|Hit Dice by Chromatic Dragon Species|
|Age Category||Category Name||AC||Move Rate||Small White||White||Black||Green||Blue||Red||Huge Red|
|2||Very Young||1||12"/24" C||2+8||2+8||3+12||3+12||4+16||4+16||4+16|
|4||Young Adult||-1||12"/24" C||4+16||5+20||6+24||7+28||8+32||8+32||9+36|
|10||Great Wyrm||-7||9"/24" E||11+66||13+78||15+90||17+102||20+120||22+132||24+144|
General Abilities and Defenses of Dragons
Very young and young dragons have an effective Dexterity of 18 with respect to reaction modifiers and saving throws versus attacks. Sub-adults and young adults have an effective Dexterity of 17, and older dragons have an effective Dexterity of 16.
A dragon has a 10% chance per HD of having acquired the power of speech. Those with the power of speech and with greater than 1 HD automatically gain spell casting ability as an M-U with caster level of half their HD (round fractions up). Spells for a dragon are determined randomly, with duplicates indicating the spell may be used multiple times per day. Dragons may cast all spells using only the power of their dreadful voice and require no other components. In addition to such spells as they know naturally, dragons of at least 15HD may also study spell books and prepare spells as M-U does.
The intelligence of dragon is normally the same as their HD (maximum 25), save that any dragon with the power of speech has an intelligence of at least nine. Dragons speak their own language, plus a number of additional languages of their choosing up to the limit provided by their intelligence. Should it be necessary to know, the effective wisdom of a dragon is normally ½ that of their intelligence plus 2d4. When it matters, the charisma of a dragon is normally the same as their wisdom.
A dragon of up to 2HD has natural armor that counts as scale armor. Those of 3 or 4 HD count as mail, dragon hide of dragons of 5-9HD counts as plate armor, and those of 10HD or higher counts as full plate armor. Dragons of at least 5HD count as large size creatures. Those of 10HD or more take -1 damage from weapons other than siege weapons or those wielded large sized creatures. Those of 15HD or higher take -2 damage, and those of 20 HD or higher take -3 damage. Dragons of 17HD or higher have hides so impervious that they also may only be struck by magic weapons.
All dragons are highly resistant to magic. They receive a +2 bonus on all saving throws. Additionally they have magic resistance of 10% per age category. Young adult dragons or older also receive an additional +4 bonus (total +6) on saving throws versus poison, and those of old or higher age category also receive an additional +4 bonus (total +6) on saving throws versus illusion, fear and enchantment magic. Although they may wish otherwise, all dragons are immune to the effects of magical aging, such as the aging attacks of a ghost!
All dragons are immune to disease save for a few rare magical diseases which are unique to their race. Any creature or attack which can be thwarted by cure disease, such as green slime or rot grubs, when encountering the dragon’s unique physiology and poisonous acidic humors either has no effect on a dragon and if it persists dies instantly as having been treated by cure disease.
All dragons ignore the first 10 points of damage per age category from attacks of the same sort as their breath weapon. All dragons except those breathing acid ignore the first 2 points of damage per age category from acid attacks. Those which do not have cold breath weapons also ignore the first 1 point of damage per age category from fire attacks, and those which do not have fire breath weapons also ignore the first 1 point of damage per age category from cold attacks.
All dragons take half damage from poisons of all sorts. If the poison is such that a failed save normally indicates outright death, a dragon instead takes 30 points of damage.
A dragon is roughly 3’ long per HD it possesses. This length is more or less equally divided between its serpentine neck and head, its body, and its long tail. The larger the dragon, the more human sized foes can engage it in melee at once. The formula is generally 2 attackers plus two additional attackers per 3HD of the dragon, though circumstances may allow for more or less if the attackers can attack in ranks or tiers.
Dragon Sensory Powers
All dragons have senses at least as acute as birds of prey. They can see as well during the day as an eagle, have the acute sense of smell of a vulture, and have the superior night vision and acute hearing of an owl. A dragon also has infravision to 9”, and has nearly perfect spatial memory so that remembers even the slightest details of the layout of its lair and positions of objects within it. Unless a dragon is in a deep slumber or extreme magical measures are employed to mask all indications of a trespasser’s presence, a dragon is never surprised. An awake dragon can detect the presence of an invisible or otherwise concealed creature with 1” per age category, but cannot necessarily pinpoint the exact location except within half that distance and only if the creature makes noise or emits a scent. A -30% penalty on attempts to move silently or hide in shadows is incurred with respect to dragons.
Dragons have a particularly acute sense of smell when it comes to smelling other dragons. A dragon can detect the scent of dragon within 1 mile per age category of the dragon. From this scent they are able to determine the general direction the dragon lay in, how far away it was, how recent the scent is, as well as the race, age, gender, and even mood of the dragon at the time the scent was made. So subtle is the powers of the dragon nose with regard to their own kind, that they can track anything marked by a dragon’s passage for up to 10 weeks after the event. This most certainly includes any treasure that was a part of their horde, as well as their eggs or young!
Dragon Natural Weaponry and Attack Forms
All dragons possess powerful jaws filled with dagger like teeth as their primary weapon, and also large claws with which to slash foes, and may bash foes with their powerful frequently spiked tails and wings. Thus, a dragon may make up to six attacks per round. Dragons of up to 3HD may employ all of their attacks against a single medium sized target, while those of 4HD or more may only employ their claws and bite against a single medium sized foe, and may only use their tail and wing to attack foes in different quarters and may not employ both wings against the same medium sized foe. They may still however direct all attacks against a large sized creature. Dragons of 14HD or more may only make one attack on each medium sized foe, but may direct both bite and claws against large creatures and employ tail and wing attacks against creatures on different quarters.
A dragon in flight may not employ its wings in combat.
