Yeah, yeah – the mighty red dragon, paragon of scaled evil and terror in the game. But where’s the subtlety, the range? Leave your players guessing with the following six sub-species of the venerable red dragon. The remainder of this post is declared Open Game Content.
Carnelian Dragon: The carnelian dragon is medium-sized for a red dragon (i.e. 10 HD) and always intelligent, though never capable of speech. Carnelian dragons always possess the following spells: Detect evil (3/day), ESP (3/day), Legend Lore (1/day), Suggestion (1/day). They communicate telepathically in a screeching voice that raises the hairs on the nape of the neck. A carnelian dragon replaces the red dragon’s cone of fire breath with a psychic pulse that disrupts the synapses of the brain. All within 30 feet must pass a saving throw or be affected. For the next 6 rounds, the person must pass a saving throw whenever they want to perform an action other than running away or dodging blows (but without the benefit of a shield, which requires active thinking). Any other act – attacking, spell casting, talking, tap dancing, playing checkers – requires a successful save.
| Carnelian Dragon: HD 10; AC 2 ; Atk 2 claws (1d8), 1 bite (3d10); Move 9 (F24); Save 5; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Spells, psychic pulse.
Crimson Dragon: The crimson dragon is a large, ponderous beast with a shortened snout and heavy eyes. Crimson dragon’s never speak and are relatively un-intelligent. They relish the infliction of distress and pain, and are as often on the move as in their lairs. In place of fire breath, a crimson dragon can breath a blast of wind – hot as a desert wind – that destroys water (reduces all water stores by half), withers plant life (normal dragon breath weapon damage to plant creatures) and sucks the moisture from other living creatures (half normal dragon breath weapon damage to non-plant creatures of flesh and blood).
| Crimson Dragon: HD 11; AC 2 ; Atk 2 claws (1d8), 1 bite (3d10); Move 6 (F15); Save 4; CL/XP 13/2300; Special: Drought breath.
Florid Dragon: The florid dragon is an ill-tempered brute of medium size (i.e. 10 HD). They have shinier scales than most red dragons, and smaller, saw-like teeth in their mouths. A florid dragon has the normal chances for speech and magic use. In place of fire breath, it simply radiates a wave of punishing heat from its body. The heat causes 1d6 points of damage per round to creatures within 10-ft of the dragon, 1d4 points to creatures from 10 to 20 feet away from the dragon and 1 point of damage per round to creatures within 20 to 40 feet of the dragon. Wearing metal armor increases this damage to 1d8/1d6/1d4 respectively. The florid dragon can maintain this heat for 10 minutes per day.
| Florid Dragon: HD 10; AC 2 ; Atk 2 claws (1d8), 1 bite (2d10); Move 9 (F24); Save 5; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Radiate heat.
Ginger Dragon: The ginger dragon is a smaller, less wicked cousin of the red dragon. Lonely and somewhat sensitive, its evil nature usually manifests in flashes of murderous rage when rejected or criticized. When not murderously angry, though, it is a welcoming companion, even generous to adventurers. Where the florid dragon radiates intense heat, the ginger dragon absorbs heat, making the area around him very cool, and thus his warm presence (think of him as a radiator with a 5-ft radius range) all the more pleasant. Within 100 feet of the dragon, the air is absolutely frigid, and people unprotected from the cold suffer 1d6 points of damage per turn from the frost. Within 1 mile of the dragon, things are notably cold, though not damaging. Ginger dragons are always capable of speech and have the normal chance for magic use. Their claws are overly long and razor sharp.
| Ginger Dragon: HD 9; AC 2 ; Atk 2 claws (1d8+1), 1 bite (3d10); Move 12 (F24); Save 6; CL/XP 11/1700; Special: Absorb heat, immune to fire.
Sanguine Dragon: These infernal brutes are ever in league with the dark powers of Hell, acting as their messengers and assassins in the world of mortals. They are small for red dragons and possessed of black, branching antlers that are lovely to behold if they aren’t gouging out your eye or spleen. Sanguine dragons can always speak and cast spells, and choose their spells from the anti-cleric’s spell list. They replace the red dragon’s cone of fire with a cone of spiritual hellfire, which numbs the soul and robs one of their common decency. Those hit must pass a save or be drained of one level. Those drained of a level must pass a second saving throw or have their alignment move from Lawful to Neutral or Neutral to Chaotic for the span of one month.
| Sanguine Dragon: HD 9; AC 2 ; Atk 2 claws (1d8), 1 bite (3d10), 1 gore (1d8); Move 9 (F24); Save 6; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Hellfire, anti-cleric spells.
Vermilion Dragon: The noble vermilion dragon replaces the fury of the red dragon with a sense of superiority and mild disdain for lesser creatures. Nevertheless, they are as close as a red dragon can get to benevolence, and officially have a Neutral alignment (with benevolent tendencies). Vermilion dragons, like actors, love nothing more than to talk about themselves and hear others talk about them, especially in glowing terms. They are large, with refined features and have a lust for gold (especially in the form of crowns and other regalia) that borders on the obsessive. A vermilion dragon’s cone of fire causes full damage on neutral creatures, 150% normal damage on chaotic creatures, and only half damage on Lawful creatures. Lawful creatures struck by the breath also have all curses and diseases removed from their person and any drained level has a 50% chance of being restored if drained in the last year. Vermilion dragons can always speak, and have the normal chance for magic use.
| Vermilion Dragon: HD 11; AC 2 ; Atk 2 claws (1d8), 1 bite (3d10); Move 9 (F24); Save 4; CL/XP 13/2300; Special: Cleansing fire.