5E Interested in new dragon designs for 5e (5.5e or 6e)?

dave2008

Hero
So, in general, I really liked the Lockwood dragons when they first came out. But after being stuck with them for 3 editions I think they are a bit long in the tooth. In fact, I find most of the chromatic dragons that aren’t red a bit boring or annoying in some way or the other.

Now I realize WotC is not going to redesign the dragons midway into and edit on; however, with the rumors of dragonlance coming down the pipe, I can but wonder if we could get new designs, just like DL did back in the day.

So is that something others would be interested in? If so, what would you change, while keeping the iconic color schemes and breath weapons? What should stay and what should go?

EDIT:
OK, now for some examples of possibilities:
Red Dragons:
Red-01.jpg


red-04.jpg

red-05.jpg

I really like the current red dragon, but I think it would cool to go back to the longwyrm roots of JRRT. Shorter neck, larger head, long muscular body and really long tail (note the model obviously doesn't have that) A combination of the first image and the last two are what I am looking for (but with a longer tail).

Blue Dragons:
Green Dragons:
Green-01.jpg

Green-02.jpg

Green-03.jpg

I think a more forest approach or possibly take the green in a neo-spinosaurs vibe.

Black Dragons:
Black-01.jpg

Thank for @Ancalagon for providing a link to this image. This is close to what I would like to see a black dragon redesigned: more serpentine, able to glide through swamps, blending in with the dark waters. However, I would keep the forward point horns and wings, though I think the wings would need a redesing. Maybe they are held close to the body then spring out when needed - like the big dragon from How to Train Your Dragon.

White Dragons:
white-08.jpg

I would make the color more white, but the over brutish design I like. Probably with a shorter neck, bigger head. and longer "furry" tail. Something between the above and this "arctic dragon:"
white-02.jpg

white-01.jpg
 
Last edited:

aco175

Explorer
The red dragon always looked more iconic and 'right' to me as well. The others were meh. It is not at the toip of my list for them to redesign though. I would not mind only one type of dragon and an evolution process where they gained power and abilities. This way they all could be dangerous and might help you, but most people would not chance it. I tend to think they have a different way of thinking and have their own plans which could include you, but you are mostly ants to them.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
IMO, the breaths and color categories should be the first thing to go.
I would love to have a bunch of dragon species for defined my habitat, like in How to Train your Dragon, than a color scheme.

But: all dragons, even young ones should be spellcasters and fearsome foes to even the more hardy adventurers.

I'm a big fan of Dungeon World 16 HP dragon (A 16 HP Dragon | LaTorra.org): the dragon is a multi-part encounter in itself more than a bag of HP. You know of the Complex Traps from Xanathar are designed? With Active, Dynamic and Constant elements, with a list of possible counter-measures for the party to use beyond just wacking at it? I believe dragon encounters should be designed the same way instead of as a creature with a statblock.
 

dave2008

Hero
IMO, the breaths and color categories should be the first thing to go.
I would love to have a bunch of dragon species for defined my habitat, like in How to Train your Dragon, than a color scheme.
I think you could keep the breath and color standard and add more interesting environmentally influenced attributes without much difficulty. I also adding a generalist dragon is a good idea, but I am specifically interested in the iconic D&D dragons for this discussion.

But: all dragons, even young ones should be spellcasters and fearsome foes to even the more hardy adventurers.
Interesting, I dont't think I typically add spellcasting to young dragons, but I could see that working. However, I don't necessarily think young dragons need to be fearsome for a group of adventurers.

I'm a big fan of Dungeon World 16 HP dragon (A 16 HP Dragon | LaTorra.org): the dragon is a multi-part encounter in itself more than a bag of HP. You know of the Complex Traps from Xanathar are designed? With Active, Dynamic and Constant elements, with a list of possible counter-measures for the party to use beyond just wacking at it? I believe dragon encounters should be designed the same way instead of as a creature with a statblock.
Well, I wasn't really wanting to discuss the mechanical design, just the artistic design. That being said, i think they started to make moves that way with lair actions and regional effects. I definitely like the idea, but I would necessarily want every dragon to be designed that way.
 

DWChancellor

Kobold Enthusiast
Honestly couldn't disagree more. I like the Lockwood dragons are head and shoulders better than nearly anything before or since. I mean, come on, the nasty skull-like blacks, the wicked blues, the dumb brutal whites...

That said, there is some room to improve. The green dragon stands out as, well, not standing out at all. The metallics are beautiful but hard to remember past the gold and silver.

What grips me about Lockwood's design was the naturalism of it. They felt like real, dangerous predators. Not flying blobs with claws and wings glued on or nests of ridiculous horns and teeth. The catlike grace and build, with a lightness that spoke more of a flying creature than the heavyset dragons so many other artists painted.

