Black dragons, also known as skull dragons,[7] were far and away the most vile tempered and cruel of all chromatic dragons. They were solitary creatures[8] that lived in the swamps and marshlands all around Toril, from the Flooded Forest in Sembia to the jungles of Chult.[9]

Description[edit | edit source]

Appearance[edit | edit source]

A young black dragon 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' (4.9 m) tall, 85' (25.9 m) long, with a wingspan of 80' (24.4 m). They weighed up to 160,000 lbs (72.6 mt).[10]

Personality[edit | edit source]

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.[8]

Combat[edit | edit source]

Black dragons preferred ambushes to straightforward fighting.[7] 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.[citation needed]

Breath Weapon[edit | edit source]

A review of black dragon anatomy.

Black dragons expelled a jet of highly corrosive acid.[citation needed]

Ecology[edit | edit source]

Lair[edit | edit source]

Black dragons lived in swamps, jungles and fetid marshlands.[9] 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.[citation needed]

Parenting & Development[edit | edit source]

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.[8]

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.[citation needed] 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.[8]

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.[citation needed]

Black dragon Wyrmling

Diet[edit | edit source]

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

Sociology[edit | edit source]

Black dragons were generally antipathetic towards other chromatic and silver dragons, but were outright hateful of most metallic dragons.[citation needed]

Regions[edit | edit source]

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.[9]

Cultural Significance[edit | edit source]

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.[11]

Black dragons sometimes served the dark Chultan demigod Eshowdow, and were seen as good omens by his followers.[12]

Notable Black Dragons[edit | edit source]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus
Referenced only
Hellgate Keep
Video Games
Curse of the Azure BondsNeverwinter NightsNeverwinter Nights: Darkness over Daggerford
Board Games
Temple of Elemental Evil Board Game

Gallery[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  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. 2.0 2.1 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.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 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.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 65. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 31. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
  6. Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 69. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Ari Marmell and Robert J. Schwalb (November 2008). Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 30. ISBN 978-0786949809.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Nigel Findley, et al. (October 1990). Draconomicon. (TSR, Inc), p. 13. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Nigel Findley, et al. (October 1990). Draconomicon. (TSR, Inc), p. 34. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  10.  (November 2008). Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37. ISBN 978-0786949809.
  11.  (April 1998). Cormyr: A Novel (Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 8. ISBN ISBN 0-7869-0710-X.
  12.  (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), p. 81. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4  (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 146. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  14. Warning: book within boxed set not specified for Netheril: Empire of Magic
  15.  (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 147. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  16.  (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 148. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2  (November 2008). Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 89. ISBN 978-0786949809.
  18. Warning: edition not specified for Road of the Patriarch
  19.  (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 152. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  20.  (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 153. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  21. 21.0 21.1  (October 1990). Draconomicon. (TSR, Inc), p. 100. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  22.  (October 1990). Draconomicon. (TSR, Inc), p. 37. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  23.  (August 2013). Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 978-0786965311.
  24.  (April 1998). Cormyr: A Novel (Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 1. ISBN ISBN 0-7869-0710-X.
  25.  (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.

Connections[edit | edit source]

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