Legends & Lore: Playtesting Dragons

Legends & Lore
Playtesting Dragons

By Mike Mearls

As you might expect from a game called Dungeons & Dragons, dragons feature prominently. This week, Mike shows you how these legendary creatures fit into the larger framework of the D&D Next rules set.

Talk about this column here.

This Week in D&D

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I really like the extra ambiance that the terrain notes add to the creature, though I would like them to have an encounter builder score though I would expect such a score to be somewhat arbitrary.

This write up makes me what to incorporate a dragon into my next adventure (for higher level players). 
It looks much better than the previous dragons and I like the legendary monsters' traits, it seems more than I thought is still under scrutiny, and for the better. AC is too low IMO
I'm diggin this idea.  I was wondering how they were going to dial up monsters like this.

I do want to check out this monster though because it seems awesome.  However for a 5 man party of level 11 I should be able to toss 3 of these things at them for a difficult encounter.  A level 10 group of 5 can take 2 of these guys.  So far as the XP would suggest.  Basically I'm just wondering if attaching the legendary moniker to a monster is going to change its role in the xp math?  Like if I throw a legendary moniker on there do we just not care about outnumbering it? (obviously we still care about outnumbering especially considering it's possibly going last a lot of the time.)
I believe, a legendary monster should not be fought by equal level parties. It should be encountered well before. On the other hand, I am not sure, i like legendary monsters. I´d rather see the math working better, i.e. higer level/legendary monsters should get better stats at least.

I think saving throw bonuses are needed.
The Dragon itself is a bit underpowered for such a strong claim of "Legendary."

But, the idea of certain creatures getting legendary in their tags, and suddenly the game REFLECTS that, is pretty cool. Especially the environmental stuff.

This is can only produce net good. 

“Pride, envy, avarice - these are the sparks have set on fire the hearts of all men.” ― Dante Alighieri, Inferno

"Feelins'? Look mate, you know who has a lot of feelings? Blokes what bludgeon their wives to death with a golf trophy! Professionals have standards. Be polite. Be efficient. Have a plan to kill everyone you meet." ―Sniper

I like it. it makes the Dragon more than just another monster to kill. I would ask though, is there going to be varying age brackets for the dragons? If so, when would this legendary trait begin? Hatchlings arent exactly legendary...

PP 
Another question:

As much as I understand the size references and that many legendary monsters are of a large build, could this legendary moniker be laid upon something small?
Love this!!

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

All good stuff!

Danny

Another question:

As much as I understand the size references and that many legendary monsters are of a large build, could this legendary moniker be laid upon something small?



I could imagine a powerful skull lich being a legendary villain
Another question:

As much as I understand the size references and that many legendary monsters are of a large build, could this legendary moniker be laid upon something small?



I could imagine a powerful skull lich being a legendary villain




actually rereading the article he makes reference to a bunch of creatures of varying sizes being legendary for one reason or another so I think this ones already answered for me...whoops.
Another question:

As much as I understand the size references and that many legendary monsters are of a large build, could this legendary moniker be laid upon something small?



I could imagine a powerful skull lich being a legendary villain



or the  Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog
15 AC and 126 HP... is this "legendary" creature suitable for a 3rd level party or something?  A "legendary" character could literally 1-shot this thing.  "legendary" seem a very inappropriate name if creatures of any power level can be "legendary."

The legendary actions have been kept simple but still feel like 4E powers creeping back.  I don't see any reason to call them legendary.  That they are seems to be the only thing making the monster "legendary."

The surging water pool and other lair effects are super cheesy, they also feel like an untouchable NPC assistant.  Calling it a solo encounter because the other NPCs in the encounter can't be dealt with is cheating.

The ablative defense of auto-succeed saves is probably a bit too simple, fewer with a recharge mechanic on it might make more sense, but it could work.

@mikemearls don't quite understand the difference

I don't make the rules, I just think them up and write them down. - Eric Cartman

Enough chitchat!  Time is candy! - Pinky Pie

I wish they had snuck that into Fridays playtest packet instead of the Vrock.

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke
The Good:
-Legendary Actions. It's a cool concept, and represents the action economy breakage we saw in the good 4e elites/solos, in a standardized way that can easily be customized to fit a given creature/enemy.

-Frightening Presence only works on low HD characters. This helps eliminate some of the problems before where even a level 20 character who should be killing like 5 of these things at the same time is still likely to fail his save and be frightened.  

