By Sean K Reynolds

With the creation of monster templates, half-dragons of all kinds have become so popular with DMs that some players have begun to wonder if the big lizards ever get around to mating with their own kind. But dragon-blooded beings are just as popular with players who want exotic and powerful characters as they are with DMs who want interesting monsters. The dragon disciple prestige class in the Dungeon Master's Guide offers one way for a character to take on more draconic aspects; the half-dragon template offers a different option. Both are equally viable choices, depending on what the player wants to gain. The prestige class requires 10 levels to complete, but it also advances the character's base attack bonus, saving throws, Hit Dice, and skill points. Furthermore, it grants certain powers that aren't available via the template. In contrast, the half-dragon template class presented here allows a character to gain full half-dragon powers in only 3 levels, but at the expense of sacrificing development in certain other areas.

"Half-dragon" is usually an inherited template, but it could be acquired through special magical rituals as well.

The Half-Dragon Template

1+1Str +2, Int +2, resistance (lesser), racial HD type increase, natural armor +2, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision
2+1Str +2, Con +2, resistance (greater), 2 claws, bite, natural armor +1, breath weapon 3d8, immunities (lesser)
3+2Str +4, Cha +2, immunities (greater), wings, natural armor +1, breath weapon 6d8, dragon type

All of the following are class features of the half-dragon template class.

Ability Score Changes: The indicated ability score increases or decreases by the amount noted.

Resistances (Ex): A half-dragon has energy resistance 10 to one type of energy. The specific type is determined by the dragon kind that provided the benefits of the template, according to the following table.

Dragon Variety Energy Type Resisted
Copper Acid
Silver Cold

At 2nd level, this resistance increases to 20. At 3rd level, the half-dragon becomes completely immune to the indicated energy type (see Immunities, below).

Racial HD Type Increase (Ex): At 1st level, each of a half-dragon's racial Hit Dice increases by one die type: d4 to d6, d6 to d8, d8 to d10, or d10 to d12. Class Hit Dice are unaffected. Rather than rerolling all racial Hit Dice, you can simply add 1 hit point per racial Hit Die to the half-dragon's hit point total.

Natural Armor Improvements: At every level of the class, the half-dragon's natural armor bonus increases by the indicated amount. A character that does not normally have a natural armor bonus (such as a human) is considered to have an initial natural armor bonus of +0 for the purpose of this ability. Thus, a human's natural armor bonus would increase to +2 at 1st level, to +3 at 2nd level, and finally to +4 at 3rd level.

Darkvision (Ex): At 1st level the half-dragon gains darkvision to a 60-foot range.

Low-Light Vision (Ex): At 1st level, the half-dragon gains low-light vision.

Claws: At 2nd level, the half-dragon gains two claw attacks if she didn't already have them. For the base damage of the half-dragon's claw attacks, use the appropriate value from the table below if the base creature did not previously have claw attacks. If she did, use either the value from the table or the base creature's claw damage, whichever is better. The half-dragon's claws are natural attacks.

Bite: At 2nd level, the half-dragon gains a bite attack if she didn't already have one. For the base damage of the half-dragon's bite attack, use the appropriate value from the table below if the base creature did not previously have a bite attack. If she did, use either the value from the table or the base creature's bite damage, whichever is better. The half-dragon's bite is a natural attack.

Size Bite DamageClaw Damage
Gargantuan3d6 2d6
Colossal4d6 3d6

Breath Weapon (Su): At 2nd level, a half-dragon gains a breath weapon similar to that of the dragon that provided the benefits of the template. The breath weapon is usable once per day and allows a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 half-dragon's racial HD + half-dragon's Constitution modifier) for half damage. The shape and size of the breath weapon are given by the following table.

Dragon Variety Breath Weapon
Black60-foot line of acid
Blue 60-foot line of lightning
Brass30-foot cone of fire
Bronze60-foot line of lightning
Copper 30-foot cone of corrosive (acid) gas
Gold60-foot line of fire
Green60-foot line of acid
Red60-foot line of fire
Silver 30-foot cone of cold
White30-foot cone of cold

When first acquired, the breath weapon deals only 3d8 points of damage. When the half-dragon reaches 3rd level, the base damage for the breath weapon increases to 6d8.

Immunities (Ex): At 2nd level, the half-dragon becomes immune to sleep and paralysis. When she reaches 3rd level, her template-based energy resistance (see Resistances, above) is replaced by total immunity to that energy type.

