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Not-Dragons
By James Wyatt

W e had a sort of contentious conversation the other day about drakes, and we didn't reach a conclusion. So this week's article is really not about what we think—it's about what you think.



Drakes

In 4th Edition, we used the term "drake" to encompass dragonlike reptiles of many varieties. They included some monsters that had been dragonets before (the pseudodragon and the spiretop drake), two that used to be dinosaurs (the scytheclaw drake and the fang titan drake), a couple that had appeared in the Chainmail miniatures game as felldrakes (the guard drake and the crested felldrake), the horned drake, and the spitting drake. The rage drake also got picked up from the 3rd Edition Monster Manual III, and a few other drakes found their way into the drake entry as well.

We'll treat the pseudodragon as its own monster (or a dragonet), and treat dinosaurs separately (as I discussed back in June). For the purposes of this column, I'm interested in the rage drake and the monsters formerly known as felldrakes.

We had five people in the room discussing these and probably at least five different opinions. Let me see if I can sort out the major arguments.

Argument 1. Having drakes actually makes the D&D world less fantastic, not more. If a wizard has a pet guarding his tower, it should be a guard dog or an owlbear, not a guard dog dressed up in a lizard costume (which is all a guard drake really is).

Argument 2. A guard drake watching a wizard's tower is way cooler than a guard dog, and a group of hobgoblins with a tamed rage drake is much more impressive than a bear or elephant. It's a solid reminder to the players that they're not in the real world any more, and a nod to the significance of dragons in the world.

Argument 3. Drakes are to dragons as specters are to ghosts. That is, with dragons playing such a weighty role in the game, practically demanding center stage and a lot of history and story wrapped up around them, the drakes are a version of dragon that doesn't require all that story work. A drake is a plug-and-play dragon—a story-light dragon. And they're a better opponent for low-level characters than full-on dragons.

Argument 4. Drakes as a concept are pretty cool, but the specific execution of the drakes in 4th Edition was flawed. For that matter, the idea from the original Chainmail game that the felldrakes were a gift to the elves from Bahamut doesn't make sense. We should just redesign a new set of drakes.

Argument 5. We'd be better off tossing drakes out entirely than scrapping the ones that at least some people like and inventing new, untested ones.

Argument 6. Felldrake is a cooler name than just drake.

I know that's more arguments than people. Welcome to the world of meetings at Wizards of the Coast.

Given those opinions, I'll let you tell us in the polls how you'd respond.

Dragonspawn

During the same meeting, we also touched on the concept of dragonspawn. These were a suite of monsters (called spawn of Tiamat) originally created for the 3rd Edition Red Hand of Doom adventure and Monster Manual IV. It's easy to make fun of these monsters as the "[color]spawn [verb]ers," and even easier to mock the idea of a spider infused with black dragon essence.

Poking fun aside, we didn't feel like this group of monsters really had traction, despite some pretty cool miniatures we made. Maybe some of them do belong in the game, though. Maybe some of them should be drakes. You tell me.

What Do You Think?

I'm getting quickly to the polls here so we can back up our decision-making with actual data.

Previous Poll Results

How do you think the bulette presented here squares with its history and place in the game?
1—I hate it. It needs a complete revamp. 16 1%
2—It’s not working for me at all. It needs a lot more work to make it interesting. 95 7%
3—I’m ambivalent—it has its points, but it still needs a certain something to really bring it alive. 338 25%
4—It’s pretty good, and it doesn’t really need a lot to give it a place in the game. 697 51%
5—It’s awesome. It has exactly what it needs to make it a useful and interesting monster. 204 15%
Total 1350 100.0%

How do you think the manticore presented here squares with its history and place in the game?
1—I hate it. It needs a complete revamp. 15 1%
2—It’s not working for me at all. It needs a lot more work to make it interesting. 86 6%
3—I’m ambivalent—it has its points, but it still needs a certain something to really bring it alive. 378 28%
4—It’s pretty good, and it doesn’t really need a lot to give it a place in the game. 680 50%
5—It’s awesome. It has exactly what it needs to make it a useful and interesting monster. 171 13%
Total 1330 100.0%

