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Dragon, Wasteland (Wyrmling)

Rust-colored wings darken the sky, and a gout of bright energy erupts from the creature’s jaws.

Medium dragon, chaotic evil

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 60 (8d8 + 24)
Speed 30 ft., burrow 15 ft., climb 30 ft., fly 50 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
17 (+3) 10 (+0) 17 (+3) 12 (+1) 11 (+0) 13 (+1)

Saving Throws Dexterity +2, Constitution +5, Wisdom +2, Charisma +3
Skills Perception +2, Stealth +2
Damage Immunities force
Senses blindsight 10 ft., darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Draconic
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Actions

  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d10 + 3) piercing damage.
  • Warped Energy Breath (Recharge 6). The dragon blasts warped arcane energy in a 20-foot line that is 5 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw, taking 22 (5d8) force damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

A Wasteland Dragon’s Lair

Wasteland dragons make their homes among the ruins of dead civilizations, often inside surviving structures vast enough to contain them and protect them from the elements. Old cisterns of sufficient size, auditoriums, or the audience chambers of forgotten nobles all make suitable lairs for a wasteland dragon.

They are not above making their home in a cave, but it will likely be in close proximity to a ruined settlement of some size; wasteland dragons grow bored easily, and rummaging through Dragon, Wasteland ruins, either for curiosities or interlopers, takes up a good deal of their time.

A legendary wasteland dragon infuses its surroundings with traces of the magic it seeks to deny the outside world. It might hear the thoughts of trespassers as though they were carried on a breeze. Magic items and spells may behave unpredictably, becoming more powerful, functioning in a new way, or failing to function at all. Prolonged exposure to the environment near a wasteland dragon’s lair may lead to mutations and even madness, though the latter often passes once the sufferer is taken from the area.

Clever creatures, wasteland dragons often make some use of the arcane items they find, seeing no hypocrisy in doing so; after all, they are hardly as foolish as humans! The approach to the creature’s lair might be protected by strange energy fields, or weakened barriers between this world and another, or by creatures of the wastes who are smart enough to otherwise avoid annoying the dragon. The dragon confronted in its lair might forego its general inclination to attack immediately in favor of luring the intruders into such traps.

Lair Actions

On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the dragon takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; the dragon can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:

  • A random encounter occurs from the Badlands Terrain Table, as creatures who were given shelter and protection by the dragon in exchange for their services earn their keep and attack the PCs.
  • An object the dragon can see within 120 feet of it flashes with arcane energy and bursts. Each creature within 20 feet of the object must succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity check or take 10 (3d6) piercing damage and become blinded for 1 minute. A creature can take an action to rub its eyes and end the blindness at the beginning of its next turn.
  • Creatures within 30 feet of the dragon receive a momentary, jumbled telepathic communication from one of the many warped and alien beings of the wastes. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or be incapacitated until the end of its next turn.

Regional Effects

The region containing a legendary wasteland dragon’s lair is further warped by the dragon’s magic, which creates one or more of the following effects:

  • Ghostly figures fighting battles from long ago appear with some frequency within 5 miles of the dragon’s lair.
  • Dust goblins and other creatures native to the wastes within 3 miles of the dragon’s lair report trespassers to it as soon as possible.
  • Long-hidden entrances to buried structures open themselves within 1 mile of the dragon’s lair.

About

Dark-tempered beasts who rule the magic-blasted wastes with a merciless territoriality, wasteland dragons prowl among the ruins of dead cities and dust-blown, haunted and barren lands that once were verdant.

Territorial for a Reason. They consider all other dragons to be enemies, but no creatures are so hated by wasteland dragons as spellcasters and any who employ magic. They blame spellcasters—somewhat correctly—for the state of the lands they roam and, indeed, for their own current form.

Though these dragons breed true, they were once of different breeds altogether before they were warped by an unfettered magical catastrophe and the foul energies brought through to this world from the Void. Their once-brilliant scales have dimmed to the color of rust and soil; their crests and horns have gone grey and withered; the lands they rule now host horrors which even they must fear; and their natural defenses have been warped and supplanted by the very energies which wrought so much destruction. Dragons have long memories, and these atrocities, as far as they are concerned, could have happened yesterday. Thus they attack, without warning or mercy, any who trespass, showing spellcasters particular cruelty.

Predatory Zeal by Necessity. Dedicated carnivores, wasteland dragons prefer to eat recent arrivals to their land. Beyond the practical consideration that they would likely kill the newcomers in any case, creatures corrupted by the wastes can be hazardous in unpredictable ways; poison, infections, and infestations can occur, and the taste of wastelands creatures is incredibly foul. When they are unable to find travelers or migratory animals, wasteland dragons hunt the livestock of settlements, confident that few would dare pursue them to their horrifying homelands afterward.

Deadly Hoards. The hoard of a wasteland dragon might contain a good deal of very old coins and treasures in the conventional sense, but they also possess dangers of their own. These dragons often bring home curious devices, arcane tomes, and relics of the dead places in which they live, some likely infused with forbidden magic. Though the dragons have little use for such things other than to add to a collection, a plundered hoard could spell disaster for the world outside.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Creature Codex. © 2018 Open Design LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Dan Dillon, Richard Green, James Haeck, Chris Harris, Jeremy Hochhalter, James Introcaso, Chris Lockey, Shawn Merwin, and Jon Sawatsky.