-The Lair benefits are all really cool. It makes tracking the Dragon down to his lair and killing him a much less enticing idea than luring him out and doing it elsewhere. I like the lair actions, though needing to alternate what is being used each turn makes me feel like there should be at least one extra option on there to keep it from getting boring/repetive; and the legendary lair actions are a nice touch.

-Regional Effects/Enemies and Allies similarly add a nice bit of ecology, and helps tie killing this legendary creature into a larger adventure, and even provides alternate avenues of victory.

The Nitpicky:
-I don't like that a level 10 creature has 12 hit dice. 1 level = 1 hit die should be a standard thing, and the varying progressions for different creature types was one of the things from 3e I don't want to see back. I'd also like to see "Legendary" come with an appropriate hit point boost (say +50% or +100%), if these guys are supposed to be the Elite/Solo equivalent, having a high enough HP to survive more rounds than a typical creature of its level is essential.

-On a similar note, saving throws are low across the board. Target this dragon with anything other than strength or con, and even with its Magic Resistance, it's got a good chance of failing. This really just highlights the need for some flat +save bonuses. Legendary Resistance does help with this at least. Being able to shrug off the first 4 save or dies tossed at you helps a lot. 

-Breath Weapon damage feels too low. I mean consider you're trading a multi-attack routine, plus two tail swipes, to be able to use your breath weapon once. The multi attack routine is dealing 33 damage, the tail swipes add another 20. We'll call it a 30% miss chance because of the high attack bonus, average 37.1 damage. Figuring breath weapon against a character with an average +1 dex mod, it's a 25% miss chance so 15.25 average damage per target. If you can't get the Breath Weapon to hit 3 targets at once, it's not worth using (except on your first round before you have to start spending legendary actions recharging it. Then you only need to hit two targets to be worthwhile). Breath Weapons are supposed to be really scary, this needs to be beefed up. Even if it's something like targets who fail the save take the same damage again the following turn automatically.
 
 The Bad
-As far as I'm aware this is the first peek we've gotten at the Interaction rules.... and these aren't inspiring. This seems to paint all black dragons with a broad brush into a very specific personality type, and I still see no way that it provides a more solid mechanical foundation for actual interraction rules. I could accept the first if it led to the second, but as far as I can see, it's really not there.

-Lack of clarity in several places. Can Legendary Resistance be used after you've failed a save, or do you have to declare it before rolling? Can the Dragon be passively using his legendary actions even when not in combat, or is it taxing to be doing constantly? (ie is the Dragon immune to anything sneaking because it is constantly using Detect all hidden creatures?). Why does the extra movement legendary action have to be tied to another creature's turn? When there are other creatures around a Dragon can fly 480ft a round, but when it's all alone it can only go 160? This also ties into the question regarding hidden creatures.

-Experience Values. The experience for the Dragon does not seem to be increased significantly compared to a normal level 10 creature. If this is supposed to serve as a solo encounter, that value should be higher. Also completely missing any experience value  for the Dragon's Lair (which has enough special abilities it should definitely count towards the encounter total. The Dragon by itself might be a level 10 encounter, fighting the Dragon in its lair might be much harder, or appropriate for a group of level 12s) 
Another question:

As much as I understand the size references and that many legendary monsters are of a large build, could this legendary moniker be laid upon something small?



I could imagine a powerful skull lich being a legendary villain




actually rereading the article he makes reference to a bunch of creatures of varying sizes being legendary for one reason or another so I think this ones already answered for me...whoops.

Also, note the reference to Artifacts giving an NPC a Legendary status. I think this might be what you're looking for.

edit: multininjad
Interesting. It wastes your first 4 strong magics against tit and can attack off turn on command.

Making its magic spells into lair effects is interesting through. I think I like.

Love the interaction and exploration writeups. "I attempt to intimidate the dragon with harsh words and waving of my sword." "Insta fail. *rolls* Combat starts. Surprise round acid breath."

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Another question:

As much as I understand the size references and that many legendary monsters are of a large build, could this legendary moniker be laid upon something small?



I could imagine a powerful skull lich being a legendary villain




actually rereading the article he makes reference to a bunch of creatures of varying sizes being legendary for one reason or another so I think this ones already answered for me...whoops.

Also, note the reference to Artifacts giving an NPC a Legendary status. I think this might be what you're looking for.




Exactly.  On the reread I definitely found the answer to my inquiry.

