Converting True Dragons

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Monster Junkie
Crystal Drake
FREQUENCY: Very rare
MOVE: 9./18. (MC: A)
HIT DICE: See Table 1
% IN LAIR: 20%
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 bite and 2 claws
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Minor breath weapon, up to major spell use
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Spell immunities, magic resistance, high intelligence, ethereal travel, special minor powers from eating gems, up to major spell use
ALIGNMENT. Chaotic good
SIZE: S (see Table 1)
Speaking: 90%
Magic use: 50%
Sleeping: 30%
LEVEL/XP VALUE: Up to VI/775 + 6 per hit point (maximum age and abilities)

This nomadic offshoot of the faerie dragon prefers caves and caverns in uncivilized deserts for its lairs, but lone wanderers may be found in any clime, especially near gem deposits. Some clans led by ancient crystal drakes have found their ways into the plane of elemental Earth, where they seek gems.

Crystal drakes are noted for their scintillating, crystal-like hides, and some unscrupulous hunters trap and kill these wondrous creatures to gain their skins. Crystal drake hides are popular in many lands and make beautiful leather apparel that flashes and sparkles in the light. Even lands that have outlawed the sale of crystal drake hides usually have buyers for these illegal goods. An unmarred hide from a mature, adult crystal drake brings as much as 1,000 gp. The crystal drake’s hide is the prime component of a robe of scintillating colors, but such hides must be specially gathered and treated to be used for this purpose. The same hide that causes these miniature dragons to be hunted also gives them an unusually low armor class and immunity to many spells.

Though crystal drakes enjoy a good joke, they play their tricks only when they will not bring attention to their lairs. They often spy upon a passing group of intelligent creatures known to be carrying gems; if they satisfy themselves that the creatures are safe to trade with, these drakes might offer to trade gold and other items for jewels. This trading always takes place some distance from their lairs, as crystal drakes have learned to be very wary of travelers--even friendly ones.

Crystal drakes can spit acid four times a day. They expel this acid with great force and accuracy (gaining a +4 to hit). This acid does double damage against creatures or objects composed of earth, stone, or crystal (see Table 1).

All ancient crystal drakes are known to have the ability to go ethereal once per week, and they have the ability to transport up to four of their clan members with them. These ancient drakes often use this ability to travel to and forage on the plane of elemental Earth, as well as to escape capture or worse.

Because of the nature of crystal-drake hides and their inherent magical abilities, some spells behave in an odd manner when used against such a creature. Color spray, energy drain, hypnotic pattern, lightning and other electrical attacks like shocking grasp, and sunray spells are instantly reflected back upon the caster. Magic missiles are reflected back to the caster only if the drake makes a saving throw vs. wands, harming the drake if the saving throw is failed. Eyebite, prismatic sphere, prismatic spray, prismatic wall, and rainbow pattern spells have no effect on the drakes. Light and continual light spells cannot blind them—however, these latter two spells, if successfully cast on a crystal drake, blind anyone within 20’ who fails a saving throw vs. spells. This blindness lasts 2-12 rounds.

Only 50% of all crystal drakes have the ability to cast spells throughout their lives. Fully 50% of these spell-casters choose to cast wizard spells; 20% become shamans of their lairs and have both cleric and illusionist spells, like a multiclassed character. Another 15% cast only illusionist spells, and 15% cast only druid spells. As they progress in age, their spellcasting abilities increase, as shown in Table 2. Old crystal drakes that have no previous spell-casting talents always develop the ability to cast cleric spells as a lst-level cleric. They gain one additional level of spell-casting ability with each following age level, becoming 3rd-level clerics at ancient age. Most spell-casting powers are taught by the elders of each group of crystal drakes, through a teaching process that involves no writing or spell books. Cleric and druid spells, however, appear to be granted by an unknown power perhaps a demigod.

Crystal drakes are very fond of jewels, gems, and crystals. They each have two cheek pouches, much like hamsters, in which they can store up to four gems. Their senses of smell and taste are very keen, and they can actually sense the presence of precious stones within 10’. Indeed, crystals, gems, and jewels are a necessary part of a crystal drake’s diet. Each drake must consume at least 5 gp of gems per week, or its hide loses its crystalline sheen and the powers associated with it. A crystal drake loses one point of armor class per week without the diet of gems, down to a minimum of AC 5. Once its proper diet is reestablished, it gains its armor class back at the same rate. For each week without a gem diet, there is a cumulative 25% chance that its spellreflecting power will not function. After one month without eating the required amount of gemstones, the crystal drake’s immunity to the spells given above is lost, and its hide becomes a dull gray. Even if the specific spell immunity is lost, the crystal drake still retains its natural resistance to magic.

