Half-Dragon

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A Half-Dragon is the result of a dragon having a hybrid child with a non-dragon creature. Technically, this can result in a wide variety of different hybrid monsters - the dragonne, for example, is a hybrid of brass dragon and lion - but what this article is mostly concerned with is the inevitable result of dragons mating with humanoids.

AD&D[edit]

What half-dragons were originally presented as looking like. Looks like an elf with a snake's eyes.

Half-dragons first appeared in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition, in the Council of Wyrms setting.

Half-dragons of Io's Blood Isles can only be born when a male dragon with an innate shapechanging ability mates with a demihuman female - it's possible that human women are also cross-fertile, but because the archipelago is inhabited exclusively by demihumans and humans are vehemently hostile towards dragons, nobody's ever tried. Female dragons can't become pregnant by non-dragon males, and male dragons under a polymorph spell can't fertilize female demihumans; as a result, only Gold, Silver and Bronze Dragons produce half-dragon offspring. Perversely, despite this ability to interbreed, half-dragons are regarded as unnatural and repugnant by the dragons of the Io's Blood Isles; even those who are formally accepted by a draconic patron are usually looked down upon. Still, their potency is such that the dragons often look to half-dragon adventurers to complete tasks too dangerous for demihuman vassals.

Regardless of their demihuman heritage, all half-dragons share the same basic appearance. An adult half-dragon is tall, lean and lithe, almost elf-like, with a slender frame, lean muscles, long limbs and pointed ears. Their skin is colored the same as their draconic father's scales; golden, silver, or bronze, and their thick, luxurious hair is a deeper or richer shade of this same color. They lack wings, tails and scales, but their draconic heritage shines through in their claw-like fingers - complete with flesh-ripping talons - the reptilian cast of their facial features (especially their serpentine eyes, of the same color as their hair), and in the stubs of horns upon their temples.

This idea was so well received that, in addition to debuting as monsters in the 2nd Monstrous Compendium Annual, the June 1994 issue of Dragon Magazine, volume #206, featured the article "Part Dragon, All Hero". This reprinted the rules and information for Io's Blood half-dragons, but also examined the phenomena as it applied to other settings. Working with the base assumption that only male dragons with an innate shapechanging-to-humanoid ability could father half-dragons, and then only with humans and demihumans, it gave us the following additions to the half-dragon family tree and lore.

Greyhawk: On Oerth, half-dragons are relatively common and accepted, especially in the titular City of Greyhawk. Oerthian bronze dragons lack the ability to assume human or demihuman form, so their half-dragon get are unheard of in this world; instead, the third half-dragon of Oerth is that of the Oerthian dragon, more commonly called the "Greyhawk Dragon". Indeed, this is the species most likely to produce half-breed children; there are usually about a dozen half-Greyhawk dragons to be found in the city at any given time. Half-silver dragons are the second most common species, but much rarer; half-golds are incredibly rare.

Dragonlance: Only a single breed of half-dragon exists on Krynn; a unique variant of the half-silver. Krynnish half-silvers are born when a female half-dragon falls deeply in love with a male human, elf or half-elf of Good alignment, such that she begs for Paladine to transform her into a mortal forever so that she may be with the man she loves. The offspring of such children look like whichever of the three races is most appropriate, save for their silver hair and eyes - and even then, this coloration is not unheard of amongst Krynnish elves, so only human-seeming Krynnish half-silvers are likely to be perceived as odd. Because they don't mutate like other half-dragons, and their draconic heritage mostly manifests in a supernatural proficiency for languages, they are often ignorant of their draconic heritage until something drastically opens their eyes.

Forgotten Realms: All three of the "Io's Blood breeds" - half-gold, half-silver and half-bronze - can be found in the Realms, although they are rare. In addition, Toril is home to two unique half-dragon breeds. Firstly, it has the Half-Steel Dragon, a strange breed of dragon that is in most aspects identical to the Oerthian Greyhawk Dragon. Secondly, it is home to the Drow-Dragon, a half-dragon of mingled drow and deep dragon ancestry.

Kara-tur: The original Oriental Adventures setting, naturally, is home to its own unique versions of half-dragons, due to having Oriental Dragons instead of the common Metallic Dragon and Chromatic Dragon breeds. That said, these are not "true" half-dragons, as AD&D would recognize them. Instead, such half-dragons - which can be born to any coupling of chiang lung or shen lung and human, regardless of which is the father and which is the mother - are Spirit Folk of the River subtype.

