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Metallic dragon is a classification of dragon found in the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons. In this setting metallic dragons are of good alignment. Bahamut is the deity of good-aligned dragons and metallic dragons, and currently the only known Platinum dragon in existence. Metallic dragons have played a large role in D&D's various monster compilation books, and for most of the game's history five main types - brass, copper, bronze, silver, and gold - were presented as roughly analogous to the five types of chromatic dragons. The fourth edition of the game's second Monster Manual substituted iron and adamantine dragons for brass and bronze, and released the latter dragons in a later book alongside cobalt, mercury, mithral, orium, and steel dragons.
The classification of "metallic dragons" was used in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons second edition Monstrous Manual (1993), although the gold(en) dragon first appeared in the original Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974) and the other dragons comprising the category had been in print since the first edition Monster Manual (1977). The term was continued in use in the third edition and fourth edition Monster Manual.
- Maximum Height: 10 feet
- Maximum Weight: 60,000 pounds
- Maximum Length: 42 feet
- Maximum Wingspan: 50 feet
- Breath weapon: cone of sleep gas, line of fire
- Habitat: Desert, plains
- Diet: Mountain goats, sheep, antelope, and other such creatures. Only a malevolent brass dragon would choose to devour an intelligent creature.
- Preferred Treasure: Handcrafted work in materials such as bone, wood, stone, or fabric (particularly weaving).
Although weaker than many other varieties of dragonkind, brass dragons are still powerful creatures by any measure. They have a strong mercenary streak and often agree to serve as guardians or battle champions for anyone willing to pay suitably well.
Physically, the brass dragon is highly distinctive. From below, its outstretched wings form a triangular shape, as they are attached to its body all the way to the tip of its tail. The wings are longest at the shoulder and taper gently as they reach the tail. Their scales seem to radiate heat and light. The shape of the head is quite unusual, as it includes a large, curved plate that extends from the dragon's eyes and cheeks on either side and curves upwards into two points, much like a plowshare. They have two sharp horns on the chin, which become steadily pointier as the dragon ages. They smell like hot, oiled metal.
Brass dragon eggs must be incubated in a nest of open flames. Incubation takes approximately 480 days. The eggs are typically tended by both parents so that they can talk together as they maintain their vigil. A newly hatched brass wyrmling is not remarkable in appearance; its scales are a dull brown. The scales become lighter and more brilliant as the dragon matures. Brass wyrmlings probably learn to talk more quickly than the young of any other sentient species. They talk constantly about anything and everything, and they will talk to anybody: friends, family, enemies, small creatures that cannot talk back, or even to themselves if nobody else is near. When exposed to a new language, a brass wyrmling will usually become fluent in under an hour. Though they have an extremely deadly breath weapon, they are more fragile than other dragons. As a result, they make alliances with small groups of intelligent creatures, such as tribes of nomadic Dragonborn.
As it matures, a brass dragon adds a love of fire to its love of speech. They can stare into burning flames for hours, entranced by their beauty. Older brass dragons often become discouraged with the world, believing that others are ruining it. Yet as they mature, they seem to accept the follies of the world, and may even donate some of their treasures to aid a cause they believe to be worthy. Ancient brass dragons are some of the best - and most willing - sources of advice in the entire Prime Material Plane.
The brass dragon prefers to dig its lair inside a desert peak or spire. They also prefer to have their lairs face eastwards, so that the rising sun will warm the lair for the bulk of the day. A brass dragon's lair is well-constructed and quite extensive, with many twisting corridors and dead ends to confuse and discourage hostile intruders. The centerpiece of any brass dragon's lair is the Grand Conversation Hall, where it spends the majority of its time entertaining friends and visitors. A typical lair will also contain an elegant foyer, a gallery for the artwork the dragon has collected, a sleeping chamber, and a storage room. All brass dragon lairs have several small entrances, known as bolt holes. These multiple entrances allow a brass dragon to easily escape an attack by a blue dragon or other predator.
The brass dragon was an example of content misrepresented by the game's detractors, by whom it was described erroneously as the worst of dragons.
- Maximum Height: 15 feet
- Maximum Weight: 160,000 pounds
- Maximum Wingspan: 80 feet
- Breath weapon: repulsion gas, lightning
- Habitat: Aquatic, Tropical Islands
- Diet: Aquatic plants, shark meat, crustaceans, sahuagin.
- Preferred Treasure: Ceramics, statuary and gemstones.
