Dragon, Ferrous, Iron

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Climate/Terrain:Tropical, subtropical, temperate/Hills, mountains
Frequency:Very rare
Organization:Solitary or clan
Activity Cycle:Any
Diet:See below
Intelligence:Exceptional to genius (15-18)
Alignment:Lawful neutral
No. Appearing:1 (2-5)
Armor Class:-3 (base)
Movement:12, Fl 30 (C), Br 8, Jp 3
Hit Dice:15 (base)
THAC0:5 (at 15 HD)
No. of Attacks:3 + special
Special Attacks:See below
Special Defenses:See below
Magic Resistance:Varies
Size:G (53' base)
Morale:Fearless (19-20 base)
XP Value:Varies

Iron dragons are the most powerful of all ferrous dragons. They are the rulers of all the ferrous dragons, and the sovereign iron dragon is said to be nearly unbeatable. Iron dragons frequently assume the form of men to spy on the goings-on of the world, in order to someday bring dragons back as the rightful rulers of the land.

Iron dragons are born with scales of flat black. As the dragon ages, the scales begin to take on a glossy texture until as adults the dragon is metallic black. The scales continue to take on silver highlights until, as great wyrms, the scales look like moonlight reflecting on a rippling pool.

Iron dragons speak their own tongue, a tongue common to all ferrous dragons, and 20% of all hatchling iron dragons have an ability to communicate with any intelligent creature by using telepathy (60' range). The chance to possess this ability increases 5% per age category.

Combat: Iron dragons will not usually attack unless there are intruders in its lair. They are more concerned with gaining information on events in the world than in engaging in battle. If necessary, iron dragons are deadly opponents. They always use their spells and special abilities in preference to physical combat, but will fight if need be. Their favorite spells are those that weaken or incapacitate their opponents, as they accept the surrender of their opponents. After all, how can the dragon learn anything if the ones it sought to communicate with are dead? Of course, such unfortunates are usually eaten after they have supplied all of the information they can.

An iron dragon has two breath weapons: a cloud of sleep gas 50' long, 40' wide, and 30' high; or a cone of superheated sparks 90' long, 5' wide at the dragon's mouth, and 30' wide at the end. Creatures caught in the gas must save vs. breath weapon or fall asleep, regardless of hit dice. Creatures caught in the spark cone may save vs. breath weapon for half damage. An iron dragon casts its spells and uses its magical abilities at 9th level, plus its combat modifier.

At birth, iron dragons are immune to heat and flame of any sort and can polymorph self three times a day. Each change in form lasts until the dragon chooses a different form, and reverting to its true form does not count as a change. As the dragon ages, it gains the following powers:

youngheat metal three times a day
juvenilestone shape twice a day
adultESP three times a day
oldwall of stone twice a day
wyrmrock to mud twice a day
great wyrmflesh to stone once a day.

Habitat/Society: Iron dragons dwell upon great hills or on high mountains, usually building their lairs deep beneath the surface. It is said that where you find the lair of an iron dragon, you find deposits of iron. In fact, such dragons hoard iron with more greed than any other metal. Such metal is only found in raw form, and sages believe such metal is somehow needed for their reproductive cycle as well as for food. This makes them unpopular with mining races, of course.

Iron dragons travel the world in forms other than their own to seek knowledge of the world around them. They seem to prefer human form, but whether this is a matter of preference, convenience, or both, sages can only speculate.

Ecology: Iron dragons prefer a diet of iron ore but can sustain themselves on almost anything.

Iron dragons dwell in the same regions as red dragons and the two are bitter enemies. The red dragon sees the iron dragon as a weak interloper, of course, and the iron dragon sees the red dragon as a stain on the reputation of dragonkind as a whole. The two have fierce battles always resulting in the death of one or the other, for neither will yield to the claws of the other. Iron dragons also do not get along well with dwarves and other races that mine for iron, but the skirmishing here is small compared to the wars with the red dragons.

AgeBody lgt.(')Tai1 lgt.(')ACBreath weaponSpells (wizard)MRTreas. typeXP
1 Hatchling6-183-1002d12+1NilNilNil3,000
2 Very young18-3010-22-14d12+2NilNilNil5,000
3 Young30-4522-30-26d12+3NilNilNil7,000
4 Juvenile45-6130-40-37d12+42NilE,R9,000
5 Young adult61-7340-50-49d12+52,130%W,R14,000
6 Adult73-8550-60-511d12+62,236%H,R15,000
7 Mature adult85-9860-71-613d12+72,2,142%H,R,T18,000
8 Old98-11171-82-714d12+83,2,148%H,R,T19,000
9 Very old111-12482-93-816d12+93,3,2,154%(H,R)×2,T20,000
10 Venerable124-13793-104-918d12+103,3,2,260%(H,R,T)×221,000
11 Wyrm137-150104-115-1019d12+113,3,2,2,166%(H,R,T)×222,000
12 Great Wyrm150-163115-126-1121d12+123,3,3,3,172%(H,R,T)×323,000