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


Glory to Ka!
Why did Green Dragons change to acid in 3e ... ?

Because maybe someone at WOTC back in the early 2000s decided that chlorine gas would mix with the dragon’s saliva and become hydrochloric acid? It’s just a thought.

How about the new (old) ones in Fizban?

I mean, some of them are pretty cool to me. My personal favorites are the Dragonbone Golem, Crystal Dragon, Topaz Dragon, and Sapphire Dragon.

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IIRC (and it's been a while) in 3e they decided that all of the dragons would have a breath weapon that was an "energy" type - ("energy" in quotes because they were acid/fire/sonic/electricity/cold IIRC). Poison wasn't an "energy" type, it had its own separate rules that involved Fortitude saves and extra mechanics around it because it was still being treated as a special damage type in 3e (as it had been in 1e and 2e as well) . You can see the difference in how it operates by looking at something like lightning bolt vs. cloudkill - lightning bolt does "electricity damage" while cloudkill doesn't do "poison damage" - it actually does damage to the character's Constitution score. Since poison wasn't an "energy" type they latched onto chlorine's corrosiveness and made it an acid breath.

It was in 4e where they simplified the damage types and moved all of the "energy" and weapon damage types into the same framework - and added more damage types to boot. At that point all of the special rules around certain damage types disappeared, all damage is hit point damage, and we ended up with the tagged damage type system that carried over into 5e. And so since in 4e there were no special rules around poison to consider the green dragon could go back to dealing poison damage without having to deal with the 3e poison subsystem (and also since they moved away from trying to tie "energy" types to elemental types, they stopped worrying about that as well).


A suffusion of yellow
As for for chlorine, it is poisonous gas. But I don't feel there is need to specify exactly what sort of chemical the poison is made of, that's not usually done with other poisons either, and 'chlorine' sounds pretty modern and sciencey for a fantasy game. (I know that alchemists used to produce certain types of chlorine in the middle ages, but did they really call it 'chlorine' back then?)
dephlogisticated muriatic acid air refered to the chlorine fumes of Muriatic Acid aka Aqua Regia. When it was identified as an element it was named Chlorine from Khloros, meaning yellow-green in greek.

for DnD you could use Khloros gas

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