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Ivory, rubies and golden swords!
Brave ye the dragon to reach his hoard?
"[The dragon] is driven to hunt out
hoards underground, to guard heathen gold
through age-long vigils, though to little avail."
Beowulf (v. 2275-77)
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In some settings, dragons tend to guard hoards of treasure — typically by lying on top of it.

This trope is especially ingrained in Germanic Mythology — in fact it is hard to find a dragon in ancient Anglo-Saxon, German or Norse legends that doesn't guard gold. Curiously, there is no consensus as to why dragons do this. Justifications in-story for why a dragon sits on a hoard, including backstories of how hoard and dragon came together, vary considerably.

In some ways, hoard-guarding dragons are no different from other treasure guardians: They make sure it isn't too easy for the hero to get at a desired MacGuffin, and a heap of treasure in itself provides a convincing motivation for a hero to engage in an exciting monster-fight.

Dragons have a peculiarity, though, in that they are especially attached to gold: dragon-hoards almost always contain at least a substantial share of gold. Whatever the reasons, on average dragons show noticeably less interest in other treasures, like silver or even jewels.

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People have also long noticed — see that Beowulf quote — that dragons have no apparent use for treasure: they cannot spend, wear or process it. More often than not, they don't do anything beyond brood over or sleep on their treasure. Dragons, it was concluded, must be pathologically avaricious and stingy — kind of like a species of compulsive hoarders with a Money Fetish. In fact, up to the 17th century, dragons were considered the emblematic representation of Greed.

One possible explanation of the origin of this trope comes from the old hypothesis about dragon legends being inspired by dinosaur fossils. Miners who were digging for gold would sometimes find dinosaur bones buried nearby, hence the association between the two. This is also believed to be the reason griffons are also sometimes associated with treasure, as they're supposedly inspired by ceratopsians, being quadrupeds with beaks. The serpentile nature of many dragons also connects them with snakes. Given the fact that many snakes live in caves, and precious minerals are most often found underground, the snake/dragon = gold connection may result from simple gilt by association.

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A theory supported by linguistic scholars is that this trope predates Greek and Vedic mythology and has roots going all the way back to Proto-Indo-European mythology where monsters — especially dragons and serpents — would steal and hoard valuable treasure, such as cattle and women, especially high-ranking ones. The money-hoarding dragon would then have been a natural evolution of this concept as money and other valuables became an increasingly important sign of wealth.

Beyond that, individual settings may come up with any number of justifications for this behavior. In many cases dragons may just like owning precious things the same as anybody else, while in other cases the hoard may serve as a very long life's worth of trophies and mementos or as an elaborate mating or power display by symbolizing the dragon's personal success and might. In other instances the dragon may actually have practical use for the stuff — up to and including eating it.

The association of dragons with greed, combined with their preference for gold, makes that dragon hoards coincide with a certain regularity with outbreaks of Gold Fever.

Treasure-hoarding dragons, once common, became increasingly forgotten in the age of Chivalric Romance: For a Knight in Shining Armor, fighting for so mundane a reward as treasure was no longer deemed noble enough. Hence gold-hoarding dragons were largely superseded by the princess-stealing ones, until the trope was revived by Fantasy literature, especially through the influence of The Hobbit.

In more realistic settings where dragons don't exist, large reptiles may sometimes be encountered guarding treasures. Parody versions will involve dragons hoarding something other than treasure.

May involve a Treasure Room. This trope is to Pooled Funds as a waterbed is to a swimming pool (depending on the size and age of the dragon, it may be the other way around). See also Thieving Magpie, for another creature obsessed with hoarding shiny and/or precious things, and Lazy Dragon, for dragons that don't seem to do anything beyond sleep on their hoards.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Little Witch Academia (2017) has Fafnir, a dragon who has chosen to adopt to modern times by becoming an online stock broker and a Loan Shark.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Fafnir is the only major dragon character portrayed as having hoarding tendencies. After moving to Japan, this is mostly channeled into otaku merchandise and grinding items in MMORPGs, though one chapter of Kanna's Daily Life reveals he has a cache of classic arcade machines in an abandoned building.
  • Record of Lodoss War, being based on Dungeons & Dragons, has several dragons with hoards with the most prominent example being the gigantic, ancient dragon named Shooting Star.

    Card Games 
  • Boss Monster: The Dragon Hatchery and Hatchling's Hoard room cards have low stats and no special abilities, but are the only rooms in the game to contain every type of treasure, making them extremely valuable for luring in all types of heroes or building advanced rooms.
  • Havok and Hijinks: You play as a young dragon, freshly kicked out of the lair for eyeing Ma and Pa's own treasure, who's roaming the land in order to amass their own pile of shiny stuff and valuables and competing with other dragons trying to do the same.
  • Magic: The Gathering has a handful of dragons based on this trope, including Covetous Dragon (which must be sacrificed if you control no artifact cards), Hoarding Dragon, Hellkite Tyrant (which allows you to a) take control of all artifacts your opponent controls when you attack, and b) win the game when you control twenty or more artifacts), and Hoard-Smelter Dragon. There's also the artifact card Dragon's Hoard.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:

    Comic Books 
  • Black Moon Chronicles: The oldest and biggest dragon in the world, who spawned the rest of his race, has been sleeping for thousands of years Beneath the Earth on top of a huge pile of gold.
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard: Old! Loki engineers the creation of one as part of a complicated plan (time travel and narrative causality were involved). After getting themself and young Odin into debt, they steal a hoard of gold from a shape-shifter, who places a truth-curse on the gold with his dying breath. The man who ends up with the gold has his inner greed brought out by the curse, and ends up sleeping on it until the curse physically turns him into a dragon. This is a reference to the Norse myth of Fafnir — see below.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dragon:
    • A single panel comic has a group of adventurers searching the hoard of a dragon they'd just slain, only to discover that it consists of nothing but chests full of Beanie Babies.
    • Another one (by Aaron Williams) shows a group of adventurers who have killed a dragon sleeping on a hoard of Pokeballs, with one of them saying that unless someone can come up with an explanation, he's going back to farming.
  • Knights of the Dinner Table: A strip in Dragon has Weird Pete run a game where the PCs go up against a Thwack-Iron Dragon only to discover it had invested its hoard.

