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5E D&D Gem Dragons Are Officially Back

So if you're (not) like me and you don't have the time or patience to watch Spoilers & Swag, you may have missed this awesome reveal... Gem Dragons are back! And I don't just mean back in a third-party book like Matt Colville's Strongholds and Followers (great book, check it out), I mean back officially for D&D 5e.

In case you don't know, Gem Dragons are the third-wheel of dragonkind... they are not Good (Metallic) or Evil (Chromatic), they are Neutral. This makes them easily overlooked in the struggle of good vs. evil, but they've popped up here and there in previous editions.

But it looks like Gem Dragons have returned, first to promote the sale of a very expensive sapphire dice set. This little paper fold-out is included (screenshots below), complete with lore for gem dragons and a statblock for the Adult Sapphire Dragon specifically.

Of course, if you don't want to buy a pricey set of dice for a statblock... you're in luck, as Nathan Stewart reveals that everybody else will get access to it "early in 2020, where we [WotC] will have some fun ways to get that out there." So it looks like some product will be released including the Neutral Dragons, a new adventure or maybe a new monster book!

Feel free to speculate, here's the images;

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Comments

Gem dragons in their previous incarnations have felt a little bit "grid-filling" to me. Their identities and personalities haven't really stuck with me the same way as their cousins': I can tell you off the top of my head what's the deal with all of the Big Ten and even a lot of the spinoff metallics and chromatics, but I'm drawing a blank on what any of the gem dragons are all about besides "They're neutral and psionic". Maybe it's harder to write compelling behavioral hooks for the neutral alignments. And maybe it's just less exposure, since they're never in the MM1. Regardless, I'm eager to see if a fresh attempt at them can spice them up a bit.
 

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I've never used any of the true dragons except the Chromatics. And at this point, I know I've had white, black, green, and blue, but I'm not sure that I've ever used the iconic red dragon in a combat. (I've fought one as a PC, but that's a different matter.)

I suspect that all the monsters I've ever actually used in a session in 30+ years of gaming would fit in at most a single monster manual, and all the monsters I've ever placed (but didn't use because the party went "left" instead of "right") would fill at most a second one. And a good portion of both books would be homebrew.

I say all of that as a preface to my question, "Am I really wierd?" I mean, do lots of DMs out there really feel the need for gem dragons? Do gem dragons show up a bunch in your games, and if so what are they doing? And do most DMs go through far more many different monsters than I do?
I've used gem dragons in both 2e and 3e campaigns. The sapphire and emerald dragons in particular will throw off genre savvy players when you tell them they are seeing a blue or green colored dragon...
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Do gem dragons show up a bunch in your games
In my 3.5 games they did, yes. Because I love psionics in the FR, so I did a lot of stuff with the Jhaamdath empire and psionics and therefore Gem dragons.

With the almost complete lack of psionics in 5e, and only 3PP support, I haven’t done much with them.

As to the quantity of different monsters... most I use more just because of random encounter tables.
 

PsyzhranV2

Adventurer
I've never used any of the true dragons except the Chromatics. And at this point, I know I've had white, black, green, and blue, but I'm not sure that I've ever used the iconic red dragon in a combat. (I've fought one as a PC, but that's a different matter.)

I suspect that all the monsters I've ever actually used in a session in 30+ years of gaming would fit in at most a single monster manual, and all the monsters I've ever placed (but didn't use because the party went "left" instead of "right") would fill at most a second one. And a good portion of both books would be homebrew.

I say all of that as a preface to my question, "Am I really wierd?" I mean, do lots of DMs out there really feel the need for gem dragons? Do gem dragons show up a bunch in your games, and if so what are they doing? And do most DMs go through far more many different monsters than I do?
I guess the adage of "better to have and not need than to need and not have" applies here ¯\(ツ)
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
I say all of that as a preface to my question, "Am I really wierd?" I mean, do lots of DMs out there really feel the need for gem dragons? Do gem dragons show up a bunch in your games, and if so what are they doing? And do most DMs go through far more many different monsters than I do?
I wouldn't say I need gem dragons, but I don't find any problem with having dragons that are more neutral. I find neutral monsters make very good quest-giving NPCs and more enigmatic villains, pursuing goals that are more nuanced that make the PCs make more difficult choices.
 

