Our DM is preparing a new D&D (3.5) campaign in which we all have to play as a (True) dragon. We're all going to play non-evil dragons (we're allowed to pick chromatic ones and change their alignment) and start at ECL12 (so depending on which dragon you pick you can add some class levels to regain balance).

I've picked a Gold Dragon, which has ECL12, but other are playing Shadow Dragons (ECL7, so 5 class levels).

Now I've read through the Draconomicon and Dragon #320 but does anyone know of any other sources (online or offline) or has experience playing a dragon and wishes to share some insight?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Full-dragons as PCs? Where is this game. I've got to clip off a piece of that! I'd hate to be the DM though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pulsehead
    Feb 4, 2011 at 18:56

4 Answers 4


There's always Mongoose Publishing's 'The Slayer's Guide to Dragons' which should offer you at least some idea of the culture of dragons.

Chapters include:

  • The Physiology of Dragonkind
  • Dracos Invictus (this is pretty much just an additional age-class for the dragons)
  • New Races of Dragons
  • Habitat
  • Dragon Society
  • Methods of Warfare
  • Roleplaying with Dragons (this is written mostly for the GM, and contains guides on how to play dragons of different classes and such. Should be easy to adapt for PCs)

If interested it can be bought cheaply on Amazon or downloaded for $12 here.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It also seems like this link has some relevant information about playing dragon characters, as seen from the section aptly named "PLAYING DRAGON CHARACTERS" \$\endgroup\$
    – Duffadash
    Feb 13, 2011 at 2:43

What a great question. My perspective is from being a DM. This was a game with PC dragons (metallic). I found I had to adjust substantially for the shapechanging abilities. This was unexpected - what I was more prepared for was (for example) the players being a very desirable target for the local nobility. Dragonslaying was all the rage in the land where they started out their adventures. All the various parts of a dragon were worth a fortune to all sorts of different magic users and craftspeople, and therefore dragons were hunted and poached.

However, the ability to shapeshift three times a day for free became much more of a challenge for me than almost anything else. I had to make much more of an effort to "populate" their world with the right sort of encounters, since they had a lot more flexibility in terms of form and special abilities. It certainly made me up my game!

The best dragon characters in the party were the ones that had a substantial "break" with their home culture, but also kept the alien and magical nature of the dragon, instead of simply "playing a human in dragon clothing".

Since they are so long-lived, it's easy to see that they would be much more risk-averse than humans. They have more to lose, in terms of years of future. Time moves much more slowly for a dragon, unless of course, there is a reason they're in a hurry to adventure.

One of the PCs in the party had a dragon disease that was terminal, and had to find certain substances in order to take back to their tribe for a cure. Another was cast out solely due to a mistaken divination. The dragon had to find proof of the interference in the divination, and then get the proof back to their family, in order to be restored to their position in the hierarchy. The others were motivated by a love of money, in one form or another.


I've found some various things about running PCs with nonstandard races, although they're mostly from the GM side.

  1. Monstrous PCs, dragons included, will usually have a substantially different outlook on things than most humanoids. There are a lot of reasons for that: a longer lifespan, more powerful (well, they do have a pretty high level adjustment), and other cultural outlooks (most monstrous creatures are very well insulated from the usual human-elf-dwarf-etc mixture culture that permeates most D&D cities) that lead to a different paradigm of thinking.
  2. Become accustomed with your PC's race's culture. This is going to vary substantially from setting to setting, so check with your GM. There's no 'default' for dragons other than what's in the Monster Manual, which is pretty much all information about dragons themselves and mostly about their physical characteristics at that rather than their culture or disposition.
  3. Be careful not to completely define your character through their race. A good character is usually multifaceted and 'complex'. You've probably seen a 'simple' or 'shallow' character at one point, those who are defined completely by their occupation or race and end up as a personification thereof. You usually don't want to end up with that for your PC. (Although there are places where such simple characters are appropriate, for the purposes of roleplaying, a PC tends not to be one of them.)
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice insights. I completely agree with #3. Dragons, even the wyrmlings we're starting out with would have definite character traits. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2011 at 7:52

Check out D&D's Council of Wyrms setting

I don't think it's been updated for 3.5 rules, but it's a good start.

You can also look into the Dragon Kings expansion to Dark Sun.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I have used, and adapted this to 3.5e using AEG books it a blast. Very good Suggestion exactly what question was looking for. *Oh and ANY dragon that doesnt take (Leadership when can) feat needs re working, too much fun and flexibility. (or cannon folder from dragon s point of view) ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – IrqJD
    Feb 6, 2011 at 20:32

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