Forgotten Realms Wiki
Advertisement
Forgotten Realms Wiki

A ghost dragon was a powerful type of ghost created when a dragon was slain and its hoard looted. Ghost dragons haunted their former lairs, unable to rest until their hoards were restored.[2][3]

Description[]

A ghost dragon resembled the dragon as it was in life, except far more terrifying. Their forms were translucent and composed of swirling, sinister shadows.[1][3][4] Only the most powerful of dragons[2] had the strength of will to persist as ghosts, and as such many dragon ghosts were already of ancient age and size by the time of their deaths.[3][4] Normally, they dwelt within the Ethereal Plane entirely, being both invisible and incorporeal, but they could manifest themselves at will to become visible on the Material Plane, but remained incorporeal.[5] They communicated entirely in whispers.[3][4]

Ghost dragons were too powerful to be created via necromancy,[4] and instead attained undeath by being bound to their hoards in a manner far more profound than by mere greed.[1][3][4] Some formed particularly strong attachments to a specific, priceless treasure that then became the locus of their undeath.[1] Most often, ghost dragons had been killed while defending their lairs, and could only find peace if their stolen hoard was returned. It was generally not necessary for the exact treasures to be returned, and a hoard of equivalent value was usually enough to placate a ghost dragon,[2][6] although some had more particular requirements as well.[5] When its treasures were satisfactorily restored, the dragon would curl up atop the treasure[2] and disappear into the afterlife, thanking anyone who had aided it. There were conflicting reports as to whether or not the treasure always remained behind to be claimed by others[3][4] or if it too would vanish alongside the ghost.[2]

Abilities[]

Although ghost dragons retained many of the traits that identified the breed of dragon that they were before their deaths, they did not retain their breath weapons. Instead, they breathed a cone of gray mist, which sometimes took the form of a ghostly parody of the breath weapon in life—such as flames, lightning, or acid[1]—which sapped vitality from any creature in its path.[6] This mist was paralyzingly cold and could induce nightmarish hallucinations[1] and physical weakness,[5] but the real danger was that anyone caught in the breath weapon would begin aging rapidly.[6] This aging was proportional to their race's longevity, so humans might find themselves as much as a century older while elves could find themselves older by a millennium. Ghost dragons were so thoroughly steeped in this kind of magic that even just being near one could cause a creature to age by as many as three decades instantly.[3][4]

A ghost dragon could not be truly destroyed, only released from its undeath by providing it with the treasure it desired. If defeated and dispersed in combat, a ghost dragon would reform within two[3] to eight days.[5]

Personality[]

Ghost dragons were solitary spirits that retained many of their faculties from before their deaths,[5] although they generally became less aggressive than in life.[3] They were deeply attached to their hoards[1] and were fixated on their lost treasures, often unable to think about anything else. Nothing could dissuade them or distract them from the goal of acquiring treasure,[3][4] and the loss of their hoardes—and their inability to restore them quickly—was a constant source of anguish.[2] This obsession with reclaiming their treasures could make them dangerous as it led to them coveting any and all wealth they could acquire, whether in the form of money, gems, or magic items. Ghost dragons considered any treasure that came into their lair to be part of their hoard, and thus any visitors or trespassers were expected to surrender their wealth immediately as a "tithe" to the dragon. Ghost dragons rarely ambushed their trespassers, preferring to make their terrible presence known and to offer one chance to submit to the tithe. Refusal was met with savagery, while cooperation could earn the ghost's help and knowledge. Those who were especially polite as they handed over all of their treasure and magic would be allowed to keep 10% of their valuables.[3][4]

Many ghost dragons retained an interest in conversation, and given that many existed for centuries if not millennia, they were a valuable source of historical knowledge. However, any information did not come cheap.[3][4]

Combat[]

Most adventurers who had encountered a ghost dragon agreed that it was far wiser to submit to its demands for treasure than to fight it. Merely touching a ghost dragon—or suffering an attack from their teeth, claws, or tail—could drain a creature's lifeforce and cause its strength to wither.[5][6] An arm or leg struck by a ghost dragon would begin to shrivel.[3][4] Combined with the rapid aging caused by their breath weapon, which most ghost dragons could use three times before needing to take any kind of break (and even then, usually for no more than 72 seconds),[6] they were truly terrifying opponents.[2]

Although undead, ghost dragons could not be turned and were unaffected by holy water. Most physical attacks passed straight through them or otherwise could simply not harm them, most spells cast from the Material Plane could not affect them, and they were extraordinarily resilient in the face of most magical conditions or efforts to restrain them.[1][3][4] Some ghost dragons were known to retain the elemental resistances they had in life.[5]

Society[]

Although they were solitary and mournful spirits, ghost dragons were not completely detached from draconic society. Living dragons would sometimes take pity on their undead brethren, and would conspire to send them treasure in the form of wealthy, unwary adventurers.[3][4] Some ghost dragons also served dwarven gods, such as Abbathor[7] and Vergadain.[8]

Ecology[]

A ghost gold dragon displeased with a ghost beholder.

