True dragons are divided into two broad categories: chromatic and metallic. Chromatic dragons are almost universally evil, seeking only to slake their endless lust for food, treasure, and bloodshed. Metallic dragons are generally good and often protect the lands under their care.
Many of a true dragon's abilities, attacks, and other statistics improve as a dragon grows older. These increases are divided into 12 age categories—as a dragon ages, its base statistics change as noted on the Dragon Age Categories table.
|Age Category||Age in Years||CR||Size||Hit Dice||Natural Armor||Breath Weapon|
|2 Very young||6–15||Base + 2||Base + 1||Base + 2||Base + 3||Base × 2|
|3 Young||16–25||Base + 4||Base + 2||Base + 4||Base + 6||Base × 3|
|4 Juvenile||26–50||Base + 5||Base + 2||Base + 6||Base + 9||Base × 4|
|5 Young adult||51–100||Base + 7||Base + 3||Base + 8||Base + 12||Base × 5|
|6 Adult||101–200||Base + 8||Base + 3||Base + 10||Base + 15||Base × 6|
|7 Mature adult||201–400||Base + 9||Base + 3||Base + 12||Base + 18||Base × 7|
|8 Old||401–600||Base + 11||Base + 4||Base + 14||Base + 21||Base × 8|
|9 Very old||601–800||Base + 12||Base + 4||Base + 16||Base + 24||Base × 9|
|10 Ancient||801–1,000||Base + 13||Base + 4||Base + 18||Base + 27||Base × 10|
|11 Wyrm||1,001–1,200||Base + 14||Base + 4||Base + 20||Base + 30||Base × 11|
|12 Great wyrm||1,201+||Base + 16||Base + 5||Base + 22||Base + 33||Base × 12|
Age Category: This is the age category's name.
Age in Years: This is the dragon's actual age.
CR: This column modifies the dragon's base CR.
Size: This shows how many size categories by which to increase the dragon's base size, depending on its age (from Tiny to Small, Small to Medium, and so on). A true dragon does not gain the standard increases to ability scores when it achieves a larger size—instead, true dragons gain ability score increases according to their age category, as indicated on the Dragon Ability Scores table.
Hit Dice: This shows how many additional Hit Dice a dragon gains over its base Hit Dice as it grows. Increases to Hit Dice grant extra hit points, feats, and skill ranks as well as increase the dragon's base attack bonus and base save bonuses. Dragons have skill ranks equal to 6 + their Intelligence modifier per Hit Die. A dragon's increases to ability scores for gaining Hit Dice are included in the total ability score increases (see the Dragon Ability Scores table).
Natural Armor: This shows by what amount the dragon's base natural armor bonus increases with each age category.
Breath Weapon: Each dragon has a breath weapon (see Combat) that deals a base amount of damage. This multiplier increases the number of dice of damage dealt by the dragon's breath weapon. For example, a mature adult dragon with a base breath weapon that deals 2d6 acid damage would deal 14d6 acid damage (due to the ×7 multiplier).
|2 Very young||Base + 4||Base – 2||Base + 2||Base + 2||Base + 2||Base + 2|
|3 Young||Base + 8||Base – 2||Base + 4||Base + 2||Base + 2||Base + 2|
|4 Juvenile||Base + 10||Base – 2||Base + 6||Base + 4||Base + 4||Base + 4|
|5 Young adult||Base + 12||Base – 4||Base + 6||Base + 4||Base + 4||Base + 4|
|6 Adult||Base + 14||Base – 4||Base + 8||Base + 6||Base + 6||Base + 6|
|7 Mature adult||Base + 16||Base – 4||Base + 8||Base + 6||Base + 6||Base + 6|
|8 Old||Base + 18||Base – 6||Base + 10||Base + 8||Base + 8||Base + 8|
|9 Very old||Base + 20||Base – 6||Base + 10||Base + 8||Base + 8||Base + 8|
|10 Ancient||Base + 22||Base – 6||Base + 12||Base + 10||Base + 10||Base + 10|
|11 Wyrm||Base + 24||Base – 8||Base + 12||Base + 10||Base + 10||Base + 10|
|12 Great wyrm||Base + 26||Base – 8||Base + 14||Base + 12||Base + 12||Base + 12|
The Dragon Attacks and Speeds table lists the attacks a dragon can employ and the damage it deals (a dash indicates that a dragon of that size does not possess that natural attack). Other abilities described here are gained by dragons when they reach a specific age category.
