D&D General Companion Thread to D&D Survivor: Catastrophic Dragons

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Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
I would have gone more Genasi-like.

In 4E, the gods were basically Astral entities as opposed to the Primordials, who were similar to the old Elemental Lords of earlier editions (think Cryonax or Imix from the Fiend Folio, or Grome and Straasha from Deities & Demigods). The Dawn War was the old Clash of the Titans, with the gods on one side and the elementals on the other. In the 4E cosmology, Primordials included, for examples, demons -- devils were evil entities with a divine nature, while demons were similar entities of a more destructive elemental nature. Catastrophic Dragons were something of a weird mix in this cosmology, since dragons were descended from the Elder God Io, through his children Bahamut and Tiamat, who were gods in this cosmology but with dragon followers in addition to non-dragon races -- Bahamut was the god of chivalry for everybody, IIRC.

I kind of liked the flavor of the Catastrophic Dragons, but they never really hit a sweet spot for a lot of people and I don't remember a lot being done with them. They had tragic origin stories, but I think they needed to be made even more obviously alien, like the later additions:
  • Avalanche Dragon: "Few creatures hold grudges as long and as well as an avalanche dragon. These monsters forget no slight—either to themselves or to their lineage, which stretches back to Io’s demise. Rather than blaming Io’s fall on Erek-Hus, the primordial that slew him, a subset of the dragon god’s children held the power of death itself responsible for stealing their lord. These dragons retreated into the Elemental Chaos in pain and confusion, where a primordial named Athuam the Falling Sky found them. Having suffered recent defeat in battle with Nerull, the original god of the dead, Athuam saw in the dragons a means to shape his vengeance. The primordial convinced the dragons that if death itself could be destroyed, all creatures that died would be returned to life—including their fallen god.
    "As one, the dragons vowed to make Athuam their new lord if he would lead them to destroy Nerull. The primordial made them drink of his own muddy blood, which infused the dragons’ veins with a mineral strength and elemental vitality that hardened their flesh and minds. They became catastrophic dragons of the avalanche, channeling the power of the crumbling mountain.
    "The dragons transformed by Athuam accompanied the Falling Sky on his next attack against Nerull in his realm of Pluton. There, Athuam and his crush of avalanche dragons cut a swath of destruction across the astral domain, severely depleting the god of death’s strength. By calling on his divine allies, Nerull threw down and entrapped Athuam, along with most of the primordial’s catastrophic dragon allies.
    "Avalanche dragons that escaped the battle are the ancestors from which all avalanche dragons of the present day descend. More so than other catastrophic dragons, avalanche dragons maintain a connection to their ancient history. Over long generations, their enmity for the dead god Nerull has been reshaped as a natural instinct to destroy the creatures and servants of shadow." (Dragon #424)
  • Blizzard Dragon: "After the death of Io, a number of disaffected dragons received guidance from Umboras, Lord of the Rimefire. This primordial attracted those dragons who had cold, cruel hearts, who enjoyed toying with their prey before destroying the unfortunate morsels. Umboras carried them away to the deepest reaches of the Elemental Chaos, where neither sun nor volcano could heat the air. The ice coated their bodies, entombing them in hoarfrost. Umboras took his time, working terrible magic to transform the creatures in his image. After a year and a day, the dragons emerged from their frosty tombs, transformed into blizzard dragons." (Monster Manual 3)
  • Earthquake Dragon: "When Erek·Hus, the King of Terror, slew Io, many dragons felt the touch of fear as they never had before. In reaction, some searched for protection in the form of a patron who could defend them. These dragons found an ally in the primordial Balcoth, the Groaning King. This primordial of impenetrable stone welcomed them... and fulfilled his promise to guard them by swallowing them up in his great maw. Within the burning furnace of his stomach, the dragons became petrified. Some Balcoth vomited up to serve him, using the powers he granted them to swim through the earth and tear it asunder; others escaped years later, when Balcoth was decapitated in a battle against the gods." (Monster Manual 3)
  • Tornado Dragon: "Tornado dragons descend from those renegadedragons that found shelter in the Elemental Chaos, and which sided with the cruel primordial known as Yan-C-Bin. Sworn to the Chained God, the elemental prince saw these dragons as weapons he could use against his enemies and as tools to break his master’s chains. He poisoned the dragons sheltering in his palace with toxic words, turning their hearts and souls against their kin. The tighter his control over the dragons, the more their draconic natures were eclipsed by elemental power.
    "Yan-C-Bin charged the first tornado dragons with killing the mortal servants of the gods, a task for which they were eminently suited. Destroying cities and menacing whole armies, the tornado dragons were stopped only by Bahamut and his seven gold dragon exarchs, who rallied the mortal legions and dispersed the elemental host. The surviving tornado dragons fled civilized lands and have lingered in the wilderness ever since." (Dragon #425)
  • Typhoon Dragon: "When Bahamut and Tiamat arosefrom the sundered corpse of Io, a handful of dragons were driven to devastating rage by their god’s demise. Turning their backs on their own kind and the dragons’ role in the Dawn War, they engaged in unbridled destruction for its own sake. At this time, the great oceans of the world were not yet claimed and ruled over by the higher powers. Many of these dragons gravitated there, attracted to the sea’s chaotic and unforgiving nature.
    "Over time, as Melora began to exert control over the oceans, these dragons saw their freedom threatened. Turning to the powers that opposed Melora, they paid fealty to a number of primordials. Of these, only the name of Solkara, the Crushing Wave, is recorded. The primordials submerged these dragons in the seas of the Elemental Chaos, holding them there until the pressure had crushed them and their waterlogged flesh had sloughed from their bones.
    "What remained, Solkara hurled upward into the fearsome storms that scoured the elemental skies. Given a semblance of life by flashing lightning and fearsome winds, the first typhoon dragons were born. Freed by Solkara as tools of chaos, these harbingers of the storm expanded their destructive ways, fighting all creatures in the name of their need to destroy." (Dragon #424)
  • Volcanic Dragon: "When Io fell, one group of dragons present became consumed with a burning wrath. His demise clearly proved to them that 10 was weak. And, since they had been made in Io's image, the dragons considered themselves to be weak as well. This idea filled the dragons with fury, and they turned to the primordial1s for the raw power they wanted. Vezzuvu, the Burning Mountain, answered their demands. Vezzuvu told the dragons that if they bathed in the white-hot lava ofhis volcanic domain, they would be cleansed of their weak flesh and gain more powerful bodies. The dragons heeded Vezzuvu's words and submerged themselves in the lava. Many died during the process, but those that survived arose from the pools of lava with new bodies. At first, the new volcanic dragons were satisfied, but many soon came to think that they had not been given as great a gift as they were promised, or as much as they deserved. They spent their wrath on both the gods and VezzuvII for a time, allying with both and betraying both. Today, neither god nor primordial accepts a volcanic dragon as anything more than a mercenary and a weapon, a tool to be used with extreme caution." (Monster Manual 3)
  • Wildfire Dragon: "When the dragon god Io was slain, the dragons that witnessed the event were driven to insane revenge. The mightiest of Io’s children were the ancient reds and golds, whose flame scoured the battlefields across which they pursued Io’s killer, the primordial Erek-Hus.
    "Fearing that the wrath of the dragons would eventually grant them the upper hand, Erek-Hus forged an alliance with Imix the Fire Lord, who yearned to control the dragons of fire. The enraged dragons pursued Eruk-Hus to the portal of Imix’s ever-burning kingdom—a portal that granted entrance but no exit. There, in a masterstroke of deceit, Eruk-Hus escapedand the dragons were captured by the Fire Lord.
    "The dragons’ power fueled a great conflagration that left them as little more than wispy shapes of smoke and cinders. Imix’s victory was short-lived, however, when he realized that the mighty red and gold dragons would not bend to his will even after bodily destruction. Furious, he cast them back into the world, where their thirst for revenge was reshaped into the need to unleash purifying flame." (Dragon #425)
Frankly, I think these guys would have been perfect to put in Princes of the Apocalypse, and the Adventurers League modules from the Elemental Evil campaign season. Probably would have been a good addition to Storm King's Thunder as well. Ah well, missed opportunities.