Damage for each attack depends on HD, as is shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Dragon Attacks and Damage
|1||1d4||1d2||1||1||Breathe Weapon, Constrict|
|2||1d6||1d2||1||1||Breathe Weapon, Constrict|
|3||1d6||1d3||1||1d2||Breathe Weapon, Constrict|
|4||1d8||1d3||1d2||1d2||Breathe Weapon, Constrict, Wing Storm|
|5||1d8||1d4||1d2||1d3||Breathe Weapon, Constrict, Wing Storm|
|6||1d10||1d4||1d2||1d3||Breathe Weapon, Wing Storm|
|7||1d10||1d6||1d3||1d4||Breathe Weapon, Wing Storm|
|8||1d12||1d6||1d3||1d4||Breathe Weapon, Wing Storm|
|9||1d12||1d8||1d3||1d6||Breathe Weapon, Wing Storm|
|10||2d6||1d8||1d4||1d6||Batter, Breathe Weapon, Wing Storm|
|11||2d6||1d10||1d4||1d8||Batter, Breathe Weapon, Trample (1"), Wing Storm|
|12||2d8||1d10||1d4||1d8||Batter, Breathe Weapon, Trample (1"), Wing Storm|
|13||2d8||1d12||1d6||1d10||Batter, Breathe Weapon, Crush, Snatch, Trample (1"), Wing Storm|
|14||3d6||1d12||1d6||1d10||Batter, Breathe Weapon, Crush, Snatch, Tail Sweep, Trample (1"), Wing Storm|
|15||3d6||2d6||1d8||1d12||Batter (double damage), Breathe Weapon, Crush, Snatch, Tail Sweep, Trample (1 1/2"), Wing Storm|
|16||3d8||2d6||1d8||1d12||Batter (double damage), Breathe Weapon, Crush, Snatch, Tail Sweep, Trample (1 1/2"), Wing Storm|
|17||3d8||2d8||1d8||2d6||Batter (double damage), Breathe Weapon, Crush, Snatch, Tail Sweep, Trample (1 1/2"), Wing Storm|
|18||4d6||2d8||1d10||2d6||Batter (double damage), Breathe Weapon, Crush, Snatch, Tail Sweep, Trample (1 1/2"), Wing Storm|
|19||4d6||3d6||1d10||2d8||Batter (double damage), Breathe Weapon, Crush, Snatch, Swallow Whole (Dwarf Sized), Tail Sweep, Trample (1 1/2"), Wing Storm|
|20||5d6||3d6||1d10||2d8||Batter (triple damage), Breathe Weapon, Crush, Snatch, Swallow Whole (Dwarf Sized), Tail Sweep, Trample (2"), Wing Storm|
|21||6d6||3d8||1d12||3d6||Batter (triple damage), Breathe Weapon, Crush (Ogre Sized), Snatch, Swallow Whole (Dwarf Sized), Tail Sweep, Trample (2"), Wing Storm|
|22||4d10||3d8||1d12||3d6||Batter (triple damage), Breathe Weapon, Crush (Ogre Sized), Snatch, Swallow Whole (Dwarf Sized), Tail Sweep, Trample (2"), Wing Storm|
|23||6d8||4d6||1d12||3d8||Batter (triple damage), Breathe Weapon, Crush (Ogre Sized), Snatch, Swallow Whole (Human Sized), Tail Sweep, Trample (2"), Wing Storm|
|24||5d10||4d6||2d6||3d8||Batter (triple damage), Breathe Weapon, Crush (Ogre Sized), Snatch, Swallow Whole (Human Sized), Tail Sweep, Trample (2"), Wing Storm|
|1Adult dragons regardless of HD also have an Awe attack. All dragons capable of speech also have spell abilities, and a hypnotic gaze attack.|
Awe: Dragons develop the power to panic enemies as they mature. At adult age and older flies overhead or charges they radiate a powerful aura which causes a fear as follows:
1. All creatures under 1 hit die, as well as non-carnivorous creatures of any sort which are not trained for warfare or basically not fearless or aggressive will flee in panic. Such rout will be made at fastest speed possible away from the dragon, and it will continue for 4-24 turns.
2. Creatures with fewer than 3 hit dice must save versus magic or be paralyzed with fear (50%) for as long as the dragon remains in view or else panic as above (50%).
3. Creatures with 3 or more hit dice will fight at a penalty of -1 on their hit dice unless they also save versus magic.
4. Creatures with 6 or more hit dice automatically disregard the aura affect.
The aura of adult, old, and very old dragons is not as powerful as that of ancient and older dragons, so saving throws applicable to their auras are at +5, +3, and +1 respectively.
Breathe Weapon: The most famous and feared power of a dragon is its deadly breath. Each dragon has a breathe weapon particular to its race which it may employ in lieu of its bite attack. A very young or young dragon may only employ its breath weapon every 4th round, and so must wait three rounds before using it again, while those of sub-adult and young adult status may use their deadly weapon on every 3rd round. Adult dragons and older may choose to breathe ever other round, pausing only a single round.
White: Cone of Cold – 1d6 damage/age category. The cone is 1” long per age category and has a base half as wide as it is long.
Black: Line of Acid – 1d8 damage/age category. The line is 1 ½” long per age category and is ½” wide.
Green: Cloud of Acid – 1d6 damage/age category. The cloud begins as a line ½” wide and up to 1” long per age category. At its maximum length or whenever it strikes a solid object, the breath billows into a cloud of ½” diameter plus ½” per age category centered at its point of impact. Those caught within the cloud have only half the usual benefit (rounded down) from dexterity, shield use, or solid cover with respect to saving against the attack.
Blue: Line of Electricity – 1d8 damage/age category. The line is 2” long per age category and is ½” wide.
Red: Cone of Fire – 1d8 damage/age category. The cone is 1” long per age category and has a base half as wide as it is long.
In all cases, a saving throw versus breath weapons indicates but half damage is taken.
Hypnotic Gaze: Any dragon which has the power of speech, if it fixes its gaze on a single enemy and locks eyes with it, may employ hypnotism against that foe as the illusionist spell of the same name. Caster level is the same as the age category of the dragon, but saving throws have a +4 bonus if the dragon is not yet at least a young adult.
Wing Storm: A dragon of at least 4 HD can, when on the ground, employ its wings to make a powerful gust in a particular direction, equal in effect to a gust of wind with caster level equal to the dragon’s HD, save that it effects a cone 1” long and ½” wide for each HD of the dragon. A dragon of at least 14HD can manage the same effect, but in all directions radiating out from the dragon, but in this case the effective caster level is ½ of the dragon’s HD. If a dragon employs this ability, it may not attack with its claws or wings in the same round.
