On the other end of the spectrum from yesterday’s rift drakes, river drakes are the weakest drake species so far described. They are still two feet longer than a man and weigh three times as much, so they remain quite the threat to ordinary fishermen and boaters.
One of my GMs believed that a dragon should show up sometime during every new player’s first campaign—“It’s why they buy a ticket for the ride.” At CR 3, the river drake is a chance to make that happen early, perhaps even in the PCs’ first adventure if they’ve been lucky with the hit points and magic items. And if they’ve mastered the dungeon, a rampage of river drakes is a great way to show them that the wide wilderness can be just as deadly, if not more so.
A rampage of river drakes attacks canoers on the Massapaton River. The party can avoid them by hugging the south bank where the drakes hesitate to go, but that puts them within reach of several patches of assassin vines.
The Shireton River is running high this year, but traffic across it is at a standstill—Mule Ferry is out of business. The distraught ferryman says river drakes regularly extorted him, and then they finally ate the mules that pulled the ferry. He’ll give free rides for life to anyone who can save his livelihood.
Some pseudodragons come seeking adventurers’ help—they’ve been driven away from their home on the roof of the bank by some predatory river drakes. Helping them could lead to the party acquiring a pseudodragon companion or familiar. The dragonets have also taken very careful note of the guards’ shift changes at the bank…
—Pathfinder Bestiary 3 107