Dragons are an ancient, winged reptilian race. They are known and feared for
their size, physical prowess, and magical abilities. The oldest dragons are
among the most powerful creatures in the world. Most dragons are identified by the
color of their scales.
There are many know subspecies of dragons, several of which fall into three
broad categories: chromatic, gem, and metallic dragons. Chromatic dragons include
black, blue, green, red, and white dragons; all are extremely evil and are
feared by most. The metallic dragons are the brass, bronze, copper, gold, and
silver dragons; these are noble and good, highly respected by wise people.
The gem dragons are the amethyst, crystal, emerald, sapphire, and topaz
dragons; they are neutral with respect to good and evil, and are very charismatic and
suave, masters of persuasion who delight in riddles. Though generally smaller
and slower than other dragons, gem dragons are often wiser and more
intelligent, and have other powers to compensate, like psionics.
In addition to the dragons in these three classifications, there are other
dragons that may at first seem to be members of those categories. For instance,
the steel dragon seems to be a metallic dragon, but has only one breath weapon;
while each "true" metallic dragon has two. Likewise, the brown dragon seems to
be a typical, evil chromatic dragon; but has no wings, so is not a "true"
Although all subspecies of dragons are believed to have come from the same
roots tens of thousands of years ago, the present subspecies keep to themselves,
working together only under extreme circumstances, such as a powerful mutual
threat. Good dragons never work with evil dragons, however, though a few neutral
dragon specimens have been known to associate with evil or good dragons. Gold
dragons occasionally associate freely with silver dragons, and emerald dragons
are sometimes found with sapphire dragons.
When evil dragons of different species encounter each other, they usually
fight to protect their territories. While good dragons of different subspecies are
more tolerant of each other, they are also very territorial. They usually try
to work out differences in a peaceful manner. Gem dragons often settle
inter-species disputes with riddling contests.
All subspecies of dragons have 12 age categories, and gain more abilities and
greater power as they age. Dragons range in size from several feet upon
hatching to more than 100 feet, after they have attained the status of great wyrm. The
exact size varies according to age and subspecies. A dragon's wingspan is
about equal to its body length; 15-20% of a dragon's body length is neck.
Generally, when multiple dragons are encountered they are a mated pair and
young. Mated dragons are always young adults, adults, or mature adults; young
dragons found with their parents are of the young adult stage or younger. To
determine the age of young dragons roll 1d6: 1 = egg; 2 = hatchling; 3 = very young;
4 = young; 5 = juvenile; 6 = young adult.
During the early part of a dragon's young adult stage it leaves its parents,
greed driving it on to start a lair of its own. Sometimes, although rarely,
juvenile dragons leave their parents to start their own lives. As a pair of mated
dragons age beyond the mature adult stage, they split up, independence and the
lust for treasure driving them apart. Older dragons of either sex sometimes
raise young, but only on their own -- the other parent leaves when the eggs are
Dragons, especially older ones, are generally solitary due to necessity and
preference. They distance themselves from civilization, which they consider to be
a petty and foolish mortal invention.
Dragons are fearsome predators, but scavenge when necessary and can eat almost
anything if they are hungry enough. A dragon's metabolism operates like a
highly efficient furnace, making use of 95% of all the food the dragon eats. A
dragon can also metabolize inorganic material, and some dragons have developed a
taste for such fare.
Although dragons' goals and ideals vary among subspecies, all dragons are
covetous. They like to hoard wealth, collecting mounds of coins and gathering as
many gems, jewels, and magical items as possible. They find treasure pleasing to
look at, and they bask in the radiance of the magical items. For a dragon,
there is never enough treasure. Those with large hoards are loath to leave them for
long, venturing out of their lairs only to patrol the immediate areas or to
get food. Dragons like to make beds of their treasure, shaping nooks and mounds
to fit their bodies. By the time they mature to the great wyrm stage, hundreds
of gems and coins are imbedded in their hides.