How do you think the owlbear presented here squares with its history and place in the game?
1—I hate it. It needs a complete revamp. 24 2%
2—It’s not working for me at all. It needs a lot more work to make it interesting. 97 7%
3—I’m ambivalent—it has its points, but it still needs a certain something to really bring it alive. 329 24%
4—It’s pretty good, and it doesn’t really need a lot to give it a place in the game. 650 48%
5—It’s awesome. It has exactly what it needs to make it a useful and interesting monster. 245 18%
Total 1345 100.0%

How do you think the pseudodragon presented here squares with its history and place in the game?
1—I hate it. It needs a complete revamp. 20 1%
2—It’s not working for me at all. It needs a lot more work to make it interesting. 68 5%
3—I’m ambivalent—it has its points, but it still needs a certain something to really bring it alive. 266 20%
4—It’s pretty good, and it doesn’t really need a lot to give it a place in the game. 612 45%
5—It’s awesome. It has exactly what it needs to make it a useful and interesting monster. 388 29%
Total 1354 100.0%

James Wyatt
James Wyatt is the Creative Manager for Dungeons & Dragons R&D at Wizards of the Coast. He was one of the lead designers for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons and the primary author of the 4th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide. He also contributed to the Eberron Campaign Setting, and is the author of several Dungeons & Dragons novels set in the world of Eberron.
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Drakes are great because you get draconic flavor without cheapening
Dragons because drakes are NOT dragons.

Dragonspawn, Draconians and half-dragons DO cheapen the awesome Dragons because they are hatched from dragon eggs or born to dragons, making dragons just more DNA for the mad-wizard experimentation that DnD already has too much of.

  
Posted By: MacLar (12/5/2013 7:16:10 PM)
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So, I realize I'm getting in on this late, and I'm pretty sure what I have to say has already been said, but I'm just gonna share my opinion to have it out there and to support those of you who already share it: I can't think of a single creature that should be removed from the game. There are those that should be tweaked and modified, or adjusted so they become a subgroup of a different type of creature, but getting rid of them is generally not the answer. It might be more beneficial to look at it as "these creatures will be in Monster Manual I, these ones we may save until later," but the truth is, if a creature is created, someone will use it somewhere, and the people who don't like it don't have to use it.
  
Posted By: Vaske (10/17/2013 9:59:42 PM)
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If I want to use dragons, I use dragons, not wolves and giants with draconic coloring. For little dragons, I go for the few iconic, like the mythical serpents that poison wells or drakes that bleed fire. I'm also happy to have more varied, not-even-trying-to-be-dragons in the MM.
  
Posted By: Dreamstryder (10/7/2013 7:08:54 AM)
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Drake, Behemoth, Leviathan, Wyrm, Lingorm, or Serpent - and, of course, Dragon are evocative of fantasy.

Lizard, Dinosaur, reptile and snake sound too modern or familiar and reek of scientific taxonomy, they just fail to evoke fantasy (which, actually, was fine in the 70s, when it was science-fantasy was fashionable - I feel that today 'pure' fantasy is better-appreciated).

The same goes for 'vermin' being more evocative than the taxonomically correct insect, arachnid, arthropod, etc... I like 'vermin' including everything from rats to centipedes.
  
Posted By: Tony_Vargas (10/4/2013 4:52:39 PM)
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For my money I really liked drakes and behemoths as the fantasy versions of dinosaurs--all dinotopia style with hobgoblin warlords atop triceratops-type behemoths (but with more fantasy appropriate non-latin names). I think the issue of not having them compete with dragons is to keep them a very different thing--not sentien, not magical, no particular dragonscale quality to their armor--just thick hide.

4e dragonspawn were fantastic too. I love that dragon cultists would use rituals to mutate normal animals (giant spiders, rhinos, lions, or whatever) into fantastic dragon-like beasts. The godslayer was a favorite. So was the gloomweb.
  
Posted By: Grimcleaver (10/3/2013 2:13:00 AM)
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Unfortunately this was another survey with the crazy long question where it ran off the page and I couldn't scroll down--so I couldn't click submit. Oh well.
  
Posted By: Grimcleaver (10/3/2013 2:06:02 AM)
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To me a "drake" is a wingless, flightless dragon. They are not lizards, dinosaurs, pseudodragons, wyvern, or "wyrms". They have four legs. Dragonettes (including pseudodragons) and wyvern have two (with or without wings). Wyrms have no legs.

Drakes are less intelligent and shorter lived than dragons. Dragons treat drakes as a lower species (as humans do other primates).

