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Black dragons, also known as skull dragons,[8] were far and away the most vile tempered and cruel of all chromatic dragons. They were solitary creatures[9] that lived in the swamps and marshlands all around Toril, from the Flooded Forest in Sembia to the jungles of Chult.[10]

Description[]

The young black dragon Nightscale guarding her treasure hoard.

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).[11]

Personality[]

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.[9]

Combat[]

Black dragons preferred ambushes to straightforward fighting.[8]

Breath Weapon[]

A review of black dragon anatomy.

Black dragons breathed a stream of acid.[5][4]

Ecology[]

Lair[]

Black dragons lived in swamps, jungles and fetid marshlands.[10] 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.[12]

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.[9]

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.[13] 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.[9]

Black dragon wyrmling.

Diet[]

A black dragon's diet consisted of fish, mollusks, aquatic critters and some red meat from terrestrial animals.[12]

Regions[]

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.[10]

Cultural Significance[]

The iconography of the Purple Dragon Knights of Cormyr stemmed from the legend of the great black dragon Thauglor, who once dominated the area upon which the kingdom was built.[14]

Black dragons sometimes served the dark Chultan demigod Eshowdow, and were seen as good omens by his followers.[15]

Notable Black Dragons[]

A black dragon demonstrating its acid breath.

Appendix[]

Appearances[]

Adventures
Dark and Hidden WaysBaldur's Gate: Descent into AvernusCandlekeep Mysteries: "The Scrivener's Tale"
Referenced only
Hellgate Keep
Short Stories
"If Ever They Happened Upon My Lair"
Video Games
Curse of the Azure BondsNeverwinter Nights series (Neverwinter NightsDarkness over DaggerfordTyrants of the Moonsea)Neverwinter (Tyranny of Dragons)Warriors of Waterdeep
Card Games
Magic: The Gathering (AFR)
Board Games
Faerûn Under SiegeTemple of Elemental Evil Board Game

Gallery[]

External Links[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 87–88. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. James Wyatt (October 2021). Fizban's Treasury of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 168. ISBN 978-0786967292.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 75–76. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 70–71. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 65. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 31. ISBN 0-935696-00-8.
  7. Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 69. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Bruce R. Cordell, et al. (November 2008). Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons. Edited by Michele Carter, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 30. ISBN 978-0-7869-4980-9.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Nigel Findley, et al. (October 1990). Draconomicon. Edited by Mike Breault. (TSR, Inc.), p. 13. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Nigel Findley, et al. (October 1990). Draconomicon. Edited by Mike Breault. (TSR, Inc.), p. 34. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  11. Bruce R. Cordell, et al. (November 2008). Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons. Edited by Michele Carter, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37. ISBN 978-0-7869-4980-9.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Andy Collins, James Wyatt, and Skip Williams (November 2003). Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 37–38. ISBN 0-7869-2884-0.
  13. Andy Collins, James Wyatt, and Skip Williams (November 2003). Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 11. ISBN 0-7869-2884-0.
  14. Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb (April 1998). Cormyr: A Novel (Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 8. ISBN ISBN 0-7869-0710-X.
  15. Eric L. Boyd (September 1997). Powers & Pantheons. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 81. ISBN 978-0786906574.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 146. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  17. slade, Jim Butler (October 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic. Edited by Jim Butler. (TSR, Inc.), p. Cannot cite pages from this boxed set. See {{Cite book/Netheril: Empire of Magic}} for a list of citations that may be used.. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
  18. Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 147. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  19. Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 148. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Bruce R. Cordell, et al. (November 2008). Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons. Edited by Michele Carter, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 89. ISBN 978-0-7869-4980-9.
  21. Warning: edition not specified for Road of the Patriarch
  22. Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 152. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  23. Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 153. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Nigel Findley, et al. (October 1990). Draconomicon. Edited by Mike Breault. (TSR, Inc.), p. 100. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  25. Nigel Findley, et al. (October 1990). Draconomicon. Edited by Mike Breault. (TSR, Inc.), p. 37. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  26. Christopher Perkins, et al. (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  27. Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb (April 1998). Cormyr: A Novel (Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 1. ISBN ISBN 0-7869-0710-X.
  28. Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.

Connections[]

The Family of Dragons

Metallic dragons: GoldSilverBronzeCopperBrassCobaltElectrumIronMercuryPlatinumSteel
Chromatic dragons: RedBlackBlueGreenWhiteBrownGrayPurplePinkSaltYellow
Gem dragons: AmethystBeljurilEmeraldSapphireTopazCrystalObsidianRuby
Neutral dragons: AmberJacinthMoonstonePearl
Lung dragons: Chiang lungLi lungLung wangPan lungShen lungT'ien lungTun mi lungYu lung
Planar dragons: AdamantineAstralBattleBlightChaosEtherealHellfire wyrmHowlingMirageOceanusPyroclasticRadiantRustShadowStyxTarterian
Epic dragons: ForcePrismatic
Catastrophic dragons: EarthquakeVolcanic
Miscellaneous dragons: CobraDzalmusMistRadiantRattelyrSongVishap
Draconic transformations: AirAscendantBrainstealerHidecarved


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