Showing posts with label dragon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dragon. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

This Old Dragon

I have a bad habit of buying whole collections from people when I find them on Craigslist, Facebook or even at local flea markets.   Typically I find one or two items I really want, a dozen or so I can sell in the local game auction twice a year and then there are the leftovers.

Sometimes the leftovers are items that are so damaged they won't sell or are not even gaming related.  Recently though my "leftovers" have been old Dragon magazines.

I picked up a box of Dragons recently that are mildewy, dusty, and the vast majority are missing their covers.  Others are just water damaged. I stick them all into a box under my desk. Well, now they all have to go.

While I could just dump into the recycling (they are in really piss poor shape) I thought maybe I should go through them all first.

So that is what I am I going to do.

Introducing "This Old Dragon"!

This feature should be  (have not decided on the day yet) and I will grab a mildewy issue and read through it.  This will be a review feature like my White Dwarf Wednesdays, but there will be some notable differences.

1. I am not going to go in order.  I am grabbing a magazine out as I see fit and then I'll review it.   If there is an issue you want me to cover, we will both have to be surprised.  I am not even sure what issues I have.  I think the lowest is #54 and the highest is #160, but I can't be sure.  I am going to grab an issue in the morning, pop it open on my treadmill and go for a run.

2. I am not going to cover everything in the magazine.  This is part out of choice and part out of necessity.  Some of the magazines are missing pages, others have pages too damaged to read.  Plus I only want to devote my attention to articles I like or would like to revisit.  In this case it means I am likely to ignore the comics, but maybe focus more on the fiction I never read.

3. I have no idea what I have. Like I said I have a vague idea. I know I have duplicates and in one case triplicates of some issues.  There are many I don't have.

I am also not going to try to step on any toes of people reviewing Dragons now. If I see someone reviewing or have reviewed the same issue, I'll post a link.  Likewise, if you have something you want to say about an issue posted then post away!

I'll do this for a while and see how it goes over.  What do you think?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Wizards of the Coast Print On Demand: The Results, Part 3

Today is Tuesday so that means new releases.  Wizards of the Coast has some new classic D&D books up for POD today.  Be sure to check them out.

Today I want to compare the POD 3e Draconomicon to the one I bought my son when it first came out.
A bit of background.  The Draconomicon is a watershed book for the Brannan family.  I got it for my son because he loved dragons. Still does really.  Well he carried this book with him everywhere for years.  Needless to say it is in pretty bad shape.  I have wanted to get him a new one for years and I have seen many at Half-Price books and of course at my FLGS, but none have jumped out at me saying "buy me".  We I opted to spend some of the money from the sales of my own books on the POD version.  I splurged and got the "Premium Heavyweight" paper.

In the pictures the original print in on the left side of your screen, the POD on the right.

Side by side it is hard to know which is which.  The art on the POD version seems a little bigger.  You will notice there is a spot on the bottom where the cover doesn't quite make it to the bottom.  I have seen this before on other books.  Sometimes it prints like this other times it doesn't.

The Heavyweight POD is noticeably thicker than the original print.

The POD does not have the dragon art printed on the inside cover.  The images are repeated in the original printing but only one of each in the POD.  The POD actually looks more interesting.

Inside the books are remarkably identical.

My son was 6 when I got this for him.   He carried it to school for two years straight.

This is the LightningSource/OneBookShelf page added to all the books.   So no chance someone will mistake these for originals if they know to look for this.

Equally, the original features an ISBN barcode.  The the POD has a different one that is not an ISBN.

The spines are also very different. This of course is by necessity to accommodate the varying thickness of the paper choices.

In all I am happy with it.  It doesn't look like my original, but that is fine with me.  It makes it more of a "new" book in some respects.  Yes, just like the original I am giving this to my son for Christmas. Don't tell him.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dungeons.. AND Dragons.

So week end wrap up.

Wow. What a busy week really.

Tonight is 2nd Ed. AD&D, a continuation of our Basic game from two-weeks ago. But I am dead tired.

So here is a size comparison of some Dragons.  Happy Friday!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 22

Day 22: First D&D-based novel you ever read (Dragonlance Trilogy, Realms novels, etc.)

I have to admit I don't read a lot of game-based fiction.  I did. But not anymore.

So like most people my age the first D&D book I ever read was Dragons of Autumn Twilight.

I remember being rather excited about it when it came out.  I read it and it was ok.  I liked the Twins Trilogy better, but lets be 100% honest here. These are not great works of literature.  They are fun.

I recently set out to reread the Annotated Dragonlance Chronicles recently.  I have not gotten very far.  There is a surprising lack of violence in these books.  Plus they commit one of the cardinal rules of fiction in my mind, things happen to the characters rather than characters doing things.

My son is reading this now.  He will enjoy it since he is the same age now I was then.

I will admit to reading all the Gord the Rogue books and all of the Ravenloft ones.
To be fair with the Ravenloft books though there are some "names" in those early books, Laurell K. Hamilton, P.N. Elrod, Christie Golden, and Elaine Bergstrom.

