Sometimes you just have to mix things up a bit. Maybe the PCs are bloody effective at what they do, or maybe they just know all the stats ... whatever the reason, a little variety is always good ;3
Being honest, I could probably better call these "critter traits"; they were written up for dragons but -- with a merest smidge of tweaking, and maybe some thematics -- could be applied to almost any beastie. (I have a sudden terrifying image of a swarm of giant rats ...)
Don't forget to bump the XP awarded appropriately ~!
Roll for a selected trait or simply pick one from the table below. If you're really feeling frisky, roll 1d4 times:
01. Primal Energies: Instead of (or in addition to!) the dragon's breath weapon, its claws and fangs are wreathed in the same damaging forces that compose said breath weapon. Double the damage of these attacks (2d4 instead of 1d4, etc). Appropriate immunities will negate this extra damage.
02. Phaseshift: Every 1d3 rounds the dragon is simply ... not all there, partially fading into some other dimension of existence. Attacks at this time fail 75%; on the upside, the dragon has the same situation.
03. Runic Ablation: Whether an aura of ghostly flame, orbiting glyphs, a transparent, shimmering energy field, glowing channels carved through the scales or most anything else, the dragon has a buffer against damage equal to 1/3 of its hit points. This buffer must be negated before the dragon itself takes damage. Half the instances of such fields affect physical damage, half magical damage.
04. Blood Scion: When reduced to half or less of its hit points, the dragon may produce a blood scion from its spilled life, effectively creating a draconic simulacra resembling a dragon of its type and 1/3 of its Hit Dice. The scion acts as directed by the dragon, lasts for 1 day + a number of days equal to the dragon's Hit Dice, and has a range of 100 miles.
05. Reservoir: Altered by magitech, the dragon bears a oily, slowly-shifting carbuncle mounted in orichalcum and black iron clockwork imbedded in its flesh. The carbuncle contains an additional 1d3 breath weapon uses, regenerating over 48 hours -- and this breath weapon need not match the dragon's own.
06. Life Siphon: The dragon is a psychic vampire, feeding on the pain and injury of those around it. For every four hit points of damage dealt to other creatures within 100' feet of the dragon, the beast regenerates one hit point.
07. Artefact Maestro: The dragon can make use of any and every magic item it may possess, whether warping them (to fit rings on claws, for example) or imbedding them into its scales in order to draw on the item's enchantment. It may expend breath weapon uses instead of using up charges or expending one-use items.
08. Death Curse: Not so useful in combat (unless the dragon has a way of making that impending doom abundantly clear), but a wonderful parting shot. With its dying breath the dragon lays down a major curse on the creatures that ended its life -- DMs, be horribly creative.
09. Master of Nature: All stone/plants/water/flames/more esoteric materials within 1d4+1x100 feet of the dragon may be affected by the beast as if by move earth, stoneform and related spells. Choose one substance, or 1d4 for added malevolence.
10. Godling's Beneficience: The dragon may grant a fraction of its power (a breath weapon equal in damage to its Hit Dice, a half-strength claw attack, a one-shot spell if the dragon has casting ability) to a number of subordinate creatures equal to twice its Hit Dice.
VERY NICE! This entry just might be my favorite of yours, and I've read every one of your posts. Thanks!
Thank ye -- I'm glad you like it :D
So much more interesting than a dragon with a few spells & perfect for my next campaign. Yoink.
Glad you liked them :3
I've been looking for a way to up the ante on making Dragon's in my world closer to demi-gods. This will certainly do the trick, thank you!
How does one get in touch with you?
I can be reached at khuriya at gmail dot com --
Is that carbuncle in number 5 same same carbuncle as the monster in 1st Edition Fiend Folio?
No, I mean a carbuncle as in the stone.
Well, that makes much, much more sense.
Been looking over your blog posts and have to say they are quite fantastic. I'm working on my own RPG blog so seeing this sort of stuff in BECMI really lets me see that the old styles can still have a lot of flavor. What would you suggest for a returning member to the Old School Horde?
I'm glad you've enjoyed what you've read here :3 I'm afraid I don't quite understand your question, though; or, the best advice I could give is "play the way you want to".
I don't consider myself "old school" in the same way that the OSR crowd do -- I use the same style and design ideas regardless of edition. (a lot of ideas posted here originally sprang from my 2e Planescape game, as an example). And I do run/play more than one edition, including more "modern" ones.
Pick up an edition you like (or as close an emulation as you can get, depending) and play it however you like; that's my advice X3 don't worry about fitting into the "oldschool" paradigm, just do what makes you happy.
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