Dragon Defenses: A dragon's Armor Class improves as it gets older and the creature becomes
tougher. Old dragons or older dragons are immune to normal missiles; their
gem-encrusted hides deflect arrows and other small projectiles. Large missiles (from
catapults, giants, etc.) and magical missiles affect them normally. Young adult
and older dragons radiate a personal aura that makes them partially resistant to
harmful magic. A dragon's resistance to magic increases as it ages.
Dragon Hide: Dragon skin is prized by armorers with the skill to turn it into shields and
armor, valuable because of its appearance and the protection it affords. Dragon
armor grants its wearer an Armor Class of 4 less than the Armor Class of the
dragon it was taken from, for a minimum Armor Class of 8. For example, armor from
a juvenile brass dragon (AC O) grants its wearer AC 4. Dragon armor is supple
and non-bulky, weighing only 25 pounds.
The scales of gem dragons take on properties of actual gems; they are faceted
and reflect light. They are slightly more brittle than those of other dragons,
so armor made from them requires repair more often.
Dragon armor affords no extra protection, such as resistance to fire or cold,
although the armor can be enchanted to provide such protection. A dragon's
resistance to certain elements is based on its total makeup, not just its skin.
Plain dragon armor is expensive to make, costing 1,000-10,000 gp, based on the
workmanship and protection the armor affords. Dragon skin armor can be enchanted,
just as other forms of armor can, to a maximum of +5.
Dragon shields also offer no additional protection. They are made of stretched
hide over a wooden frame. Such shields weigh 3 pounds (if small) or 8 pounds
(if large) and cost 20-120 or 30-180 gold pieces.
Dragon Senses: All dragons have excellent senses of sight, smell, and hearing. Their enhanced
senses enable them to detect all invisible objects and creatures (including
creatures or items hidden in darkness or fog) within a radius equal to 10 feet
times their age category. All dragons possess a natural clairaudience ability
with respect to their lairs; the range is 20 feet per age category. The dragon
must concentrate on a specific section within its lair or surrounding area to hear
what is going on.
Some dragons are able to communicate telepathically with any intelligent
creature. The percentage chance for a dragon to speak is based on its Intelligence
and age category. Refer to individual descriptions for percentages.
Dragon Lairs: All dragon lairs are far from mortal civilization, and they are difficult to
find because the dragons take careful measures to cloak their coming and going.
There is usually little, if any, wildlife around the lairs because neighboring
creatures fear the dragons, and most dragons eat the few creatures that are
foolish enough to remain.
When a young adult dragon leaves its parents in search of its own lair, it
spends a few years moving from place to place to find a cave or cavern which best
suits its personality. In most cases, the dragons search for increasingly
larger caves which can easily accommodate them as they grow. Usually by the time a
dragon has reached the mature adult stage, it has selected a large lair it plans
to keep for the remainder of its life. A dragon at this stage has gathered a
considerable amount of treasure and is loath to move it to a different location.
The location and character of dragon lairs vary based on each subspecies;
consult individual dragons for specific information. However, one thing remains
constant: any dragon considers its lair and neighboring areas its domains. A
creature which violates or threatens the lair is threatening the dragon and will be
dealt with harshly. Some good dragons may be more lenient than other subspecies
in this matter. All dragons keep their treasure hidden deep within their
lairs, and some dragons create hazardous conditions within their lain to keep unwary
creatures from reaching the treasure.
Dragon Flight: Despite their large size, dragons are graceful and competent fliers; most are
maneuverability class C. This is due partially to their powerful wings, and
partially to the dragon's innate magic. Dragons can climb at half speed and dive
at double speed.
A dragon can change direction quickly by executing a wingover maneuver. A
dragon cannot gain altitude during the round it executes a wingover, but it may
dive. The maneuver enables the dragon to make a turn of 120 to 240 degrees
regardless of its speed or size.
