Dire, Demon, and Dragon Features

Dire Animals

Dire animals are bigger (large-sized) versions of normal animals. Dire animals usually have at least one dire feature, determined randomly using the table below.


Dire Feature



Armor plates

Add +2 to the dire animal’s AC, and add +1 to its PD.


Spiky bits

Whenever an enemy hits the dire animal with a melee attack, deal damage equal to twice the animal’s level to that attacker.



The dire animal’s attacks that miss deal damage equal to its level. When staggered, its missed attacks deal damage equal to double its level.



The dire animal’s main attack also deals 5 ongoing poison damage per tier (5 ongoing poison at levels 1–4, 10 at 5–7, etc.).


Dire regeneration

When the escalation die is even, this animal heals damage equal to triple its level at the start of its turn.



While staggered, the dire animal gains a +2 attack bonus and deals +4 damage, but at the end of each of its turns it takes 2d6 damage.

Demon Abilities

Demons may or may not have a special demonic ability. Roll 1d10 for each non-mook normal-sized demon. If you roll less than or equal to the demon’s level, it has a random ability. Large or huge (or double- or triple-strength) demons automatically get one at least one random ability.

When a demon has an ability, roll 1d6 or 1d8 (GM’s choice) on the table below to determine what it is.

d6 or d8

Demonic Ability



True seeing

The demon is immune to invisibility and ignores any illusions.


Resist fire 18+

You’ll see that the demon resists fire the first time you use fire against it.



The first time the demon is staggered in a battle, it becomes invisible until the end of its next turn.


Resist energy 12+

The demon's resistance to all energy types puts a damper on enemy spellcasters, but at least the resistance is only 12+.


Fear aura

Enemies engaged with the demon who are below its fear hit point threshold are dazed and can’t use the escalation die. See Fear.



1d3 times per battle, as a move action, the demon can teleport anywhere it can see nearby.


Demonic speed

The demon can take an extra action each turn while the escalation die is 4+.



Once per battle as a standard action, if the demon is staggered, it can summon a single demon ally at least two levels below its own level. The allied demon rolls initiative and does not appear on the battlefield until its turn starts.

Dragon Abilities

All dragons have two standard abilities: escalator and flight. The escalator ability allows the dragon to add the escalation die to its attack rolls. The flight ability allows the dragon to fly—fairly well, and quickly in a straight line, though not as maneuverable as more agile fliers.

Dragons have a breath attack. Unlike most close attacks that target a number of enemies, dragon breath attacks don’t care about whether the targets are in a group.

Young dragons are medium-sized. Adult dragons are usually large sized. Huge-sized dragons are the exception, and have usually outgrown the vulnerabilities of their weaker kin.

Dragons have distinct personalities. A few have unique features. They are smart enough not to fight to their own death.

Dragons may have random abilities. For GMs who are uncertain whether a medium dragon should have a random ability, roll a d8. Otherwise, roll a d12. If the roll is less than or equal to the dragon’s level, it gets a random ability according to the table below. Some huge dragons have two abilities. If you want to give the dragon a chance of having one of the abilities that has campaign implications, add +2 to the roll.

d8 or d12

Dragon Ability



True seeing

The dragon is immune to invisibility and ignores any illusions.


Whipping tail

When an enemy engaged with the dragon rolls a natural 1 or 2 with an attack roll, the dragon can make an opportunity attack against that creature as a free action. The attack is set up by the dragon’s whipping tail but delivered by the dragon’s usual melee attack.


Tough Hide

The dragon has a +1 bonus to AC.


Twisted Mind

The dragon has a +2 bonus to MD.



The dragon has a +2 bonus to PD.


No vulnerability

Unlike other dragons of its color, this dragon has no vulnerability. The PCs will figure that out the first time they try to use its supposed vulnerability against it.


Now I’m mad!

The first time the dragon is staggered each battle, it uses its breath weapon attack as a free action that does not count against the normal uses of its breath.


Serious threat

Disengage checks against the dragon take a –5 penalty. When a creature fails to disengage from the dragon, it takes damage equal to double the dragon’s level.


PC-style racial power

The dragon has one of the racial powers of a player character race. The most common expressions per color are: white (halfling); black (halfling, half-orc, human, wood elf); green (dwarf, dark elf); blue (high elf, half-orc); red (half-orc, human, wood elf).


Raw power

Until it is staggered, the dragon rolls 2d20 with its melee attacks and uses the higher roll.


Damage aura

When an enemy starts its turn engaged with the dragon, it takes damage equal to the dragon’s level (adventurer tier), double the level (champion tier), or triple the level (epic tier). The damage type is the same as the dragon’s breath weapon.


More breath

The dragon can use its intermittent breath 1d4 more times each battle. If its breath weapon isn’t intermittent (white and green dragons), the dragon gains the extra uses anyway, making it more dangerous than lesser specimens of its color.


Humanoid form

The dragon is capable of shapechanging into a humanoid form, usually of a warrior or spellcaster appropriate to its nature and usually not obviously draconic, registering as a normal humanoid. The dragon has the PC-style racial power of their humanoid form, but only while in shapechanged form.


Some Unique Thing

The dragon has an entirely unique characteristic, something akin to a player character’s one unique thing except that the dragon’s version may be relevant to combat. GM, if you don’t feel like making something up, choose an ability from the list above.