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I was playing D&D 3.5 when it was pointed out to me that the half-dragon template can be added to any living corporeal creature which includes dragons. That seems really weird — how can a creature be half of something it already is?

Can a dragon really have the half-dragon template applied? Is there any official errata saying it can't?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Reminder: comments are for clarifying content, not posting small or incomplete answers. Please use answer posts to submit answers instead. Prior comments containing answers have been purged. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 1 '15 at 0:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've removed the [rules-as-written] tag. This question dates from when [rules-as-written] was often used to mean either 1) a secret hint on how answers should be written, or 2) “I am asking a rules question”. Neither reason is currently accepted as a correct use for the tag (meaning #1 is invalid use of tags, meaning #2 is just using it as a replacement for the banned [rules] tag). Since the question body doesn't have anything to do with complex rules analysis/combos (what the tag is for), just asking for a normal [rules] clarification, I've removed it. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 22 '17 at 22:58
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There's no specific prohibition against applying the half-dragon template to a dragon.

However, applying templates to monsters is DM business. It's not something that will happen just randomly out of nowhere, or by a player's initiation — templates are tools, and most exist only to get a job done as needed by a DM. A DM who needs to make a half-dragon dragon has the template available to do so, and presumably has an excellent reason for such a strange operation. However, it can be expected that most DMs will never have need for such a combination, and as such the combination will never appear in majority of real games.

The game is, in many ways, stupid. A stupid tool is an obedient and flexible tool. In such matters it doesn't try to be smarter than the people who use it, leaving such discrimination up to the DM's intelligent choices regarding a given campaign's needs.

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Yes, and that really isn't weird.

A Half-Green Dragon Red Dragon is a dragon with a green dragon mummy and a red dragon daddy, aka, two dragon parents, just of different hues. A bit stronger than your average specimen ('hybrid vigour'), a bit tougher, a bit higher in CR, has two different breath weapons. Not objectionable in the slightest compared to a werehyena stone giant with grafted mohrg flesh, or a Half-Celestial Illithid.

It's possible to do stupid things with nearly any of the rules in the game. That's why human intelligence and judgement is meant to be applied to the game by the players.

That said, in a game which has literal wizards who do random crossbreeding experiments all the time because apparently magic makes you go mad and live in a tower, I can't really think of any weird combination that shouldn't come up in some recondite sense.

Yes, even half-mummy. Even Exalted Saint Salt Creature Half-Mummies. That guy.. he just lived a really, really, really interesting life.

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Yes and no. No, not a half red dragon/red dragon. But yes, a half red dragon/blue dragon. Same creature, different kind.

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No. You can't be both an elf and a half-elf.

My reasoning isn't rooted in the written rules, it is rooted in elementary logic and meaning. The "dragonness", "elfness" or "humanness" of a being can't be both ½ and 1 at the same time.

How many elf, dragon, etc blood is in somebody, it should be a real number, between 0 and 1. It is impossible to be

  • more than 1 (i.e. nobody can be "150% elf")
  • have multiple values (i.e. nobody can be "0.5 elf" and also "1 elf" at the same time)
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    \$\begingroup\$ According to the half-elf racial trait elven blood, "For all effects related to race, a half-elf is considered an elf" (PH 18), so, in a way, a half-elf is by default an elf and a half-elf. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 22 '17 at 22:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan ...which is obviously pretty irrelevant from the essence of this answer. :-) How many elf, dragon, etc. blood is in somebody, it should be a real number between 0 and 1. It can't be more than 1, or it can't have multiple values. It is quite trivial to me, quite trivial for you, and it is quite trivial also for the wonderful people who voted this post down on unknown reason... \$\endgroup\$ – Gray Sheep Jan 23 '17 at 8:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ But it's your title! ;-) Anyway, I didn't downvote this because I think there's a place for strict readings even when I disagree with such readings (much like I think that there's a place for looser readings , too, even when I disagree with those), but I can understand the downvotes. The answer eliminates any possibility of the template being used for anything except the offspring of a dragon and whatever it bred with, treating the template not as DM imagination fuel but, instead, as immutable narrative canon. That's gonna leave some folks raw. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 23 '17 at 9:29

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