Diving dragons can strike with their claws with a +2 bonus to attack rolls.
Dragons diving on land-bound opponents can also strike with both wings, but then
must land immediately after attacking.
When engaging other flying opponents, dragons can either claw or bite, but not
both. An airborne dragon must glide to cast spells (but innate abilities can
be used at any time). A gliding dragon loses 1,000 feet of altitude per round,
and its forward speed is equal to one half its flight speed on the round before
it began gliding.
Dragon Fear: Dragons can inspire panic or fear. The mere sight of a young adult or older
dragon causes creatures with fewer than 1 Hit Die (as well as all noncarnivorous,
nonaggressive creatures with fewer Hit Dice than the dragon) to automatically
flee in panic for 4d6 rounds.
Trained war mounts, organized military units, and single creatures with 1 Hit
Die or more, but with fewer Hit Dice than the dragon are not panicked, but they
may be stricken with fear if they are within the dragon's fear aura. The aura
surrounds attacking or charging dragons in the specified radius and in a path
along the ground directly beneath a flying dragon whose altitude is 250 feet or
less. Creatures not automatically panicked are entitled to saving throws vs.
petrification. Creatures failing their saving throws are stricken with fear and
fight with a -2 penalty to their attack and damage rolls. The aura increases in
size and power based on the age category of the dragon; creatures subjected to
the aura receive a saving throw bonus or a penalty as specified on the Dragon
Table. All creatures with Hit Dice equal to or greater than those of the dragon
are immune to the fear effect.
Gem dragons are not as inherently fearsome as other dragons, so saving throws
against their fear auras receive bonuses; the bonuses appear in parenthesis in
the Dragon Table.
Dragon Hit Die Modifier: Dragon Hit Dice vary between subspecies and are modified based on age
category. Refer to individual dragon entries for the base Hit Dice for each species,
and to the Dragon Table for the modifier based on age. The older a dragon gets,
the more Hit Dice it has. For example, a black dragon has a base of 10 Hit Dice.
A hatchling black dragon subtracts 6 dice, giving it a total of 4. A great
wyrm black dragon adds 8 dice for a total of 18.
Dragons' saving throws are tied to their Hit Dice. Each dragon saves as a
fighter equal in level to the dragon's Hit Dice. For example, a hatchling black
dragon saves as a 4th-level fighter, while a great wyrm black dragon saves as an
Dragon Combat Modifier: A dragon's combat modifier varies with age category. The bonus or penalty
applies to damage rolls for each physical attack. It does not apply to a dragon's
breath weapon. The combat modifier is also applied to the dragon's base
spellcasting level (age category), to determine the actual level at which the dragon
casts spells (thus, a great wyrm casts spells at 24th level of ability).
Dragon Attacks: All dragons have a claw/claw/bite attack form and a breath weapon. The latter
can be used once every three rounds. Dragons also employ several other attack
forms which are detailed in the following text. Dragons frequently divide their
attacks between opponents, using the more dangerous attacks, such as the bite,
against the foes they perceive to be the toughest.
A dragon's preferred attacks are usually, in order, breath weapon, magical
abilities (or spells), and physical attacks. A dragon that breathes during a round
of combat cannot also attack physically. Magical abilities (but not spells)
can be used in addition to any attacks, except the breath weapon.
Claws: A dragon can use its claws to attack creatures to its front and sides. If the
dragon kicks with one rear leg, it can attack with only one claw (the other
must be used to maintain balance).
Bite: Because of a dragon's long neck, it can bite creatures to its back and sides.
Snatch: Only young adult and older dragons can snatch. This occurs when a flying
dragon dives and attempts to grab a creature in one of its claws. A creature struck
by this method is taken into the air. There is a 50% chance that a snatched
creature has its arms pinned, and therefore cannot physically attack the dragon.