Mechanically I think there is a lot of room to expand the dragons' too, but I heard you wanted to discuss the art =)

Can you post an example of a dragon you like "better" than Lockwoods? I just pulled my PF bestiary and opened it to find a heap of generic, undistinguished, utterly boring dragons. No help there.
 
Last edited:

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Artistically, I'd remove the wings from the black, blue and whites, making them ''land wyrms'' but with superior mobility features:
- The blues keep the awesome nose horn and gain a new pair of legs, a little like the behir, with an improved burrow and climb speed. Remove the storm breath and change it to something a little more ''desert'' themed, like a gas breath that transform the victims in glass statues.

- The whites are based on the arctic killer whales. They can breath for some time underwater, climb and walk easily on ice. They have some fur and overly large claws. They have a heat breath (fire damage overtime), used to shape their lairs.

-Blacks are amphibians: they can breath normally underwater. They dont have horns per se, but their bodies are covered in coral-like formations used like an armor and their heads are adorned by a lamp-like antenna use to lure prey while in dark waters . They have no forelegs but a bunch of little legs, like a centipede, are found at the rear of their bodies (a little like the 5e remorhaz)
Remorhaz.jpg
 

dave2008

Hero
Honestly couldn't disagree more. I like the Lockwood dragons are head and shoulders better than nearly anything before or since. I mean, come on, the nasty skull-like blacks, the wicked blues, the dumb brutal whites...

That said, there is some room to improve. The green dragon stands out as, well, not standing out at all. The metallics are beautiful but hard to remember past the gold and silver.

What grips me about Lockwood's design was the naturalism of it. They felt like real, dangerous predators. Not flying blobs with claws and wings glued on or nests of ridiculous horns and teeth. The catlike grace and build, with a lightness that spoke more of a flying creature than the heavyset dragons so many other artists painted.

Mechanically I think there is a lot of room to expand the dragons' too, but I heard you wanted to discuss the art =)

Can you post an example of a dragon you like "better" than Lockwoods? I just pulled my PF bestiary and opened it to find a heap of generic, undistinguished, utterly boring dragons. No help there.
  1. I completely agree with you in the PF versions, not really improvements IMO.
  2. I don’t have any preconceived idea about a redesign. I did like the brute red dragon they showed during the Next play test though.
  3. I’m personally tired of the skull like heads of the black, blue, and white dragons.
  4. I think the body types are too similar for the different roles and environments they occupy.
 

dave2008

Hero
Artistically, I'd remove the wings from the black, blue and whites, making them ''land wyrms'' but with superior mobility features:
- The blues keep the awesome nose horn and gain a new pair of legs, a little like the behir, with an improved burrow and climb speed. Remove the storm breath and change it to something a little more ''desert'' themed, like a gas breath that transform the victims in glass statues.

- The whites are based on the arctic killer whales. They can breath for some time underwater, climb and walk easily on ice. They have some fur and overly large claws. They have a heat breath (fire damage overtime), used to shape their lairs.

-Blacks are amphibians: they can breath normally underwater. They dont have horns per se, but their bodies are covered in coral-like formations used like an armor and their heads are adorned by a lamp-like antenna use to lure prey while in dark waters . They have no forelegs but a bunch of little legs, like a centipede, are found at the rear of their bodies (a little like the 5e remorhaz) View attachment 114493
Interesting ideas, can’t really reply well on my phone. I will follow up when I get back to a computer.
 

dave2008

Hero
Artistically, I'd remove the wings from the black, blue and whites, making them ''land wyrms'' but with superior mobility features:
Not for me, I would keep land wyrms as a distinct type of dragon and keep the 5 chromatic as flying beasts.

- The blues keep the awesome nose horn and gain a new pair of legs, a little like the behir, with an improved burrow and climb speed. Remove the storm breath and change it to something a little more ''desert'' themed, like a gas breath that transform the victims in glass statues.
Interesting, but I would go the other way. Make them really stormy. Give them the biggest wings and make them the best flyers. Sight build (comparatively) but agile. Make them masters of the sky, not the desert.

- The whites are based on the arctic killer whales. They can breath for some time underwater, climb and walk easily on ice. They have some fur and overly large claws. They have a heat breath (fire damage overtime), used to shape their lairs.
I can get behind most of that. I don't know that I want hair on my dragon, but I'm not saying no until I see it. I don't know about heat breath, but there is definitely some logic to it. Maybe the can manipulate the temperature, hot or cold.

-Blacks are amphibians: they can breath normally underwater. They dont have horns per se, but their bodies are covered in coral-like formations used like an armor and their heads are adorned by a lamp-like antenna use to lure prey while in dark waters . They have no forelegs but a bunch of little legs, like a centipede, are found at the rear of their bodies (a little like the 5e remorhaz)
I don't like the centipede idea, but I can get behind them being more swampy. I typically want them to have a more snake like build. I have also thought of them a dragon versions of sauropods before.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Not for me, I would keep land wyrms as a distinct type of dragon and keep the 5 chromatic as flying beasts.


