What to do about Dragons… Part 5: As White as Snow


White Dragons just can’t get the respect that they deserve. Very few appreciate them for the beautiful powerhouses that they are. They are criticized for being the smallest, weakest, and least intelligent of the Chromatic Dragons. And while this is technically true, I believe its because people are looking at White Dragons in the wrong way.

Instead, try thinking of them like a wild tiger. No, they will never lead great armies in battle. But, if you happen to be unlucky enough to stray into its territory, you would be foolish to think it inferior in any way.

These gorgeous creatures, with feral blue eyes, a spined crest, and glossy smooth profile start their lives being the purest of white. Over the years, their scales thicken and become flecked with light gray and blue. This makes it easier to camoflauge themselves in the artic terrains that it calls home and the cloud filled skies in which it flies.

White Dragons are not as cunning as the rest of their Chromatic brethren but it would be a fool that considers them stupid. They are the supreme hunters of all dragonkind and they have a memeory that allows them to remember anything they ever heard or seen.

They remember insult or defeat. And they have been known to wreak terrible revenge on those that they believe to have wronged them. This often includes one of their greatest rivals, the Silver Dragon.

(In reality, the Silver are not trying to challenge them. The simply live in the same territories. But are you going to try to explain that to an angry White Dragon?)

A White dragon can talk. But they don’t, unless they feel compelled to do so.

The White Dragon’s main focus is on two things: Survival and Slaughter. They are very territorial and hate being considered weaker than others. To prove its strength, the White Dragon will take on any challenger. They have been known to take on even the mighty Red Dragon. (In the end, the Red will normally tear the White Dragon to shreds but the battle with be long and fierce, due to the White Dragon’s refusal to back down.)

It keeps the frozen bodies of those mighty enemies it has defeated as trophies. Not so much for itself, but for as a warning or those who might dare venture into its territory in the future.

It should be noted, that this is only for those that have earned the White Dragon’s respect in battle. Anyone else, it will simply leave them sheathed in ice until completely frozen. Then the White Dragon will eat them and leave their bones scattered about its lair.

(You will often see a lot of Frost Giants bones in a White Dragon’s lair. This is because besting an Ice Wyrm in battle is considered a right of passage among the Frost Giants)

Unlike other Dragons, they will not accept bribes or negotiate with their victims. Why would they? In their view they can always take what you were going to give them off your frozen carcass after your death.

White Dragons don’t use magic during battle like some other dragons. They might roar the occasional insult at you, but the rest of the time, their mind is firmly set on ripping your throat out.

White dragons are antisocial. They avoid all other dragons, except for Whites of the opposite sex. And even then, they only stay together long enough to procreate. Then it is back to the solitary lifestyle.

When someone does intrude on their space, the White will attack them without any further provocation. It doesn’t matter if the intruder is weaker or stronger than they are. The White Dragon sees them in one of two ways. Either they are too weak to be tolerated. Or they are too strong and thus too much of a threat.

As far as minions, its rare but the White Dragon does have them. There are, of course the Kobolds, who worship them along with any other being that may be strong enough for the White to find them temporarily useful.

This is a dangerous path for the minion though. If they come across as too strong, the White Dragon will see them as a threat and kill them. If they come across to weak, The White will consider them not worthy of life and eat them.

(There is always the possibility that the White Dragon might just get really hungry, and eat them)

The only way that someone might get a White Dragon to serve them is by constant physical domination. (The usual suspect for this is the aforementioned Frost Giants. If they defeat a young enough White Dragon, they will subject it to constant beatings and torture. Like a being trained to kill in the fighting pits. But woe to that giant, should they ever show weakness. Then the White Dragon will turn on its master and end him.)

A White that does find itself in servitude, does so with the understanding that will be able to dominate all those that it sees below it. This can sometimes be a problem for their masters, who will take great attrition to their ranks when the white dragon feeds on its fellow minions.

White Dragons love the frost and ice. They love how it sparkles in the light and they prefer their treasure to do the same thing. Their favorites being diamonds, of course. But its hoard will also include things like ivory, Scrimshaw, magic items from their adventurer victims, and furs. The White Dragon will cast some of the coins that they find along the floors of their lair. It enjoys the way that they sparkle when the light hits them. Larger chests full of coin are scattered about their lair, under inches of ice created by the White Dragon’s breath.

And speaking of its lair,  White Dragons like to make their home in icy caves or deep underground, away from the warmth of the sun. They also like high hidden mountain valleys and glaciers.

The ceilings or their lairs are usually very high, as the White likes to fly up  and hang upside down, waiting for intruders to stumble in. Then the will detach and either swoop down to attack, or slide down an icy crevice to come up from behind, if they perceive the enemy to be particularly strong.

They are are fond of sleeping on the cliffs and ridges in their lair. They surround it with ice, spikes, bones, and other traps so that anyone trying to make their way towards the sleeping dragon will stumble. The alerted White can then take flight and unleash icy death from above.

Like most dragons, the White can change the environment around its lair. The winds act as an early warning device. They can detect intruders, simply by the change in the tone of the wond. Caverns, in mountainous areas, are almost instantly frozen over.

Frozen fog floats throughout the lair, anywhere the White dragon can see, making it hard to breathe since the fog is filled with ice crystals that refuse to melt. With a swipe of its tail, the White Dragon can send jagged spikes of ice falling from the ceiling of its lair to impale the enemies below. Lastly, the White can create a thick opaque ice wall within its lair. It often uses this ability to build mazes throughout its lair.

Extra: I also like to use White dragons as a chance to create role playing opportunities for the Player Characters. To do this, I look back to the old Germanic and Nordic Myths. Usually, in defeating an Ice Wyrm, the hero was marked in some way. Like the blood of the beast, bleaching their skin or hair white. Or even turning the hero’s eyes to a glowing deep blue.

I hope you enjoyed my take of the White Dragon.

Please leave any requests, comments, or questions below.

And please follow me on Twitter: @DMLeviathan





2 thoughts on “What to do about Dragons… Part 5: As White as Snow

  1. Don’t forget the fun you can have when your players discover the white dragon they’ve prepared for isn’t actually white… its just an albino of some other type that happens to live in the same sort of environment as a white.


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