The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Orc in the Playground
     
    False God's Avatar

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    Default Re: Regarding Dragons

    Quote Originally Posted by Fable Wright View Post
    I just run dragons as The Original MurderhobosTM.

    The Green Dragon is the bard murderhobo. He wants people, and is a source of many a half-dragon. He has gone on many adventures and succeeded many diplomacy checks to get his title.

    The Red Dragon is the wargamer murderhobo. He wants everything, and he will fight it because it's there, sleeping upon his piles of loot from his mountain fortress, with his rigorously regiments of kobolds fighting in formation in stacked terrain. And he is exactly as smart as he thinks he is.

    The White Dragon is the fighter murderhobo. She wants to hunt. A trophy from every creature in the land, from every NPC, and legends of her legendary hunts. Min/max the points into where they matter, and take bits and pieces of everything you can.

    The Blue Dragon is the sorcerer murderhobo. She knows the power of a burrow speed and abuses it to no end, even at a cost of some of her upper level abilities. There will be endless traps and hoarded magical knowledge, and while she's not the obsessive researcher that the lich is, that's because it has all been put into blast spells.

    The Black Dragon is the rogue murderhobo. Its goal is to rob everyone of everything. What does it do with the loot? Who cares, as long as it can steal it and no one else will be able to take it. It has everything, and will give back nothing. You hear me? NOTHING!
    That's frelling awesome, now, if you'll excuse me I believe I have an anti-party I need to stat up.
    Last edited by False God; 2019-09-13 at 08:21 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Regarding Dragons

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    STORMWIND FALLACY!!!!!!
    Had to look that one up. The problem with stating that such is a fallacy, is that in doing so one is implying that the point is always incorrect, which is a fallacy in and of itself. It’s also a cheap way to deflect a valid observation rather than addressing the actual point being made.

    Further, I’m not referring to the 2e-5e emphasis on “character builds.” I’m specifically referring to players who place their gaming emphasis on XP collection and comparative encounter levels, regardless of what edition they’re playing. If a player is basing their <u>character’s</u> actions based on meta-gaming elements which the character has no way of even conceiving, then that player’s desire to engage in an active, creative, immersive story is limited at best. If it’s all about shootin’-n-lootin’-n-skootin’ then it’s a very different sort of game than the one I prefer. For that, I’ll go play Frag.

    Further, I come from the very old-school attitude that the player should NEVER have access to the game mechanics of ANY monster, trap, magical item, or environment. The best player experience I have observed is when the player (and by extension, the character) has limited or even no knowledge of what an encounter’s abilities and vulnerabilities are, except as shared by the DM through the in-world elements of rumor, training, and personal history. So if I had a player picking up the MM at my table, I’d ask them, politely but firmly, to put it down. To me, it’s no different than pointing out that it doesn’t matter if the player is an AP Chemistry student, his character has NO CLUE how to make gunpowder (or any other chemical explosive, mixture or compound), or even how to go about experimenting to do so. The point is to emphasize the “reality” of the characters in their world, and not the knowledge we possess in ours— and that includes knowledge of the game mechanics.

    Which isn’t to say that one can’t know the mechanics and also set this knowledge aside to role play a character— one can, and to some extent, most players (even munchkins) do this at least to some degree. But the more one concerns oneself with mechanics and bases character actions upon these, the more one risk losing immersion in the “reality” of the game world. No, it’s not a given. But what was being described earlier certainly had a huge whiff of that to it.
    “New rule! DON’T PICK UP THE EVIL NECROSTICK!”— One of my teen players.
    So of course, one of the others immediately did.

  3. - Top - End - #63
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Regarding Dragons

    Man, if I'm not opening up the monster manual to look up the stats of a dragon what separates a dragon from a wyvern mage? Take off the stinger, give it claws and a breath weapon and you got basically the same thing. Nah, it's the fact that they sit on a pile of loot gathered from the local populace that makes them dragons. Go out there and kill those suckers for loot.
    "Movement speed is the most important statistic in this game."

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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Regarding Dragons

    Quote Originally Posted by The Library DM View Post
    Had to look that one up. The problem with stating that such is a fallacy, is that in doing so one is implying that the point is always incorrect, which is a fallacy in and of itself. It’s also a cheap way to deflect a valid observation rather than addressing the actual point being made.
    peace!
    I didn't mean to start an argument; it was mostly intended as a meta-joke (as in, there's always someone pointing out stormwind fallacies, it may as well be me this time). I fully understand your points
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

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  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Regarding Dragons

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSessionTapes View Post
    Been doing some work with my setting... and I'm almost completely sold on scrapping the entire Chromatic/Metallic dragons idea. While I've never been a huge fan of "colour coded dragons", recently I've felt really stymied by the trope. The idea that players (whether intentionally metagaming or not) can get a ridiculous amount of information from just knowing what colour a dragon is I find really crippling to building tension and creating Dragons as realistic NPCs with realistic motivations.

