Dragonbane Bestiary Release Date Announced

60+ new monsters coming later this month

Free League announced the release date for the Dragonbane Bestiary: February 24, 2024

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From the press release:

Oh, will no good deed go unpunished? I suppose time will tell, but right now things are looking bleak indeed. I have wandered, ridden, climbed, crawled, and swum all over this earth; I have spoken with all manners of creatures, observed, analyzed, and recorded almost everything worth knowing about the people and beings of the world. And yet here I am, unthanked and crouched in a godforsaken crevice, hunted by several of the creatures that I’ve graciously included in my catalog. How astoundingly rude!
– Theodora Sneezewort, one of a kind

From cat people to chimeras, fairies to frog people, hippogriffs to hydras, and many more – creatures both wondrous and horrifying are crawling, slithering, climbing and flying closer towards us all! We are happy to announce that our upcoming Bestiary for our critically acclaimed fantasy RPG Dragonbane is set to release on February 27.

The Dragonbane Bestiary includes no less than 63 creatures, each brought to life in text and art, as well as a random encounter and a seed for a complete adventure. Among these fantastic beings, there are nine new playable kin included, each with their own unique ability.

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The hardcover is available for pre-order for 483.00 kr (about US$46.58) and the collector’s edition for 768.00 kr (about US$74.06). Both pre-orders will give immediate access to a PDF of the book provided through DriveThruRPG. A set of 64 cardboard standee pawns is also available for pre-order for 258.00 kr (US$24.87).
 

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
I ran an ambush on Saturday, 12 goblins ambushing 9 experienced PCs and 2 allied NPCs. It was brutal! One NPC was immediately killed, and a PC was dropped to 0 hp in the first round. The adventure said '2 goblins per PC' but I think that would have been a TPK.
Sounds like a total blast. I agree that with 2 goblins per PC you probably would have had a TPK. I recall a GURPS based campaign I ran back in the late 1980s where the party almost TPKd and the dwarf in heavy full plate did end up dying. He thought he could just wade into the goblins with no ill effects. When they realized that they couldn't penetrate his armor after a few rounds, I made a Tactics skill check and got a very good roll. (might have been a critical but I no longer recall)

Anyhow, the goblins got the smart idea to overbear the dwarf and proceeded to wrestle him to the ground with sheer numbers and finally managed to do so after a few rounds. Then one of them ended up due to bonuses of dwarf being held down placing a dagger through the eye slit of the plate armor, killing the dwarf. The other players couldn't get their characters to the dwarf because he had wandered so far from them down the narrow canyon. They (the party) ended up doing a tactical retreat and the player of the dwarf later rolled up a pretty badass wizard later on. It was a good group, he wasn't upset that his dwarf got killed, he had assumed it would probably happen due to the disadvantages he choose for his dwarf, which included Overconfidence.

Part of what I love about skill based rpgs, is that you just can't typically steamroll through everything and the combat doesn't feel like chess but more active with options. I think Dragonbane will continue to fill a spot in rpgs where the players want a different kind of game versus the DnD variations.
 

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S'mon

Legend
Sounds like a total blast. I agree that with 2 goblins per PC you probably would have had a TPK. I recall a GURPS based campaign I ran back in the late 1980s where the party almost TPKd and the dwarf in heavy full plate did end up dying. He thought he could just wade into the goblins with no ill effects. When they realized that they couldn't penetrate his armor after a few rounds, I made a Tactics skill check and got a very good roll. (might have been a critical but I no longer recall)

Anyhow, the goblins got the smart idea to overbear the dwarf and proceeded to wrestle him to the ground with sheer numbers and finally managed to do so after a few rounds. Then one of them ended up due to bonuses of dwarf being held down placing a dagger through the eye slit of the plate armor, killing the dwarf. The other players couldn't get their characters to the dwarf because he had wandered so far from them down the narrow canyon. They (the party) ended up doing a tactical retreat and the player of the dwarf later rolled up a pretty badass wizard later on. It was a good group, he wasn't upset that his dwarf got killed, he had assumed it would probably happen due to the disadvantages he choose for his dwarf, which included Overconfidence.