Interesting, but I would go the other way. Make them really stormy. Give them the biggest wings and make them the best flyers. Sight build (comparatively) but agile. Make them masters of the sky, not the desert.


I can get behind most of that. I don't know that I want hair on my dragon, but I'm not saying no until I see it. I don't know about heat breath, but there is definitely some logic to it. Maybe the can manipulate the temperature, hot or cold.


I don't like the centipede idea, but I can get behind them being more swampy. I typically want them to have a more snake like build. I have also thought of them a dragon versions of sauropods before.
I think I need to google a little more with color symbology:
  • Whites could be clouds/smoke instead of ice. I once had them as Pearl Dragon, aka the sea ones.
  • Black I would love as spider-dragon (see in Kobold Press Creature Codex). Poison, webs etc or maybe as lovecraftian-old-ones dragon with a sea/slime theme.
  • Blues are my favorite but I just dont know what to do with'em. Maybe give them the sea theme?
  • Reds I love as the ''rose dragon'', nature based with a strong fey theme. Could also be rust themed, with an hint toward the destroyer of metallic dragons.
  • Greens could be plague related?
-
 

DWChancellor

Kobold Enthusiast
I thought I say in one of the D&D art books that Lockwood modeled dragons on cats to give them the look he wanted. I also see this for How to Train Your Dragon.
He talks about it a little in Eye of the Beholder too. Him and Sam (Wood?) went back and forth and built up their design from bones through musculature, etc...

I think the care they put into the design shows. Lockwood dragons are distinct even when drawn by artists of wildly varying talents and interest. The 3E Draconomicon has a lot of good "identify dragon by silhouette" stuff in it too that no other design set has surpassed.

I admit to appreciating a few of the more recent dragons in Magic the Gathering art (some of which are Lockwood's!) but overall I haven't seen a better solution to "OMG why are so many dragons D&D cannon and how do I make them look distinct and cool!?!?"

I like some of the ideas about wyrms, but let's be real here, WOTC isn't going to redefine the core concept of "dragons" anymore than they are going to redefine goblins. A dragon in D&D has four legs, two wings, and is a hyper intelligent apex predator stuffed with magic.

A couple of asides:

* Looking back at the 5E dragon illustrations in MM... meh. They're a bit disappointing for such a leading monster.

* Dungeon Crawl Classics has some really odd and off-beat dragons which are very imaginative.

* Warhammer dragons are all snakey and weird. Meh. Count that as my vote for all snakey dragon illustrations!

* Matt Colville's Strongholds & Followers has some interesting dragon additions with a lot of character though maybe too far from D&D's core aesthetic.
 
Last edited:

Vael

Adventurer
The Chromatic Dragons are, together with Tiamat, pretty core to DnD as a genre, to me. 4e played with their aesthetics a bit and it didn't really take, I remember the 4e Green Dragon got a lot of flack for its new, spikier appearance. And, admittedly, if you gave me a black and white image, or just a silhouette of a Chromatic dragon, I'd get the Black and Red ones pretty easily, and utterly whiff on the Blue, Green and White.

And, on the subject of Metallic Dragons, I couldn't tell you the differences between the Bronze, Brass and Copper Dragons without looking them up.

Now, I would like to see more Dragons that aren't Chromatic, Metallic (or Gem). I like the more serpentine Asian-style Dragons, I could even see a furry Luck Dragon. But I'd rather add more Dragons than retool the current set.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
Reimagining dragons is fun, but I'm a bit puzzled about the "5.5 or 6E" part of the thread premise. There are plenty of third-party supplements with alternative dragons. (The wind dragon in the Tome of Beasts gave my players fits! :D) And any non-FR setting can have any kind of dragons the creator wants. I don't see why this has to be for a future edition, except a desire for everybody to accept the redesigned dragons as the new default, which seems ... well, first, unnecessary, and second, unlikely as long as WotC sticks with the Realms as their main setting.
 

dave2008

Hero
Reimagining dragons is fun, but I'm a bit puzzled about the "5.5 or 6E" part of the thread premise. There are plenty of third-party supplements with alternative dragons. (The wind dragon in the Tome of Beasts gave my players fits! :D) And any non-FR setting can have any kind of dragons the creator wants. I don't see why this has to be for a future edition, except a desire for everybody to accept the redesigned dragons as the new default, which seems ... well, first, unnecessary, and second, unlikely as long as WotC sticks with the Realms as their main setting.
No need to get hung up on that. I was just suggesting WotC isn’t likely to make any changes unless there is a change / new edition.
I’m not talking about what can be done in home games or 3PP settings. Everyone knows we can do whatever we want with those. I’m asking what would you want to see changed with “official” chromatic and metallic dragons. Because of that restraint, I would expect a more reserved set of possibilities.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Enjoy!



 

Advertisement

Top