Oriental Dragons, as their name suggests, are what happens when Dungeons & Dragons tries to recast dragons to better fit an Oriental Adventures mold. There are two known examples of these; the Lung Dragons of Dungeons & Dragons and the Imperial Dragons of Pathfinder.
Lung Dragons first appeared in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1e supplement "Fiend Folio"; here, rules were presented for 6 different types of Oriental Dragon; Li Lung (Earth Dragon), Lung Wang (Sea Dragon), Pan Lung (Coiled Dragon), Shen Lung (Spirit Dragon), T'ien Lung (Celestial Dragon) and Yu Lung (Carp Dragon). Two more were added in the 1e supplement Oriental Adventures, the Chiang Lung (River Dragon) and the Tun Mi Lung (Typhoon Dragon).
All eight Lung Dragons were subsequently updated to AD&D 2e in the Forgotten Realms Monstrous Compendium Appendix.
They then made their final appearance to date in the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition Oriental Adventures sourcebook. Lung-blooded Half-Dragons were subsequently statted in the 3e Draconomicon; it was noted in the Kara-Tur and OA sourcebooks that their children were actually Spirit Folk. One way to resolve the discrepancy is that the direct descendants of lung dragons are Spirit Folk with the Half-Lung Dragon template, and subsequent generations become simply spirit folk.
Information about what the Lung Dragons actually do has grown over time. When they first appeared in the Fiend Folio, absolutely nothing was stated about who they are or what they actually do. In Kara-Tur, they were stated to be agents of the Celestial Bureaucracy, with each subspecies having its own particular function in ensuring the smooth governance of the world. It was further noted that, every year, the oriental dragon officers journey to the Celestial Palace to file their reports of the previous year's activities and events. Rewards and punishments are distributed based on the evaluation of the records. A corrupt or inefficient dragon may be removed and replaced by a new appointee; an industrious dragon may be promoted to a position of higher responsibility. This was later re-used for the OA material.
Yu Lung (Carp Dragon)
The Carp Dragon is the infantile form of the lung dragon species as a whole. All lung dragons lay their eggs in or close to fresh water, because regardless of the mother's species, her offspring will hatch as this strange tadpole-like dragon. A carp dragon almost resembles a draconic version of a merfolk, with the tail of a giant carp connecting to the forequarters of a small dragon with prodigiously webbed foreclaws. Their scales are blue-gray with variously colored markings, and their eyes are bright yellow and rather cat-like.
Shy and reclusive, they are the smallest and most docile of their kin, building crude (by draconic standards) lairs of mud and stone in the murkiest parts of their lakes, where they scavenge the bottom for food and generally just wait until they reach their final maturity. On the midnight of a yu lung's 101st birthday, it will spontaneously transform into an adult lung dragon of a random species; the 2e version possesses a table to determine which one it evolves into, but this lore isn't present in 3rd edition. Upon evolving, a Yu Lung reports to the Celestial Bureaucracy and is assigned appropriate duties for its new species. For this reason, they have little interest in collecting treasure, and don't assemble the traditional hoard.
Yu lung are known to be quite friendly towards humans who approach them in the right manner, and their bonds are lifelong; even after a yu lung evolves into its adult form, it never forgets its human friends.
In 2nd edition, yu lung of the Young Adult stage possessed a Swallow Whole attack, but they lost this in 3rd edition. They also lost their breath weapon, a cloud of curative vapors that functioned as a 10ft Potion of Healing (2d4+1) that they could exhale once per day.
- Roll - Result
- 01-30 - Shen lung
- 31-50 - Pan lung
- 51-65 - Chiang lung
- 66-80 - Li lung
- 81-90 - Lung wang
- 91-95 - Tun mi lung
- 96-00 - T’ien lung
Li Lung (Earth Dragon)
Easily confused for sphinxes by the unwitting, li lung are the only winged species of lung dragon, and resemble giant lions with human faces and mighty eagle-like wings. A li lung hatchling is covered in light green scales, but as it ages, these darken and are covered by a layer of dense, wiry fur that sprouts from between the scales; a great wyrm earth dragon is nearly black in color and looks completely fur-covered. Their wings are adorned with colorful quills, resembling the tail-feathers of a peacock, and their eyes are a molten gold in color.