I have never read any Forgotten Realms books or anything for any other game line.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Return of the Dragon

So I got this in the mail the other day.

I had this poster when it first came out.  I honestly have no memory of how I got it except that it was something I had to send off for.
I had it till college and had it hanging on my wall in typical college fashion.  That is till my idiot roommate got mad at me one day and ripped it down.

Ever since then I have wanted one.  Well thanks to magic that is eBay I finally got another one.
I am not going to tell you what I paid, save it was more than most people would have been willing to part with, but enough that I am happy. It was still rolled up in the original tube in fact!  

The poster is actually in very, very good shape for being 30 years old.

The timing is great since the Dragonslayers (my kids group) need something from a "rainbow dragon" to finish their quest.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

30 Day D&D Challenge, Day 21: Favorite Dragon (Color/Type)

Day 21: Favorite Dragon (Color/Type)

Another interesting one.
I always liked the Silver Dragons, felt they were custom made for AD&D Paladins.  One of the things that was great moving from "Basic" D&D to AD&D were the "good" dragons. I also liked the black and blue dragons. I liked that they had acid and lighting weapons, which I thought were pretty cool.

My favorite unique Dragon comes from my son.  The dragon is Aži Dahāka. Here he is for both Pathfinder and Basic stats.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gygax Magazine?

Gygaz Magazine was released to much pomp and circumstance this past winter.  The idea was to capture the feeling and joy of the Dragon magazines of old and it did this. For one issue.

I was/am a yearly subscriber but yet I have no idea really when Issue #2 will arrive.  This is despite the communications on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

The main trouble here is trying to release a new print magazine in this day and age.  Most print magazines are failing and some, like Newsweek and Dragon, have gone over to all digital format.

Gamers can be be obstinate to the point of pig-headedness (and old school gamers even more so) when it comes to print, but sometimes economic reality is, well, reality.

It's not as if the content of the magazine doesn't have value, sales of the print and pdf versions can attest to that.  Is the value worth more than the cost to print, sell and ship.  One issue I have heard coming up is the rise of shipping costs which I am sure is the killer for most magazines.

I hope things get worked out for Gygax.  I'd like to see it succeed.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Reviews: Dragon Island and Magic

A few new products I picked up at the GM's Day Sale at DriveThruRPG.

My boys are getting ready for their huge campaign finale.  The giant battle against Tiamat on the Island of the Dragon Empire.  Back in the dawn of time the Dragon and their Dragonfolk surrogates ruled the world from the Dragon Island.  Those days are gone and the Dragon Empire has fallen.  But the Island remains and that is where the characters will make their stand.

Fantastic Maps - Iconic Island
I am gearing up for the BIG finale of my years long 3e game.  The final battle where the forces of good battle the forces of evil happens on an Iceland-like island in my world.  I could have drawn anything, I could have even taken an older module and altered the island in Photoshop.  With this product I didn't have too.  It even looks almost EXACTLY like what I wanted.  The ZIP file contains maps of the island. Non-marked, marked and hexed variants. Plus a BW version.  There is no text or fluff to go with this, which is great, I have my own.  This is my new Dragon Isle!  I would love to see more products like this one.

My new island is going to need people too.

Archetypes of the Jade Oath (PFRPG)
I got this product for the new witch hexes but the rest of it is great as well.  There is a cool Eastern Flavor to this and I want to see if there is more in this series.  While I have a lot of cultures on my game world the one thing that has been getting the short end of my attentions are Dragonfolk/Dragonborn.  This book, while not explicitly designed for that, is perfect for my needs (and the cover kinda helps with that).
So what do we get? 20 pages (with cover, credits page, OGL statement and 2 pages of "Ads").  While there is an Eastern "flavor" to this, it is presented mostly context free.
The Barbarian is based on totem animals, which is a really awesome variant.  I normally don't play barbarians, but I would try one of these.  The Cavaliers are the Order of the Ancestors and Order of the Creed.  Monks, a natural fit, are presented as Kensai (one of my favorite classes back in the day). Imagine the typical unarmed monk, now armed.  And finally, the Witch, with a bunch of new and exciting hexes based on Elemental magics or Dragon magic (see it is a perfect fit!!). In fact these are some of the best Dragon Witches I have ever seen.  So this is worth the price of the book alone to me.
We also get plenty of new feats.  This was a nice surprise and I am very happy with this.

Midgard: Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire
I own a few of the Midgard products, but this one really called to me.  This Dragon Empire is very similar to the one I was crafting for my own game world, so this saves me some heavy lifting.
The 30 pages of this book is jam-packed.  What did I like in this?
Well I love the castes.  Dragons seem very arrogant and a caste system makes sense. I liked how the castes were set up as well.  Lots of great role-playing potential in these.  We get a bunch of new Traits and Feats.
Classes get a bit of an update as to be expected.  There is a Cavalier archetype, the Order of the Firedrake (which is a PERFECT with my world's own White Drakes). The Druids have the Elemental Exarch. Fighters get Edjet Warriors, and the Magus has the Dragon Magus.  We get a couple new monks, Monk of the Fiery Fist and Monk of the Wind Palm. There is also the Mystery of the Void, Greyscale and Void Elemeentalist for the Oracle, Rouge and Elementalists respectively.  There is also the Dragon Emir prestige class which I am sure my son would love. The book end with new spells, exotic goods and magic items, including magic the magic carpet.  Cool stuff.  I am going to have to look for more books in this series.

