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D&D 5E 5e Updates: Monstrous Compendium

Stalker0

Legend
Red Dragon, Juvenile
Challenge
10 (5,900 XP)

I'm getting a solid CR 11 on my checks on this one (Defensive and Offensive CR 11). I made unstoppable = 1 use of legendary resistance, as I think they are roughly compatible. I do like your focus on this mid tier dragons being very close in defensive and offensive CR....again a true "tank" with no real weaknesses.
 

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dave2008

Legend
I'm getting a solid CR 11 on my checks on this one (Defensive and Offensive CR 11). I made unstoppable = 1 use of legendary resistance, as I think they are roughly compatible. I do like your focus on this mid tier dragons being very close in defensive and offensive CR....again a true "tank" with no real weaknesses.
I tried to balance offense and defense, easier on some than others.

IMO, unstoppable really shouldn't require an adjustment as it is handles this with the HP cost to use the ability. Legendary resistance is "free" but there is actually a hidden HP cost - that is how it affects the CR. Here the HP cost is not hidden. So using the ability effectively reduces your CR in the opposite way legendary resistance increases CR.

Regardless I am getting a solid 10.

Defensive CR: 178 HP = 8 + 1 = 9
Offensive CR: DPR 72.7 = 11 + 0 = 11
 

Stalker0

Legend
Red Dragon, Adult
Challenge
18 (20,000 XP)

Ok, so after our discussion on the Young Adult, I will shift my "boss monster" eye to this guy. Lets see how he does.

Ignite: I've mentioned before that I think the ignite mechanic is a little weird flavor wise. Its so little damage at 18th level that its barely worth tracking, but the fact that it negates reactions and concentration is an incredibly powerful ability. Now such power is perfectly valid for this CR, but it is delivered in a weird package. Personally I would just set it at 10 (3d6) damage, so at least its a nice round number if its going to be small. Remove the reaction drop and auto concentration drop.... the ignite damage will generate more concentration checks, and the main breath damage will represent the "stripping of concentration". I also threw in a combination mechanic with Wing Attack (see below).

Breath Weapon: I really like the area effect you have going on with the breath. Just to give the dragon a little more tactical options, perhaps give the ability for the dragon's breath to be a cone, or an area effect around the dragon (flavor wise, the dragon is breathing around itself and engulfing the area in flames. This offers the dragon some protection against pesky melee types, and provides it a "shield of fire" to help against mass ranged damage. This augments the tactical nature of your ongoing fire effect.

Defense: I wouldn't mind seeing the dragon scale power start at this level. It helps keep out the "riff raff".

Move: Just confirming, do you intend this to be the dragon's "ground speed", and the Wing Attack to be the Dragon's "Fly Speed". I think a lot of DMs (myself included) always default to the fastest travel form until its specified, so I wanted to see what your intentions were here.

Wing Attack: Would love to see a "knockback" effect here. This would give the dragon room to use its half speed movement without provoking OAs from the front line. Since you are already doing prone with the tail, swapping prone with a knockback here would give you a wider range of effects as well. If you wanted to throw on a little more "spice", you could say that an ignited creature immediately takes the ignite damage (the old blowing on a fire causing it to rage up).

Detect: Just confirming if you meant a single attack, or all attacks made with the attack action? I think its just cleaner to say "advantage on all attacks until the end of the dragon's next turn". Yes that does mean that the dragon can get in a tail attack with its normal action routine, but I don't think that will break the bank...and it simplifies the maneuver.

Overall: In general, I think the problem is that at these CRs, a typical party has so many tricks that can mess up a big bruiser...and at the end of the day for all its power, this dragon is still just a bruiser. It has a few means to knock away magic, but wall spells and the like can still just wreck its day, which for a boss fight can be very unappealing. So let me offer one more upgrade to really make the statement that you just do not mess with a dragon.

Burn Magic: Any magical spell or effect in the area of the dragon breath weapon is subject to Dispel Magic (5th level). Use the dragon's charisma modifier for the spell. If a magical effect is vulnerable to Disintegrate, then the effect is removed as if hit by Disintegrate.

--This is the Dragon's omni-tool to tell with pesky mortal magic. Oh trap them behind a wall of force? BURN IT TO THE GROUND! Managed some kind of special magic circle that dragon's cannot cross? BURN IT TO THE GROUND! Party is buffed to the nines with dragon killing magic....BURN IT TO THE....well you get the idea:)
 
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dave2008

Legend
I think the reason for our differences are the saving throw proficiencies. You have 5 saves that gain proficiency bonus, which normally bumps up the defensive CR.
Your completely right - I will have to think about this. I didn't account for that on any of them, yikes. I need to do some work to get these corrected.
 

