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Ten great combat feats for dragons
Hover: Two extra claw attacks and automatically blinds opponents.
Flyby attack: Lets dragons use melee attacks without getting bogged down in brawls with fighters.
Multiattack: +3 to all claw attacks.
Lightning Reflexes: Without Dexterity bonuses, any increase to a dragon’s Reflex save can help.
Quick Breath: Faster breath attacks keep the enemy under pressure.
Snatch: Claw and grab the enemy, then fly away.
Lingering Breath: Cleans up weaker foes and forces Concentration checks.
Sunder: A warrior without a weapon is far less damaging, especially since dragons have Damage Resistance.
Power Attack: With an excellent Base Attack Bonus and huge Strength, it makes sense…
Cleave: …to squish the fighter after Power Attacking the sorcerer.
Five poor combat feats for dragons
Combat Reflexes: No Dexterity bonus means no extra attacks.
Spring Attack: Flying is a much better option than walking.
Quicken Spell-like Ability: Not always a poor choice, but a lot of dragon special abilities are not worth using in combat.
Combat Casting: With that much Constitution and lots of skill points, spellcasting is rarely a problem.
Young Dragon Tactics & Magic
Young dragons (from wyrmlings to juveniles) cannot make crush or tail sweep attacks, limiting their melee options. Low-level parties do not rely on combined arms and magic as much as high-level parties, so removing mages and clerics is not as important as splattering the front-line fighters, preferably from range.
These parties almost never have fliers, so the dragon is fairly safe if it stays aloft and breathes down.
Young dragons lack both a Frightful Presence and Spell Resistance, so quick, brutal attacks from ambush are preferred.
Many young dragons have no caster levels at all, and few have more than first level spells. The spells that a dragon has ready depends on how much foreknowledge the dragon has of the attack. If the dragon knows the party is coming (Alert Level of On Guard or Alerted), it will have cast the spells marked by a * before the party arrive. The spells are listed in the order most dragons learn them; a dragon with caster level of 1 will know shield and expeditious retreat but not magic missile.
Young Dragon Spells
|0th level||Detect Magic, Read Magic, Dancing Lights*, Mage Hand|
|1st level||Shield*,Expeditious Retreat*, Magic missile|
Shield and Expeditious retreat both last for one minute per level, giving the dragon four or five rounds or protection. The speed boost allows the dragon to quickly reach the party or escape, allowing it to decide how long the encounter lasts for. Dancing lights is little more than a distraction, but can be used to surprise the party – send the lights hurtling towards them, and nervous characters might dodge the projectiles.
At this level, the dragon really should not spend much time worrying about magic. Its enemies are unlikely to have effective long-term defences against its breath weapon, so it should just stay out of range and keep blasting them. If it has a Charisma bonus giving it extra spells, they should be used to recast shield.
Adult Dragon Tactics & Magic
Adult dragons acquire Damage Resistance, seriously powerful breath weapons and attacks, and worthwhile magic. Their foes are considerably more capable and better-equipped, though, requiring more cunning tactics and preparation. A dragon of this age is much more likely to have worthwhile servants that can be used to soften and distract the party before the dragon flies in and destroys them.
The air is still the best refuge for the dragon. Midlevel parties often have limited access to fly spells and other aerial items, and magical flight is much more agile that the dragon’s clumsy wings. The dragon’s speed is its advantage, so it should circle out of range of the enemy, zooming past every few rounds to blast away with its breath weapon.
The party is much more likely to be prepared for the dragon’s breath (equipped with protection from elements and resist elements), so the dragon should cast dispel magic before attacking.
Crush attacks become available when a dragon reaches Huge size. The best use for this is to leap on top of the party front-line, crushing the fighters while reaching out and biting the other characters.
Adult dragons usually have caster levels ranging from 3rd all the way up to 9th, giving access to up to fourth level spells. Again, if the dragon is aware of the party, it will always have the spells marked with a * cast before they approach.
Mirror image and protection from evil both have long durations, so they work well with shield and expeditious retreat. Dancing lights are unlikely to fool an experienced party, but the dragon’s spells now last long enough to justify taking a round to cast resistance (every little helps). Magic missile is a useful spell for those rounds when the dragon is waiting for its breath weapon to recharge. Featherfall counters the falling damage from wingbind or hold monster.