I wonder about we will see gem dragonborns. I would like dragonborn subraces with all dragon species.

Please, if there is a future Draconomicon for 5th I would rather true dragons, those species with age categories (planar, fiendish, lungs, sun,stellar, moon.. even the spider-dragon from Dragonlance) and not drakes, boring winged dinosaurs.

Do you know Chris Perkins homegron world Iomandra? It is like a reboot of "Council of Wyrms". I imagine that planet and crystal sphere as a space where all dragons (even the forgotten cobra dragon) can visit.
 


Nebulous

Legend
I say all of that as a preface to my question, "Am I really wierd?" I mean, do lots of DMs out there really feel the need for gem dragons? Do gem dragons show up a bunch in your games, and if so what are they doing? And do most DMs go through far more many different monsters than I do?
I don't think they get used that often. Most DMs (I'm assuming) use chromatic dragons to fight, with the occasional good metallic dragon thrown in as an NPC. Maybe when you get to the mid-teens then dragons pop up more, but I don't play that high a level. That said, I wouldn't mind seeing some gem dragons and swap them out for a chromatic or good dragon. Or, you could have a whole setting with just gem dragons. Were they a part of Dark Sun with the psionics angle? I can't remember.
 


Yaarel

Adventurer
Maybe each gem dragon color can focus on a specific psionic theme.

• telepathy, mind affecting, enchantment
• telekinesis, force affecting, fly (make wingless but flying telekinetically), force constructs
• prescience, foretelling, clairvoyant scrying, knowledge, luck
• shapeshifting, psychometabolism, healing
• teleportation, outofbody projection, planar travel, a special blend of the preceding four themes

The telepathy theme is more about mind versus mind, while the other themes are more about mind versus matter. In some sense, all themes dabble in outofbody projection in the sense of extending the mental influence beyond ones own brain.
 
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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Maybe each gem dragon color can focus on a specific psionic theme.

• telepathy, mind affecting, enchantment
• telekinesis, force affecting, fly (make wingless but flying telekinetically), force constructs
• prescience, foretelling, clairvoyant scrying, knowledge, luck
• shapeshifting, psychometabolism, healing
• teleportation, outofbody projection, planar travel, a special blend of the preceding four themes

The telepathy theme is more about mind versus mind, while the other themes are more about mind versus matter.
This is what I could find on the five types;

  • Amethyst: psychokinesis and psychometabolism
  • Crystal: clairsentience
  • Emerald: telepathy and clairstentience
  • Sapphire: clairsentience, psychokinesis and psychoportation
  • Topaz: ?

Obsidian are the sixth exiled type (they're neutral evil): telepathy and pyrokinesis
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
This is what I could find on the five types;

  • Amethyst: psychokinesis and psychometabolism
  • Crystal: clairsentience
  • Emerald: telepathy and clairstentience
  • Sapphire: clairsentience, psychokinesis and psychoportation
  • Topaz: ?

Obsidian are the sixth exiled type (they're neutral evil): telepathy and pyrokinesis
Sweet.

I would make psychokinesis its own special force-affecting theme.

Make obsidian unaligned, an amoral force of nature, rather than evil.




So, something like:
• Amethyst (body affecting, psychometabolism, shapeshifting, healing)
• Emerald (mind affecting, telepathy, phantasm, charm, frighten)
• Sapphire (force affecting, psychokinesis, fly, force constructs)
• Topaz (space affecting, psychoportation, outofbody projection, teleportation, conjuration, planar travel)
• Crystal (time affecting, clairsentience, prescience, knowledge, foretelling, luck)

• Ruby? (elementalism, earth-fire forging, air-water weather, ether)

• Obsidian ... (antimagic negation?) or (any theme?) or (elementalism?)
 
