When you run Dungeons and Dragons, you’re probably going to want to include some dragons (even if you leave out the dungeons). Most settings have them in one place or another, but they can be trickier to include in others.
Spelljammer, for instance, has a limited number of dragons that you’re likely to find while playing out in outer space. Wildspace really only has 2 kinds of dragons, Lunar and Radiant. Luckily (in the case of dragons, I have a different opinion elsewise which is detailed here: The Flaw in the Astral Sea: Why 5e’s Spelljammer Worldbuilding Makes i (d20collective.com)), 5e changed over from AD&D’s phlogiston and crystal sphere to the Astral Sea to connect universes.
5e’s information about the Astral Sea doesn’t discuss much about the denizens thereof, but rest assured that there are plenty. You can include the dragons there in any Spelljammer game along with those in Wildspace.
Here’s a brief overview of the Dragons of Spelljammer:
There are 2 types of dragons to be found in Wildspace: Lunar and Radiant. 5e includes information about these in Boo’s Astral Menagerie, as well as more information being available from previous editions.
Moon Dragons (also known as Lunar or Phase Dragons) make their homes on the moons of various planets in Wildspace. They change color over the course of 30 days according to the phase of their moon, going from a brilliant white to solid black and back again. As they change color, so does their alignment, which goes from lawful to chaotic respectively, although most are evil regardless. They can naturally move through Wildspace just like Spelljammer ships (with a small bubble of air around them), collecting items that reflect their moon and light-dark motifs, and attacking any Sun Dragons that they happen to spot.
These massive serpentine dragons, covered in iridescent scales, are less evil than their lunar cousins, but not necessarily good either. They are as likely to terrorize people as they are to lend them aid, provided that they find them among their claimed Wildspace territories. They move quickly through Wildspace, despite being larger than even most other dragons, although they struggle within the atmosphere. Most of all, they’re proud to the point of arrogance, although their great solar powered attacks certainly lend some credence to the belief. In fact, some believe that their existence is necessary to the creation of Spelljamming helms.
Dragons of the Astral Plane
There are 4 types of dragons to be found in the Astral Plane (although standard material Plane Dragons might visit from time to time). None of these are outlined in 5e and come from a variety of other editions.
Rare and beautiful dragons who are born on the Astral Plane, Astral Dragons are ethereally beautiful creatures who can see through the Astral Sea and travel between planes with relative ease. Older members of this species reside almost entirely on their own plane, eating rarely (good news for Githyanki, whom they find particularly tasty) and generally minding their own business. These dragons often travel between planes when they are young, but are prone to a disease called astrolomitis, which prevents their plane shifting abilities. Once trapped, they sadly often go insane, attacking nearby creatures, unable to cast spells, and eventually dying unless they can be returned to the Astral Plane or cured with a wish spell. Mated pairs of Astral Dragons are magically bound together, and create huge palace-lairs from which they wielded massive influence and sent out kodragons to do their bidding.
While originally born in hatcheries on the Demiplane of Ectoplasm, Ectoplasmic Dragons often make their lairs on debris in the Astral Plane. They have no scales, and instead have a mirror-like hide that is completely smooth, and wings that seem to flow like water. Their eyes shift and swirl with shades of blue, purple, and silver. These strange dragons are unpredictable, with strange psionic abilities and no discernable tactics whatsoever. They’re chaotic, but not quite ghostly, and can go between the Material and Astral Planes at will.
Technically, Pact Dragons are just Red Dragons, but with a specific history. These are the descendants of the dragons that initially made a deal with the Githyanki, and act as their mounts in their quest to destroy Mind Flayers. Their scales are a dark crimson color, their bodies small and compact, and their eyes a silvery white due to their time in the Astral Sea. And while they may be descended from Red Dragons, their temperament and abilities set them apart. They have decisive and effective battle tactics, diving down onto their foes, then teleporting to block any escape. These dragons are dangerous foes to face, especially to Mind Flayers and other foes of their pact allies.
Mainly found in the Astral Plane nearest the world of Dragonlance, these small creatures are almost more like cats than dragons. They give live birth like mammals, have soft grey fur, and are even the size of a feline friend. They also have opposable thumbs and often use tools, which they keep in a pouch in their belly which acts like a Bag of Holding. Overall, they’re patient and curious at the same time, as well as excellent record-keepers. Plus, these little guys are super cute! Just keep in mind if you make friends with them: they only eat liquids, so you can’t bribe them with some of your rations.
Have you used any of these dragons in your games before? Did you find them fun? How did you use them? Let us know in the comments below!