Resist elements is used by Cold or Fire dragons to protect them from their weakness. Mirror image and invisibility are an added layer of protection. Darkness can be cast on a stone and placed under the dragon’s tongue, and then dropped on the party just before the beast breathes or attacks as a free action. While under the tongue, the darkness is contained, and the dragon has blindsight anyway.
Adult Dragon Spells
|0th level||Detect Magic, Read Magic, Dancing Lights, Mage Hand, Resistance*|
|1st level||Shield*, Expeditious retreat*, Magic missile, Featherfall, Protection from evil*|
|2nd level||Resist elements*, Mirror image*, Darkness*, Invisibility*|
|3rd level||Dispel magic, Protection from elements*, Fireball|
|4th level||Wall of ice, Scrying|
Dispel magic counters party protections and removes dangerous spells. Protection from elements improves on resist elements. Fireball has a nice Long range, and again works as a temporary replacement for a recharging breath weapon. (Red dragon should probably substitute lightning bold or another ranged-damage spell). Finally, wall of ice should be used in its wall configuration to divide the party. Red dragons can also catch the wall in their breath attack once it has been breached, turning it into a fog that they can navigate using blindsight.
The spells listed are merely suggestions – if there is a spell in this book or elsewhere that suits a dragon better, the Games Master should replace one of the listed spells. This list represents what the ‘average’ dragon has prepared; some have quite different and exotic spell repertoires.
As dragons have only a limited number of known spells, the more esoteric spells such as gullet of surprising capacity are usually stored on scrolls and cast only when needed.
Old Dragon Tactics & Magic
Once a dragon has reached old age, it has grown into a creature capable of topping kingdoms and shaking the world. In combat, it is a killing symphony, able to inflict hideous amounts of damage with every claw and bite attack. A single old dragon can defeat a whole army, scattering them like burnt leaves before its fury. Such ancient wyrms attract the attention of the most powerful and skilled heroes, who wield magic weapons and spells almost as deadly as those of the dragon.
In short, high-level combat tends to end up with things getting very dead very quickly. A single misstep is far more damaging here than at midlevels, as attacks are proportionately more damaging and spells more likely to instantly kill or cripple the target. A single missed saving throw can result in the dragon turning to stone, or being dumped in the negative material plane, or turned into a tortoise, or energy drained to nothingness.
Therefore, old dragon tactics need to be extremely well planned and defensive, while still destroying opponents as quickly and effectively as possible. Dragons, with their universally good saving throws and high spell resistance, are better placed than most creatures to survive high level combats, but still need to have a full array of magical defences established to have any hope of surviving.
In combat, flight is unlikely to be much of an advantage – most high-level parties are capable of either following a dragon into the skies, or else arrange events so that they engage the dragon in a confined space. If the dragon does manage to attack from the air, it should circle out of range as much as it can (high-level druids have notably potent longrange spells, but even some arcane spells cast by a high-level wizard can reach a flying dragon, so the dragon should use Fly-by Attack and Strafe if it can).
On the ground, the dragon should begin with a crush attack, as it can probably encompass the entire party beneath its bulk. Tail sweep attacks hit automatically, so they are effective against enemies with absurdly high armour classes (or irritating defences like displacement). The dragon’s attack bonus is high enough to confidently hit most enemies (and if the dragon is hitting regularly with low rolls, it is time to break out the Power Attacks).
At this level, the dragon cannot overlook the importance of allies. No dragon wants to share its victory, but summoned servants, slaves, and constructs like vessel golems are extensions of the dragon’s will and therefore not a threat to its glory. Magic items should also be chosen carefully; a dragon this old does not have an entirely random assemblage of items, but has several items that are immediately useful to it – scrolls of heal, certainly, but also handy devices like ioun stones or dust of disappearance.
The magical abilities of dragons expand greatly as they reach their full growth. Their blood slows, congeals, and the bright shards of magic settle in their veins and compress into the highest echelons of sorcery, like diamonds. An old dragon’s spellcasting ability ranges from 5th level (an old white dragon) to 19th (a red great wyrm) or even 23rd (a gold draco invictus).
