In the years I’ve been playing (since just before 1.5), one of the consistently repeated suggestions I’ve seen from players is another dragon. Pet dragons, rideable dragons the size of the ender dragon, a tamable ender dragon, the ‘red dragon’, and everything in between. The majority of the ways these could be implemented are overpowered, unbalanced, or simply impractical.
What if the dragon was smaller? What if it was a regular mob? What if it was a drake, instead – a lesser, more common dragon?
Well, while the sand drake is no ender dragon, but you’ll find that it’s both foe and friend regardless! In this suggestion I hope to adequately explain this theoretical mob, their potential purpose, and their place within the world of Minecraft.
My intention is to present them as both a threat and a useful friendly mob, dependent on the player’s behaviour and their immediate environment.
The sand drake is found in dry/warm biomes: the desert, savannah, and badlands biomes, and their subtypes. It spawns uncommonly in small groups of 1-3 adults, and very rarely (5%) as a single adult and its egg(s).
It’s long and narrow, about 3-4 blocks long, with a wingspan about 3 blocks wide when outstretched, and a long neck and tail.
The sand drake is predominantly terrestrial. When it moves it uses a hopping/bounding motion similar to a leaping run or a rabbit hop, and moves quite quickly doing so. It’s only quicker in flight, and then only in short bursts.
Similar to turtles, the sand drake lays eggs, one or two at a time.
I imagine it making three types of sound: a bellow, hiss, and chirp.
The concept art above shows a desert-coloured sand drake, but there might even be three variants/skins, one each for desert, savannah (brown/green), and badlands (reddish). This I assume could work the same way it does for rabbits.
Also alongside the variant possibility are different breath/spit weapons for each type!
The sand drake is a neutral mob, but not always! While they may be small, they are still dragons, and if you approach too closely without a food item or a gold nugget in hand or offhand, they will eventually turn hostile and attack.
They’ll hiss as a warning when the player comes within the danger radius of around ten blocks, and the closer they approach, the more likely the sand drake is to attack.
Additionally, they also attack any mob that damages them, and attack phantoms and illagers within their immediate area without being provoked.
They will hunt most livestock mobs, including sheep, chickens, and cows, and may attack villagers. Phantoms, illagers, and creepers all actively avoid them.
When they do attack, sand drakes have two methods: first is the standard melee bite, as many other mobs have; the second is a ranged breath weapon, where they spit venom at the player. It hits like a splash potion with a considerably smaller range (around half to 3/5ths) and inflicts a slightly stronger than normal poison effect.
(I considered a fire attack instead of poison, but that might cause some issues with the drakes griefing everything around them during a fight. However, it’s also worth considering how this could play into them attacking villagers and burning down village buildings, living up to the dragons of legend!)
Sand drakes don't fly unless they have to; if they need to gain or lose height in pursuit of their owner or their quarry, they will fly for a short time. They'll particularly take flight to chase phantoms! Like parrots, however, they stop to rest before they can fly again.
They may also fly to reach high perches, such as the tops of trees, in order to stay near higher ground than the surrounding blocks.
Like other animal mobs, sand drakes wander around the area they spawn in. They will not run from or avoid the player – the player must go around them – and may be attracted to gold ingots and nuggets dropped on the ground.
They may also be attracted to fire, which in this case does not harm them.
If sand drakes do attack villagers, this behaviour is disabled when they are tamed, similar to wolves and sheep, etc. Villagers will also flee a wild drake (and golems may attack them), but not a tamed one.
The player may placate an angered sand drake with a gift! This will be from the same pool of items as approaching them (food, gold nuggets), and the drake will consume up to five items before it becomes neutral, determined by its remaining health.
Drakes may be fed these items directly or pick them up when dropped. Which brings us to… taming!
Taming and Breeding
Sand drakes are tamed and bred with gold ingots and/or golden apples. In addition to these, when fed gold nuggets or any cooked meat their tame chance rises. Any food item will heal them when fed.
Once tamed, drakes behave similarly to wolves, cats, and parrots. They become passive to all other passive mobs, will follow the player at varying distance, and can be told to sit. If they enter combat, with or without their owner, they’ll resume sitting when combat ends.
When it comes to breeding, sand drakes can be finicky creatures. They are dragons, after all! They require gold to consider conditions correct for breeding, and may need several attempts/feedings before entering ‘love mode’.
(Perhaps they may even require a gold block to lay their eggs on? If so, upon entering ‘love mode’, the sand drake pair will seek the nearest gold block and lay their egg on top of it. This may emulate the ‘hoard of gold’ part of dragon myth.)
Sand drakes will lay one egg, rarely two, at a time. Like turtle eggs these require an incubation period based on stages and ticks, and are vulnerable to mobs (illagers and foxes, perhaps others). The dragonling hatches untamed but trusting of nearby players and takes 20-30 minutes to mature, able to be sped up with gold nuggets/ingots/golden food.
If the parents are of two different variants, the offspring may be of either.
Drops and Usage
Sand drakes drop a new item called Drake Scale. Up to two scales are dropped when a drake is killed, but they also drop one every 24,000 ticks/20 minutes when at full health, in the same way that chickens lay an egg every ten minutes.
Similar to scutes, drake scales are used in crafting. When crafted into boots, 4 drake scales become drake talons in the same way that scutes become turtle shell.
Drake talons have the same armor/protection as iron boots, but also bestow the Jump Boost effect on the player. Drake scales may also be used in potions, or applied to shields to strengthen them and boost their defensive capabilities.
(Note: I’m not sure about the choice of enchantment effect for the drake talons, and there may be others that are more fitting, or even a brand new effect.)
Thank you for taking the time to read this! I’ve always wanted to see more fantasy mobs in Minecraft, and have wondered about how dragons could possibly be implemented without being overpowered. I hope this suggestion achieves that balance while also managing to be an engaging and unique mob.
I’m aware that this is quite a long post, but as this is a detailed suggestion, I thought it best to be thorough.
My concept art model in the image at the top of this post was made in Blockbench.
As a closing note, there is a secondary part of this suggestion: mountain drakes. These would be larger, about twice the size of sand drakes (half the ender dragon’s size) and spawn exclusively in mountainous biomes. They are hostile, untamable, and serve as minibosses to the players who stumble across them.
Mountain drakes would theoretically spawn very rarely, never despawn, and remain asleep and in hibernation until disturbed by being damaged. I haven’t fleshed this concept out enough to talk at length about It, however.
(fun note: I had originally planned to suggest goannas/monitor lizards, but thought that we could use more fantastical mobs, and what creature is more similar to dragons than varanids? Aside from crocodilians)
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