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Zombie dragons were lesser undead dragons whose corpses were raised as zombies, often associated with the Cult of the Dragon.[5]


Zombie dragons greatly resembled dracoliches with the main difference being zombies lacked the sinister glowing eyes of dracoliches.[6][5] Instead, their eyes were clouded and milky, showing not a single spark of intelligence.[7]

Zombie dragons' sizes, colors, and strength varied greatly, depending on what corpse was used to create them. Rot was a common condition for these undead beasts, with their flesh hanging off the bones.[5] These creatures stank of death and decay, and their wondrous hides were eaten through by worms and carrion eaters.[8]


Like other types of undead, zombified dragons were immune to mind-affecting abilities and spells, poisons, sleep, paralysis, stun, and all natural and magical diseases. Zombie dragons could not be affected by lifeforce and experience drain, or be damaged by critical attacks. Additionally, they were known for their physical toughness.[2] They were vulnerable to holy water and especially powerful turning by clerics and paladins.[4] However, protection from evil spell was completely useless against most zombie dragons as they were often truly neutral creatures.[9]

Even in their undead form, zombie dragons possessed supremely keen senses allowing them to detect hidden and invisible creatures within 50 feet (15 meters) of themselves, and had senses, similar to clairaudience with 100 feet (30 meters) range, but only within the creature's lair.[4]

Zombie red dragons, just like in life, were immune to magical and mundane fire and could control them via control flames and pyrotechnics spell-like abilities three times per day each.[4] Such spell-like abilities were as natural to dragons as biting or goring their opponents, allowing the zombie dragons to use them in battle freely. These abilities were more of an instinct rather than a conscious spell. True spellcasting was impossible for zombie dragons due to a lack of intelligence. However, the creator could imbue undead with spell ability via additional magic.[9]

Other types of risen draconic dead retained the same immunities as they had in life.[9] Zombie dragon turtles were immune to mundane and magical cold, could not be turned by clerics and paladins. And, more importantly, they could use their scolding steam breath weapon.[3]

Unlike dracoliches, zombified dragons were unable to fly,[10] did not possess the aura of fear around them,[9], nor were able to speak.[5] Only some of the true dragons turned zombies could use their breath weapons and only at half power of what they were in life.[8][note 1]


Lacking intelligence, these hulking rotting creatures blindly served their masters and were known for their vicious hate for the living.[7]


In combat, zombie dragons were slow and bulky creatures that always attacked last, often using their maws, claws, tails, and wings.[6] Some zombie dragons could use some of the special abilities that they had in life, like red dragons' control flames and pyrotechnics[4] and dragon turtles' steam breath.[3]

Generally, zombie dragons had the same physical attacks and defenses that they had in life, apart from the ability to swoop from the sky.[9]


Being unnatural undead things, zombie dragons had no place in the natural order of things. They did not need to eat nor sleep.[9]

The bodies of zombie dragons could be used to house a dracolich's essence, given its phylactery was nearby. A dracolich, when inside the body of a zombie dragon, could consume remnants of its old husk to magically transform the rotting zombie carcass into the lich's original form.[7]

The only creatures that willingly tolerated the presence of their rotting beasts were carrion-eaters, who could often be found in the vicinity of zombie dragons, feasting on chunks of rotten flesh headed by the undead.[9]

Frost giant adepts and clerics knew the secret of raising dragon zombies and occasionally used reanimated white dragons as guards. The cold climate also helped with staving off rot, prolonging the zombies' lifespan.[1]


A necromancer of the Cult of the Dragon animating a skeleton dragon with a zombie dragon behind him.

Creation of all undead dragons was a taxing task that requited coin and magical prowess. In order to raise a dragon zombie, the casted needed to have access to the animate dead spell[11][9][8] as well as a mostly intact corpse of a dragon with all of its limbs still attached.[6] A zombie dragon could be creating using a corpse of any true dragon, including dragon turtles. Creatures like wyverns, drakes, and dragonnes, could not be raised as dragon zombies or other dragon undead creatures.[11]

Unlike other types of undead dragons, the only component necessary for the transformation was a true dragon's corpse. Often young and small dragons were used, as well as larger individuals, following a failed attempt to raise a more powerful and intelligent draconic undead. The ritual required some time, the caster needed to prepare the body to be animated via recalled spirit. Unlike with other more powerful undead creations, if the caster failed the ritual, they could attempt to raise the zombie dragon once again with new components required for the animate dead spell.[6] The entire process of creation took around one full day and costed 500 gold coins.[10]

Zombie dragons could be created by vampiric dragons when a young adult or younger wyrm was killed by a vampiric dragon's blood drain or their energy drain killed a dragon of any age. The resulting dragon zombie was a mindless beast under the control of the vampiric dragon that spawned it.[12]