Constrict: A dragon of up to 5 HD remains sinuous and supple enough that it may wind its tail and perhaps even portions of its serpentine body around its foe. This requires a successful tail attack, but it succeeds the foe has been grabbed and their after automatically takes tail damage in each round thereafter. The victim also has a -2 penalty to hit owing to its dilemma, while the dragon has a +2 bonus to hit and may employ all of its attacks each round against the hapless victim. Likewise, the foe has a -2 penalty on saving throws to resist the dragon’s breath weapon, owing to his limited options to evade such an attack.
Batter: A dragon of at least 10 HD may use its head or tail against a structure with the force of a battering ram. Those of at least 15 HD inflict twice the normal structural damage of a battering ram with either attack, and those of 20 HD or higher triple normal damage!
Trample: A dragon of at least 11 HD gains a trample attack. Trample attacks preclude the dragon using its claws for making any other sort of attack. To use a trample attack, the dragon must either charge or land. If a charge, the attack effects a swath as long as the charge and 1” wide, while if the attack is made by landing the area of effect is 1" wide and half as long as the dragon. All creatures in the area of effect must be human sized or smaller, or such an attack may not be attempted. Creatures in the area of effect must make a save versus Petrification/Polymorph or receive claw damage as from a successful claw attack and be knocked prone. 16HD dragons effect a swath 1 ½” wide, while those of 21 HD or higher effect a swath 2” wide.
Crush: A dragon of at least 13 HD may employ a special crush attack, by stomping on a foe of human sized or smaller. Treat this as a normal claw attack, save that if it is successful, the foe is crushed to the ground and pinned by the weight of the dragon. Thereafter, the victim takes automatic claw damage on each successive round and may not move. A dragon may only continue to employ the crush attack if it does not move from its current position, but it may otherwise continue to employ its other attacks without penalty. To free themselves from the crush attack, the victim must either make a successful bend bars/lift gates roll or else deter the dragon by making attacks on its limb. Attacks by a victim being crushed are at a -4 penalty to hit, owing to the uncomfortable and debilitating circumstances, and may only be made against the limb that pins them but if they are successful they may force the dragon to withdraw, for if the dragon takes total damage from such attacks to its limb equal to twice its HD, the limb is considered temporarily crippled and the dragon may no longer engage in crush attacks and has its ground speed halved until the wound is healed. A dragon of at least 21 HD may crush foes of up to ogre size, including horses and the like, and those wishing to escape such attacks have a -20% penalty on their bend bars/lift gates rolls to escape. A dragon may always voluntarily end a crush attack, and automatically ends a crush attack whenever it moves.
Snatch: A dragon of at least 13 HD may employ a special claw attack, by catching a human or smaller sized foe within one of its claws just as a man might grip something within his fist. This requires a normal claw attack, but does no damage. Rather, the victim must make a save versus Petrification/Polymorph or be grasped by the dragon. In such cases, 40% of the time the victims shield arm is pinned, 40% of the time the victims sword arm is pinned, and 20% of the time both of the victims arms are pinned and helpless. The victim may attack with a free arm provided they have a suitable weapon, but owing to the circumstances attacks are made at a -4 penalty to hit and may only be made against the limb by which they are held. Otherwise, they must make a successful bend bars/lift gates roll to free themselves. The victim may attempt to escape each round, but if the dragon has taken wing then escape means a certain plunge to the ground below! A dragon may move with a victim in hand at half ground speed, or full flight speed. They may also inflict if they choose various torments on their hapless prey - including any of the following: deliver a bite attack to the victim at a +4 bonus to hit, squeeze the victim for automatic damage equivalent to half claw damage, or fling the victim away like a discarded toy. If the victim is flung they land anywhere within 30’ of the dragon that the beast desires, unless they fall onto a particularly soft surface, the damage is as a fall of at least 30’.
Tail Sweep: Dragons of at least 14HD are so large that they may attempt to bowl over anyone in a wide swath with the sweep of their tail, rather than picking out an individual target, or strike their tails against multiple targets which are closely gathered together. All targets of such an attack must by legal targets for the attack of their tail (that is, they must be in the dragon's rear quarter if it has employed an attack on some other front), and a dragon may not combine its tail sweep attack with or target any victim of it with its constrict special attack. Targets in the effected area must save versus Petrification/Polymorph or suffer damage as from a tail attack and be knocked prone. A dragon of at least 14 HD effects all targets in a 1" square area; a dragon of at least 19HD effects all targets in 1 1/2" square and those within must save at -1, while a dragon of at least 23HD effects all targets in a 2" square and saves are at a -2 penalty on the die. All targets within the area of effect must be human sized or smaller, or such an attack may not be attempted. Alternatively, a dragon may strike multiple targets which are closely grouped together... TBD.
Swallow Whole: A dragon of at least 19 HD can swallow dwarf or smaller sized prey whole on a roll of 20 when making a bite attack. Swallowed victims take damage as from the dragon’s full breath weapon each round, with no chance of saving throw. They may attempt to fight their way out of the dragon’s gullet against an effective AC of 10, but only light piercing or stabbing weapons such as a dagger may be employed and for each round that passes they have a cumulative -1 penalty to damage from such attacks. Nonetheless, any creature that succeeds in doing at least 20 points of damage will be regurgitated from the dragon. Dragons of at least 23HD may swallow human sized or smaller prey whole in the same manner, and swallow dwarf sized or smaller prey on a roll of 19 or 20.
Chromatic Dragon Behavior
Chromatic dragons are highly aggressive creatures, particularly toward other dragons. Each dragon seeks out a territory and a lair which it defends against intruders. Upon obtaining adulthood, female dragons will tolerate a mate of the same race having a territory which overlaps their own, but generally prefer if possible that this mate be younger than themselves so that it represents no threat to them and that they may bully it if necessary. Conversely, male dragons attempt to carve out a territory which overlaps as many breeding age females as possible, driving out all males, but potentially tolerating females of sub-adult status or older.
In addition to territory, all dragons desire to accumulate a great horde of treasure, for a dragon is not content until it has a vast bed of treasure to slumber upon. The larger and deeper this bed, the more comfortably they may sleep and of course the bed must expand in size to accommodate the dragon’s ever expanding bulk.
