Can dragons use weapons... and if true, how?


Rules Questions


I'm asking in dragon form, if it isn't obvious. I already know the polymorphed into humanoids and alike answer.

Can a dragon hire a bunch of kobolds or order his gnome slaves to make him some weapons in order to face another dragon who's messing with him?

That dragon killed a giant and now the most valuable piece of her treasure is that giant masterwork sword and she is now dying to know how does it feel to swing that thing.

And so on...


cablop wrote:

I'm asking in dragon form, if it isn't obvious. I already know the polymorphed into humanoids and alike answer.

Can a dragon hire a bunch of kobolds or order his gnome slaves to make him some weapons in order to face another dragon who's messing with him?

That dragon killed a giant and now the most valuable piece of her treasure is that giant masterwork sword and she is now dying to know how does it feel to swing that thing.

And so on...

I mean, I suppose so. I do not think that dragon's naturally have proficiency with weapons. That doesn't mean that they can't use them.

However, A dragon does best what a dragon does best, and thats to employ its natural weapons and breath attacks.

The only reason a dragon might use a weapon against another dragon, is if such weapon in question had the "bane" magical property, or was one of the 6(maybe more) Anti-Dragon specific weapons that can be created.

Do note that dragons who use such artifacts, or magic weapons will probably label him a blood traitor, or something along those lines.


Dragons don't have proficiency with any manufactured weapons, while in dragon form:

Bestiary, page 307 wrote:
Proficient with its natural weapons only unless humanoid in form (or capable of assuming humanoid form), in which case proficient with all simple weapons and any weapons mentioned in its entry.

You can always spend a feat on proficiency, though.

Dark Archive

I have seen dragons in the adventure paths and modules that have listed items like weapons and armor.


Fernn wrote:

The only reason a dragon might use a weapon against another dragon, is if such weapon in question had the "bane" magical property, or was one of the 6(maybe more) Anti-Dragon specific weapons that can be created.

Do note that dragons who use such artifacts, or magic weapons will probably label him a blood traitor, or something along those lines.

Well, i think, Sarunil, a chaotic red adult dragon would care less of being called a traitor for she had to deal with Maerkod, that old blue dragon who always shown interest in taking her territories, and life. She prefers to be addressed as an alive dragon rather than an honorable (hahaha! honor! hahaha!) dead dragon. She is instead that mofo who managed to kill him, while the other dragons still wonder how. The truth is, once she knew the blue dragon intentions, she decided to spend a few years training as a badass fighter, gaining about 5 levels, learnt how to use that sword that giant brought to kill her 30 years ago (she was fortunate the giant stepped in the wrong side of the ruined floor and fell 100m and broke his neck before landing a single blow) because it is a dragon killer weapon... and so she used it that way. Now the giant's sword and Maerkod's head are her most appreciated pieces in her increased treasure; Maerkod had a nice looting back in his cave... And the other dragons decided to allow her to keep her territory, and Maerkod's territory too; to tell the truth, some other dragons wanted him dead as well.


SheepishEidolon wrote:

Dragons don't have proficiency with any manufactured weapons, while in dragon form:

Bestiary, page 307 wrote:
Proficient with its natural weapons only unless humanoid in form (or capable of assuming humanoid form), in which case proficient with all simple weapons and any weapons mentioned in its entry.
You can always spend a feat on proficiency, though.

"Or capable of assuming humanoid form." Seems like any dragon with alter self is proficient, and not just when using that spell.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Adding an odd class level or three is always fun "did... did that Dragon just challenge me... whoa! What's up with the sword now"


Azten wrote:
SheepishEidolon wrote:

Dragons don't have proficiency with any manufactured weapons, while in dragon form:

Bestiary, page 307 wrote:
Proficient with its natural weapons only unless humanoid in form (or capable of assuming humanoid form), in which case proficient with all simple weapons and any weapons mentioned in its entry.
You can always spend a feat on proficiency, though.
"Or capable of assuming humanoid form." Seems like any dragon with alter self is proficient, and not just when using that spell.

