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D&D General How Do You All Use Dragons In Your Worlds And Campaigns?


Location: Arrakis
There are three genera of dragons in my D&D games currently. Keep in mind that this list has changed over time:

1. Elemental Drakes (Athas. Earth, Fire, and Water species)
2. Metallic Dragons (Eberron. Brass, Bronze, Silver, and Gold species)
3. Chromatic dragons (everywhere else. Black, Red, and White species)

Mechanically, my dragons don’t have wings and can’t fly. They make up for this with boatloads of immunities and resistances, innate spellcasting, and natural weapon attacks that count as magical. Their breath weapons are also somewhat more dangerous.

Elemental Drakes and Chromatic Dragons are largely unintelligent monsters that seemingly exist only to threaten and destroy civilizations.

Metallic Dragons, being found on Eberron, are highly intelligent and the Draconic civilization of Argonnessen is the global superpower.

Brass dragons are the spies and mercenaries. They like to disguise themselves as slightly outdated (but still functional) clockwork dragons and quite a few took part in the Last War.

Bronze dragons are the aquatic sentries and pirates. They’re basically dragon turtles, except they breathe a line of lightning and thunder, instead of a cone of steam.

Silver dragons are the priests and shock troops. A small number of them wander Khorvaire, operating as clerics and paladins of the Silver Flame.

Gold dragons are the scholars and rulers of Argonnessen. If you encounter a dragon belonging to the Chamber, it’s almost certain to be a gold dragon.

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If a dragon appears in one of my games it is generally an ancient or more powerful dragon. In general, the dragons are the big bad that you don't mess with. They are at the edges of the map that foretell immanent doom. The lurking danger you must not disturb. I take a lot of inspiration from the Hobbit and Dragonslayer.


Dusty Dragon
One idea from my brother: instead of the different dragon each being a type, they each represent an individual dragon.

The dragon in the Frozen Peaks isn't a white dragon, he's the white dragon, and there's no one else like him.

If you only have the Monster Manual I'd call that overkill, but if FToD adds 20 new ones, that's at least 31 plus whatever I missed... that's a fair number for all the dragons in the known world.
Both the Iron Kingdoms and Nenthyr Vale did something like that... I agree with that approach


Dragon Lover
In connection to my lore of Asgorath/Io melding into one of my world's continents, there are three incredibly rare and powerful materials that are said to be from the late dragon creator.

One is Asgorite, an organic metal that can be found in small deposits throughout Salvera, though it is most commonly found on the dragon continent of Thaczil. Asgorite is bone white in coloration, and is very durable despite it's light weight. It is also brimming with magical potential, and when stuck it lets out at deep, guttural hum that seems to reverberate within the very core of one's being. This rare metal can be crafted to create legendary armors and weapons, constructs of unimaginable power and some of the world's most potent and famous artifact and historical relics were crafted from this organic material.

The second material is known as a World Shaper Scale, which can sometimes be found scattered across the plane of Salvera, though they are found on Thaczil most readily. These super tough scales can be of varying sizes and shapes, from small rounded scales measuring 3 feet in diameter to large rectangular scales (like those on the belly of a dragon or snake) 20 ft in length and 6 ft in height (just to give a couple of examples). Regardless of their size and shape, these scales all seem to have the unique effect of being able to reflect a brilliant, iridescent display of every color of dragon scale every conceived all at once, and maybe even some never seen by mortal eyes. These scales are highly resistant to the elements and yet very flexible and light, and hold a great deal of magic within them. These scales can be fashioned to make legendary armors as well as magical cloaks, bracers, boots and other clothing. These scales are also used to create powerful, artifact level tomes, and when ground up can be added to other materials to enhance there own properties further.

The third material is known as Ninefold Dragonshards, which similarly to Asgorite and the World Shaper Scales can be found scatter throughout Salvera with higher concentrations existing on Thaczil. These crystals shards come in a variety of sizes and hues, though these shards are commonly separated into six different categories. The first four categories of Dragonshards are Psionic, Arcane, Divine, and Primal Shards, each representing the four types of magical energies on Salvera which are depicted as Violet, Blood Red, Radiant Yellow, and Forest Green respectively. These four Dragonshard can be used to create powerful implements and other potent magical items meant to enhance one's magical abilities, as well as grant those holding them more mana to cast spells beyond one's normal capabilities. They can also be used as spell components for powerful rituals and magical rites that involve the specific power source of the shard. The fifth category of Dragonshards are known as Hybrids, shards that contain a mix of different magical sources. These shards can be used to aid in the compatible mixing of various magical sources (as typically in my world it can be challenging to combine magic sources in large quantity even if the spells and rituals being casted are similar). They can also be used to craft potent items that infused different magical types together to create unique effects. The final and rarest category of Dragonshards are known as Pure Shards which are a bright mana blue in color. These Shards are best used as near indestructible magical repositories that have the capacity to store vast amounts of mana, and are also used in binding or sealing spells and rituals.

