True dragons are winged, reptilelike creatures of ancient lineage. They are known and feared for their size, physical prowess, and magical abilities. The oldest dragons are among the most powerful creatures in the world.
The known varieties of true dragons (as opposed to other creatures that have the dragon type) fall into two broad categories: chromatic and metallic. The chromatic dragons are black, blue, green, red, and white; they are all evil and extremely fierce. The metallic dragons are brass, bronze, copper, gold, and silver; they are all good, usually noble, and highly respected by the wise.
All true dragons gain more abilities and greater power as they age. (Other creatures that have the dragon type do not.) They range in length from several feet upon hatching to more than 100 feet after attaining the status of great wyrm. The size of a particular dragon varies according to age and variety.
Though they are fearsome predators, dragons scavenge when necessary and can eat almost anything if they are hungry enough. A dragon’s metabolism operates like a highly efficient furnace and can metabolize even inorganic material. Some dragons have developed a taste for such fare.
Although goals and ideals vary among varieties, all dragons are covetous. They like to hoard wealth, collecting mounds of coins and gathering as many gems, jewels, and magic items as possible. Those with large hoards are loath to leave them for long, venturing out of their lairs only to patrol the immediate area or to get food. For dragons, there is no such thing as enough treasure. It’s pleasing to look at, and they bask in its radiance. Dragons like to make beds of their hoards, shaping nooks and mounds to fit their bodies. By the time a dragon matures to the age of great wyrm, hundreds of gems and coins may be imbedded in its hide.
All dragons speak Draconic.

Types of Dragons

Chromatic Dragons
Type Breath Weapon Special Abilities Environment Source
Black Dragon Acid (Line) Water Breathing, Corrupt Water, Charm Reptiles, darkness, insect plague, Plant Growth Swamps Monster Manual 1
Blue Dragon Lightning (Line) Create/Destroy Water, Sound Imitation, Ventriloquism, Hallucinatory Terrain, Veil, Mirage Arcana Temperate deserts Monster Manual 1
Green Dragon Acid Gas (Cone) Water Breathing, Suggestion, Dominate Person, Plant Growth, Command Plants Temperate forests Monster Manual 1
Red Dragon Fire (Cone) Locate Object, Suggestion, Find the Path, Discern Location Warm Mountains Monster Manual 1
White Dragon Cold (Cone) Ice Walking, Freezing Fog, Fog Cloud, Gust of Wind, Wall of Ice, Control Weather Cold Mountains Monster Manual 1
Metallic Dragons
Type Breath Weapon Environment Special Abilities Source
Brass Dragon Fire (Line), Sleep (Cone) Summon Djinni, Speak with Animals, Endure Elements, Suggestion, Control Winds, Control Weather Warm Deserts Monster Manual 1
Bronze Dragon Lightning (Line), Repulsion (Cone) Water Breathing, Alternate Form, Speak with animals, Create Food and Water, Fog Cloud, Detect Thoughts, Control Water, Control Weather Temperate Hills Monster Manual 1
Copper Dragon Acid (Line), Slow (Cone) Spider Climb, Stone Shape, transmute mud to rock, transmute rock to mud, wall of stone, move earth Warm Hills Monster Manual 1
Gold Dragon Fire (Cone), Weakening Gas (Str Damage, Cone) Luck Bonus, Detect Gems, Bless, Geas/Quest, Sunburst, Foresight Warm Plains Monster Manual 1
Silver Dragon Cold (Cone), Paralyzing Gas (Cone) Temperate Mountains Monster Manual 1
Gem Dragons
Type Breath Weapon Environment Special Abilities Source

(Monster Manual 2)

Type Breath Weapon Environment Source


Monster Manual 3: Ambush Drake, dracotaur, dragon eel, rage drake, ssvaklor.


A dragon attacks with its powerful claws and bite, and can also use a breath weapon and special physical attacks, depending on its size. It prefers to fight on the wing, staying out of reach until it has worn down the enemy with ranged attacks. Older, more intelligent dragons are adept at sizing up the opposition and eliminating the most dangerous foes first (or avoiding them while picking off weaker enemies).
The accompanying table provides space and reach statistics for dragons of various sizes, plus the natural weapons a dragon of a certain size can employ and the damage those attacks deal.

Dragon Space/Reach, Attacks, and Damage

Size Space/Reach* 1 Bite 2 Claws 2 Wings 1 Tail Slap 1 Crush 1 Tail Sweep
Tiny 2-1/2 ft./0 ft. (5 ft. with bite) 1d4 1d3
Small 5 ft./5 ft. 1d6 1d4
Medium 5 ft./5 ft. 1d8 1d6 1d4
Large 10 ft./5 ft. (10 ft. with bite) 2d6 1d8 1d6 1d8
Huge 15 ft./10 ft. (15 ft. with bite) 2d8 2d6 1d8 2d6 2d8
Gargantuan 20 ft./15 ft. (20 ft. with bite) 4d6 2d8 2d6 2d8 4d6 2d6
Colossal 30 ft./20 ft. (30 ft. with bite) 4d8 4d6 2d8 4d6 4d8 2d8

*A dragon’s bite attack has reach as if the creature were one size category larger. All other attacks are made with the standard reach for the dragon’s size.