Ingesting certain gemstones has strange effects upon crystal drakes. They are aware of these effects and often carry some of these gems in their mouth pouches for emergencies. For a gemstone to affect a crystal drake, a minimum amount of that particular gem must be consumed. These gems and effects are given in Table 3. Only one of these gem effects can be in effect at one time. If a new gem is ingested before the effects of the last gem is over, the prior effects are lost.

Crystal drakes speak their own language, their alignment tongue, and 1-4 other languages, as chosen by the DM.

Table 1 Crystal Drakes’ Statistics
Age Length HD Bite Claw Breath AC
Very young 1’ ½ 1 0 0 7
Young 1’6” 1 1-2 0 1 6
Sub-adult 1’9” 1+3 1-3 0 1-2 5
Young adult 2’ 2 1-4 1 1-3 4
Adult 2’3” 3 1-6 1 1-4 3
Old 2’6” 4 l-6 l-2 l-6 2
Very old 2’6” 5 2-8 l-3 2-8 1
Ancient 2’6” 5 + 3 2-8 l-4 2-8 0

Table 2 Crystal Drakes’ Spell Abilities
Age MR Wizard Cleric Druid Illusionist
Very young 5% 0 0 0 0
Young 10% * ** *** ****
Sub-adult 12% 1 1 1 1
Young adult 15% 2 2 2 2
Adult 20% 3 3 3 3
Old 25% 4 4 4 4
Very old 30% 5 5 5 5
Ancient 35% 6 6 6 6
* At this age, the crystal drake may use four magic-user (wizard) cantrips, as per Unearthed Arcana.
* * At this age, the crystal drake may use four clerics’ orisons, as per DRAGON® issue #108, “Cantrips for Clerics.”
* * * At this age, the crystal drake may use four druidical orisons, as per DRAGON issue #108, “Cantrips for Clerics,”
and issue #119, “Cantrips for Druids—Naturally.”
* * * * At this age, the crystal drake may use four illusionist cantrips, as per Unearthed Arcana.
Note: All crystal drakes of sub-adult age or older are able to substitute four cantrips or orisons in place of a first level spell.

Table 3 Crystal Drakes' Special Gem Powers
Gemstone type Min. gp value consumed Effect and duration
Alexandrite 100 Adds +2 to saving throws for one turn
Amber 100 Grants immunity to disease for 3 rounds, or cures same
Amethyst 100 Grants immunity to paralysis and poison for 1 turn, or cures same
Beryl 100 Improves armor class by two steps for 1 turn
Carbuncle 100 Allows use of polymorph self into dragon form 10 X larger in size, once per week
Chrysoprase 100 Grants improved invisibility (as per the illusionist spell) for 2-8 rounds
Coral 100 Grants immunity to insanity for 10 turns, or cures same
Hematite 10 Heals 1-4 hp damage, up to four times per day
Jacinth 250 Grants a + 1 on all saving throws and armor class for 2-8 hours
Jasper 50 Grants +4 to saving throws vs. poison for 1 turn, or allows for a new saving throw at + 4 if consumed after eater was poisoned
Lapis lazuli 50 Adds + 1 to to-hit scores for 1 turn
Peridot 250 Adds +4 to all saving throws for 1 turn
Ruby 100 Adds + 2 to saving throws, and acts as a luckstone, for 1 turn
Sapphire 250 Allows the casting of known spells only as if one level higher, only once per day
Topaz 250 Creates a minor globe of invulnerability around the eater for 1 turn
Note: See the 1st Edition Dungeon Masters Guide, pages 26-27, for the possible effects of other consumed gems.


Monster Junkie
Summarizing from original thread...

So we're gonna make this psionic; it has a hide that reflects certain effects that's vaguely reminiscent of the prismasaurus; and gems have weird effect on it. Flavor is strongly psionic for me.

As for their reflective spell immunity, how about just say they're immune to light-based spells (colour spray, prismatic sphere, light et cetera) and such spells cause it to flash brightly on impact, causing blindness to all within 20 feet who fail to save against the spell's DC, said blindness lasting 1 round per spell level?

I'd drop the reflecting magic missiles bit, since I don't see why it should work on force effects.

They should probably be immune to supernatural and spell-based blindness, too.

That's an idea about the reflection, Cleon, though I want to think more about it.

Let's start with the simple stuff. Rather than a breath weapon, the original text says they spit acid 4/day. Switch to a line of acid?

Speaking of breath weapons, I just noticed that the demon drake always has a 15ft cone, even though its size advances from T to S. Is that what we wanted to do?

Didn't notice that about the demon drake. 15-20 ft then?

Not all the familiar drakes have to have breath weapons, if we want them to stand out a crystal drake can have spit instead like the ankheg.

