D&D General Dragons and Dragon Breath (Chlorine Breath and Freakin Lasers!)

I'm convinced Dragons are just some kind of evolved Elf. Their bodies change to suit whatever kind of environment they are in, there are more subraces than you can shake a stick at, they breed with everything. Next thing you know, someone will want a Dragon as a playable race!
 

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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Astral, Force, and Prismatic dragons are the greatest of them all! :LOL:

Can they take 10,000d6 damage from a breath weapon though?

(Wow was my 12yo relieved when I told him the Quasar Dragon was an April fools joke!
I also had to explain the Armor Class conversion to +4020).

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From Dragon 96. Which also featured the great adventure Nogard, the Killer and Sleep-inducing Dungeon Masters (which I had forgotten), and the What's New Dragon.
 
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billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Yellow was what I was thinking, but I wasn't sure. I wonder if the Orange, Purple, and Yellow ones wonder why the three famous ones are from the additive light rules, but they're a mixture of paint and light (or are Orange and Purple just glad they aren't Cyan and Magenta?).

Do you remember the breath weapons?
Yellow dragons breathed out sodium chloride that blinded, caused pain (relative to damage already sustained), and could asphyxiate. Orange ones spat out liquid sodium that engulfed targets in a napalm like flame when exposed to air and exploded when exposed to water. Purple breathed a bolt of high energy.
They were in Dragon Magazine 65, which was included in my Dragon Anthology CDs.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Yellow dragons breathed out sodium chloride that blinded, caused pain (relative to damage already sustained), and could asphyxiate. Orange ones spat out liquid sodium that engulfed targets in a napalm like flame when exposed to air and exploded when exposed to water. Purple breathed a bolt of high energy.
They were in Dragon Magazine 65, which was included in my Dragon Anthology CDs.

That would have been the second Dragon magazine I ever got then (started with 64).
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
So I changed up dragons in my setting/system.

As mentioned, silver dragons a big mirrors and so generate light and focus it into a laser cannon.

Greens, being forest dragons a beasts of life and breathe life energy which in turn makes the fungal spores folks naturally have on their skin to hyper-grow and put down roots, pre-digesting the target.

Reds are living furnaces that consume stone and breath lava, which sticks to the target like napalm.

Black dragons still have corrosive breath, but it's alkai and the damage type is 'corrosive'.

Whites breath cold, but can also one time launch a storm of icicles they cultivate on their wings and tail.

Golds do regular fire because they basic.

Coppers have a sandblast jet.

Bronzes have water cutter breath Brasses are misidentified sexual dimorphism for bronzes and coppers and have desiccation breath.

Blue got explode-killed during the dragon war and so don't breath anything.

Dragons are also smart enough to learn magic from a different element because no duh people are going to bring fire protection to a red dragon fight, so why no learn to railgun your coins into them instead of trying to but Asbestos Man?
 

Why did Green Dragons change to acid in 3e and then back to poison gas in 4e without the chlorine? Would the universe have exploded if 4e went sonic?
No idea. For my personal rework of dragons, we'd ditch bronze and brass (which are alloys, even if they can sometimes appear in nature), and instead have two other metals: cobalt and iron. I gave iron dragons the lightning breath (because magnets/electricity) and made cobalt dragons thunder (aka 4e's version of sonic).

What's the point of metallic dragons? Why aren't silver ones giant mirrors that shoot lasers (as per @Vaalingrade 's brilliant suggestion)?
In my unwritten dragon-centric cosmology, the "point" was that both Metallic and Prismatic dragons were things of beauty and purity: metals or gemstones. But when Tiamat fell in the ancient days--she had been meant to be Monarch (dragons are all genders and no gender; they choose what aspects they wish to manifest, and Tiamat identifies as a mother), but instead became Corrupter. Where once she had glistening scales in seven colors (the extant five + yellow and purple), now she has just five heads. What happened to her Topaz and Amethyst children is not known, but they have not been seen since her fall. Her mate, Bahamut, now struggles to keep creation in order with her absence; Bahamut was Counselor, not Monarch, and filling Tiamat's role has left him stretched thin. (Not to mention, his very essence is now at war with itself: he was designed to be Tiamat's mate, just as she was designed to be his, yet he was also designed to fight exactly this kind of corruption. It is the great tragedy of existence that they are driven so far apart.)

Because the above requires there be seven Prismatic dragons, there were also seven Metallic dragons. The new types are wolfram (aka tungsten), which would be depicted as faintly greenish, and a fictional metal, tyrium, named after tyrian purple. Haven't decided what their breath weapons would be. That's a neat idea with the lasers, I'll have to think on that. Perhaps a trick older, larger-winged silvers can pull on unsuspecting targets.

Is the Quasar Dragon still greatest of them all?
Never heard of it, so probably not.

How about the new (old) ones in Fizban?
Haven't read it, so I couldn't say. I personally preferred 4e's Catastrophic dragons for things that are a bit more eldritch than your usual dragon.

