Fire-Drake (Winged)

AUTHOR: Josh Kapfer (ReptileJK)

ISSUE: 7:7-8



BRG 30 (+12)

NIM 30 (+12)

PER 26 (+10)

STR 34 (+14)

VIT 50 (+23)

WIT 20 (+7)


STAM +23


WILL +12

WIS +12











96 (land), 192 (air)








Special Abilities

Armour (20), Multiple Attacks (Maw, Claws, Tail), Natural Weapons (Maw 8d6, Claw 7d6, Tail 10d6), Flight, Spit Fire, From Which Way Does He Come?, "My Wings, a Hurricane", "The Shock of My Tail, a Thunderbolt", Disarm with Tail, Burning Blood, Sleep with Half an Eye Open, The Dragon's Stench, Bewilder, Instill Fear, Indomitable Will, Foretellers of Woe, The Dragon's Booty, Glaurung's Bane, Prideful Ways, The Tongues of Gods and Men, Spells


Armed Combat: Natural Weapons (Maw, Claws) +25, Armed Combat: Natural Weapons (Tail) +20, Inquire (Interrogate) +15, Insight +15, Intimidate (Fear) +22, Languages: Sindarin +10, Westron +10, Observe (smell, spot) +28, Persuade +20, Stealth +15


TN Equivalent




Dragons are incredibly large beasts of amazing ability (often growing several hundred feet in total body length). Their appearance is similar to reptiles and they are, in fact, related to animals such as lizards and snakes. All dragons have long necks and equally long tails, and while some have monstrous wings that are rumored to spread for miles, others are said to breathe fire. Dragons are heavily armored with thick, shiny scales and specialized skeletal elements, which protect them from attack. Many also have heads and backs that are covered with horns and/or bony protrusions, which are used during mating. Dragons eyes are yellow or red, or in very rare occasions, black. All of these properties make their appearance terrifying to a degree that is unmatched by most evil creatures in Middle Earth.


Incredibly strong, quick and agile, winged Fire-Drakes were Morgoth’s supreme creation. Over many generations did he work to perfect this type of dragon, and when he did, the result was the mightiest dragon that has been known throughout the history of Middle Earth: Ancalagon the Black (Smaug the Golden was also a winged firedrake). These dragons possess the combined unique attributes of the other species, and are one of the most formidable beasts that a group of adventurers could possibly encounter when in the wilds. The scales of these dragons are black, red, or gold in color. In addition, these are the only dragons that occasionally have eyes that are completely black with no visible pupils. The ecological advantage of this is unknown.



Unique Special Abilities

Spit Fire: As a full-round action, a fire-drake can spit a cone of flame up to 50 yards long from its jaws; as wide at any give point as the distance to the dragon. Those caught in the fire suffer 10d6 damage during the first round. If the attack is successful, each player taking damage must make a successful Dodge or Swiftness test (at a -2 for being engulfed in flames) or an article of clothing catches on fire for 3 rounds. During round one an additional 1d8 or damage is received, in round two an additional 1d6 damage is received, and in round three an additional 1d4 damage is received.


From Which Way Does He Come?: Despite its size, a dragon is incredibly sly and nimble (many hunt by ambushing their prey). In their lairs: If they are already awake and in their lair when intruders arrive, they are allowed one free attack on two adventurers of their choice (this does not apply if the dragon is asleep in its lair, however, and the dragon must attack one of these PCs with its tail). In the open: If the adventurers are traveling within a 10-mile radius of a dragon’s lair (and the beast is awake), the dragon knows the area and is at an advantage. Therefore, before it attacks, the beast may attempt to make a Stealth test (TN 20), and if an “Extraordinary Success” is the result (Table 9.11: Degree of Success, Pg 220 Core Book), the dragon gets one round of unopposed actions on two PCs of his choice (the dragon must attack one of these PCs with its tail). If the result is a “Superior” or “Complete Success” (determined by the same table) the dragon receives a +10 to their first initiative test of the combat (Wingless Dragons), or a +15 to their first initiative test of the combat (Winged Dragon). If the result is a “Marginal Success” or less, the dragon receives no surprise attack.


