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Tome Unleashed: Paper Drake

Tome Unleashed: Paper Drake

The Tome Unleashed series fleshes out monsters from the Tome of Beasts 1, giving GMs ways to modify existing monsters to surprise well-prepared players or introduce new monsters to a campaign. Last month, we changed up the oozasis.

This time, we’re looking at ways to change up the paper drake (see Tome of Beasts 1) including alternate traits and actions, as well as new magic items, spells, and adventure hooks inspired by them.

A paper drake is a Small dragon that looks like it was folded from a massive sheet of paper. They cna fold themselves into differnet sizes and shapes and can erase ink on a page to change a tale to their liking.

Alternate Traits and Actions

The following changes allow GMs to alter a paper drake without modifying its challenge rating.

Erase. If the paper drake spends one minute pressed against a piece of paper, it can erase the page. If the ink and paper are nonmagical, the drake does this automatically. If either ink or paper are magical, the drake must succeed on a Charisma check to erase the page with a DC equal to 10 + the spell’s level, or 15 if the magic is not tied to a spell.

If the paper drake has the Inscribed Spells action (see below), and it successfully uses Erase on a scroll with a 1st-level spell or cantrip from the wizard spell list, it adds that spell to its collection of inscribed spells.

In exchange for this trait, the paper drake loses its Shelve ability.

Ink Stamp. Magical ink infuses the paper drake’s tail, which modifies its Tail attack:

Tail (Recharge 5–6). Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (5d6+3) bludgeoning damage, and the target bears ink as if affected by the illusory script spell. The drake and creatures that it designates can read determine the script’s true meaning.

Inscribed Spells (Recharge 5–6). The paper drake has three 1st-level spells or cantrips from the wizard spell list inscribed on its surface. It can take an action to cast one of these spells, removing the spell permanently from the drake.

In exchange for this action, the paper drake loses its Refold ability.

Paper Cut. The paper drake’s claws dig deep, producing distracting cuts. This modifies its Claw attack:

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) slashing damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or have disadvantage on ability checks based on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. This effect ends after a short or long rest, or after the target receives magical healing.

Poison Immunity. The paper drake has immunity to poison damage and the poisoned condition.

In exchange for this immunity, the paper drake gains vulnerability to fire damage.

Paper Drake Swarm

Sometimes paper drakes congregate in ancient or forgotten libraries, where they can collectively fight to defend their territory.


Large Swarm of Small Dragons, Neutral
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 170 (20d10 + 60)
Speed 40 ft., fly 100 ft.

7 (−2)17 (+3)16 (+3)10 (+0)12 (+1) 13 (+1) 

Damage Immunities bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Draconic, Dwarvish, Elvish
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP) Proficiency Bonus +3

Swarm. The paper drake swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough to fit a Tiny dragon. The swarm can’t regain hp or gain temporary hp.


Multiattack. The paper drake swarm makes one Bites attack, one Claws attack, and one Tails attack.

Bites. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 0 ft., one creature in the swarm’s space. Hit: 14 (4d6) piercing damage, or 7 (2d6) piercing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 0 ft., one creature in the swarm’s space. Hit: 14 (4d6) slashing damage, or 7 (2d6) slashing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer.

Tails (Recharge 5–6). Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 0 ft., one creature in the swarm’s space. Hit: 21 (6d6) slashing damage, or 10 (3d6) slashing damage if the swarm has half of its hit points or fewer, and the target must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be incapacitated for 1 round.

Refold (Recharge 5-6). The paper drake swarm can fold their bodies into different sizes and shapes. The swarm can adjust its overall size by one step in either direction, but can’t be smaller than Medium or larger than Huge. Changes in size or shape don’t affect the swarm’s stats.

Sheaf. The paper drake swarm can unfold itself into a stack of small, almost flat sheets. The swarm can still be recognized as something other than a book by someone who handles it and succeeds on a DC 11 Intelligence (Investigation or Nature) check. The swarm can hop or fly (clumsily, by flapping its pages) 5 feet per turn in this form.

New Magic Items and Spells

The following magic item and spells are inspired by the paper drake.

Origami Drake Book

Wondrous Item, Rare (Requires Attunement)

This leather-bound book contains 10d10 pages of parchment. Each page has a unique set of instructions to tear and fold it into a draconic form. You must spend 1 minute to shape the paper accurately. Once you do so, the paper is imbued with magic, allowing you to speak a command word as a bonus action to change the folded paper into a paper drake, which appears within 5 feet of you. A paper drake cannot be brought into existence in this way again until the next dawn.

If you remove the last page, roll a d20. If you roll a 1, the book becomes nonmagical. Otherwise, the book refills with a number of pages equal to your roll.

Paper Star

Weapon (Any Finesse, Thrown Simple Ranged Weapon), Uncommon

This decorative paper weapon is flimsy when inspected, allowing you to convince those inspecting the star of its harmlessness. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic thrown weapon, which deals 1d4 piercing damage. Additionally, if you use a bonus action to speak a command word before throwing and it hit a target, the target must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be incapacitated for 1 round. If you use this feature, the star crumbles to dust after 1 round regardless of the result of your attack or the target’s saving throw.

Conjure Paper Drake

3rd-Level Conjuration | Wizard

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (sheet of paper treated with ink worth at least 10 gp)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You summon a paper drake which appears in an unoccupied space that you can see within range. The drake disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends.

The drake is friendly to you and your companions for the duration. Roll initiative for the drake, which has its own turns. It obeys any verbal commands that you issue to it (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to the drake, it defends itself from hostile creatures but otherwise takes no actions.

At Higher Levels. If you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, you conjure 1 additional paper drake for each slot level above 3rd. Each additional drake requires its own sheet of paper as a material component.

Paper Form

3rd-Level Transmutation | Sorcerer, Wizard

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a scrap of paper from a paper drake)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

Until the spell ends, one willing creature you touch becomes a sheet of paper. The target’s walking speed becomes 5 feet, the target has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks, and it can pass through spaces large enough to fit a sheet of paper. Additionally, the target gains immunity to bludgeoning damage, but suffers vulnerability to slashing damage.

The target can use its action to shape itself into another form or return to the flat form. This restores the target’s walking speed and can even grant it a flying speed equal to its walking speed. It also removes advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks and the ability to pass through narrow spaces.

Paper Drake Adventure Hooks

  • The PCs learn the map they need to direct them to a powerful artifact has been destroyed! They hear a rumor about a secluded paper drake who helped scribe the map and most likely remembers all its details. However, an opposing group has also heard about the paper drake and seeks to destroy it or obtain it for their own purposes.
  • A sage requires a rare book and offers a grand sum to retrieve the book from a buried library. The party must contend with a nest of paper drakes, either peacefully or through force, to acquire the book.

Tome Unleashed creates options for monsters found in the Tome of Beasts. But guess what? Kobold Press just upgraded these monsters into a new edition!
Cruise over to the Kobold store to get your copy of Tome of Beasts 1 (2023) on sale now!

about Mike Welham

Mike Welham started gaming some time in the Mesozoic Era and has played at least one game in each edition of D&D. He has been happily writing for Kobold Press for over ten years and is partially responsible for all the darn drakes flying around Midgard.

5 thoughts on “Tome Unleashed: Paper Drake”

    1. Unfortunately, this was the last Tome Unleashed article. If you have something from ToB3 you’d like to see, I might be able to do something for that.

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