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5E 5e Updates: Mythic, Epic, and Hardcore Monsters

dave2008

Legend
I have added the uber primordial, the end and the beginning, the bane of the celestial host, Ahat-Hir. Ahat-Hir is the most extreme example in terms of mythic stages and primordial rules. This is an exercise in pushing the system as far as it can go (perhaps to far). It is a work and progress and will help me figure out the boundaries of these revised mythic/epic monsters.

FYI, Ahat-Hir is not supposed to be challenged by PCs, it is designed to take on an army of gods. It is essentially nine stage 5 mythic monsters in one and it provides the equivalent of 54 CR 50 monsters in XP.
 

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dave2008

Legend
TRUE DRAGONS
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.

True dragons are most often, but not always, identified by the color of their scales. There are many known subspecies of dragons, but the true dragons fall into three broad categories: chromatic, gem, and metallic dragons.
  • Chromatic dragons. The chromatic dragons are generally evil, greedy, and predatory, and they’re inclined to follow the evil aspect of the Great Dragon, whom they regard as their progenitor and patroness. However, some chromatics develop a more pragmatic if not entirely neutral or good outlook. This family includes red, blue, green, black, and white dragons.
  • Gem Dragons. The gem dragons are generally inquisitive and charismatic, following the neutral aspect of the Great Dragon which the venerate as the master of persuasion and riddles. However, more than a few gem dragons have been decided to more than bystanders and have followed the path of the chromatic or metallic cousins. This family includes amethyst, crystal, emerald, sapphire, and topaz dragons.
  • Metallic dragons. In some ways the metallic dragons are the opposites of the chromatic dragons. Many of them are devoted good aspect of the Great Dragon and share his ideals of nobility and virtue. However, some fail to live up to those lofty ideals and succumb to a selfishness and aggression that seems common among all of dragonkind. This family includes brass, bronze, copper, gold, and silver dragons.
Though they have a common origin, the present subspecies generally keep to themselves, working together only under extreme circumstances, such as a powerful mutual threat like the Dragon-Giant War of ages past. Good dragons never normally work with evil dragons; however, a few neutral dragon specimens have been known to associate with evil or good dragons.

When evil dragons of different species encounter each other, they usually fight to protect their territories. While good and neutral 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.

All subspecies of true dragons have 8 age categories, from Wyrmling to Wyrms. Additionally, dragons never truly stop growing and very old Wyrms can become so ancient that they are called Great Wyrms.

Generally, when multiple dragons are encountered they are a mated pair and young. Mated dragons are always Young Adults or older, but rarely Wyrm or Great Wyrm dragons. Young dragons found with their parents are of the Young Adult or younger. To determine the age of young dragons roll 1d8: 1) egg; 2-3) Wyrmling; 4-5; Young; 6-7; Juvenile; 8) Young Adult.

A pair of mated dragons older than the Elder stage generally do not stay together long, 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 laid.

Dragons, especially older ones, are generally solitary due to necessity and preference. They distance themselves from civilization, which they generally consider to be a petty and foolish humanoid 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.

DRAGON AGE CATEGORIES
CategorySizeSpells KnownAge Range
WyrmlingVaries05 years or less
YoungSmall06-25 years
JuvenileMedium026-50 years
Young AdultLarge451-100 years
AdultHuge5101-400 years
ElderGargantuan6401-800 years
AncientGargantuan*7801-1,200 years
WyrmGargantuan*81,200-2,000 years
Great WyrmGargantuan*92001 years or more
* Ancient and older dragons occupy more space than the typical Gargantuan creature. They have the Colossal trait which defines their size and space in their stat block.

Dragon Fear. Adult and older dragons radiate and aura of menace and danger know as dragon fear. The dragon can intensify this aura at will, forcing creatures of its choice to make a saving throw or be frightened. This ability is represented by the the dragon's Frightful Presence action in their stat block.

Additionally, unless a dragon wishes, any creature* with only 1 hit die that can see, hear, or smell a dragon is frightened, no save. A creature frightened in this way must use all of its speed to move away from the dragon as quickly as possible until it can no longer hear, see, or smell the dragon.

*A trained mount or beast, familiar, or similar creature in the presence of its trainer or companion can make a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw to avoid this affect. They can make the saving throw with advantage if their companion or trainer is within 10 feet of them. On success save the creature is not frightened and is immune to this effect for 6 hours.

