Also from my forum post, with some modifications made thanks to feedback.
This is just a "Template" of sorts with a series of Optional Rules that can be added on top of a Standard Dragon in 4E.
This should make a Standard Dragon considerably more dangerous and more like one of the fearsome creatures from the earlier Editions.
It is built with a pure Solo experience in mind for 5 Players. It is not appropriate on Elite Dragons. Due to WotC Terms I won't be posting actual numbers here.
It might be a bit complex, so feel free to use and discard in any portion.
This Template assumes that the Dragon is limited to a Double Attack (2 Claw Attacks) with its Standard Action. That is not true for every Dragon.
Existing Abilities : Many of the Dragon's current Abilities should be natural but take a full Standard to use. This aims to streamline it and add Utility
- Frightful Presence is a Free Action that occurs at the beginning of the Encounter, before Anyone rolls Initiative
- Dragons uses their Breath Weapon as a Minor Action instead of a Standard (seriously, Dragonborn can use it as a Minor, why not Dragons?)
- Dragons that have their Breath Weapon as a Close Blast 5 can use it as an Area Burst 2 within 10 squares for -2 Attack.
Knocked Prone : Seriously, Knock a Dragon Prone? And While Flying?
- When flying and knocked Prone, Dragons Land without taking Falling Damage.
- When on the ground, Dragons can make a Saving Throw to avoid being Knocked Prone (hey, if Dwarves can do it...)
- If they are Prone, they can stand as a Minor Action.
Controlling Abilities : Remember Wing Buffet from 2.5E? This Tail Lash is an altered, per-Turn version, and doesn't push far or knock prone.
- Dragons have Threatening Reach 2 or 3 equivalent to their Reach (ie 2 if Large, 3 if Gargantuan)
- Dragons use Bite Attack as a standard Opportunity Attack, though they may opt to use a Claw Attack instead (see below)
- When an Enemy ends its Turn within their Reach, they may choose to attack with a Tail Lash as an Opportunity Action. If it hits, it pushes the target 1 square (the Dragon may not reduce this Push 1). This Tail Lash replaces their standard Tail Lash / Strike / Attack if they have any.
- The Tail Lash should do about 50-75% damage of a Bite or Claw attack.
Status Effects : The Bane of every Solo. And what makes pure Solos largely meaningless in 4E except arguably against 3-man parties.
- At the start of Every Turn, the Dragon makes a Saving Throw with +2 Bonus (normal is +5 Bonus for Solos) for every Status effect on it, that has affected it for at least one turn, less Ongoing Damage
- The Dragon may also Save against ongoing effects that may not be ended by a Save or over time (eg. Certain Justice from Champion of the Order) If such a Save is made, the Dragon ignores that effect for its Standard, Move and Minor Actions in this Round.
Bloodied : Just a Bloodied Breath? Not good enough.
- Once per Turn, the Dragon may substitute a Bite Attack for a Claw Attack
- The Dragon gains a separate Full Turn every round. This Turn takes place after half the Party (rounded down) has acted or at the end of the Round.
- Note that Breath Attack only gets rolled to recharge once per Round (not per Turn)
Spell Options : Part of what made earlier edition Dragons Awesome. More importantly, it adds Ranged Abilities to the Dragon's Arsenal.
- Dragons may know any 1 of the following At-Will Powers for every Age Category. They may be used as a Basic Attack that incurs no OA. Damage to be adjusted as per updateDMG guidelines.
Elemental : Arc Lightning (HotFL), Freezing Burst (HotFL), Scorching Burst(PHB1), Acid Orb (PHB2)
Others : Illusory Ambush (AP), Hypnotism (HotFL), Phantasmal Assault (HotFL), Winged Horde (HotFW)
- For every 5 Levels of the Dragon, add 1 Wizard or Sorcerer Encounter Power to the Dragon.
eg a Level 17 Dragon would have 1 Encounter Power of Level 5 or lower / 1 Encounter Power of Level 10 or Lower / 1 Encounter Power of Level 15 or Lower.
