Dragon class

Below you can find a PC dragon class designed for use with various traditional tabletop fantasy RPGs. It assumes a relatively restrained power curve (think 3 LBBs) and thus might need to be punched up slightly if used with games that have a higher power expectation (just increasing HD and natural attack damage would probably be enough). I imagine it should work just fine for FLAILSNAILS play as is.

A two-page PDF version is also available.

Other Character Types: There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to play as virtually anything, provided they begin relatively weak and work up to the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begin as let us say, a “young” one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined by the campaign referee.

— Gary Gygax, Men & Magic, page 8

  • XP progression and attack as fighter
  • 1d6 HP per level, up to 10d6
  • When gaining a level, +1 strength and +1 constitution (max 18) to reflect physical development

Adventuring dragons are usually disowned runts or survivors of insufficiently thorough paladin attacks. Solitary young dragons are usually killed if encountered by civilized folk and so may seek the protection of a treasure-hunting adventuring company. Dragon PCs speak common and the language of dragons.

Dragon progression and abilities by level
Level 1-3 4-6 7-9 10+
Description whelp wyrmling wyrm dragon
Size small medium large huge
Flight long jump half normal speed standard standard + hover
AC chain (5 [14]) chain + shield (4 [15]) plate (3 [16]) plate + shield (2 [17])
Melee attack 1d6 1d6+1 2d6 2d6+1


Image by Jacob Grimm (source)

Image by Jacob Grimm (source)

The appearance of dragons varies greatly. Scales are most commonly dark green with orange or white underbellies, but dull black and shades of deep blood red exist as well. Dragons age at varying rates based on successfulness accumulating treasure. Dragon size ranges from that of a large hound (whelp) to that of an elephant when full grown (tenth level). The bulk of even a full-grown dragon is sinuous, and can fit through standard doors if wings are furled. Openings smaller than doors may present difficulties, however.


Dragon claws are not suited to fighting with weapons or manipulating anything much more complicated than a door handle, so dragons cannot use weapons effectively. Dragons prefer to walk on all four legs, but can hold an item in each fore claw when not moving. Armor is awkward for dragons, and hinders as much as it helps. As such, dragons gain no AC benefit from wearing armor, though dragon scales naturally gain in toughness as dragon level increases.

Dragons can carry a number of significant items equal to strength, given harnesses and saddlebags, but much prefer not to, opting instead to have servants perform such manual labor. Dragons can use wands and staves, but no other magic items.

Breathing fire

A dragon’s flaming breath does 1d6 damage per level (save for half), with area coverage also equal to level. Thus, a third level dragon’s fire can catch up to 3 human-sized targets within its area and deals 3d6 damage (with a save allowed for half damage). Dragons may breath fire no more than once per exploration turn. Further, the total number of times a dragon breathes fire per day may not exceed dragon level. Dragon fire can damage enemies that require magic or silver weapons to hit.

Some dragons have deadly breath of types other than fire (acid, lightning, frost, etc). With referee permission, you can choose a type other than fire. In any case, dragons are immune to damage of a type that they can breathe. For example, an acid-breathing dragon is entirely immune to acid damage.

Gaining levels

Dragons gain 1 XP for each GP worth of treasure accumulated in a hoard. If the hoard is depleted, no XP is lost, but no new XP is gained either until the hoard is replenished. A dragon’s XP total never rises above the hoard value. Funds spent on hoard guards, traps, interior decorators, and other home improvements do not count towards hoard value. Hoards consist of glittery things that you can sleep on and show off to guests.

A lair must be established to store this hoard. Assuming the dragon takes reasonable precautions, there is little risk of burglary, though the referee is within rights to occasionally use stolen hoard elements as adventure hooks, assuming that clues are left behind.


Whelps, with the aid of furiously beating wings, can reliably jump 10 feet high or 15 feet forward. Whelps may also fall an extra 10 feet without taking damage. Wyrmlings can fly awkwardly at half human movement rate, with a wing action that is the flying equivalent of doggy paddle. Wyrms can fly with more aptitude as long as movement is constant, or can fly awkwardly if also carrying something up to the size and mass of a human. Full-grown dragons can fly with agility and hover indefinitely given enough space to beat their wings. At this stage, a dragon could serve as a mount for a human and still fly well, though few dragons will do so as it is considered demeaning.

2 thoughts on “Dragon class

  1. Gus L.

    I like it, especially how the hoard subtly encourages greed and never paying for anything.

    I would also add a note that large and huge dragons can’t fly indoors and maybe give dragons some kind of ancient lore/magic specialist style skill for reading old inscriptions.


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