    Fan Works 
  • Beneath Your Feet What Treasures: Spike has a secret hoard, the centerpiece of which is the gem that Rarity gave him back in season 1.
  • The Butcher Bird: An allegorical version. One character, Six, refers to the other members of the Nightmare Pirates by titles that reflect their personalities and roles in the crew. He calls Kaneki Dragon, and thinks of those Kaneki cares about as this trope.
  • Child of the Storm: In the sequel, the Elder Wyrm is implied to have had one, with some gold having become inlaid on his scales, and have been snoozing on it for the last millennium. However, it's not discussed, and even if he had, the fact that he promptly transformed his cave into a newborn volcano suggests that it wouldn't have survived. Instead, almost in an inversion of the trope, the real hoard is created afterwards by Doctor Strange, who uses the Philosopher's Stone as a tool to transform the magma within the volcano, and much of the lava chamber below, into a mixture of mithril and vibranium. Cue mass drooling.
  • The Dragon of Harrenhal: Alluded to. When Carik the half-dragon gets drunk and flies off after a night of feasting, he ends up in Harrenhal's vault and sleeps there in dragon form.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Dungeons' treasuries serve as this for Dungeon-Keeper-employed dragons.
  • Harry Is a Dragon, and That's OK: Harry's already created his own hoard early in the story after reading about dragons having them; this is noted to be odd behavior, as the setting's actual dragons do not gather hoards. However as Harry is a bookworm (and a literal bookwyrm, as named by Charlie Weasley) he instead has a hoard of books and Hogwarts letters which he likes to sleep on. After encountering his vault and canon fortune he is also compelled by instinct to lie on it and burrow within it.
  • Pokédex: It's common practice among Dragon-types to amass a precious hoard, typically by forcibly extracting tribute from nearby humans. Noivern tend to choose a rather unconventional type of treasure, though — they extract their tribute in fruit.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: Hoarding is a universal compulsion among dragons, and the Overlord of All Dragons gets the biggest, with enough gold alone to completely destroy any economy it encounters, to say nothing of all the other valuables in there.
  • Trade Winds: This fic's version of Eagle Vision, held by all dragons naturally and by a select few humans, comes with an x-ray sense for treasure, an evolution of Eagle Vision that aids a dragon in building a hoard. Temeraire plaintively explains that all the treasure is in houses, though, an admission that further implies that he doesn't steal the treasure because it would displease his captain, and that he doesn't fully realize the treasure is in houses because it belongs to someone.
  • The Twin Dragons AU is a tumblr AU where the Subway Bosses Ingo and Emmet are the mortal incarnations of the Legendary Dragons Zekrom and Reshiram. Rather than gold or money, they hoard trains; the Nimbasa Subway is technically their hoard, and they 'allow' people to ride their trains as long as they're the ones who own them. In fact, they became the Subway Bosses just so they could hoard the trains.
  • What's in a Hoard?: Every dragon in Izuku’s family has their own personal hoard, with the specific items that make it up differing between person.
    • Hisashi hoards sunken ships.
    • Izuku's is unique as, in addition to his physical hoard of hero merchandise, he also hoards people.
  • The World of the Creatures has the Doctor, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Peter Jackson, encounter one of these in Chapter 9. Fortunately for them, the dragon is asleep... for the moment...

    Films — Animation 
  • The Flight of Dragons: Dragons nest on top of gold because they find it comfortable to sleep on, and it won't catch fire.
  • The Hobbit: The animated movie shows Smaug sleeping on his treasure as if it were a bed.
  • Moana features a variation with Giant Enemy Crab Tamatoa. Instead of lying on his hoard, Tamatoa puts it on top of his shell to make himself (as his Villain Song puts it) "shiny". It actually serves a purpose for him; the gleam attracts fish, who fall into his lair for him to eat. The treasure includes Maui's magic fishhook (not because it's shiny, but as retribution for Maui taking one of his legs), which is why he and Moana go down to his lair to retrieve it.
  • Shrek: Dragon sleeps on-top of a mountain of treasure. She doesn't seem that bothered by the collection of treasure in the sequels, though.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982): Conan and Subotai break into the Tower of the Serpent and discover a pit in which a gigantic snake sleeps coiled around a kind of altar, on which a large red gem is displayed. Conan succeeds in taking the gem but accidentally wakes the snake with drops of sweat dripping from his face. The snake attacks and nearly kills Conan, but is killed through Conan's and Subotai's joint efforts.
  • Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real claims that dragons are naturally attracted to shiny objects and may collect hoards of such items, more or less valuable, to allure potential mates.
  • Harry Potter:
  • The Hobbit: As first seen in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the dragon Smaug is sleeping inside an immense mountain of gold. Smaug is also able to detect that the invisible Bilbo is wearing "something golden" (the Ring), which suggests he can sense (maybe smell) gold.
  • The Jungle Book (1994): The treasure vault in the monkey's lost city is inhabited by a huge python which attacks anyone who tries to take from the treasure.
  • Mythica: The party fight and kill a dragon guarding a hoard, but are unable to rob the hoard. However, dragon teeth are worth 150 gold each, so not all is lost.
  • Reign of Fire: When the young Quinn first stumbles into where the dragon is hibernating, the walls are covered by pyrite... or possibly gold. We don't get long enough to look at it before all the burning and the death starts.

    Literature 
  • Age of Fire: Dragons hoard because they need metal to make scales (essentially making the hoard a stockpile of vitamin supplements). Grey dragons, which don't grow scales, have no need to eat metal and therefore don't bother hoarding it.
  • Below: A dragon's former hoard is the goal of the quest. Unusually for this trope the dragon is long dead, having been dispatched decades ago by a wizard who claimed the treasure for himself. Now that the wizard himself has passed on, his fortune sits in the underground ruins where he found it, making it prohibitively dangerous to reach.
  • The Book of Dragons: This motif shows up in several stories.
    • "Cut Me Another Quill Mister Fitz": Dragons amass hoards of gold, which they carefully hide away, and grow in size and power based on the amount of treasure they collect. Seizing such a hoard is the Archon's primary motivation in sponsoring the hunt of a dragon hiding in her city, although the main characters are more interested in dispatching the dragon itself.
    • "Hoard": The narrator mentions that all dragons instinctively hoard something. Gold and jewels were popular, but largely became too dangerous to keep after humans developed a concept of money. Most dragons consequently hoard more abstract things. In the narrator's case, her consists of the foster children in her care — or, more specifically, broken innocence in need of somewhere to recover.
    • "Yuli": The titular character's stash of stolen gold, kept hidden away to no gain to him but attracting danger in the form of thieves and old enemies, is compared to a parallel narrative about an ancient dragon brooding over his treasure while adventurers infiltrate his lair.
  • Chronicles of Elantra: Hoards are a central element of draconic culture, with the twist that a hoard can potentially be anything the dragon in question claims and is willing to fight to protect — for example, Elantra's emperor is himself a dragon, and his hoard contains the entire empire and everyone and everything in it. It's noted that in theory a hoard could be a giant pile of treasure, but most dragons would consider such a hoard to be rather uninspired, and that it's far more common in stories humans tell about dragons than among actual dragons. Amusingly, the draconic word that is usually translated as "hoard" is said to have a literal meaning that's even more direct and simple — "mine!"
  • C. S. Lewis:
    • ''The Pilgrim's Regress': "The Northern dragon is so greedy that his anxiety for his gold hardly lets him sleep".
    • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Eustace stumbles upon a dragon's hoard while the dragon is absent (actually dead). He gets greedy, falls asleep on top of it, and is transformed into a dragon himself.
  • Dracopedia: Most dragons will instinctively gather shiny objects with which to line their nests or dens.
  • Dragon and Damsel: Azrael keeps most of his valuables — gold, silver, and gems — in a cave hidden behind a wall that is completely solid to anyone who isn't a dragon, and also has a small collection of items that are pretty or shiny but not worth much. Bernadette finds a way into it mostly by accident and good luck.
  • The Dragon Hoard: A quest for a fabled Dragon Hoard (inspired by the Golden Fleece, and likewise a case of the dragon being hired to guard a royal treasure) provides the main plot. The trope is also parodied in a story-within-the-story that includes a dragon who can't hoard gold because he's allergic to it.
  • Dragonology: Dragons hoard treasure to use as armor for their soft underbelly. Certain species are capable of learning to concept of value and add collector's items like rare books to their hoard out of avarice.
  • Dragon Queen: The Dragon Queen has a hoard, according to the old man.
  • Dragonsbane: Dragons love gold because dragon magic resonates with it to produce a narcotic-like effect that dragons easily become addicted to. Some dragons manage to break this addiction, however.
  • Dragonskin Slippers: Dragons have hoards of things like shoes, glass windows, and live animals.
  • Dragons Ring portrays dragons as having a psychological addiction to gold, as their hoards are not only a preeminent status symbol but magically revitalize their powers when in physical contact. The novels show that this can be taken advantage of when fighting them, such as offering them a cursed gold coin which they will be unable to resist.