- Alternatively, for each Tier, 1 of the At Will Spells can target an extra enemy
Quickened Strike : Many of the above Spells have excellent Riders, but the Dragon won't benefit from it unless it can use it in conjunction with other attacks. Claw attack was later added from feedback, that its likely less complex than an At Will spell.
- Once per Round, the Dragon may use a Move Action to cast an At Will Spell or Claw Attack
Flexibility : This adds utility and depth without awarding another Full Turn to the Dragon.
- As an Immediate Reaction (At will), Dragons can make an extra Move Action after any Player's Action is resolved eg. Player Shifts, Dragon Shifts.
- This Move Action can be used for Quickened Casting
(note : Interrupt was a typo, it was originally meant to be Reaction, which is now recitified)
Combat Advantage : Lowly Goblin Backblades and Bandits have it...
- Any target that grants the Dragon Combat Advantage takes an addition 1d6 damage (per Tier) from any of the Dragon's Attacks. The damage type is equivalent to the Dragon's breath attack type.
- The Dragon may only deal this damage once per Round to each target
Dragon Swoop : Many other Monsters can Trample, why not a Dragon?
- Dragons can perform a Dragon Swoop as a Standard Action. It moves at least 2 squares in a certain direction, and can move up to its speed but only in 1 Direction. During this Movement it can attack up to 3 Enemies within its Reach during the Swoop with 1 Bite and 2 Claw attacks, but no more than 1 Attack per target. It gains +1 to Attack rolls made this way. It can still be targeted by OAs (which can be avoided thanks to its Reach)
- Dragon Swoop replaces Flyby Attack, if any.
Claw Attack Options : So much can be done with Claw Attacks. Plus, its a common Visual in movies and what not for the Heroes to be pinned by the Dragon. Probably the most Complex Optional Rule.
- Any Enemy that is struck by 2 of the Dragon's Claw Attacks during a single Turn, it can be subject to either a Knock-Back or be Pinned.
- Knock Back : The target is pushed up to 5 squares and falls prone at the end of the Push. The Dragon can determine how far away to push it.
- Pinned : The target is pinned under one of the Dragon's Claws and effectively Restrained (ie granting CA). It takes a -4 to Escape Checks. Only 1 Target may be Pinned at any one time.
- If a Pinned target ends its turn still Pinned, the Dragon may make a Claw Attack against it as an Opportunity Action, and the Claw Attack automatically Hits.
- If at any point the Dragon makes 2 or more Claw Attacks as a single Standard Action, 1 of them must be directed to the Pinned Target and automatically Hits. Other attacks (a 2nd Claw or a Bite Attack) still have to be rolled as per normal against the Restrained target.
- The Dragon may move the Pinned target as per "Moved a Grabbed Target" rules (ie. Strength vs Fort on the target. If it Hits, the Dragon may move up to Half its Speed and move the Grabbed Target with it) , except it uses a Move Action instead of a Standard Action
- If the Dragon performs any normal Move Action, or uses Dragon Swoop, the Pinned target is immediately Freed.
Playing with Core Template
- Breath Attack whenever possible, since its now just a Minor and can be hurled further no matter what. Most Breath Attacks can also be recharged.
- basically, use a Move to deliver an At Will with a Rider, before using Double Attack on a Standard
- with the flexibility in movement, Tail Strike should be used fairly often
- when Bloodied, it substitutes a Claw for a Bite whenever possible
Playing with Core & Options
- use Spells in such a way as to gain Rider effects like CA, before using Standard Action to Attack
- use Flexibility to manuever to deliver an OA, or if the Heroes cluster close during their turn, unleash an Area Spell on them. Note that this Casting flexibility is lost if you used a Move Action to cast a spell earlier the same Turn.
- after an initial manuevering, use Dragon Swoop on 3 separate targets. Move again to set up an Advantageous position
- to easily Knockback or Pin a target, use a Spell first followed by Double Claw.
- use Knockback to push Melee Players One square away and knock prone. This prevents them from attacking you without some serious disadvantage later
Note that the Template is very strong and meant to provide a deadly challenge. To tweak it just drop some components.
Thoughts/ Comments Welcome.