D&D Fight Club
Mavarothix, Gargantuan Black Dragon
By Robert Wiese

Design Notes

The D&D Miniatures line is releasing a Gargantuan black dragon miniature in August, so you may want a Gargantuan black dragon or three to use with the figure. (Expect to see the Colossal red miniature next month.)

Dragons are already very powerful, and with the Draconomicon one can make truly horrendous dragons without changing their Challenge Ratings. Mavarothix's hoard is left to you, because dragons don't generally use the items in their hoard. If you want to give him useful magic items, feel free to do so.

As dragon lives go, Mavarothix had a pretty quiet one. Most dragons fend off hordes of adventurers during their years; Mavarothix was always out exploring when more than half of them arrived at his hoard. He became philosophical about material wealth and concentrated on developing personal power. Over the centuries, though, he became very angry at those who thought his treasure was available for the taking. Eventually he had enough and started burning down anything within a few miles of his lair that looked at all threatening. He now has the reputation of being everywhere at once within his large territory, and no one has survived trying to take his hoard in more than one hundred years.

Mavarothix's power comes from his spellcasting abilities combined with his draconic might. He uses spells to their best effect to bolster his abilities, and when he is "on the hunt" for intruders, he is more than prepared for anything he might find. Further, he moves his whole lair from time to time within the ten miles or so of swamps that he calls home. Then he defends the old lair area for a while to keep intruders confused.

In your campaign, he might be a powerful NPC from whom the heroes get valuable information, but more likely the heroes will have to fight him. They may have to battle him several times, since he can teleport to safety and always saves a 5th-level spell for that purpose. He is willing to lose his hoard, but he won't forget those who took it from him and they might meet him again when they are already threatened by some other evil.

Spells marked with * are in the Spell Compendium.

Mavarothix Without Class Levels

When beginning melee, Mavarothix likes to spend a few rounds casting spells on himself. These include scintillating scales, nerveskitter, fires of purity, greater wings of air, sharptooth and razorfangs on his bite attack, plus shield and greater mage armor. He makes good use of his swift spells in combat: dispelling breath, wraithstrike, and breath weapon substitution. If he feels threatened, he retreats via teleport or flying, casts greater invisibility on himself, and makes flyby attacks for the duration of the spell. He is not afraid to land on some foes with a crush attack, take a few rounds of full attacks, and then fly off or teleport away and do it all again.

Mavarothix CR 20
Wyrm black dragon
CE Gargantuan dragon
Init +4; Senses superior low-light vision, darkvision 120 ft., blindsense 60 ft.; Listen +34, Spot +41
Languages Aquan, Common, Draconic, Orc

AC 39, touch 6, flat-footed 39
(-4 size, +33 natural)
hp 459 (34 HD); DR 20/magic
Immune acid, sleep, paralysis
Resist SR 26
Fort +26, Ref +19, Will +23

Speed 60 ft. (12 squares), fly 200 ft. (clumsy), swim 60 ft.; Hover, Wingover
Melee bite +42 (4d6+12) and
2 claws +42 (2d8+6) and
2 wings +42 (2d6+6) and
tail slap +42 (2d8+18)
Base Atk +34; Grp +58
Space 20 ft.; Reach 15 ft. (20 ft. with bite)
Atk Options Improved Snatch, Power Attack, Quicken Breath, Recover Breath, Snatch, Wingstorm, crush (4d6+18), tail sweep (2d6+18), breath weapon, frightful presence
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 13th):
6th (4/day) -- fires of purity*, freezing fog* (DC 20)
5th (6/day) -- breath weapon substitution*, dispelling breath* (DC 19), teleport
4th (7/day) -- enervation (ranged touch +34), greater invisibility, sharptooth*, greater wings of air*
3rd (7/day) -- chain missile*, dispel magic, haste, greater mage armor*
2nd (7/day) -- razorfangs*, resist energy, scintillating scales*, greater slide* (DC 16), wraithstrike*
1st (7/day) -- comprehend languages, feather fall, nerveskitter*, shield, true strike
0 (6/day) -- arcane mark, dancing lights, detect magic, detect poison, ghost sound (DC 14), mage hand, mending, prestidigitation, read magic
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 13th):
3/day -- darkness, insect plague
1/day -- corrupt water, plant growth

