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The Monster Manual refers to some creatures with the Dragon type as “True Dragons,” and some later books refer to True Dragon status as a prerequisite for various options.

Races of the Dragon offers the Dragonwrought feat, available to 1st-level Kobolds. The feat changes the Kobold’s type to Dragon, and gives them True Dragon-esque age categories (wyrmling, young adult, etc., up to great wyrm).

Does the Dragonwrought Kobold qualify as a True Dragon?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @LitheOhm: You'd be shocked at how often and how fervently this is argued on some D&D boards. For a long time I was decidedly in the "DWKs are True Dragons" camp, too. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 10 '12 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Probably would. Either way I am in favor of having obscure 3.5 knowledge, makes me less of a lone nerd :P \$\endgroup\$ – LitheOhm Oct 10 '12 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Part of our fine cheese collection. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 15 '18 at 18:30
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There are three somewhat-contradicting definitions of True Dragon, from Monster Manual, Draconomicon, and Races of the Dragon (listed by publication date).

Please also note my other answer, which poses a rebuttal that I’ve come across.

Monster Manual

The first definition, in the Monster Manual, is simply the “Dragon, True” entry, which lists ten creatures, five “chromatic” and five “metallic.” Several later books included similar groupings of dragons, such as “gem” dragons and “planar” dragons, as well as individual creatures with similar stats. Some of these creatures explicitly stated that it was a True Dragon, in addition to the ten from Monster Manual, but others did not, leaving the question somewhat ambiguous.

Draconomicon

Draconomicon took it upon itself to attempt to define a True Dragon, explicitly superseding Monster Manual on the subject. Unfortunately, because of the haphazard nature of the existing True Dragons (and similar creatures that the authors wanted to include under the banner), the definition relied on an almost incidental quality: the presence of age categories. The True Dragons in Monster Manual and elsewhere had twelve; the other creatures of the Dragon type, like most monsters, did not have any.

The official definition became “advances through age categories,” itself a particularly troublesome phrase due to the verb “advances” and the way True Dragon stat blocks were laid out, namely the way they included all twelve age categories in one block to save space. Thus, many believed that this wording required that a creature have something likened to “Advancement: By age category.”

The problem with this is that the rules do not officially recognize any such thing at all. True Dragons merely have “Advancement: By HD,” which are then broken down into entries for each age category as each is a separate creature.

It is entirely possible that the authors of Draconomicon intended to refer to the organization of True Dragon’s stat blocks as the deciding factor, but it is uncertain, and in any case it’s unclear that they even could, since a typesetting choice like that would not normally have any rules significance.

The alternative reading is that “advances” was merely a particularly poor choice of word, when the synonym “progresses” or similar could have been used without ambiguously maybe-referencing the Advancement section of monsters’ stat blocks. In this reading, a Dragon-type creature merely needs to have age categories to progress (or advance) through in order to be a True Dragon.

It is worth noting that by this definition, the Dragonwrought Kobold is a True Dragon. It does have age categories; it even has the traditional “draconic” age categories (which Draconomicon does not explicitly require).

Races of the Dragon

Races of the Dragon added and updated a lot of material to all things Dragon, and as a result has several sections with the phrase “this material supersedes any from Draconomicon.”

The most relevant such section begins on page 69, in a section dealing with Half-Dragons. The exact statement in Races of the Dragon is as follows:

The half-dragon template presents special attacks and special qualities for half-dragon versions of the ten varieties of true dragons described in the Monster Manual. The information here expands that list to include all true dragons published in DUNGEONS & DRAGONS products to date. It supersedes any other previously published information on this topic (such as from Draconomicon).

Considering that this section is supposed to be about half-dragons, it is odd that it is most relevant, but it is. The most important part of this section is this section “expands [the list of half-dragons] to include all true dragons.” This statement is not qualified anywhere in Races of the Dragon: it is an absolute claim that the list includes all true dragons. As a result, if a creature does not appear on the following list of half-dragons, it is not a true dragon.

Conclusion: all true dragons have a half-dragon version, and lack thereof is, per Races of the Dragon, indication that a creature is not a True Dragon. Dragonwrought Kobolds are not on the list of half-dragons that begins on page 69.

