An Aqua Draco or Water Dragon is an impressive sight to behold but they are becoming less and less common as the centuries roll by. Their much stronger land cousins despise them and it is not unknown for one of the larger dragons to see them merely as a tasty snack like a sparrow might eat a worm or a hawk a small rabbit.
The larger denizens of the deep have also driven them out of certain areas. Most of all, humans and dwarves and orcs have impacted on them, seeking them out and slaying them out of fear or greed, or fouling their waters with the concentrated excrement and waste that comes from the cities. Most of the dragons that humans have slain, thinking them to be land dragons, are water dragons instead.
If healthy, and many have been laid low by illness and are a shadow of their former selves, they look hugely dangerous. They can grow up to thirty feet long and three feet wide although many are half this size, and their bodies are covered with multi-coloured scales that gleam and glitter every colour of the rainbow in the sunlight.
They have short limbs with long claws on them, large bat like wings, and a mouth full of sharp teeth along with a long forked tongue. The younger ones cannot speak human languages but those over fifty years old can do so. They feed on fish of all kinds and can live for up to five centuries.
Should they be threatened, they will rear up, their bodies will swell up with air and they will let out a roar of rage. If that does not deter attackers and the dragons are old enough to speak, they will let out bloodcurdling threats at the would be dragon killers to make them run away.
Should that not deter them they will let out a jet of water heated to almost boiling point from their bodies, hot enough to scald unprotected or lightly protected skin, and follow that up with bites from their jaws as their claws are relatively weak and meant for spearing fish rather then fending off swords.
Their skins and bones despite their impressive appearance are not much tougher then human skin and will soon give way after a few sword cuts. Even bare hands can hurt them if the person is deeply skilled in unarmed combat. The jaws are dangerous-a healthy dragon’s jaws can shatter a human bone, and these dragons should never be underestimated.
Some of these dragons live in tunnels in the rock which amplify their voices to the point where they sound truly terrifying, which are their favourite places to live, others live along the riverbanks. Both when fighting amongst themselves and when fighting anything large enough to seriously threaten them, they prefer to posture rather then bite.
A healthy water dragon will take good care of itself, not out of vanity but because it wants to look as scary as possible to humans and other threats to put them off trying to attack them. In normal times they mate for life and their courtship dances are lovely to behold. Their eggs look like large gemstones and have been the cause of attacks by greedy humans.
When courting the male will make nests out of bulrushes and any shining things that come to hand-semi precious stones, green glass and the like, and will find the finest fish food for his paramour. When the female lays a clutch of eggs the male is the one who curls up around them whilst his mate brings him food. Mostly they do not have hoards of treasure as it is of little use to them, although they will take the belongings of any humans or humanoid races that they kill.
Many of the rivers have had villages built upon them that have grown into cities and over time the waters have been seriously fouled and the fish have died.
In such trying times it is not unknown for water dragon females, who can fly (the wings of the males are more or less ornamental ) to leave their males for other water dragons who live in cleaner rivers, leaving the males lovesick and slowly starving. Their scales will lose their gleam and dull to a brown, and their jaws will only have the strength of a human bite.
Their water weapon becomes tepid rather then near-boiling although it can still knock over an attacker. Their voices if they have them remain unharmed and they can still swell up their bodies and rear them, but it is mostly an empty threat. Such a dragon is easy prey for warrior bands who are looking for treasure or just trying to “rid their area of the terrible dragon.”
The PCs are sent to kill a *dangerous dragon* within a cave complex from which it’s voice comes booming out. When they find the dragon it is in a dreadful state, it’s scaly skin torn and ravaged by fungal infections, and it’s *roar* in fact created by the cave tunnels itself. Do they just chop it to bits or spare it’s life?
A healthy Water Dragon and one of the few with a sizable horde of treasure is willing to pay the PCs handsomely to help it to defend it’s pristine river from settlers who want to build and set up homes there. Do they side with the *evil* dragon who is defending it’s home or with their fellow humans who need somewhere to live?