Abilities Str 35, Dex 10, Con 25, Int 18, Wis 19, Cha 18
SQ water breathing
Feats Flyby Attack, Hover, Improved Initiative, Improved Multiattack, Improved Snatch, Multiattack, Power Attack, Quicken Breath, Recover Breath, Snatch, Wingover, Wingstorm
Skills Concentration +27, Diplomacy +26, Escape Artist +30, Intimidate +24, Knowledge (arcana) +34, Knowledge (geography) +34, Knowledge (local) +34, Listen +34, Move Silently +32, Search +41, Sense Motive +38, Spot +41, Use Magic Device +24
Hoard Value 240,000 gp

Hook "When my immense form comes into view, those who would call themselves my enemies shudder in fear as I swoop down to tear them apart."

Crush (Ex) This special attack allows Mavarothix to land on opponents as a standard action, using its whole body to crush them. Crush attacks are effective only against opponents of size Medium or smaller (though it can attempt normal overrun or grapple attacks against larger opponents). A crush attack affects as many creatures as can fit under the dragon's body. Creatures in the affected area must succeed on a Reflex save (DC 34) or be pinned, automatically taking bludgeoning damage during the next round unless the dragon moves off them. If the dragon chooses to maintain the pin, treat it as a normal grapple attack. Pinned opponents take damage from the crush each round if they don't escape.

Tail Sweep (Ex) This special attack allows Mavarothix to sweep with its tail as a standard action. The sweep affects a half-circle with a radius of 30 feet, extending from an intersection on the edge of the dragon's space in any direction. Creatures within the swept area are affected if they size Small or smaller. Affected creatures can attempt Reflex saves to take half damage (DC 34).

Breath Weapon (Su) Mavarothix's breath weapon is a line of acid 120 feet long that does 22d4 points of acid damage. Using a breath weapon is a standard action. Once a dragon breathes, it can't breathe again until 1d4 rounds later. A blast from a breath weapon always starts at any intersection adjacent to the dragon and extends in a direction of the dragon's choice. If the breath weapon deals damage, creatures caught in the area can attempt Reflex saves to take half damage (DC 34).

Frightful Presence (Ex) Mavarothix can unsettle foes with his mere presence. The ability takes effect automatically whenever Mavarothix attacks, charges, or flies overhead. Creatures within a radius of 330 feet are subject to the effect if they have fewer than 34 HD. A potentially affected creature that succeeds on a Will save (DC 31) remains immune to that dragon's frightful presence for 24 hours. On a failure, creatures with 4 or less HD become panicked for 4d6 rounds and those with 5 or more HD become shaken for 4d6 rounds. Dragons ignore the frightful presence of other dragons.

Water Breathing (Ex) A black dragon can breathe underwater indefinitely and can freely use its breath weapon, spells, and other abilities while submerged.

Corrupt Water (Sp) Once per day Mavarothix can stagnate 10 cubic feet of water, making it become still, foul, and unable to support animal life. The ability spoils liquids containing water. Magic items (such as potions) and items in a creature's possession must succeed on a Will save (DC 31) or become fouled. This ability is the equivalent of a 1st-level spell with range 330 ft.

Mavarothix With Seven Class Levels

At this level Mavarothix has more spells to cast on himself before and during battle, and he makes good use of them. These include greater arcane sight, scintillating scales, nerveskitter, fires of purity, greater wings of air, sharptooth and razorfangs on his bite attack, plus shield and greater mage armor. He makes good use of his swift spells in combat: dispelling breath, wraithstrike, breath weapon substitution, stunning breath, and synostodweomer. If he feels threatened he retreats via teleport or flying, and then spends a little while casting cure spells on himself. Then he casts greater invisibility on himself and makes flyby attacks for the duration of the spell. He is not afraid to land on some foes with a crush attack, take a few rounds of full attacks, and then fly off or teleport away and do it all again.

