Tactics and Tips05/09/2006

Tougher, and Meaner Than You (Part 6)

Brass Dragons

We've already discussed the evil, chromatic dragons. Now, we venture toward the metallic dragons. Although good by nature, these creatures are still vain, haughty, covetous, and proud, and thus, adventurers can still run afoul of them. First on the list is the loquacious brass dragon, denizen of the deserts and direct foe of the dreaded blue dragon.


Brass dragons inhabit the same terrain as blue dragons do: hot, wind-swept deserts full of rocky hills and shifting dunes of sand. Because they share the same land, brass and blue dragons are in constant conflict for the best places to lair, though not for food, since brass dragons require very little in the way of nutrition to survive. Adventurers who seek out brass dragons can face many of the same problems they face when entering a blue dragon's land as well: Stock up on water and be prepared to fight off the heat.

The Dragon's Side

Like blue dragons, brass dragons can benefit greatly from the many feats, spells, and prestige classes in Sandstorm. Because they can already control the winds and weather, brass dragons often choose spells that shape and control the sands of their homes.

Brass dragons prefer talking over fighting, and most choose spells and abilities that prevent violence and, if need be, force people to sit and talk. Most eventually learn charm person, dominate person, dominate monster, detect thoughts, and other knowledge spells to "know" the person better.

Brass dragons typically make numerous allies, both for protection and to have someone else around to talk to when they have no one new with whom to converse. Be prepared to wade through all manner of creatures, many intelligent and willing to lay their life on the line for their brass dragon companion.

Brass dragons prefer setting up their homes near crossroads, caravan trails, and other major thoroughfares, so as to always have a steady stream of people with whom to converse. Because of this, you're more likely to encounter a brass dragon closer to a settlement than you would blue dragons (a blessing in disguise). If you're looking for a brass dragon, keep an eye out for tall cliffs, buttes, and other rock formations that grant a high outcropping from which the brass dragon can survey its territory.

Like other dragon lairs, the lair of a brass dragon is almost guaranteed to have two or more entrances. Unlike its evil cousins, the main entrance of a brass dragon is usually open and obvious -- the better to invite guests in to talk. Be warned, however, that if you wish it ill, the brass dragon's "waiting room" is a death trap in disguise. If it becomes angered or is attacked, brass dragons (particularly older ones), typically have the roof set to collapse with a simple trigger. They also litter the area with other traps -- they can burrow out of the fallen rocks and sand if such an event occurs.

Special Abilities

The abilities of the brass dragon are both varied and versatile. All brass dragons possess speak with animals, providing them with a method of talking with something, in case other conversation is long in coming. They do their best to make friends with local fauna, even leaving out bits of food, so as to gain another layer of protection through untold numbers of tiny eyes. Juvenile and older brass dragons gain endure elements, meaning they can survive in the most intense heat (or cold, though seriously unlikely).

Adult and older brass dragons use suggestion mainly to entice a humanoid to sit and talk, rather than do anything particularly unusual, or make them sit and talk longer if they were visiting for friendly purposes anyway. These dragons rarely, if ever, use their ability to force a person to do something dangerous, although they are not above ridiculing a person if they prove boorish in conversation.

Dealing with a Brass Dragon's Breath Weapon

Brass dragons have two different types of breath weapon -- a line of fire and a cone of sleep. They definitely prefer using the cone of sleep against opponents, reserving their fire breath weapon against particularly egregious offenders. Since you're dealing with potentially two shapes of breath weapon, the best thing to do is spread out and surround the brass dragon as much as you can.

There's little that you can do about preventing the sleep attack, unless you can find some way to hold your breath. To be prepared against the fire attack, look at using the same magic items and spells that apply when fighting the red dragon.

Wise and powerful old and older brass dragons gain control winds and control weather -- potentially dangerous abilities in the deep desert. If besieged by attackers, the brass dragon whips up fierce winds that obscure sight, and in the worst conditions, deal damage.

Great wyrms can use summon djinni to bring forth powerful allies to fight on their behalf. This ability usually augments a brass dragon's already powerful base of comrades and servants. If you face a great wyrm dragon that doesn't have any allies present, be prepared to face a djinni, typically summoned to flank you from behind.

Brass dragons are also capable of casting cleric spells from the Chaos and Knowledge domains as arcane spells.

Game Resources: To use the material in this article to its fullest, check out the following resources: Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual , Player's Handbook , Draconomicon.

About the Author

Eric Cagle cut his teeth at Wizards of the Coast, but now lives the extravagant freelancer lifestyle. Look for his name on D&D, d20 Modern, and Star Wars books. Recent credits include d20 Apocalypse, Races of Destiny, and Monster Manual III. He is also a contributor to the Game Mechanics, Green Ronin Publishing, Dragon Magazine, and this lovely website. Eric lives in Seattle where the coffee is dark and bitter like his goddesses.

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