dave2008

Legend
Ok, so after our discussion on the Young Adult, I will shift my "boss monster" eye to this guy. Lets see how he does.
Sounds good! And thank you for the comments.
Ignite: I've mentioned before that I think the ignite mechanic is a little weird flavor wise. Its so little damage at 18th level that its barely worth tracking, but the fact that it negates reactions and concentration is an incredibly powerful ability. Now such power is perfectly valid for this CR, but it is delivered in a weird package. Personally I would just set it at 10 (3d6) damage, so at least its a nice round number if its going to be small. Remove the reaction drop and auto concentration drop.... the ignite damage will generate more concentration checks, and the main breath damage will represent the "stripping of concentration". I also threw in a combination mechanic with Wing Attack (see below).
Let me explain the intent and inspiration a bit. The inspiration was Drogon vs Lannister army, and how once people are covered in dragon fire they really couldn't do anything except try to put it out (really they just died - but you get the idea). So what I am trying to do is model the insanity of being on fire. The whole goal is to prevent reactions, concentration and make you use an action to stop those effects, not the damage. That been said, I am open to changes.
Breath Weapon: I really like the area effect you have going on with the breath. Just to give the dragon a little more tactical options, perhaps give the ability for the dragon's breath to be a cone, or an area effect around the dragon (flavor wise, the dragon is breathing around itself and engulfing the area in flames. This offers the dragon some protection against pesky melee types, and provides it a "shield of fire" to help against mass ranged damage. This augments the tactical nature of your ongoing fire effect.
I will think about it. A dragon should have more ways to use its breath weapon, but it gets complex pretty fast.
Defense: I wouldn't mind seeing the dragon scale power start at this level. It helps keep out the "riff raff".
I'll think about, but I am not overly concerned at the moment.
Move: Just confirming, do you intend this to be the dragon's "ground speed", and the Wing Attack to be the Dragon's "Fly Speed". I think a lot of DMs (myself included) always default to the fastest travel form until its specified, so I wanted to see what your intentions were here.
It is purposely ambiguous. Personally, I would say it depends what the dragon is doing. If it is on the ground it is its walking speed. If it is flying it is its flying speed, etc. I could clarify that, but I don't see the need to hand cuff DMs, but it could be codified.
Wing Attack: Would love to see a "knockback" effect here. This would give the dragon room to use its half speed movement without provoking OAs from the front line. Since you are already doing prone with the tail, swapping prone with a knockback here would give you a wider range of effects as well. If you wanted to throw on a little more "spice", you could say that an ignited creature immediately takes the ignite damage (the old blowing on a fire causing it to rage up).
By knockback I assume you mean a push? I could see that. This was just copied straight up from the MM, but I could see replacing prone with a push.
Detect: Just confirming if you meant a single attack, or all attacks made with the attack action? I think its just cleaner to say "advantage on all attacks until the end of the dragon's next turn". Yes that does mean that the dragon can get in a tail attack with its normal action routine, but I don't think that will break the bank...and it simplifies the maneuver.
The language could be cleaned up, but yes the intent was one attack action, most likely the mulitattack option. However, I didn't want it to extend to legendary actions. I thimk my reasoning was that it would be too powerful then and your would always take this + tail. And you basically always have advantage. I guess I could look at how that affects the CR. I need to redo it anyway!
Overall: In general, I think the problem is that at these CRs, a typical party has so many tricks that can mess up a big bruiser...and at the end of the day for all its power, this dragon is still just a bruiser. It has a few means to knock away magic, but wall spells and the like can still just wreck its day, which for a boss fight can be very unappealing. So let me offer one more upgrade to really make the statement that you just do not mess with a dragon.

Burn Magic: Any magical spell or effect in the area of the dragon breath weapon is subject to Dispel Magic (5th level). Use the dragon's charisma modifier for the spell. If a magical effect is vulnerable to Disintegrate, then the effect is removed as if hit by Disintegrate.

--This is the Dragon's omni-tool to tell with pesky mortal magic. Oh trap them behind a wall of force? BURN IT TO THE GROUND! Managed some kind of special magic circle that dragon's cannot cross? BURN IT TO THE GROUND! Party is buffed to the nines with dragon killing magic....BURN IT TO THE....well you get the idea:)
That was actually originally a possibility for unstoppable. In one variation (I forget which monster) it specifically states that it acts like dispel magic, I like adding it to the breath weapon better. Thank you for the suggestion!

I will review these tomorrow and make some adjustments. Thank you for taking the time and effort to help me improve these dragons!
 

Stalker0

Legend
However, I didn't want it to extend to legendary actions. I thimk my reasoning was that it would be too powerful then and your would always take this + tail. And you basically always have advantage. I guess I could look at how that affects the CR. I need to redo it anyway!

I will say I think the default Dragon routine would be Detect + Tail, even without the change. To me, move and wing attack are more defensive maneuvers, meant to reposition the dragon and ensure groups of enemies don't get too close. But if the dragon is "doing fine", detect + tail would be the way to go, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
 

Stalker0

Legend
The inspiration was Drogon vs Lannister army, and how once people are covered in dragon fire they really couldn't do anything except try to put it out (really they just died - but you get the idea). So what I am trying to do is model the insanity of being on fire. The whole goal is to prevent reactions, concentration and make you use an action to stop those effects, not the damage. That been said, I am open to changes.

Definitely a great scene! So when I think about "being on fire" I think the closest 5e condition would be Incapacitated (you could maybe argue stun is even better, but for balance I'm going one step lower). You can't take reactions, and your action is putting out the fire.

So what about a short but powerful effect instead of a more lingering effect.

Breath Weapon: On a failed save, the target is incapacitated until the end of its next turn.

--Simple but extremely powerful.
 

dave2008

Legend
Definitely a great scene! So when I think about "being on fire" I think the closest 5e condition would be Incapacitated (you could maybe argue stun is even better, but for balance I'm going one step lower). You can't take reactions, and your action is putting out the fire.

So what about a short but powerful effect instead of a more lingering effect.

Breath Weapon: On a failed save, the target is incapacitated until the end of its next turn.

--Simple but extremely powerful.
I like it, consider it done!
 

dave2008

Legend
I will say I think the default Dragon routine would be Detect + Tail, even without the change. To me, move and wing attack are more defensive maneuvers, meant to reposition the dragon and ensure groups of enemies don't get too close. But if the dragon is "doing fine", detect + tail would be the way to go, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
i agree, but my concern was that advantage on all attacks might be to strong. maybe it should be just the next attack, and not next action
 

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