Tactics and Tips05/23/2006

Tougher, and Meaner Than You (Part 7)

Bronze Dragons

Last time, we looked at the first of the metallic dragons: the brass. This time, we turn our attentions to the noble brass dragon, protector of the seas and shores. As a lawful good creature, it's extremely unlikely that the adventurers might come to blows with these regal creatures, but it's good to be prepared in case they make one angry enough to attack.


Bronze dragons live in the hills and cliffs along seashores and large bodies of fresh water. Although their lairs are dry, the entrances to them are almost always underwater, requiring any attackers to go under the surface, and also preventing truly aquatic creatures, such as sharks, from entering completely into the airy portion of their home. If you're planning to go through the front entrance, make sure that everyone in your group has both water breathing and freedom of movement cast on them. Once you get inside a bronze dragon's lair, however, you'll find yourself in a dry, comfortable series of caverns (or even gorgeously decorated hallways). If you're committed to your assault, use spells to cave in the ceiling of their underwater entrance -- bronze dragons cannot burrow and must then fight their way out or escape through another route. Always assume that the dragon has at least one or two secret passages that lead to the surface, but realize they may be considerably smaller than the dragon itself (see below).

The Dragon's Side

For a look at just where bronze dragons might set their lairs, refer to the recent Vicious Venues, starring Lepsektogvernox and Halentiganox -- two bronze dragons inhabiting a most unusual frog pond.

Several tactics suitable for black dragons also serve bronze dragons well; refer to Stormwrack for various marine dangers (maelstroms, stormfire), aquatic creatures (sea lions, snapping turtles), and new spells a bronze dragon might employ in the defense of its lair.

Assaulting a bronze dragon's lair from a boat is a seriously unwise idea, since the smaller ones can slip aboard the vessel easily, and the larger and older bronze dragons can tip over all but the biggest vessels.

Despite their love for the sea, bronze dragons can be found almost anywhere -- their love of warfare could take them far from the ocean when they join up with some army or another.

Special Abilities

The special abilities of bronze dragons cover the gamut, but they are more inclined to peaceful behavior. All bronze dragons are immune to electricity (and relish flying among the lightning bolts during powerful storms at the coast). They also possess speak with animals and use it to make allies with sea mammals, birds, and schools of fish -- which, like the brass dragon, provides the bronze dragon with additional eyes, ears, and noses to keep an eye out for enemies.

Bronze dragons can transform into any humanoid or animal shape, as long it is Medium or smaller. This is one of the dragon's best defenses, since you never know if the person to whom you're talking, the dog that has been following your party, or seagull that persists in getting into your backpack isn't a bronze dragon in disguise. Besides acting as a disguise, being able to shift into smaller forms allow the larger dragons to squeeze into narrow passages or hide in holes to avoid, or discourage, enemies.

Adult and older bronze dragons use create food and water mainly to provide for guests, but also to put out food for traps and as a lure for the unwary. While they would never stoop to poison this food, they may set it up over a covered pit or beneath some other trap. They also gain fog cloud, which they use to surround enemies with a blinding mist before charging in, or to enshroud the entrance to their lair.

The detect thoughts ability of old and older bronze dragons means that few creatures can enter their immediate area without being detected. Use mind blank to keep your thoughts hidden, although even this won't prevent you from being detected by the bronze dragon's scent, hearing, and keen eyesight. Of course, use of such a spell invites immediate suspicion by the bronze dragon, which probably assumes that you're not out for its best interest.

Dealing with a Bronze Dragon's Breath Weapon

Bronze dragons possess two forms of breath weapon: a line of lightning and a cone of repulsion gas. The same tactics, magic items, and spells used to fight against blue dragons apply to the bronze's line of lightning attack. Make sure you do everything possible to boost your Will save against the cone of repulsion gas: Wearing cloaks of resistance, casting owl's wisdom to bolster your Wisdom score, and even using bardic song abilities all help.

Because of their proximity to large bodies of water, ancient and older bronze dragons use control weather to turn the sea or lake into a frothing, churning mass of waves and wind to blow away intruders or capsize their vessels. Alternatively, they can utterly calm the winds, leaving a sailing ship dead in the water and vulnerable to attack from above or below the water.

Bronze dragons can also cast cleric spells and those from the Animal, Law, and Water 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, Stormwrack.

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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