Sages speculated that zombie dragons, along with other lesser undead dragons, were a creation of the Cult of the Dragon in the quest to create the ultimate undead dragon - a dracolich. Many believed that the Cult used a traditional trial-and-error method that resulted in several types of undead dragons before discovering an ancient draconic text—the Book of the Dead which led to the creation of dracoliches. Elminster Aumar believed that other yet undiscovered ancient texts existed that detailed other powerful types of draconic undead, much more prolific and dangerous than the simple zombie dragons, and the Cult of the Dragon was tirelessly searching for them.[11] Sammaster claimed to have personally perfected the rituals that created zombie dragons and skeleton dragons, and he detailed both rituals in his Tome of the Dragon.[5]

In the early mid-14th century DR, a zombie dragon turtle dwelt in a lake underneath Wolover's Keep in the Veilstone Peaks of Cormyr.[3]

At some point after 1358 DR, a young adult red dragon Larghauseth perished after drinking a potion of dracolich transformation. His body was raised as a zombie dragon in the 1360's DR, by the Cult of the Dragon during their attempt to re-establish operations in the Thunder Peaks.[13] The zombie dragon was ordered by wight Karnal to attack anything that wasn't him, his skeleton dragon Oskurouh, an entity that displayed the symbol of either Velsharoon, or the Cult of the Dragon.[4]

In 1369 DR, one of the Cult of the Dragon's high-ranking clerics, Shamoor, raised an adult black dragon zombie to be used as a spare body. The zombie dragon was kept in the Elven Catacombs underneath Castle Cormanthor, close to the chamber that housed the pool of radiance, that the Cult was using to empower their dracolich ally, Pelendralaar. In case the ritual failed, the Cult's zombie dragon was there to serve as the lich's new body; before that, however, the zombie was used as a guard hound for the pool.[7]

Notable Zombie Dragons[]

  • Larghauseth: a young adult red dragon also known as Flashfire, was brought to unlife by the Cult of the Dragon.[4]



  1. The 3rd edition sourcebook Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons contradicts the lore established in Cult of the Dragon (sourcebook) and Dragon magazine 234 stating that zombie dragons could fly but did not have access to their spell-like abilities. In this case, the information provided in the 2nd edition books is considered canon as Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons is not a Forgotten Realms-specific book. The breath weapon availability indicated in Draconomicon, however, confirms that some zombie dragons could use that ability as evidenced by the Nightmare Keep (adventure) set in the Forgotten Realms.


Nightmare KeepTSR Jam 1999Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor


The Family of Dragons

Metallic dragons: GoldSilverBronzeCopperBrassCobaltElectrumIronMercuryPlatinumSteel
Chromatic dragons: RedBlackBlueGreenWhiteBrownGrayPurplePinkYellow
Gem dragons: AmberAmethystBeljurilEmeraldSapphireTopazCrystalObsidianRuby
Lung dragons: Chiang lungLi lungLung wangPan lungShen lungT'ien lungTun mi lungYu lung
Planar dragons: AstralBattleBlightChaosEtherealHellfire wyrmHowlingMirageOceanusPyroclasticRadiantRustShadowStyxTarterian
Epic dragons: ForcePrismatic
Catastrophic dragons: Volcanic
Miscellaneous dragons: DzalmusMistRadiantRattelyrSongVishap
Draconic transformations: AirAscendantHidecarved


  1. 1.0 1.1 Andy Collins, James Wyatt, and Skip Williams (November 2003). Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 198. ISBN 0-7869-2884-0.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sean K. Reynolds (2000). Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor. Edited by Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 95. ISBN 0-7869-1710-5.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Rick Swan (1991). Nightmare Keep. (TSR, Inc), p. 25. ISBN 1-5607-6147-4.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 John D. Rateliff ed. (1999-02-22). TSR Jam 1999. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 11. ISBN 0786914459.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 105. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Jamie Nossal (October 1996). “The Draconomicon”. In Pierce Watters ed. Dragon #234 (TSR, Inc.), p. 16.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Sean K. Reynolds (2000). Pool of Radiance: Attack on Myth Drannor. Edited by Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 70–71. ISBN 0-7869-1710-5.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Andy Collins, James Wyatt, and Skip Williams (November 2003). Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 197. ISBN 0-7869-2884-0.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 106. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Jamie Nossal (October 1996). “The Draconomicon”. In Pierce Watters ed. Dragon #234 (TSR, Inc.), p. 17.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Jamie Nossal (October 1996). “The Draconomicon”. In Pierce Watters ed. Dragon #234 (TSR, Inc.), p. 15.
  12. Andy Collins, James Wyatt, and Skip Williams (November 2003). Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 196. ISBN 0-7869-2884-0.
  13. John D. Rateliff ed. (1999-02-22). TSR Jam 1999. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 2–3. ISBN 0786914459.