Dragon (Dungeons & Dragons)

Dragon (Dungeons & Dragons)

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game (D&D), dragons are an iconic type of monstrous creature used as adversaries or, less commonly, allies of player characters. As a group, D&D dragons are loosely based upon dragons from a wide range of fictional and mythological sources.[1]

In D&D, dragons are depicted as any of various species of large, intelligent, magical, reptilian beasts, each typically defined by a combination of their demeanor and either the color of their scales or their elemental affinity.[2] For example, a commonly presented species of dragon is the red dragon, which is named for its red scales, and known for its evil and greedy nature, as well as its ability to breathe fire.[3]


Dragon classification

In the Dungeons & Dragons universe, there are many different species of dragons. However, despite their variety, a number of traits are common to nearly all types of dragons. All species appear to be generally reptilian or serpentine in their natural form. Except for the youngest dragons, they tend to be quite large—usually at least as big as a horse, and often much larger. Most species depicted have wings and are able to fly, and nearly all are quadrupedal. Almost all species of dragon are highly intelligent (at least as intelligent as a human being) and are able to speak. Essentially all species of dragon are said to be magical in nature, and in most species this nature is expressed as an affinity for some type of elemental power; some dragon species are naturally able to cast magical spells, as well. Most dragons have the ability to breathe or expel one or more types of energy associated with their elemental affinity, as well as bearing some resistance to damage or injury from any other sources of such energy. Dragons are egg-layers, and most have sharp teeth, horns, and claws. A D&D dragon is protected by its scaly hide, the colour of which is determined by the dragon's species, and which also offers a visual clue to the specific elemental nature of each species of dragon. Each species of dragon has a particular temperament associated with it, as well as a deeply rooted moral outlook derived from that temperament; these factors underlie the personality and behaviour of each individual dragon. Typically, dragons do not vary widely in appearance or personality within a species, although exceptions are possible, especially in certain D&D settings, such as Eberron. Because D&D dragons are essentially monstrous creatures designed to antagonise player characters, the majority of dragons in D&D are evil by default.

Some dragons (particularly metallic dragons) have two different kinds of breath, usually a lethal one (fire, ice, acid, electricity, etc.) and another that is typically non-lethal (paralysis, repulsion, confusion, etc.).

In the second edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, dragons were completely reworked from their first edition counterparts, and were much more powerful. For example, they had magic resistance, could no longer be subdued, and had physical attack forms besides just claws and bites.[4]

The third edition of Dungeons & Dragons classifies dragon as a type of creature, simply defined as "a reptilelike creature, usually winged, with magical or unusual abilities".[5] The dragon type is broken down into several classifications. True dragons are dragons which increase in power by age categories (wyrmling to great wyrm). Lesser dragons do not improve in age categories and may lack all of the abilities of true dragons. Examples of lesser dragons include dragon turtles and wyverns. Other creatures with the dragon type include drakes, felldrakes, elemental drakes, landwyrms, linnorms and wurms. (An unrelated creature called a dragonne is named for its coincidental resemblance to a brass dragon.)

Dungeons & Dragons 2nd and 3rd edition divided true dragons further into three main categories: chromatic dragons, such as green and black dragons, which are evil-aligned; metallic dragons, such as gold and silver dragons, which are good; and neutral-aligned gem dragons, rare creatures that possess psionic abilities. In addition, there were other sub-species of true dragons that didn't fit into the three main categories. For example, mercury and steel dragons would seem to be metallic dragons, but in the Dungeons & Dragons world they are considered to be outside of the main family of metallic dragons because of various biological differences (though the book Dragons of Faerûn did list them as metallic dragons). The "lung dragons" or spirit-dragons of Oriental Adventures are also true dragons.

However, with 4th edition, the classifications were changed: chromatic dragons became not strictly evil, and metallic dragons became not necessarily good. Also, there are several new categories (although the gem dragons have not yet returned): "planar dragons" which are defined as dragons that were warped by living on a plane of existence other than the Material Plane, "catastrophe dragons", which take on the aspects of natural disasters which are chaotic evil and cause chaos for its own sake, and "scourge dragons".[6] Chromatic dragons are presented in the Monster Manual and Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons. Metallic dragons are presented in the Monster Manual 2 and Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons. Catastrophe dragons are presented in Monster Manual 3. Planar dragons have been presented in both Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons and Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons.