I can't wait to see the Tarrasque or a god written up like this. Or even an ancient dragon. Hmm. I wonder if PCs will every become "Legendary". Maybe when getting in to the Legacy system levels that'd be some class features to add in or some optional rules for having legendary heroes.

The Dragon itself is a bit underpowered for such a strong claim of "Legendary."

But, the idea of certain creatures getting legendary in their tags, and suddenly the game REFLECTS that, is pretty cool. Especially the environmental stuff.

This is can only produce net good. 



I think they're operating on some different math. He did say that it nearly got a TPK, which it should unless the party is specifically prepared to deal with it or much higher level. We don't know the party composition but considering that it was in the office it's a safe assumption that they're gaming vets to some degree or another. Besides this black dragon can pump out a good chunk of damage to several targets every round and he's extremely mobile with his speed and legendary actions.

If focusing on a single target: 1 bite attack (13 average damage), 2 claw attacks (10 average a piece so 20), 4 tail attacks with it's legendary actions (Can get two per player turns up to four total. 10 average per attack for 40.), and if it's in it's lair it can get darkness that it can see in giving itself advantage since they can't see the attack coming and giving it's opponents disadvantage since they can't see it. Just using average damage the black dragon can potentially pump out 73 damage to a single target most turns but it can also recover up to 100 hit points during the course of a fight in it's lair. Yes, it's at a strong disadvantage outside of it's lair but that's the whole point. In it's lair it can breath attack every round while diving in and out of the water (60 swim speed, 1 legendary breath recharge, and 3 legendary extra movements for an additional 90 feet of swim speed, plus it's lair action every round.).

I like it. it makes the Dragon more than just another monster to kill. I would ask though, is there going to be varying age brackets for the dragons? If so, when would this legendary trait begin? Hatchlings arent exactly legendary...

PP 



I don't know. A hatchling would be legendary for a low level party. This dragon wouldn't be very legendary for a high level party but in context it certainly can be.

The Good:
-Legendary Actions. It's a cool concept, and represents the action economy breakage we saw in the good 4e elites/solos, in a standardized way that can easily be customized to fit a given creature/enemy.

-Frightening Presence only works on low HD characters. This helps eliminate some of the problems before where even a level 20 character who should be killing like 5 of these things at the same time is still likely to fail his save and be frightened.  

-The Lair benefits are all really cool. It makes tracking the Dragon down to his lair and killing him a much less enticing idea than luring him out and doing it elsewhere. I like the lair actions, though needing to alternate what is being used each turn makes me feel like there should be at least one extra option on there to keep it from getting boring/repetive; and the legendary lair actions are a nice touch.

-Regional Effects/Enemies and Allies similarly add a nice bit of ecology, and helps tie killing this legendary creature into a larger adventure, and even provides alternate avenues of victory.

The Nitpicky:
-I don't like that a level 10 creature has 12 hit dice. 1 level = 1 hit die should be a standard thing, and the varying progressions for different creature types was one of the things from 3e I don't want to see back. I'd also like to see "Legendary" come with an appropriate hit point boost (say +50% or +100%), if these guys are supposed to be the Elite/Solo equivalent, having a high enough HP to survive more rounds than a typical creature of its level is essential.

-On a similar note, saving throws are low across the board. Target this dragon with anything other than strength or con, and even with its Magic Resistance, it's got a good chance of failing. This really just highlights the need for some flat +save bonuses. Legendary Resistance does help with this at least. Being able to shrug off the first 4 save or dies tossed at you helps a lot. 

-Breath Weapon damage feels too low. I mean consider you're trading a multi-attack routine, plus two tail swipes, to be able to use your breath weapon once. The multi attack routine is dealing 33 damage, the tail swipes add another 20. We'll call it a 30% miss chance because of the high attack bonus, average 37.1 damage. Figuring breath weapon against a character with an average +1 dex mod, it's a 25% miss chance so 15.25 average damage per target. If you can't get the Breath Weapon to hit 3 targets at once, it's not worth using (except on your first round before you have to start spending legendary actions recharging it. Then you only need to hit two targets to be worthwhile). Breath Weapons are supposed to be really scary, this needs to be beefed up. Even if it's something like targets who fail the save take the same damage again the following turn automatically.
 
 The Bad
-As far as I'm aware this is the first peek we've gotten at the Interaction rules.... and these aren't inspiring. This seems to paint all black dragons with a broad brush into a very specific personality type, and I still see no way that it provides a more solid mechanical foundation for actual interraction rules. I could accept the first if it led to the second, but as far as I can see, it's really not there.

