D&D 5E 5e Updates: Monstrous Compendium

dave2008

Legend
So I had a pretty simple idea that seemed so intuitive I can't believe I didn't think of it sooner. Just give the dragon an action option to recharge their breath instead of a recharge roll.

Breath Weapon (1/short rest).
Legendary Action (3) - Recharge Breath: The dragon regains the use of its breath weapon. The dragon cannot take an action until the end of its next turn.


Effectively you are trading in an entire round of inaction to recharge your breath. Now in a straight up fight you generally would not want to do that, but if your doing a "fly by" type encounter with a dragon, it might be worth it for the dragon to recharge every other round to do another breath weapon pass.

Doing the Offensive Math on the Adult dragon, its 112 normal vs 130 with the breath, recharge, breath. So maybe with a little tweak to the breath damage vs the main attack routine it would be possible to make these roughly equivalent.
The math seems to work, but it obviously only works for dragons with legendary actions. I'll think about it. Something doesn't sit right with me in limiting it to 1/short rest.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

dave2008

Legend
I agree, fighter damage tends to pleateau per swing...so higher thresholds are extra penalizing. A 5 threshold isn't much because by this point I would expect every player to have a 20 in their main damage stat, so they will always bypass the threshold. But an 8 threshold means there are attack rolls that will get blocked (unless you have a big magic weapon or something)...which is a big deal.

What you could do is do a combination of threshold and damage reduction for the higher dragons. An Example:

Dragon Scales: An Elder dragon is immune to all damage (except psychic) unless the damage is greater than 5. All damage that penetrates the threshold is reduced by 2.

So this ensures that your characters aren't getting their attacks wholesale blocked....but the reduction does trim a bit off the top, showcasing that an Elder is a tougher dragon than the adult, even though the threshold didn't increase.
Yes, but DR is wonky for CR calculations. There is no "rule" for it, but the reasonable thing to do is increase the dragons effective HP by the DR x some multiplier x 3 (for 3 rounds). The safe assumption would look at when fighters get extra attack. So at 20th level that would be (4x2)x3 = 24 minimum and probably at least 32 or 40 extra "effective" hp which bumps the elder dragon up to the next CR. I just think it is too messy.

I will need to think about damage thresholds and reductions.
 

Stalker0

Legend
The math seems to work, but it obviously only works for dragons with legendary actions. I'll think about it. Something doesn't sit right with me in limiting it to 1/short rest.

Flavor wise you could set the breath at a 1 minute recharge for even a 5 round recharge.... as I doubt either value would impact most combats (the 5 round maybe once in a while, the 1 minute might as well be forever in terms of a single combat).

That covers you out of combat, and the recharge could allow for balanced extra breaths in combat (I would assume any use of the breath resets the clock, so you couldn't do the recharge breath in combination with your natural recharge to get breaths back to back).
 
Last edited:

dave2008

Legend
I agree, fighter damage tends to pleateau per swing...so higher thresholds are extra penalizing. A 5 threshold isn't much because by this point I would expect every player to have a 20 in their main damage stat, so they will always bypass the threshold. But an 8 threshold means there are attack rolls that will get blocked (unless you have a big magic weapon or something)...which is a big deal.

What you could do is do a combination of threshold and damage reduction for the higher dragons. An Example:

Dragon Scales: An Elder dragon is immune to all damage (except psychic) unless the damage is greater than 5. Damage that penetrates the threshold is reduced by 2.

So this ensures that your characters aren't getting their attacks wholesale blocked....but the reduction does trim a bit off the top, showcasing that an Elder is a tougher dragon than the adult, even though the threshold didn't increase. This means the elder is still nigh immune from the mob archer fire I noted before, but in actual combat....not TOO penalizing for the PCs, but still special in that old school DR is almost nonexistant in 5e.
OK, completely different concept. If the idea of the damage threshold was to hold off angry mobs of archers, why not just give it resistance to non-magical piercing damage? Keep the threshold at 5 and then add the resistance at elder and older.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Yes, but DR is wonky for CR calculations. There is no "rule" for it, but the reasonable thing to do is increase the dragons effective HP by the DR x some multiplier x 3 (for 3 rounds). The safe assumption would look at when fighters get extra attack. So at 20th level that would be (4x2)x3 = 24 minimum and probably at least 32 or 40 extra "effective" hp which bumps the elder dragon up to the next CR. I just think it is too messy.

I will need to think about damage thresholds and reductions.