  • Forest Kingdom: In book 1 (Blue Moon Rising), the dragon that Rupert's been sent to kill turns out to have collected a vast hoard of butterflies, carefully preserved and pinned in display-cases. When asked why not gold, he merely says that butterflies are just as pretty.

  • Dune: The Sandworms were directly inspired by stories of dragons, with the Spice Melange taking the place of the hoard of wealth.
  • Earthsea: Dragons are obsessed with hoarding jewelry... at least at first.
  • "The Fox and the Dragon" by Phaedrus (c. 50 AD): A fox discovers a dragon guarding a gold hoard in an underground cavern. When the fox wonders why anyone would waste his life in this way, the dragon admits there is no point to his behaviour other than that it is what Jupiter and the Fates have assigned to him. The moral then draws an explicit parallel between human avarice and miserliness and the pointless gold-hoarding of the dragon.
  • Everworld: The only thing that dragons seem to care about is money; Merlin has a few who work for him, and at least one argues about fees during their mission. The most notable example is Nidhoggr, who is huge even by dragon standards and has a hoard to match. Yet, when the protagonists meet him, he's besides himself with misery and fury that some of it (namely, four magical items previously belonging to the Celtic gods) were stolen by leprechauns. The heroes are allowed to leave his cave in exchange for getting the treasure back. To ensure their loyalty, Niddhoggr replaces their hearts with rubies... except Senna, who would need a diamond, and he wasn't about to pay that much.
    It was insane, of course. This dragon, this brachiosaurus of a creature, was sitting in and on enough wealth to buy France. And yet, the monstrous thing was crying, weeping swimming pools of tears.
  • A Fantasy Attraction: Aleksandra, a dragon, is collecting for her hoard.
  • Fighting Fantasy: In "The Tasks of Tantalon", one of the tasks is to steal the gold of the Brimstone Dragon.
  • The Flight Of Dragons: Dragons are essentially a mess of volatile chemistry, with the fire-breathing being a side-effect of producing hydrogen so that they can fly. Their nests are made of gold because gold is unlikely to react to any of the gasses that they produce.
  • The Forgotten Beasts of Eld: The dragon Gyld is old and tired and mostly content to live in Sybel's menagerie, but occasionally longs for his old hoard, which ends up causing some trouble.
  • Gotrek & Felix: Dragonslayer has several Slayers on a quest to slay an ancient dragon who'd dented their airship. Its hoard is a close secondary motivation for the Dwarves, after revenge. The hoard is lost when a rocket accidentally ignites a Powder Trail and triggers a cave-in, but that is only a temporary setback for a race of miners.
  • Grendel features a dragon who hoards gold, and advises Grendel that the only point of life is to "find a pile of gold and sit on it".
  • Grunts!: Parodied. A troop of orcs is ordered to steal powerful artifacts from a dragon hoard. It turns out the dragon was not interested in treasure, but was a collector of weapons and militaria.
  • Guards! Guards!: The dragon that takes over the palace of Ankh-Morpork demands all the gold for its hoard. Since Ankh-Morpork is a Vestigial Empire of gilded treasures and heavily diluted coinage, there's a lot of ugliness before the dragon is satisfied. Well, somewhat satisfied: "A three-legged lizard wouldn't hoard this lot!"
  • Harry Potter:
    • Justified: As mentioned by Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the goblins who run Gringotts bank use trained dragons to guard the high-security vaults. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ron and Hermione have to get past a guard dragon when breaking into the LeStrange vault to steal one of Voldemort's horcruxes, the golden Cup of Helga Hufflepuff. The dragons are non-sapient and presumably do not care about gold themselves.
    • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The first task involves the champions having to get a golden egg from a dragon. Again, the dragons didn't actually care about the gold — each golden egg was in a clutch of real ones.
  • The Heartstrikers:
    • Dragons are rich practically by definition; they're greedy and immortal, it's inevitable. Bethesda the Heartstriker, Julius's mother, is infamous for her giant bed of gold coins. For almost a thousand years Bethesda kept all her treasure in one place because she's vain and likes looking at it, but shortly before the start of the series her more pragmatic children convinced her to spread out some of her less valuable treasures for safety. Of course, "less valuable" in this case includes priceless unique magical artifacts such as the cursed sword Tyrfing.
    • DFZ: The Great Dragon Yong hoards just as much as any dragon, but he's known for his art collections rather than simple currency. He hoards rare paintings, ancient sculptures, and anything else that is valuable because of the skill and work put into it. His love of art is one of the few things he shares with his human daughter Opal. When Opal's mother comes to visit, she is amused that Opal has her own miniature hoard of interesting and beautiful artifacts, just like Yong. Opal, who is not fond of her father, insists it's a collection, not a hoard.
  • Heir Apparent: The protagonist needs to sneak into a dragon's lair to steal its treasure.
  • The Icelandic Sagas: The Saga of Halfdan Eysteinsson tells how the viking Valr and his two sons, fleeing from enemies and carrying two chests of gold, jump down into a Cave Behind The Waterfall where they "laid themselves on the gold and became flying-dragons". In The Saga of Gold-Thorir, Gold-Thorir and his companions enter the cave and kill the very same dragons to loot the treasure. When, many years later, Gold-Thorir disappears without a trace, it is suggested that he himself has turned into a dragon to guard his riches in some secret hiding-place.
  • InCryptid: Gold is somehow necessary for maintaining draconic health. The cryptozoologists aren't sure why, and generations of hunters killing the dragons to steal the gold and remove the threat of bus-sized creatures that breathe fire from their neighborhoods until they were nearly extinct didn't help.
  • I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level: Laika mentions that it's a racial trait among the dragons to hoard gold, which is why it only takes her a few hours for her to collect the money to pay Azusa back for destroying the latter's house.
  • In the works of J. R. R. Tolkien:
    • Tolkien's Legendarium:
      • The Hobbit: Smaug destroyed the Kingdoms of Lonely Mountain and Dale to rob the kings' treasures. He heaped them up in a vault where he spends most of his time just sleeping on it. This habit also has the advantage that the coins and gems grow into his sticky, glowing hot skin, thus providing him with additional armor. Despite the hoard's fantastical size, after guarding it for decades Smaug knows it so well that he immediately detects the loss of a single cup that Bilbo stole while Smaug was asleep.
      • The Lord of the Rings: Éowyn mentions that her ancestor Fram killed "Scatha the Worm" and thus won a hoard which the dragon had robbed from dwarves. The dwarves showed up shortly afterward and tried to claim the hoard for themselves as it was originally their gold. Fram claimed that since he killed the dragon, it was his gold. This caused conflict.
