The Draconomicon can refer to one of four sourcebooks for Dungeons & Dragons which, as the title suggests, focus on examining the Dragons of D&D. The first Draconomicon was a Forgotten Realms splatbook for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons - in fact, it was literally the first book to be published with the FOR coding. The second Draconomicon was printed for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition. In Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, the Draconomicon was revived as a series of splatbooks; two volumes were printed, focusing first on the Chromatic Dragons and then on the Metallic Dragons. It's possible that the Catastrophic Dragons and Scourge Dragons may have had their own Draconomicon (either shared or one for each of them), but if it was planned, it was cancelled when Mearls took over as leader of D&D and slowly scrapped 4e to bring out Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. As a result, Catastrophic Dragons are only detailed in the Monster Manual 3 and in a pair of articles in Dragon Magazine issues #424 and #425, whilst the Scourge Dragons have never seen the light of day.
The Forgotten Realms Draconomicon was, like its predecessors, basically a Big Book o' Dragons for DMs, but with a lense specifically on the dragons of faerun, rather than the more setting neutral stance that its first successor would take.
This Draconomicon was divided into nine chapters.
Chapter 1 is titled "Reference". This chapter talks about various aspects of dragon-dom within Faerun; the list is long and covers many different sub-topics:
- Debates on the origin of dragons.
- Theories of draconic evolution and a draconic evolutionary family tree.
- Dragon interactions with magic.
- Future developments of draconic evolution.
- Draconic history.
- Customs and social mores based on species.
- Interspecies relationships.
- Religion, including a detailed list of the Dragon Gods in the Forgotten Realms.
- The history of draconic holy wars.
- The dragon belief in the Twilight of their Gods.
- The phenomena of dragons being worshipped by other races.
Chapter 2 is titled "Geography". It's basically a "where do dragons live?" chapter, examining each species' general preferences and the specific regions of the Realms where those dragons have been reputedly sighted.
Chapter 3 is where the focus of each chapter starts getting obvious. Titled "Dragon Psychology", it's all about the quirky aspects of the dragon mentality; hoard-gathering, reproduction, activity cycles, "rogues" (dragons of non-standard alignment), the draconic influence on the ecosystem, the Ptarian Code of Honor (plus the Talons of Justice, a silver dragon organization dedicated to living by that code), and a brief summary of dragon/humanoid relations.
Chapter 4 is all about "Roleplaying Dragons". Despite this name, it's actually focused more on dragons from a mechanical perspective. Aging, disease, food requirements, breeding, the trials of trying to raise dragon hatchlings, and so forth.
Chapter 5 covers the Faerunian "Dragon Hall of Fame".
Chapter 6 is all about "New Dragon Species". It covers chromatic dragon crossbreeds, mercury dragons, dracohydras, steel dragons, and yellow dragons.
Chapter 7 is all about "Magic", specifically covering spells and magic items used by draconic spellcasters
Chapter 8 is the "Hunter's Guide". It's simple basic advice presented as an in-universe guide to hunting dragons.
Finally, Chapter 9 is titled simply "Miscellaneous Information". It covers the draconic afterlife, dragons traveling to other planes, spelljamming dragons, and the Draconomicon as an in-universe magical grimoire.
This book concludes with four dragon-centric adventures; "The Millennium Dragon", "Invitation to a Robbery", "The Servants of the Verdant Cloud", and "Draco Holy Wars".
This version of the Draconomicon is broken up into 5 chapters and 2 appendixes. Like many 3e splatbooks, it's useful to both DMs and players.
Chapter 1 is All About Dragons, and is an in-depth biology textbook-style examination of draconic physiology, their life cycle, psychology and society, both in general and focusing specifically on the Metallic Dragons and Chromatic Dragons. It includes an extended primer on the Draconic language and 3e religion writeups for the Dragon Gods.
Chapter 2 is A DM's Guide to Dragons. This covers a variety of subtopics, including how to use dragons in your campaign, tips on running a dragon encounter, and a plethora of new mechanical goodies for dragon NPCs; feats, spells, magic items and Prestige Classes, culminating in mechanics for Advanced Dragons. It contains the following PrCs:
- Bloodscaled Fury
- Disciple of Arshardalon
- Dispassionate Watcher of Chronepsis
- Dragon Ascendant
- Elemental Master
- Hidecarved Dragon
- Sacred Warder of Bahamut
- Unholy Ravager of Tiamat
Naturally, this means that Chapter 3 is The Player's Perspective; advice on battling dragons, new feats, new spells, new magic items. It includes the new Cleric Domains Domination, Dragon, Glory, Greed and Wealth, and an assortment of new Prestige Classes, detailed below. The final segment examines the various ways of including dragons in an adventuring party, examining their advantages & disadvantages before discussing them as mounts, cohorts, special mounts and familiars before touching upon them as player characters. Surprisingly, this book does not contain rules for using dragon races-as-classes; that kind of awesomeness was relegated to Dragon Magazine, with issue #320 having rules for Metallic Dragons and being followed up by rules for Chromatic Dragon PCs in issue #332.
