D&D 5E How many dragons do we need?

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
One reason to have lots of dragons: Humanity has lots of dragons.

Western/Euro dragons and wyverns and "serpents." Norse myth having Jormungandr, Nidhogg, and Fafnir. Greek myth having a whole host of drakontes and drakainai of varying types and significance, as well as the Spartoi (no relation to Sparta), the "Sown Ones," who arose from sown dragon's teeth and the Ophiogeneikos (literally "Serpent-born") who claimed descent from dragons, and even mythological founder-heroes like Erichthonios who was often depicted with scaled legs and even a tail. Zirnitra, the Wendish god of sorcery, was apparently a dragon. Aždaja and other Middle Eastern dragons. The Mesopotamian myths about dragons and dragon-like creatures. Eastern/Asiatic dragons and lung and such. A whole host of additional myths, both heroic and villainous: the dragons of wind and water who tend to the seasons and the rivers; the dragons of the oceans; the Yellow Emperor who is also a dragon himself. Yamata-no-Orochi, the eight-headed dragon. Dragons and dragon-like creatures (feathered serpents, serpents who breathe fire, the Rainbow Serpent, etc.) found in the tales of the Americas, in Polynesia, in Australia.

Humanity LOVES dragons. We, collectively, think they're the coolest mythological thing since humans with animal characteristics (or vice-versa.) It is in our nature to think of dragons as powerful, important, and usually at least a little mysterious/misunderstood/inscrutable. Dragons have been gods and monsters, divine messengers and transformed thieving dwarves, literal bringers of salvation and literal world-ending apocalyptic threats, weapons of war and personifications of natural forces far greater than any human. They have been enemies, allies, overlords, intermediaries, lovers, rivals, and everything in-between.

Frankly, the fact that we've stuck relatively cleanly to only a small handful of types (five chromatic, between five and ten metallic depending on which canon you read, five prismatic, a handful of Asiatic-style dragons, some relatives like dragon-turtles and couatls, etc.) is demonstration of some relatively meaningful restraint on the part of TTRPG creators.
 

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Sacrosanct

Legend
One reason to have lots of dragons: Humanity has lots of dragons.

Western/Euro dragons and wyverns and "serpents." Norse myth having Jormungandr, Nidhogg, and Fafnir. Greek myth having a whole host of drakontes and drakainai of varying types and significance, as well as the Spartoi (no relation to Sparta), the "Sown Ones," who arose from sown dragon's teeth and the Ophiogeneikos (literally "Serpent-born") who claimed descent from dragons, and even mythological founder-heroes like Erichthonios who was often depicted with scaled legs and even a tail. Zirnitra, the Wendish god of sorcery, was apparently a dragon. Aždaja and other Middle Eastern dragons. The Mesopotamian myths about dragons and dragon-like creatures. Eastern/Asiatic dragons and lung and such. A whole host of additional myths, both heroic and villainous: the dragons of wind and water who tend to the seasons and the rivers; the dragons of the oceans; the Yellow Emperor who is also a dragon himself. Yamata-no-Orochi, the eight-headed dragon. Dragons and dragon-like creatures (feathered serpents, serpents who breathe fire, the Rainbow Serpent, etc.) found in the tales of the Americas, in Polynesia, in Australia.

Humanity LOVES dragons. We, collectively, think they're the coolest mythological thing since humans with animal characteristics (or vice-versa.) It is in our nature to think of dragons as powerful, important, and usually at least a little mysterious/misunderstood/inscrutable. Dragons have been gods and monsters, divine messengers and transformed thieving dwarves, literal bringers of salvation and literal world-ending apocalyptic threats, weapons of war and personifications of natural forces far greater than any human. They have been enemies, allies, overlords, intermediaries, lovers, rivals, and everything in-between.

Frankly, the fact that we've stuck relatively cleanly to only a small handful of types (five chromatic, between five and ten metallic depending on which canon you read, five prismatic, a handful of Asiatic-style dragons, some relatives like dragon-turtles and couatls, etc.) is demonstration of some relatively meaningful restraint on the part of TTRPG creators.
Yeah, even with just European lore, there are more than just the fire breathing dragon. In fact, the fire breathing dragon was probably lesser known than others, like the lindworm, Cuélebre, guivre, Knucker, Azhdahak, Balaur, Lambton Worm, and the dragon of St. George (which spit venom, not fire).

As far as when will be enough? Probably never. If there's one constant between editions, it's making more dragons. These are just the 1e ones found in Dragon magazine, in addition to all the ones found in other books:

Dracolich 62
Dracones 64
Aquatic 65
Arack 66
Astral 67
Dragon, Chinese 68
T’ien Lung 70
Shen Lung 70
Li Lung 70
Pan Lung 70
Lung Wang 70
Yu Lung 70
Cobra 70
Draken 72
Electrum 72
Faerie 72
Fang 74
Grey 74
Ichthyodrake 75
Minidragon 75
Night 76
Obsidian 77
Orange 78
Phase 78
Purple 79
Rainbow 79
Sand 80
Scintillating 81
Steel 82
Stone 83
Yellow 84
Drake, Crystal 84
Drake, Demon 86
Drake, Shadow
 




J.Quondam

CR 1/8
It's nice to have lots of options and different takes on dragons. They may or may not have to be in any particular setting. Choice is a nice thing about a creative hobby like D&D.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
More dragons is fine as long as the hook is good enough. The good hook is important, though.

Serpents should be their own thing. I personally enjoy the idea of serpents as rivals to dragons that dare to spend too much time out of the sky.
 

Dioltach

Legend
Apparently I'm the odd one out, because I believe in only evil dragons. Maybe adapt them to their environment: a cloud dragon if I want something invisible in the sky, a sand-coloured dragon that blasts superheated sand in the desert, perhaps something like a black dragon in swamplands. But essentially they're all the same type. And all evil.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
I agree it’s nice to have options, I’d like lots of different types of dragons, wyrms, wyverns, drakes and the all the rest, but what we don’t want is redundancy, we don’t need a separate entry for a red, gold, ruby, green and blue dragon when all that is different between them is their alignment or elemental affinity, give us the base templates of the different types to work off of and the tools we need to make the changes required for an entire legion of dragons each one unique.
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
In one homebrew setting I was attempting to create viable numbers of dragons in such a way that the world isn't inundated with vast populations of dragons. I opted to determine all dragons as the same species, and colors or metals are determined by acquired alignments not by genetics. All dragons are born neutral and gray, as they become adolescents they acquire alignments. So the same litter of dragons could grow up into red dragons, gold dragons, perhaps gem dragons too. Now you can have all the varieties of dragon-kind without the need for mated pairs of every kind of dragon species to provide all world's dragons. Now animosities between dragon kind aren't solely based on speicial differences, rather sibling rivalries lead to these animosities...
 

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