      • The Silmarillion and The Children of Húrin: After Glaurung has destroyed the city of Nargothrond, he sweeps all the gold together into a heap and lies down on it to rest for a while.
      • In keeping with Tolkien's recurring theme of Evil Tainted the Place, once a dragon claims and sleeps on a hoard it typically becomes "cursed". At best, this can cause some serious Gold Fever. At worst, it may have played a role in the destruction of two kingdoms.
    • Farmer Giles of Ham has the dragon Chrysophylax Dives ("Gold-watcher the Rich"), whose cave contains fantastical riches of all sorts. How the got all that stuff is never explained, nor does anyone ever ask.
    • In "The Hoard", a ballad from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, a dragon kills a dwarf to appropriate the latter's hoard. Later the dragon faces the same treatment through a human warrior.
  • J.W. Wells & Co.: Dragons often appear in the vaults of banks, which is why companies like J.W. Wells find it useful and lucrative to keep a "pest control specialist" in their employ.
  • The Munchkin's Guide to Power Gaming: One of the suggested methods for dealing with a dragon is pretending you're the IRS come to audit its hoard. "Even dragons don't mess with the IRS. It's suicide."
  • Myth Adventures: Gleep explains that dragons hoard gold because it's soft, non-toxic, and corrosion-proof that it's ideal for baby dragons to teethe on. Dragons with offspring collect it for their young, and grown-up dragons keep it as a sentimental reminder of childhood.
  • Orconomics: Dragons are mentioned as having particularly spectacular hoards to loot. Or, at least, they did, before market speculation and investment in heroes resulted in the hoards being worth less than the amount invested to retrieve them. Now the average hoard of any monster is worth a fraction of the amount invested to retrieve it, as the monsters aren't allowed to live long enough to accumulate wealth before heroes are sent out to kill them and take their stuff.
  • Rachel Griffin: Sigfried Smith, a preteen dragon-slayer, inherited its hoard... and sleeps on it.
  • Restaurant to Another World: The Red Queen is a dragon whose hoard happens to include a magical portal leading to a restaurant in Japan. Therefore, she considers the restaurant one of her treasures and she is very protective of the restaurant and its staff.
  • The Saga of the Jomsvikings speculates that a sea serpent seen in Hjorunga Bay at the Norwegian coast is the ghost of the Jomsviking Bui, guarding the two chests of gold he took with him to his watery grave.
  • The Saga of Yngvar the Traveller: Yngvar and his crew encounter treasure-hoarding dragons twice during their voyage up a great river in Asia:
    • The voyagers get sight of a hill shining like gold in the distance. In the night, a watchman goes to explore the hill and discovers it is entirely covered by sleeping serpents. He sees a gold ring between the serpents (hinting that there may be more treasure underneath the snakes) and fishes it out with his spear. This wakes up a small snake which then wakes up all the other serpents and finally the largest, a flying dragon called Jakulus. Jakulus pursues the watchman and destroys two of Yngvar's ships before returning to his lair.
    • Reaching the source of the great river, the voyagers discover a huge dragon "and much gold lying under it." When the dragon crawls to the river to drink, the voyagers loot the gold, which is "as hot as if it had just been melted in a forge". Shortly after, the voyagers meet a demon who explains the spot where the dragon guards the hoard was the tomb of a very rich king named Siggeus, who also had three daughters who were so greedy two of them killed themselves just because they were jealous of their sisters' wealth. Later, "dragons ate the king's cadaver and the bodies of his daughters" but also "some believe they've turned into dragons."
  • Second Jungle Book: In the chapter "The King's Ankus", a maharajah's forgotten treasure vault in a lost city is guarded by an unusually large and abnormally old cobra. It is later revealed that his venom has dried up from old age. When Mowgli discovers that men will kill for the treasure, he tells the cobra to train a replacement.
  • Sekhmet: Dragons are mentioned to have hoards though this range from the traditional gold and gems to more unconventional things like spoons.
  • Seraphina: Dragons hoarded treasure until the treaty and Ardmagar Comonot reforms. Interestingly, the new generation of dragons still hoard in a way, collecting books and sitting on them.
  • Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms: In The Sleeping Beauty, one of the Engagement Challenge tests is for the princes to find some way of sneaking a mildly-cursed item into a dragon's hoard without harming the dragon. The dragon agreed to this because 1) all the items are gold, 2) he's immune to all the curses, and 3) a reputation for having a cursed hoard should cut down on treasure hunters bothering him.
  • Temeraire: Dragons have an intrinsic love of all that is shiny and are easily bribed by it. When the protagonists are traveling through central Asia with a pack of feral dragons, the ferals exchange stories about a group of dragons fighting and arguing over a hoard of treasure. The Chinese dragons love gold, but they'd rather have it tucked in a safe bank account. The Russian heavyweight dragons steal anything they can find and hoard it, and threaten to kill anyone that so much as approaches their hoard. Mildly spoofed in the last book, when dragons turn out to have a natural head for numbers as long as the numbers describe amounts of wealth and not abstract quantities.
  • Tooth and Claw: Dragons have a natural instinct to sleep on piles of hoarded gold. Unfortunately, one cannot do this and invest one's gold in the stock market at the same time.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: Dragons are speculated to sleep in nests of treasure to absorb nutrients from it, which is confirmed to be the case in Dark Lord of Derkholm.
  • Young Wizards: In the first book, Nita and Kit visit with a very old fireworm, also called a dragon. It was protecting its own collection of jewels, gold, and trash, but was extremely anxious as it was losing its memory and couldn't be sure if it lost anything. It was therefore extremely suspicious at seeing anyone, fearing they would steal from it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: Played with in "Dragonfire", which has Mel and the Doctor go hunting for a rumored treasure that supposedly is guarded by a dragon below the surface of the ice planet Svartos.
  • Grimm: In one episode, two Dämonfeuer (dragon-like Wesen) collect vast quantities of copper for their homes: one in an abandoned mine, one in an actual house. The electrical conductivity of the copper is suggested to tie in with their fire-breathing abilities.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has Charlie make reference to the trope when asked about animals that humans eat but do not eat humans during a Family Feud type game show. He believes Dragons hoard gold for the purpose of eating it.
  • Supernatural. The Winchesters find themselves up against dragons in "Like a Virgin", albeit of a human-shapeshifting variety. As well as kidnapping virgins for their Evil Plan, the dragons also steal any gold on their persons. Dean finds a small pile of gold jewelry in their lair, and gleefully helps himself.

