Our Dragons Are Different / Tabletop Games

  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy has its share: among others standard Western dragons, C'iel and Gaira dragons (divine creatures, that are Expying Final Fantasy ones and grow to a size of several kilometers), and the first form of Omega who is a centaur-like version of the Beast mentioned in Revelations.
  • Bleak World has Dragons for many of the enemy types' Nightmare Level enemies. For the most part they fulfill the western dragon archetype, but Dragons created by The Darkness breathe darkness instead of fire. The Jotun can create robot Dragons and various Princesses can summon a Dragon to their side during combat.
  • While the story in which it is based on is far too nebulous in the description to be explicitly dragons, the Hunting Horrors and the Haunter in the Dark from Call of Cthulhu are clearly dragonoid in appearance, and are even labeled as such in the d20 version of the game.
  • In Castle Falkenstein, dragons are evolutionary descendants of pteranadons and other ancient flying lizards, having gained immense magical powers along the way. While some still behave like classic dragons, demanding virgin sacrifices (albeit with a sexual twist) most are more civilized, using their magic to shapeshift and court human women. This goes over surprisingly well given their tremendous wealth, a decided virtue within the game's Victorian setting. As a side note, their evolutionary origins also gives them surprisingly brittle bones.
  • In Dragon Dice, dragons can be summoned by any of the available races via magic. Once summoned, they appear to closely resemble Western drakes (winged) and wyrms (ground bound) — they have all of the characteristic toughness, strength, breath weapons, and even a weak spot on the belly. They are different from the typical fantasy dragon in that they seem to lack significant intelligence or magical ability — once summoned, they will attack anything in their vicinity that isn't a dragon of the same color, and never use magical abilities.
  • Dungeons & Dragons, naturally, has a panoply of them. The most common kinds are divided into good and evil by color; the metallic dragons are good, and the chromatic (red/blue/green/white/etc.) dragons are evil. There are also many weirder kinds, such as fairy dragons, gem dragons, planar dragons, and the extremely rare and powerful "epic" dragons. And, of course, some of these can not only shapeshift into humans, but breed with humans whilst transformed, giving us half-dragons. There's also the dragon type, which features creatures with draconic traits that don't quite measure up to "true" dragons. And then there are the Eastern dragons... let's just say that there's a reason that dragons get title billing second only to "Dungeons". An editor of Dragon Magazine Lampshaded this trope waaaaay back in issue #52, writing that "There are as many varieties of dragon as there are people to think them up".
    • Dragons are also powerful spellcasters in D&D, to the extent where many "spontaneous" arcane casters—that is, those who don't have to study or prepare spells—are said to be descended from dragons, as dragon blood can influence a line for a thousand generations. Interestingly, D&D dragons in general seem to combine features of Eastern and Western dragons. Gold dragons have been looking Eastern since 1st edition AD&D at least, possibly earlier.
    • The queen of the evil chromatic dragons is Tiamat, who has five heads (one of each color) and a wyvern-like stinger. In the cartoon series, she was a secondary threat to Venger. The good dragons have Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon. The draconic god of death is Chronepsis, the Anthropomorphic Personification of complete indifference. And those are all descended from Io, the other True Neutral god of all dragons.
    • Various Sourcebooks throughout D&D's history have been called Draconomicon, all of them dealing entirely with different types of dragons, dragon society, dragon characters, etc.
      • Dragon Magazine, in its final print issue, revealed the mightiest of all the epic dragons: the Time Dragon. These dragons are so powerful that a wyrmling has 44 Hit Dice. A Great Wyrm has almost a hundred, and is, among other things, immune to any effect that is not instantaneous thanks to its connection to the timeline. It does not die of poison, disease, or age. It does not need to sleep. It can travel through time at will. Its breath weapon ages you or expels you from time itself. They are described as keeping their lairs in places so distant in space and time that they are virtually unreachable. And if that were not enough, a Time Dragon rarely deigns to converse with anything less than a god... and sometimes, not even with them.
      • One of the things that makes the Time Dragon so scary is that because of the way that it ages, it can reach the Great Wyrm stage within minutes of being hatched.