Were the orange, purple, and !?!? dragons ever worth looking at back in Dragon Magazine (iirc?)?
Some of the weirder off-brand dragons were interesting. I liked...I think it was "tome" dragons? They were big on metamagic and were even nerdier than golds.

What is your biggest concern about Dragons?
That they are simultaneously over-used and under-used.

That is, it's easy to trivialize dragons as opponents by just throwing them in wherever you want them to be. I think that's a shame, because a well-run dragon antagonist (or even ally!) can be really interesting and exciting. Dragons are sort of inherently a creature about power, that's what they've meant in basically every culture ever (because nearly every culture has some kind of serpentine mythological figure or entity that gets identified as "a dragon.") That gives them an allure, a symbolism, a significance. Allowing that to get diluted into Monster Of The Week territory is just sad.

On the flipside, however, there are some who...kinda act like because dragons have this allure, they shouldn't EVER show up ANYWHERE unless it's super duper ultra important. They shut out the possibility of letting draconic flair seep into other things in ANY way. That's a big part of what drives many dragonborn critics, from what I can tell; they see the race as tawdry, more or less, as sort of trying to "cheat" into inherent awesome just by being part-dragons. I find that a pretty jaundiced take, and actually really love seeing such draconic motifs worked into worlds and lore.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Why did Green Dragons change to acid in 3e and then back to poison gas in 4e without the chlorine? Would the universe have exploded if 4e went sonic?
Well, from what I understand (basically missed the whole thing, myself) it seemed the universe nearly exploded by 4e doing anything. Of course, without it, there would have never been a 5e. So, there's that.
What's the point of metallic dragons?
Well, that's clearly to create balancing forces/adversaries for the (up to their inclusion, nearly solely) Evil "chromatic" dragons.

As dragons are the pinnacle of magic, power, and (often associated with/by) nature/natural forces, they can not exist only as evil-driven destructive forces. There must be the good (at least "leaning") helpful and beneficial forces as well.

What is the point of Elves and Orcs? Dwarves and Goblins? Of Celestials and Fiends? Slaadi and Modrons? Of Djinn and Efreet? Of shining Fae and shadow-shrouded Undead?

Providing conflict. Providing potential allies for the players/forces of good. Providing suitable/"well-matched" entities to balance the cosmos/existence.
Why aren't silver ones giant mirrors that shoot lasers (as per @Vaalingrade's brilliant suggestion)?
ummm...yeah, no. I have thought they would be good for a "force/raw magic" option...so maybe you could say that would be laser-like. "Arcane Energy beam." But I could see the argument for your idea of a Sonic breath for silvers, too.

I suspect the real reason was a combo of 1) because it's a "white" metal, so white = Cold breath, and/or 2) gives them the direct elemental opposite to thwart Reds' fire... since they are supposedly more numerous and/or interested in being helpful to mortals than the, largely portrayed as, more "celestial/metaphysical" Golds.
Is the Quasar Dragon still greatest of them all?
Never heard of it.
How about the new (old) ones in Fizban?
Don't have it. Dunno.
Were the orange, purple, and !?!? dragons ever worth looking at back in Dragon Magazine (iirc?)?
Again, not something on which I could comment. But have wondered at the original decisions to not have Yellow (clearly the more appropos choice) as the "desert" dragons...with, then, Brass as the foil. Makes more sense, to me, than Blues and Brass trying to compete for territory.

I homebrewed Purple dragons (with a raw magic/"force" breath weapon) in some time ago. Never even gave an Orange dragon a thought. But I'm not a fan of the color.
What is your biggest concern about Dragons?
Crossing the path of one in a bad mood? Or hungry!

Other than that, in my world, their potential extinction.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Is there anything about the myths with Bahamut (with one head) that makes there need to be a correspondence though? Symmetry is nice... but here it just feels lazy to me I guess.
It is also really cool to have friendly dragons (or at least potentially friendly) out there for PCs to meet and interact with. I guess there wouldn't need to be as many as there are chromatic dragons, but once you get started with a cool/fun color palette and concept, it's hard to stop.
 

As this is a dragon thread, I guess I'll bring up one boring mechanical thing I've been wondering about. Does anyone else think that dragons' physical attack damage scales super weirdly between the age categories?

Bite uses d10, claw d6 and tail d8. Wyrmlings (medium) use one die, then it goes to two dice on young (large.) So far so good. But then it just gets stuck there. It is two dice for adult (huge) and ancient (gargantuan) too. Except for ancient green dragon, whose claw damage suddenly jumps to 4d6! What? o_O

Is this an error and should it scale to three dice at huge and four at gargantuan as is usual? And that green dragon thing at least must be a mistake, if everything else is intended, right?
 


RoughCoronet0

Dragon Lover
I also enjoy using Wyrmling and Young Dragons as npcs you can find scatter among different civilizations. For few examples.