The older a dragon becomes, the less often it ventures from its lair, and the less widely it is willing to travel. This is particularly true once the dragon has accumulated a horde and found a secure lair. For dragons are ultimately lazy, cowardly, and greedy creatures and as they age the fear that something might steal the treasures that they have accumulated becomes increasingly overbearing. As a dragon ages, they spend more and more of their time in torpor – a state of half-sleep or hibernation in which the dragon is motionless but remains half-aware of its surroundings. Younger dragons tend to pass from torpor into periods of true sleep in which they are insensible to their surroundings, but older dragons rarely sleep but instead rest motionless for decades at a time with their eyes half lidded and their ears and nose keenly attuned to all that goes on around them. While younger dragons are voracious eaters, consuming all that they can hold and as frequently as they can, older dragons with well-established lairs fast for as long as they are able between meals, going forth to gorge only when hunger becomes uncontrollable. For this reason, dragons on the wing are generally not disposed to any conversation or negotiation with anything they might consider food, until such time as they’ve satiated themselves and are beginning to feel the return of contended sleepiness.
Such behavior however means that as a dragon ages, it mates less and less frequently, as the instinct to mate becomes subordinate to the dragon’s fears regarding protecting its horde. Ironically, this means that the majority of mating behavior by male dragons occurs among the youngest adults, who stealthily invade the vast territories of the more ancient dragons in order to seek out willing females, during the periods where the ancient worms are lying in torpor. Such behavior is dangerous to the male in the extreme, for not only are they certain to be devoured by larger territorial males if they are detected, but if they are smaller than the females whom they attempt to woo, there is a not insignificant chance that after mating, the larger female will attempt to devour them to satiate their hunger after a long torpor.
Dragons first become capable of reproducing as young adults, though females of this age will lay only small clutches of mostly unviable eggs and tend to produce smaller and less healthy hatchlings. After mating, a female dragon will lay a clutch of eggs about 90 days after mating. Eggs are hard dark colored globes 10-18” across depending on the race and the age of the female. The coloration of the egg allows an expert to deduce the race of dragon that produced it, and from that estimate the age of the female that laid it. Fortunately, owing to the aforementioned behavior, these are often the prime breeding ages of a dragon as older dragons mate more and more infrequently.
In order to hatch successfully, the female must carefully tend and incubate the eggs, rotating them, heating or cooling them with their body and small puffs of their deadly breath. When properly tended, an egg will hatch approximately two years after being laid. However, eggs which are not properly tended have been known to lay in a dormant state for decades after being clutched, only to be reawakened when environment factors approximate the necessary conditions for maturation. While few eggs subjected to such treatment and neglect will hatch, enough may that infestations of dragons may reoccur years after dragons have been exterminated from a given area.
Male dragons – even the father - are not welcome within the lair of a female dragon who is guarding eggs. However, once the eggs have hatched, a male dragon may return both with the hope of soon siring a new clutch and to insure the health of his offspring by bringing tributes of food. For the maternal instinct of a female dragon is not such that she will risk her horde to feed young dragons. Indeed, life within the dragon crèche is hardly one of bliss and domestic tranquility, for siblings will fight to the death for shares of food and greedily devour smaller siblings. Without the additional provisions brought by the father, few young dragon hatchlings will survive of a given clutch, for assuredly the largest will devour all the rest. Reports of ‘mated pairs’ living together invariably refer to two dragons partially cohabitating during this period of child rearing, for dragons of any sort are not naturally social and cooperative creatures and lack affection even for their mates. Again, younger males often make the better fathers, for older males will weigh their offspring’s interests against the need to protect the treasure in their own ever growing hordes, and so venture forth for shorter periods and less frequently.
Female dragons guarding eggs or young will do so ferociously and will pursue trespassers vindictively. In such situations, the female dragon gains a +1 bonus to hit and will do +2 damage with attacks.
Young dragons are born alert and dangerous – fully capable of killing any prey smaller than themselves - but will attempt to stay in the safety and protection of their mother’s lair for up to two years after hatching. The longer such hatchlings stay however, the more they risk triggering the mother’s instinctive fear of other dragons and instinctive hunger for the flesh of other dragons – overriding the mother’s maternal instincts. This risk is greatest among the largest and healthiest young dragons, which must depart the sooner, while those runts who by cunning manage to survive the attentions of their siblings may linger in their mother’s presence the longest. In any event, young dragons will be driven from the lair prior to the hatching of the next generation, for the mother knows that any malingers from the prior clutch will certainly devour the hatchlings of succeeding clutches.
Once young dragons depart the lair, it will disperse as quickly and stealthily as it can seeking lands which show no signs of the presence of other dragons. During this period, dragons are of a size that they are quite vulnerable not only to other dragons, but to other larger predators and most especially to the hunters of humanoid species – who not only know to destroy any young dragon which enters their territory before it can grow to a terror, but prize dragon body parts as magical reagents of great puissance. While in ancient times, many dragons survived this period, as the humanoid races have grown in power and technology, and spread over wider and wider lands, fewer and fewer dragons survive to adulthood. Somewhere between obtaining adulthood and old age, the balance of power shifts, for only the mightiest heroes dare face the fury of such creatures. While younger dragons survive only by constantly moving or keeping the location of their lair quite secret, mature dragons can usually lair secure in the knowledge that few will seek them out and fewer still will survive doing so. While the greatest nations are capable of mustering the resources to drive out or slay an adult dragon, on the fringes of civilization this tends not to be true and inhabitants must either decide to live with the presence of dragons they cannot possibly hope to fight back against or else simply pack and move far enough away that they are seldom victims of the dragon’s marauding. Some communities find ways to channel a dragon’s aggression, by offering tribute of livestock, treasure and even youths at regular times and locations in hopes on controlling the costs of a dragon living nearby and avoiding destruction of property. Such unspoken agreements may last decades, with the dragon learning that they may acquire food and treasure regularly at comparatively low cost in time away from its lair, and so not venturing forth save to claim its tribute. But such agreements are only long enduring from the perspective of short lived and short sighted races, for as a dragon ages its greed, gluttony, and pride surely and steadily grows until it is no longer satisfied with only what it is given. In the long term, communities that offer tribute and even worship, only delay the inevitable and are eventually plundered at the dragon’s whim.
