Purple dragons (also known as deep dragons) are a breed of chromatic dragons in the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. Spending most of their lives underground, very few surface-dwelling beings have seen or even heard of them.
Purple dragons are possibly the least well known of the chromatic dragon family. Most surface creatures have no knowledge of the existence of purple dragons. Many of those that have heard of purple dragons dismiss such stories as myth or misconception. After all, in the darkness below the earth, who can say whether a dragon’s scales are purple or black?
Black dragons rarely live far underground. The deeper explorers descend, the more likely they are to encounter a purple dragon than a black. People who live permanently in the deep hollows of the earth know purple dragons as an all-too-real and much feared threat.
A purple dragon is a talented manipulator of other creatures. It achieves control through lies, misdirection, and direct mental domination. A purple dragon might seek control for any number of reasons, including sheer delight in bandying its power about, a desire to form a bulwark of allies and thralls for security, or curiosity about newly discovered tunnels or crevices leading to unknown areas deeper below, for which recruiting bands of disposable explorers might serve its purposes.
As much as purple dragons enjoy controlling other creatures, however, they enjoy the thrill of exploration even more. Even as explorers discover new lands on the surface, purple dragons consider the globe’s surface a paltry expanse compared to the deep volume of the world’s interior, a space containing orders of magnitude more possibility. In such a vast space, wonderful mysteries await discovery. Whether they follow tradition or answer a call in their blood, deep dragons delight in exploration more than any other kind of wyrm, especially if that exploration leads deeper into the earth. Purple dragons relish the discovery of places never before trod upon by sentient creatures—or at least not visited for ages.
A purple dragon might negotiate with people who offer information about undiscovered locations deep in the earth, but only if the dragon believes that its negotiators can provide more maps and information in the long term than it can obtain by dispatching or dominating them immediately. If such a negotiation succeeds, a purple dragon can prove a reasonable short-term ally. In fact, purple dragons have allied with disparate groups of drow many times over the centuries. Purples have also allied with undead, sometimes laying clutches of eggs with wraiths or shadows nearby to watch over the hatcheries.
Purple dragons favour prey caught in sunless seas and subterranean rivers. They consume blind albino fish caught en masse but in a pinch, a purple dragon will hunt down living creatures of any kind.
When a purple dragon must fight for food or information, it attempts to spy upon its intended targets long enough to learn something useful before announcing itself. It might even let the targets of its observation go on their way. If hungry enough, feeling territorial, or wanting to play, however, a purple dragon takes its quarry by surprise if possible.
Purple dragons keep to the peripheries of caverns during fights. They especially like to lurk near boltholes, in case events turn against them. Ideally, a dragon suborns one or more targets with its dominating gaze, seeding chaos and fear in the ranks of its foes.
Lairs and Terrain Edit
Purple dragons will build their lairs in the deepest recesses of the Underdark, far from the harsh light of the sun. Sunlight is harmful to deep dragons and so they will never venture up to the surface. A purple dragon’s permanent lair is a honeycomb of rocky hollows connected by narrow, winding tunnels. Many tunnels lead to dead ends or traps and require real feats of exploration for anyone new to the lair to find a way through. Sometimes purple dragons make their lairs in the structures of previous Underdark residents, if the chambers and connecting hallways are elaborate enough for the dragons’ taste.
Favoured Treasure Edit
As natural born explorers, purple dragons value cartographical information more than anything else. They prize rare maps of new terrains that they have yet to set their sights upon and are also partial to magical items and equipment that will protect them from the warmth of the world's core as they venture deeper into the Underdark.
Life Cycle Edit
Purple dragon eggs incubate for approximately twenty-five months, the first eight inside the female dragon. An average clutch numbers about six, and about half of the eggs hatch into healthy wyrmlings. Purple dragons might lay their eggs in places where animate spirits are bound to the area. Such spirits might touch growing wyrmlings with their Shadowfell-derived necrotic resonances.
Purple dragons grow into youth after about nine years. They become adults at about age 190 and elders after about 1,100 years. They become ancients at about 2,200 years. Reports of purple dragons near the world’s core tell of some that reach 3,000 years or more.
When a purple dragon dies, any creature that sleeps within the vicinity ever afterward has fierce nightmares. When a deceased purple dragon experiences environmental diffusion, the result is an area where small mushrooms spring up and the dreams of sleepers are troubled. Creatures attempting to rest in such an area are afflicted with nightmares.
Physical Characteristics Edit
The long body of a purple dragon is particularly lithe—catlike and serpentine. The swept-back wing structure and sleek, tapered head allow it to worm its way through narrow subterranean tunnels. Purple dragons have an odour reminiscent of the musky smell of ophidians.
- Darkvision - Purple dragons can see perfectly in any dark environment having evolved in the deepest recesses of the Underdark.
- Breath Weapon - Like black dragons, purples can breathe a cone of acid to dissolve their foes.
- Fearful Presence - The presence of a purple dragon can induce intense feelings of absolute terror in other creatures.