    Music 
[[/folder
[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
  • Classical Mythology's dragons frequently guard something (usually on command of a god), but there is a broad range of objects guarded. Part of the myth is that dragons are often said to never sleep, making them ideal guardians.
    • There are at least two prominent instances of dragons guarding golden MacGuffins:
      • The dragon Ladon was set by Hera to guard the Golden Apples that grow in the Garden of the Hesperides.
      • King Aeëtes of Colchis employed a large serpentine dragon to guard the Golden Fleece sought by Jason and the Argonauts.
    • The dragon Python was set by Gaea to guard the Oracle of Delphi, which it did until slain by Apollo.
    • Kampê was a monster often identified as a drakaina — a female dragon — that had been placed by Kronos as a guardian of Tartarus.
  • In Rome, there was a folk belief that dragons guard buried treasure as a natural instinct, and dragons therefore are referenced as epitomes of avarice:
    • Invoked in Cicero's 13th Philippic Speech (delivered March 43 B.C.), when Cicero says about a henchman of Marc Antony who had appropriated part of Pompey's property that he "clutches the patrimony [of Pompey] like a dragon clutches treasure". The word Cicero uses ("circumplexus") implies that he imagines the dragon literally coiling around his treasure.
    • In "The Fox and the Dragon", a Beast Fable by Phaedrus (c. 50 AD), a fox accidentally burrows into a cave where a dragon is guarding a treasure. The fable ends with An Aesop about greed.
    • When describing a painting that showed a dragon, the Greek writer Philostratus (3rd century AD) claims that dragons are "devoted to gold", and because of this instinct may guard "treasure that lies hidden under the earth".
  • Chinese Mythology: The fucanglong or "hidden treasure dragon" lives underground, guarding both man-made treasure as well as natural deposits of precious stone or metal. They are also held responsible for volcanism.
  • In Anglo-Saxon belief, dragons are always hoard-guardians. Interestingly, they often nest in barrows, i.e. burial-mounds, rather than in natural caves, with the treasure by implication being that buried with the tomb's interred occupant:
    • The dragon in Beowulf is attracted by gold and makes his home on a treasure hidden in a barrow — because that's how dragons roll. When a runaway slave steals a single goblet from the sleeping dragon's hoard, the dragon upon waking notices the theft and is so furious he breaks forth to devastate Geatland in revenge. In the earlier part of the poem, there is also a reference to another dragon hoard won by the dragonslayer Sigemund [sic] by killing a dragon in a cave.
    • The gnomic poem Maxims II contains the line "a dragon must be in a barrow, oldnote  and proud of treasure"
  • Norse Mythology:
    • The dragon Fafnir (Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, Saga of the Volsungs) was originally a humanoid (the race varies, but is often in the present said to be a Dwarf) who killed his own father for a heap of gold, then transformed into a dragon to guard it.
    • "Dragon's bed" (dreka beðr) appears as a "kenning" (poetical paraphrase) meaning "gold" in Old Norse poetry, which Snorri Sturluson in Prose Edda explains as a reference to the myth of Fafnir. Other kennings quoted by Snorri are "lair of Fafnir", "Grafvitnir's pillow" and similar expressions (like Fafnir, Grafvitnir is a mythological dragon).
    • In the Saga Of Ragnar Lothbrok, princess Thora raises a tiny little baby dragon by letting it breed on a gold coin. The dragon grows to an alarming size, in the process hatching a massive pile of gold. One of the rare instances when a Hoarding Dragon is combined with a "save the princess" plot.
    • Book 2 of Gesta Danorum relates how young King Frode, looking desperately for money to pay his troops, hears about a giant venom-breathing snake that occupies a hill-like island on which much treasure is buried. Frode goes there, kills the dragon, digs up the treasure and thus regains his solvency.
    • A rather similar tale is told in book 6 of the same book about King Fridleif, who on a sea-journey is driven to an unknown island where a treasure is hidden in an underground chamber, guarded by a sea-dragon (who is then killed by Fridleif).
  • In East and South Slavic, especially Russian Mythology, dragons (zmeys) are shapeshifting creatures that can alternate between a reptilian and a human(oid) form. Accordingly they will not lie on hoards in a cave, but have palaces in far-away lands where they frequently own great riches. When zmeys demand tribute from humans, they will either demand maidens, or gold.
  • According to an Icelandic folk legend (published by Jón Árnason in Icelandic Folktales and Fairy Tales, 1862), the Lagarfljót Worm, a lake monster that supposedly inhabits Lake Lagarfljót in East Iceland, came into being when a girl put a "heath-snake" (lýngorm) in a box with a gold ring under it, because she had been told this would make the gold multiply. It worked, but the size of the creature increased together with the treasure. The girl freaked out and threw the box with the snake and the gold into the lake. The creature is still in it, grown to an enormous size and guarding an equally huge heap of gold at the lake bottom.
  • The English chronicler Thomas of Walsingham recorded an event that supposedly took place in 1344 on the Welsh border in Herefordshire: a "Saracen doctor" captured a "serpent" with a spell and before he left mentioned that the serpent had a cave full of treasure. Some locals from Hereford set out to dig up the cave and salvage the unguarded hoard. "So they gathered together there for several nights, until the Earl's retainers got wind of the matter; then the Hereford men were arrested and committed to prison. The Earl acquired a considerable treasure from this business." It stands to reason the diggers had found a real treasure (or possibly a tomb with grave goods), and the "serpent" was attached to the story because it seemed logical.
  • The Grootslang is a creature from South African prospector folklore described as an immense serpent that guards a great trove of gems, sometimes with gold thrown in as well, either in a cavern called the Wonder Hole or Bottomless Pit or at the bottom of the King George Cataract at Aughrabies Falls.

    Pinballs 
  • Dungeons & Dragons (1987) has the adventurers going up against a fire-breathing dragon and its hoard of gold coins.
  • Full Tilt! Pinball: The "Dragon's Keep" table requires the player to steal the dragon's treasure hoard.

    Podcasts 
  • The Fallen Gods: The party find the remains of one beneath the temple in Xak Tsaroth, and later the hoard itself deeper in.

