Naga (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Type Aberration
Image image
Stats Open Game License stats
Publication history
Mythological origins Nāga

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, nagas comprise a variety of similar species of intelligent aberrations with widely differing abilities and alignments.

Nagas appear as large snake-like creatures with humanoid heads. They often range widely in coloring and scale patterns, but are all usually about the same size. Most will 'stand' at a height about equal to or just above that of a regular human (six feet or so), but because of the length of their trailing tails they can raise themselves up by a few feet, to intimidate foes, or simply get a better view. The four most common races of naga are the dark naga, guardian naga, spirit naga, and water naga.

Publication history[edit]

The naga was one of the earliest creatures introduced in the D&D game.

Dungeons & Dragons (1974-1976)[edit]

The guardian naga, the spirit naga, and the water naga first appeared in the official newsletter of TSR Games, The Strategic Review #3, August 1975.

The naga also appeared in Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-gods & Heroes (1976).[1]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

The guardian naga, the spirit naga, and the water naga appear in the first edition Monster Manual (1977).[2]

The dark naga first appeared among several new creatures in the "Creature Catalog" insert in Dragon #89 (September 1984).

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the naga, in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977),[3] and Expert Set (1981 & 1983).[4][5] The naga was also later featured in the Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1991), the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991),[6] and the Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1994).

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

The guardian naga, the spirit naga, and the water naga appear first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (1989),[7] and are reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[8]

The dark naga appeared in the Anauroch supplement (1991) for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting,[9] and in Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix II (1991). The dark naga then appeared in the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993), and the Monstrous Manual (1993). The dark naga is further detailed in Dragon #261 (July 1999), in "The Ecology of the Dark Naga."[10]

The banelar, a relative of the naga for the Forgotten Realms setting first appeared in Dragon #197 (September 1993), and later appeared in Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume One (1994).[11] The bone naga first appeared in The Ruins of Myth Drannor (1993), and later appeared in Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume One (1994).

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

The dark naga, the guardian naga, the spirit naga, and the water naga appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000).[12]

The banelar appeared in Monstrous Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn (2001).[13]

The asp Shinomen naga, the chameleon Shinomen naga, the cobra Shinomen naga, the constrictor Shinomen naga, and the greensnake Shinomen naga appeared in Oriental Adventures (2001).[14]

The ha-naga is introduced in the Epic Level Handbook (2002).[15] The bone naga appeared in Monster Manual II (2002).[16] The bright naga appears in the Miniatures Handbook (2003).[17]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)[edit]

The dark naga, the guardian naga, the spirit naga, and the water naga appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).

The bone naga template for the Forgotten Realms setting appeared in Serpent Kingdoms (2004), including the bone naga dark naga sample creature.[18] Also appearing in this book are the banelar naga, the faerunian ha-naga, the iridescent naga, and the nagahydra.

The worm naga appeared in the adventure "The Spire of Long Shadows" in Dungeon #130 (January 2006).[19]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)[edit]

The naga appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008).[20]

Dungeons & Dragons D&D Next Playtest (2012)[edit]

The naga appears in the Bestiary playtest document for this edition (2012).[21]


Nagas, resembling giant snakes, vary in appearance. Some have humanoid heads and some are more snake-like, and the torso may or may not be covered in scales. Each type of naga has a certain amount of spell casting power.


  • Banelar Naga - purplish naga that can manipulate magic items with short tentacles around its face; named after their association with the deity Bane
  • Bone Naga - a unique type of undead naga
  • Bone Naga Template - can be applied to any naga to create an undead creature
  • Bright Naga - chaotic evil naga that can mock sorcerous spellcasting
  • Brine Naga - powerful naga that resembles a sea serpent
  • Dark Naga - lawful evil
  • Guardian Naga - lawful good
  • Ha-naga - a massive and powerful naga lord, often worshipped by spirit nagas as a god
  • Iridescent Naga - chaotic good
  • Master Naga - Possesses seven cowled heads, wearing giant gems whose value corresponds with the naga's age.
  • Spirit Naga - chaotic evil
  • Water Naga - neutral
  • Worm Naga - powerful servants of the deity Kyuss transformed into nagas

According to "The Ecology of the Dark Naga", the guardian, spirit and water nagas are "true" nagas, while the dark naga (and its undead counterpart the bone naga) merely resemble them. The article does not mention the other types of naga.[10]


Most nagas worship the naga creator goddess Shekinester and her son Parrafaire, except for dark nagas, who venerate Sess'Innek.

Shinomen nagas[edit]

In the Rokugan campaign setting, the nagas of the Shinomen Forest are an ancient race of noble creatures. These nagas have humanoid torsos and snake tails. Five bloodlines are known to exist: asp, chameleon, cobra, constrictor, and greensnake.

Nagas in the Forgotten Realms[edit]

In the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, nagas were created by the reptilian creator race, the sarrukh, along with yuan-ti. The banelar and iridescent nagas originated in the Realms, as well as a Faerûnian version of the ha-naga.

Related creatures[edit]

  • Nagahydra - Five-headed abomination combining features of nagas and hydras.


  1. ^ Kuntz, Robert J. and James Ward. Gods, Demi-gods & Heroes (TSR, 1976)
  2. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  3. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by J. Eric Holmes. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1977)
  4. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Dave Cook. Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set (TSR, 1981)
  5. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Frank Mentzer. Dungeons & Dragons Set 2: Expert Rules (TSR, 1983)
  6. ^ Allston, Aaron, Steven E. Schend, Jon Pickens, and Dori Watry. Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (TSR, 1991)
  7. ^ Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (TSR, 1989)
  8. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  9. ^ Greenwood, Ed. Anauroch (TSR, 1991)
  10. ^ a b Richards, Jonathan M. "The Ecology of the Dark Naga: Fool Me Twice." Dragon #261 (TSR, 1999)
  11. ^ Wise, David, ed. Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume One (TSR, 1994)
  12. ^ Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  13. ^ Wyatt, James, and Rob Heinsoo. Monstrous Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn (Wizards of the Coast, 2001)
  14. ^ Wyatt, James. Oriental Adventures (Wizards of the Coast, 2001)
  15. ^ Collins, Andy, Bruce R. Cordell, and Thomas M. Reid. Epic Level Handbook (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  16. ^ Bonny, Ed, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter. Monster Manual II (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  17. ^ Tweet, Jonathan, Mike Donais, Skaff Elias, and Rob Heinsoo. Miniatures Handbook. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2003
  18. ^ Greenwood, Ed, Eric L. Boyd, and Darrin Drader. Serpent Kingdoms (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  19. ^ Decker, Jesse. "The Spire of Long Shadows." Dungeon #130 (Paizo Publishing, 2006)
  20. ^ Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  21. ^ Bestiary 121712 D&D Next Playtest Packet (Wizards of the Coast, 2012), page=73