Dragon Hide. Dragon hide (skin and scales) is famous for its durability and innate elemental resistance. It is therefor highly prized by armorers with the skill to turn it into shields and armor. However, it is difficult to work and much of the hide is wasted. Therefore, only Large dragons (Young Adult and older) can be used to make armor or shields of any value. Refer to the Dragon Armor by Age table for the type of Armor, its AC, and the time and cost to create it. A armorer can create two shields for the same cost and time indicated for one piece of armor.

In addition to the benefits in the table, armor made from dragon hide provides resistance to the damage type of the parent dragon's breath weapon. Dragon hide shields also provide a similar resistance, but only when a reaction is used to provide the resistance to the triggering damage type. A creature must have shield proficiency to gain this benefit.

DRAGON ARMOR BY AGE
AgeNumber & Armor TypeArmor ClassBonus to Shield ACCost / Time per Armor
Young Adult1 MediumAC 13 + Dex modifier (max 2)+0500 gp / 30 days
Adult2 MediumAC 14 + Dex modifier (max 2)+01,000 gp / 60 days
Elder3 MediumAC 15 + Dex modifier (max 2)+12,000 gp / 60 days
Ancient5 MediumAC 16 + Dex modifier (max 2)+25,000 gp / 90 days
Wyrm8 MediumAC 17 + Dex modifier (max 2)+320,000 gp / 120 days
Great Wyrm10 MediumAC 18 + Dex modifier (max 2)+330,000 gp / 150 days

Dragon Hoards. 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.

Because of their great age, power, and covetous nature, dragons often have more treasure than the typical monster. Sometimes much more. When randomly determining a dragons treasure hoard, you can roll for additional treasure as follows:
  • Adult Dragon: roll once on the Challenge 17+ Treasure Hoard table (DMG pg 139)
  • Elder Dragon: roll once on the Challenge 17+ Treasure Hoard table and once on the Challenge 11-16 table (DMG pg 138)
  • Ancient Dragon: roll twice on the Challenge 17+ Treasure Hoard table
  • Wyrm Dragon: roll twice on the Challenge 17+ Treasure Hoard table and once on the Challenge 11-16 table
  • Great Wyrm Dragon: roll three times on the Challenge 17+ Treasure Hoard table
Dragon Lairs. All dragon lairs are far from humanoid 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 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:
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 Magic. Dragons are innately magic creatures. It is part of the very fabric of their being; imbuing them with great strength, allowing them to fly, and powering their breath weapons. lair actions, other magic. Additionally, Young Adult and older dragons can cast spells that relate to their innate nature: red dragons can cast fire spells, white dragons cold spells, etc. The dragon can use this magic to cast spells a number of times per day equal to their Charisma modifier. When it does so, it can cast any spell from its list of spells at a spell level equal to the dragon's CR divided by 3. A dragon typically knows a number of spells equal to its age category as noted in the Dragon Age Category table.

Additionally, on rare occasions some dragons develop the ability to become true spell casters. Favoring sorcerers and wizards, but any casting class is possible. This not a common practice for dragons as their innate magical nature is often more powerful than magic gained through other methods.

Dragon Senses. All dragons have excellent senses of sight, smell, and hearing. Their enhanced senses enable them to detect invisible objects and creatures (blindsight) and even predict the movements of their opponents (Detect Legendary Action). Furthermore,

A dragon's senses are even more acute within its own lair and with regard to its treasure hoard. While in its lair, a dragon can use a Lair Action to spread its senses and hear conversations anywhere within its lair. This ability is similar to the spell clairvoyance (hearing only), but requires no components and it does not create a sensor.

Dragon Tactics. As dragons age they master new ways of using their bodies and abilities in combat. An explanation of these options is provide in True Dragons: Alternate Actions.

DRAGON-KIN
Beyond the True Dragons, there a several subspecies of dragon that are very close and similar to True Dragons, though typically not as mighty as True Dragons and they don't have the 8 age categories of True Dragons.
  • Catastrophic Dragons. Mighty embodiments of primordial forces, catastrophic dragons are destructive, but not devoted to evil. The ground warps and explodes violently in their presence. Blizzard, earthquake, tornado, typhoon, and volcano dragons are known types of catastrophic dragons.
  • Planar Dragons. Sometimes dragons become infused with qualities of the other planes of existence. Overtime this dragons of created their own lineages. Shadow, abyssal, and fey dragons are examples of such dragons.
  • Scourge Dragons. Linnorms, as scourge dragons are sometimes called, lack wings and rear legs but maintain the malicious intelligence of their chromatic brethren. They are almost universally evil and they revel in the raw physicality of melee combat and have come to embody the afflictions that plague living creatures, much as catastrophic dragons embody natural disasters.
 
