The Ancient Red Dragon

Warlock Otherworldly Patron

Your patron is the vestige of an Ancient Red Dragon, progenitor of a proud line that has been dead for centuries. Clinging to the remnants of her former glory, the Ancient Red Dragon seeks followers to reassemble her lost horde and one day raise her from the depths of the Nine Hells where she now resides. She offers great power when her goals are ultimately achieved, including apotheosis: the transformation of the warlock into a nigh immortal dragon.

Variant: Other Draconic Pacts

While this particular vestige is all that remains of a specific ancient red dragon, the class can be used as is to represent pacts made with other beings associated with red dragons, including the Queen of Dragons herself.

Ancient Gold Dragon Pact

For good aligned characters, we suggest changing the pact to be with the vestige of an ancient gold dragon. Simply change the Draconic Apotheosis ability gained at 14th level to allow the character to adopt the shape of a Young Gold Dragon instead and change the Volcanic Tremors ability gained at 10th level to the following:

Weakening Cloud

Starting at 10th level, you may channel your pain to weaken your enemies. When you take damage, you may use your reaction to release a cloud of weakening gas to fill a 10-foot radius area around you. Each creature in that area must succeed on a Strength saving throw or have disadvantage on Strength-based attack rolls, Strength checks, and Strength saving throws until the end of your next turn. Once you use this ability you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Other Dragon Types

Other types of dragons may take more work to adjust, particularly in regards to the spell list and the replacement for Volcanic Tremors. Also, keep in mind that Young Red and Gold dragons (CR 10) are markedly better than other Young dragons (which may range from CR 9-6), so additional minor abilities may be given at 10th level to compensate.

Expanded Spell List

The Ancient Red Dragon lets you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

Spell LevelSpells
1stburning hands, command
2ndflame blade, locate object
3rdfear, fireball
4thfire shield, wall of fire
5thdominate person, scrying

Tremorsense

Starting at 1st level, you gain blindsight to a distance of 10 feet.

At 10th level, the range increases to 30 feet.

Red Dragon’s Toughness

Starting at 6th level, you are resistant to fire damage.

In addition, whenever you are hit by an attack that deals piercing, slashing, or bludgeoning damage, you can use your reaction to gain resistance against that type of damage until the beginning of your next turn.

Volcanic Tremors

Starting at 10th level, the earth itself begins to respond to your rage. When you hit a creature with an attack, you may cause the earth around your target to tremble. Each creature in a 10-foot radius centered on that point must make a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 2d10 bludgeoning damage and is knocked prone on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one. Once you use this ability you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Draconic Apotheosis

Starting at 14th level, you can use your action to magically adopt the shape of a red dragon. Once you have used this ability, you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.

You can remain in this form for a number of hours equal to your Warlock level divided by four (rounded down). You then revert to your normal form. You can revert to your normal form earlier by using a bonus action on your turn. You automatically revert if you fall unconscious, drop to 0 hit points, or die.

While you are transformed, the following rules apply:

  • Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of a Young Red Dragon, but you retain your alignment, personality, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature. If the creature has the same proficiency as you and the bonus in its stat block is higher than yours, use the creatures bonus instead of yours. If the creature has any legendary or lair actions, you can’t use them.
  • When you transform, you assume the dragon's hit points and Hit Dice. When you revert to your normal form, you return to the number of hit points you had before you transformed. However, if you revert as a result of dropping to 0 hit points, any excess damage carries over to your normal form. As long as the excess damage doesn’t reduce your normal form to 0 hit points, you aren’t knocked unconscious.
  • You can cast spells requiring verbal and somatic components, but are not able to provide material components. Transforming doesn’t break your concentration on a spell you’ve already cast or prevent you from taking actions that are part of a spell that you’ve already cast.
  • You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so. However, you can’t use any of your special senses unless your new form also has that sense.
  • You choose whether your equipment falls to the ground in your space, merges into your new form, or is worn by it. Worn equipment functions as normal, but the DM decides whether it is practical for the new form to wear a piece of equipment, based on the creature’s shape and size. Your equipment doesn’t change size or shape to match the new form, and any equipment that the new form can’t wear must either fall to the ground or merge with it. Equipment that merges with the form has no effect until you leave the form.