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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

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Catastrophe Dragons

  • Avalanche: The elementals of 4th edition were not as clear-cut as those of the Great Wheel. Thus, the existence of the Avalanche Dragons, born of equal parts dragon, earth and air. These dragons have are among the more "ambiguously featured" Catastrophics, appearing more as a draconic outline within a fast-descending cloud of dust and flying boulders than as anything as solid as their Earthquake Dragon cousins. The dragons who became the children of the avalanche were a unique splinter-faction of those dragons disheartened by Io's death. Implicitly driven insane by the experience, they came to despise death itself, and during their wanderings, they fell into the company of Athuam the Falling Sky. Having himself recently been bested by Nerull, the Primordial saw useful tools in these pitiful wretches, and filled their heads with the idea that if death itself could be destroyed, than that would revive Io. Feasting on Athuam's muddy blood, the transformed Avalanche Dragons swore to destroy Nerull. Though most of them perished or were imprisoned alongside Athuam when they fought Nerull in Pluton, enough escaped to propagate the breed. It perhaps goes without saying that Avalanche Dragons have developed a deep, abiding, near-instinctual hatred for undead and the necromancers who create them.
  • Blizzard: The dragons that became the Blizzard Dragons sought the aid of Umboras, Lord of the Rimefire. Imprisoning them in icy tombs in the deepest, coldest parts of the Elemental Chaos, Umboras held them in thrall for a year and a day, finally allowing them to claw their way free transformed into creatures as cold as himself. The Blizzard Dragons served their master loyally, until the Raven Queen claimed the mantle of Goddes of Winter from Khala. Incensed that a mortal-turned-goddess was daring to claim dominion over what he saw as his own possession, Umboras led them in an assault on Letherna, only to be duped and led by the Raven Queen to Pandemonium. There, she seperated him from his draconic allies and ultimately imprisoned him. Whilst some Blizzard Dragons still search the endless wind-chilled tunnels of Pandemonium for their master, most have scattered across the planes. They are surprisingly common in the Feywild, where they are often allies of convenience with fey of the Winter Court. In fact, Blizzard Dragons are actually amongst the most sociable of their kind, and readily form alliances with those whose hearts are similarly cold and tyrannical.
  • Earthquake: The Earthquake Dragon is a predator of cities, favoring going after urban environments. They pick off mortals for sport and food, causing subsidences and collapses, before ultimately rising for the feast and devastating the entire city with their command over earth and stone. They like to lounge around in the ruins for a while, but inevitably they grow bored and move on, seeking a new city to crush to the ground. Earthquake Dragons sought aid from the Primordial Balcoth, also known as the Groaning King, master of stone and magma. The titanic lava-creature responded by devouring his supplicants whole, vomiting forth those who remained loyal after they finished petrifying in the burning furnace of his stomach, with the remainders escaping after Bane chopped off his head.
  • Tornado: The supreme aerial predators of dragon-kind, Tornado Dragons descend from renegade dragons who made the mistake of falling into the clutches of Yan-C-Bin, who manipulated and dominated them until they became creatures of living storm-cloud, weapons he hoped to use to defeat his foes and free his master, Mual-Tar the Thunder Serpent. That plan was ended when a mighty horde of metallic dragons, led by Bahamut and his seven exarches, shattered Yan-C-Bin's army and scattered its survivors across the wilderness regions of the world.
  • Typhoon: Unique amongst their kin, Typhoon Dragons are born of elemental water and lightning, taking the form of dragon-shaped waves of water, surrounded by storm clouds and violent winds. Unlike most Catastrophic Dragons, these ones did not deliberately seek out the allegiance of a Primordial - at least, not at first. Initially, these dragons were renegades, who claimed dominion over the oceans and attacked whoever they saw fit, reveling in the freedom they felt after the death of their creator. When Melora began to exert dominance over the ocean, they panicked and sought power to repel her. One Primordial, Solkara the Crushing Wave, took advantage of them; she dragged them beneath the waves, until even draconic flesh and bone were crushed to powder, then hurled their souls aloft to catch in the storm-wracked skies above the seas.
  • Volcanic: Even amongst the Catastropic Dragons, Volcanic Dragons are considered some of the nastiest. Foul-tempered, cruel, hateful and ambitious, they share an appetite for destruction equal to that of the Earthquake Dragons, and although they try to come up with excuses of pursuing loftier goals, in the end, it all boils down to one truth: All things burn. And nothing burns more sweetly than flesh.
  • Wildfire: In a way, Wildfire Dragons may be the most pitiable of their kind, for they did not seek to become what they are now. When Io perished, many Red and Gold Dragons flew into an insane rage and pursued Erek-Hus in vengeance. Afraid that these powerful, fiery drakes would eventually be the end of him, Erek-Hus forged an allegiance with Imix, who had long yearned for authority over all dragons of flame. Blinded by their hate, the vengeful dragons followed Erek-Hus into a portal to Imix's realm. Trapped there, the Fire Lord turned their own fire against them, burning away their flesh until only serpentine forms of smoke, cinder and flame remained. However, even this could not bend them to his will, and so the outraged Imix flung them back into the mortal world.
I’m going to stop putting in descriptions of dragons BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY. Like this is insane.