Mavarothix CR 25
Wyrm black dragon cleric 4 of Tiamat/mystic theurge 3
CE Gargantuan dragon
Init +0; Senses superior low-light vision, darkvision 120 ft., blindsense 60 ft.; Listen +34, Spot +41
Languages Aquan, Common, Draconic, Orc

AC 39, touch 6, flat-footed 39
(-4 size, +33 natural)
hp 484 (41 HD); DR 20/magic
Immune acid, sleep, paralysis
Resist SR 26
Fort +31, Ref +21, Will +30

Speed 60 ft. (12 squares), fly 200 ft. (clumsy), swim 60 ft.; Hover, Wingover
Melee bite +46 (4d6+12) and
2 claws +46 (2d8+6) and
2 wings +46 (2d6+6) and
tail slap +46 (2d8+18)
Base Atk +38; Grp +62
Space 20 ft.; Reach 15 ft. (20 ft. with bite)
Atk Options Improved Snatch, Power Attack, Quicken Breath, Recover Breath, Snatch, Wingstorm, crush (4d6+18), tail sweep (2d6+18), breath weapon, frightful presence, rebuke undead 12/day (+2, 2d6+9, 4th), smite domain power
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 16th):
8th (3/day) -- horrid wilting (DC 23)
7th (5/day) -- greater arcane sight, snyostodweomer*
6th (6/day) -- greater dispel magic, fires of purity*, freezing fog* (DC 21)
5th (7/day) -- breath weapon substitution*, dispelling breath* (DC 20), stunning breath* (DC 20), teleport
4th (7/day) -- enervation (ranged touch +38), greater invisibility, sharptooth*, greater wings of air*
3rd (7/day) -- chain missile*, dispel magic, haste, greater mage armor*
2nd (7/day) -- razorfangs*, resist energy, scintillating scales*, greater slide* (DC 17), wraithstrike*
1st (8/day) -- comprehend languages, feather fall, nerveskitter*, shield, true strike
0 (6/day) -- arcane mark, dancing lights, detect magic, detect poison, ghost sound (DC 15), mage hand, mending, prestidigitation, read magic
Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 7th):
4th -- cure critical wounds (2), unholy blight[D] (DC 18)
3rd -- contagion[D] (DC 17), cure serious wounds (3)
2nd -- cure moderate wounds(4), shatter[D] (DC 16)
1st -- cure light wounds (5), inflict light wounds[D] (DC 15)
0 -- cure minor wounds (2), detect magic, detect poison, inflict minor wounds (DC 14), virtue
[D]: Domain spell. Deity: Tiamat. Domains: Destruction, Evil
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 13th):
3/day -- darkness, insect plague
1/day -- corrupt water, plant growth

Abilities Str 35, Dex 10, Con 25, Int 18, Wis 19, Cha 20
SQ water breathing
Feats Divine Metamagic (Quicken), Extra Turning, Flyby Attack, Hover, Improved Multiattack, Improved Snatch, Multiattack, Power Attack, Quicken Breath, Quicken Spell, Recover Breath, Snatch, Wingover, Wingstorm
Skills Concentration +37, Diplomacy +27, Escape Artist +30, Intimidate +25, Knowledge (arcana) +40, Knowledge (geography) +34, Knowledge (local) +34, Knowledge (religion) +14, Listen +34, Move Silently +32, Search +41, Sense Motive +38, Spellcraft +14, Spot +41, Use Magic Device +31
Hoard Value 642,000 gp

Hook "Tiamat adds her power to my own to make me invincible."

Crush (Ex) This special attack allows Mavarothix to land on opponents as a standard action, using its whole body to crush them. Crush attacks are effective only against opponents of size Medium or smaller (though it can attempt normal overrun or grapple attacks against larger opponents). A crush attack affects as many creatures as can fit under the dragon's body. Creatures in the affected area must succeed on a Reflex save (DC 34) or be pinned, automatically taking bludgeoning damage during the next round unless the dragon moves off them. If the dragon chooses to maintain the pin, treat it as a normal grapple attack. Pinned opponents take damage from the crush each round if they don't escape.