Bite: Bite attacks deal the indicated damage plus the dragon’s Strength bonus. A dragon also can use its bite to snatch opponents if it has the Snatch feat (see page 304).
Claw: Claw attacks deal the indicated damage plus 1/2 the dragon’s Strength bonus (round down). The dragon also can use its claws to snatch opponents if it has the Snatch feat (see page 304).
Claw attacks are secondary attacks, requiring a –5 penalrty on the attack roll. (Many dragons choose the Multiattack feat to lessen this penalty to –2).
Wing: The dragon can slam opponents with its wings, even when flying. Wing attacks deal the indicated damage plus 1/2 the dragon’s Strength bonus (round down) and are treated as secondary attacks.
Tail Slap: The dragon can slap one opponent each round with its tail. A tail slap deals the indicated damage plus 1-1/2 times the dragon’s Strength bonus (round down) and is treated as a secondary attack.
Crush (Ex): This special attack allows a flying or jumping dragon of at least Huge size to land on opponents as a standard action, using its whole body to crush them. Crush attacks are effective only against opponents three or more size categories smaller than the dragon (though it can attempt normal overrun or grapple attacks against larger opponents).
A crush attack affects as many creatures as can fit under the dragon’s body. Creatures in the affected area must succeed on a Reflex save (DC equal to that of the dragon’s breath weapon) or be pinned, automatically taking bludgeoning damage during the next round unless the dragon moves off them. If the dragon chooses to maintain the pin, treat it as a normal grapple attack. Pinned opponents take damage from the crush each round if they don’t escape.
A crush attack deals the indicated damage plus 1-1/2 times the dragon’s Strength bonus (round down).
Tail Sweep (Ex): This special attack allows a dragon of at least Gargantuan size to sweep with its tail as a standard action. The sweep affects a half-circle with a radius of 30 feet (or 40 feet for a Colossal dragon), extending from an intersection on the edge of the dragon’s space in any direction. Creatures within the swept area are affected if they are four or more size categories smaller than the dragon.
A tail sweep automatically deals the indicated damage plus 1-1/2 times the dragon’s Strength bonus (round down). Affected creatures can attempt Reflex saves to take half damage (DC equal to that of the dragon’s breath weapon).
Grappling: Dragons do not favor grapple attacks, though their crush attack (and Snatch feat, if they know it) use normal grapple rules.
A dragon can always use its breath weapon while grappling, as well as its spells and spell-like or supernatural abilities, provided it succeeds on Concentration checks.

Dragon Breath Weapons

Dragon Size Line* (Length) Cone** (Length)
Tiny 30 ft. 15 ft.
Small 40 ft. 20 ft.
Medium 60 ft. 30 ft.
Large 80 ft. 40 ft.
Huge 100 ft. 50 ft.
Gargantuan 120 ft. 60 ft.
Colossal 140 ft. 70 ft.

*A line is always 5 feet high and 5 feet wide.
**A cone is as high and wide as its length.

Breath Weapon (Su): Using a breath weapon is a standard action. Once a dragon breathes, it can’t breathe again until 1d4 rounds later. If a dragon has more than one type of breath weapon, it still can breathe only once every 1d4 rounds. A blast from a breath weapon always starts at any intersection adjacent to the dragon and extends in a direction of the dragon’s choice, with an area as noted on the table below. If the breath weapon deals damage, creatures caught in the area can attempt Reflex saves to take half damage; the DC depends on the dragon’s age and variety, and is given in each individual entry. Saves against nondamaging breath weapons use the same DC; the kind of saving throw is noted in the variety descriptions. The save DC against a breath weapon is 10 + 1/2 dragon’s HD + dragon’s Con modifier.
Breath weapons come in two basic shapes, line and cone, whose areas vary with the dragon’s size.

Frightful Presence (Ex): A young adult or older dragon can unsettle foes with its mere presence. The ability takes effect automatically whenever the dragon attacks, charges, or flies overhead. Creatures within a radius of 30 feet × the dragon’s age category are subject to the effect if they have fewer HD than the dragon.
A potentially affected creature that succeeds on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 dragon’s HD + dragon’s Cha modifier) remains immune to that dragon’s frightful presence for 24 hours. On a failure, creatures with 4 or less HD become panicked for 4d6 rounds and those with 5 or more HD become shaken for 4d6 rounds. Dragons ignore the frightful presence of other dragons.