“My Wings, a Hurricane”: When in the open, a dragon can pump his wings, creating gale force winds that can unbalance even the sturdiest of foes. When a dragon uses its wings in this fashion, anyone within 30 feet of the dragon’s flight path, or within 60 feet if its hovering, must make a successful Strength test (TN 20) or be knocked prone for 1d4 rounds. The ability to fly, also gives these dragons incredibly speed. Therefore, when in flight, their movement rate doubles.


“The Shock of My Tail, a Thunderbolt”: Any adventurer that sustains damage from a drake’s tail is automatically knocked down for 1d6 rounds. Furthermore, if the adventurer fails a TN 15 Stamina or Swiftness test (PC’s choice), they are knocked unconscious for an additional 1d6 rounds (also see below).


Disarm with Tail: Dragon tails are prehensile. Any adventurer who sustains damage from a dragon’s tail, aside from being knocked down and after determining if they have been knocked unconscious, must also succeed in a Stamina or Swiftness test (PC’s choice; TN 15) or be disarmed by the dragon’s tail for 1d4 rounds. If they are knocked unconscious as well (see previous), the adventurer must add the number of rounds that they are unconscious (1d6) to the number of rounds before they can retrieve their weapon (1d4).  This total represents the number of rounds a player must wait before they can come to, find their weapon and return to the fray.


Burning Blood: Any adventurer who inflicts more than 15 points of damage to a dragon in one attack action must make a successful Swiftness test (TN 15), or they are hit with a spray of the dragon’s acidic blood (2d6 pts damage in the first round after the attack, 1d6 pts damage in second).


Sleep With Half an Eye Open: Dragon’s are so obsessed with their treasure that, even if asleep, any attempt to burgle any part of their hoard will cause them to stir. If they are awake and away from their lair, a dragon will return as soon as possible at any hint that their hoard is being ransacked. If the beast is awake and in its lair, the PCs had better not be stupid enough to try and steal its treasure, or suffer the consequences (most likely, immediate death). Any adventurer attempting to steal part of a dragon’s treasure must make a successful Stealth or Nimbleness test (PCs Choice; TN 30) or the following occurs:




Superior or Extraordinary Success

The dragon does not awake and you successfully steal the item

Marginal or Complete Success

The dragon does not wake, but you are not able to steal the item


The dragon wakes but does not see you

Complete Failure

The dragon wakes and immediately sees you

Disastrous Failure

The dragon wakes and in doing so knocks you over with its tail (1d6 Damage, must remain prone for 1d4 rounds)


The Dragon’s Stench: A dragon’s stench is so overwhelming that any who comes within 500 feet of the beast’s lair must make a successful Stamina test (TN 10). If this test is failed, any skill tests by the adventurer will be at –2, until they enter the dragon’s lair (or for 1d6 rounds if the dragon’s lair is not entered). Those who enter the beast’s lair must make yet another successful Stamina test (TN 20). If this test is failed, the adventurer will be at –5 for any skill or attribute tests for 2d6 rounds (or until leaving the lair). Once the beasts lair is entered, the effects of these two Stamina tests cannot be cumulative. Therefore, if the effects of the first test have not worn off, the result of second test is used instead of the first.


Bewilder: Through its superior intellect, a dragon can confuse any opponent with whom it converses. Every round the dragon speaks, all those able to hear its words must make opposed Wisdom tests against the Dragon’s Persuade skill or lose an entire round of actions to their confusion. Furthermore, if the test is failed by 15 or more, the opponent has fallen under the control of the dragon and can take no action for 1d6 rounds.


Instill Fear: The dragon’s ability to instill fear is legendary. Therefore, upon first witnessing the dragon, all those that have seen it must make an Opposing Willpower test (against the Dragon’s Intimidate (Fear) skill). The test must also be performed at the start of each subsequent encounter with the beast (but not at the start of each round of a single encounter).