Midgard Bestiary for Pathfinder RPG
We always need more monsters. Over a 100 new monsters for Pathfinder.  Lots of really interesting ones too.  I loved the Shadow Fae, Ice Maiden and Red Hag and have hooks already for all of them.  The new dragon types are also very interesting and I can't wait to use a Mithril Dragon or Baby Yaga's Horsemen. In fact there are two completely separate campaigns I want to use this book in, a Dragon based one and a Witch-centric one.  Both need unique monsters that the players have never seen before, and there are a number of monsters here that are perfect for one or the other or both!
Also available for 4e and AGE.

Lineage Draconis
This 28 page (27 + cover) pdf features 6 dragon crossbreads including the oft stated Orange and Yellow Dragons. But you also get the Blade, Steel, Rust and Gray Dragons.  These dragons are pretty interesting and for the game I have coming up I need a lot of interesting dragons.  The book also includes the Dragon Blooded "class" though it is also sort of a race.  They are humanoid dragons.  Plenty of things you can do with this class as well as alternate versions depending one where the blood came from.
In a neat little feature you also get the art from the book in a seperate file.  So now you can show your players exactly what a Yellow Dragon looks like.

The Modern Spellcaster Basic Class
This book is for the d20 Modern Game, Pathfinder and a few other d20 based games.   It presents a generic form of a spellcaster that isn't a wizard, cleric, witch or druid.  In a sense it is a throwback to the older "Magic User" class.  The basic premise here is to provide full powered (up to spell level 9) spellcasters from D&D like games to your Modern Games.  I am not sure how this works out in play, but the concept on it's own is interesting enough.  There are new feats and a fun "arcane death" table.  Frankly I would like to see that expanded into an "Arcane CSI" to be used in any modern game with magical elements.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Natural History of Dragons

Just saw this over at one of my favorite blogs All Things Urban Fantasy.

A Natural History of Dragons. With some kick ass art by Todd Lockwood and written by Marie Brennan.

I need to get this for my son!

I have been following the books of Marie Brennan for a bit.  I have some, but have not read them yet.
I am looking forward to this.

And they are also giving away 3 copies.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dragonborn Books

My son loves Dragonborn.  He plays Skyrim because there is a "dragonborn" in that.  He wanted to get all the Doctor Who episodes on DVD that feature the Draconians, and in every game we play that is the character race he wants.

Well...not every game has them.  But there are a lot of great third-party publishers that feel the same way.

Good thing for me I know about Goodman Games.
They have two products out, The Complete Guide to Dragonkin (for 3rd ed) and Hero's Hanbook Dragonborn (for 4th ed).

The Complete Guide to Dragonkin
This book is the older of the two, so let's do it first.
76 pages, covers, OGL.  Pretty packed really.  A brief intro and some background on dragon-kin and how they are all connected to each other (an interesting touch).  This assumes that a lot of different races inter-bred with dragons like humans, orcs, goblins and of course kobolds. So we have a variety of bloodlines; half-dragons, dragon-touched and "wyrm-bred".
The Half-Dragon Racial Template is presented and the associated powers.  If you are playing 3.x/Pathfinder and want to play a "Dragonborn" character then this is a great book.  It predates the Dragonborn in 4e and the Dragon bloodline sorcerer in Pathfinder, so a Pathfinder update would be nice to have, but still this is a solid book.
There is a lot in this book. It even covers how these races view, and sometimes worship, the dragons they are related to.  There is a chapter on Dragon magic which includes new spells and "dragon egg sculpting".
There is not much in the way of news monsters, but I think that is fine.  There is a Dragon/Kobold crossbreed that works well as an antagonist. Especially if your players tend to laugh when you throw kobolds after them.
I compare this book rather favorably to their Complete Guide to Fey.  It was because I owned that book that I felt comfortable picking up this one.  I was not disappointed.

Hero's Hanbook Dragonborn 
99 pages, GSL, covers. There is a quite a lot in this book.  While Goodman Games could have used a lot from their previous book (The Complete Guide to Dragonkin) this one has a completely different approach.  Dragonborn are well established in D&D4, so none of that material is repeated here. Instead the book covers different clans and variations of Dragonborn.  There is also a lot of crunch to go with the fluff.  Frankly Dragonborn need a lot more "fluff". Unlike all the other fantasy races, Dragonborn/Dragonkin are really a creation of D&D.  Sure there have been other types in the past, but even in the early days of the game their origin is purely a D&D one. That gives this book a lot of room to run.
There is also a nice collection of items to help give this race a sense of history. Plenty of powers for Dragonborn characters, options and magic items.  If you are like my son and love to play Dragonborn in 4e then this is a great book to have.

