Dragon, Ferrous, Nickel

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Climate/Terrain:Any/Swamps, marshlands
Frequency:Very rare
Organization:Solitary or clan
Activity Cycle:Any
Diet:See below
Intelligence:Low to average (5-10)
Treasure:See below
Alignment:Chaotic neutral
No. Appearing:1 (2-5)
Armor Class:1 (base)
Movement:12, Fl 36 (C), Sw 12
Hit Dice:11 (base)
THAC0:9 (at 11 HD)
No. of Attacks:3 + special
Special Attacks:See below
Special Defenses:See below
Magic Resistance:Varies
Size:G (27' base)
Morale:Champion (16 base)
XP Value:Varies

Nickel dragons are the weakest of the ferrous dragons. They make up for their smaller size and lesser power with a tenacity and viciousness that would make even the boldest adventurers think twice about wanting to face one a second time. However, they are also somewhat unpredictable in nature and could well gulp down a poor adventurer in a party and then decide the others are not worth its time.

The scales of the nickel dragon are a charcoal gray at birth, changing to a more metallic gray as adults. As the dragon continues to age, the metallic gray begins to show white until, as a great wyrm, no traces of the gray remain and the dragon is a bright metallic white.

Nickel dragons speak their own tongue and a tongue common to all ferrous dragons, and 5% of all hatchling nickel dragons have a telepathic ability to communicate with any creature within 60'. The chance to possess this ability increases 5% per age category of the dragon.

Combat: A nickel dragon usually tries to overwhelm its opponents through the sheer unpredictability of its attacks. It usually attacks first with its breath weapon, then follows with fang and claw, saving at least one breath for a retreat, but nothing is certain when dealing with the nickel dragon.

A nickel dragon's breath weapon is a cloud of acidic vapors 30' long, 20' wide, and 20' high. Creatures caught in the cloud must save vs. breath weapon for half damage. A nickel dragon casts its spells and uses its magical abilities at 6th level, plus its combat modifier.

From birth, nickel dragons have a water breathing ability and are immune to acid of any sort. As they mature, they gain the following abilities:

juvenileresist fire three times a day
adultmass irritation (affecting a number of creatures equal to the hit dice of the dragon with the itching version, and one-third of the dragon's hit dice, rounded down, with the rash version) twice a day
very oldaffect normal fires (at double effect) twice a day
great wyrmassume vaporous form (as per a potion of gaseous form) once a day.

Habitat/Society: Nickel dragons dwell only in swamps and marshes, preferably those that are close to or border on coastlines. There, they prey on creatures native to the area and thus seldom come into contact with men. However, being more unpredictable than others of their kind, they have been known to raid settlements near and far for treasure or just the thrill of watching lesser creatures flee in terror.

Nickel dragons are as unpredictable as parents as they are as combatants. They can be loving parents one morning and set out to find food for their young, only to return and decide to eat the meal themselves. Thus, there are fewer and fewer nickel dragons. The only exception to their chaos comes when a matter concerns the clan as a whole and the hierarchy it follows. However, when it comes to individuals, it's back to “normal”.

The lair of a nickel dragon is a perfect match for its personality. It tends to dwell in shallow caves, but this is not a rule. A cave is more often a place for treasure and laying eggs, and the dragon itself dwells somewhere nearby, anywhere that suits the dragon at that particular moment.

Ecology: Like all other dragons, the nickel dragon can consume nearly anything. They are, however, particularly fond of giant, swamp-dwelling lizards.

A nickel dragon often shares the same habitat as that of the black dragon. The two often have bloody conflicts, as neither dragon's breath is effective against the other.

AgeBody lgt.(')Tail lgt.(')ACBreath weaponSpells (wizard)MRTreas. typeXP
1 Hatchling3-62-542d4+1NilNilNil975
2 Very young6-145-1234d4+2NilNilNil1,400
3 Young14-2212-1826d4+3NilNilNil2,000
4 Juvenile22-3218-2417d4+41NilE5,000
5 Young adult32-4024-3009d4+516%E,S11,000
6 Adult40-4830-36-111d4+6212%E,S12,000
7 Mature adult48-5436-43-212d4+7218%H,S13,000
8 Old54-6243-50-314d4+8324%H,S14,000
9 Very old62-7050-57-416d4+9330%H,S15,000
10 Venerable70-7857-64-517d4+10436%H×2,S16,000
11 Wyrm78-8664-71-619d4+11442%H×2,S17,000
12 Great Wyrm86-9471-78-721d4+12548%H×2,S18,000