Are There Half-Dragons in PF2?


Rules Discussion


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey all, just wanted to ask what's in the title. I'm thinking of running Red Hand of Doom in PF2 after the end of my current campaign, but I don't see any rules for half-dragons in the bestiary and I can't find any sort of info for them online, so I was just wondering if there's any sort of plans for them coming up in the future.


There was a template in PF1, but I think that was mostly "maintain backwards compatibility with 3.5. I don't recall ever seeing one as an NPC in a Paizo book.

Paizo sort of conspicuously pivoted away from "let's emphasize dragons" in order to differentiate themselves from the other guys.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

We do have half-dragons in a fashion in Cult of Cinders (Age of Ashes 2).

We’ll have to wait till Monster building rules before we know how to do it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yep, de-dragonisation was one of elements of making Pathfinder look and feel different from D&D. I guess it's only gone further now that Paizo clearly seems to distance itself from WotC IP as much as it's possible.


One of the main relevant things that seem like it would have changed would be the armor/natural armor stuff. I am pretty sure we don't have that system anymore.

For the purposes of making a character, I would jut raise them up a proficiency level in all of their trained armor categories. This would represent that they have an easier time defending themselves because their bodies are naturally resilient.

After that, it is just a bit of stats, along with a few body part options- dark vision, wings, claws/bite, and the breath. You can steal the breath from barbarians.


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I'm personally of the opinion that "humanoid dragons or draconic humanoids are silly", and I'm perfectly content not seeing them.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

There was a template in PF1, but I think that was mostly "maintain backwards compatibility with 3.5. I don't recall ever seeing one as an NPC in a Paizo book.

Paizo sort of conspicuously pivoted away from "let's emphasize dragons" in order to differentiate themselves from the other guys.

Yup, and they replaced them with loads of devils and Lovecraftian horrors, instead. In my mind this is all to the good; I've never been the biggest dragon fan, and PF1/3.5's method of "Just give them bigger numbers and more attacks ... also spells" never won me over, either.

And like someone above said, I'd recommend looking to the barb and sorcerer for inspiration. Elemental resistance, a breath weapon, claws, wings and maybe a tail are pretty much all you need to say "dragon" with a character.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks for all the posts/help guys.
I guess I should have figured they were trying to move away from WotC/D&D-centric stuff.
It's true that I can just nice a few things from some other classes just to give that dragon feel, so thanks for giving me the idea!


If Paizo does half-dragons for 2e, I sincerely hope they move away from the dragonborn/humanoid dragon appearance of WotC properties.

Considering that dragons take a humanoid form when they reproduce with humanoids, it would actually make more sense if the half-dragon looks exactly like the child of two humanoids, except with some limited ability to use dragon powers or shapeshift into dragons (eg. using breath weapons, growing dragon claws/wings, casting a dragon's innate spells, etc).

Sort of like what the draconic sorcerer does already, but as a heritage instead so you can gain lesser versions of these powers through ancestry feats and not need to multiclass.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Frogliacci wrote:
If Paizo does half-dragons for 2e, I sincerely hope they move away from the dragonborn/humanoid dragon appearance of WotC properties.

There is already one, as mentioned above, and it has the hybrid appearance.

Age of Ashes AP Spoiler:
There is a half Dragon Half Boggard as the boss in Cult of Cinders (the second book). "Belmazog"


Aww, that's a bit disappointing.

One of the biggest issues with that kind of art style for half-dragons is that unlike half fiends or half celestials, you can never really tell what their other half is. They just all look like dragons on two legs.

I just think that a half human/half dragon should be distinguisable from a half lizardfolk/half dragon, for example.


Starfinder has dragonkin as a playable option, which are large sized draconic humanoids, so it's quite possible we will see those as a playable option.

As for a half dragon template that is applicable to any creature, I don't know if we will see that.


I don't know that Paizo avoids half-dragons so much as previous editions embraced them. One of Paizo's comments about submissions to their magazines (way back when) mentioned how perhaps overdone half-dragons were (as well as half-fiends). They had been everywhere since their powers & resistances made for decent bosses.

