Dragon Templates

May 15th, 2018

Joshua Zaback

Exotic Encounters Archive

Dragons are some of the most impressive and terrifying creatures ever conceived of. By definition, they possess majesty and larger than life characteristics. The following templates are designed with the idea that certain dragon behaviors warrant modification to the abilities and powers that dragons normally have access to. So enjoy these templates celebrating the vices of dragons.


Elder Dragon

Elder dragons belong to a different time when magic was even more pronounced and possess many special gifts. While these dragons are in many was identical to true dragons, elder dragons possess a stronger spirit and connection to the primal nature of the world. However, elder dragons are prone to long periods of hibernation, which limit their activities while greatly expanding their spans.

Creating an Elder Dragon

“Elder dragon” is an inherited template that can be applied to any true dragon.

CR: As the base creature +3.

Alignment: As the base creature.

Type: The creature’s type does not change.

Armor Class: An elder dragon gains a +2 natural armor bonus to AC.

Special Qualities: An elder dragon gains the following special qualities.

Ancient Hide (Ex): An elder dragon’s scales are imbued with primal magic. An elder dragon’s scales protect it as light fortification armor and it cannot be subject to coup de grace attack.

Hibernation (Ex): An elder dragon is subject to a cycle of waking and hibernation. 10 years after hatching, the elder dragon hibernates for 1d100 years. During this time, the elder dragon takes on the form of the surrounding natural features, blending into its environment and requiring a successful DC 35 Perception check to notice the dragon. While hibernating, the dragon does not need to eat, sleep, or breathe, gains immunity to all divination spells and effects, and does not age. After awakening from hibernation, the elder dragon can only remain active for a number of years equal to the previous hibernation cycle before it needs to hibernate again. An elder dragon can be awoken prematurely from hibernation by anointing its head with dragon’s blood and speaking its name. Elder dragons are rarely happy to see those that wake them.

Lair (Ex): An elder dragon is bound to an area, usually a cave or other structure, which has an area equal to 1,000 cubic feet per Hit Dice the elder dragon possesses. An elder dragon cannot stray from this area for more than 1 hour per Hit Dice it possesses before being magically compelled to return to its lair.

Special Attacks: An elder dragon gains the following special attacks.

Elder Fires (Su): The DC to resist the elder dragon’s breath attacks is increased by 2. Additionally, an elder dragon’s breath attack which deals energy damage can be used to destroy artifacts. An artifact that is subjected to elder dragon’s breath attack has a percent chance to be destroyed equal to twice the elder dragon’s CR. The artifact is entitled to a Fortitude save to resist being destroyed.

Elder Magic (Ex): An elder dragon has a deeper connection to magic. An elder dragon that can cast spells as a sorcerer casts spells as a sorcerer of 2 levels higher than it ordinarily would. An elder dragon that cannot cast spells as a sorcerer instead gains the ability to cast spells as a sorcerer of a level equal to 1/2 the elder dragon’s Hit Dice.

Ability Scores: Con +4, Cha +4.


Greedy Dragon

While all dragons hoard wealth and amass treasure, for some this habit manifests as an intense obsession. Greedy dragons are instinctually driven to the acquisition and retention of vast treasures and are supernaturally linked to their treasure hoards. So intense is this link, in fact, that a greedy dragon whose hoard is compromised falls into ill health and may even die.

Creating a Greedy Dragon

“Greedy dragon” is an inherited template that can be applied to any true dragon.

CR: As the base creature +1.

Alignment: If the base creature was non-evil, its alignment shifts one step closer to evil.

Type: The creature’s type does not change.

Special Qualities: A greedy dragon gains the following special qualities.