Wings (Ex): At 3rd level, a Large or larger half-dragon grows fully functional wings and may use them to fly at up to twice her land speed (maximum 120 feet) with average maneuverability. A Medium or smaller half-dragon either does not grow wings or grows nonfunctional vestigial ones.

Dragon Type: At 3rd level, the half-dragon completes her metamorphosis, and her type changes to dragon. She becomes vulnerable to spells and effects that work on creatures of the dragon type but is immune to effects that target her original type. For example, a half-human/half-dragon would be subject to the extra damage from a dragon bane sword, but she is immune to hold person because that spell affects only humanoids.

Sample Half-Dragon: Half-Dragon (Red)/Half-Ogre.

From the Draconomicon

The half-dragon presents special attacks and special qualities for half-dragon versions of the ten varieties of true dragons. The information here expands that list to include all true dragons published in DUNGEONS & DRAGONS products to date.

The Half-Dragon Breath Weapons table below presents the breath weapon type for each half-dragon derived from one of the various true dragons. A half-dragon's line-shaped breath weapon is always 5 feet high, 5 feet wide, and 60 feet long. A half-dragon's cone-shaped breath weapon is always 30 feet long, 30 feet high, and 30 feet wide.

The Half-Dragon Immunities and Resistances table below presents the immunities and/or resistances possessed by half-dragons descended from these true dragons. The lung dragons, are a special case. Many either don't have breath weapons or lack immunities (or both), so half-dragons descended from these parents gain special attacks and special qualities as noted on the Lung Half-Dragons table below

Cause Rain (Su): A half-chiang lung can breathe storm clouds three times per day, causing rain. The rain lasts for 2d4 hours and extends in a 2-mile radius centered on the half-dragon.

Roar (Ex): A half-li lung can roar three times per day, creating sound resembling metal scraping against stone. All creatures within 60 feet are automatically deafened for 1 round (no saving throw).

Water Fire (Su): Three times per day, a half-lung or half-shen lung touching or submerged in water can surround itself in an aura of ghostly, flickering, multicolored flames that cause damage to any creature touching it. Any creature striking the half-dragon with a natural weapon or melee weapon deals normal damage, but at the same time the attacker takes 1d6 points of fire damage. Lung dragons and half-lung dragons are immune to water fire.

The water fire lasts for 1 minute or until it comes in contact with normal or magical fire. If the water fire is dispelled by fire, the half-dragon can't activate the ability again for 2d6 minutes.

Half-dragon Breath Weapons
Dragon VarietyBreath Weapon
AmethystLine of force
BattleCone of sonic energy
BrownLine of acid
ChaosLine of random energy
CrystalCone of light
DeepCone of flesh-corrosive gas
EmeraldCone of sonic energy
EtherealCone of force
HowlingCone of sonic energy
OceanusLine of electricity
PyroclasticCone of fire and sonic energy**
RadiantLine of force
RustLine of acid
SapphireCone of sonic energy
ShadowCone of shadows (bestows one negative level)
SongCone of electrically charged gas
StyxLine of acid
TarterianLine of force
TopazCone of dehydration
*Three times per day, a fang half-dragon can choose to deal 1d4 points of Constitution drain with its bite attack (Fort 14 negates).
**Half of the indicated damage is fire and the other half is sonic energy.
Half-dragon Immunities And Resistances
Dragon VarietyImmunity or Resistance
AmethystImmunity to poison
BattleImmunity to sonic
BrownImmunity to acid
ChaosImmunity to confusion/insanity
CrystalImmunity to cold
DeepImmunity to charms, resistance to cold 10 and fire 10
EmeraldImmunity to sonic
HowlingImmunity to sonic
OceanusImmunity to electricity
PyroclasticImmunity to fire or sonic (50% chance for either)
SapphireImmunity to electricity
ShadowImmunity to energy drain
SongImmunity to electricity and poison
StyxImmunity to disease and poison
TopazImmunity to cold
Lung Half-dragons
Dragon VarietySpecial Abilities
Chian lungWater breathing, cause rain (see text)
Li lungRoar (see text), burrow 10 ft.
Lung wangWater breathing, immunity to fire, cone of steam (fire) breath weapon (6d10, DC 18)
Pan lungWater breathing, water fire (see text)
Shen lungWater breathing, immunity to electricity and poison, water fire (see text)
T'ien lungWater breathing, cone of fire breath weapon (6d10; DC 18)
Tun mi lungWater breathing, air and water immunity
Yu lungWater breathing

Template Index