Reclusive by nature, these lung dragons are spirits of the deep earth; masters of the earthquake and punishers of the wicked, they are most commonly sent to punish communities that have angered the Celestial Bureaucracy by leveling those settlements with earthquakes. On rare occasions, a community in good standing and great need may be visited by a li lung, who uses its powers to reveal veins of precious metals or to open underground springs.
These dragons are lithovores, feeding primarily on earth and stone - precious metals such as gold and silver are a favorite snack, however.
Lung Wang (Sea Dragon)
The oriental sea dragon shares the same body-plan as the far more malevolent Dragon Turtle, consisting of a giant sea turtle with the head of a shen lung. Rulers of the sea and protectors of its denizens, lung wang are among the most materialistic of the lung dragons, regularly demanding tribute from passing ships. For this reason, regular travelers in the area learn to form arrangement with the local lung wang, dumping a pre-determined amount of treasure overboard at a specific spot to be granted the right to use the lung wang's territory.
Despite being herbivores who prefer algae and seaweed as their primary foodstuff, lung wang are merciless in defending their territories, and will slaughter and/or consume entire ships that they feel have failed to honor them or who have committed "unforgivable" trespasses. They are one of the only two species of lung dragon who possess breath weapons, being capable of exhaling gouts of superheated steam, just like a dragon turtle.
Whilst they maintain cordial relationships with most other lung dragons, lung wang do not get along with tun mi lung. They are often served by communities of intelligent aquatic humanoids, such as merfolk.
Shen Lung (Spirit Dragon)
The shen lung are the most common of the oriental dragons, and the most humble looking. Long and slender, they resemble lizards more than anything, taking the form of giant lizard with spiked tails, ridged backs, two sharp horns atop the head, and golden whiskers around the snout. Like most of the adult lung dragons, shen lung are wingless and fly through the power of a magical pearl of great size embedded in their brains; a shen lung's pearl is yellow in color, a trait they share with the t'ien lung. The scales of youthful shen lung are dull shades of red, blue, green, orange, or any combination of these colors; the scales brighten into brilliant hues as the dragon ages - curiously, their AD&D lore forgets that they begin their life as yu lung, referring to dull "hatchlings" and achieving full brightness by the age of "young adult".
Although they prefer a diplomatic approach, if roused to battle, shen lung are fiercely physical attacks, lashing out with their exceptionally long and powerful tals, clawing, and biting. They also possess the ability to grant Blessings and inflict Curses, conjure Ice Storms, and Control Weather, depending on their age, with 3e adding Cone of Cold and Horrid Wilting to their arsenal. No insect, arachnid or arthropod will approach within 60 feet of a shen lung, and they can also command the loyalty of scaled animals through a kind of magical charm. Immune to lightning and poison, shen lung are vulnerable to fire. They are one of two breeds of oriental dragon capable of using Water Fire, an aura of ghostly, multi-colored fire they can activate whenever touching or submerged in water. This magical flame can be dispelled by the touch of true fire, be it magical or mundane in origin, but burns melee attackers.
These amphibious dragons serve the Celestial Bureaucracy as its courtiers, as well as working as the assistants and guards of the chiang lungs. They are known for being modest, loyal and naturally diplomatic, as well as for a tendency to be fascinated by humans (or humanoids, in less humanocentric settings). Shen lung are the oriental dragons most likely to adopt human form in order to interact with humans, which makes them one of the most likely progenitors of Oriental Half-Dragons. Humanoids return this admiration, viewing shen lung as messengers of the gods and bringers of good fortune, often constructing ornate shrines and staging elaborate ceremonies to invoke their attention and gain their favor.
These dragons typically establish modest yet well-kept lairs in the form of mansions of stone built on the bottoms of rivers and lakes, and often share their territory both with others of their kind and with a chiang lung superior.
Pan Lung (Coiled Dragon)
Pan Lungs resemble shen lungs, and are closely related to them, but they are longer and thinner in frame, and possess different coloration; pan lungs are found in a number of brilliant hues, with various shades of red, orange and green being the most common. They possess multi-colored manes on their necks and dark whiskers growing from their snouts. Their scales are oily, causing them to gleam. The magical brain-pearl that grants them flight is blood-red.