Hoard-Bound (Ex): A greedy dragon is bound to a hoard of treasure, which consists of every nonconsumable item the base creature has ever had in its possession for longer than 1 hour. As long as these items are in the greedy dragon’s possession, or are unattended within 1,000 feet of the greedy dragon, the greedy dragon gains a +2 morale bonus on all saving throws. Additionally, attempts to find such items with divination spells automatically fail unless cast by a character who has a legitimate claim to ownership of the item. If ever a piece of this treasure hoard is removed, the greedy dragon becomes horribly weak and distraught as it seeks to recover the item. As soon as even a single piece of treasure is removed, the greedy dragon loses its morale bonus to saving throws. Additionally, if the item is not recovered after 1 day has passed since the item was removed, the greedy dragon gains a negative level which cannot be removed until the item is recovered. Each week the item remains removed from the greedy dragon’s hoard, it must succeed on a DC 20 Fortitude save or gain an additional negative level.

Miser (Su): A greedy dragon is so miserly that it cannot give away or trade items without first receiving something of greater value in return. The greedy dragon cannot destroy, give away, sell, or loan any item that it has had in its possession for longer than an hour. It can attempt to trade such items for greater wealth by succeeding on a Will save with a DC equal to 30 - 2 for every 1,000 gp in the difference of the value of such items.

Treasure Sense (Su): A greedy dragon is constantly aware of every piece of treasure in its hoard and can track it across any distance. Any item that has ever been in the greedy dragon’s possession for at least 1 hour becomes linked to the greedy dragon, and it is constantly aware of the distance and direction of such items. If the item is moved to another plane, the greedy dragon becomes aware of which plane it was moved to.

Special Attacks: A greedy dragon gains the following special attacks.

Golden Claws (Ex): As long as a greedy dragon is in physical contact with at least 5,000 gp worth of gold, it gains a +2 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls with each of its natural weapons, and its breath weapon deals an additional 1 point of damage per damage dice.

Vengeful Strike (Ex): A greedy dragon gains a bonus equal to +2 plus an additional +2 for each negative level the greedy dragon has on all attack and damage rolls against a creature that currently possesses an item the greedy dragon has had in its possession for at least an hour.

Skills: A greedy dragon gains a +8 racial bonus on Appraise checks and always treats Appraise as a class skill.


Rampaging Dragon

These dragons are engines of destruction bent on annihilating all in their wake. Creatures of rage and wanton destruction, rampaging dragons leave ruin behind them wherever they go, aiming to obliterate the works of lesser creatures.

Creating a Rampaging Dragon

“Rampaging dragon” is an inherited template that can be applied to any true dragon.

CR: As the base creature +2.

Alignment: The base creature’s alignment becomes chaotic.

Type: The creature’s type does not change.

Special Qualities: A rampaging dragon gains the following special qualities.

Battle Fog (Ex): Due to the rampaging dragon’s intense anger, it gains a +4 bonus on all Will saves made to resist mind-affecting effects.

Spell Stunted (Ex): A rampaging dragon cannot cast spells or use spell-like abilities unless it spends 1 full round to steady itself. If it does, it can cast spells for 1d4 rounds and gains a +2 bonus on concentration checks during that time.

Special Attacks: A rampaging dragon gains the following special attacks.

Rampage (Ex): A rampaging dragon can enter a powerful rage-like state up to 3 times per day. This state lasts for 1d8 rounds and grants the rampaging dragon a +6 bonus to its Strength score and an extra attack with each of its natural weapons when making a full attack. However, the rampaging dragon’s wild thrashing and blind rage cause it to suffer an amount of damage equal to its bite attack each round during the rampage. In the round following the rampage, the rampaging dragon is dazed and becomes fatigued for a number of rounds equal to the amount of time it spent rampaging. While rampaging, if the rampaging dragon makes a full attack, then it must direct at least one attack against each other character within reach.

Raging Fires (Ex): A rampaging dragon can choose to deal 1.5 times as much damage when it makes an attack with its breath weapon. If it does, it must wait the maximum number of rounds before it can use the ability again.

Skills: A rampaging dragon only gains a number of skill points equal to 4 + its Intelligence modifier for each of its Hit Dice.

Feats: A rampaging dragon cannot take any feat that requires an Intelligence of 13 or higher as a prerequisite.

Ability Scores: Str +2, Con +2, Int -2, Wis -4.