In Dragons of Eberron, one can find the Sovereign Dragon Archetypes; Alternative rules for Dragons that switch out some bonuses they get for other bonuses. Throughout the paragraph, it keeps making mentions of True Dragons. However, it never outright states (as far as I noticed) that only True Dragons can choose these options. It DOES however, mention that if a creature does not have the abilities that it needs to give up for this archetype (Mostly Cleric Spellcasting) it can still pick the archetype and simply lose nothing.

With that in mind, could anything with the Dragon type pick a Sovereign Dragon Archetype, can only True Dragons pick a Sovereign Dragon Archetype?


2 Answers 2


Rules-as-written, it is unclear if lesser dragons can take sovereign archetypes, or what happens if they do.

The relevant paragraph starts

All true dragons have the potential to use arcane magic.

And then it describes how sovereign archetypes work for the “most [of true dragons, who all have the potential to use arcane magic],” followed by

Those wholly unable to cast cleric spells (black, green, and white) lose nothing when they adopt a Sovereign archetype.

Here “those” most likely refers back to “true dragons [who all] have the potential to use arcane magic.”

So we have rules for how sovereign archetypes work for true dragons who get some cleric spells, and for true dragons that don’t get cleric spells. What we don’t have are rules for what happens if a lesser dragon takes the rules, or even if that is possible. Thus the general consensus is that only true dragons can be sure to take sovereign archetypes, RAW.

And the “RAW” qualifier here is important because the abuse of these depends on RAW. Arguing that dragonwrought kobolds are true dragons, RAW, and can thus take loredrake, RAW, is a theoretical optimization exercise, not intended for a real game. In a real game, the answer to the question of how these rules are parsed is immaterial, because the fundamental issue is achieving a fun game. Loredrake dragonwrought kobolds generally are not that (at the very least, not for everybody else). Even real dragons with loredrake may be problematic (the rest are probably underpowered if anything and are unlikely to cause problems except with dragonwrought kobolds). So in a real game, some kind of houserule about loredrake and/or dragonwrought kobolds is simply to be expected because the rules-as-written are so problematic.


It's a misnomer that depends on DM Fiat.

Sovereign Archetypes

Many dragons who follow the Thir faith seek to emulate one of the Sovereigns. By embodying a Sovereign in life, a dragon hopes to ascend and assume this role after death.

Pursuing a Sovereign archetype is a lifelong goal, and it is refl ected in a dragon’s behavior and outlook on life. Dragons are still individuals; one loredrake might be dry and serious, while another is cheerfully manic. But both are utterly dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. As such, the choice of a Sovereign archetype should provide a DM with a thumbnail sketch of a dragon’s motivations and personality.

All true dragons have the potential to use arcane magic. Most have the ability to select spells from the cleric spell list and certain domains. This variant rule instead provides a dragon with a special ability based on the Sovereign archetype it chooses to follow. This special ability replaces the optional spell selection abilities a dragon normally possesses; as such, a silver dragon that adopts the child of Eberron archetype can no longer cast cleric spells or those from the Air, Good, Law, and Sun domains. Those wholly unable to cast cleric spells (black, green, and white) lose nothing when they adopt a Sovereign archetype.

Dragons don’t have to follow archetypes. Indeed, many of the archetypes require training and discipline. If the DM uses this rule, he must decide if dragons that do not have an archetype can gain access to cleric spells as described in the Monster Manual, or if such dragons are limited to standard arcane magic.

Yes; True Dragon is stated first. True dragon would lead one (A DM specifically) to assume Chromatic or Metallic. But "A Dragon" is stated in almost every other sentence/paragraph.

However, the entire premise is based on "DM." Forums can, and will, dispute every single word of every single sentence. Remember that Dungeon Masters/Game Masters are the final arbiter of his/her games.

As a DM, I believe this rule-set is for ME. To allow Dragons, in my game, as NPC's/Monsters to have an optional set of spell-casting/special ability choices, rather than "cast spells as X level of sorcerer."

As a DM, You can believe that this option is available to those that are "dragon," as in Dragon Type, or those specifically listed as "Dragon, True." I would be inclined to believe that one should reserve this special rule-set to be limited to True Dragons. Letting "lesser dragons" choose this alternative path, will make True Dragons seem... rather ordinary... and less special for being what they really are... Dragons.


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