3e Planar Dragons: Adamantite, Arboreal, Astral, Axial, Battle, Beast, Chaos, Chole, Concordant, Elysian, Ethereal, Gloom, Hellfire Wyrm, Howling, Oceanus, Pyroclastic, Radiant, Rust, Styx, Tarterian.

4e Planar Dragons: Abyssal, Astral, Elemental, Feywild, Shadowfell.

Oriental: Yu Lung (Carp Dragon), Li Lung (Earth Dragon), Lung Wang (Sea Dragon), Shen Lung (Spirit Dragon), Pan Lung (Coiled Dragon), T'ien Lung (Celestial Dragon), Chiang Lung (River Dragon), Tun Mi Lung (Typhoon Dragon).

Dragonets: Firedrake, Crow’s Nest, Geyser, Mole, Pavilion

Linnorm: Corpse Tearer Linnorm, Dread Linnorm, Flame Linnorm, Forest Linnorm, Frost Linnorm, Gray Linnorm, Land Linnorm, Midgard Linnorm, Rain Linnorm, Sea Linnorm

Song Dragons, or Weredragons

Epic Dragons: Force, Prismatic, Time.
 

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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
After listing out all the types of dragons, I can say this; there are definitely enough types to make up a solo monster book.

I'll also say this; I extremely hope that it is not a "dragons only" book. Listing out all the dragons has made me realize that there is definitely too much of a good thing here, that having so many different angles on the same type makes it more like a gimmick.

I very much prefer the idea of drip-feeding different types of dragons throughout products so that each new type has its time in the sun to shine. Lumping them all together makes them appear very same-y. My opinion, no one take offense.
 

After listing out all the types of dragons, I can say this; there are definitely enough types to make up a solo monster book.

I'll also say this; I extremely hope that it is not a "dragons only" book. Listing out all the dragons has made me realize that there is definitely too much of a good thing here, that having so many different angles on the same type makes it more like a gimmick.

I very much prefer the idea of drip-feeding different types of dragons throughout products so that each new type has its time in the sun to shine. Lumping them all together makes them appear very same-y. My opinion, no one take offense.
Well, there's already been one dragon that's appeared in a 5e release (DotMM) that isn't metallic, chromatic, or even gem. I won't go into detail for spoilers sake, but basically the text just says use one of the standard dragons with a list of changes. It would be nice to see it fully statted out though.

But I do agree with you, beyond a certain point, adding new dragon types just starts to get redundant, and just becomes creating dragons for the sake of creating them.
 

fobia

Villager
But I do agree with you, beyond a certain point, adding new dragon types just starts to get redundant, and just becomes creating dragons for the sake of creating them.
Yup.
I feel the same about elves, like Yaarel mentioned.
Also a reason why Dragonborns exist only as NPCs in our groups version of the FR.
 

dave2008

Legend
Well, they weren't in the 1st edition monster manual... I checked. I don't consider dragon magazine to be official content for an edition.
Yes, and he/she mentioned that in 1st edition they were introduced in a Dragon article. I was just pointing out that the statement you quoted included 2nd edition, so your statement stating they were in 2nd edition was redundant. That's all. There was no need for me to comment really, my apologies.
 

dave2008

Legend
Yeah, that is why I like the suffix ‘-esque’. Super handy!
I think inspired by is a more accurate reflection personally.

