Wyvern (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Publication history
First appearance Monster Manual, 1977
Mythological origins Wyvern

In the Dungeons and Dragons fantasy roleplaying game, the wyvern (pronounced WIH-vern (as in "did learn") or WHY-vern[1]) is a species of dragon.

Publication history[edit]

The wyvern was based upon the wyverns of legend.[citation needed]

Dungeons & Dragons (1974-1976)[edit]

The wyvern was one of the first monsters introduced in the earliest edition of the game, in the Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974), where they were described as smaller relatives of dragons with a poisonous sting in their tails.[2]

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

The wyvern appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977),[3] where it is described as being distantly related to dragons, stupid but very aggressive, and able to lash with a sting-equipped tail.

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the wyvern, in the Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set (1981 & 1983).[4][5] The wyvern 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 wyvern appears first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989),[7] and are reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[8]

The Mercykiller wyrm, a relative of the wyvern for the Planescape campaign setting, appeared in In the Cage: A Guide to Sigil (1995).

The wyvern is further detailed in Dragon Annual #1 (1996), in "The Ecology of the Wyvern."[9]

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

The wyvern appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000).[10]

The arctic wyvern and the young arctic wyvern appeared in Dungeon #78 (January 2000).

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

The wyvern appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).

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

The wyvern appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008).[11]

Dungeon & Dragons 5th edition (2014-)[edit]

The wyvern appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2014).


Despite supposedly being stupid, Wyverns are rather deadly and cunning in combat. They prefer to always be in flight, and take any opportunity to take flight if not doing so already. Upon the ground, Wyverns attack with their teeth, and with their deadly tail stingers (which have the power to kill instantly). If flying, Wyverns can also use their teeth and stingers, but prefer to swoop down, and slash at prey with their claws, or even grab them, carry them up into the air, and drop them. Wyverns are careful to be silent when flying, and to keep their shadow unseen. This gives them the benefit of stealth if the foes are unaware of the creature. Wyverns eat the remains of those they kill, and take their valuables if they are treasure-hoarding wyverns.


Wyverns make their homes in caves in cliffs or mountains overlooking forests, jungles, or even plains or deserts.

Typical physical characteristics[edit]

Wyverns resemble true dragons, but are much smaller and lack the forelegs of their larger kin. They have sharp talons, and crocodile-like heads with red or orange eyes. Located in their long, flexible tails are deadly, poisonous scorpion stingers. They also have very large wings. Unlike true dragons, wyverns do not have breath weapons.


Wyverns are usually neutral evil in alignment.


Wyverns are usually solitary, living by themselves or with a mate and/or young, but occasionally gather together into flocks in order to hunt if game is sparse, or if they are serving a true dragon and need to cooperate for some sinister purpose. Though incredibly aggressive and stupid, only young wyverns attack their own kind, and that is usually to show dominance or establish territory. Older wyverns, despite their beastly nature, solve disputes, fights and arguments in non-violent, unknown ways. Some wyverns do have the treasure hoarding habits of true dragons, and accumulate such wealth in their lairs, while other wyverns don't. Wyverns also sometimes work with and serve dominating evil true dragons, for purposes unknown. Wyverns can speak both Common and Draconic.

D&D Miniatures[edit]

The wyvern appears in the D&D Miniatures: Aberrations set #25 (2004).


  1. ^ "Dungeons & Dragons FAQ". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  2. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson. Dungeons & Dragons (3-Volume Set) (TSR, 1974)
  3. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (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 One (TSR, 1989)
  8. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  9. ^ Jones, Spike Y. "The Ecology of the Wyvern." Dragon Annual #1 (TSR, 1996)
  10. ^ Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  11. ^ Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)