Finally! Time to talk about the coolest bastards in the history of fantasy!
Dragons are the most important monsters in the game. Don’t believe me? Do I need to remind you that the game is called Dungeons and Dragons?! Any campaign without them is completely empty! That’d be like having a glass of water with only ice in it!
Today, let’s dive into the lore shared between all the dragons. Then, next week, we’ll dive into something a bit more specific. Now then! Let’s set the draconic stage!
Many creatures carry dragon blood in their veins, such as the dragon turtle or the wyvern. But a true dragon falls into one of two categories: the chromatic and the metallic. Chromatic dragons, those with scales of black, green, red, or white, are selfish, evil, and fear incarnate. Metallic dragons, whose scales shine like brass, bronze, copper, gold, or silver, are noble and kind creatures. While the two are at complete odds, both are among the most powerful creatures in the world.
All dragons long after one thing: wealth. No matter their ideals or goals, gold will forever be their temptation. Any precious item, be it money or a magical cadaver, is to be covered by these mighty beasts.
The ego of a dragon would be considered folly, if not for the beast’s great power. A chromatic dragon would only interact with its lessers for its own benefit. They firmly believe that they are the rulers of the foodchain, which can be heard in every word they ever speak. To them, humanoids are nothing more than animals; completely unworthy of any respect.
Throughout its life, a dragon undergoes four unique stages. There is the Wyrmling, the youngest and weakest stage. It then grows into a Young Dragon, which remains until it surpasses its one-hundredth year. From there, it becomes a fully-grown adult; should it live longer than eight-hundred, it becomes an Ancient dragon, the largest and most powerful form of any dragon.
Among all the dragons of the world, one stands taller than any other: Tiamat, the five-headed Dragon Queen. She dwells in the first layer of the Nine Hells, Avernus, as a lesser god. As such, she can pass her power onto her followers, though she despises doing so. All the features of an evil dragon are emphasized to a ridiculous degree in her. Of all the dragons, and perhaps even all the monsters in any of these books, Tiamat may very well be the most powerful.
Unless there’s some obscure monster that I’m blanking on right now. I’m sure someone will be more than happy to inform me of in a polite manner.
Tiamat’s opposite and sworn enemy is Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon, and god of the metallic dragons. Though she also has a great disdain for Asmodeus, king of the devils, who stripped her of her rule of the Nine Hells long ago… somehow. If there are any two beings in the universe she wishes to destroy, those two are at the top of the list.
Lore wise, these monsters are exceptionally simple. Let’s be honest, we all know what a dragon is and what they’re like. If you’ve read The Hobbit, or any fantasy story, for that matter, you already know all that. The distinction between Chromatic and Metallic dragons and Tiamat are the only real original things in all the lore here.
Though to be fair: those two factors add a lot of storytelling potential! Like, an unbelievable shit-ton!
Its that exact simplicity that makes dragons so flexible. Maybe you can have the players get caught up in the battle between a chromatic and metallic dragon! Maybe you could write your own twist on the ‘Hoard of the Dragon Queen’ story and make Tiamat your villain! Perhaps the players run into a powerful chromatic dragon and have to strike an uneasy bargain to avoid getting murdered! Or maybe you could create a high-stakes fantasy heist; have your players steal from a dragon’s hoard when they’re too weak to just kill it! Perhaps they meet a Wyrmling, and they’re faced with an emotional struggle; do they kill a currently innocent creature to prevent any future crimes it could commit? Anything you can imagine, you can do!
That is the beauty of dragons. You can do just about anything with these guys and your players will eat it up! Using a dragon for the first time in a campaign is a beautiful thing. Never in my life will I forget how my players freaked the hell out when I first dropped a dragon on them after a bunch of foreshadowing! If you want to have a ton of fun as a DM, there are no better monsters in the book!
And to think! We’re just getting started!