Detailed information about D&D dragonkind in second, third, or fourth editions may be found in their respective editions of the Draconomicon, a D&D supplement book designed especially for draconic information. No such book was published for the first edition, although the Basic game had a Bestiary of Dragons and Giants (coded AC10).[7]

Publication history

Five chaotic-aligned dragons (white dragon, black dragon, green dragon, blue dragon, and red dragon), and the golden dragon first appeared in the original Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974).[8] The Greyhawk Campaign supplement (1975) added the copper dragon, brass dragon, bronze dragon, and silver dragon, along with the Platinum Dragon (Bahamut) and the Chromatic Dragon (Tiamat).

The white dragon, black dragon, red dragon and brass dragon reappeared in the original Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977). The six dragons from the 1974 boxed set appeared in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Rulebook (1981), and again in the 1983 version of the Basic Set (1983). These six appeared along with the gemstone dragons (crystal dragon, onyx dragon, jade dragon, sapphire dragon, ruby dragon and amber dragon), and the dragon rulers (Pearl (the Moon Dragon), Ruler of all Chaotic Dragons; Diamond (the Star Dragon), Ruler of all Lawful Dragons; Opal (the Sun Dragon), Ruler of all Neutral Dragons; and the Great One, Ruler of All Dragonkind) in the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991).

The five chaotic-aligned dragon types from the 1974 boxed set, as well as the gold dragon and the four new dragon types from the Greyhawk supplement (the copper dragon, brass dragon, bronze dragon, and silver dragon appeared in first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the original Monster Manual (1977), along with Bahamut and Tiamat. The former five dragon types were given as evil-aligned, while the latter five dragon types were given as good-aligned. The ten dragon types were given pseudoscientific names as follows: black (draco causticus sputem), blue (draco electricus), brass (draco impudentus gallus), bronze (draco gerus bronzo), copper (draco comes stabuli), gold (draco orientalus sino dux), green (draco chlorinous nauseous respiratorus), red (draco conglagratia horriblus), silver (draco nobilis argentum), and white (draco rigidus frigidus).[9] The Oriental dragons appeared in the original Fiend Folio (1981), including the li lung (earth dragon), the lung wang (sea dragon), the pan lung (coiled dragon), the shen lung (spirit dragon), the t'ien lung (celestial dragon), and the yu lung (carp dragon). The cloud dragon, the faerie dragon, the mist dragon, and the shadow dragon appeared in the original Monster Manual II (1983).

The black dragon, blue dragon, brass dragon, bronze dragon, copper dragon, gold dragon, green dragon, red dragon, silver dragon, and white dragon appeared in second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989).[10] The faerie dragon, and the Oriental dragons – lung wang (sea dragon), pan lung (coiled dragon), shen lung (spirit dragon), t'ien lung (celestial dragon), tun mi lung (typhoon dragon), yu lung (carp dragon), chiang ling (river dragon), and li lung (earth dragon) – appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix (1989). The radiant dragon appeared in the Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set (1989). The dragons of Krynn, the amphi dragon, the astral dragon, the kodragon, the othlorx dragon, and the sea dragon appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Dragonlance Appendix (1990). The cloud dragon, the Greyhawk dragon, the mist dragon, and the shadow dragon appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Appendix (1990). The adamantite dragon appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix (1991).[11] The moon dragon, the sun dragon, and the stellar dragon appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Spelljammer Appendix (1991). The deep dragon appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix II (1991). The gem dragons (the amethyst dragon, the crystal dragon, the emerald dragon, the sapphire dragon, and the topaz dragon appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (1992). The chromatic dragons (black dragon, blue dragon, green dragon, red dragon, and white dragon), the gem dragons (amethyst dragon, crystal dragon, emerald dragon, sapphire dragon, and topaz dragon), metallic dragons (brass dragon, bronze dragon, copper dragon, gold dragon, and silver dragon), brown dragon, cloud dragon, deep dragon, mercury dragon, mist dragon, shadow dragon, steel dragon, and yellow dragon appeared in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[12] The onyx dragon, jade dragon, ruby dragon and amber dragon appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Mystara Appendix (1994).

The chromatic dragons (black, blue, green, red, and white), and the metallic dragons (brass, bronze, copper, gold, and silver) appeared in the third edition in the Monster Manual (2000),[13] and in the revised 3.5 Monster Manual (2003). The Gem dragons appeared in the third edition in the Monster Manual II.

The five chromatic dragon types (black, blue, green, red, and white) appeared in young, adult, elder, and ancient variants in the fourth edition Monster Manual (2008). Three more chromatic dragon types appeared in Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons: the brown dragon (aka, sand dragon), the grey dragon (aka, fang dragon), and the purple dragon (aka, deep dragon). The adamantine dragon, copper dragon, gold dragon, iron dragon, and silver dragon appeared in the Monster Manual 2 (2009).

