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Red dragons are, even for dragons, extraordinarily arrogant and covetous. They favor high perches like mountains or even hills,[5][8] and they prefer areas of volcanic or geothermal activity.[5] They are tyrants who command armies of lizardfolk, kobolds, and the like, and consider every other creature their rightful cattle or slaves.[9][10]



Aside from their scales, which darken from a bright glossy scarlet to a deep dull red as they age, red dragons are distinguished by their swept-back horns, spinal frill, and beaked snout, which constantly emits smoke. They have the longest wingspan of any chromatic dragon, and the wings are edged with a blue-black tint like burnt metal. Their eyes, which dance with fire when the dragon is angry, gradually lose their pupils over time and become like orbs of lava.[5]


Fan art of Thordak, by Joma Cueto.[art 2]

Thordak, an ancient red dragon, was physically transformed by long exposure to elemental fire. He was unusually large even for a (gargantuan) ancient dragon. He was described as having an angry, thick hide that sparked with bits of flame and red crystal upon impact.[11] When the source of his elemental power was shattered, he shrank and his eyes dimmed from piercing white to glowing reddish-orange.[12]


The following is taken from the Monster Manual, 5th Edition,[13] but some of the abilities have been demonstrated onstream.

  • Flame Breath (recharge 5-6)[14]
  • Frightful Presence
  • Legendary Resistance (3/Day)
  • Multiattack
  • Lair Actions: On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the dragon takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; the dragon can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:
    • Magma erupts from a point on the ground the dragon can see within 120 feet of it, creating a 20-foot-high, 5-foot-radius geyser. Each creature in the geyser’s area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 6d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.[18]
    • A tremor shakes the lair in a 60-foot radius around the dragon. Each creature other than the dragon on the ground in that area must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone.
    • Volcanic gases form a cloud in a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on a point the dragon can see within 120 feet of it. The sphere spreads around corners, and its area is lightly obscured. It lasts until initiative count 20 on the next round. Each creature that starts its turn in the cloud must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned until the end of its turn. While poisoned in this way, a creature is incapacitated.[19]

Known red dragons[]


Official miniature of Thordak next to Grog (for scale), gifted by a Critter to Matthew Mercer, and posted by Mercer on Reddit.

  • An unnamed red dragon that went across Tal'Dorei during or shortly after the Icelost Years.[20]
  • Thordak: Red dragon who ruled over half of Marquet for centuries (before becoming an ancient dragon), was fended off in his attack on Ank'Harel, later established himself in Tal'Dorei, was banished to the Elemental Plane of Fire, started the Chroma Conclave with Raishan, and was defeated by Vox Machina and their allies.
    • In the adventure hook Primordial Children in the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, set in 836 PD, it is reported by an investigator in Emon that the broken remains of a red dragon egg have been found. This, coupled with sightings of a creature of fire and teeth stalking the city's sewers, leads to believe that one of primordial dragon spawn not only survived its father's demise, but it's now out of the shell.[21]
  • In the adventure hook Vault of the Fire Giants in the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, set in 836 PD, fire giants in a vast dungeon beneath Kravaraad have enslaved an adult red dragon to guard their vault where they have collected treasure since before the Calamity.[22]
  • After the fall of the Chroma Conclave, a young red dragon who used to admire the Cinder King was appalled by his disregard for life, and discreetly made a donation of over 50,000 gold pieces to Westruun in order to help with the reconstruction.[23]


Main article: Thordak#Biography


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 See D&D: Monster Manual, 5th ed., pp. 97–98.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 See D&D: Monster Manual, 5th ed., p. 91.
  3. See D&D: Monster Manual, 5th ed., p. 90.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 See D&D: Monster Manual, 5th ed., p. 86.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 See D&D: Monster Manual, 5th ed., p. 99.
  6. See "Thordak" (1x79) at 2:51:04.
  7. "For those who are familiar with the training, the Elemental Plane of Fire does seem to be a very prominent home to such dragons as the red."  See "Aramente to Pyrah" (1x22) at 3:15:06.
  8. See D&D: Xanathar's Guide to Everything, 5th ed., pp. 102–103.
  9. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40) from 2:36:36 through 2:38:51.
  10. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, pp. 72–73. See also p. 11.
  11. See "Thordak" (1x79) at 22:33.
  12. See "Thordak" (1x79) at 2:46:37.  See also at 2:51:04.
  13. See D&D: Monster Manual, 5th ed., p. 286.
  14. See "Thordak" (1x79) at 33:05.  See at 38:07 for a colorful description.
  15. See "Thordak" (1x79) at 47:57.
  16. See "Thordak" (1x79) at 1:00:08.
  17. See "Thordak" (1x79) at 1:06:16.
  18. See "Thordak" (1x79) at 1:10:57.
  19. See "Raishan" (1x80) at 38:42.
  20. See "4-Sided Dive: Feat Fetishes" (4SDx21) at 1:12:29.
  21. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 141.
  22. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 114.
  23. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 218.


  1. Fan art of Thordak, an ancient red dragon, by KageSatsuki (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Thordak, by Joma Cueto (source). Used with permission.