-Lack of clarity in several places. Can Legendary Resistance be used after you've failed a save, or do you have to declare it before rolling? Can the Dragon be passively using his legendary actions even when not in combat, or is it taxing to be doing constantly? (ie is the Dragon immune to anything sneaking because it is constantly using Detect all hidden creatures?). Why does the extra movement legendary action have to be tied to another creature's turn? When there are other creatures around a Dragon can fly 480ft a round, but when it's all alone it can only go 160? This also ties into the question regarding hidden creatures.

-Experience Values. The experience for the Dragon does not seem to be increased significantly compared to a normal level 10 creature. If this is supposed to serve as a solo encounter, that value should be higher. Also completely missing any experience value  for the Dragon's Lair (which has enough special abilities it should definitely count towards the encounter total. The Dragon by itself might be a level 10 encounter, fighting the Dragon in its lair might be much harder, or appropriate for a group of level 12s) 

I pretty much agree with all of this.

As to the question about maintaining the Legendary abilities, outside combat:

I think these are the type of things that should be reserved for combat, in an "adrenaline rush" concept.

Dragons should be good at finding hidden creatures/objects passively, at all times; but, when using the Legendary ability, the Detection is automatic.

The same goes for the Legendary movement ability; the extra movement is attributed to adrenaline during combat.

Guys don't get too carried away on the numbers front here he did say this was a bare example of the idea not anything close to a final product suggestion.  So while the feedback's cool don't get to down into the nitty gritty, he kinda aluded to the idea that he knows there are some wonky numbers here.

Though I will note one thing I saw mentioned:  I love that one level does not equal 1 hit die.  Considering the combination of AC and hit point total are a large determinant of capability in a monster I think it is very valid to have something with 7 hit die but a 9 ac as a leve 5 threat is fine (so long as he doesn't have too many crazy abilities to use because he is going to take some time to drop no matter what).  Setting it to 1 level equals 1 hit die is an incredibly limiting way to design things and consider their power level.  Monsters are designed differently than characters, and I'm fine with that.

As I've said before I think a large portion of monster design is going to be handled via a point buy system and then the level of the threat will be determined by its exp value (did you spend between x and y ammount of XP on the monster to build it then it is likely level z).  For instance I could spend an amount of exp to get it 12 hit die and then only spend very little for anything else on the monster and it could come out to being a level 7 threat, yeah it's gunna take a while to kill, but it only has 1 claw attack at +4 to hit that does 1d6+5 damage per round, and not much else besides. making it a level 12 monster wouldn't work because it would be far less powerful than other level 12 monsters.

I'm not saying I'm unequivicably right here, but I very much see the reasoning behind why level of threat and its hit die count can be entirely divorced from one another. 
This look like a good start.  The legendary actions provide lots of potential, and I can see how this could be a very good system.  I still think the dragon needs a few tweeks (HP & AC), but I definitely like the direction.
15 AC and 126 HP... is this "legendary" creature suitable for a 3rd level party or something?  A "legendary" character could literally 1-shot this thing.  "legendary" seem a very inappropriate name if creatures of any power level can be "legendary."

The legendary actions have been kept simple but still feel like 4E powers creeping back.  I don't see any reason to call them legendary.  That they are seems to be the only thing making the monster "legendary."

The surging water pool and other lair effects are super cheesy, they also feel like an untouchable NPC assistant.  Calling it a solo encounter because the other NPCs in the encounter can't be dealt with is cheating.

The ablative defense of auto-succeed saves is probably a bit too simple, fewer with a recharge mechanic on it might make more sense, but it could work.



Well, it is a lot more legendary than the current dragon!  As a DM, I like that the legendary actions give me a lot more options, even more so in its lair.  I would still bump up the HP and AC, but then again this is not an ancient black dragon, just an adult - so maybe it is OK at this point.


The lair effects are only cheesy if you run them that way.  I like the simple framework that give me a lot of room to modify as needed.  
The Legendary Actions are great.  The biggest issue with Solo monsters that I have found is the fact that combat stagnates into "PCs go, monster goes, PCs go, monster goes, etc."  These actions are the perfect way to keep combat exciting, because not only does the monster get to act several times over the course of the round, the players don't know exactly when it will act each round. 

