Welcome to the first Codex Draconis, the line of products that gives you what you need to drop dragons into your games with a minimum of effort and a maximum of options. Here in the first volume of our line, we present options and alternatives for a dozen black dragons, covering every age category of the obsidian lords of the swamps and marshes. Each age category also has three pregenerated treasure hoards, some alternative monster builds, and suggestions on how to build even deadlier dragon encounters.
Dragons are among the most iconic, and most popular, of all fantasy roleplaying game foes. Once the domain exclusively of higher-level adventures, dragons now have rules for every stage of life thanks to changes made in the past few versions of the world's most popular roleplaying game. Setting dragons up in this manner allows wet-behind-the-ears heroes to face dragons early in their careers (though likely they'll be facing dragons the size of housecats). To ensure a dragon is always just the right threat for heroes of any level, dragons are given twelve stages of life that, that, when combined with the many different types of dragons, creates a range of CRs from 2 to 22.
The problem with that, of course, is that it requires a lot of stat blocks, and those take up room. To save space, instead of presenting a full write-up of every dragon at every age category, the game's creators present a set of rules outlining how to write up dragons, and then give a few examples of each type. As a result, although you can find a dragon of the right CR for an encounter, it takes a considerable amount of work to get that dragon ready for the game.
To help with that problem, the fine folks at D20PFSRD.com took on the job of creating full stat blocks for every true dragon of every type, and when we expressed an interest in using those as the starting point for our Codex Draconis line, they were kind enough to give us their blessing. In addition to their dragon write ups, Codex Draconis: Black Lords of the Marsh presents additional material to expand the ways you can use these dragons and allows you to drop them into your campaign.