Even so, it is better to avoid a reallife name, such as a specific ethnic group or region of ethnic groups, unless the D&D version is accurate according to reallife traditions − at least to reasonable degree.
The issue is what is a reasonable degree. Personally I have no issue fictional references to real-life myths, religions, and peoples. However, I do realize not everyone is as tolerant or thick skinned as I am and that these things should be handled delicately.
 

dave2008

Legend
Just for kicks I'm going to list every dragon not in 5e. Starting with the Chromatic/Metallic. Source is 1d4chan, opinions not my own.

  • Gray: Gray Dragons didn't exist until 4th edition adapted them from the minor "outcast" dragons of Faerun known as Fang Dragons, giving them caustic, petrifying slime as a breath weapon, petrifying claw and bite attacks, and an obsession with hunting. Prior to that, the only claimant to the name "Gray Dragon" was a breed of linnorm.
My recollection is that gray dragons previously existed as "Fang" dragons. The Forgotten Realms wiki agrees:

"Fang dragons were first encountered in the ruins of Myth Drannor, which has led to speculation that they were connected to the demonic inhabitants that resided there after its fall. They could also be found, as of 1372 DR, in the Starwood in Cormanthor, the Border Forest, Spiderhaunt Woods, and other forest areas of the Dalelands, the Moonsea and Sembia.[5]

At some point, the goddess Tiamat chose to subject fang dragon eggs to a ritual that "improved" the hatchlings by giving them a breath weapon. After that point they were known almost solely as "gray dragons." She charged all gray dragons with purifying the species by killing any known fang dragons
"
 

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.
They could also expand draconic sorcerers.
 


gyor

Legend
I honestly can see a Bestiary the size of Mordenkein's or Volo's just covering the various Dragons and similar creatures, if all of these guys get MM like write-ups. And then add in chapters diving deep into the iconic ten from the MM, with random charts, lairs and other fun...solid book potential.

Heck, throw on some Council if Worms Shenanigans for the heck of it...
There is more then enough material for a book just on Dragons, but we book know that is not WotCs style anymore, it will be one chapter on Dragons at most and maybe a few types of Dragons in the Beastairy.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Where did they first appear?
The Gem dragons under discussion first appeared in Dragon Magazine #37 (“That’s not in the Monster Manual! - Neutral Dragons” by Arthur W. Collins, May 1980).

But that's not all! There are two other types of Gem Dragon in D&D besides the Psionic Gem Dragons.

Firstly, there are Gem Dragons in the Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortal D&D rule series, also called "Gemstone Dragons" (like the Ruby Dragon), which debuted in the D&D Master Set (1985).

Secondly, there are additional dragons named after precious stones (like the Amber, Jacinth, Jade, Moonstone, Pearl) in various 2E AD&D sources. The earliest of these are the Jacinth Dragon, Jade Dragon and Pearl Dragon, which debuted in Dragon Magazine #158 (“That’s Not in the Monstrous Compendium! - More Neutral Dragons” by Aaron McGruder, June 1990) as additions to the gem dragon "family" with optional psionics. However, their Monstrous Compendium versions are indexed as "Dragon, Neutral" not "Dragon, Gem" and have lost the psionic powers, so stopped being true Gem Dragons. The Moonstone and Pearl Dragons first appeared in Monstrous Compendia as Neutral Dragons without psionic abilities.

Just to make it more confusing, some of these "gem" dragons share the same name while being different monsters - the BECMI system's "Gemstone" Sapphire Dragon is pretty much a powered-up lawful aligned palette-swap of a Blue Dragon, not the psychically adept "Gem" Sapphire Dragon.

There are quite a few dragons in D&D…

EDIT: Thought of something else worth mentioning. There are also Unique Dragons with gem names, most notable Sardior the Ruby Dragon, the Psionic Gem Dragon equivalent of Bahamut and Tiamat. He also debuted in Collins' Dragon Magazine #37 AD&D article and has official 3E stats in a WotC website article.

