The Dragonlance Nexus

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Onyx Drake

by Nael & Joe Mashuga



Onyx drakes are the result of Chaos' influence on clutches of black dragon eggs back when the Graygem wandered Adlatum. Onyx drakes physically resemble their black dragon antecedents and physiologically resemble true dragons more than any other type of drake. Unlike their ancestors, onyx drakes are much less intelligent and lack much of the magical might of true dragons.

Onyx drakes are wingless and have a dull slate-gray coloration when first hatched. As the drake ages, its scales slowly darken until becoming a reflective glossy black by adulthood. Onyx drake young live in coastal tidewaters until the juvenile stage when their wings emerge. At this time, male onyx drakes move onto higher ground where they will usually locate or excavate a small cavern complex as a lair from which to attract a mate.

Also like their true dragon ancestors, onyx drakes are given to hoarding gemstones and other valuable minerals and jewels as well as precious metals. However, onyx drakes cannot distinguish monetary value and prefer bright and shiny objects rather than dull lusterless items.

Onyx drakes speak a very simple form of Draconic and cannot learn to speak anything else. Players who have learned the Draconic language can communicate with onyx drakes but it is very difficult and akin to speaking with a very slow gully dwarf.


Strategies and Tactics

Onyx drake tactics vary to some extent by age. Young drakes are predominantly ambush predators that conceal themselves beneath or near the surface of the water within copious amounts of aquatic vegetation. Th e youngest onyx drakes have no breath weapon, so they usually attack smaller prey and hide from larger creatures. When an onyx drake emerges from the sea and its wings have uncased it becomes a much more active hunter, preferring to attack from above its prey using its momentum to deliver the killing blow and its breath weapon (a caustic bolt) to ensure that prey will be overcome shortly thereafter. Onyx drakes lack the intelligence of their dragon ancestors but not the cunning or blood lust. Onyx drakes have been known to randomly make a kill simply for the sheer pleasure of shedding another creature's blood.


3.5 Edition Statistics

Dragon
Environment: Coastal highlands and temperature islands
Organization: Wyrmling, young, juvenile, adult, and wyrm; solitary, pair, or family (1-2 and 2-5 off spring)
Challenge Rating: Wyrmling 1/2; young 2; juvenile 4; adult 6; wyrm 8
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: (2nd Edition - 3.5) Usually chaotic neutral; (4th Edition) Unaligned
Advancement: Wyrmling 2 HD, adult 6 HD, wyrm 8-15 HD


Golden Drake by Age
Age Size Hit Die
(hp)
Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha Base Attack/
Grapple
Attack Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Breath Weapon
(DC)
Wyrmling T 1d12
(6 hp)
10 14 10 3 10 3 +1/-7 +3 +2 +4 +2 -
Young S 3d12+3
(22 hp)
12 14 12 3 10 3 +3/+0 +5 +4 +5 +3 1d4(10)
Juvenile T 4d12+8
(34 hp)
14 14 14 5 12 5 +4/+6 +6 +6 +6 +5 2d4/1d4
(12)
Adult M 5d12+15
(47 hp)
18 14 16 5 12 5 +5/+9 +9 +7 +6 +5 3d4/2d4
(15)
Wyrm L 7d12+28
(83 hp)
20 14 18 7 14 7 +7/+16 +11 +9 +7 +7 4d4/3d4
(19)
Golden Drake Abilities by Age
Age Movement Initiative AC Special Abilities SR
Wyrmling 20 ft., swim 60 ft. +2 15 (+2 size, +2 Dex, +1 natural) Amphibious,
ambush strike +1d6
-
Young 20 ft., swim 60 ft. +2 16 (+1 size, +2 Dex, +3 natural) - 10
Juvenile 30 ft., burrow 10 ft.,
fly 100 ft. (average),
swim 60 ft.
+2 17 (+2 Dex, +5 natural) Ambush strike +2d6 12
Adult 30 ft., burrow 10 ft.,
fly 100 ft. (average),
swim 60 ft.
+2 18 (+2 Dex, +6 natural) - 14
Wyrm 30 ft., burrow 20 ft.,
fly 100 ft. (poor),
swim 60 ft.
+2 18 (-1 size, +2 Dex, +7 natural) Ambush strike +3 16

Ambush Strike (Ex) An onyx drake that attacks a fl at-footed opponent deals additional damage with its fi rst attack, as long as the onyx drake begins its turn under cover or concealment.

Breath Weapon (Su)Once every 2 rounds, an onyx drake can breathe an acidic bolt at a single target up to 50 feet away. An aff ected creature initially suff ers acid damage equal to the number listed before the slash (see table), with a Fortitude save for half damage. For the next 2 rounds thereafter, the creature takes acid damage equal to the number listed after the slash (Fortitude save for half). An onyx drake's breath weapon is only usable above water.

Charging Breath (Ex) A golden drake wyrm that charges an enemy may use its breath weapon and make two claw attacks, each at a –5 penalty (or a –2 penalty with the Multiattack feat). In addition to the normal penalties of a charge, the golden drake may only move 5 feet the round after it charges.

Skills An onyx drake has a +4 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks made in its natural habitat of coastal estuaries, cliff s and forests. It has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, so long as it swims in a straight line.


Sample Adult Onyx Drake (CR 6)

CN Medium dragon
Init +2; Senses blindsense 30 ft., darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +15, Spot +15
Defense
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 16
(+2 Dexterity, +6 natural)
hp 47 (5d12+15)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +5
Immune paralysis, sleep; SR 14
Offense
Spd 20 ft., fly 100 ft. (average)
Melee bite +8 (1d6+2) and 2 claws +3 (1d4+1)
Special Attacks breath weapon (usable every 2 rounds, 4 0-ft bolt, 4d4 fire, DC 15 Reflex half)
Statistics
Str 18, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 5, Wis 12, Cha 5
Base Atk +5; Grp +9
Feats Alertness, Multiattack
Skills Hide +10, Listen +7, Move Silently +10, Spot +7, Survival +5, Swim +16
Languages Draconic
SQ amphibious
Special Abilities
Ambush Strike (Ex) This onyx drake deals an additional +2d6 points of damage against a fl at-footed opponent, as long as the onyx drake begins its turn under cover or concealment.
Breath Weapon (Su) Above water only, 50-foot range, damage 3d4 acid in the fi rst round, 2d4 acid in the second and third rounds, Fortitude DC 15 half, once every 2 rounds.
Skills An onyx drake has a +4 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently checks made in its natural habitat of coastal estuaries, cliff s and forests. It has a +8 racial bonus on Swim checks to perform a special action or avoid a hazard. A wood drake can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted, rushed, or threatened. It can use the run action while swimming, so long as it swims in a straight line.