Indomitable Will: Dragons are completely unaffected by any attempts to control their minds through magic or debate.


Foretellers of Woe: Dragon’s have the ability to foresee the future in certain circumstances. For a description, see the section entitled Clairvoyance listed previously. In game terms, there is no skill associated with this power and the use of it by the beast is at the Narrator’s discretion.


The Dragon’s Booty: A dragon’s hoard is its most prized possession. Therefore, considerable wealth is often contained therein. All adult dragons have 3d10 X 200 gold coins in their hoard. They also have 5d6 X 100 precious gems and stones (5 gold pieces in value each). Furthermore, all adult dragons may have 1d6 magical weapons and armor and 1d4 magical items of other use (Narrator’s discretion on either of these; but remember the subtle magic of Middle Earth).


Juvenile dragons have not existed long enough to amass significant wealth. In addition, adults of their race will often steal any wealth that they have amassed. Therefore, the size of a juvenile dragon’s hoard is significantly less than that of an adult. The hoard of juvenile dragon will contain 1d10 X 50 gold coins and 2d6 X 20 precious gems and stones (5 gold pieces in value each). Furthermore, they will have up to 1d4 magical items of various types (Narrator’s discretion on either of these; but remember the subtle magic of Middle Earth).


Ancient dragons are too old and weak to effectively defend their hoards from younger adult dragons. Consequently, their booty is severely limited even when compared to juveniles. The hoard of an Ancient One will contain 1d6 X 20 gold coins and 1d6 X 10 precious gems and stones (5 gold pieces in value each). Furthermore, there is only a 50% (determined with percentile dice; i.e. 2d10) chance that their hoard will contain even a single magical item.


Glaurung’s Bane: Although a dragon’s armor is nearly impenetrable, under certain circumstances weaknesses can be found in their scales. At any given time (i.e. the first round of any encounter with the beasts) older scales in a dragon’s hide may have broken off (50% of the time, determined by Narrator with percentile dice; i.e. 2d10). If this bare patch (revealing the newer softer scales beneath) is in the lower neck/upper chest area, where the dragon’s ossicles are naturally less protective (5% of the time, determined by Narrator with percentile dice), an adventurer can make a called shot to hit the bare patch (ranged weapon only; TN 50). Because this attack is in the area of vital organs, if successful, the attack is likely to have pierced the beast’s heart, lungs, carotid artery, jugular vein, or trachea. This results in the dragon automatically dropping all wound levels from “Healthy” to “Near Death”. This wound cannot be healed (by skill nor magic) and the dragon will die within 2d6 rounds. However, arterial spray from the wound will cause

anyone within 50 feet of the beast to be doused with its acidic blood and receive 2d6 pts of damage in the first round following the attack, and 1d6 pts of damage in the second round (Note: in this situation, use these results over those described in the Burning Blood special ability listed previously). Furthermore, the dragon will not die without a fight, and will continue combat until its death.


Prideful Ways: Dragons cannot resist being complimented (see the section entitled Power of Will listed previously). They will often listen to adventurers who have intruded into their lairs (whom normally would be killed outright), if said adventurers stroke the dragon’s ego. Dragons generally know whether or not someone is speaking falsely to them, but love to hear compliments and may pause  before killing intruders who play their cards right. Therefore, a Persuade test (TN 15) that yields a “Superior Success” or better will cause the dragon to delay and listen to the PCs honey-tongued words for 2d6 rounds (or until the dragon is attacked). Yet the  adventurers must keep in mind that a dragon can NEVER be persuaded to leave intruders to their own devices in its lair. However, distracting the beast may give your party enough time to concoct another plan.


Note: this Persuade test is not an opposed test against the dragon’s Willpower because the PCs are not persuading nor fooling the dragon into doing anything. Rather, the dragon is allowing the adventurers to continue speaking because it finds them amusing. Therefore, the skill test represents whether or not the dragon is feeling particularly interested in being complimented at that time.


