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Feral Dragon (CR +Varies)

*Editor's Note
The challenge rating adjustment for this template is very approximate. Losing spellcasting and all abilities other than breath weapons will have a much greater impact on older dragons and ones that rely more on spellcasting so consider this carefully when applying this template.

Seemingly all scales, wings, fangs, and claws, feral dragons exist as pale reflections of true dragons. Some are actually cousins of true dragons, in the same way that apes are cousins to humankind. Others are degenerate descendents of dragons as they existed in an older age. Rapacious and voracious, feral dragons are awful carnivores that hunt beasts and sentient creatures alike. They love bright, shiny objects and often devastate caravans and entire settlements to steal even small amounts of treasure.

Like true dragons, feral dragons come in several hues, both chromatic and metallic, and can breathe great gouts of fire, ice, acid, or other energy. Though they are fully as perceptive as true dragons, they lack the intelligence and spellcasting ability of their more advanced cousins.

Creating a Feral Dragon

“Feral dragon” is an inherited template that can be added to any true dragon (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A feral dragon uses all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Challenge Rating*: A feral dragon's challenge rating equals its racial Hit Dice divided by 2 or the base creature's CR –4, whichever is greater.

Alignment: Usually neutral, but feral dragons often grow closer to the base creature's alignment as they age and gain Intelligence.

Armor Class: The feral dragon's natural armor bonus is equal to the base creature's –2 (minimum +0). If the base creature had no natural armor bonus, this feature of the template causes no change.

Special Attacks: The feral dragon loses all the base creature's supernatural and spell-like special attacks except its breath weapons. It also loses the ability to cast spells. It retains all the base creature's other special attacks.

Special Qualities: The feral dragon loses the base creature's damage reduction and spell resistance (if any), and all its supernatural and spell-like special qualities. It retains all other special qualities the base creature had.

Abilities: Str +4, Dex –4 (minimum 1), Con +4, Int –15 (minimum 1), Wis –4 (minimum 1).

Skills: Recalculate the feral dragon's skill points for its racial Hit Dice according to the following formula (6 + new Int modifier) x HD. Then spend its skill points afresh, using Dragon type guidelines for class skills.

Feats: A feral dragon has the same number of feats as the base creature does, though they should be chosen with an eye toward which ones are most useful with its diminished abilities.

Treasure: Double standard.

Using the Feral Dragon Template

The feral dragon template was designed to give players the chance to fight big dragons at lower levels than normal. Both players and GMs can use these creatures to enjoy dragon slayer scenarios akin to those in European myth and popular culture. Feral dragons are still tough monsters for their CRs, but characters facing them can worry more about how dangerous a combatant their foe is and less about whether or not it uses scrying to learn their plans and prepares to use spells against them.