Well, a feat or a fighter class level would be enough. I vote for the class level, because once they get a class they also gain ability scores adjustments.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I Ninja'd someone, I knew I'd be able to use this non ironically someday!


Its hard to make weapons that are better than what a dragon is already packing.

Potions of greater magic fang might be more effective.

Spiked armor is a feasible weapon with a dragons anatomy, but making all your other attacks secondary is pretty bad.

Scarab Sages

Besides, when they use a manufactured weapon, ALL of their natural weapons are treated as secondary. A -5 to hit and 1/2 str modifier is a big hit to take.

Scarab Sages

I dunno. I kind of like the idea of a huge dragon wielding a huge-sized greatsword. At that point, I'd probably give the dragon a monk level or two, and maybe homebrew a special ability where he uses his breath weapon to coat his adamantine sword in elemental energy, dealing 1d6 per 4 dragon HD elemental damage per hit.

It would look clumsy, but that actually makes it appeal to me more. Something a really brutish dragon would use. I imagine whites being most likely to do something like this.

Scratch that. Give him fighter levels. Mutagen fighter, perhaps? /chugs mutagen, wearing custom-made plate barding... Goodbye, CR system! Though this is starting to sound more like the final boss of an adventure path or something.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Purely on the anatomical side:

How could a dragon wield a Sword? - they have no hands, just paws, and walk on all fours. Their limbs are not capable of wielding stuff, even if thei'd spend the feat on becoming proficient. You'd need a weapon specially designed for a dragon, like a dragon-sized Spiked Armor.

Also this:

Imbicatus wrote:
Besides, when they use a manufactured weapon, ALL of their natural weapons are treated as secondary. A -5 to hit and 1/2 str modifier is a big hit to take.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
cablop wrote:
Fernn wrote:

The only reason a dragon might use a weapon against another dragon, is if such weapon in question had the "bane" magical property, or was one of the 6(maybe more) Anti-Dragon specific weapons that can be created.

Do note that dragons who use such artifacts, or magic weapons will probably label him a blood traitor, or something along those lines.

Well, i think, Sarunil, a chaotic red adult dragon would care less of being called a traitor for she had to deal with Maerkod, that old blue dragon who always shown interest in taking her territories, and life. She prefers to be addressed as an alive dragon rather than an honorable (hahaha! honor! hahaha!) dead dragon. She is instead that mofo who managed to kill him, while the other dragons still wonder how. The truth is, once she knew the blue dragon intentions, she decided to spend a few years training as a badass fighter, gaining about 5 levels, learnt how to use that sword that giant brought to kill her 30 years ago (she was fortunate the giant stepped in the wrong side of the ruined floor and fell 100m and broke his neck before landing a single blow) because it is a dragon killer weapon... and so she used it that way. Now the giant's sword and Maerkod's head are her most appreciated pieces in her increased treasure; Maerkod had a nice looting back in his cave... And the other dragons decided to allow her to keep her territory, and Maerkod's territory too; to tell the truth, some other dragons wanted him dead as well.

Hmm, then Perhaps see if you can add a flavorful anti dragon weapon to this giant sword, here are a couple of specific magic weapons:

Dragon's Doom

Dragon's Tail

Dragonbleeder

Dragoncatch Guisarme (literally knocks dragons out of the sky)

If Sarunil is evil enough to use these weapons, they might earn her some scorn of the dragon community, but they wont retaliate against her considering she has Dragon Bane Weapons.

Also, maybe she should look into the Orbs of DragonKind.
These artefacts are literally the ultimate bane of dragons. They imprison them, and manipulate their power against other dragons.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

RAW is telling you that most weapons simply won't work and the few that do are awful.

However a homebrew weapon like a dragon gauntlet that layers metal over their claws and can be enchanted sounds pretty wicked.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Its hard to make weapons that are better than what a dragon is already packing.

