D&D 5E What is up with Adult and Ancient Dragons' Bites???

DND_Reborn

Legend
Was this an oversight or intentional?

In general, damage scales 1 die (or more) with each increase in size:

Berserker (Medium): Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+3) bludgeoning damage. (instead of Greataxe)
Ogre (Large): Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage.
Hill Giant (Huge): Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (3d8 + 5) bludgeoning damage.

Now dragons (Red):

Wyrming (Medium): Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.
Young (Large): Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d10 + 6) piercing damage plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.
Adult (Huge): Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (2d10 + 8) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) fire damage.
Ancient (Gargantuan): Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +17 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (2d10 + 10) piercing damage plus 14 (4d6) fire damage.

So... why don't Adult dragons do 3d10 and Ancient dragons do 4d10??? An ancient dragon doing only an average of 4 damage more than a young dragon seems very, well, wrong.

EDIT: claws are also an issue.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad


Same with the claws. Yeah, I have for a long time suspected that this is a copy-paste error and the damage should increase. And bizarrely enough, the claw damage of the Ancient Green Dragon does! Alone among the dragonkin its claws do four dice of damage!
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
9, 17, 26, 35.

They moved the damage budget to elemental.
Yeah, it isn't enough IMO:

12, 20, 26, 35 (some of your numbers didn't add the damage types together).

Even the elemental part should have been 1d6, 2d6, 3d6, and 4d6 IMO. 🤷‍♂️

So, you would have:
1d10 + 4 + 1d6 (12)
2d10 + 6 + 2d6 (24)
3d10 + 8 + 3d6 (34)
4d10 + 10 + 4d6 (46)
 


I've noticed, at times in 5E, when trying to look at stat blocks so I can learn how to put together monsters, that there are times when the Damage Die should reflect the size, as per the rules established, and yet DON'T seem to follow the same established logic/rule in regard to such a situation.
 


Yeah, it isn't enough IMO:

12, 20, 26, 35 (some of your numbers didn't add the damage types together).

Even the elemental part should have been 1d6, 2d6, 3d6, and 4d6 IMO. 🤷‍♂️

So, you would have:
1d10 + 4 + 1d6 (12)
2d10 + 6 + 2d6 (24)
3d10 + 8 + 3d6 (34)
4d10 + 10 + 4d6 (46)
It feels like you're indulging in one of the worst kinds of rules-design practices.

Symmetry for the sake of symmetry. Or in this case, regularity or repetition for the sake of regularity or repetition.

Rather than looking at the appropriate damage output for a monster of that CR, and then comparing that to what you're getting. Given you're normally pretty good on rules stuff, I am disappointed to see this. This is sort of pointless shenanigans is how you get really unbalanced monsters.
 


DND_Reborn

Legend
This is sort of pointless shenanigans is how you get really unbalanced monsters.
Well, I am sorry you feel that way, but I see it the other way (obviously).

I find it ridiculous that a T-rex, for example, has a 4d12 bite as huge creature but an ancient dragon (gargantuan, which presumably a larger head and bite-size) only does 2d10.

The symmetry is simply a nice way of expressing the difference between a large dragon's 2d10 and a gargantuan dragon's 4d10. It is NOT symmetry for the sake of symmetry as you seem to think. Yeah, I wouldn't do that unless the values happened to jive with the in-world reality as I see it. The dragon is getting larger. Larger teeth, larger bite size (mouth), etc. It makes sense the base damage for the bite should go up, but it doesn't.... The same goes for the increasing fire damage that rides the bite damage. It goes up finally to 4d6, but the 1,1,2,4 progression (while ok) would not represent the increase in the power of the dragon breath as well as a 1,2,3,4 progression.

In the same way, the breath weapon doing 6d6, 12d6, 18d6 and 24d6 would work well IMO instead of the values RAW of 7d6, 16d6, 18d6, 26d6. Most are ok, but man that 16d6 for a young red dragon is just "out of place" compared to the other values (which are close to the progression I would do personally). I mean, especially when you consider the fire rider damage between a young adult and an adult. The young adult is 1d6 but the adult is 2d6, yet the young adult's breath weapon nearly matches the power (i.e. damage) of an adult? No, that just doesn't sit well with me in the narrative sense, either.

These are natural weapons, perhaps they don't follow the number of dice increase that weapons do?
Maybe, but I am just going by the sheer size increases of the dragon as well. If the progression was more about die size instead of number, that would at least make sense. Maybe d6, d8, d10, d12 or something instead of 1d10, 2d10, 2d10, 2d10... It is like they are suggesting the dragon's head/mouth never gets larger despite its body size increasing. Maybe that is their fiction? If so, I can't agree with it...
 

So no one else is seriously entertaining the idea that it could be an actual error? Can anyone explain then why Ancient Green Dragons suddenly have four dice claw attack, whilst all other dragons in MM (Including adult greens) have just two dice. I have hard time believing that at least that is intentional.

Also, why metallic dragons do not add elemental damage to their bites?
 

cbwjm

Legend
Maybe, but I am just going by the sheer size increases of the dragon as well. If the progression was more about die size instead of number, that would at least make sense. Maybe d6, d8, d10, d12 or something instead of 1d10, 2d10, 2d10, 2d10... It is like they are suggesting the dragon's head/mouth never gets larger despite its body size increasing. Maybe that is their fiction? If so, I can't agree with it...
Yeah, to be honest, I do feel like they should increase a bit as well. I know the elemental damage helps, but I still think the base claws should go up as well, even if it was another die at Ancient level, a bite with 3d10 instead of 2d10 would just look better. And as someone pointed out, why is the ancient green dragon's claw damage 4d6? Was this how much damage the claws of ancient dragons are meant to do or was that the mistake? I'm surprised their hasn't been something to address this.
 

cbwjm

Legend
So no one else is seriously entertaining the idea that it could be an actual error? Can anyone explain then why Ancient Green Dragons suddenly have four dice claw attack, whilst all other dragons in MM (Including adult greens) have just two dice. I have hard time believing that at least that is intentional.