True, but technically damage thresholds have the same problem once you go high enough. Now like I said, a 5 threshold is really more flavor than anything, it explains how dragons can take on hoards of archers and not just fall out of the sky and die. But in a PC combat it might as well not exist. But an 8, 10, or 12 threshold....that will matter.... and in theory should better factored into the defensive CR just as DR should.

There is of course the tried and true resistance against nonmagic weapons. As I noted earlier, the 5 threshold rougly equal resistance when dealing with mass archers....so mechanically they are similar (and if your kingdom is fielding entire squads of archers with magic weapons....well then yeah dragons aren't going to be a problem because that kingdom is rich beyond belief).

Edit: hehe looks like we had the same idea at the same time:)
 


Another option is to ignore damage from creatures of less than CR 1 or so. Now only the elite archers can hope to hurt the dragon.
Though I do like the damage threshold combined with magic weapon resistance. It might be the firt time I've actually seen weapon resistance being able to make a difference past CR 6 or so!
 


Stalker0

Legend
We did. I made it a trait as I didn't want it to reduce the damage of dragons biting each other. A little awkward, but I think it works.

Yeah its a little messy. You mentioned you didn't want dragons to suffer the dragon scales against each other, but why not? That would just mean dragon fights are extra long and epic, is that really a bad thing?

Alright here's another idea, that is more applicable in regular combat.... see if the flavor works in your opinion. I'm going with two versions, one a simpler and more general concept, the second more specifically geared to thwart ranged attackers.

Dragon Scales (V1): The dragon has resistance to any attack made at disadvantage, unless the attack is a critical hit.

--Flavorwise, this represents that you have to target weak spots on the dragon or you can't do much damage. This would means that the ranged mob firing at long distance would barely scratch the dragon....though at closer range could do some real damage. It also means that the firebreath opaque effect could have some extra oomph, as you would normally be at disadvantage to attack through it.

Dragon Scales (V2): The dragon has resistance to any attack made from beyond 100 ft, unless the attack is a critical hit. (adjust range to taste)

--So this version would actually have impact on ranged spell users as well, and encourages dragon hunters to get "close and cozy" with a dragon if they want to beat them. Compared to version 1, the ranged mob couldn't get in the big pain unless they are at 100 ft, whereas in version 1 they could do it at 150 ft.

Dragon Scales (V3): The Dragon is immune from nonmagical slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage, unless the weapon used has been dipped in dragon blood*

*DMs are encouraged to substitute another ingredient that bests fits their campaign.

--So in this model, we are going with the notion that you need magic to even hurt a high level dragon. But for those games where magic items are low, we are offering a flavor way to bypass it. Again, this ensures the riff raff can't hurt the dragon, but allows the PCs to attack it normally.
 
Last edited:

dave2008

Legend
Yeah its a little messy. You mentioned you didn't want dragons to suffer the dragon scales against each other, but why not? That would just mean dragon fights are extra long and epic, is that really a bad thing?

Alright here's another idea, that is more applicable in regular combat.... see if the flavor works in your opinion. I'm going with two versions, one a simpler and more general concept, the second more specifically geared to thwart ranged attackers.

Dragon Scales (V1): The dragon has resistance to any attack made at disadvantage, unless the attack is a critical hit.

--Flavorwise, this represents that you have to target weak spots on the dragon or you can't do much damage. This would means that the ranged mob firing at long distance would barely scratch the dragon....though at closer range could do some real damage. It also means that the firebreath opaque effect could have some extra oomph, as you would normally be at disadvantage to attack through it.

Dragon Scales (V2): The dragon has resistance to any attack made from beyond 100 ft, unless the attack is a critical hit. (adjust range to taste)

--So this version would actually have impact on ranged spell users as well, and encourages dragon hunters to get "close and cozy" with a dragon if they want to beat them. Compared to version 1, the ranged mob couldn't get in the big pain unless they are at 100 ft, whereas in version 1 they could do it at 150 ft.

Dragon Scales (V3): The Dragon is immune from nonmagical slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage, unless the weapon used has been dipped in dragon blood*

*DMs are encouraged to substitute another ingredient that bests fits their campaign.

--So in this model, we are going with the notion that you need magic to even hurt a high level dragon. But for those games where magic items are low, we are offering a flavor way to bypass it. Again, this ensures the riff raff can't hurt the dragon, but allows the PCs to attack it normally.
Thanks for the help, some great ideas. I think one of these makes sense, I'm just not sure which one is the best fit yet.
 

Remove ads

Top