      • In 4th edition, Chronepsis is now connected to the Raven Queen, the goddess of death; deep, fang, and sand dragons are now chromatic rather than "dragons from nowhere"; there are fairy dragons the size of halflings; and then there're the Squamous Things, which are what happens when dragons are hatched in Far Realm-tainted areas... <Shudder>
    • Dragons in the Eberron setting live on their own continent of Argonnessen and spend their time studying the Draconic Prophecy — a worldwide natural phenomenon that can be used to predict and manipulate the future — and engaging in manipulative plotting. As part of Eberron's drive against Always Chaotic Evil, all bets are off when it comes to predicting a dragon's alignment through its appearance.
      • And then there are the Progenitor Dragons who seem to be dragons In-Name-Only. One of them (Siberys) is dead and the remnants of its body are a ring encircling the world. The other two are the world itself (Eberron) and the deep places inside the world (Khyber).
    • Dragons in the Mystara setting have their own civilization, complete with dragon temples, dragon villages, and dragon shopkeepers, high in the Wyrmsteeth Mountains. Mystaran dragons, like those of Eberron, are not strongly tied to their alignments ... which is a good thing for everyone, as the only metallic varieties found there (barring Fanon Discontinuity) are gold.
      • Mystaran dragons also answer to their own Immortal dragon rulers — one for each of Basic D&D's three alignments plus the Great One, who oversees them all. It's implied in several places that these are positions more than necessarily individuals; were something permanent to happen to, say, Diamond the Star Dragon, who rules over all Lawful dragons, he would be replaced (eventually) by a suitable successor who would adopt both the name and the title.
    • Way back in second edition, there was a setting called Council Of Wyrms — basically, a planet ruled by dragons. Demihumans are the dragons' servants, whilst humans are the barbaric savages and murderers thereof. The player characters are indicated to be agents of the Council — young dragons from all the D&D dragon types, given to the Council as eggs and bound to act as investigators and troubleshooters.
    • In Dark Sun, unlike any other D&D campaign world, all dragons are the result of evil sorcerer-kings transforming themselves into dragons to increase their power. They use and consume even more life-force energy (thereby changing the world into a barren desert) than they could do if they remained in human form.
    • The Dragonlance setting features mostly traditional western dragons in the typical D&D color scheme, but the Fifth Age introduced a number of Great Dragons. Heavily implied to be immigrants from some other world, they were immensely larger and stronger than Krynn's native dragons and had the ability to absorb the life energy of dragons whom they killed. This led to a decade-long purge where the Great Dragons (and one or two natives who learned the knack) slaughtered their rivals and set up a series of fiefdoms, even using the captured life energy to reshape large chunks of the continent to environments more to their liking. Malastryx, the greatest of red dragons, burnt Kendermore to a cinder and turned the grasslands into massive volcanic mountains. Likewise, large chunks of desert were made into swampland, and islands with heavy forestation turned to frozen tundras. The two major elven kingdoms, traditional temperate forests both, were made into a sweltering overgrown jungle and a twisted mockery of life beyond the reach of light and hope, respectively.
    • DragonMech, a White Wolf D20 setting, has both regular dragons and the freaky lunar dragons, which can't fly as well on the unnamed world as they can on their celestial body of origin, have no taste for treasure, worship Eldritch Abominations, and have More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
  • In Exalted, there are at least three types. The Five Elemental Dragons are souls/children (depending on edition) of the Primordial Gaia, who inhabit Creation's geomancy; the Lesser and Greater Elemental Dragons are elementals who have developed sufficiently in power that they assume draconic form; and the Dragon Kings are humanoid dinosaurs.
    • The Unconquered Sun's most well known form besides his humanoid one was the golden dragon he adopted when he was worshipped by the Dragon Kings. There're also two draconic Yozi: the Ebon Dragon and Oramus, the Dragon Beyond the World.
    • Don't forget "mere" mortal beasts either; apart from the "natural" examples — such as Tyrant Lizards (Tyrannosaurus, basically), pelagic dragons (huge plesiosaurs) and "River Dragons" (enormous crocodilian creatures) — there are also the results of genetic engineering — such as the "Beasts of Resplendent Liquid", immortal dinosaurs that act as living chemical refineries, the most famous ones eat poppies and piss heroin — and creatures affected by the Wyld — e.g. Snow Wyrms, 200-foot monsters that look like traditional eastern dragons but behave more like traditional western dragons.