I also really like the Interactions block, lair powers, regional effects, and enemies and allies sections.  These are great ways to enhance the monster.  I would like to see Interactons listed for all monsters (at least ones capable of interacting in a meaningful way).
Though I will note one thing I saw mentioned:  I love that one level does not equal 1 hit die.  Considering the combination of AC and hit point total are a large determinant of capability in a monster I think it is very valid to have something with 7 hit die but a 9 ac as a leve 5 threat is fine (so long as he doesn't have too many crazy abilities to use because he is going to take some time to drop no matter what).  Setting it to 1 level equals 1 hit die is an incredibly limiting way to design things and consider their power level.  Monsters are designed differently than characters, and I'm fine with that.



Getting lower HP with higher AC and vice verca can be done with bigger/smaller HD and con scores.

You want a creature with a bunch of HP but low AC? Okay, it has AC 9, 6d12+30 (69 hp). You want a creature with low HP but really high AC? Okay it has AC20, 6d6-6 (15 hp).

There's already plenty of room for varying HP at a given hit die level. Maintaining a consistent number of hit dice I think is good for consistency sake. (It's probably not as important in DDN as it would have been in 3.X, where save bonuses and hit bonuses were tied to hit dice. But I still think it's worthwhile to keep things consistent to a reasonable degree).
Can I just say that what I love most about D&D Next is its written presentation?

Totally digging the look and layout of the rules.

So simple!

Danny

the players don't know exactly when it will act each round. 


This is really, really important.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I now have so many ideas. A Greek style legendary superhydra who just pumps out lost head and heals. A offense low fey who is interaction and exploration heavy and just summons animated nature (trees, rocks, elementals) to swarm hostile PCs with legendary actions and has a very broken charm person spell. Oh this could be great.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Though I will note one thing I saw mentioned:  I love that one level does not equal 1 hit die.  Considering the combination of AC and hit point total are a large determinant of capability in a monster I think it is very valid to have something with 7 hit die but a 9 ac as a leve 5 threat is fine (so long as he doesn't have too many crazy abilities to use because he is going to take some time to drop no matter what).  Setting it to 1 level equals 1 hit die is an incredibly limiting way to design things and consider their power level.  Monsters are designed differently than characters, and I'm fine with that.



Getting lower HP with higher AC and vice verca can be done with bigger/smaller HD and con scores.

You want a creature with a bunch of HP but low AC? Okay, it has AC 9, 6d12+30 (69 hp). You want a creature with low HP but really high AC? Okay it has AC20, 6d6-6 (15 hp).

There's already plenty of room for varying HP at a given hit die level. Maintaining a consistent number of hit dice I think is good for consistency sake. (It's probably not as important in DDN as it would have been in 3.X, where save bonuses and hit bonuses were tied to hit dice. But I still think it's worthwhile to keep things consistent to a reasonable degree).




see in my opinion since none of that seems to be connected at all I see no reason for it.

basically until we see the monster building guidelines I'd rather not get to deep into examples of why differing hit die totals at the same level are fine but in my mind it actually makes a lot of sense in a point buy type of monster building.
I wonder if the legendary system could be aplied to players in some way.

Where depending on your kind of game you play at level 16 you could either chose the Legecy or legendary system. 
I am wondering how many rounds this "legendary" encounter took. I hope it was more than 3 or 4.
I guess I'm just hard to impress, because I felt like nothing Mearls said there actually meant anything. The differences he states between legendary and solo exist only in his mind, and certainly not in the rules of the game, or their presentation.

Looking at the dragon's actual write-up:


  • I find the interaction section is a worthwhile snapshot of the creature's personality. Such a format seems straight-forward and versatile enough for most monsters and NPC's. 

  • 5 actions a turn isn't anything actually special but the DM's ability to determine exactly when they trigger is. That's going to be nasty and probably easy to break in the hands of killer DM.

  • The four automatic saves needs to be clarified as being before or after the roll. Regardless, the dragon doesn't have enough durability to make it worth saving these saves for a "just in case" scenario. It really just means that spellcasters will only use spells that effect even on a save. An ineligant and very situational solution to a much more complicated and general problem of caster domination.

  • The dragon doesn't have spells! Huzzah! I would bet that will change before its final incarnation, knowing how slavishly devoted Next is to earlier editions of D&D.

What exactly can I do with a Legendary creature that 4e would not allow me, as a designer, to do with a Solo?
Wow... epic fail mearls, I am a big fan but this is just... wow bad...