  • A Young White Dragon is the local protector of a town of gnomes who also is the owner of a very fancy and elegant tavern called the Frosty Hearth Inn.
  • In The Dwarven capitol, an Azerblood Dwarf Blacksmith has a Wyrmling Wildfire Dragon who lives within his furnace that aid him in crafting his fire resistant armors and enchanted fire weapons. The little guys is beloved by the local children who will bring him little flammable items as treats.
  • One of the well known sea captains that sails the sea between continents has befriended a Young Indigo Dragon who will occasionally guide the captain's ships through rough waters in exchange for song and entertainment.
Most people will never see a Adult dragon and consider them very rare and old. Ancient and Greatwyrms are the stuff of myths and legends.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
They may have been made too simple for a flagship monster. I'd like some more resistances and interesting powers like the 3e/PF ones.

While I agree in general, I also think that it makes the monsters complex to play, and with 5e being designed to have short and blindingly fast fights (which I complexly agree with and wand in RPG and D&D design), not only are all these powers just complicated, but most of them won't even see a use in most fights. For me, that was one of the biggest failures of 3e, monster/NPC design that took hours, to be then mostly ignored during resolution.

In terms of monster design, 4e was the best, everything was to the point and intended to be used during long, detailed fights. If you liked long and detailed, tactical fights, it was perfect. Unfortunately, I never have enough time for TTRPG, and I like my sessions better balanced (for us) with a lot of social and exploration and a few short fights, which is why 5e is perfect.

And it's even better because, for the rare occasions when I want an epic and complex fight, I can still do it, for selected monsters, mostly using the mythic monster mechanic (or its equivalent out there, there are 2 or 3 worth looking at). Then I can have multi-part fights with phases even more creative than in 4e with pre-bloodied / bloodied, for example.

It's just that these need to be tailored a bit, and are not really suitable for publication but it's really easy to do, just take a dragon and strap on some abilities from other monsters / dragons / spellcaster for the various phases, and bang you have an iconic, totally unique dragon that will make a memorable fight. And all of that extremely quickly, without all the computation hassle of 3e in particular.

For example, just take a normal dragon,, split it into a mythic monster by duplicating it, and add some powers from a similar CR encounter.

Example: Adult Green Dragon CR 15, mythic it, and give him some other CR 15 abilities in each phase. Looking at CR 14-16 in DDB, making the dragon a spellcaster that devolves into an elder tentacled horror, use:
  • Spellcasting from Devkarin Lich in phase 1
  • barbed tentacles from Core Spawn Worm sprout in phase 2 and can be used in multi-attack, and make the bite able to swallow.
Or anything else that strikes your fancy...
 

JEB

Legend
Just throwing this in here, but the AD&D-derived, semi-parodic HackMaster 4E RPG threw in some variations of the classic dragons, such as:
  • "Spiny Horned" blue dragons, false dragons with fire breath
  • "Slag-Copper" Dragons, corrupted copper dragons
  • Mottled Dragons, offspring of Tiamat with a mix of the other chromatics' powers
  • Onyx Dragons, resembling black dragons, that breathe "confusion gas"
  • "Red Crested Amber-Bellied" Dragons, red dragon variants known as "dictator dragons"
  • "Slag-Scaled Titanium" Dragons, which vaguely resemble silver dragons, but have no wings and spit fire and molten chrome
  • Speckled Dragons, hybrid offspring of different chromatic dragons

Plus a few other unique ones such as white-hot "Albino Scoria Dragons", "Spiny Dragons", and "Swack Iron Dragons."
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
One thing I toyed with but never did was keep the strict dragon taxonomy, but make each on unique while boosting the stats. So there’s not a bunch of blue dragons, there is The Blue Dragon.

Part of why I never did this was I could never decide what that implied for younger dragons.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

Autistic DM (he/him)
Part of why I never did this was I could never decide what that implied for younger dragons.
Maybe the dragons could be pulling a Sheogorath and be passing the title from them to themselves every few hundred years or so? Where there is one true "Blue Dragon" that is reincarnated after they die, and the different stat blocks for ages are just the same entity, but in a different form based on how old this specific iteration of The Blue Dragon is? So, there wouldn't be a Blue Dragon Wyrmling, Young Blue Dragon, and Adult Blue Dragon all in the same world, but just a single Blue Dragon that was in one of those stages when the party encounters them based on the last time they died?

Just brainstorming.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Maybe the dragons could be pulling a Sheogorath and be passing the title from them to themselves every few hundred years or so? Where there is one true "Blue Dragon" that is reincarnated after they die, and the different stat blocks for ages are just the same entity, but in a different form based on how old this specific iteration of The Blue Dragon is? So, there wouldn't be a Blue Dragon Wyrmling, Young Blue Dragon, and Adult Blue Dragon all in the same world, but just a single Blue Dragon that was in one of those stages when the party encounters them based on the last time they died?

Just brainstorming.
It could work, and quite well. Some good stories would be supported by such a design.

But it’s a bit too close to the Phoenix, IMHO.

One tangential thought that occurred to me was that dragons were something like AD&D druids- they had to fight their way up the hierarchy…to the death. And only once they had achieved the pinnacle did they become The ________ Dragon and gain the appropriate breath weapon.

But this raises all kinds of issues about breath weapons themselves.
 

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