Snatched creatures are sometimes taken to great heights and dropped. The
snatched creature can be squeezed in the claw for automatic claw damage each round, or
transferred to the dragon's mouth (the transfer requires a successful attack
roll). If the transfer succeeds, the victim automatically suffers bite damage
each round; if it fails, the victim is dropped. Dragons of age old and older can
carry a victim in each claw, and they can try to snatch two victims at once.
Wyrms and great wyrms can carry three victims, but one of the first two snatched
must be transferred from claw to mouth before the third can be snatched.
A dragon can snatch creatures two or more size categories smaller than itself.
For example, a dragon that is 45' long is a Gargantuan creature, so the
biggest creature it can snatch is a Large one (12' long).
Plummet: If the DM chooses to allow plummets, an airborne dragon, or a dragon jumping
and descending from at least 30 feet above a target, can land on a victim. The
dragon crushes and pins opponents using its claws and tail, inflicting damage
equal to its bite. The dragon can crush as many creatures as its combat modifier.
The dragon rolls a separate attack against each creature affected. Creatures
that are missed are assumed to have escaped. Creatures that are crushed must
roll successful saving throws vs. petrification or be pinned under the dragon,
automatically suffering crushing damage during the next round unless the dragon
moves off them. If the dragon chooses to maintain the pin, the victims must roll
successful saving throws vs. petrification to get free. The dragon's combat
modifier applies as a penalty to all saving throw vs. the crush. A dragon cannot
take any other actions when plummeting or pinning.
Kick: Any dragon can kick creatures attacking it from behind. A kick delivers claw
damage, and creatures struck must roll their Dexterity or less on 1d20 or be
kicked back 1d6 feet,+1 foot per age category of the dragon. Those knocked back
must make successful saving throws vs. petrification (adjusted by the dragon's
combat modifier) or fall. If the dragon attacks with one claw, it can kick with
only one hind leg (the other must be used for balance). It cannot slap its tail
Wing Buffet: Young adult and older dragons can employ their wings in combat; targets must
be at the dragon's sides. The damage inflicted is the same as a claw attack, and
creatures struck must roll their Dexterity or less on 1d20 or be knocked prone.
Tail Slap: Adult and older dragons can use their tails to attack creatures to their rear
and sides. A tail attack inflicts the same damage as two claw attacks and
affects as many targets as the dragon's age category. The dragon rolls a separate
attack against each creature. Creatures struck must roll successful saving throws
vs. petrification (adjusted by the dragon's combat modifier) or be stunned for
1d4+1 minutes. A tail slap can smash a light wooden structure and even damage
a cube of force (one charge per two points of combat modifier, round down).
Stall: Any dragon flying near the ground can halt its forward motion and hover for
one round; it must land immediately thereafter. Once stopped, the dragon can
attack with its bite and all four legs. It can use its breath weapon instead, but
this rarely happens since dragons can breathe on the wing. If a dragon stalls in
an area with lots of trees or loose earth, the draft from its wings creates a
dust cloud with the same radius as its fear aura. Creatures within the cloud
are blinded, and no spell casting is possible. The dust lasts for one round.
Spells: Dragons learn spells haphazardly over the years. The DM should randomly
determine which spells any particular dragon knows. The dragon can cast each spell
once per day, unless random determination indicates the same spell more than
once, in which case the dragon can cast it more than once a day. Dragons to not use
spell books or pray to deities; they simply sleep, concentrate when they
awaken, and remember their spells. Dragon spells have only a verbal component; the
spells have a casting time of 1, regardless of level. Dragons cannot physically
attack, use their breath weapon, use their magical abilities, or fly (except to
glide) while casting a spell.
|| Age (in
| 1 Hatchling
| 2 Very young
| 3 Young
| 4 Juvenile
| 5 Young adult
| 6 Adult
| 7 Mature adult
| 8 Old
|| 0 (+4)
| 9 Very old
|| -1 (+3)
|| -2 (+2)
|| -3 (+1)
|12 Great Wyrm
|| -4 (0)