The area round about the lair of a mature dragon is referred to as its desolation. In a broad sense, this may refer to the wide swath of wild land, often containing the ruins of communities which lay abandoned and into which civilization dare not any more intrude. But in its most narrow and technical sense, the desolation of a dragon is the area around the lair in which the normal ecology has been disrupted and destroyed, invariably becoming denuded of even natural vegetation during the decades of the dragon’s inhabitation. This occurs as both an active and passive consequence of the dragon’s presence. Active, because dragons of a certain age will actively use their lashing tails and breath weapons to clear from the entrance of the lair any natural cover which might impede their vision of the surroundings or provide opportunities for hunters to ambush them. Passive, because the urine, dung, blood, and breath of a dragon is acidic, noxious and toxic to most other life, and a lairing dragon will gradually begin to pollute its environment, causing disease and death in nearby plant and animal life. Streams and springs in their vicinity become bitter and vinegary, pools become stagnant and deadly, and the ground becomes unsuitable for foliage or crops. Trees sicken and die and their denuded trunks, if not consumed by fire, begin to rot. Everywhere the reek of the dragon and its deadly breath will linger in the air, and nearest the lair a foul slime can be noted coating the ground. An adult dragon once it has lived in an area for a decade will generally produce a desolation of this sort a mile across, and the radius of the desolation will increase over time by roughly 1 mile per additional age category. The lore-wise will immediately recognize a dragon desolation for what it is, and what it portends, and so know to avoid intruding on the dragon’s privacy. Those of exceptional knowledge can even determine the sort of dragon from the peculiar reek it makes.
Dragons of the ancient or older sort seldom venture forth from their lairs, laying in torpor self-satisfied in their power for years or even decades, and when they do venture forth usually only for as brief of period as possible most often in search of large prey that they can kill and devour quickly and to search for the presence of other dragon’s within the area they consider their territory. However, if something stirs such beasts into periods of heightened activity, it can be a civilization ending event for any nearby society on par with natural disasters and plagues of the greatest magnitude. This most often occurs when a dragon becomes suddenly dissatisfied with the state of its horde or the size of its lair, and desires to enlarge one or both to accommodate its newly acquired girth and length. Fortunately, dragons are rather slow growing, and so it is rare indeed that dragon survives the trials of the centuries and obtains the largest size. There are no more than a handful of great wyrms of each dragon race throughout the whole world and the infamy of such beasts is so great, that they will be known by name across wide regions of the world and their deeds and forays will be subject of tavern talk for many hundreds of leagues about their lair.
Weaknesses of Dragons
All dragons, are exceptionally vain creatures with a natural inclination to see themselves as the most beautiful, impressive, important, and noble of all creatures – and they are pleased greatly when other creatures recognize these truths without having to have it pointed out to them. A dragon which does not feel threatened, enraged, or ravenous hunger is particularly vulnerable to flattery and subtle bribery, and may at the least pause to hear the pretty flattery of any creature – even one whose best possible destiny is in the opinion of the dragon to be devoured by the dragon. They also enjoy greatly boasting about their own abilities and even demonstrating their magnificence to any awed onlookers. This behavior oddly occurs even when the dragon’s intelligence informs it the flatterer is attempting to trick them, for although the dragon knows it is being duped, it’s great vanity allows it to delude itself that because it knows it is being duped it is not in fact being duped, and it will always be able to at some future point avenge itself on the would be trickster by some plot or stratagem it is devising while listening to the flattery. The fact that highly intelligent dragons may in fact be right in this only contributes to the tendency to over-confidence.
All dragons are lazy creatures that make as little of effort as possible. Although capable of arousing themselves in a wrath almost instantly and can move with startling swiftness, they prefer rather to slumber on their horde and to take action only if they must. Thus they can be made to procrastinate regarding anything other than the safety of their person, their horde – and in the case of female dragon’s, immediate threats to the safety of their progeny. They tend therefore to be reactive in their nature rather than proactive, secure in the belief that they can later deal with whatever threat arises. And they spend large portions of their life in state of half-sleep, which, invariably falls into true insensible slumber some of the time – during which time they are vulnerable to stealthy attack. The chance that a dragon in its lair will be slumbering is 10% per age category, to a maximum of 99% for great wyrms. However, the chance that this slumber does not render the dragon unconscious and insensible is the same, so that though an adult dragon in its lair is slumbering 50% of the time, in 50% of these cases it is fully aware of its surroundings and quite capable of noting the approach of all but the stealthiest creature. An ancient dragon slumbers in its lair 80% of the time, but likewise 80% of the time it slumbers it is in a state of but half-sleep or torpor. Only the most lore-wise will be able to recognize the difference by subtle differences in its breathing. Even a sleeping dragon though will be awakened by any loud sound in its vicinity.
Although no dragon would ever admit it even to itself, dragons are inherently cowardly creatures whose pride and confidence in their own abilities, if ever shaken, reveals a great fear of death as well as any being that manifests powers beyond its own. Although their vanity often makes them rash and overbold, no dragon will knowingly risk death over anything less than the integrity of its horde, for only wrath at the loss or risk of loss of its treasure is enough to overcome its fear of death. If encountered outside its lair in the course of some other pursuit, a dragon will certainly flee if it is injured or at the first sign that it may be outmatched. Most of the time, a dragon will avoid any pitched combat, preferring instead to repeatedly strafe targets using it’s breathe weapon until they succumb. A lucky arrow hit that pierces its scales enough to sting may then be enough to drive away an attacking dragon for a time, if it perceives it is threatened by disciplined volleys of massed missile fire. A dozen such hits may startle the dragon enough to give even a large dragon pause. Unfortunately for the inhabitants of towns, such lucky hits are rare in the extreme against such dragons large enough to contemplate attacking a fortified stronghold, and rarer still is the archer that survives for long after attracting large dragon’s attention.
It is possible to subdue a dragon with non-damaging attacks and acts of intimidation so that it is forced to realize that its attacker could have easily killed it if they had chosen to do so. If done boldly and correctly, such an action will activate the natural cowardice of the dragon, and cause it to instinctually seek to submit to the will of the one that subdued it rather than face its death.
To subdue a dragon it must be dealt deliberately non-damaging attacks which must be totaled up just as normal damage would. When the total damage forgone by choosing to use non-damaging attacks exceeds the hit points of the dragon, the dragon may realize it could have been defeated and even killed by its enemies, and it will instinctively submit and cower to such a powerful foe. The chance that it does so at the end of any round is the same as the percentage of non-damage which is in excess of its hit points. For example, a dragon with 50 hit points, which has taken 51 subdual damage has a 2% chance of submitting, while the same dragon that takes 60 subdual damage has a 20% chance of submitting. Only non-damaging attacks may be used in the process of trying to subdue a dragon. If a dragon takes lethal damage during the process, instead of submitting and cowering it instinctively flees and fights to the death if prevented from doing so.