    For example:

    Local folk talk about a dragon seen flying around the peak of Mount Dragonplace (clue's in the name, really). The intrepid adventurers track the creature back to its lair, but when they arrive they see it has silver scales. They are immediately put at ease, and openly greet their new friend, "Shimmershine the Uber-Powerful-Pandimensional-Beast-Who-For-Some-Reason-Is-Really-Nice-To-Everyone".

    Another example:

    Same setup above, but when they reach the mountain, they see a flash of Red Scales. Immediately, they know a) This is going to be a fight (most likely), or at least a situation where they will be facing an aggressive foe b) Fire spells and attacks won't work. c) They need to load up on fire resist.

    Even if you buck the Alignment conventions and let Dragons all have their own personalities, within the confines of this system, they're still predictable in terms of their capabilities. To my mind, this takes a lot of the terror and splendour out of dragons... they become a "stock encounter" (You're not a real adventurer until you've beaten a Dragon!). Like with all my villains/allies, a prefer a more nuanced and flawed approach.

    Sure, that dragon is nice to you now. But he's still a DRAGON; a supergenius intellect in a flying dinosaur's body that oh yeah can also breathe fire. So you'll want to tread REALLY carefully, in case you accidentally insult his Mom or something.

    What's everyone else's take on Colour-Coded dragons in D&D / Pathfinder? Do you agree that they're a bit outdated? Or is there an elegance there that I'm missing?
    Dragons in D&D/PF are fine, you just have to be a little savvy.

    As far as roleplaying and personality of dragons goes, D&D has never treated alignment as a straitjacket. Nothing is stopping your red dragon, blue dragon, black dragon, silver dragon, etc. etc. etc. from being a "realistic" NPC with "realistic" motivations, whatever its alignment. (I put "realistic" in quotes because, to be frank, a dragon should always be somewhat ineffable. Kaptin Keen complained about Dracula and Frankenstein's monster being more relatable than dragons - well, they should be, because they're essentially human in a way that dragons just aren't.)

    As combat encounters go, I think it's crucial to never let the adventurers fully set the terms of the encounter. A dragon ought not sit in its lair waiting for them to close to melee, and then sit there and trade blows. Breath weapons are well and good, but dragons have weapons aplenty if they fail. Lairs should be modified to allow the dragon full advantage of its flight and multiattack capabilities if by some mischance it has to fight in its lair proper, and they should weaken all but the most-prepared parties before they even get to face the dragon. Never, ever fight fair with a dragon. Bard got to kill one with his black arrow, but the PCs just have to earn their dragon kill the hard way, dammit! Like Tiamat (so the disclaimer goes in the 5e Rise of Tiamat adventure), normal dragons don't apologise for TPKs.

    Of course, a lot really depends on the edition of the game you are using: it's hardest to have a good solid dragon fight when the PCs include 3.5 wizards and CoDzillas among their numbers, as compared to other editions of D&D.

    Finally...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Hobbit
    "Revenge!" he snorted, and the light of his eyes lit the hall from floor to ceiling like scarlet lightning. "Revenge! The King under the Mountain is dead and where are his kin that dare seek revenge? Girion Lord of Dale is dead, and I have eaten his people like a wolf among sheep, and where are his sons' sons that dare approach me? I kill where I wish and none dare resist. I laid low the warriors of old and their like is not in the world today. Then I was but young and tender. Now I am old, and strong, strong, strong, Thief in the Shadows!" he gloated. "My armour is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!"
    Every dragon, even the ones colour-coded for your convenience (yes, even the metallic ones), should aspire to meet the example set by Smaug.
    ~ Composer99

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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Regarding Dragons

    Quote Originally Posted by Composer99 View Post
    Every dragon, even the ones colour-coded for your convenience (yes, even the metallic ones), should aspire to meet the example set by Smaug.
    problem is, they cannot within the ruleset, unless the world is E6. smaug could talk like that because no weapon ccould realistically hurt him, one bite would tear any men in two, one breath would kill anyone along its path.

    in d&d, a warrior can deal significant damage to a dragon with a single charge, one bite won't accomplish much of anything, and one breath would still be survived, even without immunities.

    but the difference is not in ddragons. old d&d dragons are as powerful as smaug. the difference is adventurers. even mid level d&d adventurers are gods of death compared to the mightiest heros of tolkien lore. dragons are no longer the undisputed lords of creation, and having them keep behaving as such just makes them look dumb, as in this example

    Smaug:"Revenge!" he snorted, and the light of his eyes lit the hall from floor to ceiling like scarlet lightning. "Revenge! The King under the Mountain is dead and where are his kin that dare seek revenge? Girion Lord of Dale is dead, and I have eaten his people like a wolf among sheep, and-

    Fighter(interrupting him): blah blah, boring old villain monologue. Not interested. I rage and charge, full power attack (rolls) then iterative attacks for pounce (rolls rolls) it's 340 damage

    Wizard: ok, I cast quickened true casting, and then I cast bboth my ocular spells, where I had stored twinned empowered maximized fell drain scorching rays, with energy substitution to cold from my archmage power (rolls, rolls, rolls, rolls). And then at the end of my turn I use an immediate action to cast greater celerity, and I cast maximized empowered force orb (rolls some more). It's 512 damage and 12 negative levels.