Drakes may or may not have a breath weapon, and are almost as dangerous as an equivalent maturity dragon.
  
Posted By: Rlyehable (10/2/2013 5:51:43 PM)
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As I posted below, use "&".

Ampersand "amp" semicolon: that produces one ampersand symbol in HTML markup.

The idea is that characters that are no ASCII-printable or that need to be escaped because they are part of HTML markup can be called out in this way
& &
< &lt;
> &gt;

and yes, when you read "&amp;" here it's because I typed "&amp;amp;"
  
Posted By: longwinded (10/2/2013 2:09:08 PM)
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Meant to be a reply to RadioKen, below.
  
Posted By: longwinded (10/2/2013 2:09:42 PM)
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Since DMs only use the stuff they want to use anyway, I say the more the merrier. Bring 'em all in.
  
Posted By: RadioKen (10/2/2013 12:56:34 PM)
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D & D
  
Posted By: Mourne (10/2/2013 12:49:45 PM)
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How'd you do that? I still can't post ampersands!
  
Posted By: RadioKen (10/2/2013 12:59:20 PM)
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I'm so tired of boring naming conventions that feel like the designers are in it for the paycheck instead of writers.

Dragonspawn should be template monsters. I don't want to say drakes should be removed. I think NO monsters should be removed because someone will use them. I do think that using them as guard dogs and dragons-for-baby is a bit lame. Dragons are supposed to be magical and mysterious.
  
Posted By: ZaranBlack (10/2/2013 8:42:10 AM)
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As far as Dragonspawn are concerned I think a Template like approach is best. I am picturing Dhamon Grimwulf and his struggles within the Dragonlance novels.

A dragon should be able to manipulate any creature with their magic and corruption, or perhaps even a blessing from the good-aligned dragons.

If templates are something being considered this approach gives the freedom of choice to the DMs which creatures can be turned into spawn and gives the design team plenty of options for fantastical back story flavor.
  
Posted By: LostLegolas (10/2/2013 8:07:19 AM)
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Drakes as a kind of lizard dinasour I think is better than putting them in dragon category. Dragons are magical. Drakes sound more natural, like a variant of giant corcodiles. However, I disagree with the whole bit about how dragons have to be these untouchable creatures bound up with heavy plot and nearly impossible to kill. They should be tugh,but I would like to be able to have them show up as random encounters or used in side plots. Reserve the untouchable dragons that even 20th level characters will die fighting for the great ancient wyrms but make sure we have younger dragons that can be plopped in to an adventure without to much trouble.
  
Posted By: moes1980 (10/2/2013 6:10:29 AM)
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I suppose I'm the only person who liked "Drake" as a catchall for things like dinosaurs and other "not-dragons".
  
Posted By: Xeviat-DM (10/1/2013 10:27:45 PM)
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I have an opinion similar in form to opinion (1), that being too liberal with fantasy elements makes the word less fantastic. However, I think this mostly applies to magical items, locales, and races. After all, if every guard has a brooch of telepathy and trials are performed in a zone of detect lies, then isn't that a roundabout way of saying "radios and polygraphs"? However, I think drakes are necessary because there just seems to be too much of a gulf between a D&D dragon and a traditional fantasy dragon.

In traditional fantasy, dragons long-lived, vicious animals with fantastic powers. They may be as clever as a man, but being fire-breathing giant reptile they aren't really distracted by things like weapons, spells, and objets d'art. Most talking/transforming/spellcasting dragons appear in modern fantasy, where dragons differ on a franchise-by-franchise basis. Some franchises have all dragons as intelligent overloards, some have only a rare few such "... (see all)
  
Posted By: longwinded (10/1/2013 7:27:59 PM)
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I like the idea of drakes, it reminds me of the little dragons in the movie "Merlin" Fast, aggressive and small trained dragons. I think they are too weak however. I was really disappointed when my group fought a rage drake and it went down like a kitten. I like the illustration for the blackspawn gloom web pretty well but I don't like the idea of it being part dragon and it doesn't look very dragonish to me. Couldn't it be a demon living in Lolths giant web or something? or maybe bebeliths cover that niche already. Tiamat already seems to have 2 or 3 groups of perfectly acceptable spawn. Chromatic Dragons themselves, Abishai, and possibly draconians, or are they too connected to Dragonlance?
  