There are also D&D dragons with personal names that happen to be those of gemstones, but they're not called "A [Gem] Dragon", such as three aligned BECMI Dragon Rulers Diamond, Opal and Pearl. i.e. Pearl is the "the Moon Dragon" who rules Chaos-aligned dragons in that version of D&D. Naturally there is a Ruby Mystaran Gemstone Dragon and a Pearl Psionic Gem Dragon to further confuse the taxonomy. As far as I know there aren't Diamond Dragon and Opal Dragon types of Dragon. (At least so far…)
 
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Nebulous

Legend
That's what I was thinking. Rather than a setting with all dragons, sometimes a setting is defined by what is NOT there. I would like to develop a mini-setting where the gem dragons are 'the' dragons of the setting. Dark Sun was perfect for that and I did use psionic dragons in that setting.
I think that would be best, to introduce them as "THE" dragons, and all their quirks and uniqueness would come to the forefront, rather than having to clash with all the nuances of ten other dragon dragon species.
 

Celebrim

Legend
On the subject of all the dragons ever printed, I believe that the 'Pink' caustic soap bubble breathing dragon from one of the Dragon April Fool's issues has been forgotten.

As far as creating dragons just to create them, I seem to remember that every anniversary issue of Dragon would introduce new dragons, so they really were creating dragons just to create them.

But then, I'm the guy who has only ever used 4 true dragons (white, black, green, and blue) and condensed all elves down to single species with two subspecies. So I see all of this diversity of dragons as a negative that works against a setting and ignore it anyway. Is there really anyone that needs 50 different species of dragon?
 


Aebir-Toril

Creator of the Elfgrinder Mech
On the subject of all the dragons ever printed, I believe that the 'Pink' caustic soap bubble breathing dragon from one of the Dragon April Fool's issues has been forgotten.

As far as creating dragons just to create them, I seem to remember that every anniversary issue of Dragon would introduce new dragons, so they really were creating dragons just to create them.

But then, I'm the guy who has only ever used 4 true dragons (white, black, green, and blue) and condensed all elves down to single species with two subspecies. So I see all of this diversity of dragons as a negative that works against a setting and ignore it anyway. Is there really anyone that needs 50 different species of dragon?
As long as you use a homebrew setting, I don't see how it matters, but, I do tend to agree.

I don't need an endless array of dragons to appease me. Because my homebrew worlds are usually (with certain exceptions) more 'organic' anyway, the idea of 100 or so different types of dragons running amok and somehow still not utterly dominating every region seems unlikely.

Chromatic dragons are fine for me, thanks, and I can modify them myself if I must.

That being said, if others like having more dragons, I don't see what could be harmful about such a release as the one they are discussing.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
As long as you use a homebrew setting, I don't see how it matters, but, I do tend to agree.

I don't need an endless array of dragons to appease me. Because my homebrew worlds are usually (with certain exceptions) more 'organic' anyway, the idea of 100 or so different types of dragons running amok and somehow still not utterly dominating every region seems unlikely.

Chromatic dragons are fine for me, thanks, and I can modify them myself if I must.

That being said, if others like having more dragons, I don't see what could be harmful about such a release as the one they are discussing.
Don't consider it an endless array, consider it an endless menu.

Instead of dragons being big and red and breathing fire, dragons being elemental monsters of destruction is pretty flavourful. A world with 100s of kinds of dragons is a bit much, but 100s of different worlds each with a half-dozen kinds of dragons is great.
 

Aebir-Toril

Creator of the Elfgrinder Mech
Don't consider it an endless array, consider it an endless menu.

Instead of dragons being big and red and breathing fire, dragons being elemental monsters of destruction is pretty flavourful. A world with 100s of kinds of dragons is a bit much, but 100s of different worlds each with a half-dozen kinds of dragons is great.
I like this.
 

Aebir-Toril

Creator of the Elfgrinder Mech
Gem Dragons, should, I feel, not be the end. We need Ore Dragons as well.

Simply consider how beautiful a Chalcopyrite dragon would be, and then tell me that this is a bad idea.
 

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