Black dragons, also known as skull dragons, were far and away the most vile tempered and cruel of all chromatic dragons. They were solitary creatures that lived in the swamps and marshlands all around Toril, from the Flooded Forest in Sembia to the jungles Chult.
Black dragons appeared abnormally slender in comparison to other chromatic dragons—wiry, but not gaunt. Physically, they were most distinguished by their horns, which protruded from the sides of their heads and wrapped around, projecting forward. A large frill adorned the upper part of the neck. They smelled like rotting vegetation and foul water. A black dragon grew up to a maximum size of 16 feet (4.9 meters) tall, 85 feet (26 meters) in length, with a wingspan of 80 feet (24 meters). They weighed up to 160,000 pounds (73,000 kilograms).
Solitary and extremely territorial in their nature, black dragons would seldom form clans, opting to do so only when they lived in the most hazardous of environments or when faced with a danger that could wipe out large swaths of their population.
Black dragons preferred ambushes to straightforward fighting. They were vicious and ruthless adversaries, and their acidic bile dissolved through the heaviest armor with ease. Their only disadvantage was that their heavily wooded habitats typically prevented them from flying very high in combat.
Black dragons lived in swamps, jungles and fetid marshlands. They were cunning creatures who lived to inspire fear and rule by intimidation. The black, glossy scales of black dragons added to their camouflage within swamp lands. They preferred to ambush their targets, using darkness or water as their cover. They were excellent swimmers and often made their lairs in submerged caves or underground chambers near swamps or murky ponds. Their lairs always had two entrances: one underwater through the adjacent swamp or pond, and one above-ground, disguised amidst the undergrowth.
Parenting & Development
Female dragons took the lead when it came to breeding, choosing their mate largely based on the size of the hoard of prospective males. Because of this, male black dragons would often brag about their accumulated wealth to communicative creatures or others of their own kind, in the hopes that rumors of their hoard would spread to any females in the area that were looking to mate. When two or more females selected the same male as their partner, they would fight for dominance high in the air above the lair of the male, allowing him to gaze upon his future mate's victory in admiration.
Black dragons were not noted as good parents, relying more upon disguise and hiding to protect their eggs than upon guarding them personally. Black dragon eggs must be submerged in strong acid while growing, which helped protect the dragon as well. Black dragons would only protect their young so long as that responsibility didn't threaten their own life. If they had to choose between saving their own life or those of their clutch or spawn, they would most certainly choose the former; though they would assuredly seek revenge afterwards.
Their wyrmlings were noted for their exceptional cruelty and their utterly insatiable appetites. They ate almost anything organic they could kill, even plants. As a black dragon matured, its scales gradually grew lighter. The most ancient black dragons appeared almost purple in color.
A black dragon's diet consisted of fish, mollusks, aquatic critters and some red meat from terrestrial animals.
The skies over the southwestern Bay of Chessenta and southern Chondalwood have been the source of multiple sightings of black dragons. Reports from the jungles of Chult of dense, multi-layered tropical forest complete with its own ecosystem, were highlighted with tales of black dragons living within the canopy.
Notable Black Dragons
- Alglaudyx, a former black dragon that achieved lichdom before being destroyed.
- Amnemis, who allied herself with the Cult of the Dragon and dwelled within the Well of Dragons.
- Arlauthra, known as "Manytalons".
- Arngalor, a black wyrm who lived in a cave near Arkhen Falls.
- Boglarmanthor, also known as "Acridtooth", who lived in the Marsh of Deception.
- Casarial and her son Kreston.
- Chardansearavitriol, also known as "Ebondeath."
- Daurgothoth, also known as “The Creeping Doom”, wno embraced undeath and hunted the world as a dracolich.
- Insithryllax an ally of the red wizard Marek Rymüt.
- Kazmil-urshula-kelloakizilian, also known as "Urshula the Black", "The Black Beast of Vaasa" and "The Beast of the Bog".
- Maelestor Rex, the ancient dragon of the High Moor.
- Mergandevinasander, who lived on the Chultan peninsula.
- Ralas, who lived in the swamp of Karatorn.
- Shift, of the Farsea Marshes in Cormyr.
- Sjachmalsvir, also known as "Thoss Fyurnen" and "Sun Swallower" who was the self-proclaimed Chosen of Talona.
- Skurge, who dominated much of the tunlands.
- Thauglorimorgorus, also known as "Thauglor", "Black Doom" and "King of the Forest Country"
- Ueurwen, who lived in the swamp of Karatorn with her mate Ralas.
- Voaraghamanthar, also known as “The Black Death” and "Weszlum". He shared the title of "Wyrm of the Mere" with his twin sibling Waervaerendor.
- Waervaerendor, also known as "Wuzlor" and who shared the title of "Wyrm of the Mere" with his twin sibling Voaraghamanthar. Also the self-proclaimed "Rapacious Raider".
- Wyrvrex
- Zarlandris, who died in 1373 DR when he attacked Highmoon.
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Chromatic dragons: Red • Black • Blue • Green • White • Brown • Gray • Purple • Yellow
Gem dragons: Amber • Amethyst • Emerald • Sapphire • Topaz • Crystal • Obsidian
Lung dragons: Chiang lung • Li lung • Lung wang • Pan lung • Shen lung • T'ien lung • Tun mi lung • Yu lung
Planar dragons: Astral • Battle • Chaos • Ethereal • Faerie • Howling • Mirage • Oceanus • Pyroclastic • Radiant • Rust • Shadow • Styx • Tarterian
Epic dragons: Force • Prismatic
Catastrophic dragons: Volcanic
Miscellaneous dragons: Dzalmus • Mist • Radiant • Rattelyr • Song • Vishap
Draconic transformations: Air • Ascendant
Linnorms: Corpse tearer • Dread • Stygian
Drakes: Ambush • Black firedrake • Dragonne • Elemental (Fire • Ice • Smoke • Water) • Felldrake (Crested • Spitting) • Greater • Guard • Mind • Portal • Rage • Space • Vulture
Dragonbloods: Draconic creature • Dragonborn of Bahamut • Dragonspawn
Drow-dragon (shadow) • Drow-dragon (deep) • Half-dragon • Kobold (Dragonwrought • Urd) • Weredragon • Zar'ithra • Zekyl
Undead dragons: Dracolich • Dragonwight • Hoarder • Rathrea • Vampiric