A subdued dragon is initially subservient and responds to any commands that it is capable of understanding except when directed to act in an obviously suicidal nature, or in the case of a female if directed to harm or ignore harm to its young or eggs. Over time however, the dragon becomes more and more surly, resentful, restless and ultimately rebellious. The duration over which a dragon may be trusted to remain subdued is somewhat random, but in general well-treated and less intelligent dragons remain subdued for longer, while those which are of greater intelligence and which are mistreated rebel sooner.
Dragon hatchlings and very young dragons generally have not yet developed hordes of their own nor settled into a long term lair. Young dragons will have only 25% of the indicated treasure, while young adult dragons will have 50% of the indicated treasure, and adult dragons 75%. Old dragons have 100% of the normal treasure, while venerable dragons will have 150%, ancient dragons 200%, wyrms 250%, and the legendary hordes of great wryms will be a full 300% of the normal treasure type.
Dragon Numbers and Frequency
Whenever a dragon is encountered, it is first necessary to determine the age and sex of the beast. Three quarters of all dragons encountered are female, for male dragons more frequently kill one another struggling for mates and territory. The age of the dragon can be determined by the following table.
|Die Roll (d6,d6)||Age Category|
If the dragon is female, at least a young adult, and encountered in her lair, there is a chance she has eggs or young. The chance of either is present is the same as the chance a dragon of that age will NOT be slumbering. If a brood is present, they will be eggs 40% of the time and young 60% of the time. A female dragon will normally lay a clutch of 1d6 eggs per age category (minimum 4d6). Seventy-five percent of the eggs of a young adult will fail to hatch, while 50% of the eggs of an adult and 25% of the eggs of an old dragon will not be viable. Once the eggs hatch, a period of contest between the siblings typically ensues, as the larger and stronger beasts seek to devour their smaller crèche mates, and smaller dragons flee the nest as soon as they are strong enough to do so. As a result, any young discovered within the lair will only be 20-80% of the number of viable eggs. All dragons leave the mother’s protection while they are still wyrmlings.
There is a small chance that the female’s consort will be temporarily present in the lair, providing the brood with presents of food to ensure its survival and minimize the amount of fighting among the brood. If young are present, determine the age of the father, ignoring any result of young or lower. The chance that the consort is present is the same as the chance that a dragon of that age will not be slumbering. Although the lair of the male may be nearby, dragons generally are jealous creatures that will not lair together or share treasure, and while dragons may have a preferred mate for self-interested reasons, they have no loyalty to one another and do not form stable pair bonds or monogamous relationships. Reports to the contrary are generally misunderstandings or the result of unusual pressure or outside influence on the dragon’s behavior.
Except for the rare case of encountering a dragon in a place that it considers sacred ground, and where a truce is therefore enforced amongst its own kind, dragons will outside of the above arrangements never be encountered in social groups.
While the statistics given here are typical for dragons of their race, there is considerable variation within the species and individuals may possess atypical traits.
Size of Dragons: Statistics given are for dragons of average size. About 20% of dragons of a particular race are smaller than their fellows. Such dragons use the HD and attack damage of dragons typical of the next smaller race of the same age category, and saves versus their breath weapon attacks are at a +1 bonus. For example, a small adult green dragon has the HD and attack damage from its natural weapons of an adult black dragon. About 10% of dragons of a particular race are much larger than their fellows. These huge dragons use the HD and attack damage of dragons of the next larger race, receive +1 damage per die on their breath weapon attacks, and saving throws versus their breath weapons are at a -2 penalty.
Incendiary Greens: Sages that study dragons believe that some point in the past, a large green dragon female bred with red dragon male, and the resulting linage bred true. Approximately 5% of green dragons descend from this line and possess the ability to breathe a cone of fire as a red dragon, in addition to the normal breathe weapon of a green dragon. They correspondingly resist fire attacks much more strongly, while lacking resistance to cold attacks. These dragons can sometimes be recognized at a difference by subtle signs of their linage such as the presence of scattered brown or rust colored scales upon their hides and a relative abundance of backswept horns adorning their skull, but they are otherwise identical to other green dragons.
Multi-Headed Dragons: Some female chromatic dragons, referred to as the Daughters of Tiamat, have more than one head. Fortunately these dragons are exceptionally rare - with less than a handful known to exist for each evil dragon race – for they are exceptionally dangerous and potent creatures. Each head beyond the first grants the dragon one additional bite attack, and 4 additional hit points per HD of the dragon. Each head is largely independent of all other heads, and has the same breathe weapon and spell-use capabilities. Dragons with extra-heads are also exceptionally difficult to magically control for each mind will question the motives of the other and so break the enchantment. If magically charmed or dominated they may make a new saving throw each round to shake off the control and return to their normal senses. Multi-headed dragons will have 50% greater treasure than usual per additional head.
Serpentine Dragons: Although young dragons are supple enough to curl their bodies and tails around a foe, most dragons as they age become too thick and inflexible to continue to employ this attack. Some 20% however retain this ability until they reach 10HD.
Venomous Dragons: All dragons have a mildly toxic physiology and their blood, saliva, and other humors are inimical to most life and which causes various issues after prolonged contact. However, in a small fraction of dragons this is especially pronounced, so that their bite becomes venomous and contact with their blood potentially immediately fatal to the attacker. Anyone bitten by such a dragon takes 3 points of damage per age category of the dragon. A successful save versus poison reduces this damage to half (rounded down). Any attacker which employs and edged melee weapon against such a dragon, if they inflict damage on the dragon greater than their weapon length, must make a successful save versus petrification/polymorph or suffer 3 damage from the spray of acid and toxic blood which results from the wound they have inflicted. Roughly 5% of all evil dragons are exceptionally venomous, though 10% of the black dragon species has this nature.