As before, spells marked with a * are cast by the dragon before battle.
Again, the basic plan is to enhance the dragon’s defensive capabilities (shield, expeditious retreat, haste, protection from spells etc) while bombarding the party from a distance with fireballs, disintegrates or
even meteor storms. This spell list includes a few defences against scrying (false vision and the wonderful mind blank) as well as some quick methods for escape, like teleport. One especially nasty tactic is to use a quickened dispel magic an instant before breathing.
A few spells require special notes. Alter self can be used by the dragon to fit into cramped areas, by shrinking down its wings. A dragon can enter an area 50% smaller than normal while using alter self. Dimensional anchor prevents enemies from escaping, or from following the dragon if it has to flee.
It also has a good range at this level, so it can be cast while the dragon is circling overhead. Dominate person can be used on the party, or as a method to interrogate them remotely. Repulsion is tailor-made for big creatures with reach; just set the repulsion range to 10 or 15 feet, and the dragon can engage in melee without being attacked in return. The spell requires a Will save, the weak save of most meleebased characters. It also guards against unseen rogues trying to make sneak attacks.
Tense’s transformation gives useful bonuses to the dragon, but should held in reserve until the dragon is out of ranged attack spells. Note that for dragons, a breath weapon is a ranged attack. Plane shift is another doubly useful spell; it can be used to dump a troublesome fighter on, say, the elemental plane of fire if he fails his Will save, or to escape if the party are surprisingly tough. Limited wish and wish are costly, but are another useful spell to have in emergencies. Unlike the players, the dragon can afford to dedicate its magic to support, not offence.
Old Dragon Spells
|0th level||1st level||2nd level|
|Detect Magic||Shield*||Resist elements*|
|Read Magic||Expeditious retreat*||Mirror image*|
|Dancing Lights||Magic missile||Darkness*|
|Mage Hand||Featherfall||Summon monster II*|
|Resistance*||Protection from evil*||Alter self*|
|3rd level||4th level||5th level|
|Dispel magic||Wall of ice||Teleport|
|Protection from elements*||Improved invisibility*||Dominate person|
|Haste*||Dimensional anchor||False vision|
|6th level||7th level||8th level|
|Disintegrate||Limited wish||Protection from spells*|
|Repulsion*||Plane shift||Prismatic wall|
|Tense’s transformation||Prismatic spray||Mind blank*|
|9th level||Time stop,Wish,Meteor storm|
Blues, red and most metallic dragons can cast clerical spells and have access to a limited number of clerical domains. Sometimes, these spells are granted to especially pious dragons; others are just a reward by a grateful deity to those who have furthered the god’s aims, wittingly or unwittingly (many red dragons gain their spells after looting the temple of a rival god).
With their high Charisma giving them lots of bonus spells, dragons can quickly heal themselves back to full health using divine magic. Other excellent divine spells include entropic shield (20% miss chance against the only attacks that can hit a flying dragon!), silence (cast it on the same stone as darkness and drop it in the middle of the party), animate dead (the divine version is two levels lower, making it much more efficient), death ward and spell immunity (more protection against magic), blade barrier, heal, word of recall (back to the lair), control weather, greater planar ally (no need to bind the ally, unlike planar binding) and implosion (cast, then circle over the party imploding them one by one).
All the above tactics assume that the dragon attacks (or is attacked by) the party in the wilderness. If the fight takes place in the dragon’s lair, everything changes. Ideally, the dragon fights the party on its killing ground (see the Dragon Lairs chapter), where it can use the traps and defences of the lair to its advantage. All the above tactics still hold sway – the dragon knows every inch of the killing ground intimately, and should attempt to force the characters that it is not fighting in melee to move into the traps.
The best approach is to scatter the party by charging at them; the weaker characters flee into areas unexplored by the rogues and thieves and get caught by the dragon’s hidden traps.
