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Dragon Growth Stages

by JTrithen

I don't think this was mentioned of here yet, but there are also the size comparisons in AC10: Bestiary of Giants and Dragons. On the inside cover, the illustrations of dragons are giants (with a rough scale) is titled "Bestiary of Dragons and Giants Relative Size."

Some might think that the illustrations should not be interpreted strictly as the "end-all" authoritative view on the sizes of dragons, though.

I have broken down the following information into different sections for the different subjects being explored (and thoughts on them).

Dragon Lengths

The depictions show all the basic 6 dragon colors. I would think these would be the base sizes for adult -- or initially what are considered "small" -- dragons.

Note that in the section in this book titled "Hatchlings" in the book (under the section "The Art of DMing Dragons"), it says that hatchlings are half the size of young dragons. But, in that section it doesn't state anything about the sizes of "young" dragons. So, off-hand, I would probably assume most "young" dragons (that is, those being o less HD than the small adult size) to be 3/4 to 1/2 the length of the adults. And, then based on the 1/2 size of "young" dragons, hatchlings would be 1/2 again as big, or, that is, 1/4 the size of the adult.

So, I have come up with these numbers from those illustrations.

Gold: 60' ("young" = 30'-45'; newborn = 15')
Red: 55' (young = 28'-41'; newborn = 14'')
Blue: 40' ('sometimes as long as 50;' young = 20' to 30'; for the longer 50' adult length, young = 25'-38'; newborn = 10' [or 13'])
Green: 40' ('sometimes as long as 45'; young = 20' to 30'; for the longer 45' adult length, young = 23'-34'; newborn = 10' [or 11'])
Black: 40' (young = 20'-30'; newborn = 10')
White: 40' (sometimes as small as 35'; young = 20' to 30'; for the longer 45' adult length, young = 23'-34'; newborn = 10' [or 11'])

Note that I have made some notes in parentheses about the lengths. This is because the pictures of the dragons on the product are actually "curved," so they are not really meant to be extremely accurate. Counting how large they are against the grid background of the illustrations is difficult.
So, some of the lengths are up to interpretation (the blue and green, above, I think). And, so I took some liberties and simplified the lengths so that each dragon color really could be size differences of just 5', from the white's to the gold -- 40' to 60'.

Dragon Egg Size

Interestingly, in the same book there is a section describing black dragon eggs.
It describes the exact size of their eggs -- 3' long by 2' wide (and weight about 150 pounds).
Based on this... 1) I don't think it's unbelievable that a 10'-long newborn black dragon could be born from that size of an egg; 2) however, it is a little surprising that it would only weigh 150 pounds. But, with "fantasy physics" (:)), and considering that dragons are magical creatures, it doesn't really bother me.

Doing some research, newborn crocodiles and komodo dragons are about twice the length of the eggs they hatch out of; so, having a lizard-like yet magical newborn dragon being 3x the length of the egg is not preposterous.
(Note that research into ostrich eggs did not bear this thesis out, though; it went the other direction. Comparison of dragons to large real-life birds are like apples and oranges, apparently The next route to investigate would be dinosaur eggs and newborn dinosaur sizes, if one wished.)

RC Note on Largest Dragons
Under the entry for the Dragon Rules in the Rules Cyclopedia, it states "Each of these dragons is bigger than the biggest gold or amber dragon; in natural form, each is over 100' alone." So, this suggests that the 12 chromatic and gem dragon types don't get more than 100'.

I don't know if most would use this as a hard and fast rule -- but it is just intriguing, at the least, to use as a guideline.

Large and Huge Dragon Sizes

In continuing to establish dragon sizes using canon sources as inspiration, the next step, IMO, would be to extrapolate how much larger dragons get by comparing their small, large, and huge size Hit Dices, and then further calculate their lengths based on those comparative percentages; this would, of course, be done, using he above baseline lengths that I calculated as a guide.

So, assuming the large dragon size -- gold (amber/brown) -- gets 100' at its maximum, we will say that is the length of the huge size -- 100'. The base ("small") size of the 11 Hit Dice gold dragon = 60. So, we can probably use 1.7 as a multiplier for the dragon sizes, based on HD (since 11 x 1.7 = 102).

Here are some more fun calculations, then....

Gold: Large = 80'; Huge = 100'
Red: Lg. = 75'; Hg. = 95'
Blue: Lg. = 55'(-67'); Hg. = 70'(-85')
Green: Lg. = 55'(-60'); Hg. = 70'(-77')
Black: Lg. = 55'; Hg. = 70'
White: Lg. = (48'-)55'; Hg. = (60'-)70'

I am pretty happy with these numbers, in keeping with most canon information that has been published.
Of course, any DM worth their salt can create any mind-numbing size of gargantuan-sized dragon-like beast, if they want to...!
There may be some other canon references to dragon sizes, too, that I'm not aware of. I don't know if the Dragonlord Chronicles reference any specific sizes, really, at all, in all three books (surprisingly). And, I wonder if there might be any references in some AD&D materials, such as from the Savage Coast. As for as Savage Coast/Red Steel, there is probably a listing for Pyre (though I haven't checked); but that super-villain could easily be an "off-the-chart" anomaly...!
But, bringing in AD&D statistics would probably find some more references that might change and skew a lot of these numbers that have been discussed.