This book though suffers from the fate all 3rd party GSL books suffer and that is the material is not in the character builder.

In the process of reading these books I became aware of other ones, not by Goodman Games though.

One of the first is from Barrel Rider Games, The Dragon and it is only a dollar.
Again, I don't expect a lot for a buck.  Barrel Rider Games though gives you a whole class for a buck.

This one is a bout Dragons as a class/race.  Not Dragonborn or Dragonfolk, but full blown dragons.
Now my first thought is these characters could be unwieldy in a group of adventurers or even overpowered.  That is best left to the Labyrinth Lord to decide really.
The book is five pages: Cover, 2 pages for the class, and 2 pages for the OGL and the Labyrinth Lord compatibility notice.
There seems to be a bit missing though. I would have liked have seen a little on how to play this character class and what motivates them to adventure.

Fehr's Ethnology: Dragonblood is another one for Pathfinder by Purple Duck Games, a name I have grown to like.
This one is pretty good really. Nice art, clear easy to read text and 7 pages of content (1 full page art, 1.5 of OGL and ads for 10 total pages).  Simple race rules with not a lot of fluff, but a lot of crunch. There are some alternate racial characteristics and some feats.  There are class suggestions and suggestions on play.  For 10 pages it is really packed full. My son has been using this in our 3.x game now for a bit and we like it the most out of the many free options we have also found.  At $1.25 it is an absolute steal.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dragonfolk for the Advanced Era

Like his dad, my oldest son enjoys all versions of D&D.  He plays a 3e game with me and his brother, a 4e game with some friends and a Pathfinder game with some other friends.   He has also had the chance to play Castles & Crusades, ACKS and Basic Era D&D.  But so far his favorite has to be 1st Ed AD&D.

He also loves dragons.  Always has.  So it was a natural then that he would want to make his own dragon book and have some going back and forth we decided that an OSRIC or Labyrinth Lord Advanced compatible book would be the best.

Of course in what can only be called a bit of Generational Rebellion, according to my son there are no know Dragonfolk witches. 

So for your enjoyment here is a new player character race he has been working on for some time. 
The Dragonfolk.

All text below is considered OPEN for the Open Gaming License. It is copyright 2012 Liam and Timothy Brannan.

It is well known that dragons can often take the guise of humans, elves or other humanoid species.  It has been through this magic that the dragons have come into direct contact and congress with these younger species.  For years these various dragon-blooded and half-dragons roamed the world often ignorant of their own heritages.  It was not till the great hero Marduk, himself rumored to be the spawn of a human mother and Ea the Dawn Dragon, gathered all the dragon blooded to one one land now known as the Dragon Isles. He then became their first King.

Thousands of years later the Dragon Empires have waned, but the Dragonfolk have survived as a species in their own right.  They rarely leave their Dragon Isles and are thus rare or even legend in other parts of the world.

There are two type of Dragonfolk recognized, Imperial and non-Imperial.  Imperial Dragonfolk hale from the Isles of the Dragon Empire.  The Empire has waned in the 700+ generations since Marduk first united the Dragonfolk into a single people, but the Imperial Dragonfolk are still just as proud as they ever were.

Non-Imperial Dragonfolk are born from the union of a humanoid (typically human, elf or dwarf) and a dragon.  They are of the same general sort of their humanoid parent with the scales, coloration and temperament of their dragon parent.  Non-Imperial Dragonfolk are often shunned in human committees. Any non-Imperial Dragonfolk can claim to be an Imperial Dragonfolk only if they make a pilgrimage to the Temple of Dragons on the Dragon Isle and there renounce their ties to their humanoid relatives.

Dragonfolk appear as dragonlike humanoids.  They share qualities with both of their parent stock.  They stand taller than humans typically 6 to 7 feet in height with males and females being roughly the same height.  They are warm blooded despite their reptilian appearance, though they are not as comfortable in extreme climates as are humans.   Dragonfolk lay eggs like dragons, but also produce milk like a mammal.  Typically only 1 to 2 eggs are laid in a clutch.  The eggs develop partially inside the female and then are kept warm by the male and female once laid.  Twins resulting from one egg is considered an ill omen.

Imperial Dragonfolk can claim human, elf, dwarf as well as a variety of draconic parentage.  Imperial Dragonfolk are only fertile with other Dragonfolk. Non-Imperial are fertile with other Dragon-folk and their members of their humanoid parent's race (and races cross fertile with them such as orcs, trolls, goblins).

Dragonfolk can come from any combination of dragon and humanoid parentage.  For Imperial Dragonfolk, ones that live or come from the Dragon Isles, this is not determination of potential alignment or powers. For non-Imperial Dragonfolk parentage can have an affect on coloration, powers and potential alignment.  
Dragonfolk only recognize the difference between Imperial and non-Imperial Dragonfolk, with Imperial Dragonfolk claiming superiority to the non-Imperial individuals.  Non-Imperial Dragonfolk can produce offspring with strong Dragonfolk traits. These straits remain strong even through many generations.