Wingless Dragons: A few dragons are born with either missing or small deformed wings that are incapable of producing flight. Most wingless dragons are killed by their mothers shortly after they hatch as ugly embarrassments. Those that are not, tend to receive especial attention from their aggressive siblings and are killed and devoured in the crèche. Thus, the few wingless dragons that survive tend to be the rare situation of a young and inexperienced mother and a wingless hatchling that is either was the sole viable hatchling or else the largest of the brood. Only about 2% of dragons encountered will be of the wingless sort. However, if encountered, wingless dragons are only 5% of the time of the small sort, and are 30% likely to be huge. They are half as likely to have developed the power of speech, but twice as likely (40%) to be serpentine in form. A wingless dragon loses the power of flight, and the ability to make any attacks or special attacks with its wings.
Table 4: XP Value of Chromatic Dragons by Age and Species
|Age Category||Small White||White||Black||Green||Blue||Red||Huge Red|
|1||III/72 + 2/hp||III/72 + 2/hp||III/72 + 2/hp||III/72 + 2/hp||III/130 + 3/hp||III/130 + 3/hp||III/130 + 3/hp|
|2||III/130 + 3/hp||III/130 + 3/hp||IV/245 + 4/hp||IV/220 + 4/hp||IV/340 + 5/hp||IV/340 + 5/hp||IV/340 + 5/hp|
|3||IV/280 + 4/hp||IV/430 + 5/hp||IV/430 + 5/hp||V/750 + 6/hp||VI/1175 + 8/hp||VI/1175 + 8/hp||VI/1825 + 10/hp|
|4||IV/430 + 5/hp||V/750 + 6/hp||VI/1175 + 8/hp||VI/1825 + 10/hp||VIII/3000 + 12/hp||VIII/3000 + 12/hp||VIII/4500 + 14/hp|
|5||V/750 + 6/hp||VI/1175 + 8/hp||VI/1825 + 10/hp||VIII/3000 + 12/hp||IX/5850 + 14/hp||IX/7500 + 16/hp||IX/8700 + 16/hp|
|6||VI/1175 + 8/hp||VIII/3000 + 12/hp||VIII/4500 + 14/hp||IX/5850 + 14/hp||IX/8700 + 16/hp||X/10450 + 18/hp||X/11950 + 18/hp|
|7||VI/1825 + 10/hp||VIII/4500 + 14/hp||IX/5850 + 14/hp||IX/8700 + 16/hp||X/11950 + 18/hp||X/14050 + 20/hp||XI/19750 + 25/hp|
|8||VIII/3000 + 12/hp||VIII/4950 + 14/hp||IX/8700 + 16/hp||X/11950 + 18/hp||XI/15850 + 20/hp||XI/19500 + 25/hp||XIV/32600 + 30/hp|
|9||IX/5850 + 14/hp||IX/8700 + 16/hp||X/13750 + 18/hp||XI/18250 + 20/hp||XIII/27300 + 25/hp||XIII/28600 + 30/hp||XVII/45600 + 35/hp|
|10||IX/8700 + 16/hp||X/11950 + 18/hp||XI/18250 + 20/hp||XII/24300 + 25/hp||XV/36600 + 30/hp||XVI/43200 + 35/hp||XVIII/55800 + 35/hp|
Table 5: Additional XP Award for Unusual Spellcasting Ability
|Age Category||Small White||White||Black||Green||Blue||Red||Huge Red|
Chromatic Dragon Species
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Treasure Type: B,O,P,T
White dragons are cold loving creatures that inhabit ice floes and tundra, where they prey upon large herd animals such as caribou and mammoths as well as large pinnipeds such as walruses. When they are able to, they compete for territory with red dragons for they are at home in glaciated alpine regions, with blue dragons where the tundra turns to grasslands, and with green dragons in the great forested regions that encircle artic lands, and even black dragons amongst the moors and peat bogs of subarctic marshlands. The breath weapon of a white dragon is a cone of severe cold. White dragons are the smallest of the chromatic dragons, and the least intelligent. Individually they are no match for their larger kin, but they are also the fleetest of the chromatic dragons when on the wing and the most fecund of the chromatic dragon species. They have also the benefit that the strongholds of their power are far from the lands normally inhabited by humanoids, and so they have vast reserves of breeding pairs lairing far beyond the threat normally posed by knights and adventurers. Thus, they are able to exploit any gap in a rival’s territory, and establish themselves before larger dragon species are able to mature sufficiently to become a great threat.
White Dragons have a flight speed of 30” rather than the usual 24”, and while not as at home in water as their large black kindred, they have a swim speed of 9”. Further, in addition to great resistance to cold, they take half-physical damage from the impact of falling ice or icy missiles. The magic resistance of white dragons is slightly less than their larger kin, and is but 8% per age category. They also have half the usual chance of acquiring the power of speech, and are twice as likely as other dragons to be smaller than average for their species. However, the clutch size of a female white dragon is 50% larger than chromatic dragons of similar age.
White dragons are associated with and may in fact be physical incarnations of the destructive power of winter. A white dragon that has attained at least old age and which has acquired speech may 1/day employ ice storm as the spell, but only to create driving sleet. However, the diameter of the effect is 80”. For each age category beyond old that they attain, they may employ this power one additional time per day. An ancient white dragon which has acquired the power of speech may 1/day control temperature as the spell of the same name, save that they may only adjust the temperature downward by 50 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the effect is in a sphere of 2000’ diameter. Each ability is otherwise as a caster of 14th level. Both powers require the dragon employ its roar and so may not be used in conjunction with bite attacks, breathe weapon attacks, or other spell-use.
Treasure Type: H,Q
Black dragons are semi-aquatic creatures that prefer to inhabit marches and swamps of every sort, from sub-arctic salt-marshes to mangrove swamps. They are among the least numerous of the chromatic dragons, for suitable terrain for their kind is rare and large prey species within such lands scarce. A black dragon must content itself with such large fish, crocodilians, and monstrous amphibians which inhibit swamp regions, and such seasonal food sources as migrate through its territory. Black dragons therefore are almost always hungry, and little disposed to negotiate with any potential food source, and quite likely to be a terror to any nearby livestock or villages. Black dragons have few dragon rivals for their undesirable regions, but may come into conflict with white dragons at the limits of their range, with green dragons in heavily wooded swamps, and more rarely with blue dragons in grassy wetlands.
