Fixing Dragons

20 posts / 0 new
Last post
Does anyone have a link for bringing the older dragons in-line with the new design?

My memory is not spectacular... So my first impulse is fix the damage expressions to match the published errata for DMG, and add an init+10 pass where he shakes off anything a save can end.

But I'm sure that's either (a) not right at all, or (b) not everything that should be on the list.

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

Does anyone have a link for bringing the older dragons in-line with the new design?

My memory is not spectacular... So my first impulse is fix the damage expressions to match the published errata for DMG, and add an init+10 pass where he shakes off anything a save can end.

But I'm sure that's either (a) not right at all, or (b) not everything that should be on the list.

Weren't all the dragons updated in the online Compendium? Every time I search for one, all I see is the new version, more's the pity.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I've been using the Adventure Tools, which I thought synced off of the Compendium. It's still listing Draconomicon and D2 stat blocks for some of the beasties.

I'll head on over to the Compendium, then.


EDIT: Just checked, and the Compendium looks like it's only showing stats from the appropriate module/draconomicon/etc instead of the errata'd version. Bummer.

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

EDIT: Just checked, and the Compendium looks like it's only showing stats from the appropriate module/draconomicon/etc instead of the errata'd version. Bummer.

Maybe it's just the more common ones. "Young Red Dragon" was in the Monster Manual, but the version they show is the Monster Vault version.

Dragons are pretty similar mechanically, at least if you want them to be. If you just change their breath type, resistances, and movement modes, you're basically done. So, find an updated dragon that works for you, and reflavor it.

Or just make your best guess about the changes. The thing to remember is that this isn't an exact science. If it was, they wouldn't have had to update the monsters.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

They didn't update all of them.
The MV updated a lot of the ones from mm1, but many of the ones from mm2 and draconomicon were never redone.
Also, MM3 didn't need to be changed since they were made with the errata already.

Your best bet is to just work it up on your own,  set your source to monster vault and search for dragon. Find the closest one to the one you want to fix, and use it as a template towards fixing the draconomicon one.

Generally speaking they all should have these
Traits:
2AP,
+5 saves
Action Recovery,
Instinctive themed attack (occurs on dragons init +10)
Aura (something that does damage when it's bloodied)
Standard:
Claw (2 attacks, level+5 vs ac,  for level +8 avg damage),
Bite (usually range of melee 2 or 3, and damage is 1.5x claw damage)
Dragon breath (usually burst 3, level +3 vs reflex, similar to bite damage, recharge 5/6)
Themed attack, varies by dragon (blue has lightning burst, green has a flyby attack, etc).
Minor 
Something else that makes sense for how this dragon is supposed to attack (either +5 vs AC or +3 vs NADs; avg damage is level +8) 
Triggered
Bloodied Breath (dragon gets bloodied, its breath weapon recharges and it nukes someone as an immediate)



Generally speaking, the goal is to have the dragon attack 4x a round (2 claws, 1 minor action, 1 instinctive) and only use the breath weapon if you can catch 2 or more pc's in it (otherwise it's usually better to use both claws). 
For old school good-times, have the dragon use one of his APs to do a claw-claw-bite on the same target... 



Hope this helps!
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
Or you could try using the old ones in different ways. They DO work....

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

For a frighteningly effective dragon, look at Calastryx from Threats to the Nentir Vale. 
For a frighteningly effective dragon, look at Calastryx from Threats to the Nentir Vale. 



I'm a petty and spiteful DM and even I think that four heads with FOUR BREATH WEAPONS is unusually cruel. Then again, I would totally use her.

Spiteful Wizard and Voice of Reason of the House of Trolls The Silent God of the House of Trolls Unfrozen OTTer Arbiter of the House of Trolls Yes, I have many titles. Deal with it.
Yeah, that dragon is freakin scary. The action recovery Calastryx has is actually the scary part.
Heroic Dungeon Master
I think I have mine statted up... But I can't get an extract form that'll post in here, like CB does. What's the friendliest way to copypasta this out onto the forums for someone to give it a once-over?

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

Does anyone have a link for bringing the older dragons in-line with the new design?

My memory is not spectacular... So my first impulse is fix the damage expressions to match the published errata for DMG, and add an init+10 pass where he shakes off anything a save can end.

But I'm sure that's either (a) not right at all, or (b) not everything that should be on the list.

How much older? Long ago, dragon breath did damage equal to the dragon's hit points; half if save. THAT would be scary.

A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
For a frighteningly effective dragon, look at Calastryx from Threats to the Nentir Vale. 



I'm a petty and spiteful DM and even I think that four heads with FOUR BREATH WEAPONS is unusually cruel. Then again, I would totally use her.


Tiamat has 5 heads, 5 breath weapons.

Pyrohydra aren't dragons (but close enough) and they can have multiple heads.

I guess I'm pretty cruel. I set a 10 headed hydra on the party once, with pretty much every type of damage imaginable.

One character went bye-bye.

The rest went AROUND.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
For a frighteningly effective dragon, look at Calastryx from Threats to the Nentir Vale. 



I'm a petty and spiteful DM and even I think that four heads with FOUR BREATH WEAPONS is unusually cruel. Then again, I would totally use her.


