Silver dragon

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A silver dragon, D, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. It is an adult dragon associated with the element of cold and reflection. Like all dragons, silver dragons are strong, carnivorous, oviparous, thick-skinned, can see invisible, and are capable of flight - they will also seek out gold, gems and magical items to pick up.

Silver dragons have a cold breath weapon, a strong bite attack, and two claw attacks. Silver dragons possess cold resistance, as well as reflection from their scales.


Randomly generated silver dragons are always created hostile. A baby silver dragon can grow up into an silver dragon.

Hostile silver dragons can be generated by the summon nasties monster spell. Characters and monsters that polymorph while wearing silver dragon scales or silver dragon scale mail will turn into silver dragons.

Silver dragons may appear among the hostile D generated in throne rooms at dungeon levels 15 and below, and can also appear among the monsters randomly generated by looting a throne while confused and carrying gold (provided there is no chest on the level).[1]

Silver dragons have a 13 chance of dropping a set of uncursed +0 silver dragon scales upon death unless disintegrated, and the chance is reduced to 120 if the dragon was revived.


The silver dragon's reflective scales protect it from ray-based spells and wands, which significantly limits a character's offensive options against them; fortunately, they only have cold resistance, and their low MR score can still be used against them - poison is still an effective means of dealing with a silver dragon, and scrolls such as fire and stinking cloud . Wielded or thrown potions (e.g. sleeping, paralysis, or oil) can soften them up for the character's primary melee and/or projectile weapons, but care should be taken not to have them destroyed by cold breath.

Silver dragons are commonly sought out by characters looking to procure silver dragon scale mail and complement an existing or future source of magic resistance: they are a somewhat common target for reverse genocide in particular by characters observing wishless conduct, or else by characters that have either not yet obtained a wish or are looking to save on one.

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.

Silver dragons are the only dragons whose scales do not gain an additional extrinsic property.

Dragons and other large enough monsters can also inflict knockback with their melee attacks, making them exceedingly dangerous to fight near pools or lava and capable of forcing characters back into breath weapon range - the silver dragon's breath weapon can freeze water or lava behind the character if the ray misses, which can partially lower the hazard potential, though this also introduces the possibility of being knocked onto newly-formed ice and then drowned by rays of fire.

As a pet

As pets and steeds, silver dragons sometimes compete with gray dragons: both possess flight, useful breath weapons and immunity to death rays. The silver dragon has the added perk of being completely immune to rays (particularly including a black dragon's disintegration breath) and reflecting them back at attackers. A silver dragon's breath can also bridge moats for later crossing, though the ice will not always persist. Unfortunately, on top of a dragon's usual low speed and lack of other resistances, silver dragons can also fall victim to poison or polymorph traps, which gray dragons are protected against by their intrinsic magic resistance; a character riding a silver dragon prevents them being polymorphed by the trap if they have their own source of magic resistance. There are also many faster and/or stronger steed than dragons in general, though most of those candidates lack a means of reflection.

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.

Monsters can gain intrinsics from eating corpses, meaning that a silver dragon can be fed in order to gain resistance against common pet-killers such as poison. In particular, silver dragons can gain fire resistance, making it more likely that one brought to the Elemental Planes can survive through the Plane of Fire.


The silver dragon first appears in SLASH 6, the last release of SLASH based on NetHack 3.1.3, and makes its vanilla debut in NetHack 3.3.0.


Many variants alter the silver dragon and other dragons to make them more varied and/or threatening.


Main article: Dragon (SLASH'EM)

As with most other dragons in SLASH'EM, the silver dragon's base level is raised to 18, their difficulty is raised to 25, and their MR score is raised to 95 - however, their AC and damage dice are unchanged.

Silver dragons can appear in dragon lairs and the Wyrm Caves.

NetHack brass

In NetHack brass, the silver dragon's speed is raised to 12.


In GruntHack, the silver dragon's difficulty is slightly lowered to 19, their bite and claw attacks are stronger, and they are given an additional 2d10 engulfing attack that can digest targets.


In UnNetHack and DynaHack, all dragons have their breath weapons, resistances, and names randomized each game, allowing any non-chromatic dragon to appear as silver - the default reflection dragon is the amphitere.


In dNetHack, notdNetHack, and notnotdNetHack, silver dragons have their difficulty slightly raised to 21, and their effective AC is boosted to -4. The silver dragon's attacks are made stronger, with an additional 4d10 tailslap attack that they will use once every global turn, and their breath attacks also ignore reflection, unless the source is from dragon armor (such as their scales) or an artifact that grants dragonbreath reflection.


In EvilHack, silver dragons are buffed similarly to GruntHack: their attacks are made stronger as in GruntHack and reordered, including the addition of the digestion attack. Silver dragons do not gain intrinsics from their scales, but the scales now confer cold resistance like silver dragons possess intrinsically.

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 ]