What is unique about the Dragonshards however as oppose to Asgorite or the World Shaper Scales, is that when one holds a shard in their hands it's as if they can feel a faint consciousness within the shard that seems to react differently depending on who is holding said shard. Typically any normal creature or humanoid will get a feeling of indifference, followed by a slight feeling of pride and confidence, but those with any connection dragons can get different feelings from the shards. Dragon Knights, Warlocks with Dragon Patrons, or others who have gained power from dragons will feel a sense of tempered respect. Dragon Sorcerer, Half-Dragons, and others creatures with some ancestry to dragons will sense a gentle and warm presence of acceptance. Kobolds may feel an intimidating presence, but it is tempered with patience and compassion for the small and plucky creature. Dragons feel an overwhelming sense of pride and adoration from the shard. Dragonborns however, feel great sorrow mixed with what they could only describe as parental love.


A few campaigns back, I had dragons that were created to be guardians for the world while it was being created. Once the work was completed, the builders commanded the dragons to withdraw to a different world that was created specifically for them. However, many of them refused. Those that refused were cursed by the builders. Their eggs would henceforth give rise to all manner of draconic beasts - wyverns, drakes, dragonborn and other dragon-kin. But rarely would they hatch a true dragon.

Dragons in that world were powerful and dangerous, but always on the precipice of extinction.

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
In Yoon-Suin, there is a single Topaz Dragon just south of the Yellow City, in the Topaz isles. She protects the city, mostly, although sometimes some boats do go missing. She is lazy, but she is a foe of the Krakens, which wish to destroy the Yellow City.

The Krakens try to get mortal servants by granting them power in exchange for their allegiance (warlocks). These warlocks are killed when found in the Yellow city, but those that seem repentant, or were fooled into the pact, have one chance to evade execution - to pledge allegiance to a new patron, the Topaz Dragon. If they are truly repentant (and if they present a good enough gift...) the Topaz dragon does not devour them, but instead teaches them a new path to power.

I thought Yoon-Suin was also the setting that exists in a dragon's dream, but I must be confusing it with something else...

Anyway, the more I learn about Yoon-Suin the better it sounds!


Dragon Lover
In the capital city of the Huneldur Territories, the kingdom of the Dwarves, there lives a well respected Azerblooded Dwarf named Harvak Cinderborn. He is known as a very talented black smith, having crafted armors and weapons in the capital for nearly a hundred years now. In the last five years however, his weapons and armor seem to have improved greatly which has increased interest in his services. Though Harvak greatly appreciates the increased revenue and renown, he is a modest man and will tell anyone who asks that the quality of his works is not his doing alone before motioning to his smithy as the fires stir and come alive to take on the shape of a medium sized dragon made entirely of flames.

This is Sharzilon. He is a wyrmling Wildfire Dragon, one of the nine Catastrophic Dragon species that lives on Salvera. Wildfire Dragons are entirely made of primordial fire and raw arcane energy held together by the mighty soul of a dragon. Despite his dangerous appearance though, he is a very sweet and energetic creature that enjoys helping his dwarven friend with his smithing and getting fed little flammable treats from the local children who love to come and visit the dragon from time to time. While allowing children around fire might seem like a bad idea, Wildfire Dragons can actually control their fire in a way that allows others to touch and even ride them without getting burned.


Dragon Lover
I currently have 46 dragon types spread out into four main true dragon categories; Chromatic, Metallic, Gem, and Catastrophic Dragons. Some follow more traditional D&D lore like the main five Chromatic and Gem dragons, and all the Metallic Dragons. Some are reinventions or expanded upon from more obscure dragons from D&D history like Yellow, Orange, Pearl, Jade, and the bulk of the Catastrophic Dragons. Some are of my own design like the Indigo Pink, Opal, Rose Quarts, and Mudslide Dragons.