A dragon forced to fight in the heart of its lair should carefully consider its options. If the party has no way to teleport or leave the lair through extraplanar travel, it is often best for the dragon to retreat from the lair and wait for the party to leave through one of the watched entrances instead of fighting within the cramped confines of the lair. This tactic does leave the hoard unguarded, but smarter wyrms will grit their teeth and be patient, preferring to retrieve their gold from the mangled bodies of the thieves instead of fighting them in close quarters and losing the advantage of flight. The hoard also presents a major problem for the dragon – breath weapons and delicate items do not mix, and an errant fire blast can turn a pile of gold into a liquid mess. (See Hoards for more details on this.)
If the dragon must fight in its inner sanctum, it should try to draw the adventurers away from the hoard and towards the killing ground. Wall spells and feigning weakness can convince adventurers to pursue their foe instead of looting first.
Dragons against Dragons
When two wyrms fight against each other, tradition demands they adopt a ritualised form of combat. These engagements always take place in the air, at the border between their two domains. The combat begins with the two wyrms exchanging breath weapon blasts. Dragons with line-type breath weapons have the upper hand here, striking first as the two approach each other. (If one dragon wishes to give its opponent a chance to surrender honourably, it looses its breath before the other is in range). The two then make a single pass, biting and clawing at each other. The victor is the dragon who inflicted the most damage.
When ritual duels are not enough, dragons fight to the death in open warfare. Their battlefield is the sky – the battling wyrms chase other through clouds and around mountaintops, searching for the elusive, momentary advantage over the enemy. There are three major advantages that a dragon seeks to gain in battle: damage, range and magic. A fight between two or more dragons is a viciously fluid combat, with each trying to maximise its control of three factors while simultaneously trying to counter its opponent’s actions.
- Damage: The simplest of the three advantages, the dragon who inflicts the most damage on its opponent has an edge in the fight. Not much of an edge, admittedly, as dragons are very resilient creatures and are capable of enduring hideous injuries and still continuing to fight. Their hot bloodlust sustains them, and many dragon battles have ended with the winner succumbing to his wounds just as soon as the broken loser tumbles down out of the sky. Older and bigger dragons are obviously stronger and tougher, and seek to close with smaller enemies.
- Range: A blue dragon can strike a foe with a bolt of lightning from a great distance, but the acidic clouds of the greens are only usable at close range. Manoeuvrability and flying speed also affect a dragon’s ability to close to spell, breath or melee range. Height also plays a part, as dragons can swoop down from above to great effect. Again, elder dragons have both longer breath weapons and fly faster than their younger counterparts. Younger dragons therefore prefer to fight their elders in ravines or other somewhat confined areas, where the agility of youth is more useful than the speed or strength of age.
- Magic: Thanks to excellent saving throws and spell resistance, casting effective spells at dragons is a rather uncertain proposition. Most dragons use their spells to enhance their own abilities, although some conjure aerial obstacles such as walls of fire or acid fog.
The Quick Aerial Combat System
Dealing with combat in two dimensions can be tricky enough. Adding in a third dimension, not to mention movement speeds of 200 feet per round, limited manoeuvrability, and lots and lots of area attacks makes the problems even worse. A battle in the skies between two or more dragons can take a very long time to resolve. This optional system speeds things up somewhat.
In the Quick Aerial Combat System, there are four ranges; Close, Medium, Long and Out of Range. Each combatant has a Move Factor, determined by dividing its flying movement rate by 50 (rounding down) and adding its Manoeuvrability (Perfect=5, Good=4, Average=3, Poor=2, Clumsy=1). An adult red dragon has a Move Factor of 5 (150/50+2), a very young gold has a Move Factor of 6 (200/50+2), while a Pegasus has a Move Factor of 5 (120/ 50+3).
The combatants usually start at Out of Range, but distances change quickly. Subtract the attacker’s Move Factor from the defender’s (if both combatants are spoiling for a fight, just pick one to be considered the attacker). The attacker may decrease the distance between the two by making a Move Factor check. If the check fails by more than 10, increase the distance between the two by one step.
|Reduce Range by Move Factor||DC|
- At Out of Range, the two combatants cannot attack each other. The defender can try to flee by hiding or outlasting its pursuer.
- At Long range, spells with Long range can be used.