Tail Sweep (Ex) This special attack allows Mavarothix to sweep with its tail as a standard action. The sweep affects a half-circle with a radius of 30 feet, extending from an intersection on the edge of the dragon's space in any direction. Creatures within the swept area are affected if they size Small or smaller. Affected creatures can attempt Reflex saves to take half damage (DC 34).

Breath Weapon (Su) Mavarothix's breath weapon is a line of acid 120 feet long that does 22d4 points of acid damage. Using a breath weapon is a standard action. Once a dragon breathes, it can't breathe again until 1d4 rounds later. A blast from a breath weapon always starts at any intersection adjacent to the dragon and extends in a direction of the dragon's choice. If the breath weapon deals damage, creatures caught in the area can attempt Reflex saves to take half damage (DC 34).

Frightful Presence (Ex) Mavarothix can unsettle foes with his mere presence. The ability takes effect automatically whenever Mavarothix attacks, charges, or flies overhead. Creatures within a radius of 330 feet are subject to the effect if they have fewer than 34 HD. A potentially affected creature that succeeds on a Will save (DC 31) remains immune to that dragon's frightful presence for 24 hours. On a failure, creatures with 4 or less HD become panicked for 4d6 rounds and those with 5 or more HD become shaken for 4d6 rounds. Dragons ignore the frightful presence of other dragons.

Water Breathing (Ex) A black dragon can breathe underwater indefinitely and can freely use its breath weapon, spells, and other abilities while submerged.

Corrupt Water (Sp) Once per day Mavarothix can stagnate 10 cubic feet of water, making it become still, foul, and unable to support animal life. The ability spoils liquids containing water. Magic items (such as potions) and items in a creature's possession must succeed on a Will save (DC 31) or become fouled. This ability is the equivalent of a 1st-level spell with range 330 ft.

Mavarothix With Ten Class Levels

By now, Mavarothix is vastly powerful, but so are the heroes who will face him. He makes full use of his spells, especially those that modify his breath weapon or provide defense. Spells he would leave combat to cast include scintillating scales, greater wings of air, razorfangs, sharptooth, shield, and greater mage armor. Given more time he would prepare with additional spells on himself. He also makes use of his ability to cast three quickened spells per day through his Divine Metamagic feat, and so he could cure himself as a quickened spell.

He is a very canny opponent and knows how to strike and fade or wade into melee or use spells against opponents. In combat, he uses maze to remove enemy fighters so he can concentrate on the spellcasters, and time stop to leave and cure himself or bolster his defenses between enemy actions.

Mavarothix CR 28
Great wyrm black dragon cleric 4 of Tiamat/mystic theurge 6|
CE Gargantuan dragon
Init +0; Senses superior low-light vision, darkvision 120 ft., blindsense 60 ft.; Listen +36, Spot +46
Languages Aquan, Common, Draconic, Orc

AC 42, touch 6, flat-footed 42
(-4 size, +36 natural)
hp 587 (47 HD); DR 20/magic
Immune acid, sleep, paralysis
Resist SR 28
Fort +34, Ref +23, Will +35

