D&D 5E Wandering Monsters: Not-Dragons


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I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Not the Monstrous Manual or the Planescape Monstrous Appendix. Is it from a module, or a late-2e supplement?

Not in the monster entries, but the description of Hell/Baator, the heirarchy of the devils, and Tiamat's lair on Avernus, indicate that the abishai are *her* devils.

MarkB said:
Maybe they could be flesh-and-blood beings with an elemental connection, but be able to take on a fully elemental form as a limited-use special ability, giving them a major boost to their power and combat abilities for a limited duration.

I dunno, I don't think the linnorms need much more to make them cool. I don't know 4e's catastrophic dragons as well, but I'd hope the same would be true about them. They can be their own things. :)
 

Klaus

First Post
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.

Sure, and I was just thinking out loud (plus, I looooove TonyD's linnorm illustrations from 2e). It's this description you wrote:

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.

that brought the catastrophics to mind. After all, *they* are apocalypse given draconic form, more elemental, universally big and destructive, without the niceties of regular dragons. You could say that in a Norse-style campaign, the catastrophics are called "linnorms", and are the only dragons present.
 


skinnydwarf

Explorer
The Dragonspawn: One of the few D&D Monsters that could ice skate.
Maybe the hobgoblins are kind of the answer here, eh? What if their breeding focused on dragon-things. Or at least the breeding of one tribe of hobgoblins, perhaps.

THIS.

I like the idea that Drakes were created by a breeding program. The Hobgoblins took some dragon eggs and bred new dragons more useful to their purposes. Ones that couldn't fly and escape, and were also dumber and more amenable to training.
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
THIS.

I like the idea that Drakes were created by a breeding program. The Hobgoblins took some dragon eggs and bred new dragons more useful to their purposes. Ones that couldn't fly and escape, and were also dumber and more amenable to training.

Sounds like a tribe of hobgoblins that would soon be extinct (annihilated) to me. And not by the drakes if you get my drift....
 

skinnydwarf

Explorer
Sounds like a tribe of hobgoblins that would soon be extinct (annihilated) to me. And not by the drakes if you get my drift....

That is a likely outcome. But the story of the hobgoblin tribe that was successful would be legendary among the race. "The founder of this tribe was so strong and clever he beat mighty dragons!" Of course, the reality could be that the "mighty dragon" was a decrepit member of the species wounded by adventurers and unable to defend her clutch.

I have a similar story of giant owl riding goblins in my world. The story of the epic theft from adventurers by "Egg Sucker" who was betrayed by his brother who saw the true potential of trained giant owls is a favorite amongst goblins because of all the stealing and backstabbing.
 

Gold Roger

First Post
THIS.

I like the idea that Drakes were created by a breeding program. The Hobgoblins took some dragon eggs and bred new dragons more useful to their purposes. Ones that couldn't fly and escape, and were also dumber and more amenable to training.

Sounds like a tribe of hobgoblins that would soon be extinct (annihilated) to me. And not by the drakes if you get my drift....

All of this is so setting dependant. Just looking at my own homebrew, hobgoblins/goblinoids are non-tribal and as human as, say, leucrotta. On the other hand dragons are near extinct and it could take centuries until one catches on and takes revenge for such a blasphemy.


I say this just to show an example for a mistake wotc made with 4e (imo, of course), that I fear might be repeated when I read these articles.

Of course it's a good thing when the designers put a fair amount of background for monsters and races. But I see this danger of overdoing it, as I consider it was done in 4e. You see, when I buy the MM and read hobgoblins are tribal and breed drakes, I say, fine, that info is of little worth to me when I use my homebrew. That's a price of homebrewing.

It gets troublesome when such info takes priority over such info as where are drakes found in the wilderness, how do they act and what use are they for me as DM. Info that is relevant to me, no matter what origin I give drakes in my game.

It gets even worse, when such ideas gets hardcoded into the mechanical design of hobgoblins and drakes. Lets say they give drakes and hobgoblins synergy when used in the same encounter and consider this in the creatures difficulty and xp values. This is great for players who use the monsters as written. But suddenly I and every other DM using the two monsters differently (possible even in established published settings) is stuck with monsters (in the case of hobgoblins a staple of low level adventuring) that are less usable out of the book.

Wotc should always keep in mind that there's a great number of preestablished settings and countless homebrews DMs want to keep using without retcons. If they don't consider this when designing races and monsters this runs counter to the inclusive philosophy of DDN. What does it help when the rules are so modular that I can adjust my campaign to all kinds of playstyles and settings, when monster and race design is so chock full of implied setting, it takes a massive amount of work to use them?

A good way might be to present monster fluff in a very general way and then add 2-4 short paragraphs of possible backgrounds with optional rules to enforce such background?
 
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frankthedm

First Post
Sounds like a tribe of hobgoblins that would soon be extinct (annihilated) to me. And not by the drakes if you get my drift....
And there is the problem! True dragons put on a pedestal and are assumed to have vast overreaching power to destroy anything that offends them. It gets so bad in some games that managing to slay one dragon turns the campaign into "Flee from the dragon mafia!"
 

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