- At Medium range, spells with Medium or Long range, missile attacks, and line-shaped breath weapons can be used.
- At Close range, all attacks including melee attacks can be used.
Each round, both combatants can gain a +1d4 bonus to their Move Factor by mentioning one of the following elements in the description of their movement. If both mention the same element, neither gets a bonus. (The easiest thing to do is have both combatants write down which element they are using at the start of each combat round.)
The intent here is to reward clever tactics without getting bogged down in details. These rules should only be used for minor and basically unimportant encounters; for important aerial battles, the mode detailed d20 aerial combat rules from the Ultimate Game Designer’s Companion should be used.
Common tactics include:
- Strike at the wingmount: If a dragon can grapple another, it can pin the wingmount and stop its opponent from flying. Due to the position of the wingmount, at the centre of the dragon’s back, the grappled opponent cannot pin its enemy’s wings in the same fashion. The two dragons begin to plummet towards the ground. Just before they hit, the attacker releases its hold and flies off. Due to the pressure on the pinned wingmount, the victim cannot fly for several seconds after being released, and slams into the earth below.
- In game terms, the attacking dragon grapples the defender from behind. If he keeps the defender pinned for a number of rounds equal to the defender’s Constitution minus the attacker’s Strength bonus, the defender cannot fly for 1d4 rounds after the pin is released.
- Breath shepherding: The dragon uses its breath weapon to counter its enemy’s movements. Smaller dragons can turn faster than larger ones; if a big dragon is chasing a smaller one, and sees the smaller dragon dip its wing and begin to turn to the left, the larger dragon fires its breath weapon to the left. If the smaller dragon continues to turn, it is struck full-force with the blast; if it continues straight on, the larger and faster wyrm catches up.
- The attacking dragon must ready its breath weapon to make this attack. If the target begins to turn, the attacker looses its breath weapon. The target can choose not to move (and automatically avoids the breath weapon entirely) or can continue its turn and suffer the brunt of the blast (-6 circumstance penalty to its Reflex save).
- Dragon packs: Even a group of younger dragons cannot hope to defeat a single older wyrm using physical attacks or magic – age brings just too many advantages. Staying out of the elder’s reach is the younger wyrm’s only option. When hunting in packs, the younger dragons circle and dodge, using their greater agility to prevent the bigger dragon from catching them. They ensure that the enemy can only catch one of them with each breath weapon blast; meanwhile, they bombard the enemy with their own breath weapons.
- Hiding in clouds: The dragon’s blindsight ability uses vibrations as a key sign of an enemy’s approach. In the air, the range of blindsight is cut to 5 feet x the dragon’s age category. Diving into thick clouds allows a dragon to evade its pursuers.
|Close||Medium||Long||Out of Range|
|Terrain features||Terrain features||Clouds||Clouds|
|Biting and clawing||Dodging attacks||Gaining Altitude||Gliding on winds and thermals|
|Grabbing parts of the enemy||Swooping||Circling in to attack||Flying like an arrow|
Dragons spend long months plotting the defence of their lair and planning tactics for every possible eventuality. They come up with dozens of fallback plans, countermeasures, tricks and stratagems for combat, taking the most unlikely means of attack into account. Most dragons are prepared, at least on some level, for interplanar invasions, mobs of deranged peasants trying to carry away their hoard, or their own offspring returning to attack them.
Black dragons can create huge areas of darkness three times per day, which they can ignore thanks to their blindsight ability. Most parties can easily counter darkness with the clerical variant of daylight, but this requires the party to use three thirdlevel cleric spells to counter a rather minor ability of the dragon. One tactic is to attack while the party are crossing a large body of water, such as a lake or moat. The dragon hides in the water, watching the party. As most clerics wear heavy armour, they will have to remove their armour before they can swim across. The dragon waits until the cleric is occupied before invoking darkness and attacking. If timed correctly, the cleric will be stuck half-in, half-out of his armour and unable to counter the darkness for several rounds.
Underwater attacks in general are favoured by black dragons. Dragons are excellent grapplers, so dragging enemies down and holding them underwater while they drown is easily accomplished. Some dragons use their wings as vast leathery nets to catch many enemies at once and drag them all down to their deaths.