    Radio 
  • Hordes of the Things, a Tolkien parody by The BBC, states that blue dragons hoard "those woolen foot-garments that men do call socks, stealing one only of every pair". So now you know where they went.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Beast: The Primordial: Each Beast has a Hunger that they must fulfill to keep the Horror lurking in their soul sated. Collectors are Beasts whose Hunger is sated through the acquisition and hoarding of rare goods. Several NPCs in the corebook have an Urge to hoard items, the type of which varies between characters (weapons, art, and — yes — jewels). In fact, many monsters (usually of the Ugallu or Anakim families) are explicitly draconic in appearance.
  • Dragon: The Embers: Justified, as the Oroboroi draw sustenance from the perceived wealth of the items they collect. The treasure does not necessarily have to be gold, and can in actuality be anything the dragon perceives as valuable. This may also result in Fridge Logic (how do you sleep on a pile of solid objects?), though that too can be justified by bending physics slightly (to particularly hilarious effect if the dragon collects large objects, like antique furniture or grand pianos).
  • Dungeons & Dragons: All dragons have hoards, typically three times as much treasure as other monsters of an equivalent power level. Beyond the sheer avaricious pleasure derived from wallowing in their coins like a pig, keeping a mental tabulation of their hoard's current worth, or maintaining an inventory down to the last copper piece, the Draconomicon sourcebook explains that a dragon's hoard allows it to control the circumstances of its eventual demise. Rather than suddenly succumbing to the weight of centuries in its twilight years, a dragon may consume its hoard and choose to depart the earthly realm peacefully, merge with the physical world and become a guardian spirit of one of its kind's nesting sites, or take up the Dragon Ascendant Prestige Class and begin their first steps on the road to becoming a deity. Dragons also derive status from the size of their hoards, and bored wyrms may take up the (ludicrously complex) game of xorvintaal and compete for each others' treasure with the help of mortal "chess pieces".
    • The Draconomicon also provides examples of atypical dragon hoards. One eccentric bronze dragon maintains a collection of interesting driftwood and seashells from near her coastal home, a golden great wyrm has amassed an enormous library of rare books ("you can't learn anything from gold"), an unfortunate white dragon's hoard is held hostage by the tribe of ice giants enslaving him, while an enterprising blue dragon's greatest treasure is the salt mine he took over.
    • Even dragons with more traditional hoards may provide unique challenges. The sand dragons introduced in the Sandstorm supplement keep their treasures buried beneath the desert — hope your party packed a shovel alongside that 11-foot pole.
    • Vampiric dragons, creatures born on the rare occasions when a dragon succumbs to vampirism, are bound to their hoards in the same manner in which a humanoid vampire is bound to its coffin.
    • If a dragon is slain and its hoard looted, it may linger as a ghostly dragon, haunting the mortal plane until its stolen property (or treasure of an equivalent value) is returned to its sacked lair, after which it settles upon the loot one last time and disappears along with it. Yes, dragons love gold so much that they can take it with them.
    • When they know they are dying of natural causes, one of the first things a dragon does before heading off to the Dragon graveyard is to devour its hoard.
    • Birthright: The Seadrake collects a toll from all ships passing through his domain. He has no practical use for the treasure, but enjoys its presence and jealously protects it from thieves.
    • Brancalonia: Exaggerated with a dragon with gold teeth, bling and a pimp cup.
    • Dragon:
      • One issue has for its cover a picture of a dragon's hoard, which contains gold, jewels, and many, many less conventional objects, like a kitchen sink.
      • An article about talking to dragons says that every dragon has a different theory about why they hoard treasure, and some will claim that they don't actually do so, they just happen to have accumulated it. This is a lie. It also says that when bartering with a dragon, try to avoid anything that might involve them investing in something, because they really don't like letting part of their hoard out of their sight, even for a greater reward later.
    • The 3rd-party setting Retroverse introduces Neon Dragons. Neon Dragons crave the adoration of mortals and a life of constant partying. Like any dragon, they usually end up acquiring alot of material wealth, but that is just a means to fund their daredevil lifestyle.
    • The Forge of Fury: Nightscale the dragon keeps a large hoard, as is natural. Looting it will give the players a decent sum, including some magic weapons and a few healing potions.
    • Forgotten Realms: Astilabor is the draconic goddess of treasure, wealth, and the desire to acquire them, and was the one who instilled in dragonkind the innate need for collecting and protecting their hoards. She is worshipped primarily by the most rapacious of dragons, and her own hoard, hidden somewhere in the plane of Limbo, is said to contain more wealth than that in any other place in the multiverse.
    • The Slayer's Guide to Dragons has a low level adventure about slaying two wyrmlings. Their "hoard" turns out to be a few polished pebbles and some duck feathers.
    • Tyranny of Dragons:
      • The ritual to summon Tiamat requires the Cult to gather a hoard worthy of the Dragon Queen. To that end, they have been raiding towns and communities throughout the Sword Coast, funneling the stolen plunder to the Cult's headquarters at the Well of Dragons. At the Well, there's so much money amassed in one of the caverns for the ritual to summon Tiamat that the DM guide says the amount of money is "incalculable".
      • Hoard of the Dragon Queen has the players follow a large chunk of plunder as it makes its way north, and by default ends with them doing something to keep that chunk out of the Cult's hands — and also with fighting a white dragon whose hoard is frozen under ice.
    • Waterdeep: Dragon Heist: The Vault of Dragons is guarded by an adult gold dragon named Aurinax, who was tasked to guard the treasure within until Dagult Neverember or his appointed vassals can remove it.
  • Dungeon features a dragon guarding a treasure hoard on its box art.
  • Dungeon Quest, a board game, tasks the player with reaching a dragon's hoard and steal as much as possible from it. However, if you steal so much that you wake up the dragon, you die.
  • Middle-earth Role Playing : Most dragons collect vast hoards of treasure to gloat over in memory of their victories. The primitive cave drakes gather hoards like those of the greater kind, but mostly tend to gather common baubles and colored glass.
  • Palladium Fantasy: Many types of dragons covet treasure and high quality items and equipment can often be found in their immediate vicinity. There are also some optional encounters where players are given the chance to fight a dragon for some extra loot.
  • Pathfinder: Dragons, much like their Dungeons & Dragons counterparts, routinely collect immense treasure hoards.
    • In general, all dragons, regardless of alignment, have a powerful instinct to collect and hoard treasure. This serves as a sort of memory aid for them — dragons keep millennia's worth of memories in order by investing them in objects closely tied with them, usually something valuable or a trophy, and recall and strengthen faded memories by contemplating associated objects. This is one of the reasons for why even good and noble dragons react with unthinking rage at the theft of even a small thing, as to them this is the theft of parts of their own lives.
    • Each true dragon type tends to have a type of treasure it especially favors — silver dragons tend to favor white, silverly or clear items such as silver, white gold, platinum, diamonds and glass items; bronze dragons hoard valuable books and natural objects sculpted by or associated with water, such as oddly-shaped driftwood, seashells and coral; copper dragons, who have pronounced Sweet Tooths and move lairs often, favor easily consumed items like chocolates, wines and cheeses; gold dragons favor gold and copper items alongside artistic works; green dragons also collect immense libraries, alongside green gemstones and ancient coins; white dragons hoard anything that might hold value, but especially covet magic items.
    • Guardian dragons are immensely powerful dragons created by gods to serve as guardians of valuable, powerful and/or dangerous items — in addition to whatever personal treasure the guardian dragon collects on its own accord, of course — in a manner reminiscent of Greco-Roman mythical dragons.
  • Shadowrun:
    • The collective wealth and possessions of the dragon Dunkelzahn basically constitutes a hoard, and his comments indicate that dragons in general tend to accumulate them, whether they want to or not (it's described as a matter of collecting representations of their long memories and pasts); all in all, he possessed more wealth and stuff than some small nations. Dunkelzahn makes the idiosyncratic (and, among his fellows, controversial) decision to compose a will dividing and bequeathing his hoard in the event of his death (a large portion of which goes into funding an entire foundation dedicated solely to the execution of the will).
    • Lofwyr's hoard consists largely of Mega-Corp stock certificates, and as CEO and sole owner of Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries he's the richest known entity on earth.
  • The Strange: The dragon Merid employs human agents who charter adventuring companies to explore distant parts of Ardeyn and bring back wealth with which to enlarge her own hoard.

