Its eyeless head swings from side to side in the narrow corridor as darkness creeps from its strange eel-like hide, spreading like ink in water and snuffing out even magical lights.
CR 3; Size Tiny; Hit Dice 4d12
Speed 40 ft., 20 ft. burrow; earth glide
Natural Armor +6; Breath Weapon cone, poison 1d6 Strength damage (+1/age category); 2d6 sonic.
Str 16 Dex 12 Con 18 Int 10 Wis 12 Cha 13
Cave dragons can pinpoint creatures within a distance of 180 ft. Opponents the cave dragon can’t actually see still have total concealment against the dragon.
A cave dragon breathes one of two different types: a cone of pure black poison and a cone of invisible sonic energy that stuns foes. Creatures within the poison cone suffer the damage shown and must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 HD + its Constitution modifier) or take 1d6 Strength damage (plus 1 Str/age category of the dragon). The sonic blast causes damage and stuns those it strikes for 1 round if the victim fails a Fortitude save. The dragon only breathes one of these types each time it uses its breath weapon.
An adult or older cave dragon can generate an aura of darkness in a 10-ft.diameter. This range increases by 10 ft./age category greater than adult. This is always centered on the dragon itself and prevents normal vision, darkvision, and even lifesense from working. Blindsense functions normally. Light spells cast into the area must overcome the dragon’s SR +4, or they fail.
A young or older cave dragon glides through stone, dirt, or any sort of earth except metal as easily as a fish swims through water. Its burrowing leaves behind no tunnel or hole, nor does it create any ripple or other signs of its presence. Move earth cast on an area containing a burrowing cave dragon flings the dragon back 30 ft., stunning the creature for 1 round unless it succeeds on a DC 15 Fortitude save.
Cave dragons are immune to sonic and acid attacks as well as to sleep effects.
As a free action, a cave dragon can block movement within 5 ft. of its body, keeping enemies at bay using its many feelers and spikes.
An old cave dragon gains a layer of flaky black scale that grants a +6 armor bonus and absorbs all force attacks.
Spells A young cave dragon casts spells as a divine caster of 1st level. This improves to 11th level by the time they reach the old category. They may choose two domains from Darkness, Destruction, Earth, Evil, and Knowledge.
Environment any underground
Organization solitary or pair
A cave dragon is always hungry and ready to eat absolutely everything. While they do speak Undercommon and a debased form of Draconic, they do so rarely—generally only when bargaining for food. They occasionally act as mercenaries in the eternal warfare between the races of the deep earth. A hungry cave dragon uses its long-range darkvision to spot prey long before they notice it, creating zones of darkness or deeper darkness. Ruff spikes seal the passage around it, denying foes any chance of outflanking it. Their wings have withered away to little more than another set of limbs, useful to rush down tunnels. They are barely able to fly, and the effort it requires makes them clumsy fliers at best. Earth glide lets them attack from unexpected directions.
Eyeless creatures, they have long feeler-like spikes that help them navigate through tunnels. Their vestigial wings serve as an additional set of legs, and their narrow snouts pokes into narrow passages that their tongues scour free of bats and vermin. They are entirely creatures of hunger although quite intelligent. A cave dragon can be bribed with food as easily as with gold. They claim entire cavern systems as their own.
Cave dragons are especially fond of bones and items with strong taste or smell. They devour undead, plant creatures, or anything organic. When feeding, they treat all nearby creatures as a threat. Limited food deep underground means fewer age categories. The eldest die of starvation. A few escape to the surface, but lack of flight and sunlight weakness means that they are at a terrible disadvantage.
Cave dragon coloration darkens with age, but always provides good camouflage against stone: white like limestone, yellow, muddy brown, then black at adult and older categories. Mature adult and old cave dragons sometimes fade to grey again. Stories that claim cave dragon scales are invisible to darkvision are unfounded, but they are said to be an important element in fuligin dyes.
Cave dragons have no permanent society. They gather each year or each decade (no one is sure) to mate and to protect their eggs at certain spawning grounds. There, the oldest cave dragons retreat to die in peace. Wild legends claim that enormous treasures are heaped up in these ledges, abysses, and other inaccessible locations. Large vertical chimneys seem popular as nesting sites. Cave dragons often befriend derro and occasionally work with drow against the darakhul.