D&D 5E What is up with Adult and Ancient Dragons' Bites???

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
In general, @Ruin Explorer 's point is quite right - it's a bad idea to look for excessive consistency in monster design.
That wasn't quite the point IMO, but no one will convince me I am wrong about this (as either a mistake or design error). And I know my reason for changing it is not for symmetry, but because it represents the concept that larger monsters naturally should deal more physical damage (the scaling factor). This is a consistency which makes for good monster design.

But in the specific case, it's possible that someone made a mistake.
Which hopefully they did, but given how thorough they are I doubt it. I am fairly certain it was a conscious design choice--more's the pity.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
In general, damage scales 1 die (or more) with each increase in size:
For monsters, damage range is given by CR. Changing die size is more of a second order effect of more damage yet still keeping it to a reasonable number of dice, and perhaps some tradition, but no mechanical imperative. And even there, creatures with mutliple types of damage infliction and/or multiattack may have single attacks that do not seem to match a trend.

For PCs, increasing size is almost exclusively via the Enlarge/Reduce which adds another die, does not change any existing dice.
 

dave2008

Legend
For monsters, damage range is given by CR. Changing die size is more of a second order effect of more damage yet still keeping it to a reasonable number of dice, and perhaps some tradition, but no mechanical imperative. And even there, creatures with mutliple types of damage infliction and/or multiattack may have single attacks that do not seem to match a trend.

For PCs, increasing size is almost exclusively via the Enlarge/Reduce which adds another die, does not change any existing dice.
To be fair, the MM and DMG do suggest that damage scales up by adding additional dice for each step up in size. DnD Reborn is not just making it up. It is not a rule however and you can do whatever you want really.

It is weird, don't you think @Blue, that an ancient dragon does no more damage than a young dragon with its bite? They could have made the DPR work for the given CR without gimping he physical attacks, but they didn't.
 
Last edited:

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
It is weird, don't you think @Blue, that an ancient dragon does no more damage than a young dragon with its bite? They could have made the DPR work for the given CR without gimping he physical attacks, but they didn't.
Exactly.

Suppose your tier 4 party was going against an ancient red dragon and used a wish to extinguish the dragon's fire for the battle or something (the dragon then failed any save allowed having already used its legendary resistances for the day).

Or, you all have a magic item or something or wish which grants you immunity to fire for the battle.

However you want to do it, if you remove the fire damage rider from the bite, a gargantuan ancient red dragon's bite only averages 4 flipping points of damage more than a large young red dragon, literally about 1/4 (or smaller depending on how you want to do the math) the size of the ancient red dragon.

It is, quite simply, a ridiculous design IMO.
 

dave2008

Legend
Exactly.

Suppose your tier 4 party was going against an ancient red dragon and used a wish to extinguish the dragon's fire for the battle or something (the dragon then failed any save allowed having already used its legendary resistances for the day).

Or, you all have a magic item or something or wish which grants you immunity to fire for the battle.

However you want to do it, if you remove the fire damage rider from the bite, a gargantuan ancient red dragon's bite only averages 4 flipping points of damage more than a large young red dragon, literally about 1/4 (or smaller depending on how you want to do the math) the size of the ancient red dragon.

It is, quite simply, a ridiculous design IMO.
I generally agree, but I wouldn't gimp the dragon's fire to make it work and you don't need too. In fact, by changing things around a bit you can scale the damage as expected and increase the fire damage all while maintaining the CR
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I generally agree, but I wouldn't gimp the dragon's fire to make it work and you don't need too. In fact, by changing things around a bit you can scale the damage as expected and increase the fire damage all while maintaining the CR
I was just explaining how (for those who argue this) the fire rider for the bite is not sufficient. The ancient dragon is so much larger than the young dragon that keeping the bite damage the same is nonsense. And if someone is doing it just to keep the CR where it is at, that is horrible game design IMO.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
Was this an oversight or intentional?

In general, damage scales 1 die (or more) with each increase in size:

Berserker (Medium): Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+3) bludgeoning damage. (instead of Greataxe)
Ogre (Large): Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage.
Hill Giant (Huge): Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (3d8 + 5) bludgeoning damage.

Now dragons (Red):

Wyrming (Medium): Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.
Young (Large): Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d10 + 6) piercing damage plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.
Adult (Huge): Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (2d10 + 8) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) fire damage.
Ancient (Gargantuan): Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +17 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (2d10 + 10) piercing damage plus 14 (4d6) fire damage.

So... why don't Adult dragons do 3d10 and Ancient dragons do 4d10??? An ancient dragon doing only an average of 4 damage more than a young dragon seems very, well, wrong.

EDIT: claws are also an issue.
It is strange, even if after reading this thread i do believe this was intentional.

If there is one quintessential example of the same creature scaling up in D&D, it's the dragon. Since the beginning, dragon categories have been the exemplar "this is the same creature but stronger" in the MM. Giants too scaled in strength and size, but they were essentially different creatures. A hill giant didn't grow into a fire giant or frost giant, whereas dragons did grow into stronger versions of themselves. Given 5e guidelines for damage vs size, I find it surprising that they didn't use it as a prime example.

Beyond consistency for consistency's sake, the later stages of dragons have disappointing damage outputs for what essentially are solo encounters vs high-level characters, and the adjusted damage per size category would help. Variations on the dragon templates by type and even age would have been fine, like young dragon doing more damage with their breath weapon than expected as per their category, but as is it seems the general template and structure was ignored or more likely, decided against.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
It is strange, even if after reading this thread i do believe this was intentional.

If there is one quintessential example of the same creature scaling up in D&D, it's the dragon. Since the beginning, dragon categories have been the exemplar "this is the same creature but stronger" in the MM. Giants too scaled in strength and size, but they were essentially different creatures. A hill giant didn't grow into a fire giant or frost giant, whereas dragons did grow into stronger versions of themselves. Given 5e guidelines for damage vs size, I find it surprising that they didn't use it as a prime example.

Beyond consistency for consistency's sake, the later stages of dragons have disappointing damage outputs for what essentially are solo encounters vs high-level characters, and the adjusted damage per size category would help. Variations on the dragon templates by type and even age would have been fine, like young dragon doing more damage with their breath weapon than expected as per their category, but as is it seems the general template and structure was ignored or more likely, decided against.
I must admit after realizing all of this, I miss some of the variation as you mention from prior editions.

For example, IIRC in AD&D, dragons had both a "size" modifier and age. The larger dragons of a particular species had more HD (and thus did more damage with their breath weapon). This could be expanded into 5E dragons easily, including scale the damage die type for claw, bite, etc. attacks.

Perhaps a "small" variant would have a smaller die (so 2d8 bite instead of 2d10) and a "large" variant could bump it up one (from 2d10 to 2d12 for instance).

I also have found a solo-dragon has a hard time challenging a party in the "open field" so to say. At the very minimum, I always give solo creatures maximum HP just due to the damage output potential of a typical 5E party IME.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top