Also, why metallic dragons do not add elemental damage to their bites?
I hadn't considered metallic dragons, and admittedly, in 5e my players haven't had a chance to fight a dragon so I don't think I ever noticed, or maybe wondered about when I read through their stat blocks but forgot about. Maybe they considered the other abilities of metallics as a balancing factor like the two breath weapons and change shape (though I'm not sure change shape would be a huge help in combat). Not sure how much these two abilities would affect their CR though.
 



DND_Reborn

Legend
Yeah, to be honest, I do feel like they should increase a bit as well. I know the elemental damage helps, but I still think the base claws should go up as well, even if it was another die at Ancient level, a bite with 3d10 instead of 2d10 would just look better. And as someone pointed out, why is the ancient green dragon's claw damage 4d6? Was this how much damage the claws of ancient dragons are meant to do or was that the mistake? I'm surprised their hasn't been something to address this.
I'm assuming it is a mistake. 🤷‍♂️

Maybe they meant to scale bite and claw damage as d10 and d6 per age to 4d10 and 4d6 but decided due to CR calculation "stuff" (i.e. "magic CR machine") they scaled them back?

But yeah, I edited the OP to include claws as well. Frankly, as I wrote upthread you could either scale damage dice or increase die size, either would be fine with me, but it seems to lack consistency in design compared to scaling damage for other creatures in the game.

Even with the changes I am suggesting the averaged damage only bumps about 10 points or so for the larger sizes (+0, +4, +8, +11 actually).
 

Was this an oversight or intentional?

In general, damage scales 1 die (or more) with each increase in size:

Berserker (Medium): Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+3) bludgeoning damage. (instead of Greataxe)
Ogre (Large): Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage.
Hill Giant (Huge): Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (3d8 + 5) bludgeoning damage.

Now dragons (Red):

Wyrming (Medium): Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.
Young (Large): Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d10 + 6) piercing damage plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.
Adult (Huge): Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (2d10 + 8) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) fire damage.
Ancient (Gargantuan): Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +17 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (2d10 + 10) piercing damage plus 14 (4d6) fire damage.

So... why don't Adult dragons do 3d10 and Ancient dragons do 4d10??? An ancient dragon doing only an average of 4 damage more than a young dragon seems very, well, wrong.

EDIT: claws are also an issue.
Check out @dave2008 ’s dragons . He already made that change for you: D&D 5E - 5e Updates: Monstrous Compendium
 

Greggy C

Adventurer
Supporter
An ancient dragon doing only an average of 4 damage more than a young dragon seems very, well, wrong.
But thats not true, since the bite attack does fire damage too. Pushing the damage to fire means raging barbarians get even more damage for ancient. I don't think its a mistake. (Wouldn't be my first choice since they tried to make damage related to weapon size).
 
Last edited:

Well, I am sorry you feel that way, but I see it the other way (obviously).

I find it ridiculous that a T-rex, for example, has a 4d12 bite as huge creature but an ancient dragon (gargantuan, which presumably a larger head and bite-size) only does 2d10.

The symmetry is simply a nice way of expressing the difference between a large dragon's 2d10 and a gargantuan dragon's 4d10. It is NOT symmetry for the sake of symmetry as you seem to think. Yeah, I wouldn't do that unless the values happened to jive with the in-world reality as I see it. The dragon is getting larger. Larger teeth, larger bite size (mouth), etc. It makes sense the base damage for the bite should go up, but it doesn't.... The same goes for the increasing fire damage that rides the bite damage. It goes up finally to 4d6, but the 1,1,2,4 progression (while ok) would not represent the increase in the power of the dragon breath as well as a 1,2,3,4 progression.

In the same way, the breath weapon doing 6d6, 12d6, 18d6 and 24d6 would work well IMO instead of the values RAW of 7d6, 16d6, 18d6, 26d6. Most are ok, but man that 16d6 for a young red dragon is just "out of place" compared to the other values (which are close to the progression I would do personally). I mean, especially when you consider the fire rider damage between a young adult and an adult. The young adult is 1d6 but the adult is 2d6, yet the young adult's breath weapon nearly matches the power (i.e. damage) of an adult? No, that just doesn't sit well with me in the narrative sense, either.


Maybe, but I am just going by the sheer size increases of the dragon as well. If the progression was more about die size instead of number, that would at least make sense. Maybe d6, d8, d10, d12 or something instead of 1d10, 2d10, 2d10, 2d10... It is like they are suggesting the dragon's head/mouth never gets larger despite its body size increasing. Maybe that is their fiction? If so, I can't agree with it...
Though I agree the damage is wonky, I disagree that a gargantuan dragon has a larger head than. A huge T. rex. Different body types generally speaking. Though I think an ancient dragon should do 4d10
 

It is NOT symmetry for the sake of symmetry as you seem to think.
So you go on to explain that, it's not symmetry, it's aesthetics. That seems like quite a hair to split.

It's aesthetics > rules function. And from you, someone who has actually come forth with some surprisingly balanced and well-executed house rules or rules designs for PCs, it's utterly bizarre to see this sort of "ignores the rules, ignores the guidelines, ignore balance, aesthetics >>>>> everything" approach with monsters. It's a complete clash of approaches.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top