Finally, the article mentions one other likely half-dragon species; the Half-Iron Dragon, although it mentions this only in passing.

In addition to all of the above, AD&D also introduced two other species of "humanoid dragon" type races; the Dragonkin of the Forgotten Realms and the Draconians of Dragonlance.

AD&D Half-Dragon PC Stats[edit]

Half-dragons in this edition have some complicated rules, so pay attention.

When creating a half-dragon, the player selects its Dragon Lineage and its Humanoid Lineage. The Dragon Lineage is chosen from the list below; the Humanoid Lineage must be either Human or Demihuman (Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, or any variants of the aforementioned, such as Kender or Half-Elf).

Half-dragons start play with the racial abilities (if any) of their Humanoid Lineage, and with an Ability Score set of modifiers determined by their Dragon Lineage. Likewise, their Dragon Lineage determines what classes they can take, what levels they can reach, and their racial adjustments to Thief skills.

Half-dragons cannot engage in multiclassing.

The Kits they can take are determined by their Humanoid Lineage, and they can take kits from the Complete Books of X. They can also take these kits from the Complete Book of Humanoids: Sellsword, Wilderness Protector, Hedge Wizard, Humanoid Scholar, Outlaw Mage, Oracle, War Priest, Wandering Mystic, Scavenger, Tramp. Krynnish half-silvers can take the Holy Order of Stars cleric variant and the Order of High Sorcery wizard variant. Finally, they can take the Exile and Dragon's Ward kits from the Council of Wyrms boxed set.

Finally, half-dragons benefit from Discretionary Abilities and Fixed Abilities. The latter are abilities that all half-dragons gain automatically, consisting of two claw attacks (damage determined by Dragon Lineage) at 5th level and a breath weapon (determined by Dragon Lineage) gained at 7th level. Discretionary Abilities are optional powers that a half-dragon can potentially develop, based on its Dragon Lineage. They have different rules depending on if the half-dragon is half-human or half-demihuman.

Half-demihuman/half-dragons gain 1 Discretionary Ability from their Dragon Lineage at 2nd, 4th, and 6th level. In exchange for this, the half-demihuman must give up one of their demihuman racial abilities for the dragon ability. After 7th level, they stop gaining any racial abilities.

Half-human/half-dragons instead gain 1 Discretionary Ability from their Dragon Lineage at every even-numbered character level (2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, etc), stopping this gaining only when either they have reached their level cap or they have gained all of the Discretionary Abilities associated with their Dragon Lineage. This means that whilst the half-human half-dragon will start out weaker than their demihuman counterpart, they will gain more dragon abilities in the long run, which arguably makes them more powerful - yet another example of AD&D's humanocentrism.

Dragon Lineages[edit]