Black dragons are the most agile and stealthiest of the chromatic dragons, and have the best night time vision. The breath weapon of a black dragon is a line of acid. A black dragon of any age may move silently and hide in shadows as a thief of 3rd level, and has infra-vision to 12”. A black dragon’s effective DEX is 1 higher than normal for a dragon of its age, and consequently a black dragon’s AC is one higher than that of similar species of the same age. Black dragon's have a swim speed of 12" and may hold their breath underwater for 10 minutes per age category. If a black dragon remains motionless and in a state of near torpor, it may remain underwater for up to 2 hours per age category without requiring a breath. A black dragon which is not on the wing, and which is in marshy terrain, surprises its foes 4 times in 6. On the other hand, the magic resistance of black dragons is slightly lower than that of larger species, but is still a robust 9% per age category.
Black dragons are associated with plagues and disease. A black dragon of at least old age can employ cause disease, as the spell of that name, 1/day. An ancient black dragon which has acquired the power of speech, may cast insect plague 1/day as the spell but with a diameter of effect of 360”. Black dragon wyrms may invoke this power twice per day, and great wyrms three times per day. Both powers require the dragon employ its roar and so may not be used in conjunction with bite attacks, breathe weapon attacks, or other spell-use. Caster level is 14th.
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Treasure Type: H,Q,S
Green dragons prefer to dwell in lands with dense forest cover. Like black dragons they are semi-aquatic, and at ease in lakes and broad rivers. Green dragons have a swim speed of 9”. Green dragons above all other chromatic dragon species, prefer the sorts of terrain which humans and humanoids prefer to carve their civilizations within, and so are the most commonly encountered if not the most numerous of the chromatic dragons. Green dragons prey upon large forest animals such as deer, antelope, bovines, giraffes, and elephants, but they also have a tremendous fondness for livestock and larger ones may devour whole herds within the course of a few days before disappearing into their lairs for years at a time to sleep off their meals. In recent years, green dragons have been driven from much of their prior range, and now have strongholds largely in remote steamy jungles and subarctic coniferous forests far from inhabited lands.
Green dragons have a well-earned reputation for cunning and cruelty. They enjoy toying with their food like a great cat, and stampeding prey and devouring the wounded and dead. More so than any other dragon, they enjoy psychologically torturing intelligent victims, and are most likely of all evil dragons to have encouraged a system of tribute or worship of them from intelligent humanoids living within their territory. A green dragon of young adult or older has +1 intelligence compared to others of its race, with corresponding increases in the chance of having acquired the power of speech and spell-casting ability. Those of Venerable or older have +2 intelligence compared to others of their race. Twenty percent of green dragon spell-casters cast spells as Illusionists, rather than M-U’s. Green dragons are also the only race of evil dragons that occasionally manifest psionic ability, with the same percentage chance of occurrence and range of potential power of a human with similar mental ability.
The hypnotizing gaze of a green dragon is particularly strong, and saves against it have a -1 penalty compared to that of other dragons. Moreover, those of at least old age can cast mass suggestion 1/day as a 14th level illusionist, and one additional time per day per age category beyond old. Green dragons are associated with flooding and the devastating effects of water. A green dragon of at least ancient age can 1/day cause natural bodies of water to overflow their banks, similar to the effects of the spell raise water but with 10 times the usual radius of effect. Both powers require the dragon employ its voice and so may not be used in conjunction with bite attacks, breathe weapon attacks, or other spell-use.
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Treasure Type: H,Q,S,T
Blue Dragons are very large dragons that dwell in open arid country, including deserts, scrublands, badlands, and grasslands. They contest these regions occasionally with white dragons in colder lands, or with black dragons in wetter environments, but their greatest hatred and rivalry lies with red dragons amongst the foothills and badlands that surround the red dragon’s alpine strongholds. Blue dragons feast on the herd animals which are common to their preferred terrain, and also – when they can get them – on whales and large fish when their lair lies near the sea. Compared to other dragons, they spend a large amount of time on the wing, for they are always patrolling their territory against trespassers. They seldom land to do battle, but prefer to keep their distance and employ their spells and breathe weapon. The breath weapon of a blue dragon is a potent line of electricity, which is greatly feared by other chromatic dragons, for they have no natural defense against it. Blue dragons are humorless, paranoid, pitiless and surly, even by the standards of dragons. Any caravan or nomad that strays too close will certainly be perceived as having designs upon the dragon’s horde.
Blue dragons are associated with thunder, sandstorms, hurricanes, and the devastating power of wind. A blue dragon which is at least old age can control winds as the spell of the same name 1/day as a 14th level caster, and one additional time per day per age category beyond old. A blue dragon of at least ancient age can control weather 1/day as a 14th level druid, but with an area of effect of 40d4 square miles. Blue dragon wyrms may control weather 2/day, and great wyrms 3/day. Both powers require the dragon employ its roar and so may not be used in conjunction with bite attacks, breathe weapon attacks, or other spell-use.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Treasure Type: H,P,Q,S,T
Red dragons are the largest and most dangerous of the chromatic dragons, and are consequently the most prideful of their race. They exhibit all the traits common to chromatic dragons, but to extremes even for dragon kind. Red dragons prefer to lair in high mountain regions, with volcanic lairs – whether dormant or active - being the most desirable, but they will claim any ruin with an appropriate large horde of treasure save those which are underwater or lay in the coldest regions. It is not unknown for a red dragon in need of a lair to decide to make one of a city, and lay waste to its inhabitants. A red dragon will kill or bully a dragon of any other race if it becomes large enough to do so, and so dragons of all other races make special effort to kill young red dragons that trespass into their territory before the creatures become too large to deal with. The rivalry between red and blue dragons is especially fierce, and this is fortunate, for it depletes the numbers of this formidable beasts that would otherwise be a plague upon civilization. As it is, the arrival of a large red dragon into an area can be civilization ending, for few indeed are the heroes that can deal with so considerable of a threat. Even some gods might pause before stirring up the wrath of the largest of these creatures.
Red dragons are associated with volcanism and earthquakes.
A red dragon of at least old age may 1/day invoke a minor volcanic event, with effects identical to Firestorm as cast by a 14th level druid. For each age category beyond old, a red dragon may do so one additional time per day. A red dragon of at least ancient age may produce an earthquake, as the spell, save with a diameter 100”. Those of ancient age may do so 1/day, while wryms may do so 2/day, and great wryms 3/day. The use of either power requires that the red dragon be in contact with the ground and so may be not invoked in flight, and both powers require the dragon employ its roar and so may not be used in conjunction with bite attacks, breathe weapon attacks, or other spell-use.