A suffusion of yellow
Catastrophic Dragonborn (Dragonborn Variant) ;) Aside from this link, I have wondered if Catastrophic Dragonborn would be more like the other Dragonborn, or if they would be more like the Genasi given their elemental nature.

but personally I absolutely hate turning every monster into a 'race', I much prefer Unique 'legendary' monsters that dominate their regions like they did in Birthright - The Gorgon, The Ghoul The Sphinx, etc.

It makes for much more epic, mythic feel - ergo I'd much rather there be a single, unique Avalanche Dragonborn or Wildfire Dragonborn, that other mundane Dragonborn treat as legendary heroes


but personally I absolutely hate turning every monster into a 'race', I much prefer Unique 'legendary' monsters that dominate their regions like they did in Birthright - The Gorgon, The Ghoul The Sphinx, etc.

It makes for much more epic, mythic feel - ergo I'd much rather there be a single, unique Avalanche Dragonborn or Wildfire Dragonborn, that other mundane Dragonborn treat as legendary heroes
It's cool. I'll settle for the 5e Midgard Dragonkin who already are Genasi-like.

When I saw the Storm Drake (aka Cloud Dragon or Wind Dragon) in 3e's Draconomicon (pages 194-195), I found myself picturing them as a True Dragon.

Later on in Pathfinder 1st edition, I came across these guys. Elemental Dragon(3pp) – d20PFSRD While they are Outsiders with the Elemental subtype in PF1, you could convert them over to 5e and just give them the Dragon type. If you kept them as Elementals in 5e, then you could have Dragonborn-like Genasi. ;)

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