Given how much Paizo has expanded the roster of dragon options, it's not like they've been averse. It's just Golarion has so many other active monstrous agents at play, even dominating whole regions, while dragons do their "loners in isolated locations" shtick.

That said, you could build "secret" half-dragons by simply using Barbarian, Sorcerer, or MCDs of either to get those same abilities on a PC (though w/ transformations always active). For a monster, you could add PC class levels (same classes), using their total level for qualifying and ability power. Just beware having monsters wear armor, as a similar modifier is already included invisibly.


Frogliacci wrote:

If Paizo does half-dragons for 2e, I sincerely hope they move away from the dragonborn/humanoid dragon appearance of WotC properties.

Considering that dragons take a humanoid form when they reproduce with humanoids, it would actually make more sense if the half-dragon looks exactly like the child of two humanoids, except with some limited ability to use dragon powers or shapeshift into dragons (eg. using breath weapons, growing dragon claws/wings, casting a dragon's innate spells, etc).

Sort of like what the draconic sorcerer does already, but as a heritage instead so you can gain lesser versions of these powers through ancestry feats and not need to multiclass.

I am not so sure about that.

Not all half dragons are born the "old fashioned" way. Some are created through magical means- perhaps an evil dragon is trying to create a bloodline of minions to hand its fief/kingdom/secret cult/etc. As such, you might see the power of drgaons haphazardly shoved into a human form. I can easily see that getting covered in claws and scales.

Similarly, I think even 'old fashioned' half dragons might lack the amount of bloodline power to do something as artful as shapeshifing. Maybe they are born with a human appearance, but they might lack the power to undo the transformation once their power manifests. More magically inclined individuals (read: draconic bloodline sorcerer) are more likely to develop that control, but martial half dragons might be stuck that way.

Of course, the real case is 'it varies from case to case', which really translates to the number one rule of "all fo the options, and whatever seems cool at the time".


lemeres wrote:
Frogliacci wrote:

If Paizo does half-dragons for 2e, I sincerely hope they move away from the dragonborn/humanoid dragon appearance of WotC properties.

Considering that dragons take a humanoid form when they reproduce with humanoids, it would actually make more sense if the half-dragon looks exactly like the child of two humanoids, except with some limited ability to use dragon powers or shapeshift into dragons (eg. using breath weapons, growing dragon claws/wings, casting a dragon's innate spells, etc).

Sort of like what the draconic sorcerer does already, but as a heritage instead so you can gain lesser versions of these powers through ancestry feats and not need to multiclass.

I am not so sure about that.

Not all half dragons are born the "old fashioned" way. Some are created through magical means- perhaps an evil dragon is trying to create a bloodline of minions to hand its fief/kingdom/secret cult/etc. As such, you might see the power of drgaons haphazardly shoved into a human form. I can easily see that getting covered in claws and scales.

Similarly, I think even 'old fashioned' half dragons might lack the amount of bloodline power to do something as artful as shapeshifing. Maybe they are born with a human appearance, but they might lack the power to undo the transformation once their power manifests. More magically inclined individuals (read: draconic bloodline sorcerer) are more likely to develop that control, but martial half dragons might be stuck that way.

Of course, the real case is 'it varies from case to case', which really translates to the number one rule of "all fo the options, and whatever seems cool at the time".

As stated before, I really just want to be able to tell what a half-dragon's OTHER half is by appearance alone. I don't mind if the art direction is ultimately something more draconic by default than a shapeshifting humanoid, but I'd still like the humanoid traits to be fairly obvious. A human (or any other playable ancestry) with claws, wings, fangs, horns, and scales on parts of their body would be perfectly fine as well, but all half-dragons having dragon heads feel too samey from a design perspective. Again, half-celestial/fiend characters still have fairly obvious traits of their other half. I just want the same for half-dragons.

Obviously if they're designed by dragons and created through magic rather than conception, anything goes. I'm totally for the OPTION to play a dragon-headed humanoid like a 5e dragonborn.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Frogliacci wrote:

Aww, that's a bit disappointing.

One of the biggest issues with that kind of art style for half-dragons is that unlike half fiends or half celestials, you can never really tell what their other half is. They just all look like dragons on two legs.