Types of dragons

True Dragons

Chromatic dragons

Chromatic dragons are usually of evil alignment. They are the Black Dragon, Blue Dragon, Green Dragon, Red Dragon and White Dragon. Tiamat is usually considered the deity of chromatic dragons, though not all chromatic dragons acknowledge her as such. The 4th edition Draconomicon introduced the Purple Dragon, Brown Dragon, Grey Dragon, which have not traditionally been linked with Tiamat.

Metallic dragons

Metallic dragons are typically of good alignment. They are the Brass Dragon, the Bronze Dragon, the Copper Dragon, the Gold Dragon, and the Silver Dragon. Bahamut is the deity of metallic dragons.

Gem dragons

Gem dragons are typically of neutral alignment. They are the Amethyst Dragon, the Crystal Dragon, the Emerald Dragon, the Sapphire Dragon, and the Topaz Dragon. Sardior is the deity of gem dragons. Although Obsidian Dragons are also technically gem dragons, they are opposed to Sardior and most other gem dragons.

Ferrous dragons

Ferrous Dragons are typically of lawful alignment. They are the Iron Dragon, the Nickel Dragon, the Tungsten Dragon, the Cobalt Dragon, and the Chromium Dragon. They originated in Dragon Magazine. All Ferrous dragons can sense ordinary metals and the lawful ferrous dragons have a strict hierarchy, with the higher dragons dictating the laws to the lower ones. The hierarchy, from highest to lowest, is iron, chromium, cobalt, tungsten, and nickel. Gruaghlothor is the supreme ruler of the ferrous dragons.

Chromium Dragon
  • Breath weapon: Line of solid ice (cold damage) and cone of freezing crystals (Dexterity damage)
  • Terrain: Subterranean or mountainous Arctic climes
  • Alignment: Lawful Evil
  • Notes:
  • Appears in: Dragon #356

Shining, dull silver dragons that did not seem to match up in description to silver, steel, or mithril dragons were mentioned. These dragons had a breath weapon that fired forth freezing crystal. These dragons appear to have a particularly malevolent nature to them.

Cobalt Dragon
  • Breath weapon: Line of pulsing magnetic energy (force damage plus Bull Rush check)
  • Terrain: Deep dark forest or thick jungle
  • Alignment: Lawful Evil
  • Notes:
  • Appears in: Dragon #356

Midnight blue dragons that could fire a breath weapon of pulsing, barely perceptible energy. These dragons, like the chromium dragons, were foul of temper, but subservient to iron dragons and their lord.

Iron Dragon
  • Breath weapon: Cone of superheated sparks (fire and electric damage) and cone of sleep gas
  • Terrain: Hills and mountains containing iron ore
  • Alignment: Lawful Neutral
  • Notes:
  • Appears in: Dragon #356
Nickel Dragon
  • Breath weapon: Cone of corrosive gas (acid damage)
  • Terrain: Swamp and marshland
  • Alignment: Lawful Evil
  • Notes:
  • Appears in: Dragon #356

This form of dragon had grey and white metallic scales and could breathe corrosive gas as a weapon.

Tungsten Dragon
  • Breath weapon: Cone of hot sand (fire and bludgeoning damage)
  • Terrain: Arid deserts and steppes, dry plains in temperate or warmer regions
  • Alignment: Lawful Good
  • Notes:
  • Appears in: Dragon #356

A species that appeared to be generally benevolent, there was a species of ferrous dragon, one whose breath weapon was composed of superheated sand and bludgeoning sand, that seemed especially set upon fighting chromatic dragons and other forms of powerful evil. This form of dragon has metallic scales that are a dull green with grey.

Lung Dragons

The Oriental dragons, as they were originally known, appeared in the original Fiend Folio (1981), including the li lung (earth dragon), the lung wang (sea dragon), the pan lung (coiled dragon), the shen lung (spirit dragon), the t'ien lung (celestial dragon), and the yu lung (carp dragon).[14] The Oriental dragons – lung wang (sea dragon), pan lung (coiled dragon), shen lung (spirit dragon), t'ien lung (celestial dragon), tun mi lung (typhoon dragon), yu lung (carp dragon), chiang ling (river dragon), and li lung (earth dragon) – later appeared in the Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix (1989).[15]

Lung Dragons[16] are based upon oriental (Chinese and Japanese) dragons as opposed to the western-based True Dragons, and appear in correspondingly themed settings such as Kara-Tur or Rokugan. Lung Dragons are spirits that embody and empower aspects of nature rather than being normal, physical creatures. Most lung dragons don't have breath weapons, but possess instead a variety of spell-like abilities.