Posted By: vgsmark (10/1/2013 7:10:17 PM)
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I don't like drakes because they diminish dragons. Without drakes, there is no comparison for dragons; they exist in a class of their own. With drakes, dragons lose their uniqueness and become nothing more than the biggest creature in the "giant lizard" category.
  
Posted By: Fimbria (10/1/2013 6:33:39 PM)
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I think the big problem is that you want to use meta-categories for character types -essentially roles from 4e- but with more natural/less meta-gamey language to appease people from other editions.

This is doomed to fail. By making meta-categories using natural language you are necessarily implying certain flavour elements/judgements about that archetype.

If you're going to go META, you have the bite the bullet and just go META. That means using things like Tank, Striker, Controller, Healer, or heck, even something like ADC or something. You can't have it both ways and make it work. Just be clear that if you use the simplified options, you are going to be using some meta-gamey language... that's fine, just be clear it's not what they are referred to 'in-game.' And leave the classes as diverse as they need to be to make everyone who has been playing for YEARS or DECADES, supporting the company and the hobbey.... HAPPY.
  
Posted By: OskarOisinson (10/1/2013 4:53:02 PM)
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Wrong thread, ignore this.
  
Posted By: OskarOisinson (10/1/2013 4:54:27 PM)
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Hear hear for Linnorms! Give a place for Norse and East/South Asian mythological dragons!
  
Posted By: OskarOisinson (10/1/2013 4:39:09 PM)
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I think drakes should be arcane perversions of dragons or their eggs, similar to the draconians in Dragonlance. I think wizards would use them but actual dragons would not like them and be angry if they knew a wizard was using them. Hence I lean toward the term Felldrake. It sounds more twisted.
  
Posted By: Orion1138 (10/1/2013 4:19:42 PM)
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I feel that drakes are proto-dragons built similarly to wyverns minus the stinger. Honestly, aside from traditional DnD lore, I don't get why wyverns have a stinger. Drakes and wyverns are nearly the same thing. I'd ride a drake and namel him Toothless. Wheee! XD

I think they'd fit well in mountain and coastal habitats with lots of cliffs.
Also, LOVE having dinosaurs in my game. They don't fit just anywhere, but when they do fit it's AWESOME! Hehehee, I like chasing the players Hero's with them.

Felldrake sounds like they coming from Mordor or something. Only useful for purposefully corrupted forms of a drake.

Dragonspawn sound to me more like corrupted Dragonborn.
  
Posted By: Mythril_Sage (10/1/2013 3:41:08 PM)
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What about Lynnorms? Bring back 3.5 Lynnorms! They're far cooler than drakes or dragonspawns.
  
Posted By: Avin (10/1/2013 3:25:20 PM)
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Like has posted HippieTreeHugger, if yours suggest dragonborn are failed true dragons without the blessing of the dragons gods, maybe even drakes or felldrakes are failed true dragons.
Or maybe, they are giant lizard or dinosaurs captured and transformed after a magic ritual know only by true dragons.
Those creations will be released in dragon territory as servant, or treat, or evil riders, or doned to other races and single mortals as a "gift" (felldrakes of Bahamuth). They can generate offsprings, but all of them obey the will of their dragon master (at least until the dragon master have interest on them).

Drakes/felldrakes are more interesting if each of them have a peculiar capacity or special attack, and not simply guard dog in dragon skin.
  
Posted By: Eilistraecomeback (10/1/2013 3:17:02 PM)
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I love Dragons so I definitely don't want them destroyed by just making them standard monsters you find anywhere unless the story calls for it. That said I think more options is better and so leave all the draconic creatures in their. I think most them just need better flavoring in the story and mechanical elements. For an example, a mad scientist/wizard creates an army of dragon spawn in order to conquer the world in the name of Tiamat. He uses the different varieties for different purposes such as the purple dragon-drow spawn as infiltrators and the blue-spawn god slayers as the ultimate weapons of destruction.
  
Posted By: SirJohns (10/1/2013 3:10:36 PM)
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I like having drakes, felldrakes, wyverns, etc available for use. I typically play that the "true" dragons are mostly OFF of the Prime Material plane, or on other worlds. Just REALLY spread out, because the SIZE of such predatory creatures would drive a planet to total extinction. Ever see the movie "Reign of Fire"? I see it being like that if you have hundreds or thousands of EACH VARIETY of dragon. Dragons would be crawling over the top of each other, they'd be everywhere! Their ridiculous size only compounds the problem. That's why I like the smaller versions. Drakes make a LOT more sense to me. But I like the idea of dragon-like creatures that don't get larger than Huge size for a number of reasons. I say, give the players and DM's MORE options, not fewer. We'll use what we like and ignore the rest, just as we always have!
  