My previous campaigns have all been built upon the Greyhawk "backbone," so dragons have been pretty much as stated in the Monster Manual and similar books (like the Draconomicon - I've used quite a few from there). My current campaign is a complete homebrew, though, so I decided to do things a little bit different. I've started the PCs on an Australia-sized continent where there are not believed to be any dragons remaining; tales tell how the ruling human kingdom wiped them all out. What the PCs don't know (and which will become apparent over the course of the campaign) is that first, there's another, larger continent where the dragons roam freely and second, all dragons in this campaign have the innate alternate form ability - so there are still a few dragons roaming the PCs' home continent, they're just in their humanoid forms. (In fact, the PCs have already interacted with a dragon without realizing it.)

In addition, one of the standard PC races has been wiped out but this also is not well known, as the race is something of a favorite of the dragons and quite a few of them have established identities as members of that race.



Steeliest of the dragons
True dragons, the first dragons, were born in the forging of the world. Created by the First, Ahl, as a gift for his beloved Second, Zho. As the primordial earth (having drawn Zho from himself to form the sky), Ahl used all the strength and glory of his ores and minerals, all the power and beauty of the swirling stars and celestial bodies in Zho's firmament. So did dragons come to be in the World of Orea.

These first were dubbed "the Children of Zho," the Elder Wyrms. Beings of gleaming beauty and elemental power. Massive in size and unparalleled in magic. The first dragons who would become known through the ages by their few remnant descendants, now called the Glimmariin by Man and Elf.

Once the Chaosbringer, Karos, was loosed upon the world, the corrupting influences of the Elder god of Evil and demons, and his chief servant in temptation and darkness, Djarthoon, the hearts of many of Zho's children were corroded and maligned, filled with malice, wrath, greed, and envy. These dragons -while still of frightful power- diminshed greatly from their original strength and lost the luster of their Glimmariin (Metallic) brethren. They became, to the peoples of Orea who consider such things, the Dwimmunduin (Chromatics).

Over time, several -even a majority- of dragonkind grew weary of Orea. The wars with the Titans. The proliferating mortal species endlessly irritating and trying to steal their riches, do them harm, beg for magic secrets. Many went behind the Veil, to explore and take solace among the stars of their beloved "father's" sky. Others passed away to seek out different realms -to Faerie, the Plane of Shadow, and other planes of existence. These are collectively known to the sages of draconic matters as the "Astraeliin" dragons (including Astral, Celestial and Infernal varieties).

There remains on Orea's main continent small numbers of most metallics and chromatic varieties known to players. It is unlikely for any group of players, however, to encounter multiple numbers of pretty much any type -other than Whites which are generally feral pack hunters when younger.

What inhabitants of Orea, however, are much more familiar with are the threats of draconic broods...the largely "mutated" or "malformed" draconic creatures that occur in the broods of true dragons. Wyverns, Behirs, Hydrae, Dracolisks, Dragonne (called something else in my world), the "incomplete" (wingless) Drakes, Linnorms and others are far more common nowadays than a great winged dragonfire-breathing wyrm. The major problem for dragonkind is that they are breeding "true" progeny less and less as the ages continue.

There is a council of dragons -predominantly metallic but a few very ancient and wise chromatics who have eschewed their wicked ways. Their purposes are their own, as their existence is not widely acknowledged except among wizarding circles. They are said to oversee the magical training and empowerment of a singular champion of Magic for the world of Orea, the Dragonmage. Their "hall" is rumored to exist at the farthest edges of the mountains at the top of the known world.

The dragons that were made attuned to the crystals and gemstones have been all but lost to Orea. Or so it is said/believed. The dragons of Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby, Onyx, Amethyst and Quartz are individual entities. They are generally agents of the god of knowledge and the mind, Sorilore the All-Knowing. These dragons take great pains to keep their existence -let alone location- a secret. Each of the gem dragons head or are patrons of orders of psychic individuals and various mental powers and prowess. For the most part the groups adhere to a communal policy of non-interference, and mutual secrecy, but disciples of the Ruby and, oftentimes, the Onyx tend to find themselves at odds with the others in sinister schemes for psychic power and asserting their supremacy over other mentalists -if not the entire world.

So, dragons exist. They're around. You probably wouldn't know if you encounter -or are near- one, unless they want you to know. The number of known dragons' lairs are...few and far between. Great wyrms laying atop vast piles of riches and magic are more legend, these days, than history. The tales of Varkaasik the Terrible (a great red dragon) in his treasured hall in the Drakkenmount range or the horrific Yrss Undallig, a dragon more ancient than the Godswar, said to be enslaved (or kept as pet or mount or partner, depending on the tale) by the unspeakable lich-lord, Kren Dalek, in his dread domain can be entertaining around the tavern fire. But, no serious-minded person, nor many fools, would take them seriously.