Yu lung (Carp dragon)
  • Breath weapon: None
  • Terrain: Warm land and underground
  • Alignment: Usually Neutral
Chiang lung (River dragon)
  • Breath weapon: None
  • Terrain: Warm aquatic
  • Alignment: Usually Lawful Neutral
Li lung (Earth dragon)
  • Breath weapon: None
  • Terrain: Warm land and underground
  • Alignment: Usually Neutral
Lung wang (Sea dragon)
  • Breath weapon: Cone of steam
  • Terrain: Temperate and warm aquatic
  • Alignment: Usually Neutral
Pan lung (Coiled dragon)
  • Breath weapon: None
  • Terrain: Warm land and underground
  • Alignment: Usually Lawful Neutral
Shen lung (Spirit dragon)
  • Breath weapon: None
  • Terrain: Warm land and underground
  • Alignment: Usually Lawful Neutral
T'ien lung (Celestial dragon)
  • Breath weapon: Cone of fire
  • Terrain: Warm mountains
  • Alignment: Usually Lawful Neutral
Tun mi lung (Typhoon dragon)
  • Breath weapon: None
  • Terrain: Warm aquatic
  • Alignment: Usually Neutral Evil

Planar dragons

Planar dragons inhabit the outer planes.

Adamantine dragon
  • Breath weapon: White-hot fire, Hold monster gas
  • Terrain: Twin Paradises of Bytopia
  • Alignment: Neutral Good
  • Notes: Oversized natural weapons, Can destroy Adamantium fortresses. Also, they look like they are made of jet-black metal.
Arboreal dragon
  • Breath weapon: Razor-sharp thorns
  • Terrain: Olympian Glades of Arborea
  • Alignment: Chaotic Good
  • Notes:
Astral dragon
  • Breath weapon: Dismissal effect, scouring dust
  • Terrain: Astral Plane
  • Alignment: True Neutral
  • Notes:
Axial dragon
  • Breath weapon: Force
  • Terrain: Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus
  • Alignment: Lawful Neutral
  • Notes: Immune to a vast number of things, including acid, fire, cold, poison, and nonlethal damage.
Battle dragon
Beast dragon
  • Breath weapon: Lightning
  • Terrain: Wilderness of the Beastlands
  • Alignment: Chaotic Good or Neutral Good
  • Notes:
Chaos dragon
Chole dragon
  • Breath weapon: Poisonous insanity vapors
  • Terrain: Infinite Layers of the Abyss
  • Alignment: Chaotic Evil
  • Notes: Chole dragons cannot make any noises and have tentacles instead of wings, making them very different from other dragons. They also are enigmatic, having strange runes on their bodies and tentacles.
Concordant dragon
  • Breath weapon: Antithetical energy
  • Terrain: Concordant Domain of the Outlands
  • Alignment: True Neutral
  • Notes: Its Breath weapon is a beam of translucent energy that inverts everything that it passes by. It explodes on contact. Relatively easygoing, they tend to get along well with other dragonkind, especially their own kind.
Ectoplasmic dragon
  • Breath weapon: Whitefire, sticky ectoplasm.
  • Terrain: Astral Plane
  • Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
  • Notes:
Elysian dragon
  • Breath weapon: Sonic energy, inebriation gas
  • Terrain: Blessed Fields of Elysium
  • Alignment: Neutral Good
  • Notes:
Ethereal dragon
Gloom dragon
Howling dragon
  • Breath weapon: Shrinking, reverse shrinking
  • Terrain: Astral Plane
  • Notes: The kodragon is the messenger for all of the other dragons of the Astral plane.
Oceanus dragon
Pyroclastic dragon
Radiant dragon
Rust dragon
Styx dragon
Tarterian dragon
  • Breath weapon: Line of disruptive force, cone of will-sapping gas
  • Terrain: Tarterian Depths of Carceri
  • Alignment: Neutral Evil or Chaotic Evil
  • Notes: Both wardens and prisoners of Carceri, tarterian dragons enjoy feasting on fiendish flesh.
  • Current Source: (3.5) Draconomicon 189
  • Images: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/draco_gallery/75605.jpg

Other dragons

Other species of true dragon that exist outside of the main dragon families include: Steel, Shadow, Mercury, Pearl, Amber, Cloud, Mist, and many more.

Two comedic dragons that appeared in Dragon Magazine #156: The Pink Dragon, which had a cone breath weapon of bubbles (stung the eyes); and the Paper Dragon which looked like an dog-sized folded paper dragon, and when slain its remains became several spell scrolls.