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dave2008

Legend
DRAGON TACTICS: ALTERNATE ACTIONS
All dragons have a typical claw/claw/bite attack and a breath weapon. However, as a dragon ages, not only does it increase in size, strength, magical ability, it also learns additional or improved methods of combat and tactics as indicated in the Dragon Tactics by Age table. The table list the age a dragon first learns to use a given tactic. Once it learns a tactic, it can use it at any subsequent age. A dragon may replace a standard action or a legendary action with any alternate action it knows as detailed in the alternate actions description.

DRAGON TACTICS BY AGE
AgeTactics Known
Wyrmling---
Young---
Juvenile---
Young AdultSnatch, Wing Buffet
AdultDive, Multi-claws, Strafing, Tail Sweep
ElderFlyby Slam, Throw
AncientSustained Breath
WyrmShaped Breath
Great WyrmDeath Breath

BREATH WEAPONS
The dragon's breath weapon is its most iconic and devastating attack. As a dragon ages it learns more ways to use its breath weapon. The Dragon Tactics by Age table indicates when a dragon is able to use the breath weapon options below.
  • Death Breath. When a dragon reduces a creature to 0 hit points with its breath weapon, it dies.
  • Shaped Breath. When a dragon uses its breath weapon, it can mold it to avoid creatures of its choice in area or line of effect. The dragon can exclude a number of targets equal to its Intelligence modifier from taking damage from its breath weapon.
  • Strafing. If a dragon moves in a straight line in the same round that it uses its breath weapon, it can add the movement to the length of its breath weapon. For cone shaped breath weapons, the added length is a line the width of the cone added to the end of the cone.
  • Sustained Breath. The dragon continues using its breath weapon on the turn after it initiated its breath weapon. If it does so, it cannot take any Actions on its turn after sustaining its breath weapon.
DRAGON MANEUVERS
As a dragon ages it learns from its many years of battle and conquest, adding new maneuvers to its arsenal of attacks. The Dragon Tactics by Age table indicates when a dragon is able to choose the attack options below.
  • Throw. Instead of its multiattack action, the dragon makes a bite attack. On a hit, if the target is two size categories smaller than the dragon, the target is also grabbed and thrown 60 feet and knocked prone. If a thrown target strikes a solid surface, the target takes 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it was thrown. If the target is thrown at another creature, that creature must succeed on a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw or take the same damage and be knocked prone.
    • Ancient: Increase the distance a creature is thrown to 80 feet and the save DC to 20.
    • Great Wyrm: Increase the distance a creature is thrown to 100 feet and the save DC to 23.
  • Tail Sweep. Instead of its multiattack action, a dragon can make a Tail Slam attack against each target in a cone the length of its Tail Slam's reach. On a failed save, the target is knocked prone or pushed 10 feet*, the dragon's choice, but not stunned.
    • Ancient: The distance a creature is pushed increases to 20 feet.
    • Great Wyrm: The distance a creature is pushed increases to 40 feet.
DRAGON FLIGHT & MANEUVERS
The flying speed provided in a dragon's stat block describes its typical combat speed. The speed at which it can execute quick turns and combat maneuvers. However, dragons are capable of much greater speeds. All true dragons have the following trait.
  • Overland Flight. When a dragon is not engaged in an encounter and has flown in a straight line for at least 2 rounds, it can move at 10 times its flying speed.
Flying Dragons have a number of tactics available to them they are not available once they have landed. The Dragon Tactics by Age table indicates when a dragon is able to choose one of the aerial maneuver options below.
  • Multi-claws. When a flying dragon takes the multiattack action, it can make four claw attacks instead of two claw and one bite attack, if it is attacking another airborne creature.
  • Crush. An airborne dragon can use an action to land in the space of creatures one size category below its own. The dragon makes one claw attack on each creature in its space. On a hit, the target is also knocked prone and grappled. On a miss, the creature can use a reaction to move to a space adjacent to the dragon. If that target can't use a reaction or doesn't want to move, it is grappled. A target grappled this way is also restrained. A creature is no longer grappeld by the dragon if it moves or makes a claw attack on a different target.
  • Dive. If a dragon flies straight down toward an airborne target for at least 60 feet, it can use an action to make a claw attack on the same turn. On a hit the target takes double damage and must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or be stunned.
    • Ancient: Increase the save DC to 20.
    • Great Wyrm: Increase the save DC to 23.
  • Flyby Slam. If a dragon flies at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then makes a Tail Slam attack, on a hit the attack does double damage and the dragon does not provoke opportunity attacks when it flies out of an enemies reach. Additionally, this attack does quadruple damage to objects and structures.
  • Snatch. If a dragon flies at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then makes a Bite attack, and the target is three size categories smaller than the dragon, the target is also grappled on a hit. A creature grappled this way is also restrained and moves with the dragon. The dragon cannot make claw attacks against a creature it has snatched, in the same turn the creature was snatched.
  • Wing Buffet.If the dragon moves at least 40 feet and comes to a stop on its turn, all attacks against the dragon are at disadvantage, the dragon gains a +5 AC bonus against ranged attacks, and the dragon must land at the end of its turn. If the dragon is within 15 feet of the ground containing loose dirt and debris when it stops, all creatures within 150 feet of the dragon must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be blinded. All effects last until the start of the dragon's next turn.
    • Elder: Increase the distance above the ground to 20 feet, the range to 180 feet, and the save DC to 17.
    • Ancient: Increase the distance above the ground to 25 feet, the range to 210 feet, and the save DC to 19.
    • Wyrm: Increase the distance above the ground to 30 feet, the range to 240 feet, and the save DC to 22.
    • Great Wyrm: Increase the distance above the ground to 40 feet, the range to 270 feet, and the save DC to 25.
 