Posted By: Glassteel (10/1/2013 1:27:16 PM)
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Generally speaking I do not like using real world creatures as monsters for PC's to fight. I would rather remind the PC's that they are in a fantasy world, and continue reminding them by providing fantasy monsters for them to fight and interact with.

Why use a wolf when I can use a worg, or a drake, or a wolf-drake?

I would never never ever put a dog in an adventure that was there for the PC's to slaughter, just like I wouldnt put a child in the path of the PC's even a goblin child. Why use a dog when I have a library full of monster manuals that could provide me with something far more interesting.

That said, the local blacksmith, or the local farmers will have dogs and not drakes, but unless the PC's go totally off the reservation then they arent going to sneak onto the farms and murder the dogs, and they would run into something else i would throw in the way before that happened anyway, or find out that the farmers dog is a gold dragon in disguise... (see all)
  
Posted By: The_Eye_of_Kyi (10/1/2013 12:42:13 PM)
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I like the concept of both Drakes and Wyverns as sort of proto-dragons on the evolutionary path. Dinosaurs are NOT something I would use as part of any standard campaign I'd design or run... I see them as being part of a special 'time travel' or 'lost world' scenario. Dragonspawn? No. Not interested. Like someone else said, just because they have an entry in a monster manual it doesn't mean anyone has to use them... but I don't like the idea at all, and I'd rather not see them show up in any 'canned adventures' from WotC.
  
Posted By: Kazadvorn (10/1/2013 11:38:31 AM)
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My only serious request is no Dinosaurs! Those are so silly in DnD! Granted, I CAN just leave them out of my game all together, but I still don't like them taking up room in my MM.
  
Posted By: skywise32 (10/1/2013 11:22:48 AM)
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And I don't like having to homebrew them from scratch. Do you use githyanki or yugoloths? I don't, but I respect that there may be enough desire from others to include them in the MM. If anything, you could use some dinosaurs as drakes.
  
Posted By: Dreamstryder (10/1/2013 10:26:10 PM)
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I think that the biggest problem with these comments that people make is that they forget you are providing options and material for the basic world. It is up to the DM to choose whether to include a creature or change it to make their world unique and their own. If that individual DM doesnt want his wizards tower guarded by a drake or for drakes to even exist he can make that decision, but they should be an option for those who do want them in their world.

I think the Design and Development teams of this game are doing a great job and need to take what many of the players on here say with a grain of salt and provide as many options for everyone to choose to use or leave out.

And players should really think before they comment, because sometimes what they say is completely an opinion and not based in any sort consideration for the game and its players other than themselves.
  
Posted By: LostLegolas (10/1/2013 10:49:05 AM)
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Very true! Although I do appreciate the added story elements they are adding. I may choose to ignore them but I do appreciate the story, it helps ignite my imagination and I can adjust things from there :-)
  
Posted By: tirwin (10/1/2013 1:18:54 PM)
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I agree overall, but I suspect some posters are afraid some monsters will push others out, as if there isn't enough room for all of them in the MM... at least the first MM with (hopefully) all the iconic DnD monsters in it.
  
Posted By: Dreamstryder (10/1/2013 10:31:51 PM)
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I honestly find it really hard to picture normal animals as particularly threatening to a bunch of armed, armored, and supernaturally-empowered adventurers. A guard dog just does not cut it. An elephant . . . well, maybe if it's an awesome war elephant in baroque golden armor, who's all hopped up on crazy goblin drugs.
  
Posted By: Matt_Sheridan (10/1/2013 10:43:47 AM)
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"Crazy Goblin Drugs"....Yeah. That's a nice hook. I think my 5E campaign will feature Meth-addicted Goblins, Hallucinating Bugbears, and their Hobgoblin pushers in Clan Pfizer...Thanks for that.
  
Posted By: Mourne (10/2/2013 12:46:19 PM)
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I like Dragon, Wyverns, and Drakes as the whole of the dragon family (and I LOVE drakes).

What I don't care for are all the other types. Psuedodragons could go away and I wouldn't miss them.
  