|Size||Fly Speed (maneuverability)||1 Bite||2 Claws||2 Wings||1 Tail Slap||1 Crush||1 Tail Sweep||Breath Weapon|
|Tiny||100 ft. (average)||1d4||1d3||—||—||—||—||30 ft.||15 ft.|
|Small||150 ft. (average)||1d6||1d4||—||—||—||—||40 ft.||20 ft.|
|Medium||150 ft. (average)||1d8||1d6||1d4||—||—||—||60 ft.||30 ft.|
|Large||200 ft. (poor)||2d6||1d8||1d6||1d8||—||—||80 ft.||40 ft.|
|Huge||200 ft. (poor)||2d8||2d6||1d8||2d6||2d8||—||100 ft.||50 ft.|
|Gargantuan||250 ft. (clumsy)||4d6||2d8||2d6||2d8||4d6||2d6||120 ft.||60 ft.|
|Colossal||250 ft. (clumsy)||4d8||4d6||2d8||4d6||4d8||2d8||140 ft.||70 ft.|
Fly Speed: A dragon's fly speed increases as indicated, according to its size.
Bite: This is a primary attack that deals the indicated damage plus 1-1/2 times the dragon's Strength bonus (even though it has more than one attack). A dragon's bite attack has reach as if the creature were one size category larger (+10 feet for Colossal dragons).
Claws: These primary attacks deal the indicated damage plus the dragon's Strength bonus.
Wings: The dragon can slam foes with its wings, even when flying. Wing attacks are secondary attacks that deal the indicated damage plus 1/2 the dragon's Strength bonus.
Tail Slap: The dragon can slap one foe each round with its tail. A tail slap is a secondary attack that deals the indicated damage plus 1-1/2 times the dragon's Strength bonus (this is an exception to the normal secondary attack rules).
Crush (Ex): A flying or jumping Huge or larger dragon can land on foes as a standard action, using its whole body to crush them. Crush attacks are effective only against opponents three or more size categories smaller than the dragon. A crush attack affects as many creatures as fit in the dragon's space. Creatures in the affected area must succeed on a Reflex save (DC equal to that of the dragon's breath weapon) or be pinned, automatically taking bludgeoning damage during the next round unless the dragon moves off them. If the dragon chooses to maintain the pin, it must succeed at a combat maneuver check as normal. Pinned foes take damage from the crush each round if they don't escape. A crush attack deals the indicated damage plus 1-1/2 times the dragon's Strength bonus.
Tail Sweep (Ex): This allows a Gargantuan or larger dragon to sweep with its tail as a standard action. The sweep affects a half-circle with a radius of 30 feet (or 40 feet for a Colossal dragon), extending from an intersection on the edge of the dragon's space in any direction. Creatures within the swept area are affected if they are four or more size categories smaller than the dragon. A tail sweep automatically deals the indicated damage plus 1-1/2 times the dragon's Strength bonus (round down). Affected creatures can attempt Reflex saves to take half damage (DC equal to that of the dragon's breath weapon).
Breath Weapon (Su): Using a breath weapon is a standard action. A dragon can use its breath weapon once every 1d4 rounds, even if it possesses more than one breath weapon. A breath weapon always starts at an intersection adjacent to the dragon and extends in a direction of the dragon's choice. Breath weapons come in two shapes, lines and cones, whose areas vary with the dragon's size. If a breath weapon deals damage, those caught in the area can attempt Reflex saves to take half damage. The save DC against a breath weapon is 10 + 1/2 dragon's HD + dragon's Con modifier. Saves against various breath weapons use the same DC; the type of saving throw is noted in the variety descriptions. A dragon can use its breath weapon when it is grappling or being grappled.
Additional Dragon Rules
Dragon Senses (Ex): Dragons have darkvision 120 ft. and blindsense 60 ft. They see four times as well as a human in dim light and twice as well in normal light.
Frightful Presence (Ex): A dragon's frightful presence has a range equal to 30 feet × the dragon's age category, but otherwise functions as detailed in the Universal Monster Rules.
Spells: A dragon knows and casts arcane spells as a sorcerer of the level indicated in its specific description. Its caster level depends on its age, as shown for each type.
Spell-Like Abilities: A dragon's caster level for its spell-like abilities is equal to its total Hit Dice.
Damage Reduction: Dragons gain damage reduction as they age, as indicated on each dragon's specific entry. Their natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Immunities (Ex): Every dragon is immune to sleep and paralysis. In addition, a dragon is immune to one or two additional forms of attack no matter what its age, as given in its description.
Spell Resistance (Ex): As dragons grow older, they become more resistant to spells and spell-like abilities, as indicated in the dragon descriptions. A dragon's SR is equal to 11 + its CR.