Duty-bound and honorable to a fault, bronze dragons commit themselves to order and are among the greatest and most devout champions of that ideal. As order's sworn servants, bronze dragons can seem arrogant and haughty, with an inflated sense of self, a tendency that can put them at odds with those they meet. In rare cases, this self-righteousness grows into something far more sinister, and the bronze dragon takes over what it sees as lesser races, ruling as a cruel tyrant to its subjects. Bronze dragons claim coastlines, inlets, and islands as their own, constructing lairs in coastal caves that have access to the sea. More aggressive bronze dragons purposely choose lairs near shipping lanes so they can claim tribute from merchant vessels as those craft pass by. All bronze dragons share a deep and abiding hatred for blue dragons, and they are vigilant in protecting their homes from these interlopers.
Physically, the bronze dragon is quite fierce in appearance, despite its good nature. While most of its body is a reflective copper color, the wings are often tipped with green. The eyes of a bronze dragon begin with a green iris and as they age the eye slowly becomes a solid green with no distinct iris. The dragon has three main large horns protruding from each cheek, pointing back towards the tail. It also has a couple of smaller horns. The tips of these points are black and very sharp, and are often used for grooming. The tongue is purple-gray, long and pointed, and not forked. A large frill runs down the upper part of its neck. They smell like sea-spray.
Bronze dragons mate for life and take their duties as parents with the utmost seriousness. They will protect their eggs and their wyrmlings at any cost. Although bronze dragons always live near water, they lay their eggs in a dry cave. Apart from a dry, relatively warm environment, bronze dragon eggs require no special conditions for incubation like those of most dragons. Upon hatching, the wyrmlings are raised, taught, and protected by their parents. A newly hatched bronze wyrmling appears yellow with a tinge of green, and the scales will gradually shift to bronze as it matures. Bronze wyrmlings hold a strong sense of responsibility from the moment it leaves the egg- one that causes it to seek out purpose as thoroughly as it hunts for sustenance.
Given its exceptional abilities as a swimmer, the entrance to a bronze dragon's lair is quite naturally underwater, and often disguised with seaweed and coral. The bulk of the lair is above water level, however, consisting of multiple tunnels and large chambers, some as much as a thousand feet above sea level. They prefer to make their lairs in an island volcano, if possible.
While bronze dragons are often fascinated with battles, especially fighting to defeat evil, they have strong moral compunctions against killing living beings unless absolutely necessary. They will often join good-aligned armies to fight the forces of evil, either in human form or their own. In battle, their weapon of choice is to breathe repulsion gas, which is so putrid that it forces absolutely everything away. They also like to relocate a foe to a remote location where it can do no harm when possible. When forced to kill, the bronze dragon is a deadly combatant, roasting enemies with bursts of lightning or ripping them open with its clawed forelegs.
- Maximum Height: 12 feet
- Maximum Weight: 160,000 pounds
- Maximum Wingspan: 80 feet
- Breath weapon: Cone of Slow Gas, Line of acid
- Habitat: Dry, rocky mountains or desert
- Diet: Scorpions and other venomous creatures
- Preferred Treasure: Valuables from the earth: metals, precious stones, finely crafted sculptures, well-made ceramics, et cetera
Copper dragons are the second weakest of the metallic dragons. They are born tricksters and jokesters. They are quite devious and clever, but their intent is purely benign. They do not seek to harm 'lesser' creatures, but merely wish to impress them with superior intelligence and wit, and to fool them with clever pranks.
Physically, the copper dragon is very striking, with scales of a warm copper color tinged with blue. Like the brass dragon, the copper dragon's wings connect to its body all the way to the tip of its tail. However, its wings have a pronounced bend to them, giving them the appearance of a "V" from below, rather than the brass dragon's triangular appearance. Copper dragons are powerful jumpers and climbers, with massive thigh and shoulder muscles. Their two horns are broad and flat, pointing backwards towards the tail from the top of their heads. They also have a distinctive frill protruding from either jaw. When the mouth is closed, the teeth are completely hidden. They exude a stony odor.
Copper dragons lay their eggs in a nest of cool sand or clay. Both parents watch over the eggs and raise the wyrmling until it reaches adulthood, whereupon the parents separate. When new hatched, the scales of a copper wyrmling are a muddy brown in color, which gradually shifts to a glowing copper as it matures. Adult copper dragons are quite social, mainly due to the desire to play tricks upon each other. A visitor to a copper dragon's lair can expect to be entertained at length, although the dragon will become angry if the visitor does not appear impressed with their tricks, riddles, and stories.
