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Were Wizards’ new DnD dragon designs hidden in plain sight?

Wizards of the Coast has redesigned all the DnD dragons for the 2024 sourcebooks - but it's possible the new versions have been out in the wild for a while.

DnD dragon showing the old blue dragon and the new one

All of the different DnD dragons are getting a makeover in the 2024 updated core rulebooks. While only the new gold, bronze, and red dragons have been officially revealed right now, we may have an idea of what the rest of them look like. A sleuthing fan believes many of the new dragon designs have seen a ‘soft launch’, appearing in various DnD products over the past few years.

Starting with the gold dragon, since that’s the one of the few new DnD dragons to have been officially shown off. This dragon appears on the alternate cover for the 2024 Player’s Handbook. It has a radical new look, revealed by Comicbook.com on May 23, a sort of ribbon-like form that has traces of celestial Chinese ‘lung’ dragon to it.

Wizards of the Coast art of a Rogue from the new DnD Player's Handbook alt cover

Before this, an article on Game Informer showed us the Bronze and Red dragons. This article explained that these DnD monsters have been altered, either to better fit their personalities or to show how they’re adapted to their habitats.

Now for the unofficial stuff. Reddit user Charciko shared a theory yesterday that art for all the chromatic dragon redesigns (red, blue, black, green, and white) may have been shared by Wizards already. Treat it with skepticism, but have a look for yourself.

Green Dragon DnD art

They pointed out that the dragons in the 2023 DnD book The Legend of Drizzt: Visual Dictionary have new artwork, and look very different to how 5e dragons have been drawn in the past. New art showing some of the same designs also show up on the packaging for 2023’s Dicelings, DnD dice that transformed into various iconic 5e monsters.

Two of the dragons even appear to show up as early as the 2021 sourcebook, Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons.

A transforming dice toy that becomes a white dnd dragon

The new green dragon has an orange throat sac and wings shaped like maple leaves, while the white dragon is big and bulky with thick fat – an almost polar bear-esque apex predator.

A black dnd dragon

The black dragon keeps its iconic head shape, but the tail appears more like a spiked club. And the blue dragon is incredible skinny with enormous wings, and electricity crackling down its back.

Most compelling of all, the red dragon in the Drizzt book seems a pretty close match for the official new red dragon design.

Assuming they’re real, we’re interested to see what players will think of this new look for dragons, and to what extent DMs will incorporate them into their DnD campaigns. Some have remained pretty much the same, while others look radically different.