    Theatre 
  • In Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung tetralogy (as adapted, with liberties, from Norse Mythology), the giant Fafner kills his hitherto-bro Fasolt for a hoard of gold (The Rhine-Gold) and is later found transformed into a dragon lying on the gold (The Valkyrie), until he is killed by Siegfried (Siegfried).

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Rage: Ceal Cyndar has to steal the Orcs gold, thus giving himself a hoard.
  • Loom has a dragon living in a volcano, sitting on a heap of gold. To escape, Bobbin Threadbare has to magically turn the gold into straw, so the dragon will accidentally set it on fire.
  • In Dungeon Assault, you play as a dragon who has to create a labyrinth of guards and traps to protect your hoard while sending out raiders to steal treasure from other players.
  • In Choice of the Dragon, you play as a dragon and one of your objectives is to acquire and protect a pile of treasure.
  • Spyro the Dragon alludes to this trope with the main pickup item being gems.
  • Neverwinter Nights series:
    • In the first game, there were three dragons. All of them had hoards, which you could try to loot (unwise, as the dragons typically noticed right away), or you could do a favor for each dragon and gain a reward.
    • In Neverwinter Nights 2, if you manage to kill the red dragon Tholapsyx you get to loot her hoard.
  • In RuneScape, many dragon lairs are littered with piles of gold. The extremely rare runite rocks are also usually found near dragons, because it is a delicacy to them.
  • Blazing Dragons: All dragons eat gems, which annoys the evil King George no end. However they're not fixated on them, living lives just like normal people.
  • The Cave: The knight has to fetch the gold from the dragon and give it to the princess in order to get her amulet to give to the king to pull the sword from the stone. Things don't go quite as planned...
  • The Hobbit (2003): One of the final levels involves infiltering Smaug's lair to retrieve a single cup. This is treated as a stealth mission with the protagonist needing to avoid stepping on the piles of gold which would wake Smaug from the noise.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • While dragons in Skyrim are not lounging on a bed of Septims, there is usually a well-stocked treasure chest coincidentally sitting near a dragon roost. Also, Paarthurnax claims that the Dragonborn got a few draconic instincts with their dragon soul, including hoarding, hence the Kleptomaniac Hero tendencies.
    • In the series' spin-off Action-Adventure game Redguard, this is Subverted by the dragon Nafaalilargus (a.k.a. Nahfahlaar). He was assigned to guard the treasury beneath the palace of Stros M'Kai, but it was an Imperial treasure hoard, not his own.
  • In Discworld, Rincewind discovers a dragon's hoard. His joy for becoming a rich man is shortlived.
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery
    • There's an underwater hoard guarded by a female water dragon. Trying to pick up an item there will make her warn you, and ignoring her will result in her trying to kill you.
    • Dragons as a rule tend to drop so much stuff it's like they're carrying a hoard with them. Even hatchlings drop around one (near the beginning of the game) or two (near the end) thousand gold, plus, often, some pretty useless item like a pile of rocks. The older the dragon gets, the bigger pile it carries not only gold but of other random stuff, potentially valuable. There's a place right before the end of the main dungeon that's crawling with powerful dragons, and spending a while in there is the most effective way to gain almost any item in the game, since you'll be wading through piles of dropped items as you kill the dragons.
  • Dragon's Crown: The Red Dragon is found in a room filled with all sorts of treasure. Said treasure room is very cramped, making fighting the dragon difficult.
  • In Dragon's Lair, the player's mission is to battle a dragon which also owns a hoard in a treasure room.
  • In The King of Dragons, the final boss, Gildiss, is fought in a room full of gold, and the hallway to its domain is littered with treasure chests.
  • In Quest for Yrolg, you play as the imp servant of the evil necromancer Yrolg who has a dragon guarding his treasure room.
  • A Dance with Rogues has two dragon hoards that you can plunder.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has a few dragons (most of them optional bosses) that have a lot of treasure to be plundered afterwards. Some of them are actually called "Dragon Hoard".
  • Pokémon: The Dragon-type Gabite is noted in some of its Pokédex entries as habitually collecting jewels and storing them in its lair. The only game where this is shown is Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon.
  • Dwarf Fortress: Dragons try to collect as much loot as possible during world generation, but in practice they only ended up with a handful of moderately valuable baubles. Everything in their lair will be worth less than random gear you get off one squad of bandits and isn't worth a tenth as much as the dragon itself, which drops up to 25 tonnes of flesh on death, all of which is worth 15 times as much as a normal animal's.
  • In For the King, the "Frost Adventure" quest involves traveling to and climbing Frostbite Peak, in search of the fabulous treasure rumored to be found at its summit. The treasure proves to be real, consisting of thousands of gold coins — and jealously guarded by an enormous dragon that rumor neglected to mention.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic III, the Dungeon Town's strongest units are Dragons. Their creature dwelling, the Dragon Cave, is a typical dragon hoard full of gold (appropriately enough, this is one of the more expensive level 7 unit buildings). Upgrading the Dragon Cave, thus upgrading Red Dragons to the stronger Black Dragons, adds more gold to the hoard.
  • In Gems of War, the dragon Emperina has lost one of these to dwarves. The player is recruited to help recover it (which isn't the side of the equation that protagonists are usually on).
  • Hoard has this as its premise. As a dragon, you have to amass the largest pile of gold you can get your claws on by kidnapping princesses, terrorizing villages, slaying knights and thieves, and occasionally stealing treasure from other dragons.
  • Legend (1998) have a dragon boss which you need to fight in the middle of his treasure hoard. If you look closely among the gems and gold coins throughout the area, though, you can see the skulls and remains of previous, failed adventurers mixed with all the gold.
  • Princess Maker 2:
    • The Young Dragon demands a toll from the Daughter because he wants to start hoarding enough riches for when he's old.
    • The Old Dragon is first seen sitting next to his massive hoard... then he subverts it by claiming that he doesn't collect any riches any longer, since he's centuries old already and doesn't need anything. He'll even give the Daughter some money and a gift if she keeps visiting him!
  • The Drakan games play with this: while dragons don't hoard treasures per se, they are often associated with powerful magic crystals and gems which could awaken them from their slumber while turning the human into a dragon rider. The protagonist Rynn finds and uses one such crystal to awaken the dragon Arokh and perform the Bond ritual which allows them to join forces and embark together on adventure.
  • Notably averted in Baldur's Gate II; of all the dragons you encounter only the red dragon Firkraag has a sizable treasure, and it is scattered and hidden all over his lair instead of gathered in one pile. The other dragons may drop a fair amount of gold and perhaps a useful magical item or two, or their scales for Item Crafting but none of them has a truly sizable hoard, not even the half-god dragon Abazigal.
  • In Romancing SaGa 3, Gwayne the dragon is found roosting on a large pile of treasure that once belonged to his mother Dorra at his lair at Mount Loev. He isn't particularly greedy though, and will part with some of it if you fulling some conditions first note ; he will give you 10000 Aurum, the maximum amount of money one can carry.

