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Draconomicon II: Metallic Dragons (4e)
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Draconomicon II: Metallic Dragons (4e)

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Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons describes several varieties of dragons, including gold, silver, copper, iron, and adamantine dragons. It also introduces several other kinds of metallic dragons suitable for any D&D campaign.

This supplement presents dragons both malevolent and benign, and gives details on each dragon’s powers, tactics, myths, lairs, servitors, and more. In addition, this book provides new information about the roles that metallic dragons fill in a D&D game. Story and campaign elements in the book give Dungeon Masters ready-to-play material that is easily incorporated into a game, including adventure hooks, quests, encounters, and pregenerated treasure hoards.

Product History

Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons (2009), by Richard Baker with Ari Marmell, Peter Lee, David Noonan, and Robert J. Schwalb, is the third monster splatbook for D&D 4e. It was published in November 2009.

Continuing the Monster Splatbooks. Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons (2009) was the third of the monster splatbook for D&D 4e (2008), following Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons (2008) and Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead (2009). Like its predecessors, it mixes the fluff of dragon background with crunchy stats for new dragons and also contains lots of adventures, encounters, and lairs.

Expanding the Dragons. The metallic dragons of D&D aren't quite as old as the game. Sure, the gold dragon appeared in the OD&D box (1974), but the brass, bronze, copper, and silver dragons didn't appeared until Supplement I: Greyhawk (1975). With that first supplement, the five core races of metallic dragons were set down, though they differed from their more recent kin in one way: they weren't all lawful! Instead metallic dragons could be neutral.

The five metallic dragon races thereafter appeared in the core monster book of every version of AD&D and D&D from 1977-2007, but with the release of D&D 4e (2008) things changed. There were no metallic dragons in the Monster Manual (2008). Instead, GMs had to wait for the Monster Manual 2 (2009), and upon its release they found an odd set of dragons. Three classics were there — the copper, gold, and silver — but the brass and bronze dragons were missing, replaced by two interlopers: the adamantine and iron dragons. The "good" dragons were also changed in another way: they were now all listed as being "Unaligned".

Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons appeared exactly half-a-year after Monster Manual 2. It better explained the changes, saying that "Not all metallic dragons are good". As a result, metallic dragons were now a potential target for parties of adventurers — something that 4e's detractors took as another sign of the edition's focus on combat.

Metallic Dragons also introduces seven new dragons. The brass and bronze dragon finally appeared for D&D 4e, as did five original dragons : the cobalt, mercury, mithral, orium, and steel dragons. Though some of these dragons had appeared in some forms before, every single one of them was notably revamped from its previous appearances.

  • A cobalt dragon had first appeared in Dragon #170 (June 1991) as one of a new grouping of five dragons called the ferrous dragons (or the heavy metal dragons). The group had been popular, reappearing in Dragon #356 (2007).
  • A mercury dragon had previously been a part of the Forgotten Realms, appearing in books like FOR1; Draconomicon (1990) and Dragons of Faerûn (2006).
  • The mithral dragon was most obviously a totally new entity, because the sole appearance of a dragon in this metal before had been in SJR4: "Practical Planetology" (1991), which described a dragon related to a specific planet in the Spelljammer universe. In fact, when the Metallic Dragon designers created their own mithral dragon, they were thinking more about the radiant dragon, also from Spelljammer (1989).
  • The orium dragon was totally new.
  • Finally, D&D's first steel dragon had appeared in Dragon #62 (June 1982), but the version in Metallic Dragons is more closely related to the steel dragon of the Forgotten Realms that was introduced in FOR1: Draconomicon (1990). the details of the new steel dragon don't exactly match Greenwood's original vision, but one of the famous steel dragons from the Realms carried over, so we must assume they're the same entity.

NPCs of Note. As with the previous monster splatbooks, this one details a few famous creatures.

  • Bahamut, the king of lawful (and originally neutral) dragons premiered in Supplement I: Greyhawk (1975), though he wasn't named until the AD&D Monster Manual (1977).
  • Jalanvaloss, a steel dragon also known as the Wyrm of Many Spells originally appeared in Ed Greenwood's long-running "Wyrms of the North" series. He was found in Dragon #243 (January 1998).
  • Silvara, a silver dragon, may be the most famous good dragon. She plays a very prominent role in DL7: "Dragons of Light" (1985).
  • Valamaradace, a good dragon who is also the Dragon Queen of Silverymoon, is mentioned occasionally in Forgotten Realms lore. She made her first actual appearance in Dragon Magazine #257 (March 1999), which was near the end of the run of the "Wyrms of the North" series.

Other NPCs such as the brass dragon Andraemos and the cobalt dragon Niflung are new to this sourcebook.

About the Creators. Though he'd been with D&D for almost two decades, Baker continued to be an important force working on D&D 4e (2008), with his other major book that year being Divine Power (2009).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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File Last Updated:
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