All dragons in Primordia use the innate spellcasting variant (see the text box on page 86 of the Monster Manual). This is the first of a series of write-ups on dragons in Primordia.
A Note on Alignment & Personality
Red dragons in Primordia have just as much free will as any other sentient creature. Information on personality and alignment given here and in the MM should be considered to describe the tendencies of behavior for an average red dragon (if there even is such a thing). DMs should use this information as a starting point for developing a given dragon’s personality but shouldn’t feel bound by it. Each individual dragon’s experiences and choices has as much influence on its personality and alignment as these tendencies. The information given represents a dragon’s instinctual behavior, so even a dragon that is normally quite different may exhibit these tendencies when under stress.
Red Dragons of Primordia
Red dragons work great as a fearsome looming menace for a campaign. They tend to lose their tempers and go on rampages, laying waste to villages and towns, so it’s easy to use a red dragon attack as a momentous event in your campaign.
The red dragon also makes a great recurring villain because they are very powerful and have many minions, so defeating one isn’t easy. They’re also arrogant, vain and evil, so they can also make for an interesting employer, patron or quest-giver.
Red dragon lairs tend to be in places like volcanos and are often located in or near the location of a stable rift to the plane of fire. The combination of environment, minions and creatures drawn through the fire rifts make a red dragon’s lair an exciting location for an epic boss fight.
The following spell lists are suggestions. Spells known vary from dragon to dragon.
Red dragons love powerful and destructive spells. They value spells that are useful against structures (like earthquake) and spells that can damage armies and groups of enemies (like call lightning).
Nothing pisses a red dragon off more than an opponent using magic to avoid his jaws, so antimagic field is a favorite among those reds powerful enough to cast it.
Red dragons will also commonly know at least one or two spells to deal with opponents who are immune or resistant to fire.
Red dragons tend to be too proud to use defensive magic, although older reds often learn to appreciate the protections of spells like regenerate. Spells that are simultaneously offensive and defensive in nature (like haste) are especially prized.
Reds also often employ magic for communication with their minions (sending) and gathering information (scrying).
Red dragons seldom learn shape-changing magic. In their arrogance they consider their own form superior to others in power and majesty. Most are too proud to assume a lesser form. Red dragons live for the fear that their true forms inspire in lesser beings.
Red dragons should never be defeated easily. A party facing a red on the wing should probably hope to survive it and at most drive it off. A red will always flee before it allows itself to be slain or captured by lesser beings. A red in its lair is a truly fearsome foe. Only the supremely prepared, powerful and lucky have a chance.
A red dragon is a villain the PCs should encounter numerous times before the final showdown. Make them work for it.
Red dragons consider dragons to be superior to other creatures and consider themselves to be superior to other dragons. The golds approach them in strength, but reds see golds’ good tendencies as weakness, thereby making them inferior. Red dragons consider the Primordian dragons to be worthy opponents, although of course still inferior to themselves.
A red dragon attack makes an excellent beginning to an adventure or campaign. A red dragon is rampaging through the area. It destroys a village or town beloved by the PCs. Alternatively, it attacks and is driven off by the PCs (if it’s a higher level adventure). It will be back. Set up the dragon as a long-term nemesis and even sometimes-ally. Eventually the PCs will outlive their usefulness, though, and the dragon will betray them. Another way to begin the adventure is to foreshadow the dragon’s presence in the beginning by having the PCs encounter its minions. Taking on the dragon in its lair will be a climactic high-level boss fight. If the PCs survive and prevail, they will have an awesome treasure. Although other dragons (especially other reds) may arrive to claim it once news of the red’s demise spreads.
Red Dragon Magic
Young Red Dragon
Casts 4 spells at level 3, once per long rest each.
Spell save DC 16, spell attack bonus +8
Adult Red Dragon
Casts 5 spells at level 5, once per long rest each.
Spell save DC 19, spell attack bonus +11
Ancient Red Dragon
Casts 6 spells at level 8, once per day each.
Spell save DC 21, spell attack bonus +13
Part 2 of this series discusses Green Dragons.