In the latest Design & Development column, David Noonan discusses designing the GenCon Dungeon Delve. This installment focuses on designing the dragons in order to work in the delve format.
That’s a lot to keep in the front of one’s mind. Here inside the walls at Wizards, we often talk about the “processor load” on a DM’s mind. Dragons will take all the processing power you have, and then some.
To be blunt, I think dragons are overdesigned. They’re eighty gallons of fun in a forty-gallon barrel. And the most troublesome aspect of dragons is their potent spellcasting. Those big sorcerer (and sorcerer/cleric) lists certainly make dragons more effective, but they also add about 20,000 moles of complexity.
To give an idea of complexity of D&D, he points out that he was looking for a way to speed up casting of restoration. James Wyatt pointed him to a feat in the Complete Divine, a book David Noonan had designed!Dragons have lots of great options for grappling, but nobody—nobody in the world, anywhere—likes the grapple rules