There is some questionable scholarly work claiming that Kobolds are non-Imperial crosses with gnomes or halflings.  While is this largely dismissed even the most conservative scholars do believe that Kobolds may be the result of non-Imperial pairings of dragons and goblins.

Dragonfolk develop from egg to hatchling in 6 months and are weaned after 6 months. They reach maturity at 13 years.  Imperial Dragonfolk are considered Citizens at 21 years of age.  Their average lifespan is 250 years.  A mated pair will usually mate first between 14 and 21 years old and they will stay together for life, though they may not not necessarily live with each other.

Honor and Caste
Dargonfolk have a strict code of honor. This and the Dragonfolk caste system will be detailed in the future.

Requirements: CON 9
Ability Modifiers: STR +1, CHA +1, DEX -1
Ability Min/Max: STR 4/19, DEX 2/17, CON 9/18, INT 3/18, WIS 3/18, CHA 4/19

Languages: Dragonfolk learn Draconic as their primary Language and can learn the common tongue and alignment language.  They may learn additional languages to these based on their Intelligence score. If Kobolds have a unique language then Dragonfolk will also know this language. 

Infravision: 30 ft
Low-light vision: 120ft

Naturally Dragonfolk are a highly magical race. They gain a +2 to all saves from Spells and Spell like devices.  The gain a +4 vs Dragon Breath saves.  

They can see Invisible creatures and items on a 1 on a 1d6.  They can find secret doors on a 1-2 on a 1d6 as well. 

Dragonfolk are naturally resistant to weapons due to their tough, scaly hides. They gain an additional -1 to their Armor Class. 

Permitted class options: Cleric, Fighter, Paladin, Magic-User*, Thief, Cleric/Fighter, Cleric/Paladin,  Fighter/Magic-User, Fighter/Thief.

Level Limits
Cleric: 9th 
Fighter: Unlimited
Paladin: 17th
Magic-User*: 11th
Thief: 8th

Dragonfolk have their own type of magic-user known as Dragon Mages.  These will detailed later.

Dragonfolk Thief Skill Adjustments
Pick Locks -5%
Find and Remove Traps +5%
Climb Walls -15%

Movement Rate: 120 ft

Breath Weapon
A holdover from their draconic heritage, Dragonfolk have a limited breath weapon.  Regardless of their coloration or alignment the individual Dragonfolk can choose among Acid, Cold, Gas, Electricity,  or Fire.  
Once per day a Dragonfolk can emit a powerful breath weapon attack.  This attack does 1d6 + 1hp/level damage. The damage type is chosen at character creation and can't be changed short of a Wish spell.

Dragonfolk and Kobolds
Dragonfolk and Kobolds share a relationship similar to that of Humans and Halflings or Dwarves and Gnomes. In areas where Dragonfolk are more common Kobolds will live on the outskirts of the Dragonfolk communities.  Kobolds will adjust their normal behaviors and alignments to suit that of their Dragonfolk cousins.  Indeed small communities of kobolds near good aligned Dragonfolk areas have been known to be good aligned as well.  

Dragonfolk follow a form of Ancestor worship where they honor the spirits of fallen warriors, kings and dragons.  They claim that many of the dragon "gods" that cultures around the world worship were in fact personages in their history.  Many times these gods were non-Imperial Dragonfolk that rose to great power and honor.   Such dragons and Dragonfolk are Aži Dahāka (The Destroyer), Druk (thunder dragon), Ea (Dawn Dragon), Jawzahr (Moon Dragon), Karkeu (Diamond Dragon), Marduk (Dragonfolk Hero and Emperor), Quetzalcoatl (Dragonfolk Lord of the Sky), Tiamat (Mother of Monsters), Yam (Son of Ea and Tiamat, dragon god of the Sea), Zirnitra (Dragon God of Sorcerery), and Zmey Gorynych (Darkness).

Section 15.
OSRIC. Copyright 2008 Stuart Marshall.
Advanced Edition Companion, Copyright 2009-2010, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor.

"Dragonfolk for the Advanced Era" Copyright 2012, Timothy & Liam Brannan.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Here There Be Dragons updates

With The Witch out and EW in the hands of the publisher it is time to move on to other projects.

I want to talk about "Here There Be Dragons" for a bit.  We paused on this last year to give my son time to concentrate on his school work.  Over the summer things were just way too busy and then I needed to finish the Witch.

Be we are back.  One of the things we want to do is come up with a good dragon statblock that covers the Old School feel we wanted but also includes all the information we want to get out about dragons.  I also want to retain as much good information from the SRD as we can.

In the 1st Advanced Era dragons had 8 age categories.  In the 3rd Edition/SRD era there are 12.
The age categories are also significantly different.  In earlier editions of the game the differences were not great.  In the newer versions there is quite a bit of difference between a Wyrmling and a Great Wyrm.
This can be seen in the SRD here for Blue Dragons.