Shadow dragon
  • Breath weapon: Energy-draining shadows
  • Terrain: Underground
  • Alignment: Always Chaotic evil
  • Image: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/mof_gallery/MonFaePG43.jpg
  • Notes: Shadow dragons are the second most intelligent evil dragons.
  • Appears in: Monster Manual II (1983) and reprinted on several other occasions; enemy in Baldur's Gate 2. A shadow dragon called Shimmergloom is the ruler of a clan of Duergar in the second book of the Icewind Dale Trilogy, "Streams of Silver"; Erevis Cale and his companions encounter a shadow dragon named Furlinastis on several occasions in the Twilight war trilogy

Faerûnian dragons

Brown dragon
Deep dragon
  • Breath weapon: Flesh-corrosive gas
  • Terrain: Underground - Underdark
  • Alignment: Chaotic evil
  • Image: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/mof_gallery/MonFaePG41.jpg
  • Notes: unsocial species of Dragon, ability to scale walls and ceilings with the likeness of a gecko, extremely vicious but can be distracted if given a large enough gift
  • Appears in: Monsters of Faerûn and reprinted in Fane of the Drow as well as the Legacy of the Drow series. A mutant, two-headed deep dragon named Zz,pora appears in the "Starlight and Shadows" series. The most recent v3.5 statistics for deep dragons can be found in Drow of the Underdark. Appears in 4E Draconomicon as Purple Dragon.
Fang dragon
  • Breath weapon: None (has a constitution-draining bite)
  • Terrain: Mountains
  • Alignment: Always Chaotic neutral
  • Image: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/mof_gallery/MonFaePG42.jpg
  • Notes: Looks somewhat like a brown dragon. No breath weapon.
  • Appears in: Monsters of Faerûn, 3E Draconomicon. Appears in 4E Draconomicon as Gray Dragon.
Rattelyr dragon
Song dragon
  • Breath weapon: Electrically-charged gas
  • Terrain: Any land
  • Alignment: Always either chaotic good or chaotic neutral
  • Image: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/mof_gallery/MonFaePG45a.jpg
  • Notes: Silver Blue with the shape of a copper Dragon
  • Appears in: Monsters of Faerûn; "Year of Rogue Dragons" trilogy, "Elminster's Daughter".

Independent dragons

Incarnum dragon
Sand dragon

Epic dragons

Force dragon
  • Breath weapon: Force
  • Terrain: Any
  • Alignment: Usually Neutral
  • Notes:
  • Appears in: Epic Level Handbook
Prismatic dragon
  • Breath weapon: Prismatic Spray
  • Terrain: Any
  • Alignment: Usually Neutral
  • Notes:
  • Appears in: Epic Level Handbook
Time dragon
  • Breath weapon: Line of Ravaging Time and Cone of Time Expulsion
  • Terrain: Anywhere they find air to breathe
  • Alignment: Usually Neutral
  • Appears in: Dragon #359 [17]

Arcane dragons

Hex dragon
  • Breath weapon: Poison
  • Terrain: Forest, marshes, underground
  • Alignment: Neutral Evil
  • Notes:
  • Appears in: Dragon #343
Tome dragon
  • Breath weapon: Elemental energy
  • Terrain: Mountains
  • Alignment: Lawful Neutral
  • Notes:
  • Appears in: Dragon #343

Lesser dragons

Elemental Drakes

Elemental drakes are lesser dragons most closely related to wyverns. They hail from the Elemental Planes, and are sometimes used as mounts by jann. Unlike wyverns they are sentient.


  • Air - Chaotic neutral drake with air mastery and blinding sandstorm.
  • Water - Neutral drake with water mastery and drench.
  • Fire - Neutral evil drake with heat attack.
  • Earth - Lawful neutral drake with earth mastery and tremor.
  • Ooze - Lawful evil drake with acid attack.
  • Magma - Lawful evil drake with burn attack.
  • Smoke - Chaotic evil drake with smoke breath weapon.
  • Ice - Chaotic evil drake with freezing touch.