Posted By: Trillinon (10/1/2013 10:32:42 AM)
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I was never fond of the dragonspawn origin, but I did use them in the context of when dragons hang around a place too long, they alter the nature of the place, mutating local critters and sentients into dragonspawn and drakes. It seems like that could fit the legendary dragon scenario pretty well.
  
Posted By: Mechagamera (10/1/2013 10:09:55 AM)
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I'm going to comment before I read the rest of the thread, so my opinions are untainted. I dislike drakes, but not lizard monsters. I dislike drakes because they are watered down dragons; I like the ethos that said dragons should matter. I dislike the Spawn of Tiamat for the same reason, and because um, Tiamat already has spawn, they are the chromatic dragons.

They just seem like...video game monsters. Not "plug n' play," but "plug n' fight."

Anything interesting about them could be used in a half-dragon-- hence why I liked the gloomwebs or whatever, because it was a unique THING. I could see using it, whereas a bulldog dragon is boring.

My pitch: make drakes the "dire" versions of dinosaurs. Just make 'em dinos with a little kick of the weird, the supernatural.
  
Posted By: mordicai (10/1/2013 9:40:36 AM)
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I think there's a very creative answer hiding in the narrative of the Dragonborn as introduced in the last playtest packet. It mentions a possible origin being the inability of dragons to breed true without the approval of the draconic gods. Perfect! First, it explains why the world isn't teeming with dragons. It also provides an interesting opportunity to make each dragon unique - some may submit to the demands of the gods, others might resist, letting lesser races or powerful wizards help them find a way to breed true dragons. It also gives a means of including drakes and dragonspawn: they are the 'failed' progeny of dragons. They might be encountered anywhere and serve to signal the presence or affiliation of true dragons. Then actual Dragonborn are also special, as they are the rarest of these dragonspawn. I think that wraps everything up very nicely.
  
Posted By: HippieTreeHugger (10/1/2013 9:15:51 AM)
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Can we just have big angry lizards without a draconic connection?
  
Posted By: Bly2729 (10/1/2013 6:12:12 AM)
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Wow, and I thought I hated the new format before! Thanks for the heads up!
  
Posted By: Clansmansix (10/1/2013 5:59:58 AM)
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Dragons are (obviously) a big part of D+D, and I think it's important to keep them at the forefront of the game thematically. However, I think that dragon-like creatures (drakes, dragonspawn, all the various dragon-like humanoids that have been introduced over the years) are not always the best way to do that, and if thrown around carelessly they have the potential to dilute the the impact of encounters with true dragons.

To my mind, the best dragon-kin are the ones that have something unique and interesting about them that makes them more distinctive than just "a creature that looks like a dragon". For instance, Dragonlance's draconians and 4e's dragonborn are superficially similar (dragon people with a military bent), but I greatly prefer the former to the latter, because they have a much more interesting backstory that ties them into the themes of the setting, and idiosyncratic powers that go beyond just the dragon theme (such as dying in inconvenient ways). By ... (see all)
  
Posted By: goldengod (10/1/2013 5:49:31 AM)
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How good are Dragonlance's draconians? So good! I'd like to see that origin embraced in the dragonborn, or at least, sidebarred as in, an alternate origin story.
  
Posted By: mordicai (10/1/2013 9:42:13 AM)
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Drakes and Dragonspawn aren't going to be useful to every campaign, and maybe don't fit into some of your campaign settings as well as you would like. But thats no reason to scrap them.

You need to present us with a toolkit of elements that we can use and combine in different ways to create the worlds and storys that we want to tell.

I've used Dragonspawn once. When my spelljammer game went to a planet where the entire ecology was draconic. It was a really wierd world, but it was great to be able to flick through the monster books and be able to build a whole world using only the reptilian creatures. I didn't use every draconic creature exactly as written, but the tools where there which allowed me to create a very differnet world which my players really enjoyed exploring.

So leave everything in. I'd be amazed if you publish one monster manual and then leave it at that, so it's not as though you're going to be short of space as the edition goes on. S... (see all)
  
Posted By: Eccentric_Circle (10/1/2013 5:38:42 AM)
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I really liked the spiretop drake and the needlefang drake swarm (mainly because I terrorized my players with both), but the guard drake is a dog in a lizard's skin, and the spitting drake is the same thing with a ranged attack.