Speed 60 ft. (12 squares), fly 200 ft. (clumsy), swim 60 ft.; Hover, Wingover
Melee bite +52 (4d6+13) and
2 claws +52 (2d8+6) and
2 wings +52 (2d6+6) and
tail slap +52 (2d8+19)
Base Atk +43; Grp +68
Space 20 ft.; Reach 15 ft. (20 ft. with bite)
Atk Options Improved Snatch, Power Attack, Quicken Breath, Recover Breath, Snatch, Wingstorm, crush (4d6+19), tail sweep (2d6+19), breath weapon, frightful presence, rebuke undead 17/day (+2, 2d6+10, 4th), smite domain power
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 21st):
9th (6/day) -- breath weapon admixture*, enervating breath*, time stop
8th (6/day) -- horrid wilting (DC 24), maze, greater plane shift* (DC 24)
7th (6/day) -- animate breath*, greater arcane sight, snyostodweomer*
6th (7/day) -- greater dispel magic, fires of purity*, freezing fog* (DC 22)
5th (7/day) -- breath weapon substitution*, dispelling breath* (DC 21), stunning breath* (DC 21), teleport
4th (7/day) -- enervation (ranged touch +39), greater invisibility, sharptooth*, greater wings of air*
3rd (7/day) -- chain missile*, dispel magic, haste, greater mage armor*
2nd (8/day) -- razorfangs*, resist energy, scintillating scales*, greater slide* (DC 18), wraithstrike*
1st (8/day) -- comprehend languages, feather fall, nerveskitter*, shield, true strike
0 (6/day) -- arcane mark, dancing lights, detect magic, detect poison, ghost sound (DC 16), mage hand, mending, prestidigitation, read magic
Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 10th):
5th -- mass inflict light wounds[D] (DC 21) (2), greater vigor*, true seeing
4th -- cure critical wounds (4), unholy blight[D] (DC 20)
3rd -- contagion[D] (DC 19), cure serious wounds (4)
2nd -- cure moderate wounds(6), shatter[D] (DC 18)
1st -- cure light wounds (6), inflict light wounds[D] (DC 17)
0 -- cure minor wounds (2), detect magic, detect poison, inflict minor wounds (DC 16), virtue
[D]: Domain spell. Deity: Tiamat. Domains: Destruction, Evil
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 13th):
3/day -- darkness, insect plague, charm reptiles
1/day -- corrupt water, plant growth

Abilities Str 37, Dex 10, Con 27, Int 20, Wis 22, Cha 22
SQ water breathing
Feats Divine Metamagic (Quicken), Extra Turning, Extra Turning, Flyby Attack, Hover, Improved Multiattack, Improved Snatch, Multiattack, Power Attack, Quicken Breath, Quicken Spell, Recover Breath, Snatch, Wingover, Wingstorm
Skills Concentration +41, Diplomacy +33, Escape Artist +34, Intimidate +26, Knowledge (arcana) +47, Knowledge (geography) +35, Knowledge (local) +35, Knowledge (religion) +19, Listen +36, Move Silently +36, Search +45, Sense Motive +43, Spellcraft +18, Spot +46, Use Magic Device +36
Hoard Value 1,272,000 gp

Hook "Mortals cannot challenge me; I am too powerful for anyone to handle. Tiamat has made me as a god to serve her."

Crush (Ex) This special attack allows Mavarothix to land on opponents as a standard action, using its whole body to crush them. Crush attacks are effective only against opponents of size Medium or smaller (though it can attempt normal overrun or grapple attacks against larger opponents). A crush attack affects as many creatures as can fit under the dragon's body. Creatures in the affected area must succeed on a Reflex save (DC 36) or be pinned, automatically taking bludgeoning damage during the next round unless the dragon moves off them. If the dragon chooses to maintain the pin, treat it as a normal grapple attack. Pinned opponents take damage from the crush each round if they don't escape.

Tail Sweep (Ex) This special attack allows Mavarothix to sweep with its tail as a standard action. The sweep affects a half-circle with a radius of 30 feet, extending from an intersection on the edge of the dragon's space in any direction. Creatures within the swept area are affected if they size Small or smaller. Affected creatures can attempt Reflex saves to take half damage (DC 36).

Breath Weapon (Su) Mavarothix's breath weapon is a line of acid 120 feet long that does 24d4 points of acid damage. Using a breath weapon is a standard action. Once a dragon breathes, it can't breathe again until 1d4 rounds later. A blast from a breath weapon always starts at any intersection adjacent to the dragon and extends in a direction of the dragon's choice. If the breath weapon deals damage, creatures caught in the area can attempt Reflex saves to take half damage (DC 36).

