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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How Many Dragons have You Actually Used in Your Campaigns?


The game that most of us cut our teeth on is named Dungeons & Dragons, but how many dragons have you actually encountered in game (dungeons is generally countless)?

Sure, back in my early days of gaming, when every dungeon map was filled like it belonged to the old Bard's Tale computer game, finding an ancient red dragon in a 10' x 10' room was nothing special. Heck, his neighbor was probably Asmodeus.

I don't think I've used a dragon in a game session in over 25 years - maybe 30.

How about you? How big a place do dragons old in your "Dungeons & Dragons?"

34 comments:

  1. Never used one as a DM and never met one as a player. I should probably do something about that.

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  2. As I said on G+

    In my published adventures: Once (Assault on the Southern Horn) A youngling dragon who has joined the cult of the horn and has been made an overseer.

    In my home campaigns: I tend to use my version of Drakes which are identical to dragons but have the intelligence of a wolf or dog. Dragons are rumored and one NPC is actually a red dragon disguised as the General Inquisitor of the largest kingdom's state religion. The players have actually done work for her and our Wizard (who tends to dress like the 10th Doctor) is suspicious of her.

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  3. I've been playing or running games since 1989 and only used one dragon in that time. It was a white dragon in book 2 of the Reign of Winter AP for Pathfinder.

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  4. Often enough that I don't know the number.

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  5. Four times and they always bring the pain.

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  6. Very *very* rare. I do have one coming up i my current B/X game... and hinted at so the players know they can press on and face it with a potential TPK, or pull back and avoid it. It's a white dragon, and I have nine players(!!!!) at the table, so they might be able to handle it.

    Most are new to old school D&D. I've told them that if they survive this dungeon (it's a Dyson Logos map with a custom module), we'll have the option of switching to 1st edition or an OSR clone with higher levels and run through a campaign. With my typical 75% XP inheritance for replacing dead characters. One idea I am having as I think about this post is to run them up through all the classic dragon types as they advance in levels.

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  7. Never used one as a GM (though I've rarely GMed more than a session or two until recently).

    But as a player we've met them twice, both under 3.5 rules:

    The first time we fought a red dragon. We almost killed the thing at the expense of the entire party. My character (a kobold sorcerer ironically) was the last member standing and even got in a blow that killed the thing. Unfortunately the dragon had some sort of magic jar ability and switched bodies at the last moment, so TPK.

    The second dragon was run with the same group using different characters and is detailed here:
    http://www.protozoic.com/2005/10/05/goblins-1-dragons-0/

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  8. Since 1978 I have run my world and the Player Characters ran into one dragon, and that was up in Thunder Valley must south of the City of Stone. The Dragon was basically a gigantic iguana, and they wanted to steal one of its eggs from it's nest. That was it. No other dragons appeared in my campaign since then. In addition, I've encountered a dragon in anyone else world to date either.

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  9. I put a green dragon in a tournament scenario I wrote for a convention in 1989. I don't ever recall using a dragon in my regular campaigns.

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  10. In my early days I used them from time to time. Frequency Appearing, Very Rare :) But they did show up. Oddly enough blue dragons never showed up, and I really like them.

    When I got back into OSR gaming I noticed the lack of dragons in games based on "Dungeons & Dragons" and decided to do something about it. So now when I build a sandbox there is usually a dragon lurking somewhere in it. Last campaign I ran it was a large black dragon and the players stumbled into it twice while far too low of level to fight it. Fortunately it was about its own business both times and not hunting, so it was content to let them run.

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  11. They came up in the G1-3 series, whenever I ran that (which was often).

    In my gaming since then, we only had one dragon turn up. It took forever for the PCs to stumble across it, but it is one of a bunch. Even on the current side quest they are on, I made sure to put a dragon in.

    I'm absolutely putting dragons in the way of the PCs over and over. Not as front-and-center as Skyrim, but not rare, either.

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  12. I try my damndest NOT to run a campaign that hasn't got at least one dragon in it. I feel that it is part and parcel of running / playing D&D and I wouldn't be doing right by the players fi I didn't trow a dragon at them every so often.

    That said, the first dragon to show up in my second-last 3.5 campaign was CR26 when the party was level 12. But they got to fight a slightly less scary dragon afterwards.

    In our current 5e campaign the characters smartly decided not to engage with the green dragon they saw (but never met).

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  13. In the last campaign, the players fought 1 dragon... In games I run, a rarely use "young" dragons as I believe they should be awe inspiring and fear inducing. Killing a young dragon just seems less epic.

    I did have them fight several dragon-men (a stronger version of dragonborn / draconian mash up) which were pretty serious boss fights in themselves.

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  14. One. Years ago. An immature white dragon. The hero had armor made of its scales.

