Revision Spotlight06/24/2003

Red Dragons

It's big, it's red, and it's breath is a real killer. Get reacquainted with the baddest of the bad. You may not find a ton of changes in the red dragon description, but there's enough different to warrant a careful reading. (We're not including the Red Dragons by Age and Red Dragon Abilities by Age tables here because they've changed hardly at all.) It's like one of those puzzles -- "How many differences are there between these two pictures of a dragon?" One of the most obvious changes is the addition of a typical example of a very old red dragon. What else can you find?

Red Dragon

Dragon (Fire)

Environment: Warm mountains

Organization: Wyrmling, very young, young, juvenile, and young adult: solitary or clutch (2-5); adult, mature adult, old, very old, ancient, wyrm, or great wyrm: solitary, pair, or family (1-2 and 2-5 offspring)

Challenge Ratings: Wyrmling 4; very young 5; young 7; juvenile 10; young adult 13; adult 15; mature adult 18; old 20; very old 21; ancient 23; wyrm 24; great wyrm 26

Treasure: Triple standard

Alignment: Always chaotic evil

Advancement: Wyrmling 8-9 HD; very young 11-12 HD; young 14-15 HD; juvenile 17-18 HD; young adult 20-21 HD; adult 23-24 HD; mature adult 26-27 HD; old 29-30 HD; very old 32-33 HD; ancient 35-36 HD; wyrm 38-39 HD; great wyrm 41+ HD

Level Adjustment: Wyrmling +4; very young +5; young +6; others -

The dragon has horns extending back over the neck, frilled ears, and smaller horns at the cheeks and chin, with rows of horns over the brows. The nose is beaklike and sports a small horn. A frill begins behind the head and runs to the tip of the tail. The dragon reeks of smoke and sulfur, and its scales shine with shades of crimson and scarlet.

Red dragons are the most covetous of all dragons, forever seeking to increase their treasure hoards. They are exceptionally vain, which is reflected in their proud bearing and disdainful expression.

The small scales of a wyrmling red dragon are a bright glossy scarlet, making the dragon easily spotted by predators and hunters, so it stays underground and does not venture outside until it is more able to take care of itself. Toward the end of young age, the scales turn a deeper red, and the glossy texture is replaced by a smooth, dull finish. As the dragon grows older, the scales become large, thick, and as strong as metal. The neck frill and wings are an ash blue or purple-gray toward the edges, becoming darker with age. The pupils of a red dragon fade as it ages; the oldest red dragons have eyes that resemble molten lava orbs.

Red dragons lair in large caves that extend deep into the earth, which shimmer with the heat of their bodies and are marked by a sulfurous, smoky odor. However, they always have a high perch nearby from which to haughtily survey their territory, which they consider to be everything in sight. This high perch sometimes intrudes upon the territory of a silver dragon, and for this reason red dragons and silver dragons are often enemies.

Red dragons are meat eaters by preference, and their favorite food is a human or elven youth. Sometimes they charm villagers into regularly sacrificing townsfolk to them.


Because red dragons are so confident, they seldom pause to appraise an adversary. On spotting a target, they make a snap decision whether to attack, using one of many strategies worked out ahead of time. A red dragon lands to attack small, weak creatures with its claws and bite rather than obliterating them with its breath weapon, so as not to destroy any treasure they might be carrying.

Breath Weapon (Su): A red dragon has one type of breath weapon, a cone of fire.

Locate Object (Sp): A juvenile or older red dragon can use this ability as the spell of the same name, once per day per age category.

Other Spell-Like Abilities: 3/day-suggestion (old or older); 1/day-find the path (ancient or older), discern location (great wyrm).

Skills: Appraise, Bluff, and Jump are considered class skills for red dragons.

Very Old Red Dragon: CR 21; Gargantuan dragon (fire); HD 31d12+248, hp 449; Init +4; Spd 40 ft., fly 200 ft. (clumsy); AC 36, touch 6, flat-footed 36; Base Atk +31; Grp +56; Atk +40 melee (4d6+13, bite); Full Atk +40 melee (4d6+13, bite), +35 melee (2d8+6, 2 claws), +35 melee (2d6+6, 2 wings), +35 melee (2d8+19, tail slap); Space/Reach 20 ft./15 ft. (bite 20 ft.); SA breath weapon, crush, frightful presence, snatch, spell-like abilities, spells, tail sweep; SQ damage reduction 15/magic, darkvision 120 ft., immunity to fire, sleep, and paralysis, low-light vision, spell resistance 25, vulnerability to cold; AL CE; SV Fort +25, Ref +19, Will +25; Str 37, Dex 10, Con 27, Int 22, Wis 23, Cha 22.

Skills and Feats: Appraise +31, Bluff +37, Concentration +28, Craft (trapmaking) +18, Hide +2, Intimidate +39, Jump +48, Knowledge (arcana) +31, Knowledge (local) +31, Knowledge (religion) +31, Listen +37, Search +37, Sense Motive +37, Spellcraft +39, Spot +37, Use Magic Device +22; Awesome Blow, Flyby Attack, Cleave, Great Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Snatch, Wingover.

Breath Weapon (Su): 60-ft. cone, damage 18d10 fire, Reflex DC 33 half.

Crush (Ex): Area 20 ft. by 20 ft.; Medium or smaller opponents take 4d6+19 points of bludgeoning damage, and must succeed on a DC 33 Reflex save or be pinned; grapple bonus +56.

Frightful Presence (Ex): 270-ft. radius, HD 30 or less, Will DC 29 negates.

Snatch (Ex): Grapple bonus +56; claw against creature of Medium or smaller for 2d8+6/round, bite against Large or smaller for 4d6+13/round, or 8d6+26 if the dragon does not move; snatched creature can be flung 90 ft. for 9d6 points of damage.

Spell-Like Abilities: 9/day-locate object; 3/day-suggestion. Caster level 13th; save DC 16 + spell level.

Spells: As 13th-level sorcerer.

Typical Sorcerer Spells Known (6/8/8/7/7/7/5; save DC 16 + spell level):0-arcane mark, dancing lights, detect magic, ghost sound, guidance, mage hand, prestidigitation, read magic, resistance; 1st-alarm, chill touch, divine favor, magic missile, shield; 2nd-cat's grace, cure moderate wounds, darkness, detect thoughts, invisibility; 3rd-deeper darkness, dispel magic, haste, protection from elements; 4th-charm monster, emotion, restoration, spell immunity; 5th-circle of doom, feeblemind, shadow evocation; 6th-acid fog, heal.

Tail Sweep (Ex): Half-circle 30 ft. in diameter, Small or smaller opponents take 2d6+19 points of bludgeoning damage, Reflex DC 33 half.

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