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Volcanic dragons were created by Vezzuvu, the Living Mountain. The petitioners who approached this primordial were angry. You see, dragons were made in Io’s image, but Io’s demise proved he was weak. Therefore, these dragons thought, they were weak, and this realization felt like an insult to them.

Vezzuvu promised that if the dragons bathed in the boiling magma of his domain, their weak flesh would be burned away and replaced with a truly strong body. His petitioners obeyed and dove in. The survivors became volcanic dragons.

All was well with the volcanics for a time, but then their old pride and sense of entitlement began to gnaw at them again. Where their new bodies truly stronger? Had they been given all the power they were promised, all the power they surely deserved? When they concluded they hadn’t, they turned on their former master and went their own way. Their history from this point on is filled with instances of volcanic dragons allying with servants of either the gods or the primordials for a time, only to betray them a short time later. In our narrative present, everyone knows an alliance with these beasts is likely to end in sudden but inevitable betrayal.

A typical volcanic dragon’s temperament is like that of a red, but worse. They make a show of craving treasure and rulership over a territory, but what they truly crave is destruction. In other words, volcanic dragons love burning stuff, especially flesh. It makes them feel good. They like the company of other fire-elemental beings with similar dispositions, but any alliance they make is temporary at best. They live inside volcanoes and on other similar burning landscapes.

The Numbers

Since Volcanic Dragons follow the same general format of the other catastrophics you could argue they are right about getting a bad deal from Vezzuvus. They’re Elemental Magical Beasts with the Dragon and Fire keywords, Darkvision, and a Clumsy Flight speed equal to their ground speed.

Volcanic Dragon Wyrmling

Wyrmlings are Medium Level 5 Brutes with 77 HP and Speed 6. They’re surrounded by an aura (1) of Noxious Fumes that deals 3 poison damage to enemies who end their turns inside.

The dragon’s basic bite and claw are weaker than those of most brutes, but the bite inflicts ongoing fire damage and the claws strip the target of all fire resistance until the start of the dragon’s next turn. As usual wyrmling fury allows it to use both attacks in the same action while bloodied. Use the claw first!

When hit by a fire attack, the wyrmling uses a Sudden Flare as a reaction, causing each enemy inside the dragon’s aura to take 5 fire damage.

Young Volcanic Dragon

Young’uns are Large Level 10 Elite Brutes with 264 HP and speed 8. They have all the same attacks as the wyrmling, but their Wyrmling Fury upgrades to a full Double Attack. Their numbers are also bigger, of course, and they gain two new attacks.

Growing Heat is their “disaster” ability. When activated with a minor action, it makes their Noxious Fumes aura grow to size 3, then to size 5 on the next turn, and then explode in the turn after that. This explosion targets Reflex and deals both immediate and ongoing fire damage. After it resolves the dragon’s aura shrinks to its original size and the power recharges.

The dragon can also create a Lava Vent, an Area Burst 1 zone that lasts until the end of the encounter and deals 5 fire damage to anyone who enters or starts their turn there. This recharges once the dragon is first bloodied, so each dragon in the fight can create 2 vents total.

Other Age Categories

Adults are Level 15 Elite Brutes with 363 HP, and have all the same abilities of a young dragon with bigger numbers.

Elders are Huge Level 20 Elite Brutes with 468 HP, and likewise have all the same abilities.

Ancients are Huge Level 25 Elite Brutes with 574 HP. They have all the same abilities as elders and are also able to create a Fiery Fissure in addition to the lava vents. This works like a temporary wall of fire (and it’s a wall 6 pattern) that deals 20 fire damage to anyone who tries to touch or cross it. It only lasts for a turn but it’s a minor action and a recharge 5+ attack instead of an encounter power.

Final Impressions

Volcanic dragons might be weaker than traditional ones, but they’re much better at subverting expectations. Typical PCs might see that it’s a fire monster and load up on fire resistance effects, only to realize the dragon’s aura deals poison damage and it can remove fire resistance with its claws. Also, the bulk of the damage from its basic attacks is untyped, further limiting the usefulness of fire resistance.

Lore-wise, paranoia and entitlement seem to be their strongest personality traits. They’re hard to deal with because they always feel they’re not getting their due. Even when a deal is fair and happens as promised, they’ll probably feel the other party got one over on them.