  • Half-Gold Dragon
Appearance: Half-dragon with dark brown-gold hair, golden irises, pale gold skin.
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Strength, -2 Wisdom, +1 Charisma
Ability Score Range: Strength 7/20, Dexterity /4,18 Constitution 6/18, Intelligence 3/18, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 6/18
Class & Level Limits: Cleric 10, Fighter 11, Ranger 10, Mage 14, Thief 9
Thieving Skill Adjustments: Pick Pockets -5%, Open Locks +10%, Move Silently -10%, Detect Noise +10%, Climb Walls -10%, Read Languages +5%
Discretionary Abilities: Water Breathing (at will), Speak With Animals (at will), Bless (2/day), Detect Lie (2/day), Sleep (2/day), Dragon Fear (3/day), Immune to Fire, Immune to Gas, 90' Infravision
Fixed Abilities: Claw Attacks (1d6/1d6), Breath Weapon (Spray of fire, 10' long, damage 3d6, 2/day)
  • Half-Silver Dragon
Appearance: Half-dragon with silver-white hair, silver irises, very pale gray-white skin.
Ability Score Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Constitution, -1 Intelligence
Ability Score Range: Strength 6/19, Dexterity 5/19, Constitution 5/18, Intelligence 3/18, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 5/18
Class & Level Limits: Cleric 14, Fighter 10, Ranger 12, Mage 11, Thief 14
Thieving Skill Adjustments: Open Locks -5%, Find/Remove Traps +5% , Hide in Shadows +5%, Detect Noise -5%, Climb Walls -5%
Discretionary Abilities: Feather Fall (1/day), Wall of Fog (1/day), Cloud Walk (1 hour per level per day), Dragon Fear (2/day), Immune to Cold, 90' Infravision
Fixed Abilities: Claw Attacks (1d4/1d4), Breath Weapon (Spray of Cold 8' long, damage 4d4, 2/day)
  • Half-Bronze Dragon
Appearance: Half-dragon with dark metallic-brown hair, bronze irises, warm bronze (light to medium brown) skin.
Ability Score Modifiers: +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom
Ability Score Range: Strength 5/18, Dexterity 6/20, Constitution 4/18, Intelligence 3/18, Wisdom 4/18, Charisma 4/18
Class & Level Limits: Cleric 9, Fighter 14, Ranger 14, Mage 8, Illusionist 9, Thief 11
Thieving Skill Adjustments: Pick Pockets +5%, Find/Remove Traps -5%, Move Silently +10%, Hide in Shadows +10%
Discretionary Abilities: Water Breathing (at will), Speak With Animals (at will), Create Food & Water (2/day), ESP (1/day), Dragon Fear (1/day), Immune to Electricity, 60' Infravision
Fixed Abilities: Claw Attacks (1d4/1d4), Breath Weapon (Bolt of Lightning 8' long, damage 3d4, 2/day)
  • Half-Krynnish Silver Dragon
Appearance: Human, Elf or Half-Elf with silver hair and silver irises.
Ability Score Modifiers: +1 to all rolls for human, half-elven or eleven ability scores.
Ability Score Range: As per apparent race.
Class & Level Limits: Cleric 14, Fighter 15, Ranger 17, Wizard 17, Thief 14
Thieving Skill Adjustments: As per Humanoid Lineage.
Discretionary Abilities: Nil
Fixed Abilities: Able to understand any intelligent communication within 5' radius and to communicate in previously unknown languages with 75% accuracy.
  • Half-Greyhawk Dragon
Appearance: Half-dragon with dark gray hair, steel-gray irises, and light gray skin.
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Intelligence, +1 Strength, -1 Dexterity
Ability Score Range: Strength 4/18, Dexterity 3/18, Constitution 4/18, Intelligence 8/19, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 6/18
Class & Level Limits: Cleric 8, Fighter 10, Enchanter 15, Mage 14, Ranger 10, Thief 14
Thieving Skill Adjustments: Pick Pockets +5%, Open Locks -5%, Find/Remove Traps -5%, Detect Noise +5%, Read Languages +15%
Discretionary Abilities: Cantrip (2/day), Friends (1/day), Dragon Fear (1/day), +4 to saves vs. 1st level wizard spells, +4 to saves vs. Poison, 60' infravision
Fixed Abilities: Claw Attacks (1d3/1d3), Breath Weapon (Spray of poisonous gas forming 10'-square cube in front of character, -2 save vs. poison or DIE, 2/day)
  • Half-Steel Dragon
Appearance: Half-dragon with dark gray hair, light gray skin, and heterochromia (one eye silver, one eye dark gray)
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Intelligence, +1 Strength, -1 Dexterity
Ability Score Range: Strength 4/18, Dexterity 3/18, Constitution 4/18, Intelligence 8/19, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 6/18
Class & Level Limits: Cleric 6, Fighter 11, Diviner 15, Mage 14, Ranger 9, Thief 14
Thieving Skill Adjustments: Pick Pockets +5%, Open Locks -5%, Find/Remove Traps -5%, Detect Noise +5%, Read Languages +15%
Discretionary Abilities: Detect Lie (2/day), Charm Person (2/day), Dragon Fear (1/day), Magic Resistance 25%, Able to use any magical item meant for mages/wizards, 60' infravision
Fixed Abilities: Claw Attacks (1d3/1d3), Breath Weapon (Spray of poisonous gas forming 10'-square cube in front of character, -4 save vs. poison or Feign Death for 2d10 turns, 2/day)
  • Half-Deep Dragon (Drow-Dragon)
Appearance: Half-dragon with black hair, bright red eyes, and deep maroon skin.
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Dexterity, -2 Wisdom
Ability Score Range: Strength 6/18, Dexterity 8/20, Constitution 4/18, Intelligence 5/18, Wisdom 3/16, Charisma 3/16
Class & Level Limits: Cleric 12, Fighter 12, Mage 15, Thief 16
Thieving Skill Adjustments: Pick Pockets -5%, Open Locks -5%, Find/Remove Traps +5%, Move Silently +10%, Hide in Shadows +10%, Climb Walls +5%, Read Languages -10%
Discretionary Abilities: DetecT Magic (at will), True Seeing (2/day), Immune to Charm/Sleep/Hold magic, Dragon Fear (1/day), +4 bonus to saves vs. and -1 on each die of damage from heat/fire/cold/ice spells, regenerate 1 HP/turn, 120' infravision
Fixed Abilities: Claw Attacks (1d3/1d3), Breath Weapon (Spray of flesh-corrosive gas 5' long, damage 3d4, 2/day)
  • Half-Iron Dragon
Appearance: Half-dragon with black hair, dark gray eyes, and medium gray or ash-black skin.
Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom
Ability Score Range: Strength 12/20, Dexterity 3/18, Constitution 12/20, Intelligence 3/18, Wisdom 3/18, Charisma 3/18
Class & Level Limits: Cleric 9, Fighter 15, Mage 8, Ranger 13, Thief 14
Thieving Skill Adjustments: Pick Pockets -5%, Open Locks +5%, Find/Remove Traps +5%, Climb Walls -10%
Discretionary Abilities: Immune to all heat/fire attacks and spells, Dragon Fear (1/day), Heat Metal (2/day), Stone Shape (2/day), 90' Infravision
Fixed Abilities: Claw Attacks (1d6/1d6), Breath Weapon (Spray of Sparks 10' long, damage 3d6, 2/day)