There are plenty of good and open under the OGL stat blocks for dragons. OSRIC has one, Labyrinth Lord Advanced Companion is another and slightly different. The stat blocks in Castles & Crusades are also open and try to merge the best of 1.x and 3.x in their own way as well. In fact they even fit 12 age categories into 8 rather well.

Additionally Dragons should have more spells as the age, have more treasure and be more powerful, not just harder to hit or kill.

So here is a rough draft of a dragon stat block for a Blue Dragon.

Blue Dragon
Frequency: Rare
No. Appearing: 1d4
Size:  See below
Move: 90' fly 240' (AA: level II)
Hit Dice: typically 8 to 10
Armor Class: typically 2
Attacks:  1 bite, 2 claws or magic
Damage: 1d6 / 1d6 / 3d8
Special Attacks: Breath Weapon, Dragon Fear, Magic Use
Special Defenses:
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Very
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Treasure: ????
Chance of:
- Speaking: 40% + 5%/Age
- Magic-use: 20% + 5%/Age
- Sleeping: 10% + 5%/Age
- In Lair: 20% + 5%/Age
Level/XP: See Below

Breath Weapon: Lighting Bolt, 100' long, 5' wide, line
Spells: As Wizard of level equal to HD

Size (length)
HD (hp)
Breath Damage
Breath Range
4 (18)
5 (15)
6 (27)
4 (16)
8 (36)
3 (17)
10 (45)
2 (18)
12 (54)
1 (19)
14 (63)
0 (20)
16 (72)
-1 (21)
18 (81)
-2 (22)

Age Category

Age Years
Young Adult
Very Old

These tables will be tweaked as we go along.

Not sure if this is the final version, it is though a working one.
I put in the the average hp on a d8 per HD since I also had the idea that HD could stay the same (say 10) and a dragon gets it's age category in hp.  So Wyrmling would have had 10 hp and an Ancient dragon 80 hp.  It works for the Blue here, not sure about the rest; I think it might.

Did not calculate the XP yet.
Still have no idea how I want to do treasure.  Should I use LL Hoard Classes or list out like in OSRIC?

Credit where credit is due.

Section 15 of the OGL.

System Reference Document copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

OSRIC copyright 2006-08 by Stuart Marshall, adapting material prepared by Matthew J. Finch, based on the System Reference Document, inspired by the works of E. Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, and many others.

Advanced Edition Companion, Copyright 2009-2010, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor.

Hypertext SRD, 2005 Jans Carton.

Castles & Crusades: Monsters & Treasure, Copyright 2005, Troll Lord Games; Authors Robert Doyel and Stephen Chenault.

Blue Dragon: Here There Be Dragons, Copyright 2012, Liam and Timothy Brannan.

All material is open under the OGL.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Here There Be Dragons...Year of the Dragon

"I love it when a plan comes together." - Hannibal Smith

Liam and I (well, mostly Liam) have been working really hard on "Here There Be Dragons..."

Early this year we sat down and went through every monster book I own and what Liam liked the best was the classic Monster Manual from 1st Ed AD&D.  Can't blame him, that book is what got me hooked.
We decided after gaming one day that HTBD should be stated out for OSRIC to capture that same feel.

Well here is the part where I take my own advice.

April 17, 2012 WotC will as you all know by now re-release the classic hardcover AD&D books.
April 23 is St. George's Day, the patron saint of England and of Dragon Slayers (ok that last bit I made up).

So given that this is the Year of the Dragon, I think it makes sense for Liam and I to double down and get this thing done.

I know I have other projects in the works and they are moving along.

There is a ton to do on it.  We have a few score new dragons lined up, some art.  Maybe some spells.
It is not going to be a big book.  No cover art as of yet. No publisher either.
But this is pure old-school DIY.  My son loves dragons and wants to see more of them in his game.

I hope we can make the deadline and get you "Here There Be Dragons..." in time for the 1st Edition releases.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Quintessential D&D for D&D.Next

Remember my idea back from the late Summer, the one I was calling Quintessential D&D where there are five linked adventures that used all the rules of all D&D?

Here are the links to bring you all back up to speed.

With me?  Ok good.
It dawns on me that with what I am hearing about D&D5/D&D.Next that this is the perfect segue into the new rules.

So the characters play through the worlds, they collect the Three Great Books of Gax, fight the dragon guardians and reset the universe.  Reset it to what though?  Easy, reset it to 5th edition.

With the new change in the rules I am not 100% sure I am going to finish up my 4e game.  Or if I do, it will be largely altered to fit into the kinda game I want to run (I still want Drama Points in D&D.)

Stepping away from this for a bit it occurs to me that this would also make a great play-test platform for D&D5.

In the mean time here is an interesting retrospective bit on "Could WotC Support ALL D&D".  What a difference seven months can make.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Here There Be Dragons...update

Working with my son right now on his dragon book.  He has a lot of cool ideas and I like how the book is shaping up.

After going around a couple times on the system we wanted to use, we decided today that the book will be stated up for 1st Edition Advanced rules.