Spells: A dragon knows and casts arcane spells as a sorcerer of the level indicated in its variety description, gaining bonus spells for a high Charisma score. Some dragons can also cast spells from the cleric list or cleric domain lists as arcane spells.

Spell-Like Abilities: A dragon’s spelllike abilities depend on its age and variety. It gains the abilities indicated for its age plus all previous ones. Its age category or its sorcerer caster level, whichever is higher, is the caster level for these abilities. The save DC is 10 + dragon’s Cha modifier + spell level. All spell-like abilities are usable once per day unless otherwise noted.

Damage Reduction: Young adult and older dragons have damage reduction. Their natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Immunities (Ex): All dragons have immunity to sleep and paralysis effects. Each variety of dragon has immunity to one or two additional forms of attack no matter what its age, as given in its description.
Spell Resistance (Ex): As dragons age, they become more resistant to spells and spell-like abilities, as indicated in the variety descriptions.
Blindsense (Ex): Dragons can pinpoint creatures within a distance of 60 feet. Opponents the dragon can’t actually see still have total concealment against the dragon.
Keen Senses (Ex): A dragon sees four times as well a human in shadowy illumination and twice as well in normal light. It also has darkvision out to 120 feet.
Skills: All dragons have skill points equal to (6 + Int modifier, minimum 1) × (Hit Dice + 3). Most dragons purchase the following skills at the maximum ranks possible: Listen, Search, and Spot. The remaining skill points are generally spent on Concentration, Diplomacy, Escape Artist, Intimidate, Knowledge (any), Sense Motive, and Use Magic Device at a cost of 1 skill point per rank. All these skills are considered class skills for dragons. (Each dragon has other class skills as well, as noted in the variety descriptions.)
Feats: All dragons have one feat, plus an additional feat per 3 Hit Dice, just like any other creature. Dragons favor Alertness, Blind-Fight, Cleave, Flyby Attack, Hover, Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Power Attack, Snatch, Weapon Focus (claw or bite), Wingover, and any metamagic feat that is available and useful to sorcerers.


Although all dragons are believed to have come from the same roots tens of thousands of years ago, the present varieties keep to themselves and cooperate only under extreme circumstances, such as a powerful mutual threat. Good dragons never work with evil dragons, however, though a few neutral specimens have been found with either. Gold dragons occasionally associate with silver dragons.
When evil dragons of different varieties encounter one another, they usually fight to protect their territories. Good dragons are more tolerant, though also very territorial, and usually try to work
out differences in a peaceful manner.
Dragons follow a number of reproductive strategies to suit their needs and temperaments. These help assure the continuation of a dragon’s bloodline, no matter what happens to the parent or the parent’s lair. Young adults, particularly evil or less intelligent ones, tend to lay clutches of 1d4+1 eggs all around the countryside, leaving their offspring to fend for themselves.
These hatch into clutches of dragons, usually juvenile or younger, which stick together until they can establish their own lairs.
Older and more intelligent dragons form families consisting of a mated pair and 1d4+1 young. Mated dragons are always adults or mature adults; offspring found with their parents are of wyrmling (01–10 on d%), very young (11–30), young (31–50), juvenile (51–90), or young adult (91–100) age. Shortly after a dragon reaches young adult (or rarely, juvenile) age, it leaves its parents to establish a lair of its own.
A pair of mated dragons beyond mature adult age usually splits up, independence and the lust for treasure driving them apart. Older females continue to mate and lay eggs, but only one parent stays in the lair to raise young. Often an older female lays many clutches of eggs, keeping one to tend herself and one for her mate, and leaving the rest untended. Sometimes a female dragon places an egg or a wyrmling with nondraconic foster parents.


Armorsmiths can work with the hides of dragons to produce armor or shields of masterwork quality (see Dragonhide under Special Materials, page 283 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide).

Dragon Age Categories

Category Age (Years)
Wyrmling 0–5
Very young 6–15
Young 16–25
Juvenile 26–50
Young adult 51–100
Adult 101–200
Mature adult 201–400
Old 401–600
Very old 601–800
Ancient 801–1,000
Wyrm 1,001–1,200
Great wyrm 1,201 or more

Dragon Overland Movement

Chromatic and metallic dragons are exceedingly strong flyers and can cover vast distances quickly. A dragon’s overland flying speed is a function of its tactical fly speed, as shown on the table below.
Dragon Overland Flying Speeds

————— Dragon’s Fly Speed —————
100 feet 150 feet 200 feet 250 feet
One Hour
Normal 15 miles 20 miles 30 miles 40 miles
Hustle 24 miles 40 miles 60 miles 80 miles
One Day
Normal 120 miles 160 miles 240 miles 320 miles

Dragons do not tire as quickly as other creatures when moving overland on the ground. If a dragon attempts a hustle or a forced march, check for nonlethal damage once every 2 hours instead of every hour (see page 164 of the Player’s Handbook).

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