As the role-playing game's name hints, dragons abound in the many worlds of D&D, but of course they can't all be red, evil, and hungry for heroes. There are dozens of species with different abilities, agendas, and alignments a wandering adventurer may encounter; these just happen to be the weirdest.

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1) Adamantine Dragons

Arguably the wisest, noblest and more powerful dragons, Adamantine Dragons (above) have the ability to breathe Time Stop. That is to say, they somehow shoot something out of their mouths — something from inside their bodies — that disrupts the fourth dimension, but only in a 70-foot-long cone shape emitting from its mouth. Trying to conceive of the biology behind this is, frankly, doomed to fail.

2) Brainstealer Dragon

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While the fact that there's a race of dragons so devoted to stealing brains that they are commonly dubbed Brainstealer Dragons should be more than enough to prove their strangeness, they have other issues. For instance, instead of heads they just have four tentacles shooting out of their necks, which they use to, uh… steal your brain.

3) Brass Dragons

Metallic dragons are generally good, but Brass Dragons have a few strange habits. First, they tend to get depressed about the state of the world, making them the D&D monsters who would most benefit from Zoloft. Second, their lairs usually include conversation halls, art galleries, a bedroom, a storage room, and a foyer. What kind of a dragon is worried about having a foyer?

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4) Chole Dragons

The dragons — which I'm pretty sure have nothing to do with chickpeas — live in the plane of the Abyss, which is basically D&D's hell. It's where chaotic people go when they die to be continually eat alive by maggots. Instead of wings, Chole Dragons have big tentacles where their wings would be, and either four, seven, nine, or 13 of them, which is super-freaky when you think about it. Also, their breath weapon is a cone of Poisoned Insanity Gas, which sounds amazing… until you remember that they're using it mostly on people who are already being eaten alive by maggots. Seems like poison or insanity would be an improvement.

5) Concordant Dragons

These Planar Dragons work to maintain the balance between good and evil of all dragon-kind, which is pretty annoying if you're one of those crazy types who think that evil is, you know, bad. But the reason Concordant Dragons make this list is because they breath "antithetical energy," which is to say they breathe "made-up bullshit." In effect, this breath weapon somehow damages characters based on how far away from a True Neutral alignment they are, so the more good or evil you are, the more it hurts. So this is one of those times it really pays to have no morality, opinions, or desires.

6) Copper Dragons

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The most notable thing about Copper Dragons is that they're pranksters, which seems like a pretty undignified thing for a dragon to be. Not only do they apparently hold contests with each other to see whose home lair would be the most confusing to people who wander into it, they also spend most of combat insulting their opponents. Copper dragons have no class.

7) Dzalmus

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Did you know that Dungeons & Dragons basically turned Godzilla's three-headed foe King Ghidorah into a race of dragons? Well, they did.

8) Elysian Dragons

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Hailing from the plan of Elysium, which is basically paradise, Elysian Dragons and good-hearted and kind and hilariously hedonistic. They're inevitably fat, lazy, and drunk, because they loooove getting soused. About the only they like more than booze is having unprotected sex with each other, as paradise is severely overpopulated with these dragons. These fat, drunk dragons. By the way, their breath weapon? "Inebriation Gas," of course. Even the D&D gurus point out this attack "sounds suspiciously like a belch."

9) Gloom Dragons

These giant dragons wander Hades, which is different from the Abysss in that it's "the battlefield for the eternal Blood War," whatever that means. Whenever a Gloom Dragon kills a foe, a tombstone-like plates grows out of its back, making them look like a giant, ambulatory cemetery (with a beak). That's awesome, but it's also very strange. What's more strange is that these tombstones somehow have victim-specific epitaphs on them, meaning some portion of this creature's biological system is devoted solely to writing brief obituaries of people and creatures who end up inside the dragon's stomach.

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10) Graughlothor

The first and most powerful Ferrous Dragon (which include Iron, Chromium, cobalt, etc.), Graughlothor is unique enough to merit his own mention in the Monster Manual, because he's so much bigger, smarter and badass than his spawn. But the real reason he's strange is that somehow every time he dies — and he's died quite a bit — an Iron Dragon is chosen, it goes into hibernation for a year, and then out comes Graughlothor. In a world where magic, dragons, wishes, genies, and all sorts of potential explanations exist, even the smartest wizard thinks this ability of Graughlothor's is bonkers.

11) Hex Dragons

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These terrifying dragons are also powerful sorcerers, and some of the most evil, brilliant creatures in D&D existence. However, they have a very emo habit of decorating their homes like a carnival haunted house. They like huge skull motifs, and you can't swing a bugbear without hitting "smoking vats and braziers, pickled specimen jars, and mummified corpses." This makes the Hex Dragon the dragon mostly likely to go shopping at Spencer's Gifts.

12) Hoarder Dragons

Most dragons collect treasure, and most of those dragons are pretty greedy. But it takes a special amount of avarice for a dragon to be so greedy that it decides to stay with its hoard even after it dies. That's when it become a hoarder dragon, which can possess its own hoard of coins and treasure, building them into a dragon shape, and then attack anyone it even thinks might be considering taking one of its treasures. Its breath weapon is to shoot a blast of its own coins out of its mouth, which actually seems a little counter-productive if it doesn't want bits of its treasure flying off in all directions.

13) Iron Dragons

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The strongest of the Ferrous Dragon races, the Iron Dragons are pretty straightforward. They're lawful, neutral, hoard treasure, and have a breath weapon of superheated sparks. But the Monster Manual adds this fascinating tidbit:

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.

They use iron for sex and food? How would they use it to mate? Do they rub it sensually over each other bodies like massage oil? Do they eat it afterwards? Do Iron Dragons make Edible Iron Underpants? I need details.

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14) Time Dragons

If you thought Adamantine Dragons' ability to stop time with their breath was strange, then get ready to be completely baffled by Time Dragons. They have the ability to stop time, sure, but they cast a Time Stop, like normal people. However, its breath has the ability to send folks into the future. At a certain point, when it gets old enough, it has the ability to travel through time non-linearly, which makes no sense if it has be a certain age in order to acquire the power. Plus, these dragons age randomly, so the whole thing is even more confusing.

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15) Tungsten Dragon

I don't know what else to say. Tungsten, man.

16) Zombie Dragon

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Although dragons are monsters, there are still Monster Dragons. Those include the infamous dracolich, which are legendary at making parties of adventurers soil their collective britches. But did you know dragons can also be zombies? It's true! Sure, they can be killed like any zombie — bashing its brain in — but since it's 1) still huge, 2) still immensely powerful and 3) now trying desperately to eat you, this is somewhat more difficult to manage than with a human zombie. Plus, it's significantly harder to outrun a zombified dragon, or keep it out of a place you're trying to take shelter in. If your Dungeon Master has you run into a Zombie Dragon, you know your DM hates you.


Contact the author at rob@io9.com.