AC 17 (natural armor)
HP 44 (8d8 + 6; bloodied 22)
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft., swim 30 ft.
Proficiency +2; Maneuver DC 12
Skills Perception +2, Stealth +5 (+1d6)
Damage Immunities acid
Senses blindsight 10 ft., darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Ambusher. When submerged in water, the dragon has on Stealth checks.
Amphibious. The dragon can breathe air and water.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d10 + 2) piercing damage.
Acid Breath (Recharge 5–6). The dragon exhales sizzling acid in a 20-foot-long, 5-foot-wide line. Each creature in that area makes a DC 11 Dexterity , taking 13 (3d8) acid damage on a failed save or half damage on a success.
While individual dragons have their own personalities and tactics, most rely heavily on their breath weapons. They use them whenever they can, preferably from maximum distance and while flying above their enemies.
When fighting in the open, dragons often circle above their enemies as they wait for their breath weapons to recharge. They only close to melee if their enemies deal significant damage with ranged attacks, or if they can savage an enemy cut off from its allies. Once, dragons become more aggressive, attacking with bite and claws when their breath weapons aren’t available.
If a dragon is protecting its lair, it utilizes lair features, traps, allies, and architecture such as escape tunnels to keep up a hit-and-run fight, reappearing only when it has a fully-recharged breath weapon. If the dragon is forced into melee combat, it uses its bite and claws against a single foe. If it has legendary actions like Roar and Wing Attack, it uses them to disperse its other enemies.
If reduced to less than one-fourth its hit points while fighting in the open, a dragon flies away. However, it fights to the death to defend its lair, unless it can regain the upper hand through tricks or bargains.
Black Dragon Lair Features
The save DC for the following effects is 13 + the dragon’s proficiency bonus. Choose or roll one or more of the following lair features:
1 A successful Perception check reveals a hidden tunnel. If possible, the dragon snaps someone up in its jaws and squeezes through the tunnel.
2 The lair contains craters filled with bubbling acid. Once per turn, the dragon can use a legendary action to dunk a creature into the acid. The creature takes acid damage equal to one-half the dragon’s breath weapon damage.
3 Murky pools connect to the surrounding bog via underwater tunnels.
4 Creatures other than the black dragon gain no benefit from within the lair. The dragon can make a creature immune to this effect by ritualistically scarring it with acid.
Algarath, Azoth, Ebonflame, Exatharis, Bitterbite, Sear
Legends and Lore
With an Arcana or History check, characters can learn the following:
DC 10 Black dragons make their lairs in swamps and among the ruins of ancient empires.
DC 15 Black dragons spit acid, and the oldest among them can surround themselves with magical darkness.
DC 20 Obsessed with death, black dragons sometimes extend their existences through an arcane ritual that turns them into liches.
With a death's-head face and black wings like a tattered cloak, a black dragon somewhat resembles the humanoid personification of death. Dwelling in rotting swamps among fallen and forgotten monuments, a black dragon revels in terror and decay.
Cruel Ambushers. Black dragons are equally at home high in the night sky or hiding beneath the murky waters of their swamp lairs. They can surround themselves with magical pools of inky shadow. With many ways to hide from prey, black dragons are deadly ambush hunters. Most black dragons relish the fear of their quarry and draw out their hunts as long as possible. Sometimes they grant wounded prey temporary respite, allowing the illusion of escape before plunging their quarry into darkness and terror.
Ancient Monuments. Black dragons are both attracted to—and the cause of—decay and ruin. They often lair within the palaces of fallen kingdoms, especially those they helped topple. But even long-buried peoples still seem alive to the black dragon. It holds ancient rivals in a mixture of contempt and reverence, and often gloats over the dead it has drowned. Collectors and students of ancient relics and treasure, black dragons are eager to share their knowledge about ancient mysteries—though the questioner may not long survive the answer.
Life Beyond Death. With their fixation on time and mortality, black dragons are the most common dragon liches. If personal undeath is beyond a black dragon’s arcane power, it may seek to bolster its physical defenses by creating armies of undead servants.
1 Sleeping underwater
2 Ranting about the weaklings it has destroyed
3 Hiding in ambush
4 Vandalizing ancient architecture
5 Hiding a portion of its treasure in a secondary lair, just in case; it tries to destroy witnesses
6 Flying overhead, hunting
1 Sucking mire; after each hour of travel, succeed on a DC 12 Constitution or gain a level of
2 Fouled, poisoned water
3 Low mist dangerous bogs and other hazards
4 A draconic footprint filled with steaming liquid
5 Fallen towers half-buried in mud: scalding black smoke suddenly jets from a window
6 A toppled royal statue; a crude dragon statue sits in its place atop an empty pedestal
Black dragons live in rotting swamps, lairing among ruins and toppled monuments.
CR 3–4 with 1d4 (see warrior), , or
Treasure 300 gp, 500 sp, 4 sardonyx gemstones (50 gp each), exquisite marble throne (worth 200 gp but bulky), , leaden helm (acts as )
CR 5–10 ; with 1d4 , , or ; with 1 or 2 , , or
Treasure 1,200 gp, 3,000 sp, 2 battleaxes (500 gp each), 3 , (named Immortal; the haft is topped with a gold crown)
CR 11–16 with , , , or
Treasure 2,000 gp, 5,000 sp, ceremonial gold with crowned helm (2,500 gp), , , (the wearer can breathe water)
CR 17–22 ; ; with 2 , , , or
Treasure 8,000 gp, 4,000 ep, iron crown set with 25 jet gemstones (100 gp each gemstone), 50 scrolls of lost history and literature (100 gp each), 3 , of and ,
CR 23–30 ; with , , , or ; with 2d4 , , or ; with 1d6 + 4 and or
Treasure 15,000 gp, miniature replica of city featuring a 3-foot-tall electrum obelisk (5,000 gp), black dragon egg (25,000 gp), , 2 , ,
CR 31+ ; with 3 or and 10 or 20 or ; 2
Treasure 100,000 gp, 2 gem-studded gold crowns (25,000 gp each), 10 pieces of miscellaneous jewelry (2,500 gp each), huge stone calendar that predicts a future catastrophe, 3 , ,
Dragons include red and gold dragons, which are huge reptilian fire-breathers that number among the world’s most dangerous monsters. This type includes, which breathe killing frost, as well as smaller reptilian creatures related to true dragons, such as .