Unlike the fiery blasts of red dragon breath, acid lingers for some time after the dragon breathes. A black dragon can poison a body of water with its acid, creating a lake of dilute acid. The strength of this acidic region depends on how quickly the water of the area is renewed. A quick-flowing river carries the acid away too quickly, but a slow river or lake filled with dilute acid inflicts up to one point per age category of the dragon per round. If the dragon is old enough to stagnate the water (using its corrupt water ability), it can double the damage as the acid does not dilute as quickly.
Blue dragons attack from carefully prepared ambush, either hiding in the loose sands or blending in with the blue skies above. Blues work well together, so pack tactics are common. Often, one dragon will glide on a thermal over the enemy, subtly herding them towards the ambush point. The dragons waiting under the sand then leap out and attack. Hover is an especially good feat, as the desert sands can be whipped up to blind enemies. Sound imitation and ventriloquism is used by one dragon to trick the blinded foes – it imitates the voice of one party member, shouting ‘follow my voice!’, and guides the party into the waiting maws of the other dragons.
Blue dragons often fight in formation and train their servants to do the same. Their orderly minds like to see the enemy arranged in neat ranks – because if the enemy are all in a line, a single lightning bolt can catch multiple targets. Blue dragons are adept at setting up ‘kill zones’, such as narrow ravines or carefully arranged gaps between threatened areas, which seem safe but only serve to line up the enemy for a blast.
Create water can be used to create areas of wet sand (one five foot by five foot area per two gallons of water) that conduct electricity. Anyone standing in one of these areas that is adjacent to a lightning bolt attack is also struck by the effect of the bolt, but they automatically take half the damage and may make the usual Reflex save to take no damage, as if they had the Evasion ability.
Finally, a blue dragon wishing to weaken its enemies before attacking can swoop down and use destroy water on their canteens.
Green dragons are both sadistic and brutish, delighting in suffering. They use their dominated servants and forest homes to their advantage, attacking then fading back into the greenwood. Unusually, green dragons often begin their attack from the ground, taking to the skies only when forced to.
A tail slap or claw attack can shatter tree-trunks, especially if the dragon has prepared the tree in advance by clawing at it (reducing the Break DC of the tree to 10). The dragon can use falling trees to block the path of characters or as weapons. A falling tree inflicts 2d8 damage, but characters may make a Reflex save (DC 7) for half damage. A single claw attack can topple one tree, a tail slap can topple one tree for a Medium or Large dragon, two for a Huge dragon, and four for a Gargantuan or Colossal dragon.
When flying, a green dragon can use its acid cone breath weapon to strip all the leaves from a swathe of trees, defoliating the forest and removing the concealment given by the foliage. Characters attempting to hide from a hunting dragon cannot rely on the trees for cover.
Greens can also use all the acidic and underwater tricks of their black cousins.
The proudest and most confident of all wyrmkind, red dragon tactics centre on locating and destroying the enemy with as much speed and terror as possible.
Dry branches, patches of oil and other flammable items can be scattered around the battlefield and set alight by the dragon’s breath weapon. These firetraps are usually no bigger than bonfires (inflicting 2d8 damage if a character falls in), but the dragon can fan the flames with its wings while using the Hover feat. The cinders and sparks inflict 1d4 points of fire damage on everyone within the dust cloud caused by Hovering.
Red dragons can cast locate object several times per day. Most red dragons scatter a few distinctive items –usually attractive and expensive pieces of jewellery, or useful items such as potions of healing
- around the outskirts of their lair in particular locations. The dragon’s servants are ordered not to touch these items. If the dragon suspects the presence of an intruder, it can scan each of these objects in turn with locate object. If the object has moved from its usual resting place, it must be in the possession of the intruder…and thanks to the spell, the dragon knows the precise location of the enemy at this moment.
While only old white dragons can create freezing fog, even a young white can use its cold breath to cover cave roofs and other impassable objects with ice that it can then ice walk on.
White dragons cannot naturally breathe underwater as black or green dragons can, they can hold their breath for some time or use water breathing spells. One common tactic is to swim underneath an ice floe, wait until the party pass overhead, then burst up through the ice. If anyone falls into the water, the dragon can freeze the water with its breath.
