Gray dragon

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The gray dragon, D, is a monster that appears in NetHack. It has a younger form in the baby gray dragon, D. The gray dragon has magic resistance both intrinsically and from its scales, and its breath weapon fires magic missiles; these missiles are not affected by the half spell damage property. Its corpse does not give any intrinsics.


Main article: Dragon#Generation

Players will not see baby gray dragons through normal random monster creation outside of aligned branches and levels such as the Oracle and Sokoban, and they can also be hatched from dragon eggs. Adult gray dragons start appearing around the midway depths of the dungeon; gray dragons can be generated in throne rooms as early as dungeon level 15, and may appear when a throne at this depth or lower is looted.[1] Gray dragons can be created if a lawful spellcaster casts the summon nasties monster spell.

Gray dragons have a 13 chance of dropping a set of +0 uncursed gray dragon scales along with their corpse (120 if the dragon was revived).


See also: Dragon#Strategy

Among a monster class of powerful fighters, the gray dragon is the only one with intrinsic magic resistance, which compensates for its low MR stat in a few areas. However, this does not stop elemental damage, nor does it fully protect them from a wand of sleep ray - this thankfully leaves the player with quite a few options when dealing with them. Its scales also provide magic resistance, making them desirable targets of reverse genocide for characters seeking gray dragon scale mail to complement their reflection (e.g., from a shield or amulet).

Taming does not factor in player-style magic resistance, and as such the spell of charm monster is a good way to obtain one as a pet. Gray dragons compete with silver dragons as a choice of pet or steed: both possess flight, breath weapons, and immunity to death rays. The gray dragon's magic resistance additionally stops them being transformed by polymorph traps (especially when riding), and it is somewhat common for the gray dragon or its baby form to be the end result of leading pets onto the trap repeatedly. However, its low speed and lack of elemental resistances can still be a major drawback, and the silver dragon's reflection provides additional immunity to elemental rays. In addition, a gray dragon can still polymorph if it eats a chameleon or doppelganger corpse.

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

Pets will no longer eat corpses that make them polymorph, unless they are starving or on the verge of becoming untame.


NetHack 2.3e introduces the gray dragon along with all of the other modern dragon types and their breath weapons, except for silver.

NetHack 3.0.0 introduces baby gray dragons alongside the other baby dragons. This version also distinguishes all color dragons, their younger stages and their corpses, and introduces dragon scale mail (including GDSM).

NetHack 3.1.0 introduces gray dragon scales along with the other colors, as well as the current method of obtaining dragon scale mail.


Main article: Dragon#Variants

Variants of NetHack often subject dragons to extensive changes, including the gray dragon.

Biodiversity patch

In the biodiversity patch, the gray dragon is the only monster in the class that is not renamed.


Main article: Dragon (SLASH'EM)

As with all other dragons in SLASH'EM, baby gray dragons have a base level of 4 instead of 12, and can be encountered via random generation in ordinary levels with a [[frequency of 2 - they are also eligible for creation on many levels that generate random D on level creation. Adult gray dragons have a base level of 18 instead of 15.

Baby gray dragons hit as a +1 weapon, and adults hit as a +3 weapon. Adult gray dragons will not turn traitor while tame.


In UnNetHack, all dragons have their breaths, resistances, and colors randomized, allowing any non-chromatic dragon to appear as gray.

Encyclopedia entry

In the West the dragon was the natural enemy of man. Although preferring to live in bleak and desolate regions, whenever it was seen among men it left in its wake a trail of destruction and disease. Yet any attempt to slay this beast was a perilous undertaking. For the dragon's assailant had to contend not only with clouds of sulphurous fumes pouring from its fire breathing nostrils, but also with the thrashings of its tail, the most deadly part of its serpent-like body.

[ Mythical Beasts by Deirdre Headon (The Leprechaun Library) ]

"One whom the dragons will speak with," he said, "that is a dragonlord, or at least that is the center of the matter. It's not a trick of mastering the dragons, as most people think. Dragons have no masters. The question is always the same, with a dragon: will he talk to you or will he eat you? If you can count upon his doing the former, and not doing the latter, why then you're a dragonlord."

[ The Tombs of Atuan, by Ursula K. Le Guin ]