Monday, April 25, 2011

A Question About Dragons

My good friend over at the Gamer's Closet is asking a very good question.  What kind of dragons do you have in your campaign?  It's one of those myths that take on as many variations as there are cultures.  Dragons pretty much pop up everywhere as well they should.  Here are a few of the dragons I think of when I hear the word, but it is by far from a conclusive list.

1. I think the most famous dragon is good ole Smaug from The Hobbit.  An invulnerable beast who sits atop a treasure horde.

2. D&D dragons are intelligent, color coded critters which a breath weapon that matches their scales.  And they come in all sizes.

3. Tiamat from Mesopotamian mythos, the birth mother of demons, gods and the earth and the sky.  That is a busy dragon.  A primal chaotic force of creation.

4. Puff the Magic Dragon, this was the first dragon I came to know as a kid.  An imaginary friend that you played with.  I always thought it would have been great to have a dragon as a friend.

Through most of the mythologizes dragons are supremely intelligent.  Despite their terrible size and ability to destroy they 'know things'  The know things and won't give one straight damn answer for nothing.

I really like Rob's version of dragons.  In some ways they are the champions of the gods, a substitute for angels and devils if you will.  But the exist in all times.  They are living and knowing of all the time they exist from their birth to their death.  They know.  I love that concept.  But like I said before they never learned the ability to give a straight answer.

So to my question...What kind of dragon do you use?


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  2. When I use a dragon I like for it to be unique and special, so mostly I eschew the D&D color-coding rules. Each one is to be or has already been built up from scratch borrowing liberally from any number of known monster powers, spell-casting abilities or whatever occurs to me to use.

  3. @ James C not to be confused with just James > I am not a huge fan of the color coded system and Rob's dragons can change colors anyway. I think dragons are on of those beasts that needs and deserves to be individualized.

    just James not to be confused with James C > Thanks for that great link. I added it to my links page.

  4. I've used dragons all sorts of different ways in different settings I think--from primordial creatures to just big and nasty animals. In the world of the City, official dragons are extinct, but there are powerful close-enough-to-dragon-appearing beings which are more like minor godlings or powerful spirits, and just pulpy "big dumb reptile" hazards that some might call "dragons" in remote areas.

  5. The kind of dragons who go to war with the gods, kill them and take all of their stuff. Then the dragons realized that they needed to actually rule the world . . .

  6. My dragons never fit the archetypes offered, other than the basics:

    1. They live an incredibly long time.

    2. They breathe stuff, and the type of stuff is related to the personality of the beast in some way.

    3. They love treasure (all for their own unique reasons).

    4. They can change shapes (mostly into humanoids).

    The only ones that have shown themselves in my current campaign were a subterranean dragon enslaved when it was very young by a Lich and bound magically (but slowly working its way free), and a good dragon wounded and kept weak to serve as genetic material for the breeding of arcane components.

  7. ditto on providing the great link, James not to be confused with me.

  8. I like the idea of dragons being so great and terrible they are like demons or demigods. For a campaign setting I worked on, dragon blood was so powerful that it had a corrupting effect on those exposed to it, like radiation.

  9. I use traditional color coded dragons in my current campaign. There is a dragon lair about every ten to twenty bedew (50 to 100 miles).

  10. I use a homebrew version of colour coded 'prismatic' drgaons, which are based on the colours of the prism/rainbow:

    Red, breathe fire
    Orange, breathe super-heated air
    Yellow, breathe acid
    Green, breathe chlorine gas
    Blue, breathe cold
    Indigo, breathe lightning
    Violet, breathe steam

    Black Dragons are basically all Dracoliches... any dragon that turns undead has the colour drained from their scales. All Black Dragons breathe a vile bile that disntegrates matter.

    There are rumours that the first dragons (the Silvers, or Whites) were corrrupted to evil eons ago, becoming the 'prismatic' dragons found today.

  11. I use two types of dragons simultaneously. One type are ancient magical creatures, primal and ancient nature spirits made flesh. They need to eat, they live in caves, they function with biology.

    The other type are demonic creatures, sin made flesh. They don't need to eat, they do it just to maim and destroy and kill. There are of course the 7 different kinds, mostly distinguishable by what they do.

    The dragon of wrath burn villages to the ground constantly, the dragon of lust steals princesses, the dragon of greed sits in an ancient dwarven hall atop a pile of wealth, glutton dragons cause a famine by eating all the livestock, wild game, slow moving people, etc.