We felt there are a ton of books out there for 3e.  We were not really interested in doing it for 4e though either.  Basic was my original choice since it can be translated well.  We even very, very briefly considered Savage Worlds (his new favorite).

I need to read over the OSRIC license IF I want to indicate compatibility with OSRIC (no idea if I want too or not yet).  Of course there is the Labyrinth Lord "Advanced Edition Companion" and that is also a good candidate.  They both represent the same era of play and are largely compatible with each other.

I think this is a good way to go to be honest.  His ideas are very much n the mindset of the earliest days of the hobby; when everything was permitted and no one said you couldn't have a blue dragon that had ice cold fire as a breath weapon.  HTBD will be a new point of view on these creatures, something I think we could all use after nearly 40 years.

Not sure on the deadline or when it will be out.  But the author is working on it when it is his turn to use the homework computer.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Hey everyone.

I know. I am late with a few projects.
Not to get into too deeply, but have had some illnesses and surgeries at home (everyone is fine, except for me and I have a bad cold) and work has been really, really busy.

So without further ado here is the status of various projects.

Eldritch Witchery
Done.  In the hands of the editor now.  There might be rewrites.

The Witch
85-90% done.
I am working on some of the spells and had to redo how I do ritual magic in Basic Eras games.
This one I am going to hold off on till Dec. 22.  The release will include blog posting on Befana, The Christmas Witch.

Vampire Queen Adventure
Done.  Need to get it typed up and sent off.

Here There Be Dragons...
Slower progress here.  But we have a lot of ideas and have been working on it a lot.
Bought some more art yesterday for it too.
We are hoping to release it on April 23, 2012; St. George's Day.

In the meantime Ghosts of Albion should be out in stores by the end of this month!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Here there Be Dragons: Aži Dahāka, 3.5/Pathfinder

Here is a stab at Liam's big dragon, Aži Dahāka.  I used a couple of different tools and then manually tweaked them.

More details on his monster here soon.  Right now I want to know how these stats look to you.

Aži Dahāka
Dragon, Great Wyrm Fiendish
CR 28 XP 3,100,000
Chaotic evil Colossal Dragon
Init +4; Senses Blindsense, Darkvision 60; Listen +53; Spot +53

AC 41, Touch 2, flat footed 41 (+ No Armour, + Shield, none)
(+39 Natural, -8 size)
hp 660 (40d12+400);
Fort +32, Ref +22, Will +32
Damage reduction 20/magic, Immunity to fire, Spell Resistance 32, Resistance to cold and fire 10

Speed 40, fly 200ft.
Single Attack Bite +50 (4d8+17)
Full Attack
Bite +50 (4d8+17)
2 Claw +47 (4d6+8)
Crush +47 (4d8+8)
Tail +47 (4d6+8)
2 Wing Slap +47 (2d8+8)
Space 30ft.; Reach 20ft.
Special Attacks
Breath Weapon DC(40) 24d10 Fire 60ft cone, Frightful Presence DC(38) , Sorcerer 19,
Spell-like Abilities Sorcerer level 19,
Smite good 1 per day add extra damage = to HD total

Spell-like Abilities
Spell-like Abilities (CHR) 3rd DC(21) Locate object 11/day
Spell-like Abilities (CHR) 3rd DC(21) Suggestion 3/day
Spell-like Abilities (CHR) 6th DC(24) Find the path 1/day
Spell-like Abilities (CHR) 8th DC(26) Discern location 1/day

Spells Known:

Spells  (will choose these later)
Level 0 (6) DC 18
Level 1 (8) DC 19
Level 2 (8) DC 20
Level 3 (8) DC 21
Level 4 (8) DC 22
Level 5 (7) DC 23
Level 6 (7) DC 24
Level 7 (7) DC 25
Level 8 (7) DC 26
Level 9 (4) DC 27

Str 45, Dex 10, Con 31, Int 26, Wis 27, Chr 26
Base Attack 40 Grapple 73
Alertness: +2 listen +2 spot,
Blind-fight: Re-roll miss chance for concealment,
Cleave: Get extra attack if kill monster,
Flyby Attack: Can make standard action during move,
Great Cleave: Can make extra attacks if kill opponent ,
Hover: Can Hover,
Improved Initiative: +4 Initiative checks,
Iron Will: +2 on will saves,
Multiattack: Secondary Attacks are at -2 instead of -5,
Power Attack: Subtract from to hit add to damage,
Snatch: Snatch prey in mouth or claw,
Weapon Focus: +1 to attack rolls,
Widen Spell,
Wingover: Can change directions quickly while flying
Skills Appraise 28, Bluff 44, Concentration 46, Diplomacy 51, Hide 14, Intimidate 49, Know Arcana 41, Know Geography 41, Know History 41, Know Local 41, Know Nobility 47, Knowledge (any one) 41, Listen 53, Move Silently 39, Search 51, Spot 53, Swim 47
Languages Abyssal, Aquan, Common, Draconic, Infernal, Undercommon

Environment Deserts
Organization Unique
Treasure Standard x 3

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Here there Be Dragons: Turquoise Dragon

Here is one of the first dragons that Liam came up with.