Part of what I love about skill based rpgs, is that you just can't typically steamroll through everything and the combat doesn't feel like chess but more active with options. I think Dragonbane will continue to fill a spot in rpgs where the players want a different kind of game versus the DnD variations.

I had a VERY similar experience! Tony was playing Makander, the plate armoured Duck Knight. When a horde of cultists attacked, the other PCs retreated to a defensible position, but he threw himself into the throng, trying to reach their leader, also a Mallard. Several rounds later, and a lot of attack-with-bane armour-gap-finding piercing attacks, the cultists felled and slew the brave but foolish Mallard.

Next session the battle was still going on when Tony returned playing Brage* the Mage, lightning bolted Leandra the cultist leader, rolled a Dragon, and incinerated her right off. :cool:

*Renegade 80 year old son of the 100+ year old Archpriestess of the Demon Lord Sathmog.
 

S'mon

Legend
My campaign page https://simonyrpgs.blogspot.com/2023/02/dragonbane-starter-rules.html

Tony's wife Kimberly is a talented author who used to write for WoTC back when they published non-D&D stuff. She has a great account of our Dragonborn campaign at https://docs.google.com/document/d/...XUySB4dbO-RUWutQI/edit#heading=h.f0zy9rcsolgy - she plays Tymma the Loud, a Dwarf Bard-Knight, and composes some brilliant songs.

O Makander!

In the city of Outskirt, a tale now unfolds,
Of a brave knight duck, Makander so bold.
He fought 'gainst cultists, evil to the core,
With feathers of valour, he battled evermore.

Chorus (repeat between verses):
Oh, Makander, our hero so true,
In battle he fought, his spirit shining through.
With wings of courage, he faced the night,
In our hearts, his legacy burns bright.

Surrounded by foes, outnumbered and strong,
He stood firm, against the cultists' throng.
Though he fell in battle, his spirit won't cease,
Makander, the knight, his bravery won't decrease.

Now, let us remember this duck so brave,
His name echoes on, through every wave.
Makander, the knight, forever he'll be,
A symbol of courage for all to see.
 

EthanSental

Legend
Supporter
I’ve just started reading rules for Dragonbane, but quick question, the game is not set up like dnd from the 70s and 80s where the game assumes henchman and retainers are in the group for adventures that are included, is it?
 

The Soloist

Adventurer
I’ve just started reading rules for Dragonbane, but quick question, the game is not set up like dnd from the 70s and 80s where the game assumes henchman and retainers are in the group for adventures that are included, is it?
No. It's really not a D&D simulacrum. You will need to deprogram your brain, just like I did. Money is scarce and magic items are extremely rare. ;)
 

aramis erak

Legend
I’ve just started reading rules for Dragonbane, but quick question, the game is not set up like dnd from the 70s and 80s where the game assumes henchman and retainers are in the group for adventures that are included, is it?
No. It's not part of the D&D arm of the old school games. The lineage goes

D&D including Supplement 1: GreyhawkRuneQuest 1E → Basic Roleplay 1980 → Magic World and Drakar och Demoner 1e → Drakar och Demoner 2e → Drakar och Demoner 3e → Drakar och Demoner 4e aka Dragonbane...