I see drakes as being like giant spiders or dire rats: that "not in Kansas anymore" feeling while still being instantly understood by players. But you have to roleplay the hell out of them to keep them from being Generic Meatbag Critter. They aren't even remotely similar to dragons, not even by approximation. Although they make good pets for kobolds.

There were many specific cool dragonspawn, but colorspawn verbers were idiotic. I reskinned the hell out of these, or even just "de-spawned" them, and got a lot of mileage out of several of them.
  
Posted By: MindWandererB (10/1/2013 3:19:11 AM)
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I like the concept of drakes; and agree that wyverns are/should be a type of drake. Drakes make good replacements for guard dogs, once a wizard becomes a little more powerful. They should be on par with owlbears, on average; spanning levels 3rd-7th.

While I don't like the whole dragonspawn concept, from 3rd Edition, I wouldn't mind drakes being a derivative of the dragonspawn concept (or its replacement).
  
Posted By: lawrencehoy (10/1/2013 2:31:48 AM)
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I prefer the name drake to felldrake - feels more natural. I can see wizards and hobgoblins using drake as guardianor mount. I pretty much liked all of the drake in 4E and think they a demonstrate well that dragons do exist in many forms and species.

As for dragonspawn, i don't know much about these so no comments.
  
Posted By: Plaguescarred (10/1/2013 1:49:51 AM)
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With dragons as a large part of the world it makes sense to have diluted versions of them. Wizards would try to tap into dragon blood and create a potent guardian, mixing it with dogs, goblins, oozes, shambling mounds etc. Basically anything can be improved by splicing dragon DNA with a healthy dose of magic.
  
Posted By: Rartemass (10/1/2013 1:49:16 AM)
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The issue I've always had with the Drake is what distinguishes it from a Wyvern or a Juvenile Dragon? So I think the question should be what unique roll in the world would a Drake fill, or why would you choose a Drake over one of the others? I think there might be something that could be done with the Dragonspawn concept, where the Drake and Wyvern are types of Dragonspawn created for different reasons. You might even be able to use the Dragonspawn concept to explain the existence of Dragonborn.
  
Posted By: QuantumHarmonix (10/1/2013 1:49:12 AM)
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@Clansmansix I can't even reply to your comment so, LOL for telling the truth.

I never really use drakes, I feel like they are too similar to dragons without actually being them. I'd rather if they were more developed to stand apart from dragons and all these other similar creatures. A proto-dragon a la Tolkien might be compelling, but needs a bit more.

Dragonspawn were kind of ridiculous, though I don't mind sub-species of Drakes.
  
Posted By: OskarOisinson (10/1/2013 1:41:46 AM)
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Drakes should be treated just like hydras and wyverns are. They may be reptilian beasts but they are far short of the extreme power of a dragon.
  
Posted By: Fallen_Star_02 (10/1/2013 1:18:42 AM)
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I particularly liked the original concept of felldrakes being gifts from Bahamut to the elves, and more specifically that they were good guys and might tag along with the PCs. I'd like to see the concept expended upon.
  
Posted By: Dunther_the_Great (10/1/2013 1:01:23 AM)
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I like drakes, and dragonspawn were useful. Keep them.
  
Posted By: Clansmansix (10/1/2013 12:32:42 AM)
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And any time I try and post more than that, I get "The text in your comment does not pass validation. Ensure that all of the approved tags are properly closed."
  
Posted By: Clansmansix (10/1/2013 12:35:31 AM)
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Try &amp; for an ampersand.

Basically, the forum system presented doesn't do a lot of HTML sanitization. It checks for something allowable, or not.

& is an escape character in HTML. Once you use it, it's expecting some sort of "entity" name, terminated by a semi-colon. This seems to work in a post of mine above.
  
Posted By: longwinded (10/1/2013 7:33:10 PM)
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The system is wonky and doesn't process certain characters, like ampersands. It isn't some MJ-12 reptiloid conspiracy to silence dissent.
  
Posted By: mordicai (10/1/2013 2:01:01 PM)
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Believe it or not you can't put an ampersand in your text. Seriously. You have to call it DND. Possibly there are other characters, but this is the one I've heard about that makes me go... WHAAAAAT!!??
  
Posted By: FitzTheRuke (10/1/2013 1:32:10 AM)
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I guess they don't want criticism.
  
Posted By: Clansmansix (10/1/2013 12:35:49 AM)
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