D&D 5E Wandering Monsters: Not-Dragons

Wicht

Hero
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.

Meaning after 4e they want a do-over on the cosmology but they don't want to completely alienate the 4e crowd like they did those of us who actually liked the pre-4e cosmology. Got it. That explains the polls. :)
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Dausuul

Legend
My attitude is that we have too many danged dragon-lite creatures in the game. Drake, draconian, dragonspawn, dragonborn, half-dragon, dragonne, pseudodragon, dragon turtle, dragonpartridge in a dracopear wyrmtree... do we really need all these variants on the theme of "sort of a dragon, only not?" The wyvern handled that job fine before anyone had ever heard of drakes. And if we just want reptilian monsters, we have plenty of those, too, from lizardfolk to crocodiles to hydras to dinosaurs to the tarrasque.

That isn't to say there's no place for drakes, but I'm not very clear on what their particular shtick is. What does the drake do that giant lizards and dragon hatchlings don't?
 
Last edited:

Stormonu

Legend
I like drakes, and I hope they keep them. To me dragons are creatures innately tied to magic, intelligent and noble. Drakes are bestial, stupid ( as in their Int score) and relatively non-magical. To me, they'd share the toughness, armor, flight and possibly a breath weapon, but drakes lack the ability to be negotiated with or use magical abilities or spells.

And while I'd certainly enjoy a rage drake having mechanical differences from a guard dog, I want my wizards to have a choice to have rage drake guards - or even a mountain lion or goblin dog, even if the stats are 99% the same. Each one of those guard critters should have a different feel in some way, even if they're mechanically similar.

As to dragonspawn, I think the existing ones are dumb, but the idea is sound. A dragon somehow using its essence to create minions or followers to do its bidding. I could see a Red Dragon, for example, creating Fire Belchers to keep annoying locals away from its lair without having to deal with constantly patrolling its lair. A black dragon might make Deathwings, pteradactl-like creatures that go out and pollute crops or wells out of sheer malice. A Green Dragon might make Vinelures, small chameloen dragon-like things that abduct creatures to bring before its master to give him tribute. A White dragon might create a Longtooth, a dragon-like ambusher who roams the bare tundra for prey to kill and take back to its dragon master, so said dragon doesn't have to spend its time searching for sparse sources of food.
 


I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
What is a linnorm? And what about the poor old Dragonnes?

For me, the defining linnorm is the Corpse Tearer: a 330 foot long dragon that lives in a graveyard surrounded by the bones of other dragons, and who is handy with a suite of necromantic powers.

There's also a linnorm who is a "baby Midgard Serpent," at 500 feet long.

They are kind of horrible apocalypse given draconic form. They're a little more elementally-associated than the typical dragon, with forms like Rain, Flame, and Sea, but they're universally horrible, big, destructive, and dangerous, without any of the "niceties" of D&D's traditionally intelligent, brooding dragons.
 


Gold Roger

First Post
Thinking about it, there's such massive amount of draconic monsters, do we really need drakes and dragonspawn?


I think drakes are a nice optional critter I'd expect to see in the second or third Monster Manual. I certainly don't want them in the first if they take the place of something really classic. I wouldn't design any setting that asumes they are found around every corner, nor would I like playing in such setting.

I really like dragonspawn. In theory. The concept is great, twisted degraded knock offs of the proud dragons, incepted by the deranged madness of Tiamat (mad god xy, mad wizard, a demon lord or somesuch if you don't use Tiamat). It's just that the actual dragonspawn are just all around horrible. The visual design was a joke, the "cool miniatures" looked like uninspired filler, their design and plot function didn't do anything another critter couldn't do. So I would welcome wotc redoing the concept. Again, I don't really want this happening in the first MM over say, frost giants, the behir or even modrons.
 

Klaus

First Post
For me, the defining linnorm is the Corpse Tearer: a 330 foot long dragon that lives in a graveyard surrounded by the bones of other dragons, and who is handy with a suite of necromantic powers.

There's also a linnorm who is a "baby Midgard Serpent," at 500 feet long.

They are kind of horrible apocalypse given draconic form. They're a little more elementally-associated than the typical dragon, with forms like Rain, Flame, and Sea, but they're universally horrible, big, destructive, and dangerous, without any of the "niceties" of D&D's traditionally intelligent, brooding dragons.

Y'know, I wouldn't mind melding linnorms and catastrophic dragons into one creature (possibly calling them "linnorm drakes").
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Y'know, I wouldn't mind melding linnorms and catastrophic dragons into one creature (possibly calling them "linnorm drakes").

Aside from not liking the term "linnorm drake" (why are the linnorms not awesome enough already?), I think there's a big aesthetic difference between them. 4e's catastrophic dragons are kind of made of elemental matter, but the linnorms are much more like beings of flesh and blood -- ancient flesh and magical blood, but still. The flame linnorm is shrouded in flame, with scales that burn, but it shouldn't be made of fire in my mind.

That's just me, though.
 

Manabarbs

Explorer
I think that having the dragonspawn presented all at once as a giant shotgun blast of well over a dozen creatures didn't allow them to make a great first impression. That's too many for any to easily make a strong impression, and they're kind of a mishmash of intelligent humanoids, aberrations, and beasts with little unifying theme besides being having strong draconic elements.

That said, I'm not really a big fan of the dragonspawn fiction, either. I think that D&D's gallery of threats to the world is most effective when they're differentiated from each other as much as possible, and I think that giving Tiamat a bunch of infantry creatures diminishes that. I think Tiamat's best as the all-battleships evil force. She may not have as many creatures behind her as the forces of hell or the abyss, but they're ALL AWESOME. It's not like there's nobody to handle dragony stuff that's beneath true dragons; that's what cultists (especially kobold cultists) and enthralled mortals are for. I think that the piles of ranks of random other dragonspawn detracts from the all-battleships feel of Tiamat, and makes her more like demons and devils.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top