Advanced Dragon Abilities

Advanced Dragon Abilities

Perhaps you aren’t interested in adding a full template to a dragon, but you still want an easy way to make dragon fights a little more interesting. If that describes your situation, you can pull from one of the advanced dragon abilities below. Some of these abilities require an increase to the dragon’s CR. Adding more than one may require further consideration of the dragon’s CR.

Adamantine Hide

The dragon’s scales have hardened like adamantine. Any critical hits made against the dragon become normal hits.

Arcane Sight

The dragon gains truesight out to a range of 60 feet. If the dragon already has truesight, the range extends by 60 feet.

Controlled Breathing

Prerequisite: Has a breath weapon attack

When the dragon uses its breath weapon, it can choose to shape the cone as a 60-foot line that is 5-feet wide or as a 60-foot cone. These options are in addition to any breath weapon option the dragon already has.

Dragon Heart

As long as the dragon has at least 1 hit point but fewer hit points than half its hit point maximum, it regains a number of hit points equal to its Constitution modifier at the start of its turn. (This ability increases the dragon’s CR by +1.)


Choose a damage type from this list: acid, lightning, fire, poison, or cold. The dragon becomes immune to that damage type in addition to any damage immunities it already has. In addition, whenever a dragon would deal acid, lightning, fire, poison, or cold damage as dictated in its original stat block, it can choose to deal the new damage type instead. (This ability increases the dragon’s CR by +1.)

Environmental Adaptation

The dragon gains one of the following movement speeds in addition to any movement speeds it already has: 40 ft. swim speed, climb speed, burrow speed, or fly speed.

Flight Maneuvers

Prerequisite: Has a flying speed

While the dragon is in midair, attack rolls against it are at disadvantage unless the attack is made from within 5 feet.

Force of Nature

The dragon’s given DC for all existing abilities increase by +2. (This ability increases the dragon’s CR by +1.)

Jaws of Death

Prerequisite: Huge or Gargantuan size

The dragon gains the swallow action.

Swallow. The dragon makes one bite attack against a Large or smaller creature. If the attack hits, the target must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw (DC equals 8 + dragon’s proficiency bonus + dragon’s Con modifier) or be swallowed by the dragon. A swallowed creature is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the dragon, and it takes 21 (6d6) acid damage at the start of each of the dragon’s turns. The dragon can swallow only one creature at a time. (This ability increases the dragon’s CR by +1.)

Majestic Presence

Prerequisite: Has the frightful presence action

The dragon replaces its Frightful Presence action with the Majestic Presence action. Use the DC of the dragon’s existing Frightful Presence to determine the DC for the Majestic Presence ability.

Majestic Presence. Each creature of the dragon’s choice that is within 120 feet of the dragon and is aware of it must succeed on a Charisma saving throw or become charmed by the dragon for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns and each time it takes damage, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the dragon’s Majestic Presence for the next 24 hours.

Reflective Scales

If the dragon makes a successful saving throw against a spell, or a spell attack misses it, the dragon can choose another creature (including the spellcaster) it can see within range of the spell. The spell targets the chosen creature instead of the dragon. If the spell forced a saving throw, the chosen creature makes its own save. If the spell was an attack, the attack roll is rerolled against the chosen creature.

Tooth and Nail

Prerequisite: Must have a bite and a claw melee weapon attack

The dragon can make one additional bite or claw melee weapon attack when it takes the Multiattack action. (This ability increases the dragon’s CR by +1.)

Touch of Magic

The dragon learns the cantrips from the bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard spell list. In addition, the dragon learns one 1st-level spell from that same list. Using this feature, the dragon can cast the spell once per day at its lowest level. The dragon’s spellcasting ability for these spells depends on the class list you chose from: Charisma for bard, sorcerer, or warlock; Wisdom for cleric or druid; or Intelligence for wizard.

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