Potions of greater magic fang might be more effective.

Spiked armor is a feasible weapon with a dragons anatomy, but making all your other attacks secondary is pretty bad.

Imagine the dragon hired, ok, "hired", some gnomes to make him some nasty masterwork magic claw enhancing things that deal bleed damage or have insane critical ranges or multipliers, then the dragon spent some feats in TWF, GTWF and ITWF so the dragon gets 7 attacks with those claws and use Multiattack feat to use his other 5 natural attacks at just -2 for a total of 12 attacks per round.

Or the dragon can just see the wizard far away at the other side of the hall so he decides to grab an obscene oversized crossbow and pin, most exactly impale, the wizard to the opposed wall, drop the crossbow-ballista, cause he loses nothing by doing that, and use the rest of the attacks to, literally, wipe the floor with the rest of the party. (Well, i have to admit i was thinking it doing that to that one-eyed floating monster we cannot talk about anymore).

Or the dragon decided to spare the life of those strange travelers from the east by asking them to make some insane oversized shuriken-like things that have dozens of dozens of spikes making them look more like a nightmarish mandala in 3D, just because he got bored of repeating the same routine when killing foes in the last 5 centuries.

But the best thing is if a dragon got weapons that deal a kind of damage it does not already have. A claw dealing heat damage is an unexpected item in white dragon's hands. "Oh! Did you came ready to deal with cold but found a flaming weapon instead? I kinda feel sorry for you, insects!"


Guru-Meditation wrote:

Purely on the anatomical side:

How could a dragon wield a Sword? - they have no hands, just paws, and walk on all fours. Their limbs are not capable of wielding stuff, even if thei'd spend the feat on becoming proficient. You'd need a weapon specially designed for a dragon, like a dragon-sized Spiked Armor.

Also this:

Imbicatus wrote:
Besides, when they use a manufactured weapon, ALL of their natural weapons are treated as secondary. A -5 to hit and 1/2 str modifier is a big hit to take.

Well, it depends on the GM, i guess... Dragon paws are not that rough as animal paws. Fantasy shown them catching and taking things with them, even being able to open doors, lifting wounded smaller creatures or remove spears from their bodies without hurting themselves, even performing some tasks like writing or handling books. The fact they walk on all four it is more related to their reptilian nature than they being unable to use the paws as hands.


Dragons cast spells that require somatic components (and are not spell like abilities). They must have enough dexterity to provide the required hand movements to do so. Which means they can probably hold a weapon in their hands (IMO).

However, I think it's unlikely that they would not use their natural attacks.


Somewhat unrelated to the topic, but its times like this I wish there was a Wild enchantment for weapons. Like how Wild armor can gives its armor bonuses to a shapeshifted druid, imagine a Druid who uses...say a great sword shifting into a large scorpion. Said scorpion's stinger is not a lot bigger, metallic, and gains bonuses from the weapons. Or some sort of TWF dagger druid turning into a tiger with metallic claws. Mostly because an armored up dragon is a really cool visual to me.

Related, there is a 3pp race that is a small dragon (Taninim I think d20pfsrd has it listed as?) that can wield weapons, but they take a penalty to hit because of their hand/claw structures, and can only use 1 handed or light weapons as they need the other arm to help them walk.


I'd think a True Dragon is so proud of being such a natural killing machine that he would shun mortal.made weaponry.

I would personally rule that claws are not able to wield weapons. In fact, I'm pretty sure that claws do not counts as "hands".


Dekalinder wrote:
I'd think a True Dragon is so proud of being such a natural killing machine that he would shun mortal.made weaponry.

I agree and disagree. I agree they're that proud. But i can also think they're smart enough to consider multiple alternatives to achieve their goals. The same ways lesser races plan a battle and gather and use the required resourced to success they should do when dealing with other powerful races, like titans and giants. Also you have to consider a lot of their treasures include mortal-made weaponry, meaning they value it instead of looking down on it.