3rd Edition[edit]

In 3rd edition, half-dragons changed dramatically. No more were they restricted to TSR's frail attempt at some kind of realistic biology. Instead, any combination of a true dragon and a humanoid (or practically anything else) could produce a child, under the logic of "it's magic, we ain't gotta explain that shit". Thusly, half-dragons could have dragons dads or moms, and belong to literally any human, demihuman or humanoid race; hence, it went from a race in its own right to one of the first Racial Templates. True, dragon dads tend to be the default assumption, but that's more because "Human Mom, Inhuman Dad" is kind of a standard trope. A handful of exceptions have shown up here and there - The splatbook "Exemplars of Evil" even features a female Blue Dragon called Boraksaghegirak, aka "Borak the Thunder Tyrant", who developed a taste for sex with human guys after a long and profitable partnership with a wizard (it went sour after he tried to magically enslave her), resulting in her staking out a territory and building a harem of human men, using her half-dragon sons as her personal elite guard.

And we say "any combination", we mean it. The list of dragons capable of producing half-dragon offspring is huge; only the Axial Dragons were exempt, and that's more because their hyper-lawful mindset made them consider race-mixing an ultimate abomination. They had to update the template twice to cover all the variants after the Monster Manual was introduced, first in the Draconomicon and then in Races of the Dragon - and they still missed the strains from the Planar Dragon articles in Dragon Magazine.

Another major change in this edition is that half-dragons stopped trying to be a demihuman race in their own right. Instead of the homogenous appearance of the AD&D version, 3e half-dragons are instead mutants who can bear any sort of combination of humanoid and draconic traits that a person can imagine, from looking like a full-fledged anthropomorphic dragon to looking almost human save for tiny wings, horns, eyes, a tail, and maybe paws for feet and/or cute patches of scales.

Needless to say, half-dragons exploded in popularity in this edition; even despite the scourge of Level Adjustment, it seemed like everybody wanted to play a half-dragon. Perhaps this is why, when the Draconomicon rolled around, WotC came up with the Draconic template; although still a racial template, this represented a being with much more distant draconic ancestry - being to the half-dragon what a tiefling is to a half-fiend or an aasimar is to a half-celestial - and thus whilst it wasn't as strong, it was also much easier to play.

Half-dragons and draconic creatures would go on to get a chapter devoted to themselves in Races of the Dragon. This splatbook also tried to introduce alternatives to the half-dragon to scratch that "I wanna be a dragon!" itch, in the form of the first iteration of the Dragonborn and the justly forgotten Spellscale. It also featured a Racial Class, allowing a player to give up progression in a normal class to instead advance through the draconic template and even into the half-dragon template.

This was a vast improvement over the Dragon Disciple Prestige Class in the core books, which allowed one to acquire the half-dragon template over 10 levels of prestige class. It's pretty meh since it required casting but didn't actually advance it and didn't really advance melee ability either.

