Hello everybody! Hope everyone’s had a good week. So in today’s post, DnD 5e Dragons Explained, we’re going to take a quick look at one of the namesakes of DnD, Dragons. We’ll discuss the following:
- How dragons fit into DnD
- The two different types of dragon
- The different dragons within those types
Let’s jump right into it!
All dragons love hoarding wealth and power. They are immensely powerful beings. They build their lairs almost as monuments to themselves and their nature. They can live an extremely long time, starting off as wyrmlings, and ending up as gargantuan ancient dragons.
There are two types of dragons, ones that have a proclivity for evil and ones that are more aligned with good. Chromatic and metallic, respectively. Chromatic dragons are children of Tiamat, the 5 headed dragon goddess. Metallic dragons are children of Bahamut, the platinum dragon god.
Due to their age, and power dragons have a proclivity for magic, some better at it than others. Metallic dragons also have the ability to shapeshift into other forms, which allow them to live among humanoids. I’d say it’s likely that some Chromatic dragons also possess the ability but seldom use it as they abhor humanoids, and only seek to enslave and dominate them.
Chromatic Dragons Explained
As mentioned above, we have this type of dragon, the chromatic dragons. They are typically evil-aligned dragons, which place them into conflict with civilizations fairly often. Most of the dragons are very intelligent, of course, it has its ranges across the different kinds of chromatic dragons, some more bestial than the others.
White Dragons are the most animal-like of all of the chromatic dragons. They do no boast great intelligence; they tend to act more like large beasts. Due to their simplistic nature, they are singularly focused on survival. They decimate their enemies without a second thought, they make no cunning plans and prefer direct assault. If a powerful creature bests them in combat, the white dragon will accept it as its master, but that creature must maintain its powerful status and strength otherwise the dragon will rise up. These dragons typically build in arctic environments and are creatures of extreme solitude. They build their lairs into icy caverns that burrow into and carve out. Like all the dragons, their breath weapon mimics their nature, which is cold and icy. They breathe out frigid winds and ice shards, freezing their prey solid.
We also have dragons that are middling in their desire to enslave and dominate, who prefer to mostly just flex their assumed superiority over other creatures.
Blue Dragons tend to have a superiority complex. They believe themselves to be better than typical mortals, especially humanoids. To go hand in hand with this, they are also generally very vain. Any slight towards them can easily result in that creature being electrified by the dragon. They are one of the most intelligent types of the chromatic dragons, they have intricate plans, and are great tacticians. They build their lairs in the deserts of the world, generally speaking. They burrow under the sands can carve out massive caverns using their breath weapon. This dragon has the ability to breathe out lightning itself, crackling energy can cook just about anything they come across. They’re typically described as their scales actually producing a hum and generating static electricity.
Some dragons use their great intelligence to get what they want, deceiving and manipulating creatures into doing their bidding for them. Rarely getting their claws dirty themselves.
Green Dragons are the most intelligent of the chromatic dragons. They are devious and scheming. They are natural liars and will use any tricks available to them to gain an advantage in a situation. They are patient creatures, they will stalk their prey for many days, attacking when the target is at its weakest. They will also plot against creatures stronger than it by serving them, but plotting their downfall from that seat of servitude. While they too, hoard treasure and wealth, their favorite treasure is alive, creatures that they have enslaved, or famous figures that have had their wills bent to serve the green dragon. They typically build their lairs within large forests or marshes. Their breath weapon is also a reflection of their nature and attitude, in that they spew out poison, both figuratively and literally.
Other dragons fill the classic fantasy dragon archetype, think Smaug from the Lord of The Rings franchise.
Red Dragons are the most vein of all of the chromatic dragons, they are extremely proud creatures, who seek to impose their strength and will upon every creature they can. They see themselves as natural rulers. They are prone to anger, a deep rage within them fuels moments of impulsivity. Their lust for treasure and wealth is above all other dragon-kind, their hoards are of legendary status, mountains of coins and artifacts of untold power reside within their lairs. The lairs of these dragons are typically built high into mountains, sometimes even active volcanos. In line with their nature and attitude, their breath weapon is that of fire, billowing waves of it pours from their mouth, turning anything around them to cinders.
Finally, some dragons are pure embodiments of evil and cruelty. Existing to torture and cause pain to their prey.
Black Dragons are considered the evillest of all the chromatic dragons. Their nature is that of cruelty, they hate the weak and will attempt to toy with weak foes who happen upon them. They build lairs in fetid swamps or atop the ruins of fallen empires or civilizations. In alignment with their personalities and nature, their breath attack is a stream of acid which it uses to melt its foes to the bone.
Metallic Dragons Explained
As previously mentioned, metallic dragons typically lean towards being good and righteous. Some will attempt to root out evil wherever it may be, some preferring to keep to themselves, but willing to lend a hand if it will help tip the scales toward good. Typically, they are seen as wise sages and can be extremely powerful allies in a conflict. Some are, however, more sociable than others.
