Chromatic dragons in D&D

DND chromatic dragons

In the realms of Dungeons & Dragons, dragons are formidable and iconic creatures, their majestic forms casting shadows of awe and fear across the land. Among them, the chromatic dragons emerge as the greedy, evil, and predatory creatures that worship Tiamat, the mother of dragons.

In this article, we’ll explore the intricate tapestry of chromatic dragons, delving not just into the well-known five coloured dragons in D&D 5e, but also some lesser-known yet equally captivating chromatic dragons.

What are the 5 chromatic dragons in D&D?

The five most popular chromatic, or coloured, dragons in D&D are red dragons, blue dragons, black dragons, green dragons, and white dragons.

Each of these unique dragons aligns with a specific elemental affinity and possesses unique abilities and characteristics.

Red chromatic dragon

Chromatic red dragon

Credit: Brunnbjorn

Known as the largest and most powerful of all chromatic dragons, red dragons are imposing figures, whose sleek, muscular bodies are covered in crimson scales. These dragons are driven by an insatiable hunger for wealth, power, and dominance, often amassing hoards of treasure in their lairs that rival the treasuries of kings. Interested only in their own well-being and vanity, they are supremely confident creatures, found often in mountainous regions.

A red chromatic dragon is a formidable adversary with a range of deadly abilities, actions, and legendary actions. Its most iconic feature is its fiery breath weapon; a cone of searing flames that deals significant fire damage to all creatures caught in the area of effect.

Caves with volcanic or geothermal activity are the most highly prized red dragon lairs, creating hazards that hinder intruders. Using their lair actions, they can call forth gouts of lava and volcanic gas, further testing the mettle of those who dare challenge them.

Blue chromatic dragon

Chromatic blue dragon

Credit: Velinov

Blue chromatic dragons are among the most intelligent of their kind. Cloaked in deep blue scales, these dragons are known for their affinity for lightning, and their mastery over storms and electricity is a testament to their fearsome power.

Often dwelling in desolate regions, deserts, and rocky coasts, blue dragons are vain and territorial creatures skilled in manipulation and the use of hallucinations against their opponents. They use their lightning breath and their burrowing ability to carve out their lairs beneath the sands.

A blue chromatic dragon’s lightning breath, legendary resistances, multi-attack, and tail attack all make it a feared adversary. As patient and methodical combatants, they are not to be trifled with.

Black chromatic dragon

Chromatic black dragon

Credit: Jason Engle

Easily distinguishable by their murky, shadowy appearance, black chromatic dragons are the most evil-tempered and vile of the chromatic dragons. They loathe seeing the weak prosper, making their homes in fetid swamps and crumbling ruins where kingdoms once stood.

The signature weapon of a black dragon is its corrosive acid breath. This potent attack is twinned with its ability to twist its already unpleasant swamp to disorient and wear down its foes.

In combat, a black dragon strikes the weakest enemies first, ensuring a quick and brutal victory, which bolsters its ego as it goes on to terrify its remaining foes. They are, however, very cowardly, and at the jaws of defeat, a black dragon does anything it can to save itself.

Green chromatic dragon

Chromatic green dragon

Credit: Caraid

The most cunning and treacherous of the coloured dragons, green dragons use misdirection and trickery to its advantage. They prefer making their lands in jungles, pine forests, or anywhere with an abundance of vegetation that they can shape to their desires.

With a penchant for manipulation and deceit, a green dragon bends other creatures to its will by assessing and playing off their deepest desires. They enjoy stalking their victims, sometimes shadowing its prey for days.

The hallmark of a green dragon is its poison breath, a gaseous breath weapon in a large cone. However, it never slays all its foes, preferring instead to use intimidation to establish control over survivors.

White chromatic dragon

Chromatic white dragon

Credit: Billy Christian

Bestial, vicious, and greedy, white chromatic dragons are the most animalistic of all dragons, living for the thrill of the hunt and the pleasure of the kill.

The white dragon possesses an incredible memory, holding grudges that can last for centuries. But just like the other dragons, they love treasure, keeping hoards of items that resemble it: like diamonds, walrus tusks, furs, and frozen corpses of those the dragon has slain.

While they are technically the smallest of the dragons, a white dragon is not to be messed with. They can emit a torrent of frost and ice using their cold breath, an icy blast in a large cone.

What other chromatic dragons are there in D&D?

In addition to the well-known five chromatic dragons in D&D 5e, there are a lesser-known trio that were added in the 4th edition Draconomicon. These are the brown, gray, and purple chromatic dragons.

Brown chromatic dragon

Chromatic brown dragon

Credit: Askren

Also known as sand dragons, brown dragons prefer the comfort of their desert lairs and are at home below the earth. They are reserved yet irritable creatures that provide for themselves in whatever way requires the least amount of work on their part.

Brown chromatic dragons prefer to remain out of sight underground and keep track of foes using its tremorsense, waiting for the right time to strike. When it surprises its target, the dragon bursts from the ground and uses its sand cloud to blind enemies.

Gray chromatic dragon

Chromatic gray dragon

Credit: Pandius

Gray dragons, sometimes called fang dragons, are the most rapacious, venal, and brutish of all the chromatics. Their fierce love of the hunt, comparable to that of a white dragon, drives them even more than their fondness for gold.

They prefer to call badlands, scrubland, or other flatland terrain their home. This is because of their superior eyesight that allows them to see and distinguish small details for miles.

In combat, a gray dragon swoops from the belly of a cloud, attempting to remain outside its prey’s field of vision until it is too late. While aloft, it relies on its acid breath weapon.

Purple chromatic dragon

Chromatic purple dragon

Credit: Todd Lockwood

Consummate hunters and born manipulators, purple chromatic dragons delight in exploration, especially if that exploration leads them further into the earth. They love discovering places never before trod by sentient creatures, and dream of the wonders undiscovered caverns might hold.

Sometimes referred to as deep dragons, they are largely unknown on the surface, and are far more common in the Underdark, although still rarely seen.

This sinuous, serpentine creature relies on stealth to learn more about what intruders might be up to. A purple dragon delights in controlling other creatures, using their array of mental powers and physical manipulation to control the battlefield.

Can a chromatic dragon be good?

Chromatic dragons are canonically depicted as evil creatures in Dungeons & Dragons. They are known for their malevolence, greed, and selfish behaviour, unlike metallic dragons who are canonically good.

Can you tame a chromatic dragon?

No, you probably can’t befriend or tame a chromatic dragon in D&D. Having a dragon as a pet in D&D is possible, but taming a chromatic dragon is an exceedingly challenging and unlikely feat. These dragons are innately evil, driven by their destructive instincts and tendencies.

Even attempting to tame a chromatic dragon would be a perilous endeavour, fraught with danger and the risk of betrayal. Their greed and inability to be humble makes them highly resistant to any form of taming.

Can chromatic dragons shapeshift?

No, in D&D 5e, chromatic dragons do not have the ability to cast polymorph or otherwise shapeshift. Adult metallic dragons can innately shapeshift, but coloured dragons cannot. However, just because they can’t shapeshift rules as written (RAW) doesn’t mean you can’t make it so they can in your world.

In the realms of Dungeons & Dragons, the chromatic dragons stand as the iconic symbols of power, treachery, and evil. Now having read our guide, you know a little more about why each of the chromatic dragons should be feared. Why not check out our guide to gem dragons in D&D and expand your draconic knowledge?

Embrace the essence of these enigmatic dragons even further with our range of dragon-themed D&D accessories. Treat yourself to one of our dragon dice holders, or savour the roll of your dice on our intricately crafted dragon dice trays.

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