Since Dragonwrought Kobolds are introduced in Races of the Dragon, and no book after Races of the Dragon was ever published that claimed to supersede Races of the Dragon, there is no possible combination of allowed sources that would result in Dragonwrought Kobolds being True Dragons.

Dragonwrought Kobolds, therefore, are not True Dragons.

(sidenote: half-dragons, on the other hand, are. Not only are they True Dragons, they are “versions” of their full-blooded progenitors. In other words, a red half-dragon is not just a True Dragon, it’s also a red dragon, and would qualify as such if any requirement specifically required one be so.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Dragon Magic — published after Races of the Dragon — on Creating a Dragonpact says, "To make a dragonpact, a sorcerer of 4th level or higher… must undertake a mystical ceremony in which he establishes mental contact with a true dragon (that is, a dragon with twelve age categories, such as a red dragon)" (87). I don't really know if that matters to this answer, but it might be something to consider. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 1 '17 at 17:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan That actually is pretty useful to fight the Advancement-based argument; it’s more clear than what I have. And dragonwrought kobolds explicitly do have those age categories, so that’s something. But hmmm... sigh. I’ll probably need to add a third answer for it. Unless you would like to? You did find it, after all. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 1 '17 at 17:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't attempt an answer to the question with 10-ft. pole (PH 127, 128) (2 sp; 8 lbs.). The research burden is too overwhelming, and I am totally not invested in the argument. Even the most demanding of my high-op players who both loves dragons and consistently pushes the rules envelope hasn't yet tried to convince me of the viability of a PC dragonwrought kobold… and everything that such a PC might—or might not—entail. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 1 '17 at 17:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Ultimately, the only abuse this argument makes available is loredrake (which is, admittedly, really bad). Everything else abusive about dragonwrought kobolds is available even if they are lesser dragons. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 1 '17 at 17:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just a note, Dragon Magic definition is few months newer than Races of the Dragon and it defines true dragons as type dragon, 12 age categories. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Jun 5 at 13:43
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I find this argument compelling, but I don’t want to add it to my other answer because so many people have voted for it and this is a reversal.

Yes, Dragonwrought Kobolds are True Dragons

Races of the Dragon actually says so. On page 103, there is a table entitled “Draconic Heritage, Dragonwrought, and Draconic Legacy Options” – that is, dragonwrought kobolds get to choose which type of True Dragon (no Lesser Dragons appear in the list) they are. This doesn’t matter much to the Draconic Heritage and Draconic Legacy feats because those do not grant the Dragon type, but it very much does to Dragonwrought.

Thus, the reason that you don’t see dragonwrought kobolds in the Races of the Dragon list is because, like half-dragons, dragonwrought kobolds are versions of true dragons. That is, you don’t have dragonwrought kobold as a separate type of True Dragon, you have things like red dragonwrought kobolds and gold dragonwrought kobolds, being versions of red dragon and gold dragon, respectively. As versions of True Dragons, these are therefore also True Dragons.

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The table of page 103 'Draconic Heritage, Dragonwrought and Draconic Legacy Options' is, in my opinion, meant to be a space saver. The table is used by the those three Feats in different ways. I don't believe this is can 'prove' a kobold is a True Dragon.

All kobolds use the twelve Age categories, whether they are dragonwrought or not. Being dragonwrought however means they do not take any penalties at the three age effect levels, and gain a higher maximum age (121 + x1 Cha for normal kobolds, 121 + x5 for chromatic dragonwrought, or 121 + x10 for metallic dragonwrought.) Whilst the benefit of lack of aging penalties might be nice, it doesn't seem to intend that 'dragonwrought get more powerful as they advance through the age categories.'

A couple of facts stated in Races of the Dragon, and the Draconomicon;

Races of the Dragon, Page 40

PHYSIOLOGY

Kobolds have close biological ties to dragons. The most important difference between the two, however, is that kobolds are cold-blooded creatures, and dragons are warmblooded.

While kobolds do generate some internal body heat from taking in food and engaging in activity, they are dependent on their environment for warmth. This is one reason why they live underground, especially in their native temperate climate.

Draconomicon, Page 9

PHYSIOLOGY - METABOLISM

Laypeople, and some scholars, are fond of the terms “coldblooded” and “warm-blooded” to describe ectothermic and endothermic creatures, respectively. An ectothermic creature lacks the ability to produce its own heat and must depend on its environment for warmth. Most ectothermic creatures seldom actually have cold blood, because they are able to find environmental heat to warm their bodies.