3E also introduced Eberron, which has a unique view on half-dragons. There, the one known true half-dragon - an elf with Green Dragon parentage - was considered an abomination the dragons and elves worked together to destroy. Races of the Dragon, in a side-bar, explains that half-dragons are extremely rare in Eberron (for obvious reasons), but are sometimes bred to serve as agents for the dragons of Argonnessen amongst the Seren people. More likely, they are the product of the cultists of the Dragon Below, who perform horrible experiments in fleshcrafting with dragon grafts and draconic essence, or else they are fiendish allies of Tiamat, blessed with draconic might for service to her. Shapeshifting dragons can also take a feat that lets them take an alternate form with the Half-Dragon template to retain their dragon abilities while having the size and thumbs of "lesser races".

3rd edition also introduced a more twisted version of the concept in the Dragonspawn in the Monster Manual IV. Draconians and Dragonkin both returned as well, and even became playable races in this edition.

d20 Modern[edit]

Half-dragons are present in Urban Arcana and have reverted back to a single race here. They have +3 LA and can always fly, regardless of size. Even though flight is pretty hard to get in D20 Modern and at will flight is even harder, the system screws LA even more (you lose base defense bonus and wealth bonus from level up) while ranged attacks are the norm.

Interestingly Urban Arcana also has Dragonblooded Humans, which are to half-dragons what Planetouched are to Half-Celestials/fiends/whatevers. For some strange reason this idea hasn't been touched again besides Spellscales, which are primarily a true breeding race. They're even OGL content!

Pathfinder[edit]

Like most things in Pathfinder that were OGL, half-dragons are largely the same as 3.5. Since level adjustment was smote like it should have been they have no LA but aren't able to be used as player characters. Less common in the world and fluff takes a position that most half-dragons are actually magical experiments, not crossbreeds. On the plus side, Dragon Disciple is a lot more viable now that it actually advances casting, to the point that Paladin 2/Sorcerer 3/Dragon Disciple 4/Eldritch Knight 10 is the best Gish in core only.

4th Edition[edit]

They don't exist here, with D&D instead promoting the Dragonborn race in their place as a way to have a playable dragon that neither is overpowered nor requires your backstory to be some variant of "at least one of my parents was a xenophile". That said, Draconians and Dragonspawn both returned as monsters in the Draconomicons.

5th Edition[edit]

Back again as one of the few "half-x" racial templates in the monster manual.

What's the appeal?[edit]

LamiaMonstergirl.pngThis article or section is about Monstergirls (or a monster that is frequently depicted as a Monstergirl), something that /tg/ widely considers to be the purest form of awesome. Expect PROMOTIONS! and /d/elight in equal measure, often with drawfaggotry or writefaggotry to match.

Half-dragons are a contentious thing in the fandom, but obviously aren't going anywhere any time soon. Still, you may wonder why people like them.

For some, it's simply the logic "dragons are awesome, so playing a dragon is even more awesome" - D&D has recognized this since basically forever and the earlier editions of the game included rules that allowed a player character to tame/convince a dragon to team up with them by besting them in combat. But since even a small dragon would royally fuck party balance, the idea of a humanoid-sized one that stood on two legs, spoke, used gear meant for humanoids and didn't had anyone in the vicinity running for their lives quickly emerged. That's the particular itch the original half-dragon and eventually the dragonborn were made for.

Sadly enough, Power Gamers were soon attracted to the class as well, because being a half-dragon in 3e was a massive power boost. And then there are those who just think it's hot to know their character was made from interspecies fucking. After all, dragons are considered pretty sexy by a wide swathe of deviants - I mean, you can't order an elf-dildo online. Doesn't hurt that, by the canon descriptions of half-dragons, you could take any monstergirlified dragon art and that's a totally legitimate depiction of a female half-dragon. 4e formalized Dragonborn as a PC race fior the sake of internal balance (which led to aforementioned skub) and 5e shrugged and went for a "best of both world" approach, offering both possibilities while keeping the power levels generally down.

Gallery[edit]

External links that you probably shouldn't click[edit]

Tyria and Lemore

part 2, if you didn't get enough shota-dragon from the previous one

A sorceress makes excellent use of the Dragon Familiar feat, Draconomicon p.104

A not so brave knight confronts a Red She-Dragon

Oh, you thought I was joking about the dildos? Aren't you naive.

The Dragons of Dungeons & Dragons
Arcane Dragon - Catastrophic Dragon - Chromatic Dragon - Dragonet - Epic Dragon - Faerie Dragon
Ferrous Dragon - Gem Dragon - Half-Dragon - Linnorm - Metallic Dragon
Oriental Dragon - Planar Dragon - Pseudodragon - Song Dragon