I just think that a half human/half dragon should be distinguisable from a half lizardfolk/half dragon, for example.

personally i dislike the anime esque half-dragons, though that's mostly because i really dislike heads that have the features of multiple ancestries. and well, the face is where most of the ancestries unique features are.

the main issue is of course that most humanoids are humans with make-up and prosthetics and so it's hard to blend prosthetics like that and have it turn out "clean" looking. you either run uncanny valley territory or you end up with something that's obviously misshapen(where the two halves don't quite layer properly and end up with a more mutant appearance).


Bandw2 wrote:

personally i dislike the anime esque half-dragons, though that's mostly because i really dislike heads that have the features of multiple ancestries. and well, the face is where most of the ancestries unique features are.

the main issue is of course that most humanoids are humans with make-up and prosthetics and so it's hard to blend prosthetics like that and have it turn out "clean" looking. you either run uncanny valley territory or you end up with something that's obviously misshapen(where the two halves don't quite layer properly and end up with a more mutant appearance).

I don't watch a lot of anime, so I'm not sure what you mean by anime half-dragons. In fact, dragons and dragon-related characters in anime from my experience are pretty D&D-esque in that they tend to alternate between fully humanoid and fully draconic forms. Haku from Spirited Away and Therru from Tales from Earthsea comes to mind (though I'm aware the latter is based on a Western work). The half-dragons in the Dark Souls series, a Japanese game, also look almost indistinguishable from humans barring their size, white hair, and a penchant for growing...fluffiness, oddly enough.

I would actually love slightly misshapen, uncanny valley looking half-dragons with head features that blend multiple ancestries. I fully welcome weird half-dragon traits tables you can roll from, just like the random tiefling traits table from 1e, complete with disturbing habits.


Frogliacci wrote:
I don't watch a lot of anime, so I'm not sure what you mean by anime half-dragons.

"Ears and tail." Or I guess for dragons, its "horns and tail."

Check out the main dragon character in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid for instance (Miss Kobayashi is the one in the background, drinking some tea).

Its the same difference between "neko" (catgirl) and an anthropomorphized cat. The latter actually looks like a cat.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Draco18s wrote:
Frogliacci wrote:
I don't watch a lot of anime, so I'm not sure what you mean by anime half-dragons.

"Ears and tail." Or I guess for dragons, its "horns and tail."

Check out the main dragon character in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid for instance (Miss Kobayashi is the one in the background, drinking some tea).

Its the same difference between "neko" (catgirl) and an anthropomorphized cat. The latter actually looks like a cat.

and some times they'll just cover their arms and legs in dragon details, so that their scales end at their elbows and/or knees.

something like this

it just looks like a human with prosthetics added or like a crown, etc.


Bandw2 wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Frogliacci wrote:
I don't watch a lot of anime, so I'm not sure what you mean by anime half-dragons.

"Ears and tail." Or I guess for dragons, its "horns and tail."

Check out the main dragon character in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid for instance (Miss Kobayashi is the one in the background, drinking some tea).

Its the same difference between "neko" (catgirl) and an anthropomorphized cat. The latter actually looks like a cat.

and some times they'll just cover their arms and legs in dragon details, so that their scales end at their elbows and/or knees.

something like this

it just looks like a human with prosthetics added or like a crown, etc.

I actually quite like that last one, although I can see why some would consider it to look patchwork or "prosthetic-y", like a Star Trek alien. I personally would prefer finer scales where normal human skin is, for a more consistent look.

I don't know if anime is the right way to describe what I'm looking for. Half-celestial and half-fiend characters is the reference point I'm drawing. Finer details like skin or eye color, hairline/ear/eyebrow shape, etc, could be lost in the "dragon" features, but major contours like general facial structure wouldn't be obscured by the dragon-ness. So a humanoid half-dragon would have a humanoid facial structure, a reptilian half-dragon would look closer to the typical depiction, a mammalian beast-folk half-dragon would replace their fur with scales but otherwise look like a cat/wolf/bear/etc, and an avian half-dragon (eg. tengu) would keep their beak.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Frogliacci wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
Frogliacci wrote:
I don't watch a lot of anime, so I'm not sure what you mean by anime half-dragons.