- Dragonsong Lyrist
- Initiate of the Draconic Mysteries
- Platinum Knight
- Talon of Tiamat
Chapter 4 is the inevitable New Monsters chapter, featuring the following new beasts:
- Abyssal Drake
- Dracolich template
- Draconic Creature temlate
- Dragonkin monster/PC race
- Elemental Drake (Air, Earth, Fire, Ice, Magma, Ooze, Smoke, Water)
- Faerie Dragon
- Fang Dragon
- Spiked Felldrake
- Ghostly Dragon template
- Golem (Dragonbone, Drakestone, Ironwyrm)
- Half-Dragon (Half-Dragons for Oriental Dragons, Gem Dragons, and the Planar Dragons introduced here)
- Hoard Scarab
- Landwyrm (Desert, Forest, Hill, Jungle, Mountain, Plains, Swamp, Tundra, Underdark)
- Planar Dragons (Battle, Chaos, Ethereal, Howling, Oceanus, Pyroclastic, Radiant, Rust, Styx, Tarterian)
- Shadow Dragon
- Skeletal Dragon template
- Squamous Spewer
- Storm Drake
- Vampiric Dragon template
- Zombie Dragon
Chapter 5 is Sample Dragons, and has a fully fleshed out and statted up series of dragons, consisting of one dragon from each of the age categories for each of the Chromatic Dragon and Metallic Dragon species.
Appendix 1 is The Dragon's Hoard, which consists of assorted mechanics and rules to make it both easier to generate a dragon's hoard and to create more variety in the hoard's contents, as well as using it to generate plot hooks or setting development. It ends, of course, with some sample hoards.
Appendix 2 is an Index of Dragons, which is exactly what its name suggests; a list of every single dragon-typed monster, both "true" and "lesser", as well as an identification of where it hails from, listing both official splatbooks and 3e edition-centric issues of Dragon Magazine at the time of printing.
Unlike their 3e counterpart, the 4e Draconomicons were strictly DM-centric. They both had roughly the same sort of outline, with each divided into 4 chapters that were broken up into sub-topics, although their base content differed.
Chapter 1 is Dragon Lore, and like its namesake in 3rd edition, it's essentially a biology textbook on dragons. It covers draconic origins within the World Axis cosmology, anatomy, psychology, sociology, language and religion, as well as taking an in-depth look the distinct sub-breeds of the book's focus dragon family. This means that whilst the basic points are repeated between the Chromatic and Metallic Draconomicons, the precise execution differs, since each family has distinctive psychological traits and an outlook on society, religion, etcetera. One thing that both share in particular is that the Religion sub-chapter doesn't convert the Dragon Gods to 4e; that kind of hyper-focused deity goes against 4e's design style. Instead, it examines their relationship with the gods of the Dawn War pantheon... although some of the old Dragon Gods do slip in as dragon-focused Exarches. This Draconomicon restores Aasterinian, Astilabor, Chronepsis and Falazure.
Chapter 2 is A DM's Guide to Dragons. In this chapter, DMs are presented with guides to running combat and social encounters with dragons, a number of chromatic dragon-focused adventures, advice on using chromatic dragons as adventurer patrons, advice on designing a draconic hoard, a collection of chromatic dragon-related artifacts, several rituals created by dragons, the use of dragon body parts as ritual components, and a list of famous chromatic dragons from the Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk settings.
Artifacts featured in this book consist of:
- Illthuviel's Blackened Heart
- BLue Orb of Dragonkind
- Spear of Urrok the Brave
- Unconquered Standard of Arkhosia
Chapter 3 is Dragon Lairs, and is exactly what it says on the tin; an assortment of chromatic dragon lairs fleshed out for use in your 4e campaign.
