The most evil-tempered and vile of the chromatic dragons, black dragons collect the wreckage and treasures of fallen peoples. These dragons loathe seeing the weak prosper and revel in the collapse of humanoid kingdoms. They make their homes in fetid swamps and crumbling ruins where kingdoms once stood.
With deep-socketed eyes and broad nasal openings, a black dragon’s face resembles a skull. Its curving, segmented horns are bone-colored near the base and darken to dead black at the tips. As a black dragon ages, the flesh around its horns and cheekbones deteriorates as though eaten by acid, leaving thin layers of hide that enhance its skeletal appearance. A black dragon’s head is marked by spikes and horns. Its tongue is flat with a forked tip, drooling slime whose acidic scent adds to the dragon’s reek of rotting vegetation and foul water.
When it hatches, a black dragon has glossy black scale. As it ages, its scales become thicker and duller, helping it blend in to the marshes and blasted ruins that are its home.
Brutal and Cruel
All chromatic dragons are evil, but black dragons stand apart for their sadistic nature. A black dragon lives to watch its prey beg for mercy, and will often offer the illusion of respite or escape before finishing off its enemies.
A black dragon strikes at its weakest enemies first, ensuring a quick and brutal victory, which bolsters its ego as it terrifies its remaining foes. On the verge of defeat, a black dragon does anything it can to save itself, but it accepts death before allowing any other creature to claim mastery over it.
Foes and Servants
Black dragons hate and fear other dragons. They spy on draconic rivals from afar, looking for opportunities to slay weaker dragons and avoid stronger ones. If a stronger dragon threatens it, a black dragon abandons its lair and seeks out new territory.
Evil lizardfolk venerate and serve black dragons, raiding humanoid settlements for treasure and food to give as tribute and building crude draconic effigies along the borders of their dragon master’s domain.
A black dragon’s malevolent influence might also cause the spontaneous creation of evil shambling mounds that seek out and slay good creatures approaching the dragon’s lair.
Kobolds infest the lairs of many black dragons like vermin. They become as cruel as their dark masters, often torturing and weakening captives with centipede bites and scorpion stings before delivering them to sate the dragon’s hunger.
Wealth of the Ancients
Black dragons hoard the treasures and magic items of crumbled empires and conquered kingdoms to remind themselves of their greatness. The more civilizations a dragon outlasts, the more entitled it feels to claim the wealth of current civilizations for itself.
A Black Dragon’s Lair
Black dragons dwell in swamps on the frayed edges of civilization. A black dragon’s lair is a dismal cave, grotto, or ruin that is at least partially flooded, providing pools where the dragon rests, and where its victims can ferment. The lair is littered with the acid-pitted bones of previous victims and the fly-ridden carcasses of fresh kills, watched over by crumbling statues. Centipedes, scorpions, and snakes infest the lair, which is filled with the stench of death and decay.
The black, blue, green, red, and white dragons represent the evil side of dragonkind. Aggressive, gluttonous, and vain, chromatic dragons are dark sages and powerful tyrants feared by all creatures-including each other.
Driven by Greed
Chromatic dragons lust after treasure, and this greed colors their every scheme and plot. They believe that the world’s wealth belongs to them by right, and a chromatic dragon seizes that wealth without regard for the humanoids and other creatures that have “stolen” it. With its piles of coins, gleaming gems, and magic items, a dragon’s hoard is the stuff of legend. However, chromatic dragons have no interest in commerce, amassing wealth for no other reason than to have it.
Creatures of Ego
Chromatic dragons are united by their sense of superiority, believing themselves the most powerful and worthy of all mortal creatures. When they interact with other creatures, it is only to further their own interests. They believe in their innate right to rule, and this belief is the cornerstone of every chromatic dragon’s personality and worldview. Trying to humble a chromatic dragon is like trying to convince the wind to stop blowing. To these creatures, humanoids are animals, fit to serve as prey or beasts of burden, and wholly unworthy of respect.
A dragon’s lair serves as the seat of its power and a vault for its treasure. With its innate toughness and tolerance for severe environmental effects, a dragon selects or builds a lair not for shelter but for defense, favoring multiple entrances and exits, and security for its hoard.
Most chromatic dragon lairs are hidden in dangerous and remote locations to prevent all but the most audacious mortals from reaching them. A black dragon might lair in the heart of a vast swamp, while a red dragon might claim the caldera of an active volcano. In addition to the natural defenses of their lairs, powerful chromatic dragons use magical guardians, traps, and subservient creatures to protect their treasures.
Queen of Evil Dragons
Tiamat the Dragon Queen is the chief deity of evil dragonkind. She dwells on Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells. As a lesser god, Tiamat has the power to grant spells to her worshipers, though she is loath to share her power. She epitomizes the avarice of evil dragons, believing that the multiverse and all its treasures will one day be hers and hers alone.
Tiamat is a gigantic dragon whose five heads reflect the forms of the chromatic dragons that worship her-black, blue, green, red, and white. She is a terror on the battlefield, capable of annihilating whole armies with her five breath weapons, her formidable spellcasting, and her fearsome claws.
Tiamat’s most hated enemy is Bahamut the Platinum Dragon, with whom she shares control of the faith of dragonkind. She also holds a special enmity for Asmodeus, who long ago stripped her of the rule of Avernus and who continues to curb the Dragon Queen’s power.
True dragons are winged reptiles of ancient lineage and fearsome power. They are known and feared for their predatory cunning and greed, with the oldest dragons accounted as some of the most powerful creatures in the world. Dragons are also magical creatures whose innate power fuels their dreaded breath weapons and other preternatural abilities.
Many creatures, including wyverns and dragon turtles, have draconic blood. However, true dragons fall into the two broad categories of chromatic and metallic dragons. The black, blue, green, red, and white dragons are selfish, evil, and feared by all. The brass, bronze, copper, gold, and silver dragons are noble, good, and highly respected by the wise.
Though their goals and ideals vary tremendously, all true dragons covet wealth, hoarding mounds of coins and gathering gems, jewels, and magic items. Dragons with large hoards are loath to leave them for long, venturing out of their lairs only to patrol or feed.
True dragons pass through four distinct stages of life, from lowly wyrmlings to ancient dragons, which can live for over a thousand years. In that time, their might can become unrivaled and their hoards can grow beyond price.
Dragon Age Categories
|Wyrmling||Medium||5 years or less|
|Ancient||Gargantuan||801 years or more|
More information can be found here: Adult Black Dragon – dndtools (dndink.com)