Various other types of lesser dragons exist, including:

  • Ambush drakes
  • Draconians
  • Dracotaurs
  • Dragon Turtles
  • Dragonnel
  • Faerie dragons
  • Felldrakes
  • Landwyrms
  • Linnorms – Ancient, primeval cousins of dragons. Linnorms lack wings and hind legs, making them more serpentine than true dragons. All known linnorms are evil and cruel. Linnorms are sometimes referred to as "Norse dragons". There are many subtypes of linnorms.[18]
  • Pseudodragons
  • Spiretop Dragons
  • Wurms
  • Wyverns

Dragon abilities

In D&D, dragons grow stronger and stronger as they grow older (they become bigger, more resistant to damages and magic, have a more dangerous breath, and so on). Old dragons can cast draconic magic which is a special form of D&D magic; dragons can cast spells with just a few words, rather than a sometimes long and complex ritual involving words, gestures and preparations like other D&D wizards. In 3 and 3.5 editions dragons cast spells spontaneously like sorcerers do, sometimes having a wider choice of spells.[19] Dragons also radiate a mystical fear aura around them. After a millennium or two, a dragon reaches his maximum development. In the Draconomicon, there is also an article about Advanced Dragons, dragons that have reached their oldest age category but can still advance "virtual age categories", and become larger and stronger.

Many D&D dragons have some innate magical abilities, but they vary from race to race. Metallic dragons are often able to shapechange into small animals or human forms, and use this ability to secretly help or watch over humans. Dragons also have some innate powers upon the element they are linked to. For example a red dragon (fire) will have some control over fires. Like all other draconic powers, they gain more as they grow older. Lesser dragons, for example wyverns, halfdragons or dragonwrought kobolds may lack innate magical abilities, while still counting as dragons for purpose of all other effects.

Dragon biology

D&D dragons are able to eat almost everything, but each race have a preferred diet (some prefer flesh, other prefer to eat precious metals or gems, and so forth).

Dragons are inherently magical beings, and in no case should dragons be considered reptiles, despite obvious similarities such as a scaled epidermis and reproduction by laying eggs. In fact, Dragons are more akin to feline creatures than reptiles, particularly in regards to their posture and movements, as well as being inherently warm-blooded and an eye composition similar to felines, although far more complex. A good example of this is the placement of the legs: Reptiles have their legs placed on the sides of their body, while most mammals have them placed underneath their body; dragons also tend to place their rear foot where their front foot was previously, much like most stalking feline predators.

The number of eggs laid each time depends on the race of the dragon, but is usually low (between one and ten). Dragons can also cross-breed with virtually any other creature, creating a half-dragon. The most commonly heard of are in the humanoid races, particularly with human and elves. Any combination is possible, however, even with devils or angels.

As far as senses, which varies slightly depending on species due to each one, they are superior in most ways to other creatures; like any predator, they have exceptionally acute senses, which only increase with age. Like avian creatures, they have excellent depth perception and comparingly good peripheral vision, able to see twice as well as a human in daylight; unlike avians, they have great night vision, and are able to see even when conditions have no light to offer, although in such conditions they cannot discern between colors.

In some editions,[vague] dragons can also pick up scents very well, utilizing both their sensitive nose and (often forked) tongue, much like a snake. Noticeably in 3.5 edition Monster Manual they do not have the Scent extraordinary ability, so that the dragon scent ability does not excel that of humans.

Their hearing is on par with human hearing, although their minds can filter what noise it hears. They are capable of "blindsense", the sense in which eyes, ears, and other senses are used to detect invisible persons or objects. Dragon taste is also refined, although they do not respond well to sweet flavors, and most dragons do not discuss the matter as to why. Of all its senses, a dragon's sense of touch is the only one to decrease throughout age, thanks mostly to the development of thick, hard scales.

Dragon personalities

All dragons are intelligent beings, and most of them exceedingly so. Dragon personality varies from dragon to dragon, but dragons of the same subrace tend to have similar mindsets. This is not always true; several exceptions exist in official D&D material. In the Forgotten Realms a good-aligned red dragon is involved against his will in the Fall of the elf city of Myth Drannor.

Dragon subraces encompass all D&D alignments, going from lawful good paladin-like gold dragons to the cruel and very greedy chaotic evil red dragons.

All dragons share a common desire to collect treasure, be it precious, beautiful, magical or just shiny - indeed, the treasure in question needn't always be gold, and may sometimes be aesthetic in nature, ranging from popular artwork or sculptures or even rare books and tomes that might otherwise have an overwhelming monetary value. For evil-aligned dragons, this generally directs a greedy attitude to achieve such wealth by whatever means suit them. For good dragons this lust for treasure is tempered, although they are certainly not averse to earning such wealth, and still appreciate gifts (while being insulted if offered an obvious bribe).

Being stronger, faster, generally smarter, and possessing longer life than humans and most other races, dragons tend to consider themselves superior creatures. For good-aligned dragons, this may only mean they often consider humanoid races as children, trying to take care of them and educate them; for evil-aligned dragons, they consider humanoids as mere animals, or as toys to play with; at best, they are minions and slaves.