AC 15 and 126hp. at level 10


a level 10 fighter has 16-20 str and +3 class bonus to hit... so +6-+8 before any magic items...


so with a + 1 sword he will need on his D20 anywhere from 8-6 to hit... wow yea that seems hella hard.


hell a First level half orc fighter who gets lucky and finds a +1 great axe and puts his +1 in con can start with 18 str 17con... and a +6 to hit. dealing 1D12+5 and twice per encounter add +1d6 to damage...

65% hit rate Average damage 11.5
DPR is                  8.8 if I am doing it right...


a party of 4 fighters takes 3-4 rounds at 1st level with +1 weapons... if you put wizards it takes less. 

 

Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: What Would Wrecan Say?

What exactly can I do with a Legendary creature that 4e would not allow me, as a designer, to do with a Solo?



It's not a case of what the game would 'allow you' to do. I mean theoretically you could have anything from any edition in any other edition, and there's no rules police that's gonna stop you and say "No, you can't do that!"

But if you compare the actual statblock with the statblock of a solo from 4e, what you see is a creature with a much more flexible action economy (though lacking powers. I agree with that complaint. The breath weapon is weak and uninspiring, and the claw/bite attacks that make up the majority of its offense are pretty boring), that in addition to its personal power also has an effect on the world, warping the environment around it to suit its needs/desires/nature. Basically, for me, the two high points of the statblock are the way Legendary Actions are handled (being generally off-turn actions you can take at any time of your choosing, which can really screw with the PCs, especially if later iterations end up with more interesting abilities), and the way the Lair/Territory is handled (which is something I don't think has been codified in the past. Yes you expect certain things from certain creatures' homes, but the idea that the Black Dragon is warping the forest around it to be more evil/dark/foreboding by its existence there, and killing it or driving it off will make everything go back to normal isn't something I think has actually been codified anywhere in the past, and is if nothing else a relatively interesting take on things).

Basically this statblock represents the sort of thing I've wanted to see from the designers from the start. Experimenting with something new that fits conceptually with the game, and builds off of things that have been done in other editions (including 4e). Complaints about it come down to details (weak breath weapon, low defenses, weird exp value), but the actual concept represents something fresh that I want to see more of, which is something until about a week ago had been sorely missing from the playtest (the downtime rules mentioned last week are the other thing I want to see a lot more information on).
Now stealing action-breaking and Legendary status for my Hellenic-inspired creatures.  Muhahahahaha!

My poor, poor party will never know what hit them...*dreamy sigh*

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Wow... epic fail mearls, I am a big fan but this is just... wow bad...


AC 15 and 126hp. at level 10


a level 10 fighter has 16-20 str and +3 class bonus to hit... so +6-+8 before any magic items...


so with a + 1 sword he will need on his D20 anywhere from 8-6 to hit... wow yea that seems hella hard.


hell a First level half orc fighter who gets lucky and finds a +1 great axe and puts his +1 in con can start with 18 str 17con... and a +6 to hit. dealing 1D12+5 and twice per encounter add +1d6 to damage...

65% hit rate Average damage 11.5
DPR is                  8.8 if I am doing it right...


a party of 4 fighters takes 3-4 rounds at 1st level with +1 weapons... if you put wizards it takes less. 

 




A party of 4 level 1 fighters would be dead by the end of the first round. The Dragon makes 7 attacks a round averaging 10 damage per hit and hitting just as often, if not moreso than the Fighters do.


That said, I agree that the numbers are low. HP particularly feels low, since Legendary creatures are supposed to replace solos/elites, they should have enhanced hit points. The AC value seems low as well, but I can't even blame this on bounded accuracy, because there's easily room for another 3-5 points of AC and still being well within range of bounded accuracy. It seems they just wanted the big dragon to be relatively easy to hit. (On the other hand, without bounded accuracy, the Dragon would have AC more in the 25ish range, so your level 1 Fighters are hitting on a 18 or 19 instead before dying senselessly, while still being easy to hit for the level 10 fighter) 
I like the Legendary actions/Resistance and the Lair mechanic interactions with them. I also think its HP and AC might not be high enought for its level as a mighty creature it should represent challenge-wise. I also think it introduce neat mechanics not  previously seen yet in the Bestiary. Good first draft!

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I think, size should play a bigger role in determining how creatures interact with players. The larger a creature is, the more likely it is that players encounter it as a solo.

When mearls started with: in the beginning, solos were meant to be large or larger creatures, i hoped, size would just affect hp (actually they mentioned it a while ago, that hp could mean bulk). Maybe large creatures just have big hd and high constitution... maybe that will have the desired effect...