49 Dragons

B/X D&D does not use the age categories that 1e AD&D used, but it does note that the listings in the Monsters section (pages B33-34) are for “average-sized” specimens and that dragons generally range from 3 hit dice smaller to 3 hit dice larger than average.

Over the past ten years, I’ve made a point to put the “dragons” back into “Dungeons & Dragons” and adventurers in Kilgore’s B/X game need to be prepared to run into the scaly beasts at any point.

49 Dragons for Basic/Expert Games (PDF)

Of particular note, a mated pair of black dragons is currently rampaging around the region where two different sets of PCs are adventuring, with both groups party to the situation. And one retainer proudly wields a sword and shield scarred by the acid of a close encounter with that pair’s (late) offspring and a saving throw barely made.

Here are the numbers I use for the full range of basic B/X dragons at each of the seven sizes, taking the stats on B33 and adjusting them up and down three HD. (One thing I am not really sure about is the magic spells…dragons in my game do not usually use magic even if they can speak.) I’ve adjusted damage, breath weapon size, and other factors up or down along with the hit dice.

I should also note that unique dragons also exist in my game. If I need a special dragon for a special reason with special characteristics, I just write it up. I don’t feel the need to make Smaug fit within the numbers of a basic B/X dragon…Smaug gets his own numbers and abilities. The same goes for special cases for all types of monsters, but it goes double for dragons.

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6 Responses to 49 Dragons

  1. Dennis Laffey says:

    That’s awesome. I’ve usually just been lazy and kept the AC, damage, and breath size the same for larger or smaller dragons. But since I’m also trying to put a lot of dragons in my West Marches game, I may just use this.

    Of course, eventually I’ll use the Large and Huge dragons from Mentzer’s Companion set. But for now, this should help me get some dragon variety.

    • Kilgore says:

      I have never used any of the Mentzer companion monsters. I do know that I want to take a look at the efreet and djinn as the Cook/Marsh Expert has the lesser versions. And the lesser sea serpent, too.

      Since we rarely have characters get into the higher levels, I don’t really have a need for bigger than +3 HD versions of the Basic dragons. At least not at this point. I’d love to reach a place where a 13 HD red dragon just isn’t tough enough for the PCs any more.

  2. Kevin says:

    This is very useful. Thanks for this.

  3. Reese says:

    Great resource – thanks for sharing this! Another cool thing I’ve used in a similar vein are the elementals in Dark Dungeons. He did the same things and expanded those out over multiple HD strengths.

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