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Deep dragons, also called purple dragons[6], drakes of the depths,[3] and silent hunters,[5] were a type of chromatic dragon[6] that lived in the Underdark.[2]


Despite their large size, deep dragons were slender and agile, and their snakelike bodies, narrow wings, and thin limbs allowed them to crawl through the tunnels of the Underdark.[2][3] Their scales were smooth,[1] and in the light, an adult dragon's scales were the color of amethyst, while in the dark, they appeared nearly black.[2] In general, older specimens had much darker scales, while younger ones had more purple or maroon coloration.[3] Older deep dragons were known to develop fungal growths around their heads and necks.[1]

A dragon egg could be identified as that of a deep dragon by the purple tinge seen when held in front of an intense white light, though it shared this trait with shadow dragon and amethyst dragon eggs.[7]


Uncover every last stone!
— Deep dragon saying[8]

Deep dragons were patient and cunning.[3] They prioritized their own survival above all else, yet were known to relish the opportunity to hunt or even fight if the situation demanded it.[5] They preferred to manipulate and negotiate rather than to risk combat, and were crafty dealmakers. They were quick to disregard any creature that wasn't useful to them.[1]

Deep dragons collected trivia, insights, tricks, and knowledge from far flung places, and delighted in acquiring new information.[1] They were known to collect magic items, not simply to hoard but also to use for themselves.[5] Some deep dragons enjoyed assuming the form of drow and infiltrating the dark elves' cities in disguise.[9]


A deep dragon lurks among the stalactites.

In order to better allow them to navigate the narrow underground tunnels which they called home, deep dragons developed potent innate magical powers, including the ability to transmute rock to mud, and to cast spells like passwall, freedom of movement, and stone shape.[3]

Perhaps their most distinctive ability was their unique shapechanging power which developed as they aged. The first form they learned to adopt was that of a winged snake, which did not reduce their overall size but allowed them to slither and fly unimpeded by extra limbs. The second form they learned to adopt was that of a normal humanoid, and they could alter this form's appearance as with a polymorph self spell.[3]

Deep dragons were incapable of becoming intoxicated.[9]


The claws of a deep dragon were intended to dig through solid rock, and as such, were devestating in combat even against heavily armored enemies. They preferred to pick off their enemies strategically, stalking them in the dark before pouncing or triggering a rockfall to bury them.[5]

A deep dragon's breath weapon attacked creatures' minds, and caused the target to be dazed or dominated, depending on the strength of the wyrm.[2] These effects were attributed to fungal spores that the dragon exhaled.[1] They were also known to be able to breath a cone of gas that was caustic to flesh.[3]

Deep dragons were harmed by direct sunlight.[2]


A young purple dragon.

Purple dragons inhabited the Underdark, and were rarely known on the surface.[2] However, younger specimens were known to occasionally venture upward, generally with some mission to claim a treasure or exact revenge on a foe, but sometimes just for the sake of exploration. Young deep dragons rarely left the lairs of their parents until they had mastered both their serpentine and humanoid alternative forms.[5]

Lairs were located in the Upperdark and Middledark, usually no deeper than 7 miles (11 kilometers),[3] and were highly idiosyncratic: some were built within ancient ruins, others on the shores of underground lakes, and others were carved out of masses of living fungus.[8] Regardless, most of these lairs were full of secret passages to allow the dragon to make quick escapes and to prepare surprise ambushes.[1] Lairs were often difficult to access, even for the dragon itself without using its serpentine or humanoid form,[5] and were filled with traps and servants to protect the dragon's hoard, especially for times when the dragon ventured out to seek new information or treasures.[8] They were known to transplant dangerous specimens of fungi into their lairs to serve as traps,[5] and in general, underground varietals of fungi often abounded around deep dragons' lairs and even on their bodies. Their magic, and this somewhat symbiotic relationship with underground fungus, was said to be a result of their species' exposure to the pervading magic of the Underdark.[1]


Deep dragons preferred "seafood" including clams, fish, kuo-toa, and even aboleths. That said, they were known to eat nearly anything, and it was not uncommon for Underdark societies to trade with a deep dragon by offering them food in the form of humanoid prisoners.[5]


The claw of a deep dragon could be used as a special component in the casting of the dragon blight spell.[10]


Deep dragons valued and hoarded knowledge,[1] and preferred to collect unique treasures with interesting backstories. They would meticulously organize their hoards, even framing or displaying their favorite pieces, and they delighted in giving long tours to guests, particularly other deep dragons.[8]

While some actively avoided revealing themselves to other types of dragons,[5] most enjoyed their company. Deep dragons tended to look down on "inferior" creatures,[8] but could be encountered near drow cities working as guardians for the drow, expecting to be paid for their services with a steady supply of food in the form of captives and criminals.[3] However, other drow cities were highly distrustful and fearful of deep dragons. The drow of Menzoberranzan would actively hunt down any deep dragon they learned of, and this in turn led a group of four nearby deep dragons to plot against the city.[9]

They were not above working with non-dragons, but treated them either as servants or subordinates.[8] They were enemies to mind flayers and cloakers,[3] and would hunt them when the opportunity presented itself.[5]

Notable Deep Dragons[]



Daughter of the DrowElminster in HellThe City of Ravens
Referenced only
ThornholdSon of ThunderInsurrection
Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
Black BloodWhere Dragons Die

Further reading[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 James Wyatt (October 2021). Fizban's Treasury of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 173–175. ISBN 978-0786967292.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Bruce R. Cordell, et al. (November 2008). Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons. Edited by Michele Carter, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 175–178. ISBN 978-0-7869-4980-9.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 40–41. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
  4. Richard Baker and James Wyatt (2004-03-13). Monster Update (Zipped PDF). Web Enhancement for Player's Guide to Faerûn. Wizards of the Coast. p. 4. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-10.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 David Cook (1991). Monstrous Compendium Forgotten Realms Appendix (MC11). (TSR, Inc), p. 16. ISBN l-56076-111-3.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Bruce R. Cordell, et al. (November 2008). Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons. Edited by Michele Carter, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 38. ISBN 978-0-7869-4980-9.
  7. Ed Greenwood (January 1996). Volo's Guide to the Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 193. ISBN 0-7869-0406-2.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 James Wyatt (October 2021). Fizban's Treasury of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 107–109. ISBN 978-0786967292.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Ed Greenwood (1992). Menzoberranzan (The City). Edited by Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc), pp. 84–85. ISBN 1-5607-6460-0.
  10. Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 114. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Elaine Cunningham (July 2003). Daughter of the Drow (Mass Market Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 336–337. ISBN 978-0786929290.


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