Excerpts Archive | 11/3/2008
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Excerpts: Famous Dragons
Draconomicon

In today’s Draconomicon preview, we look back at some of the most famous dragons throughout various campaign settings.


Some sages collect names of stars, spirits, deities, or exarchs, in hopes that the possession of such lists might make them wise or even grant them mastery over the workings of the world. In the same way, masters of arcane arts might assemble lists of dragons past and present. Within these lists, such masters seek keys of power in hidden congruencies and subtle threads.

No compilation has so far bequeathed anyone with such power, but lists continue to grow. Here follows a list of famous dragons from various worlds of the D&D game—a list by no means comprehensive. It is a mere sampling of the reams of known dragon names.

Dragonlance Setting

The world of the Dragonlance setting may contain more dragons than any other.

Albino
This smallish dragon had the body shape and acidic breath of a black dragon, but his scales were white like snow. Albino was mistreated both by his fellow hatchlings and his own mother, the Snake of Blackness, for his small size and oddly hued scales. Albino got his revenge one day by walling off an underwater lair entrance while the Snake of Blackness was outside with bricks he etched with his acid. Fleeing from Malystryx (see below), the Snake of Blackness descended beneath the surface to the lair entrance, only to find it blocked. Too short on air to return to the surface, she drowned. Albino appears in the story “The Albino” in the collection Search for Power.

Ember
This fierce red dragon was the mount and protector of Verminaard of Nidus. Verminaard was in charge of Pax Tharkas’s mines, supplying ore for weapons and armor to the Dragonarmies. Ember is referenced in the War of the Lance sourcebook.

Khisanth
A massive, sinuous black dragon, Khisanth guarded a fabulous treasure called the Disks of Mishakal in the ruined city of Xak Tasroth. In her underground lair in the sunken, ruined city, Khisanth gathered many other treasures to her besides the Disks, including a spellbook of Fistandantilus. Khisanth appears in DL1: Dragons of Despair.

Malystryx
When the Age of Mortals began, Malystryx was the first of the great Dragons to come to Ansalon from across the sea. Unbelievably massive, this fantastic monster measured more than four hundred feet from snout to tail, with her wingspan reaching almost five hundred feet. Her deep red scales were each as large as a shield and as hard as steel. Her rule was finally ended by the hero Mina who slew the mighty dragon overlord. Malystyx appears in the novel Age of Mortals.

D&D (Greyhawk) Dragons

The oldest D&D campaign setting boasts many famous dragons.

Aulicus
In forgotten barrows in a lonely swamp lurks a vampiric lizardfolk whose grasp on power is aided and abetted by the black dragon Aulicus. This black dragon appears in the adventure I2: Tomb of the Lizard King.

Brazzemal the Bright
Brazzemal has unusually light scales for a red dragon, and a particularly bright flaming breath. The dragon is given to long periods of sleepy torpor. But these habits do not make it too vulnerable, thanks to the location of its lair in a deep cavern under the volcanic ground in the Hellfurnaces. Above his chamber, fire giants lair. This red dragon appears in the adventure G3: Hall of the Fire Giant King.

Calcryx
Calcryx was the white dragon wyrmling mascot of a kobold tribe that lived in the ruins of a fallen fortress known as the Sunless Citadel. The white dragon was stolen by enemy goblins, and its fate afterward was never fully established. Calcryx appears in the adventure Sunless Citadel.

Farcluun
Near the Tower of the crazed mage Zagig is the cavernous lair of the ancient red dragon Farcluun, who knew full well of Zagig’s unstable state, and took what advantage it could. Farcluun appears in WGR1: Greyhawk Ruins.

Nightscale
This young black dragon lairs beneath the fallen dwarfhold of Khundrukar in a sunken cavern called the Black Lake. The dwarves are long gone, but various goblin and orc bands now inhabit the tunnels, but view visit Nightscale, because the black dragon is always hungry. Nightscale appears in the adventure Forge of Fury.

Forgotten Realms Dragons

The dragons of Faerûn are legion. All the dragons described below appeared in Dragon Magazine’s Wyrms of the North feature.

Daurgothoth, “The Creeping Doom”
This male black dragon has embraced undeath, and hunts the world as a dracolich. This great dragon lairs not too far from Waterdeep, and through bribes and threat of death, “employs” several agents to purchase or steal interesting items in the City of Splendors to continue building his hoard.

Hoondarrh, “The Red Rage of Mintarn”
This male ancient red dragon keeps several lairs. His main one on the isle of Skadaurak is a vast complex of subterranean rooms with easy access for a flying dragon. The dragon has a deal with the folk of Mintarn; in return for a yearly tribute, Hoondarrh won’t lay waste to Mintarn, and sometimes he even protects it.

Mornauguth, “The Moor Dragon”
This female adult green dragon lairs in the Misty Forest in an area of steep-sided, breakneck wooded ravines. Rumor has it that Mornauguth is a human transformed, trapped in green dragon shape by a curse. Formerly a priestess of Shar, her reckless ambitions caught up with her.

Olothontor, “The Minstrel Wyrm”
This elder blue dragon lairs not far from Waterdeep. Olothontor loves music above all else. He is rumored to grant extravagant gifts to minstrels whose songs please him. Intruders who stumble into his lair and then play or sing won’t be attacked, so long as they furnish good music and plenty of it.

Voaraghamanthar, “The Black Death”
This elder black dragon has learned something of sorcery. It lairs in the Mere of Dead Men, a salt water swamp. Rumored to have the ability to be in two places at one time, in truth Voaraghamanthar and its clutch sibling, Waervaerendor, fool the incredulous by posing as each other as need demands. No one suspects the flitting black ghost of claws and jaws that strikes out of nowhere, that lives in black swamp waters that hide the bodies of victims soon to be dined upon, is really a team of two.