Torn between the Material Plane and the Plane of Shadows, umbral dragons do not truly belong to either. As fearsome as any dragon, they posses a breath that scours the very life force of their opponents, and can also devour incorporeal undead by tearing at the essence of their undead souls. They are one example of the extraplanar true dragons known as primal dragons.1
An umbral dragon resembles a lean, feral black dragon. Its body is a deep black, like the darkest of shadows, and sleek and serpentine in shape without the many fins that a black dragon uses for swimming. Its tail tapers to a point in a far more snake-like manner than the muscular, lizard-like tail of a black dragon. Their faces are smooth and lack the horny nodules that many black dragons gain later in life.2 An umbral dragon's horns sweep back behind its head, unlike the black dragon's, whose horns sweep forward. The umbral dragon's eyes are distinct pits of deep crimson.1
Habitat and ecology
Umbral dragons reside on the Plane of Shadows that spawned them. When not on their native plane, umbral dragons tend to seek areas that mimic its darkened depths. These lairs include dark and overgrown forests, gloomy swamps, storm-shrouded mountaintops, and lightless underground depths.
Like most dragons, umbral dragons are solitary predators. But unlike most dragons, they have access to a unique prey: incorporeal undead. How much nutrition they actually draw from their ghostly prey is unknown, but they actively seek out haunted ruins to devour undead, which adds to their fearsome reputation. Likewise, their ability to devour ethereal undead and their negative energy breath makes umbral dragons popular mounts for powerful undead. Despite the risks, powerful vampires, liches, and necromancers have ridden umbral dragons. Still, they are fickle creatures who have dropped more than one such rider from the sky or torn them apart.3
Umbral dragons can breathe devastating cones of negative energy that strips the life from living creatures and heals those whose unlife is fueled by it. Unlike most creatures, their material bodies can harm incorporeal creatures, and older, more powerful umbral dragons can command undead creatures.
As long as they are near some source of shadow, umbral dragons can hide within them.1
- See also: Category:Umbral dragon/Inhabitants
- In a repurposed necromancer's sanctuary below the Umbral Basin, the great wyrm Fahrauth has set his lair.4
- The shadowy trails of the Menador Mountains between Molthune and Cheliax are the lair of the old umbral dragon Gandrohal. He feeds on the incorporeal undead that haunt this twilight world, and the occasional living creature that loses its way.5
- In their ongoing battle against the undead, Nexian clerics of Pharasma coaxed the young adult umbral dragon Ghostmaw to leave his home in the Shattered Range of southern Garund. After paying him ever-escalating fees, they send him into the Mana Wastes to hunt their many foes there.6
- In the Vale of Shadows, the umbral dragon Kedretitas guards a Star Tower.7
- The umbral dragon Sicnavier terrorizes Ustalav from its home in Virlych.8
- Ugothogo is an umbral dragon who dwells in the Midnight Mountains that has grown so powerful that they are worshipped as a living god by many inhabitants of the Orvian Vault.9
- “Bestiary” in Skeletons of Scarwall, 86. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Black Dragons” in Dragons Revisited, 5. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Bestiary” in Skeletons of Scarwall, 88. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Fahrauth (Great Wyrm Umbral Dragon)” in Dragons Unleashed, 20. Paizo Inc., 2013 .
- “Bestiary” in Skeletons of Scarwall, 88–89. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Bestiary” in Skeletons of Scarwall, 89. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Chapter 14: The Tower” in Plague of Shadows, 242–249. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Legends and Hauntings” in Rule of Fear, 62. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 2, 97. Paizo Inc., 2020 .