“You act as though the laws of the anthill affect the foot that crushes it.” -Raishan, the Diseased Deceiver
Welcome back! If you read last week’s blog, you’ll know that this is part 2 of our series on Dragons. This week we will be focusing on the distinctions between Chromatic and Metallic Dragons (the 2 types you’ll find in the D&D 5e Monster Manual) and how to incorporate them into your campaign.
Last week, we mentioned ‘True Dragons’; These are the one’s you’ll find in the Monster Manual. They grow more powerful with age, with 4 distinct stages of life throughout thousands of years:
Wyrmling: Medium sized, Under 5 years of age, Challenge Rating 1-4
Young: Large sized, 6-100 years old, CR 6-10
Adult: Large sized, 101-800 years old, CR 13-17
Ancient: Gargantuan, 801+ years old, CR 20-24
True Dragons fall into two categories, Chromatic and Metallic. Chromatic Dragons (black, red, blue, green and white) are notoriously selfish, evil and fearsome. Metallic Dragons (brass, bronze, copper gold and silver) are still fearsome, but are known to be noble, good and highly respected by the wise. Both Metallic and Chromatic Dragons covet wealth, albeit for different reasons. They dislike leaving their hoards for long periods of time, mostly they do to feed and patrol their territory.
These Dragons are greedy and creatures of ego. Their greed will inspire many of their plots, which is an easy motive to include in your campaign. Chromatic Dragons have no use for the treasure, no wish to spend, just possessing and hoarding their wealth is what they want. They carry themselves with a sense of superiority, even amongst other of their kind. These Dragons believe it is their innate right to rule, seeing humanoids as no more than beasts of burden.
Something to consider when you bring a Chromatic Dragon into your campaign: Lair Actions! This fun little feature is an added obstacle for your players. Dragons choses a lair worthy of protecting their hoard, with multiple entrances and exits and severe environmental effects. For example, a Red Dragon, which favors fire, may lay claim to an active volcano. So your players will not only need to be on the look out for magical traps laid by the dragon, but lava too! Fun, right? You’ll find the suggested lair actions of all the Chromatic Dragons in the Monster Manual alongside the Dragon’s stats.
Much like their Chromatic counterparts, Metallic Dragons covet treasure. However, they are not driven by greed, but more out of curiosity and desire for knowledge. The treasure you’ll find in their lair will be filled with more personal, historical items… as well as magical and evil artifacts. These Dragons look to protect other creatures from dangerous magic, which they do my secreting the items away in their hoard. Unlike Chromatic Dragons, Metallic Dragons can be convinced to part with pieces of their treasure if they believe it is for the greater good.
Ancient Metallic Dragons have the nifty ability to shapeshift, which is a great way for DMs to sneak and extremely powerful monster (friend or foe) into their player’s lives. Another way to introduce a Metallic Dragon is to utilize their long memories, good dragons can recognize human bloodlines by smell alone. Your Bard’s ancestor may have gravely offended this gold dragon 500 years ago, or perhaps your Druid’s great great great grandparent assisted them when they were just a Wyrmling.
How have you included Dragons in your campaigns? Let us know below! We’ll see you next week for part 3, and if you haven’t already, go check out PART ONE!