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AlignmentChaotic Evil
TypeMagical beast image
StatsOpen Game License stats
Publication history
First appearance1974
Mythological originsChimera

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game, the chimera is a large magical beast that appears to be an amalgam of several different creatures. A chimera is usually chaotic evil in alignment.

Publication history

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The chimera is based on the chimera of Greek mythology as found in the Iliad by Homer.[1] It has appeared in the following publications:

  • The Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974), where they were described as being able to gore with a goat's head, tear with lion fangs, and with a dragon's head that can bite or breathe fire.[2]
  • The first edition Monster Manual (1977),[3] where it is described as a three-headed creature that can bite with its lion head, gore with its goat head, and breathe fire with its dragon head.
  • A relative of both the chimera and the gorgon, the gorgimera first appeared in the module Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (1982).[4] The gorgimera next appeared in Monster Manual II (1983).[5]
  • It was further detailed in Dragon #94 (February 1985), in "The Ecology of the Chimera," by Ed Greenwood.[6]
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977),[7]
  • The Expert Set (1981 & 1983).[8][9]
  • The Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1991).
  • The Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991),[10]
  • The Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1994).
  • The Undead chimera appears in the module Saga of the Shadow Lord (1986).
  • For the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999), the chimera and gorgimera appear first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989),[11]
  • They are reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[12]
  • The Monster Manual for 3rd edition (2000).[13]
  • The chimeric creature template appeared in Monster Manual II (2002), including the chimeric ankheg as a sample creature.[14]
  • The revised Monster Manual for the 3.5 edition (2003).
  • The maurid advanced chimera appeared in Dungeon #112 (July 2004), as part of the Maure Castle adventure.
  • The dungeonbred blue chimera appeared in Dungeonscape (2007).
  • The gorgimera returned in Dungeon #151 (October 2007).
  • The 4th edition Monster Manual (2008).[15]

Physical description

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A chimera has the hindquarters of a goat, the forequarters of a lion, and a set of dragon wings. The beast has three heads: a horned goat, a lioness, and a dragon. The dragon head can be black, blue, green, red, or white, and has a breath weapon appropriate to the color. They rarely mate; their creation is the result of "a dark mystery better left unexplained", according to the Second Edition Monstrous Manual.

Society and ecology

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The chimera, being a hybrid, combines the preferences of the lion, the goat, and the dragon in its habitat, society and ecology. The dragonish part of its nature gives the chimera a distinct preference for caves as lairs. The dragon and lion parts seem to war with one another, for some chimerae are dragon-like in their preference for solitude, while others live in small prides. Even if they mate, offspring are rare.

The monster is an omnivore. The goat head will browse on the toughest plants and shrubs and will derive nutrition from the most barren vegetation while the lion and dragon heads can only be satisfied with flesh. The chimera hunts once every three or four days, using its strength and limited intelligence to gain an advantage over those it preys on. Having a voracious appetite, it sometimes roams over territories as large as twenty square miles.

Being chaotic evil in nature, the chimera enjoys preying upon men, elves, dwarves, and halflings. It will even gladly attack other monsters in its search for food. Anyone entering its territory becomes prey, and will be treated accordingly.

The chimera cannot resist attacking groups of travelers or monsters for another reason: its dragon nature craves the treasure that its prey might be carrying. Although it has no earthly use for it, the chimera will gather the coins of its fallen foe into a heap and roost on it like a dragon. Its hoard is nothing like that of a true dragon, however, and consists mainly of copper and silver coins, with perhaps some jewelry and a few magical items.

The chimera fills the role of both omnivore and a top predator in its ecosystem. It is very adaptable. During times when its prey is scarce or non-existent, the chimera can make do with a vegetarian diet.


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The gorgimera is a variant of the chimera, with the hindquarters (and third head) of a gorgon instead of a goat. Its gorgon head likewise has a gorgon's breath weapon.

The gorgon's head can see into both the Astral and Ethereal planes, and its breath weapon extends therein.

Like its relative the chimera, the gorgimera can also speak a limited form of the language of red dragons.

Chimeras in Eberron

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In the Eberron campaign setting, the chimera is the heraldic beast of the dragonmarked House Deneith.

D&D Miniatures

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The chimera appears in the D&D Miniatures: War Drums set #45 (2006).


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  1. DeVarque, Aardy. "Literary Sources of D&D". Archived from the original on 2007-07-21. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
  2. Gary Gygax, and Dave Arneson. Dungeons & Dragons (3-Volume Set) (TSR, 1974)
  3. Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  4. Gygax, Gary. The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (TSR, 1982)
  5. Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II TSR, 1983)
  6. Greenwood, Ed. The Ecology of the Chimera. Dragon #94 (TSR, 1985)
  7. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by J. Eric Holmes. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1977)
  8. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Dave Cook. Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set (TSR, 1981)
  9. Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Frank Mentzer. Dungeons & Dragons Set 2: Expert Rules (TSR, 1983)
  10. Allston, Aaron, Steven E. Schend, Jon Pickens, and Dori Watry. Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (TSR, 1991)
  11. Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One (TSR, 1989)
  12. Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  13. Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  14. Bonny, Ed, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter. Monster Manual II (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  15. Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)