12 White Dragon Lair Features

A white dragon’s lair is rarely nothing more than an ice cave stuffed full of treasure. White dragons are wily, cunning and in-tune with the surrounding environment. Their lairs reflect their intrinsic connection with the surrounding ice and snow.

 

Use the table below, to add major features of interest to the white dragon’s lair. Such features are both flavoursome and things for the PCs to interact with as they explore the lair.

  1. A dense field of ice stalactites hang from the ceiling like the shining fangs of some gigantic creature. Some are so immense they almost reach the floor and can provide limited cover from attacks. Weird, ever-shifting shadows,  created by the party’s lights, cluster thickly among the stalactites.
  2. The floor is of dense, hard-packed ice covered with a light dusting of snow. Consequently, the ground is incredibly slippery. Unwary explorers could slip and fall. 
  3. As #3 above, except the floor slopes steeply down to another area—or perhaps even a precipitous drop into a crevasse. PCs slipping and falling slide into this other area with potentially fatal consequences. 
  4. The floor is nothing more than an ice bridge of varying thickness stretching over a chasm. Some sections are thick and easily support a PC’s weight. Other areas—by accident or design of the dragon—are thinner and may collapse when walked upon. PCs falling through the ice end up in the area below, likely taking falling damage and becoming trapped. 
  5. The shattered remnants of several large stalactites litter the ground, creating areas of rubble difficult to pass through.  Other large stalactites hang from the ceiling. Perceptive PCs notice cracks running through several of the stalactites. They are unstable, and if subjected to loud noises or fire magic collapse into the chamber below.
  6. A large part of the ceiling has collapsed, partially blocking the way ahead with a pile of ice and snow. Climbing over the tumbled ten-foot high obstacle is difficult as the jagged shards of ice are slick and, in some cases, razor-sharp. The pile also blocks line of sight to what lies beyond.
  7. A jagged crevasse cuts this area in twain. The crevasse is between ten- and 20-foot wide and about 40-foot deep. A roiling, freezing mist obscures what lies at the bottom. Narrow passageways hidden by the mist could lead to a sub level or provide refuge from the large, savage dragon lairing in the upper caverns.
  8. A rambling pile of frozen bones forms the leavings of the dragon’s meals. A cursory search of the frozen mass turns up huge humanoid bones (from frost giants) as well as other splintered remains from unidentifiable sources.
  9. A multitude of slender, razor sharp icicles hang from the ceiling almost reaching the floor. The glistening icicles cluster thickly together creating a series of small maze-like passages for explorers to traverse. One wide avenue of splintered and broken icicles shows where something—in all likelihood the dragon—passed by.
  10. Large boulders emerge from the ice floor and walls of this area giving it a strange, studded appearance. Carried here by the ice, the misshapen boulders form a series of makeshift stepping stones. Some are quite small while others are the size of a wagon. All are frozen into immobility. Several rocks also emerge from the ceiling—melting the ice around the stones cause them to plummet to the ground, with potentially fatal consequences for anything beneath them.
  11. Huge ice sculptures of astonishing complexity and skill loom out at the PCs from one high wall. The sculptures depict a white dragon hunting and killing a variety of creatures and humanoids. The sculptures flank a tunnel leading further into the lair. Paranoid PCs may assume the sculptures are part of some kind of trap or are animate guardians that will activate when intruders get too close.
  12. The ice forming the floor is so pure and unmarred it is completely transparent. In fact, at first glance a distracted explorer may believe the floor is actually somewhat lower—a level of hard packed opaque ice about 15 feet down. (If the dragon is particularly devious it could have dug some pits out of the ice into which the PCs could blunder.)

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This article appears in 20 Things #32: White Dragon Lair. Members of our Patreon campaign got 20 Things #32: White Dragon Lair completely free as a thank you for their awesome support. Join today!

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3 thoughts on “12 White Dragon Lair Features

  1. I saw a video of an interesting experiment: A hollow cast-iron ball was filled completely with water, closed with a stopper that screwed in, and set in a bath of dry ice and alcohol. When the water froze, it expanded, shattering the iron ball. Some of the resulting shrapnel was embedded rather deeply in the concrete walls of the test chamber.

    “Gee, this lair has a bunch of these funny canteens.”

    Yes, they may have magical protections against cold.
    But shrapnel?