You have just been informed by a strangely knowledgeable guard that you are a Dragonborn. Weird thunder prompts the Jarl of Whiterun to send you up a mountain to meet with a reclusive group of old men. You trudge up the seven thousand steps; thank Talos today is leg day anyway. You finally reach High Hrothgar and decide to catch your breath by checking out all these donations people bring up here. It doesn’t seem like the monks inside are really paying much attention to them, because otherwise they might have noticed the strange, egg-shaped jewel among all the cabbage and mountain flowers.
You pick it up. It feels oddly warm in your hand. You have enough experience with magic objects at this point that you expect something to happen… but nothing does. You shrug and put it in your bag. At least you might be able to sell it for a pretty penny. It’s worth a king’s ransom in gold, after all.
However, over the following days, no vendors seem interested in buying it. You try to dump it in a chest or dresser or even a cabbage barrel, but it seems to be stuck in your inventory. It doesn’t weigh much so finally you just decide to ignore it, and go about your days as Skyrim’s Most Interesting Person.
And then, ten days after you picked it up, you feel the gem move. You go into your bag, concerned about the wiggling, and reach for the egg…
And a dragon appears in front of you. Very close to your face. With lots of very, very sharp teeth.
While you’re panicking, contemplating whether to scream or run, the dragon speaks. It tells you to calm down. Then it tells you that its been waiting for you, not because you are Dovahkiin, but because you are Dovahbond…
So now you have a dragon follower. But wait, you say, it can’t be a big ginormous dragon, because can you imagine the stables? The space? Where would it stay when you’re in Whiterun? Wouldn’t people panic if there was suddenly a dragon on the roof of Breezehome?
I hear ya. I’ve put a lot of thought into this, so bear with me.
-Small dragons. Meeko-sized. Fully voiced, quest aware, and complimentary to other mods such as Bruma or LotD. Flies behind you as you venture around Skyrim, occasionally flying off for a snack before returning (to compensate for lag/navmesh issues). Fights your enemies with you, using actual dragon powers.
-Dragons 1&2 – Sylvathi (name can be changed, but I like that name for a dragon), green male fire dragon; and Hulatha, blue female ice dragon. Could only have one, or maybe both. To get both, one would need to be accessed first at High Hrothgar, then the second in another location (to prevent doubling up on redundant voice dialogue. It wouldn’t really be necessary to be a Dragonborn character to get the eggs. A letter that hints at “cursed treasure” would be sufficient to get the curious up the mountain. [Cursed- you can’t sell it.]
-Dragons could “level” with the player by being fed. Option 1: fire salts for Sylvathi/ frost salts for Hulatha. Levels would be every 5/10/15/25/50/100 of the item being fed to the dragons. (Rare materials work best to keep the dragons in line with the character so they don't become overpowered too quickly. May need to create a quest to fetch more salts, in case of ridiculously limited numbers.) Option 2: fire cherries/ frost berries (not to be confused with snowberries) – a retextured and renamed apple, a special delicacy for dragons, growing in random locations throughout Skyrim, usually in the place of errant snowberry bushes. Still rare, so requires some hunting. Could be potentially worked into an alchemy thing for the player for bonus “xx cherry juice” that grants additional effects. [Might need patches for Chasing the Dragon. Don’t know.] At 100, the dragon has the option to “Fully Unleash” – turning into a full-scary-sized dragon during battles, intimidating the hell out of anyone dumb enough to mess with a guy with a pet dragon.
-Dragon followers are cool, but I would feel bad about making it fly behind me all the time. And what about exploring dungeons with low ceilings? Would it knock itself unconscious on stalactites? Bonded or not, Sylvathi might join a Dragons Union if he’s forced to fly from Tamriel to Sovngarde and back. That’s why he will tell you about a super-awesome-if-very-grumpy Dragon Merchant hanging out somewhere conspicuous (like Dragonsreach) who can sell you harnesses. The harness would take the place of the backpack from Campfire and allow your dragon to EQUIP TO YOUR BACK. That’s right. Be that guy. Wear a dragon. And to compensate, the dragon could optionally “carry your stuff” by adding to your carrying capacity (before the harness, maybe a dialogue option that says “I can’t carry that, where would I put it?”). Upgrading the harness (padded to prevent accidental pokes, hooded to allow convenient shade for naps, etc.) would also give the player more carryweight, as well as a few optional perks (like fire resistance or improved speech – because people should be intimidated by you wearing a dragon. Steal my sweetroll, I’ll let my dragon eat you for lunch.)
