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Brown Dragon, Ancient

Family: Dragons

Gargantuan dragon, lawful evil

Armor Class 24 (natural armor and rubble)
Hit Points 499 (27d20 + 216)
Speed swim 40 ft., climb 40 ft., fly 80 ft.

28 (+9) 10 (+0) 27 (+8) 20 (+5) 18 (+4) 21 (+5)

Saving Throws Str +16, Dex +7, Con +15, Int +10, Wis +11, Cha +12
Skills History +12, Perception +18, Stealth +7
Damage Immunities fire
Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 23
Languages Draconic and three others (often Common, Ge’ez or Greek, and Terran)
Challenge 24 (62,000 XP)


  • Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If a brown dragon fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.
  • Augmented Armor. An ancient brown dragon secretes a substance that causes pieces of rock to become fused to its hide, raising its armor class from what would normally be 22 to 24. If a dragon that has become buried under earth is awakened, for at least a day afterward — until the monster has had the opportunity to move around and clean itself — its AC will be 26. During this period, however, the Dragon’s wings will be fouled and because of that and the excess weight it is carrying it will be unable to fly.


  • Multiattack. A brown dragon can use its Frightful Presence. It can then make three attacks, one with its bite and two with its claws.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +16 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (2d10 + 9) piercing damage plus 14 (4d6) fire damage.
  • Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +16 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d6 + 9) piercing damage plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.
  • Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +16 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (2d8 + 9) bludgeoning damage.
  • Frightful Presence. Each creature of the dragon’s choice that is within 120 feet of and aware of it must succeed on a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the dragon’s Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.
  • Fiery Breath (Recharge 5-6). A brown dragon can exhale a 60-foot cone of fire and superheated slag. Each creature in that area must make a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw, taking 87 (25d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.


A brown dragon can take three legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The dragon regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

  • Detect. The dragon makes a Wisdom (Perception) check.
  • Tail Attack. The dragon makes a tail attack.
  • Wing Attack (Costs 2 Actions). The dragon beats its wings. Each creature within 10 feet of the dragon must succeed on a DC 24 Dexterity saving throw or take 15 (2d6 + 9) bludgeoning damage and be forced prone. The dragon can then fly up to half its flying speed.


While many evil dragons are drawn to places that are desolate or foreboding, a brown dragon often prefers areas that are economically valuable, such as those with sources of water, capable of supporting high crop yields, or rich in minerals. Within such areas Brown dragons will dwell within the most secure or impressive redoubts available.

Those of all ages seek out the highest quality structures they can find, take, or have built, and features they especially value are places with extensive subterranean areas and spaces for libraries, treasuries, arsenals, and barracks.

A brown dragon will sometimes use its breath weapon over an extended period in its lair to spray superheated slag on walls to give them metallic qualities, to reinforce weakened areas, or to seal up small openings.

A brown dragon that has a secure domain and which has advanced to Ancient status will often select a hilltop from which it can survey as much of the area it controls as possible. From this aerie the hulking monster will become increasingly dormant, require less and less interaction with its servants and the bureaucrats that manage its realm for it, and may eventually fall into a deep slumber.

After many years, the dragon may even become covered with earth and vegetation to the extent that it might be mistaken for a hillock or part of a larger terrain feature. It could even become a legend in a land that is ultimately ruled on its behalf by a dynasty of regents. Suffice it to say that a brown dragon somehow awoken from such a sleep will be extremely irritable and commensurately destructive …

Lair Actions

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

  • A vaguely humanoid size Large monster rises up from a mass of metallic slag and either defends the Dragon or follows its telepathic commands to it. This creature has all the characteristics of an Earth Elemental except for its Earth Glide special trait and will remain for 1 minute or until it or the Dragon is killed, at which point it will collapse into a pile of dross.
  • A 30-by-30-foot section of metallic slag wall within 120 feet of the dragon that it can see becomes highly magnetized, drawing iron-based metals toward it, until initiative count 20 on the next round. Characters in metal armor within 10 feet of the wall must make a DC 15 Strength saving throw and, failing it, are slammed into it, suffering 1d6 damage and remaining pinned to it while it remains magnetized; those that succeed have their movement rates halved that round. Loose objects within 30 feet of the magnetized area will fly toward it and each character within this range holding metal weapons, shields, or other objects must make a DC 15 Strength check or have the item wrenched from its hand and propelled to the wall.
  • A 20-foot-radius area of slag metal floor within 60 feet of the dragon becomes affected as if by the spell heat metal, inflicting 2d8 fire damage on anyone within the area if the Dragon is a wyrmling, 3d8 if it is young, 4d8 if it is an adult, and 5d8 if it is ancient.

Regional Effects

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

  • Creatures within six miles of a brown dragon’s lair have a sense that they are being watched and that the area they are in is under the control of a powerful entity.
  • Whenever a creature with an Intelligence of 3 or higher comes within 30 feet of a statue, bas relief, or other representation of the dragon within a mile of its lair, the dragon becomes aware of that creature’s presence and location.
  • Ravines, caves, and similar terrain features within a mile of the dragon’s lair form portals to the Elemental Plane of Earth, allowing creatures of elemental earth into the world to dwell nearby.

If the dragon dies, these effects fade over the course of 1d10 days.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Brown Dragon: A Monster for 5th Edition Copyright 2021 Skirmisher Publishing LLC. Author Michael O. Varhola

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