Frightful Presence (Ex) Mavarothix can unsettle foes with his mere presence. The ability takes effect automatically whenever Mavarothix attacks, charges, or flies overhead. Creatures within a radius of 360 feet are subject to the effect if they have fewer than 34 HD. A potentially affected creature that succeeds on a Will save (DC 33) remains immune to that dragon's frightful presence for 24 hours. On a failure, creatures with 4 or less HD become panicked for 4d6 rounds and those with 5 or more HD become shaken for 4d6 rounds. Dragons ignore the frightful presence of other dragons.

Water Breathing (Ex) A black dragon can breathe underwater indefinitely and can freely use its breath weapon, spells, and other abilities while submerged.

Corrupt Water (Sp) Once per day Mavarothix can stagnate 10 cubic feet of water, making it become still, foul, and unable to support animal life. The ability spoils liquids containing water. Magic items (such as potions) and items in a creature's possession must succeed on a Will save (DC 33) or become fouled. This ability is the equivalent of a 1st-level spell with range 360 ft.

Charm Reptiles (Sp) A great wyrm black dragon can use this ability three times per day. It works as a mass charm spell that affects only reptilian animals. The dragon can communicate with any charmed reptiles as though casting a speak with animals spell. This ability is the equivalent of a 1st-level spell.

Additional Feats

These feats are not presented in the Player's Handbook or Monster Manual.

Divine Metamagic (from Complete Divine with errata): When you take this feat, choose a metamagic feat that you know. This feat applies only to that metamagic feat. As a free action, you can take the energy from turning or rebuking undead and use it to apply a metamagic feat to divine spells that you know. You must spend one turn or rebuke attempt, plus an additional attempt for each level increase in the metamagic feat you're using. For example, Jozan the cleric could sacrifice three turn attempts to empower a holy smite he's casting. Because you're using positive or negative energy to augment your spells, the spell slot for the spell doesn't change. Using this feat to quicken a spell requires five uses of turn undead per spell quickened.

Improved Multiattack (from Savage Species): Your secondary attacks with natural weapons have no penalty on the attack roll. You still add only 1/2 your Strength bonus, if any, to damage dealt.

Improved Snatch (from Draconomicon): As the Snatch feat, except that you can grab a creature two size categories smaller than you with your bite or claw attack.

Quicken Breath (from Draconomicon): Using your breath weapon is a free action. When you use this feat, add +4 to the number of rounds you must wait before using your breath weapon again.

Recover Breath (from Draconomicon): You reduce the interval between uses of your breath weapon. You wait 1 round less than usual before breathing again, but always at least 1 round. The feat stacks with the effects of metabreath feats, reducing the total time you must wait to use your breath weapon again by 1 round.

Wingstorm (from Draconomicon): As a full-round action, you can hover in place and use your wings to create a blast of air in a cylinder with a radius and height of 10 feet times your age category. The wind blows from the center of your body toward the outside edge at the bottom of the cylinder.

The force of the wind depends on your size, as indicated on the chart in the Draconomicon. (For Gargantuan creatures, the wind force is hurricane.) For the effects of high winds, see Table 3-4 on page 95 of the Dungeon Master's Guide.

Because the blast of air only lasts for your turn, creatures ignore the checked effect unless they are airborne (in which case they are blown back 1d6x5 feet).

Special: You can elect to keep the wind in effect for longer than your current turn. If you do, the wind lasts until your next turn (and you can opt to continue the effect during your next turn). Anyone in or entering the cylinder is affected. Because you are producing a continuous blast of air, the checked effect works normally while the wind lasts (checked creatures cannot move forward against the force of the wind, or they are blown back 1d6x5 feet if airborne).

About the Author

Robert Wiese entered the gaming hobby through the Boy Scouts and progressed from green recruit to head of the most powerful gaming fan organization in the world. He served as head of the RPGA Network for almost seven years, overseeing the creation of the Living Greyhawk and Living Force campaigns, among other achievements. Eventually, he returned to private life in Reno, Nevada, where he spends as much time as possible with his wife, new son Owen, and many pets.

He is still involved in writing, organizing conventions, and playing, and he models proteins for the Biochemistry Department of the University of Nevada, Reno.


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