The word "cannot" doesn't often fit into an RPG, in my opinion - especially not when you present all the rules for player chromatic dragons in the PC creation section. "Is not recommended" would fit better, but even then I think it's a bit on the weak side. I don't know why dragons should be so pigeonholed alignment-wise, anyway. By this point in AD&D, players could play pegasus-riding drow rangers, but in a setting designed for PCs to play dragons, they weren't supposed to touch the concept of a chaotic neutral red dragon.Information is provided concerning the chromatic dragons, though these creatures cannot be used as player characters.
My suspicion is that most optional rules will either go the 2e route and become assumed, or will be largely overlooked and unused.The "modular" approach of 5e seems similar in concept to the 2e core books, which had many optional rules, and I'm left wondering if the next edition will follow AD&D's model of telling DMs what optional rules are no longer optional when certain supplements come into play.
Of course, by the time you're a wyrm you've probably made your permanent "speak with any intelligent creature" check and are regretting that nwp you blew on High Draconic a few age categories ago. :/Speaking of optional rules that are not really optional, proficiencies are assumed to be used in this supplement. But then, I think they were assumed to be used in every AD&D supplement. This comes into play when considering languages. For dragons, the languages are metallic dragon, gem dragon, chromatic dragon, and the common tongue of High Draconic. All dragons begin play with their family tongue, but not High Draconic. It must suck to sit in on the Council of Wyrms if you didn't spend a proficiency slot to learn the language spoken there.
I don't remember cleaving too closely to the gold dragon attitude, myself.Gold Dragons: The goodiest of the goody two shoes dragon races. They eat pearls and small gems as delicacies. In fact a lot of dragons seem to have an appetite for treasure, which will come up again when we look at bonded treasure. It always bugged me that gold dragons are uber powerful but never fight. It makes sense as campaign flavor, but the munchkin in me sees them as a waste of really good stats.
What's mildly annoyed me about dragons of any edition -- since I stopped playing my gold PC, that is -- is that the different age categories apparently don't create enough power difference. I guess Gygax and Arneson felt that different breeds had to be inherently better or weaker than each other, and nobody since then has seen fit to just put them all on an equal footing. It's not a big deal, and easily house ruled anyway, but I guess it offends my sense of human...I mean, dragon rights.Crystal Dragons: The weakest of dragons, these guys are capricious and tend to let their demihuman vassals run their domains. They are hunted by white dragons and enslaved by frost giants. Oddly, I believe that 3rd edition revised crystal dragons to become the most powerful of the gem dragons instead of the weakest. I think I generally prefer having them be weaker - it's not like they're pushovers, and not all dragons of myth are god-like in power.
From a DM's point of view, blacks are my favorite. They've got the raw power, intellect (eventually) and magic of dragonkind, plus they sneak.Black Dragons: Sneaky little bastards who are the only ones to get their alignment (chaotic evil) mentioned in their flavor text.
Blue dragons are my favorite because they fucking breathe lightning. How metal is that? XDFrom a DM's point of view, blacks are my favorite. They've got the raw power, intellect (eventually) and magic of dragonkind, plus they sneak.
It's like one of those giant croc B-flicks, where someone's strapped a laser to its toothy maw and transplanted some psycho ex-Delta Force guy's brain into the beast. That's some creepy scary shit, is what that is.
According to the Monstrous Manual, white and black dragons never get clerical spells, while all metallics, gem, reds and blues do. The fly in the ointment is green dragons, who also don't get priest spells but are eligible for this kit. However, I think there's something of an evolution that's taken place in green dragons over the course of D&D--from somewhat brutish (1E MM?) to subtle schemers (started by Dragonlance, continued into 4E)--that I think we might be in the midpoint of here. In addition, while whites and blacks only get 1st level spells, greens at least advance to 2nd level in magical ability.Chapter 1: Creating Characters, continued
Next up are saving throws and kits. Dragons save as warriors unless they are dragon-clerics, dragon-mages, or dragon-psionicists, which get the saving throws of that respective class. Dragons can choose to specialize as dragon-mages or dragon-clerics unless they are whites or blacks, in which case they can’t be dragon-clerics for some reason.
Dragons aren't humanoid. I've long favored dragons as representatives of primal/elemental Good and Evil, myself, and considerably less free in choosing alignments than mortal races. But that's a personal opinion, even if it was somewhat canonical for Dragonlance for a year.Alignment gets a mention, and PCs must choose the alignment that corresponds with their dragon type – no good red dragons or neutral golds here. I personally think that’s bunk and the alignment spectrum should be opened up, especially for PCs. That’s the equivalent of a standard AD&D setting saying that all elf PCs must be chaotic good.
There's a bit of legacy design lurking in the tables, I think. That flat advancement rates kicks in whenever a dragon type hits 9 HD--i.e., '9th level'. It's somewhat because several dragon types start at or near that point, and a lot of the advancement is in 2-HD clumps until some point ranging from 10 to 16 HD depending on dragon type.Finally there is experience and advancement. Dragons begin at Hatchling level, which is basically the equivalent of 0-level for standard PCs except that 0-level dragons can kill an ogre the moment they pop out of the egg. Based on the experience tables, dragons require a ton of XP to advance early on, but at the 750,000 mark things level out, requiring a flat 250,000 XP per level. This is an oddity about the AD&D experience tables that I never understood – considering that tougher foes will yield more XP, leveling out the tables just means that it’s easier to level up the higher you get. In the base AD&D game, I can see that being explained away as progression flattening out after 9th level (except in the case of spellcasters, who get massive amounts of power after that point yet advance faster than fighters in some cases), but that explanation doesn’t hold up much when you’re talking about going from wyrm to great wyrm – that’s a pretty big jump in power.
That was the thinking that lead me to go on a tear and make my own dragon stats for my all-dragon games. Basically I divided them up based on size category when hatched so you had 3 total categories (gold, red, amethyst), (silver, bronze, blue, green, sapphire, emerald) and (brass, copper, black, white, topaz, crystal).You're a better gamer than I. My friends and I looked over the rules, and said "Why be anything but gold?"