As a rule, dragons do not bother with weapons beyond their own claws and teeth. Some wyrms do take advantage of tools, although this is usually seen as a sign of weakness. Dragons therefore have no natural weapon proficiencies and all these weapons are considered exotic weapons.
All the weapons and equipment here is of appropriate size for a Large dragon. To adapt it for larger (or smaller) creatures, double the cost and weight, and increase the damage as follows:
Masterwork and Magical Weapons
All of these items can be made to masterwork standards; indeed, given the huge cost and rarity of dragon weapons, it is much more common for the dragon to find an expert craftsman to forge its weapons than to accept shoddy work.
Magical versions of these weapons are also common (certainly, common relative to the number of the weapons in existence). Many draconic glaives are vorpal, while two-bladed wyrmswords of speed are popular among red dragons. Dragon armour often has the reflection property, while white dragons love armour of cold resistance. One notable green dragon has a suit of light barding made from dozens of captured suits of elven chain.
Weapon Size Changes
Blundercone: A blundercone is a tough metal funnel designed to be held in the dragon’s mouth. It is open at both ends. The blundercone is loaded with shrapnel or stones. When the dragon breathes, the breath causes the contents of the blundercone to explode outwards, filling a cone-shaped area with shards of flying metal.
The area of effect of the blundercone depends on the size of the dragon – see Dragon Breath Weapons in SRD. The blundercone’s damage depends on the breath weapon type of the dragon; it can only be used by dragons with fire or lightning breath weapons, and inflicts 1d4 points of damage for every dice of damage in the dragon’s breath weapon (so an adult red dragon with a breath weapon of 12d10 would inflict 12d4 points of damage with a blundercone). Victims of the blundercone may make a Reflex save for
half damage (the DC for the save is the same as for the dragon’s breath weapon).
Damage from the blundercone is onethird piercing, one-third bludgeoning and onethird slashing.
When a blundercone is used, there is a 5% chance it ruptures. Half the damage from the blundercone is inflicted on those within its area of effect; the other half strikes the dragon (the dragon does not get a Reflex save for half damage).
As blundercones use rocks and scrap metal as ammunition, they cost nothing to reload.
Draconic Glaive: Polearms and lances are among the most lethal weapons used by dragonslayers; the draconic glaive turns the advantage of reach back on the slayers. A draconic glaive is a massive iron shaft that flowers into a shining steel blade. The weapon is held in the dragon’s forearms while on the ground. When flying, the dragon holds the glaive in one foreclaw and steadies the butt of the shaft with the matching hindclaw.
A Large or Huge glaive increases the dragon’s reach by 5 feet; bigger glaives add 10 feet to the reach. If the glaive is used by a charging flying dragon, it inflicts double damage. Dragons cannot use a glaive to attack creatures within 10 feet. While using a glaive, the dragon cannot make claw attacks with its front claws. The dragon may add its Strength bonus to the damage inflicted by the glaive.
Doombow: The doombow is essentially a dragonmounted ballista. The dragon holds the bow in its four claws below its body while flying. The bow is drawn back using a chain attached to the dragon’s tail. Ammunition for the bow is held strapped to the dragon’s side, and it is a full-round action to reload a doombow. While holding a doombow, a dragon may not make claw or tail attacks. The doombow inflicts a –5 penalty to the attack roll.
Foreclaw bow: A foreclaw bow is almost identical to an ordinary composite shortbow, only larger. Dragons are forced to use composite bows as no natural tree grows in the correct size and shape for their weapons. Foreclaw bows use the dragon’s normal attack bonus.
Rock, dropped: A flying dragon can drop huge rocks on those below. It takes all four of the dragon’s claws to carry the rock, and the dragon must make an attack roll to hit with the rock (which is a grenade-like weapon).
Tailblade: A tailblade is a sharp sword that straps to the end of the dragon’s tail. This blade has the same effect as the Tail Spikes feat.
Wing razors: These blades are attached to the outer edge of the dragon’s wings. They inflict an additional –2 penalty to the dragon’s attack rolls when making a wing buffet attack, but increase the damage from a successful buffet by 1d8. Wing razors also inflict this damage if another dragon tries to grapple the wearer.