Dekalinder wrote:
I would personally rule that claws are not able to wield weapons. In fact, I'm pretty sure that claws do not counts as "hands".

They don't need to count as hands; they just need to be dexterous enough, and i find stupid for such mentally powerful creatures have just a rough basic animal body; which is not the case... their bodies excel at many things. So, for me it is not hard to consider despite they having claws, their claws are one of the most evolved claws in the reptilian world, just like humanoid hands are the best appendages in mammal worlds. Otherwise dragons are just incredibly powerful minds trapped in handicapped bodies only good for killing, not for having a life for some millenniums.

If only hands can manage weapons some other monsters cannot use weapons, like some lizard humanoids, some tentacled creatures, liches or skeletons (with incomplete hands), humanoid vermins, worms that walks, pharonic scourges to just mention some.


Guru-Meditation wrote:

Purely on the anatomical side:

How could a dragon wield a Sword? - they have no hands, just paws, and walk on all fours. Their limbs are not capable of wielding stuff, even if thei'd spend the feat on becoming proficient. You'd need a weapon specially designed for a dragon, like a dragon-sized Spiked Armor.

Also this:

Imbicatus wrote:
Besides, when they use a manufactured weapon, ALL of their natural weapons are treated as secondary. A -5 to hit and 1/2 str modifier is a big hit to take.

I viewed their claws as able to manipulate items so they should be able to swing a weapon. It is however not efficient to do so.

Scarab Sages

Considering Dragonkin are specifically called out as having enough dexterity in their front limbs to have adopted weapons, unlike many other dragons, it's certainly reasonable to rule dragons aren't capable of wielding weapons.


I don't have a problem with a dragon using a staff or a random magic item or
being delicate enough to decorate itself with jewellery weapons aren't that far-fetched, although the why would still be a big thing as they are a whirlwind of death with natural weapons.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It is certainly possible to wield a weapon in a hand that has a claw attack. There are numerous examples of such things. There is no reason to believe that dragons are not dexterous enough to wield weapons, especially considering their spell abilities.


The metal hand, greatly enlarged.
It looks like an iron golems hand, with a chainmail sleeve where the wrist would be. The sleeve fits over a stump or claw and translates nerve impulses into movement. Might take a week to get used to. Dragons have tribes of Kobolds and dragon cults to make stuff for them.


I can imagine a dragon holding a sword ... and, say, using it to pick its teeth, or to mockingly 'slit' its 'wrist' when the heroes try to give it a lecture on its evil.

As far as using it in battle? I'd lean towards 'legal but dumb, inefficient, and ultimately a waste of resources'.


Except if they have custom weapons designed for themselves.

A spiked thing covering its tail would help to not only deal a tail wipe but deal bleed damage after it.

A nasty bite weapon with some sort of additional damage would allow it to bite three additional times per round, due to high BAB, must buy the proficiency, but just one feat or a fighter level do the trick, so to use its claws as secondary weapons (with multiattack at just -2) is not a bad trade off, the tail keeps doing the 1.5 Str bonus, due to its own exception on the rule...

But i agree for it to be more a plot device than a game overpowering thing; but the question is to have rules to not to make it a disgusting GM fiat.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Yes, they can manipulate intricate magic items, such as wands, staves, and various wondrous items, as proven here, in a book that was released at about the same time as the old D&D red box


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Yes, they can manipulate intricate magic items, such as wands, staves, and various wondrous items, as proven here, in a book that was released at about the same time as the old D&D red box

Wow! I didn't know ratfolk was a race back then!

xD


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The old Draconomicon had all kinds of easily adapted Dragon-specific weapons. Most of them were amplifications of dragons natural weapons.

There were tail spikes, wing blades, claw gauntlets, muzzel- helms with oversized extra teeth, bladed horn-rings.

Most of them increased natural weapon damage by one size category, or gave a dragon access to a natural attack that they hadn't developed by age yet.

Just homebrew them.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Can dragons use weapons... and if true, how? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.