View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other Playing Dragons as PC

2018-06-06, 12:52 PM

A while back I GMed a group of players and offered them the chance to play as dragons. It was fun, lasted a while and I felt, it should not go to waste what homebrewed rules we used. I will post it in several different parts, starting with the setup.
The premise went like this: The player's dragons hatch in a nest overseen by a Guardian dragon. They are told, they need to survive to show their worthiness of being dragons. The Guardian then leaves them to fend for themselves, but can be summoned for a small fee if the young dragons have more questions or need help.
Their surrounding is not very save, the land even has reknown dragonslayer NPCs should the hatchlings draw to much attention towards themselves.

The world itself is ruled by the dragons, who have set aside a small-ish continent (think Australia) as a testing ground for new dragons. While the rest is reigned surpreme by the older dragons, the continent itself is not ruled and the natural selection can be hostile for new born dragons.

Dragons as Playercharacters


The basic setup is, that each dragon, starts with the same profil, independent of their kind.
Every Dragon has
Strength 14
Dexerity 10
Constitution 14
Wisdom 12
Intelligence 12
Charisma 12

They have 7 HD and a natural armor bonus of +7. Each hit die gives 7 HP.
Designers remark: Note, no max HP for 1st HD, which will be compensated by slightly higher average. Of course rolling each HD is easily doable as well

The first choice is what kind of dragon the player wants to play: metallic or chromatic.
Chromatic dragons get a bonus of +2 for Strength and Constitution;
metalic dragons get a bonus of +2 Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma

In addition, every dragon gets another bonus to one attribute depending of the more specific kind:

+2 Strength: Red/Copper
+2 Constitution: White/Brass
+2 Wisdom: Blue/Silver
+2 Intelligence: Green/Gold
+2 Charisma: Black/Bronze

Designers remark: The game was set to be played in a world with only the basic 10 dragonkinds being present. Of course one player cried about playing a overpowered shadow dragon and after having learned long enough not to discuss ages with players I relented; however he did not get the bonus for to attributes for "true" dragons and another alteration I will mention later. Also, he was constantly mocked as not being a real dragon by the other players.
Designers remark 2: The boni to attributes where set by me after my taste, but could easily be changed inbetween the kinds, as long as each attribute has one, and only one, chromatic and one metalic dragon the bonus is applied to.

Every 4 HD a dragon will get a +1 to one attribute of his choice, including dexteritiy if the player so chooses.

EDIT: The hatchlings are medium-size at birth

Additional Basics

All dragons have the inherent ability from the start to change shape into humanoid; picking 3 different kinds at birth (start of play). They can remain in a humanoid form for as long as they like. More rules on combat abilites follow later on.
Basic movement for all dragons is 50ft (dragon form and humanoid). Their flight speed 150ft with poor maneuverability. They retain their natural other kinds of movement inherent for each kind (e.g. Icewalk, swim, burrow etc.). Other kind of movements have a speed of 40ft. Dragons with a swimspeed can also breathe under water as per waterbreathing ability. All other movements (flight, icewalk etc.) can only be used as dragon, while waterbreathing is universal, swimspeed is not, however.


All dragons do 2d6 damage per age category. The kind of breath weapon is the same as per monster manual, starting with either a 30ft cone or 60ft line. A dragon has 3 charges per day and must wait 1d6+1 rounds between uses of his breath attack. After he uses his breath, the dragon makes a recharge check against a roll of 11+ on a d20 to see if he retains are charge or whether it is spent for the day. By paying a fixed charge for that day without testing for recharge, a dragon can use his breath attack in a combat instead of a bite attack as part of a full-round-attack.

Metalic dragons lose! their second, more harmless breath attack, leaving them with the primary damaging attack of their kind.

Designers remark: The shadowdragon player had his breath weapon changed into a 2d6 damaging breath attack, same as everybody else. His damage was set to negative energy, still good but not as annoying as pukeing negative levels on everyone.

Next part will be:
Growth/ageing, combat basics and Skills

2018-06-06, 01:54 PM

Dragons don't level up, they grow and gain HD.
Every HD increases the natural armor bonus with a +1. They have all good saves, calculated by the well used formula 1/2HD+2. They gain one base attack per HD. Also, they gain 7 HP per HD.

Every 3 HD they grow an age category. For every age category they grow each dragon receives and +2 bonus to strength and +2 constitution; every other they get a bonus of +2 wisdom, intelligence and charisma as well (3rd, 5th, 7th and so on).

As soon as the dragon reaches the 3rd age category (13 HD) he grows large.
In the 5th age category they grow huge, in the 9th they go gargantuan and finally colossal in the 12th.

