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Valeros confronts a green dragon.
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Dragons are an ancient race of intelligent reptilian creatures who often possess a variety of magical and unusual abilities, including winged or magical flight.[1] Due to their power, they are counted among the most legendary creatures in all the Inner Sea region.[2] They are sometimes referred to as wyrms and wyrmlings.[3]


Dragons are scaled, reptilian creatures with large wings capable of flight. A dragon has a long tail that can be used as a weapon, and typically has multiple horns on its head and a ridge or horns along its spine. The differing types of dragons are named according to their color; for instance, green dragons are green-scaled. (See also "Draconic septs".) While size depends on the dragon's type, very young dragons are about the size of an adult humanoid, whereas adult dragons rival the largest giants in size, and the oldest dragons can tower over buildings.[citation needed][4]


Dragons grow more powerful as they age, both in raw, physical might, and in mental and magical ability. While a newly hatched wyrmling might be defeated by a small party of modestly-experienced adventures, an ancient dragon can pose a threat to a small army. Dragons are fierce fighters, and those attempting to battle them can expect to be bitten, raked with their fearsome claws, buffeted by the wings, and smacked by the long tail—not to mention the various breath weapons, ranging from fire, ice, acid, or even electricity. Older dragons are also formidable spellcasters, in addition to the various other supernatural abilities they possess.[citation needed][4]

Dragons have keen senses, able to see clearly in low-light or complete darkness, and can even sense creatures that it cannot see. Each type of dragon has additional abilities and magical spells, often specialized to their chosen habitat and fighting style. For example, the swamp-dwelling black dragon can influence and control reptiles, whereas the coastal bronze dragons exhibit some control over water.[citation needed][5] Dragons are immune to the effects of paralysis and magic-induced sleep.[1]

Draconic anatomy

The anatomy of dragons is particularly well understood, and it is clear that dragons have many elements within their anatomy that are unique.[6]

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Draconic septs

True dragons are divided into various "septs", or families, of related dragon species. The most common and best detailed are the noble metallic dragons and the vicious chromatic dragons, but several others exist as well.[citation needed][7][8] Good dragons appear to exist in smaller numbers than evil ones, but that may only be a matter of perception, as good dragons have less of a need to mix with "lesser races" such as humans. The biggest exception to this is the island of Hermea in the Steaming Sea.[2] Known draconic septs include:[8]

Age categories

Dragons continuously grow in physical and magical power as they age. Dragon researchers have divided a dragon's lifespan into twelve age categories. From youngest to oldest they are: wyrmling (0–5 years), very young (6–15 years), young (16–25 years), juvenile (26–50 years), young adult (51–100 years), adult (101–200 years), mature adult (201–400 years), old (401–600 years), very old (601–800 years), ancient (801–1,000 years), wyrm (1,001–1,200 years), and great wyrm (1,201+ years).[citation needed][4]


The evil god Dahak initially created the metallic dragons to hunt for sport, shaping them from the shattered remnants of his divine siblings. Apsu entered the Material Plane in order to end Dahak's reign of terror. Tiamat saw Dahak as a son and wanted him spared. In a deal to save Dahak, Tiamat healed some of the wounded metallic dragons, creating the original chromatic dragons.[12] Another version of the myth claims that when Dahak shattered his siblings and created the first dragons from their remnants, some saw him as their creator and were devoted to him while others remained faithful to Apsu. The first group became the chromatic dragons, while the second became the metallics. Some dragons however chose to flee the conflict between the two gods altogether, scattering throughout the multiverse and becoming the ancestors of the other draconic septs.[13]

During the Age of Serpents, dragons wielded considerable power and were closely allied with the reptilian civilization of the period. As history progressed, however, the dragons found themselves steadily outpaced by the weaker but fast-breeding humanoid species as these spread across the world. Unable or unwilling to compete with the rising civilizations, the dragons were eventually pushed into the wildernesses and largely faded from the active politics of the world. Recent events such as the death of Aroden and the opening of the Worldwound have, however, convinced many dragons that this reclusive lifestyle may not be a viable option anymore, and many are giving thought to taking a more direct hand in geopolitics once again.[13]

Habitat and ecology

Dragons battle.

Dragons live in a wide variety of habitats depending on their type, but most prefer to live solitary lives.[2] Generally carnivorous in nature, dragons are known to eat unfortunate adventurers who happen upon them unprepared. They tend to have large hoards of treasure within their lairs. See the individual dragon entries for details on habitat. Dragons can live for over 1,000 years, although dragons of this age (referred to as "great wyrms") are very rare.[citation needed][4]


Most dragons enjoy collecting large amounts of treasure, known as a hoard. These hoards vary by dragon species, but often consist of coins and other objects of great value, upon which a dragon sleeps.[14]



The matter of faith among dragons is a complicated, and little-understood subject. Benevolent dragons tend to worship Apsu. Some evil dragons serve and worship Dahak due to his immense power, although most dragons view Dahak with hatred. Due to the incredible length of time that dragons have roamed Golarion, there are countless myths and fables told about them and their gods.[12][15]


Dragons speak Draconic, one of the oldest languages in all of the Great Beyond, which is often spoken by wizards.[16] As they grow older, they learn more languages, including Common,[17] Abyssal,[18] Celestial,[19] or other languages befitting their nature and environment.

Dragons as allies

Some young dragons allow knights of identical philosophical orientation to adopt them as mounts.[20]


Paizo published several sourcebooks focused on dragons, including Dragons Unleashed, Dragonslayer's Handbook, and Legacy of Dragons.

For additional resources, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Mark Seifter, et al. (2019). Bestiary (Second Edition), p. 346. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-170-2
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 304. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
  3. Savannah Broadway et al. (2013). Dragons Unleashed, p. 3. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-525-9
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Jason Bulmahn. (2009). Bestiary (First Edition), p. 90–91. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
  5. Jason Bulmahn. (2009). Bestiary (First Edition), p. 90–109. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
  6. Shaun Hocking, Marie Small, and Jerome Virnich. (2013). Dragonslayer's Handbook, p. 16f. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-526-6
  7. Jason Bulmahn. (2009). Bestiary (First Edition), p. 90. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wolfgang Baur. (2007). Fortress of the Stone Giants. Fortress of the Stone Giants, p. 70–71. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-039-1
  9. Alexander Augunas, Robert Brookes, Thurston Hillman, et al. (2016). Legacy of Dragons, p. 4. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-853-3
  10. Dennis Baker et al. (2013). Bestiary 4, Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-575-4
  11. Robert Brookes et al. (2017). Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 6, p. 96–107. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-931-8
  12. 12.0 12.1 Sean K Reynolds. (2008). Gods and Magic, p. 52. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-139-8
  13. 13.0 13.1 James L. Sutter. (2019). "Here There Be Dragons". Tomorrow Must Burn, p. 65. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-191-7
  14. Mike McArtor. (2009). Dragons Revisited, p. 6–7. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-165-7
  15. Sean K Reynolds et al. (2014). Inner Sea Gods, p. 188. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-597-6
  16. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 221. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  17. Jason Bulmahn. (2009). Bestiary (First Edition), p. 93. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
  18. Jason Bulmahn. (2009). Bestiary (First Edition), p. 99. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
  19. Jason Bulmahn. (2009). Bestiary (First Edition), p. 109. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
  20. Gareth Hanrahan, Steve Kenson, Patrick Renie, Tork Shaw, and Jerome Virnich. (2012). Knights of the Inner Sea, p. 22. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-460-3