"Ears and tail." Or I guess for dragons, its "horns and tail."

Check out the main dragon character in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid for instance (Miss Kobayashi is the one in the background, drinking some tea).

Its the same difference between "neko" (catgirl) and an anthropomorphized cat. The latter actually looks like a cat.

and some times they'll just cover their arms and legs in dragon details, so that their scales end at their elbows and/or knees.

something like this

it just looks like a human with prosthetics added or like a crown, etc.

I actually quite like that last one, although I can see why some would consider it to look patchwork or "prosthetic-y", like a Star Trek alien. I personally would prefer finer scales where normal human skin is, for a more consistent look.

I don't know if anime is the right way to describe what I'm looking for. Half-celestial and half-fiend characters is the reference point I'm drawing. Finer details like skin or eye color, hairline/ear/eyebrow shape, etc, could be lost in the "dragon" features, but major contours like general facial structure wouldn't be obscured by the dragon-ness. So a humanoid half-dragon would have a humanoid facial structure, a reptilian half-dragon would look closer to the typical depiction, a mammalian beast-folk half-dragon would replace their fur with scales but otherwise look like a cat/wolf/bear/etc, and an avian half-dragon (eg. tengu) would keep their beak.

scales or other non-humanoid features, on a humanoid face always give me strong uncanny valley vibes, it why almost all animal folk have a completely normal anatomical head for the animal with basically no human features, they just creep most people out.

just throwing it out there, that this is why half dragons end up like this, because it either looks repulsive or creepy to a lot of people, but giving them the animal folk treatment (anatomical head, with opposable claws, tail and the like of the creature) instead of making them an actual mix.

edit: i do feel like pointing out in case it's lost in the text, i'm fine with you having this opinion, I just felt that maybe clarity from another point of view might at least make it clearer why this keeps happening in various fantasy culture.


Bandw2 wrote:

and some times they'll just cover their arms and legs in dragon details, so that their scales end at their elbows and/or knees.

something like this

it just looks like a human with prosthetics added or like a crown, etc.

That's a little higher on the scale of anthropomorphism. One step away from "cat ears and a tail" but still not "animal, but biped."

Its actually that level of mixing that I don't find attractive, personally (well, ok, I like the "cat ears" level even less, but then again I don't find particular beauty in the human form, soooo...but at least humans I can classify as humans and neko I can box with them for the most part). There's obviously a group that likes and wants that, but its not me. If I'm going to play a non-human I want to be as far away from the humanoid bodyform as I can get.


I like the option of half creatures.


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I prefer "anthro" characters to deviate as much as possible from humans. This is why I prefer Pathfinder 1 & Starfinder Dragonkin to the D&D dragonborn - they look more like a dragon that is standing on its hind legs than a human with a dragon head.


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The preference of how much is half when making a half & half race is always going to be subjective, writer, artist, player, etc.

Personally, I like to see as many different interpretations as possible.


I like what a lot of people see as "uncanny valley" because it challenges conventional concepts of beauty. And I do agree that it's not as creative or fun when animal people literally just looks like people in a costume. I can see it done for movies where they literally are people in a costume, or anime where characters are often designed with cosplay in mind. But an RPG? It can be as wild as you like.

In the end I'd probably be satisfied with a large variety. I like my half-humanoids a bit creepy looking but I can understand why others don't.


Frogliacci wrote:

I like what a lot of people see as "uncanny valley" because it challenges conventional concepts of beauty. And I do agree that it's not as creative or fun when animal people literally just looks like people in a costume. I can see it done for movies where they literally are people in a costume, or anime where characters are often designed with cosplay in mind. But an RPG? It can be as wild as you like.

In the end I'd probably be satisfied with a large variety. I like my half-humanoids a bit creepy looking but I can understand why others don't.

Uncanny valley is usually when its slightly too humanoid but just off the mark and creates that weird feeling of wrongness - real world fur suits are an example of this (as are mannequins)

While something like formians or Haan are not human enough to be uncanny valley (they are creepy, but a different kind of creepy that has nothing to do with the uncanny valley)

I prefer the latter to the former.

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