Ecology of the Dracolisk
Taken from the tome Book of the Great Reptiles as written by Martel Dundan Sage of Markainus.
One of the most dangerous of reptiles that may be encountered, the dracolisk is a potent foe against any living being. The following is a gathering of knowledge both from personal experience as well as notes gathered from the first hand accounts of others.
The dracolisk is a rarity in nature. It is one of but a few creatures that cannot reproduce, as it is always born infertile; this holds true for both the males and females. The dracolisk is the result of a mating between a male greater basilisk and a female dragon of young adult age. Curiously, this appears to be the only time such a crossbreed can take place. A dragon of any age younger or older than young adult, a time at which dragons have not normally mated with their own kind, appears to be unable to breed with a basilisk. As a note, the only dracolisks I have seen proof of, have been the offspring of a basilisk and a black dragon. However, tales persist of such a mating of basilisk and green dragon, which I will theorize about later.
Once mating has taken place the female dragon will find a secluded spot to lay her eggs; up to as many as 4 eggs may be produced. These eggs are dark in color and have a leathery pliable quality making them more resistant to damage than a common chicken or turtle egg. Once the dragon has laid her eggs she will leave, not tending to them again. Because of this many of these eggs are destroyed by predators or by those, such as man, who have an interest in limiting the dracolisk population as much as possible.
Upon hatching the dracolisk is fully sentient and aware of what it is and its powers. The dracolisk, much like its dragon mother, advances through life in ages, but rather than eight ages of life, it has six*.
|Very Young||1 Year|
|Young||2 – 10 Years|
|Sub Adult||11 – 30 Years|
|Young Adult||31 – 60 Years|
|Adult||61 – 120 Years|
|Old||121 – 200 Years|
The breath weapon inherited from its dragon parent appears to manifest once the creature reaches a sub adult maturity level*. Dissection of a black dragon crossbreed has shown that the acid it uses as a breath weapon is stored in a mucus-covered sac that is attached to the bronchi of the lungs. The dracolisk lungs are able to contract in such a way as to squeeze this sac, jetting forth the acid stored inside with great velocity. This can be done three times before a full sac is emptied. It takes 24 hours before the sac is refilled with acid. This acid appears to be generated by a mix of the mucus in the sac and the creature’s blood.
It appears to be impossible to remove and use this sac, as the mucus immediately begins to dry upon the creature’s death and the acid still inside will melt through within an hour.
Here I will interject my thoughts on the possibility of a dracolisk from green dragon stock*. I believe it to be possible for a greater basilisk to mate with a green dragon in the same way it does with a black dragon. In fact, they could very well mate with any of the dragonkind that may permit it, but neither blue nor red dragons make their homes in places that would be common to the greater basilisk.
Add to this that the blue and red dragons are the largest, most intelligent of evil dragonkind, and I find it unlikely they would allow such a coupling to occur.
If, in fact, a crossbreed of basilisk and green dragon does exist, I would expect the dracolisk of such a union to have a breath weapon of corrosive gas much like the green dragon, just as the common dracolisk has the acid breath of a black dragon. I would theorize that the gas would be stored in the same sac as the common dracolisk’s acid and would work in a similar way.
Unlike the breath weapon, which does not become available until a certain maturity level, the devastating gaze of the dracolisk that is inherited from its father is available for use as soon as it hatches. This “gaze attack” works in the same way as the basilisk’s, and will turn any creature catching its sight to stone. It is believed by many scholars that the eyes of the creature emit a kind of radiation that is absorbed through the victim’s eyes, causing a chemical change in the body, altering flesh to stone. Unlike their parent, however, dracolisks are not likely to be stopped by having their gaze reflected back at them. They have inherited a nictating membrane from their mother (something all dragons have to keep their eyes moist during flight) which protects it from its own gaze power.
While a typical basilisk is slow and stupid, the dracolisk has (mostly) inherited its mother’s reflexes and intelligence. It can scramble quickly on its six legs or take flight with its black wings. However, this flight is not sustained, and can only last from ten to twenty minutes before the creature must stop and rest for another thirty minutes before resuming flight. This is because like its father the dracolisk, it is heavier than it appears due to an extremely dense bone structure. This bone density along with its tough scales make it difficult for weapons to penetrate its hide and harm it.
Even though they cannot reproduce, at times multiple dracolisks may be encountered together. When this is the case, one will be male and one female; most likely the two creatures hatched from the same group of eggs and have stayed together since, taking on a mate quality. Females from the species differ from males only in coloration as they tend to be more a rust brown rather than a dark brown. In all other ways they are the same.