The Tongues of Gods and Men: It is said that any who eat the flesh of an adult dragon’s heart will consume part of its wise and shrewd essence. By doing so, the individual will have passed down to them the centuries of wonder and mystery that surround the history of Middle Earth, as well as part of the dragon’s powerful cunning. Any one who consumes this flesh automatically understands all languages of the free peoples at a +15. These individuals will also be granted the power to understand the languages of all the wild animals in Middle Earth (but not the Fell Beasts) at a +10. Furthermore, because they can now hear the breath of the Vala, the individuals whom have consumed the beast’s heart-flesh will automatically receive a +6 when they invoke the name of a Vala and spend one courage point. They also automatically gain a +5 bonus for Inspire and Willpower tests. Note: This flesh, however, must be from an adult dragon killed by the individual eating it, or someone they fought the beast with together, or the power will not work.


Spells: Beast Speech, Break Binding, Display of Power, Dumbness, Enslave Beast, Forgetfulness, Misdirection, Reading of the Heart, Voice of Suasion




Morgoth created the first dragons in the breeding pits of Utumno during the early First Age of Middle Earth. They were constructions of his evil will and in them he instilled his love of destruction, his intelligence, and his greed. Yet, he did not give them so much power as to threaten his own reign. Therefore, he also gave them internal functions that work at a much slower pace than his other, less powerful creations. Because of this, dragons cannot consistently remain active at the level necessary to rule Middle Earth, and thus will never rival any Dark Lord (i.e. Morgoth or Sauron) for total power over their realms.


Though the first dragons of Middle Earth were created in the pits of Utumno, the greatest dragons of the First Age were bred in the Halls of Thangorodrim (the Mountains of Tyranny; Morgoth’s Fortress) in Angband. The First Age was the greatest period in Middle Earth’s history for dragons, and the mightiest of their kind existed then. For example, Glaurung, who is considered the father of all dragons, was born during the First Age. Also, Ancalagon the Black, one of Glaurung’s brood but more powerful, was a flying drake so large that his wings were said to blacken the sky. When he fell after his demise at the end of the First Age his body was said to have shattered Thangorodrim under its great bulk. Furthermore, these were not the only dragons in existence at that time, either; in fact, tales tell that Glaurung led armies of his offspring against the free peoples during the Fifth Battle of the First Age (the Battle of Unnumbered Tears).


After Morgoth’s fall at the end of the First Age, however, many of the dragons that had been sired over centuries were destroyed, leaving only the most mighty and cunning individuals. These then slipped into hibernation and remained that way for hundreds of years, awaking only occasionally to wreak havoc upon the lands. In the Third Age of Middle Earth, only a handful of powerful dragons still remain: Scatha the Worm, Smaug the Golden, Langdoriuch the Red, and Dekinroth the Grey. Furthermore, several lesser drakes as well as juvenile dragons exist in the withered heath, and also there is Abadallact The Ancient One, the eldest dragon still living during the age.




Because of their unique gigantothermic metabolisms, the geographical distribution of dragons is not dependent on the annual air temperature of the region in which they reside. Therefore, dragons can, and frequently are, found in northern latitudes at high altitude, despite the cold temperatures associated with these areas. Therefore, what more frequently dictates their distribution is

the presence of rocky soil and terrain. These habitats usually contain caverns of appropriate size for dragons to make their lairs in. Because of this, throughout history, dragons have always been found in close association with mountainous regions. During the Third Age, these beasts are found primarily in the Grey Mountains and Withered Heath of northern Middle Earth. However, they have also resided in Erebor (a.k.a. Lonely Mountain), and Ered Mithrin (the White Mountains).