Wing whips: These dragon-sized whips are attached to the end of the dragon’s wings or held in its wingclaws. With these weapons, a dragon can trip opponents, but not disarm them. The whips inflict subdual damage, but are not limited by the armour of enemies. The dragon may add half its Strength bonus to the damage inflicted by the whips.
Wyrmsword: A wyrmsword is a long blade resembling a bastard sword. It is held in the dragon’s foreclaws. It can be used one-handed or two-handed. When used in a single claw, it suffers a –10 penalty to its attacks, but the dragon may its Strength bonus to the damage. When used with two claws, the attack suffers only a –5 penalty, and the dragon may add one and a half times its Strength bonus to the damage.
Wyrmswords are usually stored on scabbards mounted in the centre of the dragon’s back, or at the end of its tail.
Wyrmsword, two-bladed: The single largest melee weapon in use on the Prime Material plane, the two-bladed wyrmsword is a double-headed weapon, requiring the Two-weapon Fighting feats for fullest effect. It is a T-shaped weapon, designed to be held in the dragon’s foreclaws and swung with its hindclaw. It therefore can only be used by a flying or hovering dragon. The two-bladed wyrmsword inflicts no penalty on the dragon’s attacks, but the dragon cannot make claw attacks while carrying the sword.
Exotic Weapons - Melee
|Draconic glaive||250 gp||2d8||X3||-||25 lb.||Slashing|
|Tailblade||100 gp||+2d6||X2||-||16 lb.||Piercing|
|Wing razors||250 gp||+1d8||X3||-||12 lb.||Slashing|
|Wyrmsword||300 gp||1d12||X2/19-20||-||20 lb.||Slashing|
|Wyrmsword, two-bladed||1,000 gp||2d12||X2/19-20||-||40 lb.||Slashing|
Exotic Weapons - Ranged
|Blundercone||500 gp||*||*||20 ft.||15 lb.||*|
|Foreclaw bow||350 gp||1d10||X3||80 ft.||30 lb.||Piercing|
|Doombow||1,250 gp||2d12||X3||150 ft.||100 lb.||Piercing|
|Rock, dropped||-||2d10||X2||-||500 lb.||Bludgeoning|
|Wing whip||50 gp||1d6||X2||10 ft.*||10 lb.||*|
Dapplescale: A rather grotesque form of armour, dapplescale is constructed by replacing several of the dragon’s own scales with grafted-on scales from another dragon. For example, a white dragon might have up to a fifth of its scales replaced with fireresistance scales from a red dragon.
Dapplescale armour has a non-magical form of resistance appropriate to the dragon it came from, so the white dragon mentioned above would have Fire Resistance. Dapplescale armour only lasts until the dragon moults. The scales used can be fresh or preserved – see Dragon Anatomy for the
cost of dragon scales.
Light barding: Light barding is mostly chain mail, with a few heavy metal plates protecting vulnerable areas of the dragon. Light barding does not protect the dragon’s wings or upper limbs. A dragon may still fly while wearing light barding.
Heavy barding: Heavy barding is the draconic equivalent of full plate mail. Every inch of the dragon is protected by massive metal plates or heavy chain. The barding includes a huge mask that protects the dragon’s face, articulated panels that guard the belly, and curved steel plates that covers the dragon flanks and wings. While wearing heavy barding, the dragon cannot fly or make wing buffet attacks, as the armour binds and covers its wings.
Wing carapace: A wing carapace is mounted on the dragon’s back. When the dragon lands, it can slip its vulnerable wings inside the metal armour of the carapace. A dragon may not make wing buffets while using a carapace.
|Armour||Cost||Armour Bonus||Maximum Dex Bonus||Armour Check Penalty||Arcane Spell Failure||Speed||Weight|
|Light dragon barding||1500 gp||+5||+1||-5||30%||2/3||180 lb.|
|Heavy dragon barding||7500 gp||+10||+0||-6||40%||2/3||500 lb.|
|Wing carapace||750 gp||+2||-||-2||10%||-||120 lb.|