D&D 5E Wandering Monsters: Not-Dragons


To me, "fell-" connotes being unnaturally lethal and virulent and/or corrupted and tainted, which feels kind of off to me. Like, I guess drakes could be those things, but it's not such a good fit that I'd throw that right into the name. "Drake" is already a perfectly good fantasy work that's pretty recognizable. I think it's good to critically reevalute things; I've been disappointed in the past when Wandering Monsters columns for things like golems simply stated an intent to roll forward the extremely poor (in my opinion) current designs of those creatures. But renaming drakes is pretty far down my list in terms of stuff that I think is worth messing with, and I don't think that Felldrake is an improvement.

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Dragonspawn are lousy, drakes are lame, and the name felldrake is worse.

The only non-dragon dragons I want are dragon turtles and linnorms.

I kind of agree with this. Except I don't even need linnorms.

I also agree with that one answer to the question; basically saying that every time you see a dragon that isn't a dragon it makes dragons more mundane and less cool, and waters down when you see a real one.

Besides that "dragon-like" be they dragon type or not, is not a good definition for me. I don't understand what these creatures are or how they fit in an ecology. True dragons at least warp the world around them but these things are just animals with vaguely draconic characteristics? I don't see why I need a dragon-dog when I can have a Dog. If all it does is what a dog can do then that is pretty weak. Now I don't think wizards need dogs but I have no problem if they do use them.


Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
So is that a "yes?"

I wouldn't characterize it as such. I think it's really more of a question of normalizing the variation in favor of the most iconic versions. I think this is a reaction to how badly some 4e changes to monster lore and niche went over with some D&D fans when they actually did a significant rework of the cosmology. The D&D Next project started with a big push to figure out what it was that D&D players actually wanted in D&D, what were core elements of the D&D game experience, and I think all of this monster lore test ballooning is an extension of that part of the Next design. If it is redoing the cosmology, it really only is so with respect to the 4e cosmology since it's definitely a more back toward the basics approach. It's more akin to Dylan going back to acoustic sets rather than Dylan going electric or Billy Bragg going back to a one-man show after a few tours with the Red Stars or They Might Be Giants settling back in as a two-piece after touring as a bigger band.


Steeliest of the dragons
In the World of Orea, it works like this: Dragons are...dragons. Wings, breath weapons, mostly speaking, several magic using [and/or psychic] chromatics, metallics, and mineral/crystal/gemstone.

Then there are the Dragonkin: Wyverns, Behir, Dragonnes (called Dralions or Ligons [tm], for copyright) and Hydra. These creatures can breed amongst themselves (if two ever find each other to do so) but most are born from chromatic dragon clutches. So you can have black-dragon behirs, red-dragon hydras (ye olde pyrohydra anyone?), etc... Pseudo-dragon-like critters (called "lapdrakes" [tm] in Orea) could also be considered dragonkin, but are usually viewed as their own species of dragon.

Drakes and linnorms exist in the world...I suppose...in theory (I would, actually, probably just combine them/make them different names for the same thing), I've just never had cause to use them. These, too, I would place as dragonkin, not full dragons themselves...missing wings or missing/lesser breath weapons or whatever that doesn't make them, quite, "dragons"...at least in the eyes of the sages of Flin [tm].

And there are exceptionally rare [on the Orean Prime] extra-planar dragons, collectively referred to as the "Celestial dragons", but including Shadow, Faerie -these ain't your mama's butterfly-winged squirrel-sized dragon-pixies, as well as a species of "thought" dragons who can traverse most planes but reside/originate in the Astral.

WotC is perfectly welcome to hire me to organize, write and layout their MM. :D
[MENTION=42582]pemerton[/MENTION] Linnorms, traditionally in legend and as I understand them (and this might not be technically true of D&D linnorms), are simply 2- or 4- legged flightless (usually wingless) "dragons." Possibly with serpentine bodies. Possibly more clunky/thicker builds. Breath weapons are either absent or some kind of minor/small effect. But they are big, reptilian, dangerous "animals." No talky. No magicky.

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