Ghost dragons could be found haunting their old lairs, particularly those that were dark, underground, or indoors. As spectral undead, ghost dragons needed no sustenance, and thus ceased to hunt within their territories. In general, they did not involve themselves with the physical world at all, except perhaps to collect tithes of treasure with which to restore their hoards. The presence of a ghost dragon could deplete a region of much of its wealth and magic items. In other instances, ghost dragons could be so closely bound to their hoards that they were unable to leave their lairs,[3][4] and it was generally understood that it was not in their nature to fly across the land as a living dragon might.[9]

History[]

In the Year of the Sword, 1365 DR, ghost dragons were spotted flying around the Thunder Peaks.[10]

Members of the Cult of the Dragon had experience with encountering ghost dragons as they searched old lairs for evil dragons to convert into their cause. By the mid-to-late 14th century DR, it was a common practice to try and steer agents of the Cult's enemies—such as the Harpers or the Zhentarim—into a ghost dragon's lair in order to eliminate them while appeasing the spirit's need for treasure. Some Cultists worked to help ghost dragons find peace so that they would pass on, and the Cult could then claim the treasure and refurbish the lair for their own nefarious purposes.[4] In the Year of the Tankard, 1370 DR, they were sending caravans of treasure to the lair of the deceased white dragon Ghaulantatra, hoping to claim her strategically located lair near the High Gap between the Fallen Lands and the Delimbiyr Vale.[11]

During the Rage of Dragons in the Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373 DR, a ghost dragon rose in the vicinity of the dracorage mythal.[12]

In Skelkor on Abeir, the wraith-like rathrea were sometimes called "ghost dragons" by the local dragonborn.[13]

Notable Ghost Dragons[]

Appendix[]

Appearances[]

Novels
StormlightThe Rite

References[]

  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), p. 203. ISBN 978-0786967292.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Andy Collins, James Wyatt, and Skip Williams (November 2003). Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 161. ISBN 0-7869-2884-0.
  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 Jon Pickens ed. (November 1996). Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Three. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 27. ISBN 0786904496.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 104. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Andy Collins, James Wyatt, and Skip Williams (November 2003). Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 162–163. ISBN 0-7869-2884-0.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 James Wyatt and Rob Heinsoo (February 2001). Monster Compendium: Monsters of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 88–89. ISBN 0-7869-1832-2.
  7. Eric L. Boyd (November 1998). Demihuman Deities. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 43. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  8. Eric L. Boyd (November 1998). Demihuman Deities. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 89. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  9. Ed Greenwood (October 1996). Stormlight. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 18. ISBN 0-7869-0520-4.
  10. Ed Greenwood (October 1996). Stormlight. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 4. ISBN 0-7869-0520-4.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 60. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  12. Richard Lee Byers (May 2006). The Ruin. (Wizards of the Coast), chaps. 7–8. ISBN 0-7869-4003-4.
  13. Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. Edited by Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 212. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  14. Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 48–49. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  15. Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 132. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  16. Beamdog (March 2016). Designed by Philip Daigle, et al. Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Beamdog.
  17. Ed Greenwood (May 1998). “Wyrms of the North: Miirym”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #247 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 56–60.
  18. Greg A. Vaughan, Skip Williams, Thomas M. Reid (November 2007). Anauroch: The Empire of Shade. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 89. ISBN 0-7869-4362-9.
  19. Eric L. Boyd (November 1998). Demihuman Deities. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 44. ISBN 0-7869-1239-1.
  20. Ed Greenwood (April 2001). “The New Adventures of Volo: The Urge to Hunt”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #282 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 71–72.

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: Volcanic
Miscellaneous dragons: CobraDzalmusMistRadiantRattelyrSongVishap
Draconic transformations: AirAscendantHidecarved


Advertisement