-Having a fire dragon on your back would keep you nice and toasty in a Frostfall playthrough. Having a frost dragon on your back would give you cold resistance. No freezing to death. Dragon-friends don't let friends die.
-Multiple size options: as stated before, Meeko-sized dragon, but also tiny dragons. Like perch-on-your-shoulder size. Sylvathi could be normal, Hulatha tiny. Husky vs. Chihuahua sized. Don't let that fool you though, small but mighty is a thing. The Dragon Merchant conveniently also sells shoulder pauldrons and special dragon-resistant bracers that allows tiny dragon to perch on your shoulder or on your arm (the visual of shouting down Alduin with a dragon perched on your arm like a falcon and the other peeking over your shoulder is just too awesome to not mention.) The two dragons could then interact, talking to each other, arguing, occasionally giving you headaches or making you laugh. This would also prevent the “omniscient” effect of some followers- how the hell do you know so much about every historical thing or place we’ve ever been to? Even dragons wouldn’t know EVERYTHING about every god, ruin, statue, daedra, cave, barrel, hole-in-the-wall… Which leads me to:
-EVEN MORE DRAGONS! Could be just a texture replacer, of course, because that’s easy, if boring. But what would be more fun would be finding extra dragons with special things. Ideas include a Dwemer-mech dragon named Tick-Tock rescued from Blackreach; a skeletal Bone Dragon named Shriek rescued from Mehrune Dagon’s altar; and a female Nature Dragon named Kore in Eldergleam Sanctuary. [Vanilla food would be Dwarven oil/bone meal/spriggan sap respectively; alternatives would be molten dwemer metal/bone dust/white mountain flowers]. I’m sure I have more ideas, but I lost my notes.
-But now you have so many dragons, and while they are all perfectly content curling up in various places of Breezehome, it’s obvious they would be much happier in a special place just for them. A huge amount of player homes have already been built (I’ve tested a lot of them) but maybe they need a special dragon place with lots of fun idles just for dragons. So they could do dragon things, like perching and napping and being awesome. And they can watch over you while you sleep, guarding your home. There should probably be three sizes of this home – small, medium, large – only because not everyone wants to walk five miles to find one follower so they can go rescue someone’s cat from a tree or a family heirloom from a bandit. Plus, castles look pretty, but can you imagine the housekeeping necessary to keep up with a growing army of dragons? It would cost a fortune. [Side note: should be able to recruit the Dragon Merchant to some kind of mother-in-law suite, so he’s nearby for convenience. He won’t be thrilled with the idea, but he doesn’t really seem to like anything, anyway.]
-Speaking of idles, unique idles don’t have to be everything. Could also borrow idles from dogs or cats, or even from humanoid characters. Having dragons stand up on their back legs to beg for treats, for instance, would make you feel like such a good dragon person for giving them something they love so much. Should also make it so the Pet the Dog animations work on the dragons. [“I shouldn’t like this. This is degrading. I am a mighty dragon, you… you need to move a little more to the left. Ah, perfection.”]
-Dragon personalities should vary from dragon to dragon, as should knowledge. (Nature dragon would know more about alchemy, for instance, and help you level up by teaching you recipes). Sylvathi and Hulatha should both be mildly sarcastic but mostly funny- for example, when asked to clear out Wolfskull Cave, one might say, “This sounds like a terrible idea, let’s do it.” The other might say, “Wolves? Why do I think this is going to be something terrible?” Upon actually entering the cave, the more book wyrm of the two will say, “Oh. Oh, no. I know what this is. We need to stop this immediately. If she comes back… Well, it won’t be good. And we have enough problems.” The other would respond, “Us? Problems? Dovah and I are doing just fine, aren’t we? I think the problem is you.” [They should probably call you something, and Dovah just sounds so official.]
All ideas are flexible. I’d be more than happy to help with anything that isn’t actually modding as long as you’re patient with me. I have other mod ideas, as well, but it seems like I should wait to post those. But even if you aren’t interested, thank you for considering my ridiculously long mod proposal.