A typical copper dragon's lair is a cave, whose entrance is concealed by rocks and boulders. Upon entering, visitors find themselves in a huge labyrinth of tunnels. Copper dragons compete amongst themselves to see who can design the most confusing layout. If a friendly visitor becomes hopelessly lost (which is rather common), the copper dragon will rescue them before they are actually endangered. Once through the labyrinth, visitors find themselves in a spacious foyer, beyond which is the Main Entertaining Chamber, where the dragon will spend the bulk of its time. Opening off the MEC is a much more straightforward escape tunnel, whose outside entrance is often fiendishly difficult to locate even when one knows exactly where it is. The copper dragon will know, however, and often uses its 'back door' to get into its lair instead of taking the time to navigate the maze. Obviously, it is far easier for a visitor to enter via the secret door if they can find it, but doing so is considered impolite, especially if they are a first-time visitor.
When it comes to combat, copper dragons prefer to avoid it. Rather than fighting openly, they prefer to taunt, humiliate, and tease their opponents until they simply give up and run away. Their ability to dramatically slow opponents often gives them ample time to run away. When forced, however, a copper dragon will fight to the very end, and is an incredibly devious antagonist. Their acid breath is not to be taken lightly.
- Maximum Height: 22 feet
- Maximum Weight: 1,280,000 pounds
- Maximum Wingspan: 135 feet
- Breath weapon: Cone of fire, weakening gas
- Habitat: Anywhere, although they prefer secluded lairs
- Diet: Small gems and pearls; they do not eat any living creatures
- Preferred Treasure: Art, especially paintings and sculptures
Gold dragons are based on creatures from Chinese mythology. In the game they are the most powerful of the metallic dragons (in some versions they are the strongest of all dragons), and the most dedicated to defeating evil. They spend the bulk of their lives in human form, seeking out evil and punishing wrongdoers to the best of its considerable abilities. Its typical mode of operation runs roughly along the lines of a sting operation: the dragon will listen for stories of dangerous or evil creatures or persons, then reveal its true form and mete out punishment. They prefer to turn villains over to law enforcement if available, but will ultimately take whatever actions they deem necessary in order to see justice served. They are best summarized as the paladins of the draconic world.
Physically, gold dragons are quite spectacular. Several large horns tipped with umber shoot sideways from their cheeks, and two very prominent horns point backwards along their heads. The most obvious feature is probably the tentacle whiskers that sprout from the top and bottom of the gold dragon's jaw, giving the appearance of a beard of sorts. Their wings, like those of brass and copper dragons, connect to the body all the way to the tip of the tail. From below, the overall shape resembles that of a brass dragon, but the different coloring and dramatic difference in size enables easy differentiation. When in flight, the gold dragon's wings ripple, giving the appearance of swimming rather than flying. They smell of saffron and incense.
Gold dragon eggs must be incubated in a nest of open flames. A newly hatched gold wyrmling appears similar to an adult, except that it lacks horns or tentacle whiskers. Both parents tend the eggs, and then take intense interest in their wyrmlings' care and education. At some point, however, the biological parents may send the wyrmling to live with foster parents; this allows the parents to undertake their own quests, as well as exposing the wyrmling to new experiences.
Unlike many species of dragons, gold dragons have a very firm and hierarchical social structure, encompassing all members of the species. This structure always has one gold dragon as its leader who is given the title "your resplendence", who serves until he/she either dies or steps down. At that time, all gold dragons congregate and choose the next leader of their kind. Sometimes two dragons may be chosen; in such cases, the two will share the duties of leadership. The position of leader, or 'top dragon,' does not so much involve the maintenance of order - gold dragons are famous for their good behavior - so much as the dispensing of advice and wisdom to any dragons who ask for it. Gold dragons are voracious learners, and they tend to become very wise and worldly as they age. They freely share their knowledge and experience to anyone who asks, dragon or not. In fact, it is not unknown for a gold Great Wyrm to take the form of a scholarly professor in order to spread its knowledge at some human center of higher education.
Unlike most other species of dragons, gold dragons devote immense time and energy to the construction of their lairs. The layout of their lairs often resemble those of elegant human mansions, albeit buried underground. Rooms are well-constructed and elegantly decorated with the many art treasures the gold dragon has collected over its lifetime. Typical rooms in a gold dragon's lair include a main hall, a banquet hall, a resting chamber, a study, a kitchen, a lobby, a storage room, and perhaps even a lavatory. Many gold dragons even have a glass-walled observatory, especially if they live underwater.