Finally, Chapter 4 is all about New Monsters, broken in to several categories (detailed below), plus the Draconic Creature and Dragonguard templates and a variety of Alternative Powers for Chromatic Dragons, including mechanics for Polychromatic Dragons (halfbreeds of two different Chromatic strains).
- Brown Dragon
- Gray Dragon
- Purple Dragon
- Chromatic Wyrmlings (Black< Blue, Brown, Gray, Green, Purple, Red, White)
- Abyssal Dragons (Frostforged Wyrm, Deathmask Dragon)
- Astral Dragons (Battle Dragon, Pact Dragon)
- Elemental Dragons (Blazewyrm, Dragon Eel, Tempest Dragon, Pyroclastic Dragon)
- Feywild Dragons (Faerie Dragon, Mirage Dragon, Wretch Dragon)
- Shadowfell Dragons (Blight Dragon, Shadow Dragon)
- Dracolich (Bone Mongrel, Stoneborn, Icewrought, Dreambreath)
- Draconic Wraith (Wyrm Whisp, Soulgrinder]]
- Draconic Zombie (Winged Putrescence, Rotclaw, Deathless Hunger, Rancid Tide)
- Skeletal Dragon (Razortalon, Bonespitter, Siegewyrm)
- Vampiric Dragon (Thief of Life, Bloodwind)
- Abishai (Wrack, Storm, Inferno)
- Draconic Parasite (Hoard Scarab, Swarmtongue)
- Dragonborn (Sellsword,, Exemplar of Tiamat, Fire Adept, Bloodreaver, Warmaster, Annihilator)
- Dragonspawn (Greenspawn Sneak, Brownspawn Marauder, Bluespawn Stormlizard, Greenspawn Razorfiend, Grayspawn Fleshtearer, Purplespawn Nightmare, Redspawn Devastator)
- Drake (Ambush, Portal)
- Kobold (Hobbler, Wyrmwarped, Dragonkin)
- Living Breath
- Squamous Thing
(Chromatic) Dragon Hall of Fame:
- Cyan Bloodbane
Chapter 1 is Dragon Lore, and like its namesake in 3rd edition, it's essentially a biology textbook on dragons. It covers draconic origins within the World Axis cosmology, anatomy, psychology, sociology, language and religion, as well as taking an in-depth look the distinct sub-breeds of the book's focus dragon family. This means that whilst the basic points are repeated between the Chromatic and Metallic Draconomicons, the precise execution differs, since each family has distinctive psychological traits and an outlook on society, religion, etcetera. One thing that both share in particular is that the Religion sub-chapter doesn't convert the Dragon Gods to 4e; that kind of hyper-focused deity goes against 4e's design style. Instead, it examines their relationship with the gods of the Dawn War pantheon... although this one does have some new "Dragon Gods", which are dragon-focused Exarches; Athearsauriv, Edarmirrik, Thurkeavaeri, and Vivexkepsek
Chapter 2 is A DM's Guide to Dragons. In this chapter, DMs are presented with a guide to including metallic dragons in their world - including using them as patrons or in other roles, running combat and social encounters with metallic dragons, metallic-centric adventures and campaigns, metallic-founded organizations, and metallic-based artifacts.
Organizations featured in this book consist of:
- The Blood of Barastiss
- The Guardians of the Gates
- The Grand Assemblage of the League of Eternal Discovery
- The Solemn Order of the Knights of Saint Vercesien the Gold
Artifacts featured in this book consist of:
- Blood of Io
- Seal of the Lawbringer
Chapter 3 is Dragon Lairs, and is exactly what it says on the tin; an assortment of metallic dragon lairs fleshed out for use in your 4e campaign.
Finally, Chapter 4 is all about New Monsters, broken in to several categories (detailed below), plus rules for changing dragons from Solo monsters to Elite monsters and assorted Alternative Powers for metallic dragons.
- Brass Dragon
- Bronze Dragon
- Cobalt Dragon
- Metallic Wyrmlings (Adamantine, Brass, Bronze, Cobalt, Copper, Gold, Iron, Mercury, Mithral, Orium, Silver, Steel)
- Couatl (Rogue Serpent, Redeemer)
- Draconians (Adamaaz, Aurak, Baaz, Bozak, Ferak, Kapak, Kobaaz, Sivak)
- Drake (Liondrake, Vulture Drake)
- Kobold (Dragonkin, Wyrmguard)
(Metallic) Dragon Hall of Fame:
- Bahamut (Platinum Dragon, Old Man with Canaries, Aspect of Bahamut, Kuyutha the Exarch)