  • In the lesser-known (and discontinued) RPG Fire Born, the PCs are dragons. During character creation, the player creates both a humanoid, weaker modern version, as well as a high-powered dragon form which is played during flashbacks to a prior life.
  • GURPS has a sourcebook detailing dragon stats, physiology and abilities. They also appear in a few campaign settings.
    • In GURPS Technomancer there are two kinds of dragon. Blue dragons are intelligent, friendly Western dragons, who work for the US Air Force as self-aware aircraft (their scales are green; "blue" refers to their employment. The "red" dragons are really of the same color, but they worked for the USSR). Black dragons also work for the USAF, but have been genetically engineered into Magitek stealth fighters.
  • Dragons in the Iron Kingdoms resemble the traditional Western versions superficially, but cleave a little closer to Eldritch Abominations in the details. They aren't "alive" in the same sense as other creatures; instead, their life force is concentrated into a small, nigh-unbreakable stone located inside their heart, and unless that stone is consumed by another dragon, a "dead" dragon can simply resurrect itself (if it wants to — at least one dragon in the setting currently finds it more useful to remain in rock form and manipulate others into doing his bidding). If that weren't enough, exposure to a dragon's blood or body parts causes severe, painful mutations in the victims, and a dragon can also simply shed its own blood to create dragonspawn: blind, soulless monsters that only vaguely resemble the beast that spawned them.
  • Flat-out encouraged by Legend. "Dragon" is a racial track — about one-third of a character class that also defines the character's race — which is Medium (humanoid) size, has wings, and gains several improvements to its durability as it levels up. A combination of feats and tracks from other classes can be used to build dragons in a variety of ways based on this template — the classic huge fire-breather (Juggernaut feat and Elementalist [fire] track) is just one of many, many combinations.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Dragons are the characteristic creatures (that is, a large, powerful creature that shows up as a rare card once a set) of Red (the color of chaos, fire, mountains and raw emotion), although they've showed up in all other colors with less frequency. As such, there’s been a lot of them, and they regularly show in places where you wouldn’t normally expect them but with some concessions to the set’s tone, such as the Gothic Horror plane of Innistrad, which gets dragons with wings like stained glass, or the crocodile-headed dragons of the Egyptian Mythology-inspired plane of Amonkhet.
    • Individual dragons of interest include Niv-Mizzet, a supergenius of downright transhuman level who leads the Izzet guild of Mad Scientists on the city-plane of Ravnica, and Nicol Bolas, a staggeringly powerful dragon Planeswalker who caused almost every major disaster in the setting’s modern history in his quest to recover the power he lost in the Mending (he’s still far more powerful than any other being alive, but for all intents and purposes he used to be a god). There are also the five primeval dragons of Dominaria (Rith the Awakener, Dromar the Banisher, Treya the Renewer, Darigaaz the Igniter and Crosis the Purger), as well as the five sprit dragons of Kamigawa, one for each color of mana, who were some of the few sprits to remain loyal to the mortals when the kami declared war on the physical world.
    • Tarkir has some very unique dragons. For starters, they're not conventional biological beings, being instead born from the elemental storms created by the spirit dragon planeswalker Ugin (a very strange dragon himself: he's a borderline Eldritch Abomination not aligned with the colours of mana, who specialises in the conversion of matter into energy and vice versa), which in contact with various terrains result in different dragon species, each lead by a brood leader. The Green/White dragons live in the deserts, have thick scales immune to most weapons, and breathe beams of light. The White/Blue dragons live in the frozen mountains, have feathered wings and breathe ice. The Blue/Black dragons live in the jungles, look like flying snakes and perhaps appropriately breathe toxic gases and poison. The Black/Red dragons live in the steppes and have four feathered wings, which allow them to be incredibly fast, and they breathe lightning. And the Green/Red dragons from the mountain forests are rather conventional looking western dragons, but nonetheless have huge claws and fur and breathe green fire.
