In a world where dragons roam the skies, breathing fire and wielding power, there exists a path so dark and so twisted that only the most narcissistic dragons dare to tread. The fear of death is a profound dread, even for these mighty and long-lived creatures. For some, the very idea of mortality becomes a torment too unbearable to endure. Driven by vanity, fueled by terror, they turn to necromantic energy, ancient rituals, and an insatiable lust for existence. They embrace the path of the dracolich.
A Journey Beyond Death
Imagine, if you will, the transformation of a proud and mighty dragon into a creature that transcends the bounds of life. The flesh withers, the scales decay, the eyes transform into haunting glowing embers, and what remains is a skeletal monstrosity. All that once was is gone, replaced by a skeletal form that still echoes its former glory but is filled with an evil far more profound.
A dracolich is not merely a dead dragon; it is an abomination, a paradox of existence, a testimony to the twisted desires that drive some beings. More wicked than the evilest of dragons, it is driven by an insatiable hunger for power and dominion, with a mind that crafts foul schemes so complex that they defy understanding.
The Birth of the Dracolich
Creating a dracolich is no small feat. It requires the macabre collaboration of the dragon itself and a congregation of mages or cultists, driven by the same dark desires. In a twisted ritual, under a sky darkened by evil omens, the dragon consumes a toxic concoction. Its mighty heart stops, its eyes glaze over, and in that moment of death, the magic takes hold.
The dragon’s spirit, wild and untamed, is captured and bound into a gemstone, an unholy phylactery that holds the essence of what once was. The flesh rots, the spirit lingers, and soon it returns to animate the decaying bones. What rises is a dracolich, a terror beyond words.
The Curse of Existence
If ever a dracolich’s body is destroyed, its spirit retreats into its gem, waiting, watching, never truly dead. It lurks, ready to seize another dragon’s corpse, to begin its dark existence anew. But beware, for if the gem is taken to another plane, the dracolich’s spirit, once freed, passes into the unknown afterlife, its twisted journey at an end.
The Dracolich’s New Form
Only a true dragon, ancient or adult, can undergo this dark transformation. Younger dragons or those who are not true dragons meet death in the attempt, a grim testament to the risks of this path. Even a shadow dragon cannot be so transformed, having already lost too much of its physical being.
In this new form, the dracolich loses traits linked to life and may gain or lose lair actions as the dark fates decide. It is a new existence, filled with dark power and a cold, unyielding malice.
A Tale of Horror and Intrigue
In the legends and nightmares of those who dwell in the land of dragons, the tale of the dracolich is whispered with fear and fascination. It is a story of vanity turned to madness, of fear twisted into abomination, of power that defies nature itself.
To encounter a dracolich is to face the unknown, to glimpse a horror that transcends the mortal coil. It is a tale that haunts dreams, a dark mystery that lingers long after the telling, a myth that resonates with the darkest parts of the soul.
In the shadows of the dragon’s world, the dracolich waits, an eternal enigma, a terror beyond understanding, a testament to the lengths some will go to escape the inevitable embrace of death. It is a reminder that even the mightiest can fall, that even dragons must reckon with the terror of their mortality. It is a tale not easily forgotten, a journey into the heart of darkness itself.
The dracolich’s type changes from dragon to undead, and it no longer requires air, food, drink, or sleep.
The dracolich has resistance to necrotic damage.
The dracolich has immunity to poison. It also retains any immunities it had prior to becoming a dracolich.
The dracolich has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the dragon takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; the dragon can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:
- Part of the ceiling collapses above one creature that the dragon can see within 120 feet of it. The creature must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 10 (3d6) bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone and buried. The buried target is restrained and unable to breathe or stand up. A creature can take an action to make a DC 10 Strength check, ending the buried state on a success.
- A cloud of sand swirls about in a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on a point the dragon can see within 120 feet of it. The cloud spreads around corners. Each creature in the cloud must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be blinded for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
- Lightning arcs, forming a 5-foot-wide line between two of the lair’s solid surfaces that the dragon can see. They must be within 120 feet of the dragon and 120 feet of each other. Each creature in that line must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or take 10 (3d6) lightning damage.
Additional Lair Actions
- Misleading Mirage. Until initiative count 20 on the next round, at each intersection or branching passage in the lair, a creature other than the dragon has a 50 percent chance of going in a different direction from the direction it intends.
- Sudden Sinkhole. The dragon chooses a point on the ground that it can see within 120 feet of it. A 5-foot-radius, 20-foot-deep pit forms centered on that point. A creature on the ground above where the pit formed must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature falls to the bottom of the pit, taking 7 (2d6) bludgeoning damage and landing prone. On a successful save, a creature moves to the nearest unoccupied space instead of falling in the pit.
The region containing a legendary blue dragon’s lair is warped by the dragon’s magic, which creates one or more of the following effects:
- Thunderstorms rage within 6 miles of the lair.
- Dust devils scour the land within 6 miles of the lair. A dust devil has the statistics of an air elemental, but it can’t fly, has a speed of 50 feet, and has an Intelligence and Charisma of 1 (-5).
- Hidden sinkholes form in and around the dragon’s lair. A sinkhole can be spotted from a safe distance with a successful DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check. Otherwise, the first creature to step on the thin crust covering the sinkhole must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or fall 1d6 × 10 feet into the sinkhole.
If the dragon dies, the dust devils disappear immediately, and the thunderstorms abate within 1d10 days. Any sinkholes remain where they are.
Additional Regional Effects
Any of these effects might appear in the area around a blue dragon’s lair, in addition to or instead of the effects described in the Monster Manual:
- Blue Luster. Creatures that spend a year within 1 mile of the dragon’s lair find blue objects fascinating and feel compelled to acquire them at every opportunity.
- Mirage Terrain. The area immediately surrounding the lair appears to be a lush oasis. A creature carefully examining the illusion can attempt a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check to disbelieve it. A creature who disbelieves the illusion sees it as a vague image superimposed on the underlying terrain.
- Sandstorm. A sandstorm blows constantly within 1 mile of the dragon’s lair.