    DM: huh. dragon is dead already.

    Rogue: sucks! I didn't even get to act

    Cleric: Meh. what a dumb villain.
    Ok, the details may change. maybe the dragon had buffed himself, so the wizard had dispelled first, or maybe there were minions too.

    but that's the point. Smaug didn't have buffs. He didn't need minions. He didn't need a clever battle plan. Smaug didn't need anything, because he was by far the biggest fish in the pond.
    D&D dragons aren't. So they can't behave the same way, and trying to make them behave the same way either makes them dumb, or it makes contradictions. Smaug in a normal campaign world wouldn't last one day.

    Plus, IMO Smaug wasn't an interesting villain anyway; did he have any motivation besides "muahaha I'm so big and powerful and evil and I want to sit on this pile of gold"? the only thing that makes him even remotely original is that tolkien wrote him first.

    So no, Smaug is a TERRIBLE example on how to make dragons, unless you are playing E6. And I realize this is one of the reasons dragons need to be adjusted according to the world. evil dragons by the book are supposed to be strong as smaug and behave like smaug, except that smaug won't work outside of its context, and so neither do by-the-book dragons.
    Last edited by King of Nowhere; 2019-09-14 at 08:57 PM.
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Fable Wright's Avatar

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    Default Re: Regarding Dragons

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    Ok, the details may change. maybe the dragon had buffed himself, so the wizard had dispelled first, or maybe there were minions too.
    To clarify, your example only "works" with 3.5 and maybe Pathfinder. In 5e, Pathfinder 2, 4e, really any game after that paradigm? It flat-out doesn't happen that way.

    And in 3.PF, that dragon is a full spellcaster. "As you charge, the dragon flaps his wings and vanishes as a vast curtain of stone rises before you." (Greater Celerity, dragon casts Wall of Stone blocking LoS and LoE, stops the charge in its tracks, and flies to a Hallucinatory Terrain'd part of its lair where you won't find it until it recovers from Dazed.)

    When the dragon recovers, (at my table at least,) it uses a Metamagic Widen rod to cast Antimagic Field, swoops back down, Flyby Attacks the Wizard in a grapple and out of the Fighter's reach. Archer can't do anything through the DR/Magic in an AMF, Fighter can't charge in the air through 20ft of antimagic, Wizard can't teleport out because grappled in an antimagic field.

    Alternatively, at a high enough level, the dragon goes ZA WARUDO and does a Celerity Time Stop to set this up.

    And now you've got a Smaug fight on your hands.
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  8. - Top - End - #68
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Regarding Dragons

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    Plus, IMO Smaug wasn't an interesting villain anyway; did he have any motivation besides "muahaha I'm so big and powerful and evil and I want to sit on this pile of gold"? the only thing that makes him even remotely original is that tolkien wrote him first.
    Actually, this is one of the few things I think the Hobbit movies did well. They foreshadowed the fact that the Dwarves got greedy first, showing the King with an unhealthy (read: dragonlike) obsession with wealth. Then suddenly an actual dragon came to hoard it for himself. Later, Thorin begins showing symptoms of this same Greed Sickness after reclaiming the treasure. It starts turning the good guys against each other.

    Smaug is a terrible villain if you leave him only his ego and statblock.

    But he was actually a great villain as Greed personified. There was this ongoing theme that greed begets greed, even in Bilbo's side arc of taking the Ring from Gollum. He was a living component of the curse of Morgoth and a dark reflection of the hubris of the Dwarves themselves.

    So let's look back earlier in the thread at the idea of dragons being the world's first murderhobos. Now dragons are a dark reflection of the PCs themselves. You can easily set up a scenario where the players have to be careful as they work towards slaying the dragon that they themselves do not end up becoming no different.
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
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  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: Regarding Dragons

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    lots of stuff
    Well, that's me schooled. It's not like the rest of my post made mention of the distinct nature of 3.X games when it came to dragon-fighting, or suggested that DMs make sure they avoid exactly the sort of situation you included as an ex- oh wait.
    ~ Composer99

    D&D 5e Homebrew:
    Character Options: Fighter Remix, Paladin Oaths, Ranger Remix, Sorcerer Remix
    Playing the Game: Using Ability Score Variants
    New Subsystems: Combat Manoeuvre System
    Monsters: Yogg-Saron

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