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dave2008

Legend
Do you have rules or suggestions for scalable Great Wyrms? E.G Great-Great-Great Wyrms?
Above greatwyrm you're in dragon god territory. Dragons that powerful should, IMO, be unique creatures and you can give them stats similar to a deity, archfiend, or other power entity.

As an example, the greatwyrm red is a mythic monster. You can make it more powerful just by giving it more mythic stages, increase its CR, or both. I guess following the pattern I've started:

Greatwrym (mythic)
Minor Dragon god*: higher CR, probably about 27-31 depending on type, (i.e. a CR 31 red should be more powerful than a CR 25 mythic red)
Lesser Dragon god*: higher CR 28-32 + mythic
Intermediate Dragon god*: Higher CR 35-39
Major Dragon god*: Higher CR 36-40 + mythic
Greater Dragon god*: Higher CR 43-47
Great Dragon: Highest CR 47-50 + Mythic

Of course you could use multiple stages of mythic instead.

*dragon gods are not true deities, they are just really old and powerful dragons that rule over their lesser kin, IMO.
 


imeannoharm

Dorkus
I have added the Great Wyrm Red Dragon per @Just Passing Through 's request. I will probably revisit this after I finish the rest of the dragons, but this is a good starting point for what I am thinking about for great wyrm dragons.

Now I really am taking a bit of a break!
Alright, your 15 minutes are over XD
Suggestions for Neutral Evil Archfiends? Starting the General of Gehenna, perhaps seven exarchs, four horsemen, Oinodaemon, etc.
 

Above greatwyrm you're in dragon god territory. Dragons that powerful should, IMO, be unique creatures and you can give them stats similar to a deity, archfiend, or other power entity.

As an example, the greatwyrm red is a mythic monster. You can make it more powerful just by giving it more mythic stages, increase its CR, or both. I guess following the pattern I've started:

Greatwrym (mythic)
Minor Dragon god*: higher CR, probably about 27-31 depending on type, (i.e. a CR 31 red should be more powerful than a CR 25 mythic red)
Lesser Dragon god*: higher CR 28-32 + mythic
Intermediate Dragon god*: Higher CR 35-39
Major Dragon god*: Higher CR 36-40 + mythic
Greater Dragon god*: Higher CR 43-47
Great Dragon: Highest CR 47-50 + Mythic

Of course you could use multiple stages of mythic instead.

*dragon gods are not true deities, they are just really old and powerful dragons that rule over their lesser kin, IMO.