Despite what is occasionally said in myth and folklore, dragons are almost never found in association with water. On the contrary, dragons are completely terrestrial in their habits. Therefore, they do not exist near rivers, swamps, lakes, or marine habitats. Dragons require lairs that can accommodate their huge size. They therefore prefer large cavernous spaces that are found either underground or within mountain ranges. These caverns are either self-excavated or taken over from preexisting residents. In many cases, these residents were dwarves and because of this there is no love lost between dragons and Naugrim. There are only two natural  prerequisites that these caverns must have to accommodate dragons: 1) entrances to these caverns must be large enough to allow the beasts access (although they can be modified if necessary), 2) the cavern must have natural faults and fissures extending down for many miles. These fissures must come into contact with molten rock pools, or natural hot springs, existing far under the earth’s surface. Heat from these molten pits then rises up through the fissures and helps warm the dragon’s lair. If a natural heat source does not exist, then dragons must occupy caverns that have been previously inhabited by races that had created heat sources of their own. For example, dwarves often create large coal and wood burning furnaces that help keep their halls warm. In these sorts of caverns, dragons that have “taken over” usually reside in the same chamber as the furnaces, or in chambers immediately adjacent. In these cases, dragons can actually keep furnace fires burning through the use of their breath weapon.


A small water source is usually also desired within the lair for the purposes of keeping humidity levels at an acceptable level, and for imbibing. This water need not be more than a small underground stream or pool, as dragons generally do not care much for large water bodies.


Generally speaking, a nearby food source is preferred (i.e. a Goblin city, human village, etc.) for quick replenishing of food stores immediately after awaking from hibernation. Yet, the term “nearby” is relative seeing that some dragons can fly, while even land-bound individuals can travel great distances at speed.




Despite the fact that they are highly intelligent, dragons are still too instinctual and/or animal in their nature to form a true society.


Dragons do not associate with each other unless breeding. They have been known, however, to use orcs and trolls as their minions, for the purposes of bringing them food and treasure, although this is rare. Such an association has no loyalties; the orcs are weak-willed and dominated by fear and the dragon’s power of mind. Therefore, if the opportunity presents itself, most orcs will flee the service of the worm without hesitation. In addition, if the dragon is not pleased with the work performed by their orc or troll slaves, they will likely eat them with no remorse.


Dragons of the First Age were fiercely loyal to their creator, Morgoth. Yet, after his demise these beasts became leaderless, living without direction and by their own rules. During Sauron’s rise to power, dragons remained largely free from his influence, unlike most of the other evil creatures found in Middle Earth. Sauron, to his credit, likely realized this, but did not have the time or resources to immediately force the beasts into his service. Therefore, he bided his time and waited for the correct moment to lure them into his army. Sauron also understood their natures. He knew that due to their love for carnage, destruction, and riches he could easily persuade them to join his army, under the agreement that they would receive large amounts of wealth and power. Luckily for the free peoples, during the later Third Age Sauron was not aware of the existence of any adult dragon save Smaug (either this or he did

not have the time to attempt contacting any lesser dragons existing during that period). It is believed that Gandalf the Grey knew this, and used the plight of a group of dwarves (led by Thorin Oakenshield) seeking revenge on the dragon, to his advantage. When these same dwarves (aided by a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins) successfully flushed Smaug from his lair in Erebor (TA 2941) he was subsequently killed by a man of Dale named Bard. After this occurred, Sauron focused his efforts elsewhere.


Balrogs are generally considered more powerful than dragons and are said to be able to wake them from their slumbers. A dragon’s prideful nature, however, leads them to avoid the fire demons (in Ages past, when many demons and dragons still existed side by side in Middle Earth).  This saves the worms from the humiliation of being given orders by anyone.




With the exception of possibly Balrogs, no other creature existing in Middle-earth instills as much fear and loathing in the Free Peoples as do dragons. They are quick, powerful, intelligent, cunning and deadly. The dragons in this article have been significantly “beefed up” from those in Decipher’s Fell Beasts and Wondrous Magic, because, in my opinion and to be realistic, adult dragons should be nearly untouchable (unless the circumstances are appropriate). An animal of their size, power, and prowess should almost never miss during an attack. Furthermore, the chances that they will kill an adventurer outright should be incredibly high, while the chances of the dragon being killed outright by adventurers should be incredibly low. Because of this, a Narrator should take extreme caution when considering the introduction of a dragon into their adventure merely as a combat-related sub-plot. This is because even the most able-bodied PCs (or groups of PCs) would have a difficult time defeating them.