The biggest difference between pan lungs and shen lungs is their assigned role. Whilst shen lungs are courtiers, assistants and body guards, pan lungs are guardians of crypts and temples, as well as being assigned the role of serving as wardens over mortals who were unfaithful spouses. Such unfortunates are condemned to serve their pan lung for a term in years equal to the number of tears they have caused their mate to shed, and rendered immune from aging so long as they are under the dragon's service.
Pan lung are vegetarian by preference, often maintaining elaborate gardens to provide them with fruits and vegetables.
They are generally indifferent to the other lung dragons, ignoring their existence unless commanded otherwise by the Celestial Bureaucracy. The exception is the t'ien lung; pan lungs resent the power and position afforded to the celestial dragons, and have been known to get so caught up in their jealousy that they will spontaneously attack them in a frenzy.
In battle, pan lung share most of the shen lung's abilities, including their Water Fire, but their different body structures allow them to crush foes in constricting coils, rather than wield the powerful tail slaps of their shen lung brothers.
T'ien Lung (Celestial Dragon)
The regal t'ien lung are iconically a golden yellow in color, but have been seen with orange or light green scales. They possess multi-hued manes and whiskers, and antlers rising from their skull. They give off a sweet scent reminiscent of cherry blossoms. Wingless, they can fly through the power of a magical yellow pearl embedded in their brains, like that of a shen lung.
Noble and honorable, though often rigid and unmerciful, t'ien lung are believed to be amongst the most favored officials of the Celestial Bureacracy; this is presented as speculation, which the t'ien lung neither confirm nor deny, in AD&D, but as fact in 3rd edition. They dwell in resplendent castles, built either atop the peaks of high mountains or within banks of clouds, and often surround themselves with elementals of air. Notorious for their love of eating opals and pearls, and their tendency to look kindly upon mortals who give them these delicacies, farmers often make offerings of these in order to coax the t'ien lungs into using their power to control the weather on their behalf.
T'ien lung are the only species of lung dragon with an offensive breath weapon, being capable of exhaling gouts of fire when roused to battle. This serves them well in battling the envious pan lung and the rebellious tun mi lung, both of whom are often drawn to violence with the t'ien lung.
Chiang Lung (River Dragon)
Whilst the lung dragons as a whole are more serpentine than their Chromatic Dragon and Metallic Dragon counterparts, it is the chiang lung who take this to the ultimate extreme, resembling giant serpents whose four short limbs with their webbed feet are easily missed by a casual observer. Underbellies of brilliant yellow offset bodies comprised of various shades of blue and green, whilst multicolored "beards" sprout beneath their chins. These wingless dragons fly through the power of magical giant blue pearls imbedded in their brains.
Assigned to guard rivers and lakes by the Celestial Bureaucracy, chiang lung establish lairs in the form of immense, opulent and magical palaces beneath the surface of the water. Such places sometimes border on demiplanes in their own right, and are usually shared by subordinate nature spirits and shen lung. One nasty little surprise for would-be hoardstealers is that a nascent enchantment causes anything of value within a chiang lung's lair to become absolutely worthless if it is taken from the palace by force; only gifts retain their original value.
In addition to being spirits of rain and water, these noble and honorable dragons are also patrons of the arts and scholarship. They have been known to entertain virtuous scholars, artists, and other men of sufficient learning and art, sometimes by posing as wealthy nobles or governmental officials and taking them for rides on lavishly decorated boats, other times by inviting them down into the chiang lung's palace.
Alongside the shen lung, the chiang lung are particularly fascinated by humans, and frequently interbreed with them. Young female chiang lungs are particularly infamous amongst lung dragons for their tendency to be attracted to handsome human men, resulting in secret love affairs and marriages.
Chiang lung can generate rain at will by exhaling storm clouds, a form of breath weapon that has no combat use.
Whilst they can consume any type of mineral or gem, chiang lung possess more earthly tastes, and are very fond of fish and sheep.
Tun Mi Lung (Typhoon Dragon)
The only truly malicious members of the lung dragon family, the tun mi lung, as their common moniker suggests, are charged with the dispensation of destructive hurricanes and typhoons. They are supposed to only do so when instructed by the Celestial Bureaucracy, but such is their love of their own powers and their enjoyment of storms that they frequently do so of their own volition. As a result, they are on very bad terms with the t'ien lung, who must often reign them in by force.