Designers remark: Note that dragons don't change their attributes through size changes, only due to age categories. Meaning, if they go from medium to large, they don't get +8 to strength, +4 to constitution and -2 to Dex or a change to natural armor. This also holds true for the other size changes later on.

Spell resistance, caster level, fear aura and damage reduction follow the progression of the red dragon from the monster manual. Spell-like abilities follow the progression from each kind itself.

It is important to note, that dragons don't get class levels. They progress solely through aging and gaining HD. These are awarded whenever the GM feels like it :smallsmile:

Easified combat

A dragon has a bite attack with the high attack bonus and full strength bonus to damage, it deals 1d8 base damage
A dragon has two claw/legs attack with a -5 to attack bonus and half strength bonus, dealing 1d6 base damage
A dragon has two wing attacks with a -5 to attack and half strengh bonus, dealing 1d4 base damage
As soon as the dragon grows large, he can use tail slap with full attack bonus and 1 and 1/2 half strength bonus, it deals 1d8 base damage but can only be used at targets in the dragon's rear.
Once the dragons grows gargantuan he can use the tail sweep into his rear 180 as an area attack, with full attack bonus and twice his strength bonus, the base damage is 2d8.

The damage increases due to growth of size following the progression of 3.5 rules for larger weapon sizes.

The reach of the dragon is simplified into reach 5ft when medium, 10 ft for large, 15ft for huge, 20ft for gargantuan and finally 25ft for colossal for ALL! attacks.

In humanoid form they only retain the ability to use claw attacks and can make those look like however the dragon desires (punches with his fists, weapons, flashed of light or whatever). His attack bonus does not change when in humanoid form, for simplification. This means, dragons still have the -5 to attack as humanoids. Also, size penalty is not considered. The dragon calculates his attack bonus in his dragon form and uses it unchanged in humanoid form. His reach changes to 5ft in humanoid form, however, no matter his actuall reach in dragon form.

Dragons are naturally bad at grappling, suffering a -10 racial penalty to grapple. His grapple bonus is also not changed between dragon form and humanoid form, which means he retains his size bonus in humanoid form.

Designers remark: A dragon can mix claw and leg attacks, meaning he could make claw attack against a target in his front and one leg attack against a target in his rear; as long as the total attacks made are not greater than two he is free to choose where to attack with legs or claws. The damage is the same for claws and legs.

Skills and Feats

Dragons do not get x4 skill-points for their first HD. They aquire 8+Int. modifier per HD and their max rank for a skill is equal to their HD. If a dragon increases his intelligence, he receives the skillpoints for his higher intelligence retroactively, meaning he will be considered as having started with a higher intelligence.

Class skills for dragons are:
Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Craft (any), Diplomacy, Escape artist, Jump, Knowledge (any), Listen, Perform (any), Search, Spellcraft, Spot.

Every 3rd HD a dragon gets a feat, which he can spend. Starting from the 21st HD epic feats become available.

Designers remark: I recommend to limit the choice of feats extremely, especially those that off-set the penalty to partial grapple. Also, other feats could easily brake the powerlevel between dragon players. In essence, I allowed only the PHB and every other feat from other sources was allowed on a case by case basis, including the Draconomicum.
Also, don't allow multi-attack and/or rapid strike etc.(part of it will be made available in part 3/4.)


Once a dragon starts to gather caster levels, he needs to make a choice whether the dragon wants to be a divine or arcane caster. This choice is final. By choosing, he defines the attribute which will govern his casting in relation towards bonus spells and DCs for his spells. For divine casting the attribute is wisdom, for arcane casters the attribute is intelligence.
Dragons don't get access to domains as divine casters nor a familiar/bonus feats as arcane casters. Divine casters cannot command/turn undead.

They need to memorize their spells, exactly like a wizard or a cleric.

Designers remark: For easier play, keep the spells restricted at the PHB. Makes everyone's live easier.


No dragon starts with Blindsense/blindsight, because its just a hassle. Even if a player chooses a lesser dragonkind with that special ability, this quality is lost, because reasons.

Dragons have darkvision with a range of 60ft and they can see twice as far as a human in starlight. They also have a very accute sense of smell, and can taste metal.

The alignment of a dragon is totally free. A lawful good red dragon is just as possible as a chaotic evil bronze dragon.

Every dragon has the urge to amass a hoard. Once they reach 4th age category, this urge becomes irressitable, even dangerously so. Dragons, that have reached the 4th age category and don't have a hoard suffer a cummulative penalty of -1 on every roll they make per year. If their penalty reaches the same amount as their age category, they die.
A sufficient hoard should at least be the square of their age category times 1000 in gold pieces.

Next part will be where the fun begins: Draconic Powers, for customization of your dragon!