    • While true dragons are chiefly Red-aligned, Blue (the color of the mind, air and water) gets the majority of the Drakes, smaller and less powerful relatives of dragons with animalistic intellects and two legs and two wings rather than four and two. Wyverns appear as a rare subset of the drake creature type, with the distinction seeming to be that wyverns walk on their hindlegs like birds, rather than walking batlike on all fours.
    • There are also Wurms, chiefly aligned with Green (the color of beasts and nature), which resemble large serpents or legless dragons, although in more recent depictions they’re more wormlike than anything.
    • Supposedly, all these creatures can trace their descent to the godlike Elder Dragons of the distant past, who fought a massive, multiverse-spanning war. The losers lost their power, limbs and intellect and became the first wurms (although the wurms of Innistrad at least are stated to be manifestations of the plane’s Green mana instead), while the winners became the ancestors of regular dragons, drakes and the Viashino Lizard Folk.
  • In the Old World of Darkness, dragons were immensely powerful Mythicals which were variously described; while it is never clear, they appear to be either the (non-)Anthropomorphic Personification of everything humanity fears and/or doesn't understand, or avatars of deities outright. There are probably more than one type, but since only Changelings and the most powerful of archmages could ever encounter them (and even then often only realized it after the fact), the whole thing is shrouded in mystery even by White Wolf standards. The only dragon clearly shown is Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess, who either lives in the volcano of the same name or is the volcano itself; she appears in human guise to warn a wandering group of Kithain of an imminent eruption, because she's trying to maneuver them into an encounter with the native faerie folk.
    • The Mokole werelizards from Werewolf: The Apocalypse are arguably dragons depending on how one defines them. They can shapeshift (obviously), have access to powerful magic, and have inspired dragon legends everywhere outside Europe (where they are rare).
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse also has the Zmei, a group of seven Wyrm dragons whom Baba Yaga summoned to fight Absimiliard.
    • In the New World of Darkness dragons are the legendary predecessor inhabitants of Atlantis, who left for parts unknown before humans came to inhabit the island. Items theorised to have been dragon bones are purported to have had the property of allowing one to attempt Awakening at will (as opposed to the period covered by known history, in which Awakening appears to be a mostly random process).
      • There's also a dragon written up for Changeling: The Lost — Dzarumazh, one of the True Fae.
      • As well as an entire 'Draconic' kith that Changelings can take after, although it also covers devilish themes.
  • Numenera: Xi-drakes resemble a white take on a classic wyvern, with two wings, two legs, a long tail and a large crest on their heads. This crest also contains an organ that helps them fly, but no one is really sure how it works. They are intelligent and can read minds, and are extremely long-lived.
  • Pathfinder has the same Chromatic and Metallic Dragons as D&D, although they naturally look different now that it's a separate game. In addition to these, there's also the savage Linnorms; Wyrms (typically with only two arms for limbs) that normally live up in the cold North, Oriental-style Imperial Dragons, tiny Fairie and Pseudodragons, the Jabberwock, and even a Dinosaur-like African cryptid, to name a few.
    • There are also the primal dragons which represent the elements, and the space-faring outer dragons.
  • Palladium's Rifts and related games feature almost as many dragons, based on Western, Eastern, and Mythological sources, plus their own imaginations, from Hydras to Chiang-Ku to Ogopogo (based on a real-life Canadian legend) to Crystal Dragons. Unfortunately for would-be heroes, these are not color-coded, although there are some species that tend to generally be nicer than others. It even allows you to have a young hatchling dragon (as young as "just hatched a few minutes ago") as a playable character. Palladium's Dragons are extremely powerful, both physically and magically, with many species capable of transforming into a human form. Adults can take on a Humongous Mecha and expect to win most of the time, while the most ancient can even give a God a hard time.
  • In RuneQuest:
    • The big lizards flying around, burning crops and acting cranky are in fact just the dreams made manifest of the real sleeping Dragons. True Dragons are so large and awesome that they have typically been mistaken, for the last several hundred years, as mountain ranges. Needless to say, you don't want to wake one up...