    Visual Novels 
  • Sword Daughter: The treasure hoard of a legendary dragon provides motivation for several of the story's possible villains.

    Webcomics 
  • Debugging Destiny has Ignacia, who does hoard gold. On a far more disturbing note, she also uses her Hypnotic Eyes to hoard Red characters. At the time the story starts, she has hypnotized all but three of the Red characters in the entire setting.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: The Demiurge Mammon, Grand Dragon and God of the Seven-Part World, owns the largest bank in creation, whose innermost, impregnable vault contains his personal hoard. This hoard is rumored to contain a nigh-infinite amount of gold. When Allison and Cio breach the vault they discover that not only is it not that impregnable, but that the most valuable thing kept inside is peace. Generations of would-be treasure hunters and dragon slayers have made their way inside out of gold fever or revenge, only to discover that the inside of the Vault is entirely cut off from the Crapsack World outside. Their descendants live in a self-contained community built atop the piles of gold and treasure, and many have never even set foot outside the vault. Mammon himself doesn't mind all the company, as he's long since gone senile and views them as a Replacement Goldfish for his own, long-dead, family. The inhabitants, in turn, worship and protect Mammon.
  • Yokoka's Quest: Fahrin has a hoard comprising of swords, jewels, skulls, various Earth technology (including a CRT television and Nintendo Switch), books, food, and other junk, all encircling her bed. If she wasn't a dragon, you'd probably just think she had a hoarding problem.
  • A stand-alone comic from Skeleton Claw Comics parodies this with a knight asking a dragon why he hoards gold. The answer is an anti-semitic rant about fiat currency.
  • In D20Monkey, a D&D campaign had a twist as the final challenge: the treasure hoard IS the dragon.
  • Franz Scorchmaw, the Great Dragon of Mechanicsburg in Girl Genius, has a hoard comprised of the treasures the Heterodynes looted and then forgot about. Unlike most dragons, he's quite happy to let (some of) the stuff go, as long as he gets something in return. Franz does have his own personal hoard that he values much more highly, but it's not gold or jewels, it's rare first-edition books. However, he is unable to sleep unless he has at least a nominal heap of gold to lie on.

    Web Original 
  • Afterlife SMP: fWhip and Joel develop a love for shiny riches after becoming Wyvernians, and the former builds a cavern-hoard to store his valuables. When Vampire Scott shows up at the cave, trying to steal fWhip's riches while underestimating the Dragons, they collectively obliterate him with swords and poison breath (with fWhip getting the killing blow).
  • Iguanamouth, a Tumblr-based artist, has drawn images of esoteric dragon hoards (warning, some NSFW hoards) ranging from the charming "Hoard of Music Boxes" to the odd "Hoard of Spoons" and the extremely inappropriate "Hoard of Sex Toys."
  • In Kalon Le Barbare, a French parodic literature series, it's stated that only male dragons build hoards, to attract females. It's only revealed after the "heroes" spent a whole chapter fighting a dragon that turned out to be female, and thus had no hoard of her own, much to their disappointment.
  • Overly Sarcastic Productions: In Trope Talk: Dragons, Red discusses this trope alongside other traits of dragons in folklore and modern fiction. Treasure-guarding dragons first appear in both Germanic and Greek myth, and although fell from favor in the middle ages — seeking wealth wasn't seen as a properly noble motivation for a knight — they're extremely common in modern fiction. A dragon's motives for hoarding treasure vary based on its characterization and intelligence; animalistic dragons are basically guard dogs, more intelligent ones might have greed and acquisitiveness as a more or less prominent character trait, and explicitly evil dragons tend to have guarding and adding to their hoards as major motivations for their actions. There's also a tendency to have dragons hoard things other than treasure, but gold is still the most common thing for them to obsess over.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-1779 are tiny reptiles which feed only on coins and make their nests out of them. They can grow to really big sizes, though...
  • Tlf Travel Alerts: London buses have had to adopt a cashless payment system because of dragons stealing cash payments for their hoards.
  • The Tiny Dragon Coin prompt is about the world's tiniest dragon defending their hoard — a single gold coin. Since the dragon defines 'stealing' only as 'taking the coin away from the dragon', they allow the coin to be spent and bartered as long as they're along for the ride.
  • The MicroSFF Twitter feed has many examples of dragons with unusual hoards, including living beings (who, given the generally upbeat nature of the feed, are all there of their own free will) Insubstantial Ingredients, and even stranger things.

    Western Animation 
  • Dragons: Riders of Berk:
    • Smothering Smokebreaths make their nests by gathering as much metal as possible and then melting it together. This frequently includes precious metal, although they seem to choose based more on shininess than anything else.
    • Armorwings gather any metal they can find and fuse it to their bodies to protect themselves. They hoard a supply in case they need to replace lost pieces.
    • "Sandbusted": Hiccup and the Riders run afoul of the Sandbuster, a dragon who lives under a sandy beach and pulls people who enter its territory down into its cave where human bones (presumably of the dragon's victims) lie amid a large collection of treasure (implied to be the money and the wares of the dragon's victims).
  • The Legend of Vox Machina: Vox Machina finds one after going through a portal in Episode 2. The party is initially ecstatic, since they were in Perpetual Poverty beforehand and there's a literal mountain of gold in front of them. However, after the shock wears off, Vex realizes that "this gold didn't fall out of the fucking sky", and that they're in a dragon's lair. Sure enough, Keyleth gets the group spotted moments later.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Dragons are greedy by nature and will hoard things as an instinctive behavior. They also eat gems, which implies the heaps of jewels they keep around are actually their pantries. Specific episodes with dragon hoards:
    • "Dragonshy": The main six are sent on a diplomatic mission to a dragon who's taken up residence near Ponyville. Rarity speaks to the dragon and appeals his ego, a strategy that appears to work — until the dragon realizes she's helping herself to his treasure hoard, and he kicks her out.
    • "Owl's Well That Ends Well" features another full-grown dragon (whose hoard, interestingly enough, consists of gems and only gems, with no metal to be seen) who gets angry at and attacks the baby dragon Spike for eating gems from his hoard.
    • "Secret of My Excess": It's revealed that hoarding behavior can cause dragons to undergo rapid growth, as a dragon's size increases with the size of its hoard. In the case of Spike, this leads to a nasty feedback loop, as this growth also decreases their mental faculties and makes them hoard more. In this case, Spike's runaway instinct causes his to assemble a haphazard hoard out of whatever junk he happens to land eyes on.
    • "Dragon Quest": Adolescent dragons are shown playing "King of the Hoard", a game which consists of fighting one another over a pile of treasure.
  • Rick and Morty: In "Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktims Morty", Rick hates Morty's dragon Balthremar until he notices some interesting items in his hoard, including Hi-C Ecto Cooler, which convinces Rick the dragon is cool.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Dragon Gold, Dragons Guard Treasure, Dragons Are Rich, Treasure Guarding Dragon, Hoarding Dragon

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Smaug Attacks Erebor

Drawn by the immense amount of gold stockpiled by the dwarf king Thror, Smaug the dragon, after attacking the city of Dale, invaded Erebor to claim the gold as his own.

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