The longevity of dragons is evident in their often lackadaisical attitudes. Good-aligned dragons, while concerned with defeating evil, are able to see a much broader scope of the world, and although certain crises arise that may seem extremely important to good-aligned humans, their dragon counterparts are able to see the event as an unimportant hiccup that will pass in mere centuries; even those that adventure with others tend show a sense of incredible patience, even in situations where all others feel they've not a second to lose. Similarly, evil-aligned dragons that are crossed by belligerent adventurers may plot for dozens of generations before exacting revenge on the trespasser’s line - it is not uncommon for those descended from the mentioned adventurer to find themselves the target of a dragon based simply on their lineage.

Dragons in campaign settings

In many settings, the god-king of the metallic dragons is Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon, and the goddess and queen of the chromatic dragons is Tiamat, the Five-Headed Dragon. The progenitor and supreme deity of all dragons is known as Io. Other deities often included in the draconic pantheon of gods include Aasterinian, Chronepsis, and Faluzure. Other draconic gods may be present in different campaign settings.

Dragonlance setting

The Dragonlance novels and campaign setting helped popularize the D&D-derived perspective on dragons. Here the Platinum Dragon is called Paladine, and the Dragon Queen is called Takhisis. Dragons are divided up into good and evil groups, known as the Metallic Dragons and the Chromatic Dragons, respectively. Paladine leads the Metallic Dragons and Takhisis the Chromatic. The Metallic Dragons rarely became involved in the world other than to oppose the actions of Chromatic Dragons, who often joined into war as their goddess Takhisis instructed. However, in the "Fifth Age", massive Chromatic Dragons who were not native to Krynn emerged and took over many of the humanoid-controlled nations of Krynn, as well as slaying many of the native dragons. They are known as Dragon Overlords. There was one from each race of Chromatic Dragons; red, green, black, white, and blue.

Dark Sun setting

In the world of Athas of the Dark Sun campaign setting, normal D&D dragons do not exist. Dragon-like drake races exist, one for each classical element, but for most people the word dragon refer to the Dragon of Tyr, who is a very powerful sorcerer-king (the tyrannic leaders of Athasian cities, who are both masters of magic and psi abilities) who transformed himself into a dragon-like creature using very powerful (and painful) magic. However, this dragon (Bors or Borys) was eventually killed in Troy Denning's book "The Cerulean Storm" by his former master, the sorcerer Rajaat. Several other sorcerer kings had been rumored to be dragons, but all others were only in a process of being transformed into a dragon type being, unique to the Athas world, which took several long stages to complete, but became greatly powerful if achieved.

Forgotten Realms setting

In the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, dragons are very close to the ones in Dragonlance. A sect of cultist called the Cult of the Dragon believe that dragons, particularly undead ones, will rule the world, and are trying to convert evil dragons to become dracoliches--undead lich-like dragons, which are partially bound to the cult by the rituals which grant them their undead status. Plus, in the D&D Supplement book "The Draconomicon" several other undead varieties of the dragon - ghost, skeleton, vampire, and zombie make an appearance.

A popular series called Wyrms of the North ran in Dragon magazine issues #230 through 259 and was later updated to third edition rules on Wizards of the Coast's website (see external links). Each article detailed an individual dragon of significance in Faerûn.

Lately, an ancient affliction that attacks dragons and rendering them mad, the Dracorage, was invoked, causing countless dragons to rampage throughout Faerûn. A novel trilogy, The Year of Rogue Dragons set (The Rage, The Rite, and The Ruin) by Richard Lee Byers, as well as a game accessory, Dragons of Faerûn, details the exploits and deeds of several dragons as the Dracorage swept the continent.

World of Greyhawk setting

The Greyhawk campaign setting features the standard types of D&D dragons, except that in this setting steel dragons are referred to as "Greyhawk Dragons." Although these dragons are rarely encountered, they are somewhat more common in the World of Greyhawk than in other campaign worlds.

Council of Wyrms setting

The Council of Wyrms campaign setting is the only one that allows for dragon player characters in its base rules. (The Draconomicon introduces rules for dragon PCs in standard Dungeons & Dragons.) The setting is based around a society of dragons and their servitors and uses the standard D&D dragon races and dragon gods. It has detailed rules for creating and playing dragon PCs and NPCs, including various draconic character classes.

Eberron setting

In the Eberron campaign setting, three dragon gods have created the world: Siberys, Eberron and Khyber. Siberys and Eberron waged war against Khyber and imprisoned it within the depths of the earth. In the end, all three dragons merged with the land: Siberys becoming the sky, Eberron the continents and Khyber the underground world.