Brass Dragons are very sociable creatures. They will enjoy spending their time talking to other creatures, especially if that creature is intelligent enough to put up a good conversation. In fact, these dragons are known to imprison people for short periods of time to sate their lust for conversation. They typically set up their lairs in deserts, much like blue dragons, which can often time put them at odds with those dragons. It has two different breath attacks that it can utilize depending on the situation, one being a fire breath, similar to that of a red dragon, but it also has a sleep breath attack, where it exhales a knockout gas, which the dragon can use to incapacitate a creature it may not want to harm.
Some dragons embody what it means to be righteous, to fight the good fight.
Bronze Dragons could be considered dragons of justice. They are quite proud and they staunchly defend those who fight for a good cause. They like to test themselves in battles and wars, siding with whomever it deems to be in the right. These dragons tend to build on coastal caves or submerged caverns. They acquire their hoards from sunken ships and treasures in the seas. They may also barter for treasures from boats that pass by their territory. The two breath attacks this dragon has is one similar to the blue dragon, which is lightning breath, but they also have a repulsion breath attack, which can push creatures away from it.
Other dragons like to keep to themselves, but still like the company of other creatures, especially if they have stories and information to give the dragon.
Copper Dragons are interesting creatures, they are jovial and relatively social similar to that of the brass dragon. Although they prefer sharing stories, jokes, or riddles with their guests. Due to their jovial nature, they may play tricks upon their guests, or intentionally mislead people in order to watch what they do for their own pleasure. These dragon’s set up lairs on hilltops in dry areas, setting up inside caves. The two breath attacks this dragon has at its disposal are that similar to the black dragon, which is an acid breath, but also a slowing breath attack. This slowing breath is a gas that acts as a strong sedative causing affected creatures attacks to be majorly slowed and making them unable to quickly react as well as making them move much more slowly.
Some dragons are very rare, but when sought out can be guardians of age-old treasure, artifacts, spells and knowledge.
Gold Dragons are considered the most powerful of the metallic dragons; they oppose evil to its core. They actually consume treasure, eating gems, pearls, and coin alike. They are very introverted creatures, and very shrouded in mystery as they rarely show their true form. These creatures tend to make their lairs in hard to reach places, deep in long-forgotten lakes, far off islands, caves hidden by natural terrain. The two breath attacks that it has access to is a fire breath, similar to that of a red dragon, and a weakening breath. The weakening breath is a gas that causes creatures’ strength to dwindle while affected by the gas.
Finally, some dragons have a major soft spot for the humanoid races, spending large swaths of their time among them.
Silver Dragons are considered the friendliest and sociable of all of the metallic dragons. It is said that they spend more time in a human form than they do in their true forms. They are strongly opposed to evil and will always lend a hand for a good cause. They do not root out evil like other metallic dragons but instead foster good wherever they are, forming strong bonds with humanoid creatures. They especially like short-lived races as they find those races interesting in their drive for life, even though to them those creatures live for a fraction of a moment. These dragons tend to set up lairs in the clouds, or on cold mountain tops. Due to their love of humanoids, they can also be found in abandoned mountain cities or a wizard tower at the peak of a tall mountain. Silver dragons have a cold breath similar to that of a white dragon, but also have a paralyzing breath. This breath is a gas which causes anyone caught in it to seize up, and be paralyzed for the duration of the gasses effect.
Other Dragons Explained
There are a couple of other dragon off-shoots that don’t really fit into the typical chromatic, metallic types. One of which is of the undead variety.
Dracoliches are exactly what they sound like, they are dragons that have becomes liches. They have shed their mortal form, and have chosen (typically) to live an existence in undeath. They require phylacteries, just like a lich does. These phylacteries are homes for their true soul. When their physical form is defeated, the soul of the Dracolich is absorbed back into this phylactery. The phylactery can be anywhere as long as it exists on the same plane as the dracolich when its physical form is destroyed, the dracolich can never truly die.
Another is a dragon corrupted by energies from another plane of existence.
Shadow Dragons are dragons that have been corrupted by the Shadowfell, which is a plane of existence that is like a shadowy mirror of the prime material plane. These dragons are either born there or corrupted by close proximity to a portal to the Shadowfell. The darkness changes them; they lose whatever color of dragon they were as their scales fade. Their physical form, when in not in light shifts just like a shadow, making them much harder to hit. They loathe sunlight as it weakens them to be in it. The final change is their breath attack is now one of pure shadow and necrotic damage.
Whoa, big post, but I hope useful to you all. I’m hoping this gives at least a brief glimpse into one of the most iconic creatures in fantasy, and how they fit into the game. We will likely at a later date take a bit of a deeper dive into each of the dragons and explore them a bit more thoroughly.
So thanks for taking the time to have a read through this post and until next time, may your day be a critical success!