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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Sweet.

I would make psychokinesis its own special force-affecting theme.

Make obsidian unaligned, an amoral force of nature, rather than evil.




So, something like:
• Amethyst (body affecting, psychometabolism, shapeshifting, healing)
• Emerald (mind affecting, telepathy, phantasm, charm, frighten)
• Sapphire (force affecting, psychokinesis, fly, force constructs)
• Topaz (space affecting, psychoportation, outofbody projection, teleportation, conjuration, planar travel)
• Crystal (prescience, clairsentience, knowledge, foretelling, luck)

• Ruby? (elementalism, earth-fire forging, air-water weather, ether)

• Obsidian ... (antimagic negation?) or (any theme?) or (elementalism?)
I'll just add that there is only one Ruby dragon, the god of gem dragons Sardior.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Gem dragons in their previous incarnations have felt a little bit "grid-filling" to me. Their identities and personalities haven't really stuck with me the same way as their cousins': I can tell you off the top of my head what's the deal with all of the Big Ten and even a lot of the spinoff metallics and chromatics, but I'm drawing a blank on what any of the gem dragons are all about besides "They're neutral and psionic". Maybe it's harder to write compelling behavioral hooks for the neutral alignments. And maybe it's just less exposure, since they're never in the MM1. Regardless, I'm eager to see if a fresh attempt at them can spice them up a bit.
I doubt they get used often, but a lot of DMs just like reading the lore and the stat blocks.
 

DragonBelow

Adventurer
It's kind of hard to justify a fight with a Gold Dragon, but that would be an amazing fight to imagine. How it twists and turns in the sky, wrapping around the party to come at them from the front with it's head and the back with it's tail.
I did this in my 18th level 5e game. The dragon (actually a simulacrum of a gold dragon, yeah sue me) is the guardian of some ruins, the original dragon (which created the simulacrum) died of old age waiting to be relieved of his duties, and the simulacrum survived because it doesn't age and was left to continue its last command. The simulacrum has instructions to let any visitors through if they know a pass phrase (they don't) and thus they have to fight him. Simple :D
 
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Aebir-Toril

Creator of the Elfgrinder Mech
Even though I find Gem Dragons to be a mere grid-filling type of dragons, made to fit inside of the D&D alignment system, I guess this is exciting for people who love them.

This gives us even more evidence that 5e could be a perfect evergreen edition, as WotC continues to play both to nostalgia and to new players.

Given the fact that their new player demographic may or may not want to invest in a new edition after 5th, I believe that it will be many, many years before we see a 6th edition, 5 at the absolute least.
 

Parmandur

Legend
In Volo's Guide to Monsters, they mentioned they wanted to do further similar monster books, and mentioned four monster types they were interested in exploring: Fiends, Dragons, Gith and Undead.

Two years later, they did Fiends and Gith in Mordenkein's Tome of Foes. Two years later, another follow-up doing a thorough look at Dragons at least (Dragonborn, possibly) seems likely.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
In Volo's Guide to Monsters, they mentioned they wanted to do further similar monster books, and mentioned four monster types they were interested in exploring: Fiends, Dragons, Gith and Undead.

Two years later, they did Fiends and Gith in Mordenkein's Tome of Foes. Two years later, another follow-up doing a thorough look at Dragons at least (Dragonborn, possibly) seems likely.
I don't know if you could make a whole 5e book entirely centered around new dragon monsters... Volo's added monsters from all sorts of categories, and Mordenkainen's added devils, demons, Gith and more.

That said I definitely think a new monster book is possible, I just doubt it'd be dragon specific.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I don't know if you could make a whole 5e book entirely centered around new dragon monsters... Volo's added monsters from all sorts of categories, and Mordenkainen's added devils, demons, Gith and more.

That said I definitely think a new monster book is possible, I just doubt it'd be dragon specific.
I don't know if I would fully wager on a Dragons only book...but given the history of the game, there is certainly enough Dragon material for a full book, and it certainly looks like they've tipped their cards for a Dragon heavy book.
 

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