See, the perecentile skills for thieves came from the Greyhawk influence; OE alone lacks anything with percentile skills.
Greg Stafford was blending his Glorantha setting with D&D mechanics. And assigning percentiles to skills other than thievery.¹

Steve Perrin and Ray Tourney took Greg's D&D houserules and warped them into a discrete ruleset: RuneQuest. They removed the d20 and the class and level...
Later, 1979-1980, Greg Stafford and Lynn Willis combined forces to reduce the complexity of RQ into a lighter game, which was released as Basic Roleplay. It was sold as a standalone booklet copyrighted in 1980. It has 4 classes, but they're BROAD strokes, and have some limits on maxima of certain skills.
The following year, a boxed set called Worlds of Wonder was released, including the 1980 BRP and 3 worldbooks. One of which was Magic World. I don't know the direction for certain, but going through and looking at Drakkar och Demoner 1e, the two are super close. There are minor differences, and both were released in 1982.
I don't know the details of DoD 2 and 3 - but Drakar och Demoner 4e is the Swedish and Dragonbane the English title. It's a re-engining of an older setting and tropeset. I do know DoD 3 was still a percentile roll, not a d20 one...

I've heard, but not seen any direct accounts, that Magic World was licensed to help make Magic World...
For reference, DoD 1E, Part 1 is essentially the BRP 1e book. Parts 2 and 3 are the Magic World book.

Most Old School types see BRP as not a direct child of D&D, but I've read that much typed by Greg himself - in discussion of the origins of Pendragon. He just broadened the use...
DoD4/DB is doing the same kind of swap of BRP from 1d100 to 1d20 as Greg did with Pendragon. It's also made a few changes to be less deadly... heal all HP and WP if you get a full night's rest in a safe place. Or 1d once per shift by taking a stretch rest (which doesn't require a safe space). So, if you're not going anywhere, and have no encounters, it's possible to get 4d6 HP back per day... and 4d6 WP, as well.
Comparing this: BRP 1e had a 1 HP per week healing rate... but each wound, each poison, or "fast acting disease" can be treated with first aid - on a success, it's reduced by 1d3 to a minimum of 0. And in Magic World, Spent Power is recovered at 1 point per half hour. That's actually a little faster than in DoD4/DB.
DoD 1e has the same 1 HP ("SP" in Svensk) and MP ("KRA") per half hour.



¹: Greg wasn't the only one to latch on to the percentiles from Sup 1 and broaden them a lot... Kevin Siembieda, Frank Chadwick, and a number of others from that generation did so. Siembieda's Palladium of Desires campaign was doing 3d6 stats, 1d20 combat, and 1d100 ≤ skill for non-combat. Chadwick's 1983 1st edition Twilight 2000 was a 3d6 stats, roll 1d100 ≤ skill, game, too.
 

S'mon

Legend
I don't know the details of DoD 2 and 3 - but Drakar och Demoner 4e is the Swedish and Dragonbane the English title. It's a re-engining of an older setting and tropeset. I do know DoD 3 was still a percentile roll, not a d20 one...

Great account. I've heard that a previous iteration of DoD was already using D20, like Pendragon, but I don't have a source. The single die opens up a lot of design space with the excellent Boons/Banes system, pretty clearly a refinement of 5e D&D Advantage/Disadvantage. I also find that the extreme granularity of the d100 isn't really necessary, though it can be somewhat useful for very high skill levels where a 93 and a 98 have significantly different failure chances.
 


Abstruse

Legend
I'd also like to point out that the "more weak enemies are harder than one strong one" is also an issue in D&D because of the action economy. Unless you've got a system like Shadowrun which allows for multiple actions per initiative pass, the side with the higher numbers is going to be more dangerous until the numbers get thinned.

8 goblins get 8 attacks per round while 1 troll only gets 1 attack per round. This is also why D&D has spent two editions straight trying to sort out boss encounters with 4e and 5e both giving them special powers and abilities other monsters don't have - an entire party attacking with their best stuff can punch way above their weight class against a single enemy especially if they land anything that locks the enemy down, often taking them out without the enemy ever getting a chance to fight back. If you have multiple smaller enemies, they may go down a lot faster, but at least some of them will likely get a chance to attack somebody (barring good timing with area-of-effect spells). And if they're monsters that can use strategy, they're likely to focus on a single target. The goblins probably won't win, but they might be able to take out the wizard/sorcerer/warlock/bard trying to hide in the back before they're done...
 


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