I am releasing the following text as Open under the Open Gaming License.
Turquoise Dragon is copyright 2011, Liam Brannan

Turquoise Dragon
Armor Class: 0 [19]
Hit Dice: 10d8+5** (50 hp)
No. of Attacks: Claw (x2), Bite
Damage: 1d6 / 1d6 / 5d6
Special: Breath weapons, special
Movement: 90' (30') / Fly 180' (60').
No. Appearing: 1 or mated pair (2)
Saves As: Fighter 10
Morale: 9
Treasure: As a Blue Dragon
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 3,500

Turquoise dragons are a very old breed of dragon and many are no longer seen these days. Due to their coloration they are often confused at a distance with blue dragons. Though the turquoise dragon is not evil and sometimes found in the company of a gold dragon, whom they consider friends.

Turquoise dragons coloration begins as a pale green as a wrymling, deepening in blues till it's ancient adulthood. They have long serpent like bodies with great fan like wings. Their tails are spiked and they have overly large incisors. The female turquoise dragon fangs can produce poison when she protecting her young. The poison causes weakness and sleep (failed save). Unless magical means are used the victim suffers a burning fever that last a number of days equal to 20 minus their CON score. The females have smaller teeth.

The breath weapon of the turquoise dragon is a bright spark they “cough” up. The spark flies forward towards their target and on contact explodes. The damage of blast is similar to that of a fireball at 10d6 points of damage, save vs Breath Weapon for half. The spark may travel up to 90' in a straight line.

They find their homes on great plains and other area where plant life and plant eating herd animals are plenty. They will sometimes swoop down on cattle and carry one off to eat. Turquoise are not malicious, merely hungry. If they know certain cattle belong to humans or demi-humans then they will leave that cattle alone.

Despite this farmers enjoy having a turquoise dragon around since the scare away other predators and the action of their wings flapping is rumored to cause storms.

Turquoise Dragons may cast the following levels of Wizard (Magic-user) spells, 5 (1st level), 4 (2nd level) and 4 (3rd level).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Here there Be Dragons: Aži Dahāka

We have the first monster we want to show off for Liam's book "Here There Be Dragons". This one has roots in ancient myths, and also something we have wanted to use for a while.

BTW we are not 100% set on what version of the game system we want to use.  I opted for Basic tonight since I have been in a Basic mood.  Liam wants 3.5.

I am releasing the following text as Open under the Open Gaming License.
Aži Dahāka, the Demon Dragon is copyright 2011, Liam Brannan

Aži Dahāka
Armor Class: -5 [24]
Hit Dice: 22d8+21** (120 hp)
No. of Attacks: 3 bites or Breath Weapon or Claws
Damage: 3d6 / 3d6 / 3d6
Special: Claw Attack, Breath weapons, Poison
Movement: 60 ft. / Fly 120 ft.
No. Appearing: 1 (Unique)
Saves As: Fighter 24
Morale: 11
Treasure: Fx3
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 10,000

Aži Dahāka is believed to be the offspring of the Mother of All Dragons and the Prince of Demons. Certainly his heritage is evident in his form. He has three dragon heads, each of red, blue and black dragons. He has a long black, serpent like body with two tails and four wings.

Aži Dahāka is a unique creature and has been worshiped as a god in the past. He has divine parentage but is wholly a mortal beast and can be slain, though with difficulty.

Aži Dahāka is not the smartest of dragon- or even demon-kind, he is however a very clever combatant and knows how to take advantage of many situations. If he is out numbered he will attempt to reduce the opposition with his breath weapons.

Bite: The primary attack of Aži Dahāka is his massive bite. He may attack with all three heads per round on separate targets. On a roll of a natural 20 Aži Dahāka bites the victim whole and swallows.
Aži Dahāka has a second set of teeth in his throat that can automatically do 1d8 points of damage per round unless the victim is freed.

The bite of Aži Dahāka also includes a very deadly poison. Each successful hit that causes at least 1 point of damage will require the victim to make a saving through vs. Poison.

Breath Weapons: Aži Dahāka as appropriate has a breath weapon for each head. Though the chaotic nature of his birth has gifted the black head emits an electrical blast, the blue head breathes fire and the red one spits acid. Each head will do 2d10 (2-20) hitpoints of damage per attack. Aži Dahāka may attack with two heads simultaneously per round.

Claw Attack: Aži Dahāka can rear up on his hind legs to make a claw based attack. This is the only attack he can make in that round. He can rise up and attack with both claws. The attacks do 1d10 points of damage each and can hit creatures normally immune to normal attacks, i.e. requiring magic to hit.

Aži Dahāka is a strong fighter, but knows the value of retreat if the combat is going against him. If forced to retreat, he can alter his skin color like that of a octopus and blend into the background. This gives him 95% invisibility. Since this is a natural effect, See Invisible or Detect Magic will not locate him.
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