Like dragons, dracolisks have a great sense of greed; they like to collect and hoard as much treasure as they can. Unlike dragons, however, dracolisks do not use magic and are unlikely to comprehend the power of any magical items they may have collected, or whether in fact an item is even magical.
Dracolisks tend to only use their gaze when confronted by a large group, or obviously powerful opponent, or when an encounter is going badly. Otherwise they prefer to lead with their acid breath and finish off their prey with swipes from their powerful two front claws and their wicked bite. In this way they can feed on the remains, whereas they cannot devour prey which has been turned to stone, and the beasts have a ravenous appetite. There have been attempts by individuals to tame dracolisks, but all of these have failed. Their very nature makes it impossible to subdue and train them. They also do not make good guards as they will attack anyone who tries to enter an area, even the person who may have placed them there.
Many parts of the dracolisk are of use to both mages and alchemists. Their eyes can be used as a substitute for basilisk eyes when making magical items (such as eyes of petrification) or in making spell inks, or potions. Their teeth may likewise be ground into powder and used (as one of the components) in magical inks as well. Their hide can be taken, and much like a dragon’s hide, made into armor*.
At the time of this writing little more is known about this rare creature. The information here has been gathered from the observation of three of the beasts in person (alive and their dissections), and from the firsthand accounts of individuals who have survived encounters with, or attempted to capture and train the creature.
1. Dracolisks have the following hit dice at different ages of their life.
|Very Young||1 Year||2(4) HD|
|Young||2 – 10 Years||4(6) HD|
|Sub Adult||11 – 30 Years||7(9) HD|
|Young Adult||31 – 60 Years||7(9) HD +1(+2)|
|Adult||61 – 120 Years||7(9) HD +2(+3)|
|Old||121 – 200 Years||7(9) HD +3(+4)|
In general dracolisks younger than sub adult will not be encountered. Young and very young dracolisks are unable to spit acid. (Numbers in parentheses are for the green dragon variant below)
2. Dracolisk Variant
FREQUENCY: Very rare
NO. APPEARING: 1-2
ARMOR CLASS: 3
MOVE: 9″/15″ (MC:E)
HIT DICE: 9 +4
% IN LAIR: 35%
TREASURE TYPE: Cx2, I
NO. OF ATTACKS: 3
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2 -8/2-8/4-16
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Breath weapon, gaze weapon
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Average to very
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic evil
SIZE: L (20′-35’ long)
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil/nil
VII/ 2200 + 12/hp
The chloro-dracolisk tends to be moss green in color. It is slightly larger and stronger than the common dracolisk and has a poisonous chlorine gas breath weapon that functions the same as a green dragons. The cloud of gas is 4” long, 3” wide, and 2” high and does 6-36 (6d6) points of damage, or half if a saving throw versus breath weapon is made. In all other respects the chloro-dracolisk functions in the same way as the common dracolisk.
3. An eye from a dracolisk can be used as a replacement for a basilisk’s eye for any spell, scroll, item creation, or ink, and an intact eye can sell for up to as much as 600 g.p. If the eyeball is not intact, eye fluid may sell for as much as 200 g.p. The teeth of the beast can sell for 300 g.p. for a full mouth’s worth.
A trained armorer can construct armor from a dracolisk’s hide. Such armor has the bulk, weight, and movement of studded leather (fairly, 20#, 9”) but offers the protection of chain mail (AC: 5). This armor can be worn by a thief with the same penalties as if he were wearing studded leather (see Unearthed Arcana). Each suit of such armor takes 4-6 weeks and costs 2,000 g.p to construct. Up to two man-size suits of such armor may be made from each dracolisk of adult or older age. Only a single suit may be made from a dracolisk of young adult age, and there is not enough good hide to make such a suit from a dracolisk that is any younger than young adult.
The Looking Glass
I am adding a new section to my column starting this week. I am at this time working on a new module and I will be using this section to introduce new things I am creating. Perhaps a new item, spell, monster, or even a NPC class that will appear in whatever module I am working on at the time.
Elven Leather Armor
Base AC: 7, Bulk: Non, Base Movement: 12”, Weight: 4#
Description: This special armor can only be made by specially trained and highly skilled elven leather workers and tailors. The armor is a piece of soft leather covered in a tightly woven shell of the leaves of a tree known only to those artisans who can make the armor. The leaves are woven over the leather and then sent through a special hardening process making the overall armor harder and lighter than normal leather armor.
Each set of elven leather must be specially made for an individual, as it is form fit to the torso before going through its hardening process. The armor is so thin and light that it can be worn under a long sleeve shirt and pants and be virtually undetectable; it also adds no encumbrance to the wearer.