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  15. (That said, I do use these frequently - http://mojobob.com/roleplay/add2cmm/drakmyst.html - especially the mandrake.)

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  16. Twice, the first one was taken out by a vorpal sword, which was the last time I'll ever out one of those in a treasure hoard. The second was a companion to a recurring villIan who liked to do fly by attacks, casting spells while the green dragon breathed on the party. That combo was well respected, albeit not particularly well liked, by the players.

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  17. Twice, the first one was taken out by a vorpal sword, which was the last time I'll ever out one of those in a treasure hoard. The second was a companion to a recurring villIan who liked to do fly by attacks, casting spells while the green dragon breathed on the party. That combo was well respected, albeit not particularly well liked, by the players.

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  18. Fairly frequently. Dragons from the earliest days of AD&D have had age classes making them relatively appropriate foes for even low level (though maybe not starting) characters. I did go through my phase of Ancient Red Dragons in small rooms with Asmodeus next door, but even when I started to try having dungeon ecology that made some sense, there were lots of ways to have dragons in the area or nearby.

    Even when I haven't used a dragon in an actual encounter, there have been encounters rife with dragonsign. I once had someone the party was looking for, found dead just inside a tower, frozen solid, the door knocked in and gouged with large claws. The party knew he'd been the victim of a nearby white dragon and took appropriate precautions henceforth while exploring the tower and dungeon. There was no dragon, but it sure made them careful, which was the effect I was aiming for. 3:-)>

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  19. I like to use undead, golems, giants, evil humanoids, monsters from Greek mythology, slimes, and giant animals (in roughly that order of preference). Dragons just don't interest me, I guess.

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  20. As a DM: never. As a player, I've encountered two, with only one being a combat encounter.

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  21. In my case rather than worrying about how many dragons I run, I'd rather deal with how I run the dragon. For instance, I have a Greek alchemist name of Aeros Aristophanes, who is in truth a storm dragon living on AErth because Phaeree gives him the willies. Even as a dragon he steps lightly, for he doesn't like destruction and chaos. He enjoys storms, being a storm dragon after all, but he doesn't like anything did messes with the order of things.

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  22. I've used them plenty. Younger dragons turning up far more often than gigantic city killers. Nothing says badass NPC like a dragon on watch duty or used as a steed. I don't know why DMs avoid them, maybe a bunch of cheapskates who don't want the PCs making off with a dragon's hoard.

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  23. Almost no dungeons in the usual sense as well.

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  24. Wow. I guess it's been about twenty years or so. It was a Red in Basic D&D.

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  25. Never used a dragon as a GM (not sure why), but I've met plenty as a player.

    -Ed

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  26. Always a distinct lack of dragons in the games I played growing up. Decided to remedy that in my latest C&C campaign. Just had the party encounter a twin young white dragons trying to move in and establish tribute in the local area. The party was about second level. Encountered them twice. Now have rumors of a green dragon in the swamps.

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  27. Lots of Dragons in my last campaign: the players defeated a Green Dragon on The Isle of Dread, then later a Red Dragon, then rescued a Gold Dragon who became their friend and offered one of them a lift, then faced some Githyanki who rode Red Dragons as steeds.

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  28. All the time these days. I think in the 1990s I probably had maybe 5-6 dragons in ten years show up in total, and none from 2000-2005. Then in 2006 I realized I had used dragons so infrequently that there was a wealth of storytelling potential I had built up. I ran a one year campaign that was all dragons practically, about my own setting's take on Bahamut and Tiamat. Then used dragons periodically ever since. Currently my latest game has had no less than three dragon encounters in about fifteen sessions.

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  29. I think I've used them once or twice. Been so long I can not remember the particulars.

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  30. Dragons are actually pretty central to my campaign world which has been running for 12 years off and on and the players have encountered three maybe four dragons directly, dealt with the aftermath of an inter house assassination of a dragon and heard lots of rumors and occasionally seen dragons winging here or there, Because dragons are so central to the world, no one has yet been brave enough to try taking one on, fearing the consequences. Though I am sure it will happen someday.

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  31. At least once per campaign; we even had a 3.x game at one point where the whole premise was "we're dragonslayers and we are out to hunt dragons to extinction," in which I think we killed four adult-or-older dragons and a bunch of their halfdragon spawn over the course of most of a year of weekly play.

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  32. I use dragons very very rarely. The last one I genuinely remember using was the Black Dragon in one of the early 3e modules (Forge of Fury maybe?) It killed 2/3 of the party before being defeated. Most of my dragon deployments have had similar results.

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  33. Had an entire castle full of Dragons and Dragon riders. Party sneaked into basement where there were seven sleeping including two very large red ones and decided to sneak right out again. Use dragons fairly frequently, but not until the characters are fifth level and usually one at a time. Gold and Silver dragons often showed up disguised as humans when I needed a tough NPC.,

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