Dragons are apart from civilization, which is mostly concentrated on the continent of Khorvaire. They live on the continent of Argonnessen, a rather unknown place, since dragons are very territorial, it makes exploration often hazardous. The dragons used to rule over Eberron many centuries ago, but at the end of the Dragon-Fiend war, against the demons and devils of Khyber, they departed from Khorvaire to go to Argonnessen.

Dragons are immersed in the Draconic Prophecy, a legend which all bits of information are scattered throughout the world and that the outcome is unknown. They see every event as an important event in the Prophecy, and they even form an organization called the Chamber, where they send their brethren in search of clues. They can be of any alignment, like any creature in Eberron, so a good red dragon (usually evil) is as common as an evil gold dragon (usually good). This rule might throw some players off-balance. Dragons also consider themselves superior, treating all other races as inferior. Furthermore, any half-dragon spotted by these dragons is vowed to be hunted, as they treat these half-breeds as a disgrace to their image.

Birthright setting

The Birthright campaign setting had its own version of a Dragon, named Cerilian Dragon, Cerilia being the main continent in the setting. They resemble more the eastern-type dragons being long and serpentine with leathery wings. Their backs are protected by iron-hard scales, their bellies by layers of thick, leathery skin. Their color ranges from reddish rust-brown to iron gray, with their bellies usually of a paler tone than their scales. Cerilian dragons are among the most ancient inhabitants of the continent, predating even elves and dwarves. Perhaps once there were many, but over the years, in-fighting and fighting the younger races have taken their toll. There are only a half dozen dragons known to be left. All living dragons are of the Old age or higher. Dragons are extremely intelligent and knowledgeable, conserving much lore that has been lost to the younger races. They speak their own language; some also speak Elven or Dwarven. Some of these dragons took part in the Battle of Deismaar, the only verified alive and awake dragons right now are the dragon of Vstaive Peaks in Vosgaard, also known as Vore Lekiniskiy and Kappenkriaucheran who inhabits the Drachenward mountains and controls their magic. The most famous of the dragons is Tarazin the Grey who has not been seen for several decades when the official campaign begins. The only known Dracolich is Komassa who lives in the Shadow World. Dragons in Birthright are meant to be rare and powerful beings and only rarely if ever appear in any adventure.

Cerilian dragon

  • Breath weapon: Cone of burning venom
  • Terrain: Cerilia, Any
  • Alignment: Any, each has a specific personality
  • Notes:
  • Current Source: (2) Birthright Campaign Setting (3.5) BRCS [2]
  • Images:


  1. ^ DeKirk, Ash; Oberon Zell (2006) (in English). Dragonlore: From the Archives of the Grey School of Wizardry (1 ed.). New Page Books. pp. 224. ISBN 978-1564148681. http://www.amazon.com/Oberon-Zell-Presents-Dragonlore-Archives/dp/1564148688. 
  2. ^ Collins, Andy, Skip Williams, and James Wyatt. Draconomicon (Wizards of the Coast, 2003).
  3. ^ Monster Manual
  4. ^ "Dungeons & Dragons FAQ". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wizards.com%2Fdnd%2FDnDArchives_FAQ.asp&date=2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  5. ^ Andy Collins, Skip Williams, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000).
  6. ^ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4ex/20081020b
  7. ^ AC series at the Acaeum
  8. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson. Dungeons & Dragons (3-Volume Set) (TSR, 1974)
  9. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  10. ^ Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One (TSR, 1989)
  11. ^ LaFountain, J. Paul. Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix. (TSR, 1991)
  12. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  13. ^ Williams, Skip, Jonathan Tweet, and Monte Cook. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  14. ^ Turnbull, Don (1981). Fiend Folio. TSR. p. 128. ISBN 0-935696-21-0. 
  15. ^ Conners, William, et al. Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix (TSR, 1989)
  16. ^ Wyatt, James. Oriental adventures, Dungeons and dragons supplement. Wizards of the coast, 2001.
  17. ^ McArtor, Mike. "Time dragon, a wyrm for the ages" - Dragon magazine no.359, Sept. 2007, p. 36-41
  18. ^ Bonny, Ed, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter. Monster Manual II (Wizards of the Coast, 2002). Frazier, Jacob. "The Ecology of the Linnorm." Dragon #356 (Paizo Publishing, 2007). Rabe, Jean. "The Vikings' Dragons Part 1." Dragon #182 (TSR, 1992). Rabe, Jean. "The Vikings' Dragons Part 2." Dragon #183 (TSR, 1992). Wise, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Annual 1 (TSR, 1994).
  19. ^ [1]

External links

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