Gold dragons prefer to talk rather than to fight. They will never engage in combat if they believe it is unnecessary. Once they believe it is necessary, however, they are amazingly powerful opponents. Their ability to breathe fire rivals that of the eldest red dragons, and they will pour their entire being into a battle against evil. Gold dragons dislike killing, but they do not hesitate to do so if it is necessary in order to defeat an evil foe.
- Maximum Height: 22 feet
- Maximum Weight: 1,280,000 pounds
- Maximum Wingspan: 150 feet
- Breath weapon: Cone of Cold, Paralyzation Gas
- Habitat: High Mountains (the colder the better)
- Diet: Almost anything; love tasting new things
- Preferred Treasure: Beautifully crafted jewelry or finely woven fabrics
Silver dragons are the second most powerful of the metallic dragons, and are true friends to all. The silver dragon enjoys the company of humans and elves so much that it will often take the form of a human or elf and live among them for the majority of its life. Silvers, like all dragons, believe themselves the most superior creatures in the world. However, apart from the ability to fly, which they enjoy greatly, they tend to prefer the physical forms of humanoids for everyday life.
At first glance, the silver dragon appears very similar to the White dragon. The wings are more curved than a White's though, and the silver has two talons on its wings rather than the single talon of most dragons. The silver dragon also has a beautiful frill that begins at the top of its head and flows all the way down its neck and body to the tip of the tail. The frill is silver towards the body, fading to a purple hue at the edge. They have two long, smooth silver horns with black tips, pointing up and back from the head. They also have a pronounced sharp frill under the chin, which has the rough appearance of a goatee. They smell like rain.
Silver dragons lay their eggs in a bed of snow. A new hatched silver wyrmling has scales of a bluish gray, which change to silver over time. Silver wyrmlings are intelligent, kind, extremely curious, and adorable.
Unlike the gold or bronze dragon, the silver dragon does not usually go out of its way to bring justice to the world. Instead, it waits for others to ask for help. Silver dragons will attempt to right an injustice if they see one, but they have no inclination to intentionally seek evil out and destroy it. They are more interested in protecting the humans or elves they have come to care for than in looking for evil. Like most metallic dragons, silvers do not enjoy combat, and are averse to killing. If forced to fight, however, they are as deadly as any other dragon.
A silver wyrmling's scales are blue-gray with silver highlights. As the dragon approaches adulthood, its color gradually brightens until the individual scales are scarcely visible. The pupils of the oldest silver dragons resemble orbs of molten mercury.
They are very intelligent, more so than most humans, extremely powerful, breathtakingly beautiful, and have lifespans which can extend to 4,200 years (as stated in draconomicon, the book of dragons).
The silver dragon is regal and statuesque. An unusual trait they offer is the love of human dining, and will use the ability of alternate form to take part in large feasts.
Silver dragons employ a breath weapon of extreme cold similar to that of white dragons. They also have a second breath weapon, a cone of paralyzing gas.
Silver dragons are extremely rare and elusive, preferring to take the guise of kind and elderly humanoids or very attractive and young humanoids. They very much like to associate with elves and humans, not necessarily because they prefer their company over other races, but because they try to learn from the shorter-lived humans.
Silver dragons' favored enemy are red dragons because these chromatic dragons are almost always evil and have a talent for destruction. Additionally, silvers and Reds favor the same sort of mountainous terrain for lairs, which leads to territorial disputes on top of having attitudes and philosophies at odds with the others'.
Dragons may live for millennia, while humans only live a few decades. This vast difference in time leads to inherent psychological differences concerning time. Dragons tend to think things through for years at a time, using their razor-sharp intellects to hone a plan to perfection, solve near-impossible puzzles, or engage in other intellectual pursuits. Silver dragons, however, note that humans are able to accomplish much in their short life spans because of their drive for success. When a silver dragon can combine its own long-term perspective with the ambition and drive of humans, the benefit is undeniable.
Most silvers group together in "clans," a loose organization of dragons who choose to live together as a family. Clans take communal responsibility for protecting and raising their wyrmlings. A senior member of the clan may act as a leader, but no true leader actually exists. Silver dragons do not feel the need for a strict social structure, since they are most content to live as honestly as possible. However, many silver dragons leave their clans for long periods of time to live among nondragons. They tend to live for many years with the same group of humans or elves, having grown attached to them. As members of the family die, the silver dragon, grieved by the loss, often chooses to stay with the family, remaining a true and loyal friend and champion through many generations. If the dragon feels comfortable enough around these nondragons, it might even decide to reveal its true self.
