Best of the Beastiary, D&D

Green Dragons: Trickster Demon of the Forest

I see an ancient elf king, his majesty long since faded, slumped and half-asleep in his throne. A green dragon whispers in the king’s ear, corrupting and twisting the king’s dreams. This dragon’s name is Cyan Bloodbane, and he means the destruction of us all.
– Pelios of Ergoth, Silvanesti Seer

I’ve actually used this one! My players provoked a talking tree, which was the random event I rolled for their journey to an abandoned Aboleth temple. I thought they’d stop when I threatened them with a dragon… but they didn’t. So they fought a dragon. I had a contingency plan to get them out of trouble; I figured I’d introduce the golden dragon that would support them a bit earlier. But then they killed it. So… that plan proved unnecessary.

But they were shitting themselves for the whole fight, so it was totally worth it. And then they boiled the skull and made it into their new cart. No, I’m not joking.

I miss them.

Getting back on topic!

Lore: The Schemer Dragon

Did we really need three paragraphs describing how they look? I guarantee no DM uses those to describe anything to their players. In this case, I feel like most DMs just use a dramatized version of “A green dragon appears. Roll initiative.”

Green dragons make their homes in forests, making them the natural bane of elves, whom they enjoy eating the most. They are pathological liars, preferring to deceive and intimidate over any other tactic. They’ll stalk their prey and play deceitful tricks, acting subservient with sweet words, until it comes time to strike. Unlike the other dragons, it will actually take prisoners and maybe even release them, should they prove valuable enough. Despite their composed demeanor, they’re actually quite brutish, acting loud and crass around others of its kind.

Should forest cross with other terrain, a green dragon will clash with others for the territory. Once again, their manipulative nature comes into play, as they’ll pretend to back down, sometimes for decades at a time, and strike. When they do, they’ll claim all their foe’s hoard for themselves.

They do often accept servitude from other, lesser creatures. Primarily goblins, ettercaps, ettins, kobolds, orcs, and yuan-ti. But they only take pleasure in corrupting elves to their will. Sometimes, they’ll drive their minions insane for the pleasure of it, spreading a fog through its domain that mirrors their nightmares. These corrupted, broken creatures are their most treasured possessions, even more so than their favorite treasures.

The sheer number of possibilities available to a writer with this is incredible! Maybe the party could discover a village ruled by a green dragon and rescue the kidnapped villagers before they’re driven mad! Or maybe they get caught up in a cold-war between a green dragon and another and have to resolve it to get a valuable piece of treasure. You could have the dragon manipulate the party, convincing them to help it in exchange for treasure or its servitude only for it to betray them later. The possibilities are vast and incredibly interesting! This one is incredibly fun to work with!

Just so long as you enjoy rolling Deception.

Stats: Don’t Breath

Not that holding your breath will do you any good. That poison breath will fuck you up either way.

Wyrmlings are the weakest and easiest to deal with. Don’t mistake them for throw-away monsters, though. It has a pretty high AC and decent HP pool for a low-level monster. Its bite attack isn’t much to write home about, though the extra poison damage certainly makes it a bit more dangerous. That poison breath, however, is very deadly, dealing enough damage to put fear into any low-level player’s heart.

Youngs are a big upgrade. The AC goes up by 1 and the HP is multiplied practically five times over. The bite attack and poison breath moves are now much more dangerous, with tons of extra damage. Plus, it now has a decently dangerous claw attack and the Multiattack ability. While the Wyrmling is still manageable for the appropriate level, the Young is where things start to get difficult.

Adults are where things get really dangerous. They have all the same abilities, with much higher numbers, and Frightful Presence, which could single-handedly ruin any party’s chances for success. On top of that, it now has Legendary Actions/Resistances. Beware, adventurers! Because this guy can officially break the game!

Ancient green dragons are exactly the same as adult ones, but with bigger numbers. They should only be used against upper-high to max-leveled parties. Otherwise, they will wipe your group off the face of the earth. No two ways about it.

These guys make for a perfect boss fight! They’re not any better than the dragons we’ve discussed so far in that regard. But when the standard is so high, matching it is far from a bad thing! That still puts them among the best in the game!

Placement

How do they do it? How can each dragon one-up the next? Sure, all of them are relatively equal in terms of an actual fight! But the lore just keeps getting cooler and more interesting! A super-powerful beast that uses manipulation tactics over fighting is just so damn cool!

With all that in mind, let’s put the Green Dragon on the Best of the Bestiary.

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Green Dragons <———-
  4. Blue Dragons
  5. Black Dragons
  6. Couatl
  7. Behir
  8. Aboleth
  9. Chuul
  10. Chimera
  11. Death Knight
  12. Bone Devil
  13. Dracolich
  14. Ankheg
  15. Shadow Demon
  16. Marilith
  17. Aarackockra
  18. Azer
  19. Demilich
  20. Spectator
  21. Cambion
  22. Animated Armor
  23. Banshee
  24. Basilisk
  25. Yochlol
  26. Bulette
  27. Cloaker
  28. Darkmantle
  29. Doppelganger
  30. Pit Fiend
  31. Erinyes
  32. Chain Devil
  33. Bearded Devil
  34. Barbed Devil
  35. Spined Devil
  36. Ice Devil
  37. Nalfeshnee
  38. Glabrezu
  39. Chasme
  40. Barlgura
  41. Horned Devil
  42. Balor
  43. Shadow Dragon
  44. Vrock
  45. Dretch
  46. Goristro
  47. Hezrou
  48. Manes
  49. Quasit
  50. Planetar
  51. Imp
  52. Displacer Beast
  53. Carrion Crawler
  54. Rug of Smothering
  55. Bugbear Chief
  56. Bugbear
  57. Vine Blight
  58. Twig Blight
  59. Needle Blight
  60. Bullywug
  61. Cockatrice
  62. Lemure
  63. Solar
  64. Deva
  65. Cyclops
  66. Centaur
  67. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  68. Flying Sword
  69. Crawling Claw

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