[RPG] Can a Black Dragon Hatchling be raised to be good? Or is it inherently evil


The following came up during my campaign:

The characters got their hands on some Black Dragon eggs. The PCs put out the thought that if they got the eggs to hatch, they could raise the dragons to be "good".

In canon D&D, can a Black Dragon Hatchling be raised to be good?

Of course you can say DM discretion but I'm not asking about DM discretion. I'm asking about what would happen in the canon D&D universe in the "normal" case.

Best Answer

By canon, as your question asks, nope.

First we'll define the word canon so we're clear about what we're discussing as it applies here, I'll leave out definitions that don't apply:


  1. a general rule, law, principle or criterion by which something is judged; or

  2. a collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine (or the works of a particular author or artist that are considered genuine)

With those definitions established, I'll be citing the Monster Manual for 5th Edition, which is based upon the Forgotten Realms setting.

The pertinent reference comes from the Monster Manual on Pg. 86 under the heading: Chromatic Dragons

Driven by Greed.

This section covers the instincts that govern a chromatic dragons behaviour. I'm not going to bother pasting it here because the title alone sums up their drive, and the text simply expands on it.

The following is where alignment comes into play.

Creatures of Ego.

Chromatic dragons are united by their sense of superiority, believing themselves the most powerful and worthy of all mortal creatures. When they interact with other creatures, it is only to further their own interests. They believe in their innate right to rule, and this belief is the cornerstone of every chromatic dragon's personality and worldview. Trying to humble a chromatic dragon is like trying to convince the wind to stop blowing. To these creatures, humanoids are animals, fit to serve as prey or beasts of burden, and wholly unworthy of respect.

On top of that, the main header on the page titled Dragons also covers this pertinent bit (emphasis mine):

However, true dragons fall into the two broad categories of chromatic and metallic dragons. The black, blue, green, red, and white dragons are selfish, evil, and feared by all.

So, by canon alone, no, they can not be converted to good. Basically, it's like trying to convert a demon or devil. You could let them do it, you're the DM. Consider what the nature of the creature is though. Is it likely to be successful? What kind of problems are they going to experience? How are they going to deal with the backlash when the dragon eats it's first person or destroys a farm with it's breath weapon?

A good resource used to be The Draconomicon, however it doesn't translate well to 5th edition because it uses AD&D numbers, feats and skills. You'd have to do a lot of work to tidy it up, but there's actually a section on rearing eggs on page 13.