RPG Adventures and design guides for tabletop gamers

Monday Monster: Swamp Drake

Posted In Articles, Front Page, Monsters | 11 comments

swampSteggar stayed behind while his fellow hunters returned to the village. Despite their warnings about the dangers in the swamp, Steggar knew he must return successfully from the hunt or face dishonor from the elders. As he thought about how he’d rather die than return empty-handed, he suddenly found himself knocked off his feet, face first into the shallow water, and then he felt a heavy weight drop on his back. He thrashed about to get himself out of the dank water, but the weight on his back adjusted and forced him to stay submerged. Moments later Steggar stopped resisting, and a minute after a creature resembling a flying crocodile tore into the dead body’s flesh.

Swamp Drake CR 7

XP 3,200
NE Medium dragon
Init +5; Senses blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 90 ft., low-light vision; Perception +13 …

AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 18; (+1 Dex, +8 natural)
hp 85 (9d12+27)
Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +7
Immune paralysis, sleep; SR 18

Speed 50 ft., fly 120 ft. (average), swim 50 ft.
Melee bite +14 (2d8+5 plus needle teeth), 2 claws +14 (1d6+5)
Ranged spit +10 (1d6 acid plus poison)
Special Attacks needle teeth

Str 21, Dex 12, Con 17, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 10
Base Atk +9; CMB +14; CMD 25 (29 vs. trip)
Feats Greater Overrun, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Improved Overrun, Power Attack
Skills Climb +17, Fly + 13, Perception +13, Stealth +17, Survival +13, Swim +17; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth (+8 in swamps)
Languages Draconic
SQ water breathing

Environment temperate and warm swamps
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure standard

Needle Teeth (Ex) A swamp drake’s teeth inflict 1d4 bleed to a target it damages with its bite. However, the drake’s teeth cannot penetrate natural armor well, and creatures gain DR 2/— per point of natural armor against the bite attack.

Poison (Ex) Swamp drake venom—injury; save Fort DC 17 (Constitution-based); frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Dex damage and 1d2 Str damage; cure 2 saves.

Typical Characteristics

A swamp drake resembles a crocodile with reptilian wings but is smaller than the more common reptile at only 8 ft. long, including a 1-ft.-long tail, and nearly 700 lb. Despite its appearance and 4-ft. wingspan, a swamp drake flies with some agility and manages to sneak around its native swamps with ease. Rows of needle-like teeth also differentiate the drake from a crocodile.


A swamp drake enjoys ambushing its prey and employing its favorite tactic of bowling a creature over into the swamp’s shallow water. After knocking an opponent prone, the swamp drake grapples with the creature to keep it submerged and drown it; the drake employs its paralytic spit on a creature, which resists too strongly. Because the drake’s teeth have difficulty penetrating natural armor, it avoids biting prey until it has succumbed to drowning. A pair of swamp drakes boldly attacks larger groups; one drake drowns a target while the other fends off any would be rescuers. When a drake takes 3/4 of its hp in damage, it will attempt to flee into the swamp.

Habitat & Society

This brute bullies its way around the swamp it inhabits, attacking easy prey and avoiding larger and more powerful inhabitants. However, the drake enjoys the challenge presented by the infrequent humanoid visitor, as it delights in drowning its victim and feeling his struggles weaken and eventually stop. Because of the creature’s method of killing intelligent prey, will-o’-wisps often form long-term partnerships with one. Lizardmen enter into short-term partnerships with swamp drakes in order to kill large groups of interlopers, but such pacts typically devolve into one side being forced to kill the other after they achieve their mutual goal.

A pair of drakes stays together as long as prey remains plentiful, and any eggs that result from mating are left untended in the swamp. Any young surviving the depredations of carnivorous denizens of the swamp (including other swamp drakes) seek out their own territory away from their parents and each other.

(Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible)


  1. Flying crocodiles…..what is there not to like about flying crocodiles?

    Good job Mike!


    March 22, 2010

  2. Beware the drakes! THE DRAKES!

    Rockin’critter, Mike!


    March 22, 2010

  3. Wow, I love this! Going to use it as soon as I can in my next campaign!


    March 22, 2010

  4. Ah, the dreaded crocodilian “death roll” and drowning! I love to see nature shows put to deadly use. :)


    March 22, 2010

  5. Very good. How are they fried?


    March 22, 2010

  6. I not-so-humbly propose Mike and I do a “Book of Drakes: A Guide to Lesser Dragonkind”, pulling from our candle, coral, crag, crimson, swamp, and quick varieties and including a few more members of the family. :)


    March 22, 2010

  7. I obnoxiously demand that this definitive new work be dedicated to yours truly, and for the massive profits that it will undoubtedly make to be directed to the Rone/Mairkurion candy dice project.


    March 22, 2010

  8. Ambush tactics. You have to love ambush tactics. My only question is the wingspan – 4 ft? It seems like this drake would need at least a 12 – 16 ft wingspan to have a chance at lifting a 700 lb bulk. And a longer tail would allow for a tail swipe attack as well. The creature might use wing buffet and tail swipe attacks to keep potential rescue at bay while it holds its prey under water…

    Mark Arvidson

    March 23, 2010

  9. I await the “Book of Drakes” pitch with interest.


    March 23, 2010

  10. Awesome work Mike. :)

    Oh I simply can’t wait for the Book of Drakes!!! :D


    March 23, 2010

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