Tiamat has 5 heads, 5 breath weapons.

Pyrohydra aren't dragons (but close enough) and they can have multiple heads.

I guess I'm pretty cruel. I set a 10 headed hydra on the party once, with pretty much every type of damage imaginable.

One character went bye-bye.

The rest went AROUND.



I'm not throwing a God at the party. And I'm unfamiliar with the pyrohydra. I'll have to give that bad boy a look.
Spiteful Wizard and Voice of Reason of the House of Trolls The Silent God of the House of Trolls Unfrozen OTTer Arbiter of the House of Trolls Yes, I have many titles. Deal with it.
I think I have mine statted up... But I can't get an extract form that'll post in here, like CB does. What's the friendliest way to copypasta this out onto the forums for someone to give it a once-over?




Probably take a screen shot and put it in your post.
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
Here's the screenshots that cover the whole statblock.

Show

Pulled mostly wholesale from the Young Blizzard Dragon, I tried to work it more into the paradigm of dragon who lives deep underwater. I also thought about using the Bronze Dragon's submerged recovery... But that seemed like it'd be overkill, even though my party has a pretty respectable damage potential for their level.

He's kind of the setpiece for this session, being a dragon that's taken up residence in the wheelhouse of a sunken cargo ship. I'm going to throw in a small handful of other critters to make up the rest of the budget instead of leaving him out alone to be alpha struck, but I haven't decided what would be appropriate for the environment... Anyway!

http://i46.tinypic.com/xej56t.jpg
http://i46.tinypic.com/neguno.jpg

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

They are um, pretty small...
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
I thought that was just Firefox's text-to-image preview... Didn't realize the WotC boards were screwing the image up.

http:// i46 . tinypic . com / xej56t . jpg

http:// i46 . tinypic . com / neguno . jpg

Delete the extra spaces, and you should see a properly-sized image when you paste it in the address bar.

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

So, immobilize on a bite and restrain on its reaction. Combo with slide so the PC is 2 squares away from the dragon where PC can't (typically) attack dragon with melee, but dragon can still attack the PC thanks to reach 2. Yeah, that'll work.

It would be neat to have some terrain for the dragon to slide the PCs into, then freeze them there.

Specific nit-picky stuff:
* change Instinctive Crush to work on anything that prevents the attack not just dominate/stun (you never know what weird mojo the PCs will place on the dragon)
* get rid of Undertow -- it doesn't do anything interesting that the dragon cannot already do
* note that Restrained creatures cannot be force-moved, so be careful what order the dragon uses its powers in if that matters 
      
Crushing Atmosphere is brutal, not on it's own, but if you allow it to happen on the Instinctive init, then the dragon is effectively getting a free breath weapon + restrain (save ends) every turn.

It could work, but it's gonna be a super tough fight at that level.
Further, the continued combo of slide + restrain is going to completely neuter any melee, for absically the entire fight. Personally, i'd switch that up a bit...

Otherwise all the numbers look good.
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
To make Atmosphere less brutal, I limited the number of targets (so not everyone, or at least not JUST the melee guys, gets screwed over), and then fixed the instinct wording as advised. Undertow is also gone now, too.

i45.tinypic.com/25ull74.png

i46.tinypic.com/2zir04x.png

58286228 wrote:
As a DM, I find it easier to just punish the players no matter what they pick, as I assume they will pick stuff that is broken. I mean, fight after fight they kill all the monsters without getting killed themselves! What sort of a game is this, anyway?

 

An insightful observation about the nature of 4e, and why it hasn't succeeded as well as other editions. (from the DDN General Discussions, 2014-05-07)

Rundell wrote:

   

Emerikol wrote:

       

Foxface wrote:

        4e was the "modern" D&D, right?  The one that had design notes that drew from more modern games, and generally appealed to those who preferred the design priorities of modern games.  I'm only speculating, but I'd hazard a guess that those same 4e players are the ones running the wide gamut of other games at Origins.

       
        D&D 4e players are pretty much by definition the players who didn't mind, and often embraced, D&D being "different".  That willingness to embrace the different might also mean they are less attached to 4e itself, and are willing to go elsewhere.

    This is a brilliant insight.  I was thinking along those lines myself.  

 

    There are so many tiny indie games that if you added them all together they would definitely rival Pathfinder.   If there were a dominant game for those people it would do better but there is no dominant game.  Until 4e, the indie people were ignored by the makers of D&D.

 

Yep. 4E was embraced by the 'system matters' crowd who love analyzing and innovating systems. That crowd had turned its back on D&D as a clunky anachronism. But with 4E, their design values were embraced and validated. 4E was D&D for system-wonks. And with support for 4E pulled, the system-wonks have moved on to other systems. The tropes and traditions of D&D never had much appeal for them anyway. Now there are other systems to learn and study. It's like boardgamegeeks - always a new system on the horizon. Why play an ancient games that's seven years old?

 

Of course, not all people who play and enjoy 4E fit that mould. I'm running a 4E campaign right now, and my long-time D&D players are enjoying it fine. But with the system-wonks decamping, the 4E players-base lost the wind in its sails.

Sign In to post comments