A silver dragon's lair is typically found within an icy mountain, with the main entrance only accessible by air. The lair itself is similar to the gold dragon's in its sophistication and design, although the silver dragon's lair tends to be far less intricate. A typical lair will contain a main entertaining area, a storage room, a vault, a sleeping chamber, study, library, shrine, and two clinic rooms where the dragon can offer help and protection to those who need it. The lair will also have a concealed back entrance for use in emergencies.
Adamantine dragons are tacticians that supplement their melee abilities with blasts of thunderous power. They can be found anywhere, but prefer to lair in huge caverns.
Regarding tactics, an adamantine dragon favors frontal assaults against a single target that it can take down quickly. When working with a group of allies, an adamantine dragon doesn't hesitate to bear the brunt of enemies' attacks. When fighting alone, an adamantine dragon attempts to isolate weaker foes first and finish them off quickly.
Midnight blue dragons that could fire a breath weapon of pulsing, barely perceptible energy. These dragons, like the chromium dragons, were foul of temper but subservient to iron dragons and their lord.
Mercury dragons are fast, relatively small (by dragon standards) creatures with long tails. They are very whimsical and make and change decisions quite often. At birth, its scales are dull silver. As the dragon ages they become brighter, and at adulthood they take on a mirror finish. Mercury dragons have one breath weapon, a line of superheated yellow light. Upon adulthood, however, they have a secondary attack of reflecting light at their opponent, changing it into a brilliant burst of dazzling brightness. In combat, they are unpredictable except that they will never attack good-aligned creatures unless provoked. They always use spells in combat, finding new and creative ways to use them.
Mithral dragons are among the rarest and most potent of the dragons. They claim themselves as the pursuers of Io's final vision. Choosing to live in the Astral Sea amongst the gods and angels, these dragons nevertheless pursue agendas and plots that put them into contact with creatures of the mortal world. Mithrals seek to further their own plans at any cost, and woe to the lesser creature that tries to thwart them. These dragons have visions of other times and spaces. Being native to the Astral Sea, mithral dragons are immortal and will not die unless slain in battle.
Orium dragons live in jungles and rainforests in the ruins of past civilizations. They command lesser beings to rebuild the glories of the past and obtain the long-forgotten magic of fallen empires. To those under its protection, the orium dragon treat them as a monarch, wise but harsh. Those who threaten the dragon and his dreams of rebuilding his empire find themselves choking on its corrosive breath. This same breath coalesces into a smoky serpent that attacks at the dragon's command.
The steel dragon's body seems somewhat feline, but its face has a humanlike quality. Spines that vaguely resemble hair and a beard ring its head and its scales shine like burnished steel. Steel dragons prefer human form to their own, so they're rarely seen in their natural forms. They routinely use their special abilities to infiltrate human society, typically masquerading as sages, scholars, wizards, and other intellectuals. Endlessly curious about the art, culture, history, and politics of civilized races, steel dragons live among humans and similar beings. Though they keep their true nature secret from the people with whom they mingle, they can always recognize each other.
When a steel dragon hatches, its scales are a deep blue-gray color with steely highlights. As it grows to adulthood, its color lightens to a lustrous burnished steel, and its shine increases as it continues to age. In human form, a steel dragon always has one steel-gray feature, such as hair, eyes, or nails. In rare cases, this feature may be a ring, tattoo, or other ornamentation. In its natural form, a steel dragon smells of wet steel.
Since they prefer human form, steel dragons rarely live in caves. Instead, they choose human dwellings such as mansions or castles. Such a home need not be opulent, but it must be large enough to accommodate a strongroom that will hold all the dragon's treasure. Steel dragons also prefer to dine in human form, but since they need to eat much more than humans do to maintain their true body mass, they make monthly trips to hunt in dragon form. These absences are always explained away in terms consistent with the roles they take in human society. For example, a steel dragon in the guise of a historian might claim to be exploring records in another city's library.
Steel dragons prefer treasure that they can carry in their human forms, such as jewelry, valuable coins, and magic items usable by medium-sized creatures. They hate creatures that disrupt normal life in cities or despoil natural hunting grounds. Within a city, they usually rely on local authorities to deal with troublemakers, though they are quite capable of dealing out their own justice when such authorities cannot be relied upon to do so. Steel dragons tend to prefer swifter forms of justice in the wilderness.
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