...Of course, if one /did/ find a true dragon's lair and hoard...


I usually have dragons as background monster elements unless a specific adventure calls on them as a direct adversary or plot element or a player wants to work with some dragon theme. I do use a lot of dragon gods.

In my mashup homebrew setting I have a little background element of older dragon empires (4e's Arkhosia, Arcana Unearthed's dragon vs. giant empires mixed with some fantasy Mesopotamia Tiamat dragon empire) but not a lot of them as big players currently. I am tempted to have my fantasy Arabian parts use a lot of the dragon empire from Midgard.

I have material for Eberron's Argonnessen and Scarred Lands' dragon ruled Dragon Lands continent but for some reason they never grabbed me as much, the Midgard one is my favorite direct dragon ruler one of the bunch.

I kind of want to read up more on how 13th Age deals with their dragon icons.

I generally use dragons in moderation. The only real difference from MM is that all dragons are spell casters. They are such iconic monsters that letting them be just bags of hp is a waste. I tend to use them more as active NPC's than monsters to be murderhoboed.

Fizban's is the first book in a while that get my juices flowing though, so I look forward to it and hopefully up the dragon quota at my table.


Hey everyone!

So with the announcement of Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons getting many of us excited and curious about the different dragons and draconic themed things that will be in the book, it got me thinking about how I plan to utilize dragons in my own world of Salvera. So I wanted to ask everyone here, how do you use dragons and other draconic elements in your settings?
A reoccurring character in the games I run is Themberchaud from OOTA. The PCs helped him escape but to shenanigans he was trapped in dumpy human form. He stayed with the party as the Snark for a few months.

When that campaign ended I brought him back for a guest appearance in full dumpy dragon form for TOD; him not being keen on giving up his freedom to serve Tiamat (who he had never heard of).

The party ended up spending ages in Waterdeep so he had to be in human form again as the Snark.

So the dragon I use a lot is most often in dumpy human form. Funny old world.

I like to use them sparingly. Less is definitely more. Make to many dragon themes and suddenly they lose all of their mystique. My favorite adventure is when the party needed to use a portal guarded by a brass dragon, he wouldnt let them unless they completed a mission for him.

So they get on the dragons back and go flying through the mountains until he finally tells them what the mission was "So what do you know.....about women?"

He wanted to get a date with a hot lady dragon, but a bigger meaner red dragon has his eyes on the same girl, so they needed to chase off an adult red dragon at level 8.

Writing it out it sounds like Im breaking my own rule with so many dragons being put into the story at once, but these were the only dragons the party had met after over a year of campaign progression. They thought the brass dragon absolutely epic, until he gave them their mission. All of the dragons involved became re-occurring characters and the party ended up battling the red dragon 3 times, giving him permanent injuries every time before the end of the campaign. All of the party memebers remember this adventure and i doubt they would if dragons were popping up all over the place.


Steeliest of the dragons
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, all of my dragons use magic/have innate spell use, as well.

Different genus prefer and excel at different things. But they all can use it to a greater or lesser extent. White dragons, for example, don't get magic-use until becoming ancient (if they want). Blacks use a combo of druidic spells and necromantic magic. Coppers basically get a Bard-looking spell list. Silvers are the "wizards" of Metallic dragonkind, so they excel in all Arcane magic. Golds are essentially mythic divine beings, so they can use pretty much anything they want, including divine/clerical magics. And so on.

On a related -"different than the MM"- note, I also have the Reds, Blues, Greens, and Bronze, (plus Silver and Gold, as normal) able to shapeshift into animal and humanoid shapes. Different types at different ages, but it is a [super]natural ability they are all capable of doing at some point. The Chromatics are loathe to do so, of course, too proud to purposely take on such a pathetic inferior form (without a significant, undoubtedly sinister, reason). Bronze tend to enjoy it immensely, being my world's closest/most friendly and/or curious about the goings on of the fleetingly short lives of goodly races.

Also, any dragon can immediately identify any other dragon that is shapeshifted into some other form around/near them.


My last campaign introduced "the dragonmind," a means by which dragons could communicate with each other over great distances. It was kind of like a permanent Rary's telepathic bond with no limit of how many draconic minds could engage at once, and which could be telepathically entered and exited at will - in other words, any given dragon's mind was only in the dragonmind when he desired it to be. And it couldn't be used to track down a dragon's location.

So kind of like a draconic message board, I guess, thinking about it.


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