Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Monster Monday: Green Dragons

It's another Monday and a holiday to boot. To all of the service members who lost their lives: words cannot express the gratitude that I have for your sacrifice. May your families endure well in your absence, and you drink in Valhala (or Heaven). You are not forgotten. Dad, enjoy the Great Rest.

*EDIT* After working the long weekend, I wasn't able to finish this on Monday, so Monster Tuesday today!

That said, on to the RPG stuff! There has been a challenge thrown for designing a green dragon's lair, so, green dragons are my topic this week. Dragons are an interesting dichotomy in 1e/OSR. They are the flagship monster, but "relatively" weak for their stature.

HPs are not what makes a dragon the flagship monster though. They are iconic, intelligent, and deadly. Dragons being iconic doesn't really need to be explained. If it really does, google St George, Beowulf, Dragon's Lair, Dragonslayer, or even Never Ending Story. They have been in the social consciousness for 100s of years, if not longer.

Intelligence is an attribute that I think most GMs overlook. Green dragons have an intelligence of "average to very" according to the 1e MM. Average intelligence means that they will stay out of harms way if possible, attack weak party members (aka wizards), retreat when being beaten, have escape routes, etc. Dragons should always use intelligent options when available. This makes a huge difference in difficulty.

The fear aura makes an adult dragon an awesome foe for low level (less than 6th level) party (this isn't in S&W as far as I can tell, but the contest specifies a version of D&D.) The breath weapon is what truly makes dragons dangerous. 3 x day a dragon can breathe damage equal to its HPs (save for half). In my dragon's case that's 72. That's a LOT of HP of damage. 2 salvos like that, and most parties are done, even if they make the save! And, in 1e, dragons can breathe round after round. Dragons can also choose to use three melee attacks per round: 2 claws (1d6 each) and a bite (2d10).

Now that the nuts and bolts are out of the way, let's move on to personality. For my adventure, I have been researching how green dragons should be role-played. There's not a lot on the subject for 1e, so I have room to play around. Here's what we know from the Monster Manual:
  • The innate cowardice of dragonkind is shown by the fact most can be subdued.
  •  Dragons’ egoistic nature makes them subject to flattery
  • Greed and avarice are major motivating factors in all but the loftiest of dragons
  • they are subject to manipulation by very clever persons or the prospect of actual treasure and the promise of more forthcoming.
  • ALIGNMENT: Lawful evil
  • They are very nasty tempered and thoroughly evil.
What I see is that green dragons are vain, cowardly, greedy, mean and evil. But, they have a clear goal: get more loot. As green dragons are lawful evil, they will adhere to a bargain struck, but will attempt to exploit loopholes as they see fit.
With that much information, I can finally develop a personality template for the dragon I'm currently calling Bertha:
Bertha will converse with interlopers, as she has an ego that needs to be fed.  This can also gain her information on the intruders, treasure hoards, and other potential information.
If she is insulted, Bertha will attack. She is willing to strike a bargain, even with weaker creatures, if they can further her agenda. The weak creatures had better offer something extraordinary to enter into the bargain, though.
Bertha's lair is set up for her to retreat to a high, safe location if her "guests" begin to overwhelm her. She can even leave through a large vent in the ceiling. I intend her to be able to be a recurring threat.

Does this sound like what a green dragon should be to you?

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