    • The world also has Dragonewts, humanoid reptilians who are immortal, and grow over the centuries in size, wisdom and power, until one day they die and reincarnate as True Dragons — in fact they need to die and reincarnate several times for this to happen, but they always retain all the memories from their previous lives. They form the oldest and perhaps the most aliennote  civilization in Glorantha. The parent dragons mostly let the dragonewts fend for themselves, but on one famous occasion when enemies tried to destroy the one place in the world where dragonewts can be reborn, the dragons took a hand. The resulting "Dragonkill Wars" weren't named for what happened to the dragons... and ever since, wars against dragonewts have stopped short of trying to exterminate them.
  • Shadowrun dragons come in both Western and Eastern forms, with the Eastern in turn having a subspecies of sorts known as the Sirrush, as well as the feathered serpents common to Central American mythologies and seagoing leviathans. All types come in "normal" and "greater" varieties: Greater dragons are very old and very experienced dragons and are survivors of the fourth world (and therefore at least 2000 years old). Regular dragons are bad enough, being arrogant, manipulative beings that can pull the strings of cities and corporations. Greater Dragons pull the strings of megacorps and nations if not the world itself and are basically Plot Devices; they have stats, but they're clearly not meant to be fought (the great dragon Alamais was direct-hit by a Thor Shot and survived). One greater dragon even became president of the UCAS before being assassinated (in his human form) by a Blood Magic nuke (and it's ambiguous whether it actually killed him). Fortunately for humanity they're about as cooperative as a bag of angry cats and expend most of their energy squabbling with each other and the various nations and MegaCorps. Never, ever, cut a deal with one.
  • Space 1889: The main book mentions the Sand Wing, a truly huge vicious flying creature capable of flying off with a ruumet breehr (elephant equivalent), that supposedly looked a lot like an oriental dragon (and that's what the illustration shows). It is thought to have been hunted to extinction.
  • The Dragons of The Splinter are shape-changing were-creatures, as are most other sentient beings within the universe that they inhabit. Instead of breathing fire (though that is well within the scope of their power) they alter the very fabric of reality with their world-breathing.
  • Dragons in Talislanta are HUGE, aggressive, wingless, and mostly non-sentient or uncommunicative. They hatch out as larval "wyrmms", then metamorphose into their adult forms (land dragons, sea dragons, kaliya [multi-headed], or crested dragons). Land dragons are sometimes tamed and used as living tanks by saurans.
  • Dragons in Warhammer are intelligent, and according to The Old World Bestiary can speak, often in multiple languages. They are also said to be the oldest living things on the planet, dating back to an age before the Old Ones came and made the planet warmer. The oldest dragons are sleeping, waiting for the days when the world will cool again, while the younger ones can sometimes be roused by powerful magic or great heroes to fight alongside them.
    • True dragons come in several varieties, including the dragons that fight alongside the High Elves and start their lives as fierce and impetuous Sun Dragons before growing wiser and more powerful as they age into Moon and Star Dragons, poison-breathing Forest Dragons from the forest of Athel Loren, Carmine Dragons imbued with the magic of the Wind of Death, monstrous Black Dragons and Sea Dragons employed by the Dark Elves, the Imperial Dragon that the Emperors of the Empire can sometimes convince to carry them to battle, and monstrous two-headed Chaos Dragons in the service of the Ruinous Powers.
    • The setting also has wyverns, raised by Orcs as war mounts. They are about as smart as horses and are smaller and less powerful than true dragons, from whom they're also distinguished by their smaller size, poisonous sting and vicious temperament.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has no true dragons in sight (besides name references, particularly among Eldar) but it's a big galaxy. Certain types of Tyranid and Daemons as well as a Chaos Space Marine vehicle, which is pretty much a mechanical dragon, get close, and then there's the mysterious Eldritch Abomination known as the Void Dragon, who gets a lot more coverage in Graham McNeill's Horus Heresy book Mechanicum, fitting the trope very, very closely. To make a long story short, it was big, its scales were made of fluid metal, it had a nasty temper, it ate stars, and it was defeated by shoving a lance into its wing joint.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has this in extremely heavy arrays. Jumping from elemental dragons, to dragons from different mythologies, different dimensions, and even Darker and Edgier versions of already existing ones. The Yang Zing archetype introduced a new Type of monster called Wyrms, which look like Dragons with a more spiritual, mythical, metaphysical look, and are based heavily on Asian dragons, as opposed to the more Western designs of many Dragon-Types.
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