It seems a bit strange to jump from mythic to non mythic with a higher CR, then jump back to mythic again and repeat the pattern. Especially as the bounded accuracy nature of 5e means that increasing CR by just 5 or so levels will probably result in the mythic dragon winning in a fight (doubled hit points will mean that it will likely outlast the non mythic dragon, because 5 CRs does not lead to a very big numbers advantage for the non mythic dragon).

I would probably just go with them being either mythic or non mythic all the way up.

*I am personally not a big fan of this approach, almost every other mortal species has gods specific to that species, and every single edition of dnd since 1e has dragon deities. Dragons and their deities should be special...but I do not think the solution to that should be not having them have deities at all.
 


dave2008

Legend
It seems a bit strange to jump from mythic to non mythic with a higher CR, then jump back to mythic again and repeat the pattern. Especially as the bounded accuracy nature of 5e means that increasing CR by just 5 or so levels will probably result in the mythic dragon winning in a fight (doubled hit points will mean that it will likely outlast the non mythic dragon, because 5 CRs does not lead to a very big numbers advantage for the non mythic dragon).

I would probably just go with them being either mythic or non mythic all the way up.
It is just a thought exercise at this point. The CR jump should 7. So that would leave the higher CR dragon a little stronger than the mythic dragon 7 CR below. Here is a comparison:

Mythic CR 22 dragon:
XP = 82,000 (effective)
HP 490 X 2 = 980 (effective)
DPR = 160

Legendary CR 29 dragon:
XP = 135,000
HP = 805
DPR = 304

The mythic dragon has 22% more HP, but the Legendary dragon has 90% more DPR. The thought was to spend that DPR budget to give the higher CR dragon slighly more HP and higher AC then the mythic version, along with better attack bonuses. I haven't tried it yet so I don't know if it works. I was just a quick thought experiment to provide a different type of advancement. The easier thing to do is just increase CR or mythic stages, but I like to try new things out and see what works.
*I am personally not a big fan of this approach, almost every other mortal species has gods specific to that species, and every single edition of dnd since 1e has dragon deities. Dragons and their deities should be special...but I do not think the solution to that should be not having them have deities at all.
That is fine. Everyone has there thing. However, this is indead how dragons were potrayed in basic D&D (BECMI) from 1983 - 1994. There were the dragon "rulers" and the Great Dragon. They had abilities like gods ("Immortals" in BECMI), but they were a separate thing. Now some gods / immortals took the shape of a dragon, but they were gods, not true dragons. Just wanted to clarify that I that my choice stems from nostalgia for the D&D I grew up with, not some made up whimsy. FYI, It is also reminiscent of many Asian mythologies with power dragon rulers who are god-like, but not actually gods.
 

dave2008

Legend
Alright, your 15 minutes are over XD
Suggestions for Neutral Evil Archfiends? Starting the General of Gehenna, perhaps seven exarchs, four horsemen, Oinodaemon, etc.
Absolutely, I am always interested in the daemon/yugoloth lords. Personally I prefer the "General of Gehenna" to be mirage created either by the Oinodaemon or the hags (can't remember what they are called) to create confusion, stress, fear, etc. There is no "General of Gehenna," it is just the Oinodaemon by another name, at least that is my thought.

PS I am a big believer in Anthraxus ;)
 
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Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
I really like Demogorgon at mythic CR28ish and Tiamat (the uber dragon) being CR30ish. Closer to WotC, not just bigger numbers and actually sort of fightable for 20th lvl tricked out parties with some boons.
A bit concerned with 'regular' dragons going so high, not too mention Amman, who is not even that big a player. IMO it's more difficult to make great difficult monsters in the late CR twenties or so, than just adding bigger and bigger numbers.
Not trying to rain on any parades, just some input for thought.
 

dave2008

Legend
@Just Passing Through:
After reviewing my idea I tend to agree that flip-flopping back and forth between legendary and mythic is not the nest way. I think I will probably just go with once dragons hit mythic, the just increase in CR as they get more powerful (higher CR mythic versions).

So to revise my chart:
Greatwrym (mythic) CR 21-25
Minor Dragon god: (mythic) CR 26-30
Lesser Dragon god: (mythic) CR 31-35
Intermediate Dragon god: (mythic) CR 36-40
Major Dragon god: (mythic) CR 41-45
Great Dragon: (mythic) CR 50
 
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