons, gold dragons have a very firm and hierarchical social structure, encompassing all members of the species. This structure always has one gold dragon as its leader, who serves until he/she either dies or steps down. At that time, all gold dragons congregate and choose the next leader of their kind. Sometimes two dragons may be chosen; in such cases, the two will share the duties of leadership. The position of leader, or 'top dragon,' does not so much involve the maintenance of order--gold dragons are famous for their good behavior--so much as the dispensing of advice and wisdom to any dragons who ask for it. Gold dragons are voracious learners, and they tend to become very wise and worldly as they age. They freely share their knowledge and experience to anyone who asks, dragon or not. In fact, it is not unknown for a gold Great Wyrm to take the form of a scholarly professor in order to spread its knowledge at some human center of higher education.
Gold dragons can sometimes be seen taking human form to experience living in human society, and aiding travelers. They are not however, oblivious to chaotic and evil plots and will do to their best to thwart said plots whilst remaining within lawful grounds.