Copper dragons have a well-deserved reputation as incorrigible pranksters, joke-tellers, and riddlers. They appreciate all forms of humor. Most are good-natured but also have a covetous, miserly streak. Copper dragons like dry, rocky uplands and mountains. Their territories sometimes adjoin or overlap brass dragons’ territories. The two species tend to get along well, but meetings between the two usually devolve into marathon conversations in which the copper dragons bombard the brass dragons with humor while the brass dragons blithely continue to banter. Such sessions usually end with one dragon or the other taking its leave none too gently. Copper dragons also find themselves with silver, red, or blue dragons for neighbors. The silvers avoid too much contact with the coppers. Blue or red dragons inevitably try to slay the coppers or at least drive them away. Many a copper dragon considers the presence of a blue or red dragon as challenge, and does all it can to annoy and embarrass the evil dragon without getting itself killed. Copper dragons make their lairs in narrow caves. They use their ability to move and shape stone to enhance their lairs, often concealing the entrances using move earth and stone shape. Within the lair, they construct twisting mazes, often with open tops that allow the dragon to fly or jump over intruders. Unlike most dragons, however, copper dragons are often happy to have cramped lairs that don’t allow them space for flight; they depend instead on their ability to climb stone surfaces for mobility inside the lair.
Copper Dragon IdentifiersCopper dragons are powerful jumpers and climbers, with massive thighs and shoulders. A copper dragon’s head has a short face and no beak. Broad, smooth browplates jut over the eyes, and long, flat coppery horns extend back from the browplates in a series of segments. The dragon also has backswept cheek ridges and frills on the backs of the lower jaws that sweep forward slightly. Layers of triangular blades point down from the chin, and as the dragon gets older more layers with larger blades develop. The dragon has a long tongue that comes to a single point. At birth, a copper dragon’s scales have a ruddy brown color with a metallic tint. As the dragon gets older, the scales become finer and more coppery, assuming a soft, warm gloss by the young adult stage. A very old dragon’s scales pick up a green tint. A copper dragon’s pupils fade with age, and the eyes of a great wyrm resemble glowing turquoise orbs. Copper dragons have a stony odor. Copper dragons have mantalike wings that show green and red mottling along the trailing edges. The upper alar limb is exceedingly short, giving the leading edges of the wings a Ushaped profile when viewed from below. The wings run down the dragon’s entire body, almost to the tip of the tail. The main portion of the wing is supported by three phalanges and a modified alar olecranon. Spines sweeping backward at an angle from the backbone support the remainder of the wing. A copper dragon’s distinctive wing profile makes it easy to distinguish from the brass dragon, which can occupy similar habitats.
HabitsA copper dragon’s sense of humor compels it to seek out companionship—it takes at least two beings to share a joke. Consequently, a copper dragon is basically a social creature. Except when mating, however, copper dragons tend to avoid each other, mostly because they cannot resist getting into competition to prove which has the sharpest wit. When two or more copper dragons get together, the meeting usually escalates into verbal sparring. The dragons initially trade witticisms and banter, but the conversation eventually devolves into pointed barbs growing ever more vicious, until one of the dragons pulls away, vowing revenge. Such encounters rarely lead to violence or lasting enmity, but often create a rivalry. Rival copper dragons have carried on wars of practical jokes and colorful insults that have lasted for centuries. Copper dragon courtship is an odd mix of tenderness and outrageous humor. Although males and females exchange small gifts of food and treasure, the real currency between copper dragons is wit. Copper dragons are attracted to mates who can make them laugh. Such liaisons are never permanent, but the couple stays together long enough to raise their offspring to adulthood. After that, each dragon’s freewheeling spirit takes over and the couple splits, with each individual going its own way. Copper dragons are known to eat almost anything, including metal ores. However, they prize monstrous scorpions and other large poisonous creatures. (They say the venom sharpens their wit; their digestive systems can handle the venom safely, although injected venoms affect them normally.) They are determined hunters. They consider good sport at least as important as the food they get, and doggedly pursue any prey that initially eludes them. When building hoards, copper dragons prefer treasures from the earth. Metals and precious stones are favorites, but they also value statuary and fine ceramics. A copper dragon would rather tell a riddle or a pull a prank than fight. Any copper dragon appreciates wit wherever it can be found, and will usually not harm a creature that can relate a joke, humorous story, or riddle the dragon has not heard before. The dragon quickly gets annoyed with anyone who doesn’t laugh at its jokes or accept its tricks with good humor. Copper dragons love being the center of attention and do not appreciate being upstaged. When cornered, a copper dragon fights tenaciously, using every trick it knows to defeat the foe. Copper dragons show similar aggression when defending lairs, mates, or offspring. In most other circumstances, a copper dragon prefers to outwit and embarrass a foe. To a copper dragon, a perfect victory comes from taunting and annoying an opponent into just giving up. In any situation, copper dragons favor thinking and planning over brute force. They often deal with superior foes, such as red dragons, by drawing them into narrow, twisting canyons or tortuous caves where they can use their climbing ability to outmaneuver the foe.
- Dungeons & Dragons Draconomicon (3.5 Edition, 2009).
- Monster Manual, Copper Dragon