An endothermic creature doesn’t necessarily have warm blood. What it has is a body temperature that remains more or less steady no matter how hot or cold its surroundings become.

All true dragons are endothermic.

So RotD explicitly states that kobolds are cold blooded, whilst Draconicum states that all true dragons are endothermic (warm blooded.) I have found no official text that states that kobold dragonwrought have warm blood.

From these, I'd personally say that Dragonwrought Kobolds are not actually True Dragons. They might like to claim they are, of course! I know my most recent character will do his best IC to assert this is the truth, though as a player I want to avoid any blunt-force trauma from a DM's Guide.

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I would disagree that Races of the Dragon truly names all and every kind of true dragon. Why? Dragons of Krynn (2007), p. 15, names a few that are absent in the RotD:

"All true dragons are extraordinary beings possessing superior senses, intelligence, and the gift of flight (in the case of the sea, amphi and aquatic dragons, this is replaced by powerful swimming)." I.e. aquatic dragons and amphi dragons. The two kinds of true dragons were introduced many years earlier, so they were not unknown at the time of publishing of RotD.

Furthermore, the RotD (pp. 55–56) clearly states, that half-dragons are not true dragons. That is half-dragons are said to be dragon descended races (and are described in Chapter 4: Dragon Descended). Then on page 56 one may read: "The dragon-descended—those with some draconic traits but not true dragons—stand apart from society." Then in the description of half-dragons it is said: "Others [half-dragons] seek an apotheosis to make them true dragons at last." Right after that the half-dragons are presented (in the very same chapter).

And the cherry onto a top: in Dragon Magic (published 7 months after the RotD) it is said that half-dragon may take the draconic heritage feat, giving him or her a dragonblood subtype. Now that is plain stupid. You cannot do that. You cannot gain dragonblood subtype if you are a dragon already. The very same book says that if you are a dragonblood and get a dragon type, you lose the dragonblood subtype.

Therefore, I would like to ask is inferring on the dragonwrought fom such light-headedly written and so contradictory data really justified ;) I do not claim that dragonwrought kobolds are true dragons, but just that... Who cares if it works and all have fun?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Dragons of Krynn isn’t a Wizards of the Coast product (it is a licensed product, similar to Dragon magazine), so naturally those would not be included in Races of the Dragon’s list. The points about pages 55-56 are valid, but self-contradicting only seems to invalidate Races of the Dragon further and recommend falling back on Draconomicon, and by that definition dragonwrought kobolds are true dragons anyway (but half-dragons are not). Finally, half-dragons definitely are dragons, in that they have the dragon type, regardless of whether or not they are true dragons. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 5 '17 at 4:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Finally, note that this question is purely in the realm of theoretical optimization, rules abuse, and picky legalistic wording. From that perspective, 1. the rules are allowed to be stupid, and we’re not going to pretend they are anything other than what they are even if what they are is stupid, and 2. for the purposes of the question, having fun isn’t actually the goal, understanding the rules is. For more on this approach to the rules, see What RPG concepts does “rules as written” encompass? \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 5 '17 at 4:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ And all that said, welcome to the site! Even given my notes above, this is still the kind of thing we like to see around here, a well-reasoned, well-supported answer: +1, and thank you for taking the time to help others. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 5 '17 at 4:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank U for the welcome :) I came here looking for a tip on how to make a half-black-half-silver-dragon. I am certain I've seen some book on that. But I can't find it anywere. It could've been something unofficial, but it was a well-done .pdf or something.. As for the Dragons of Krynn not being WotC product – a quote from the first page: "This Wizards of the Coast® Official Licensed Product contains no Open Game Content". I don't know anything about legal matters so I thought it was licensed due to the piece of info, sorry. Can you help me with my problem? It would be much appreciated :D \$\endgroup\$ – Lazurite Dec 5 '17 at 5:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Licensed is different from it being their own product. Anyway, yes, we can help, but it has to be in your own question for it. Answers in comments are a big no-no here, they need with the system and tend to get deleted. So just use Ask Question to start your question and I'm sure we can help. Though I recommend seeing this question to see if it answers your question first. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Dec 5 '17 at 13:01

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