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Dragon, Underworld

Source Bestiary 3 pg. 83
Underworld dragons embody the pressure between tectonic plates, the heat behind geysers, and flash fires that ignite when the conditions are just right. Natural alchemists, they innately understand reagents and catalysts. While some research the effects of magic on material reactions, the majority of underworld dragons concentrate on building their hoards. They scour the world for carved gemstones and artifacts of precious minerals, both of which they see as distilled essence of earth's bounty.

Underworld dragons appear angular and sharp; their scales glow as if superheated from within, and their hair flickers like tongues of flames. An intense fire glows behind their gazes, suggesting they could ignite items with a mere thought, and their breath ripples the air as a testament to the heat contained within their bodies.


Adult Underworld Dragon (Creature 11), Ancient Underworld Dragon (Creature 16), Young Underworld Dragon (Creature 7)

Sidebar - Related Creatures Jirukarakaza

The great wyrm underworld dragon Jirukarakaza maintains a massive treasure hoard in his lair beneath the Three Fires, a trio of volcanic mountains in eastern Tian Xia. A new ruler on the Jade Throne stymied his plans to expand his empire by claiming the trade city of Hiyosai in Minkai, and now he plots his revenge.

Sidebar - Advice and Rules Underworld Dragon Spellcasters

Underworld dragon spellcasters tend to cast the following spells.

Young Underworld Dragon

Prepared Arcane Spells DC 25, attack +18; 3rd earthbind, stinking cloud; 2nd glitterdust, knock, resist energy; 1st floating disk, magic missile, ray of enfeeblement; Cantrips (3rd) acid splash, mage hand, produce flame, read aura, shield

Adult Underworld Dragon

Prepared Arcane Spells DC 30, attack +24; As young underworld dragon, plus 5th cloudkill, prying eye; 4th dimension door, hallucinatory terrain, private sanctum; 3rd slow; Cantrips (5th) acid splash, mage hand, produce flame, read aura, shield

Ancient Underworld Dragon

Prepared Arcane Spells DC 37, attack +32; As adult underworld dragon, plus 7th fiery body, power word blind, reverse gravity; 6th mislead, spellwrack, true seeing; 5th mind probe; Cantrips (7th) acid splash, mage hand, produce flame, read aura, shield

Dragon, Imperial

Related Groups Dragon, Forest, Dragon, Sea, Dragon, Sky, Dragon, Sovereign
Imperial dragons, namesake of the Dragon Empires and guardians of Tian Xia before humanity arrived, embody five strengthening and counteracting forces. Unlike other true dragons, imperial dragons dive deep into human affairs. Some remain secretive, posing as reclusive hermits, while others keep a high profile, openly ruling factions. Tian cultures in turn venerate the dragons, depicting gods in the form of dragons or claiming ancestry from them. Not all are adored, for plenty of these creatures act wickedly.

Draconic Cycles

Five elements underpin the magical powers of imperial dragons, influencing their relationships to all things and, especially, to others of their kind. These elements interlink in two cycles. In the first cycle, each element feeds one other: wood feeds fire, fire feeds earth, earth feeds metal, metal feeds water, and water feeds wood. In the second cycle, each element counters another: wood counters earth, earth counters water, water counters fire, fire counters metal, and metal counters wood.

Each imperial dragon represents one element and has four abilities related to the cycle. For example, the forest dragon—linked to wood—feeds fire, is fed by water, counters earth, and is countered by metal.

Shape-Changing Dragons

Imperial dragons are the most likely (and willing) of Golarion's dragons to take humanoid forms. The vast majority of them have the following ability, with the tradition trait matching the dragon's innate spells:

Change Shape (concentrate, polymorph, transmutation) The dragon takes on the appearance of any Small or Medium humanoid. This doesn't change their Speed or attack and damage modifiers with their Strikes, but it might change the damage type their Strikes deal (typically to bludgeoning).

Imperial Dragon Spellcasters

Each imperial dragon has a sidebar on spellcasting dragons of that kind. To make an imperial dragon spellcaster, remove the dragon's Coiling Frenzy and Draconic Momentum abilities and give them the spells outlined in their sidebar. You can swap any number of these spells with others from the same tradition, provided you keep the same number of spells for each level. You might also want to increase the dragon's Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma modifier by 1 or 2 to reflect their mastery of magic.

Imperial Dragons On Golarion

Imperial dragons are rarely spotted beyond Tian Xia, where some establish territories to amass power, while others follow their natural affinity to seek a place of comfort.

Sidebar - Additional Lore One Dragon, Many Names

Classifying a dragon is as difficult as asking for their name. A variety of names and classifications have been used throughout history based on traits such as location, behavior, color, or other qualities. It isn't uncommon, therefore, for one dragon to be described as many different types of dragon over their lifetime. For example, scholars speculate that the coiling dragon, leaping dragon, and flying dragon of ancient Tian records are all attempts at identifying sky dragons.

Sidebar - Additional Lore Rules of Depiction

In some parts of the old empire of Lung Wa, it was illegal— blasphemous even—to depict a dragon with five talons on objects not used by the emperor or royalty. Officials might receive permission to wear a robe with a “four-talon serpent,” while common folk were only ever allowed to depict dragons with three talons, even for their temples. These rules might explain why old portraits of young sovereign dragons sold amongst the wealthy often have clutter in the foreground, obscuring their claws.

Sidebar - Additional Lore Rumored Rivalries

Some Tian philosophers, particularly worshipers of Qi Zhong—the Tian god of magic, medicine, and knowledge— speculate that each type of imperial dragon is mortal enemies with another type. Asking the dragons if this hypothesis is true often gets one laughed out of their lairs or a breath weapon to the face. In truth, imperial dragons have complicated relationships with one another that aren't as simple as being enemies or friends.