Largest and bulkiest of the lung dragons, tun mi lung have long, sinuous bodies covered with thick scales in a variety of colors, with blue-green, dark red, and violet among the most common. They have dark beady eyes, stringy beards dangling from their chins, and enormous jaws lined with hooked teeth as sharp as razors. Though wingless, tun mi lung can fly from the power of a magical black pearl embedded in their brains.
It's believed that tun mi lung maintain lavish palaces on the floor of the ocean, hidden in remote areas away from more peaceful and cultured subaquatic denizens. However, they rarely spend time at home, most frequently roaming the skies above the sea or patrolling coastlines. This does not endear them to their kinsfolk, as tun mi lung are indifferent to the territorial claims of other dragons. Of course, such dislike pales in comparison to that felt for the tun mi lung by any seafaring mortal race.
When it comes to food, tun mi lung are the least choosy of all oriental dragons, equally fond of fish, precious gems, and capsized ships.
When drawn into battle, tun mi lung lash out with gale force winds and magical lightning bolts.
Imperial Dragons, sometimes termed Dragons of the Celestial Host, are a type of dragon that are serpentine agents of cosmic balance native to Tian Xia. Like other true dragons, they grow in power as they age. Although they are true dragons, imperial dragons differ in appearance from other true dragons, possessing a long serpentine body. They lack wings, but can fly gracefully through supernatural means. All imperial dragons have large horns with which they can make deadly gore attacks. Like all dragons, imperial dragons can breathe potent torrents of elemental force, cast spells, and perform other supernatural feats. Additionally, all can magically transform themselves into a humanoid shape.
Imperial Dragons consist of five breeds; Forest, Sea, Sky, Underworld, and Sovereign. These are known in Tian Xia as Dilung, Jiaolung, Tienlung, Futsanglung and Lungwang respectively, making their origins in AD&D quite clear. Each, however, only has a single sentence worth of lore so far, as a result of the stupidly huge statblocks taking up all of their page space in the Bestiary 3, where they first appeared.
Forest dragons, or dilung, are fickle and malevolent dragons that dwell in deep, rugged woodlands. While a forest dragon can fly, it prefers to stalk the earth, flying only to pursue objects of its wrath. As they age, they gain increasingly earth-based powers, such as being able to create clouds of blinding dust with their crush attack, summoning an earth elemental, and petrifying those slain by their breath weapon. A dilung's breath weapon is a conical barrage of piercing thorns.
Infused with the power of waves and storms, sea dragons—or jiaolungs, as they are known in many lands—are draconic protectors of oceans and their creatures. Possessing tempestuous natures, sea dragons wander widely, sometimes claiming thousands of miles of ocean and coastlines as their protectorates. Obviously, their powers revolve around water, such as teleporting between bodies ofe water and creating tidal waves. Their breath weapon is a cone of super-heated steam, but those of at least Very Young age can also expel blasts of pressurized water.
Benevolent and noble, sky dragons, or tienlungs, are fearsome champions of good and protectors of those in need. They are often sought out for their wise council, which they grant only to the deserving and true. Their power over the sky increase as they age, to the point the oldest can knock fliers from the sky with their breath weapon, which is a cone of lightning. Old sky dragons can even affect creatures normally immune or resistant to lightning with their breath weapon.
Guardians of balance, sovereign dragons, or lungwangs as they are also known, were placed in the skies by the gods themselves to safeguard harmony in the world. The magical powers of a sovereign dragon relate to its rulership, such as having greater potency against creatures of good and evil, summoning magical golden armor, and an enhanced ability to counter both melee and magical attacks. Their breath weapon is a cone of sonic damage.
Underworld dragons—also called futsanglungs—are calculating, greedy creatures that carve great labyrinthine tunnels beneath the world, defending their hidden treasures. Preferring the earth to the heavens, they channel the fires of the world's core within their twisting, stonelike bodies and through flaming breath hot enough to turn granite into slag. The futsanglung is also a formidable melee opponent, as their claws are made of adamantine and rip through their foes as you'd expect. They burrow with ever-increasing speed, and great wyrms can surface in an eruption of molten lava.