Eh? An ankheg spits acid as a 30 ft line attack, so it just seems to be quibbling about a name. Besides, the Crystal Drake's AD&D stats have "Minor breath weapon" right there in SPECIAL ATTACKS, so I think we should just call a spade a spade and make it a breath weapon.

15 foot line works fine for me. We may up it to 20 foot for the larger ones.

Which leads us to the question of how big they are. Going by the lengths age categories 1-3 or 1-4 are Tiny (length 1' to 1'9" or 2'), but the bigger ones may be Small, since they're over 2 foot long.

So, shall we say Very Young to Young Adult are Tiny, Adult to Ancient are Small?

Yeah, I think the breath weapon sizes should be as usual for true dragons.

So, are we agreed that the crystal drakes have a line of acid regular breath weapon?

For the demon drake, the last few age categories bumped up to Small (I haven't gone back and checked the faerie drake), so we can do that here, too.

Agreed to all that. An advantage of keeping the acid as a "breath weapon" is that it allows the drake to take some of the cool feats in the Draconomicon. :)

I need to dig through the thread and find where we determined the manifester level and if we determined ability score progression.

And looking through the original thread, it appears the manifester level progression should be 0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5 (the same as the sorcerer progression of the others).
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Extradimensional Explorer
Yup, that's the ML progression. I seem to recall an ability progression, but I don't know what it was. The faerie and demon drake homebrews pages might help, though.


Monster Junkie
I can't seem to find an ability progression suggestion for the crystal drake, but comparing it to the others:

Int: Low to High
Demon Drake: Average to high
Faerie Drake: Low to average

So that would place it between the two in mental score progression.

AC: 2
Demon Drake: 5
Faerie Drake: 4

That could grant it higher Dex, but most likely it's just better natural armor due to its crystal hide.

It's bite and claw damage progresses faster than the demon drake, so it might be stronger.

For comparison, here are the other two writeups:
Faerie Drake
Demon Drake


I can't seem to find an ability progression suggestion for the crystal drake, but comparing it to the others:

Int: Low to High
Demon Drake: Average to high
Faerie Drake: Low to average

How about giving it the same Int progression as the Faerie Dragon, but bumping its Cha progression by one?

Wyrmling Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 11
Very Young Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 13
Young Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 13
Young Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 15
Ancient Int 18, Wis 19, Cha 21
Wyrm Int 18, Wis 21, Cha 21
Great Wyrm Int 20, Wis 21, Cha 23

I'd think giving it a higher natural armour and possibly a deflection bonus would be the way to go for its AC. Leave Dex around the same as the other Drakes.


That all sounds reasonable.

OK, shall we try to put some numbers to them then?

I'm thinking we could give them physical stats similar to a Demon Drake and mental stats as previously described, with an AC 2 points better than a Demon Drake, with the difference split between deflection and NA, with the odd points going to deflection.

That means the ability scores would go something like:

Wyrmling--- (T) Str 11, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 11
Very Young-
(T) Str 11, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 13
(T) Str 11, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 13
(T) Str 13, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 15
Young Adult
(T) Str 13, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 15
Adult----- (Sm) Str 15, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 17
---- (Sm) Str 15, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 17, Cha 17
(Sm) Str 15, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 17, Cha 19
Very Old
-- (Sm) Str 15, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 19, Cha 19
(Sm) Str 15, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 19, Cha 21
(Sm) Str 15, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 18, Wis 21, Cha 21
Great Wyrm-(Sm) Str 15, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 18, Wis 21, Cha 23

And the size/AC progression would go something like:

Wyrmling-- (Tiny) AC 18 (size +2, deflection +1, Dex +4, NA+1)
Very Young
(Tiny) AC 18 (size +2, deflection +1, Dex +4, NA+1)
(Tiny) AC 19 (size +2, deflection +2, Dex +4, NA+1)
(Tiny) AC 19 (size +2, deflection +2, Dex +4, NA+1)
Young Adult
(Tiny) AC 19 (size +2, deflection +2, Dex +4, NA+1)
Adult---- (Small) AC 19 (size +1, deflection +3, Dex +3, NA+2)
--- (Small) AC 20 (size +1, deflection +3, Dex +3, NA+3)
(Small) AC 20 (size +1, deflection +3, Dex +3, NA+3)
Very Old
- (Small) AC 21 (size +1, deflection +4, Dex +3, NA+3)
(Small) AC 21 (size +1, deflection +4, Dex +3, NA+3)
(Small) AC 22 (size +1, deflection +4, Dex +3, NA+4)
Great Wyrm(Small) AC 22 (size +1, deflection +4, Dex +3, NA+4)

That doesn't look to bad to me.


Hmmm, if it's an innate 1st-level psion at young and juvenile ages it needs a minimum Int of 11 to manifest its 1st-level powers, so adding +1 Int per age (making all scores odd) is needed I think.

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