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House rule for Dragons

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Anonymous
August 28, 2005 3:27:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

As I (and my RL players) see it, there are two problems with dragons.
First, they are rather overpowered for their CR. Second, their attack
routine is ridiculous: there's no way I can imagine a Huge dragon
attacking a person with two claws, a bite, two wings, and a tail slap
in the space of six seconds, unless it's spinning like a top.

I realise that this is simply the result of 3.5 Ed (wisely) removing
facing rules, but I think my house rule can serve to both make dragon
attacks easier to picture, and serves as a slight, but much-needed
nerf.

I got the inspiration from the way Beholder eye-stalk targeting works,
by the way.

The rule: A dragon has four 90-degree "attack arcs". Going clockwise,
these arcs are:
Front: bite, and both claws
Right: right wing
Back: tail
Left: left wing

At the beginning of its every round, a dragon can position its arcs
once, as a free action. When it melee attacks, it can only attack an
opponent with the weapons located in two of its arcs: the arc the
opponent is in, and either of the two neighbouring arcs. So, for
instance, if it positions itself so Cedric the Cleric is on its left,
it can attack Cedric with a bite, two claws, and its left wing, OR a
tail slap and its left wing.

Note that this _only_ applies to where a dragon can place its melee
attacks in a round. It has no effect on how it can be sneak attacked,
where it can shoot its breath weapon, or anything else.

Opinions?

More about : house rule dragons

Anonymous
August 28, 2005 4:24:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Jeff Goslin wrote:
> <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1125253639.241964.173580@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > As I (and my RL players) see it, there are two problems with dragons.
> > First, they are rather overpowered for their CR. Second, their attack
> > routine is ridiculous: there's no way I can imagine a Huge dragon
> > attacking a person with two claws, a bite, two wings, and a tail slap
> > in the space of six seconds, unless it's spinning like a top.
> >
> > I realise that this is simply the result of 3.5 Ed (wisely) removing
> > facing rules, but I think my house rule can serve to both make dragon
> > attacks easier to picture, and serves as a slight, but much-needed
> > nerf.
>
> Why would you WANT to nerf dragons? In our game, dragons have been
> INCREASED in power, being the ultimate encounter.

You're playing 2nd Ed, aren't you?

In 2nd Ed, dragons are kind of weak. (I remember a level 20 Kensai I
once DM'ed for who could kill two adult Red Dragons... per round.)

In 3.0 (and in 3.5 as well, though not quite as much), dragons are
horrifically powerful. More importantly, they are too powerful for
their CR, which means they give too little XP for their difficulty.

I have nothing against "ultimate encounters", but ultimate encounters
should give ultimate XP when defeated. And 3.x dragons don't do that.

> But, if you want to make
> dragons (slightly) easier to fight, I suppose this is one way to go.
>
> But, for what it's worth, it's easy to picture how a dragon attacks the same
> target with all attacks without spinning. He's facing his target and he's
> on the ground, first, bite and claws, then the two wings come over the
> shoulder and thwack the guy from the sides, then the tail comes in from one
> side of the dragon and thwacks him too(ala Aliens). No spinning necessary.

For what it's worth, Unearthed Arcana, page 128 agrees with me: it
introduces optional facing rules (which are, unfortunately, pretty much
unusable), and shows a dragon's possible attack locations. It's not
quite the same system as my attack arcs, but it's rather similar.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 28, 2005 5:01:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Jeff Goslin wrote:
> <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1125253639.241964.173580@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > As I (and my RL players) see it, there are two problems with dragons.
> > First, they are rather overpowered for their CR. Second, their attack
> > routine is ridiculous: there's no way I can imagine a Huge dragon
> > attacking a person with two claws, a bite, two wings, and a tail slap
> > in the space of six seconds, unless it's spinning like a top.
> >
> > I realise that this is simply the result of 3.5 Ed (wisely) removing
> > facing rules, but I think my house rule can serve to both make dragon
> > attacks easier to picture, and serves as a slight, but much-needed
> > nerf.
>
> Why would you WANT to nerf dragons? In our game, dragons have been
> INCREASED in power, being the ultimate encounter.

You're playing 2nd Ed, aren't you?

In 2nd Ed, dragons are kind of weak. (I remember a level 20 Kensai I
once DM'ed for who could kill two adult Red Dragons... per round.)

In 3.0 (and in 3.5 as well, though not quite as much), dragons are
horrifically powerful. More importantly, they are too powerful for
their CR, which means they give too little XP for their difficulty.

I have nothing against "ultimate encounters", but ultimate encounters
should give ultimate XP when defeated. And 3.x dragons don't do that.

> But, if you want to make
> dragons (slightly) easier to fight, I suppose this is one way to go.
>
> But, for what it's worth, it's easy to picture how a dragon attacks the same
> target with all attacks without spinning. He's facing his target and he's
> on the ground, first, bite and claws, then the two wings come over the
> shoulder and thwack the guy from the sides, then the tail comes in from one
> side of the dragon and thwacks him too(ala Aliens). No spinning necessary.

For what it's worth, Unearthed Arcana, page 128 agrees with me: it
introduces optional facing rules (which are, unfortunately, pretty much
unusable), and shows a dragon's possible attack locations. It's not
quite the same system as my attack arcs, but it's rather similar.

Laszlo
Related resources
Anonymous
August 28, 2005 5:10:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

T. Koivula wrote:
> In news:1125257041.718978.80850@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com,
> chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> typed:
> > Jeff Goslin wrote:
> >> Why would you WANT to nerf dragons? In our game, dragons have been
> >> INCREASED in power, being the ultimate encounter.
> > You're playing 2nd Ed, aren't you?
>
> He is.
>
> > In 3.0 (and in 3.5 as well, though not quite as much), dragons are
> > horrifically powerful. More importantly, they are too powerful for
> > their CR, which means they give too little XP for their difficulty.
> >
> > I have nothing against "ultimate encounters", but ultimate encounters
> > should give ultimate XP when defeated. And 3.x dragons don't do that.
>
> Then how about raising their CR?

That would certainly solve one of the problems, but not the other.
Despite what Jeff said, I still feel a dragon full attacking a single
target with all 6 natural weapons is a bit goofy. Naturally, if you
don't feel the same way, then you shouldn't use my house rule. :) 

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 28, 2005 7:11:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1125253639.241964.173580@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> As I (and my RL players) see it, there are two problems with dragons.
> First, they are rather overpowered for their CR. Second, their attack
> routine is ridiculous: there's no way I can imagine a Huge dragon
> attacking a person with two claws, a bite, two wings, and a tail slap
> in the space of six seconds, unless it's spinning like a top.
>
> I realise that this is simply the result of 3.5 Ed (wisely) removing
> facing rules, but I think my house rule can serve to both make dragon
> attacks easier to picture, and serves as a slight, but much-needed
> nerf.

Why would you WANT to nerf dragons? In our game, dragons have been
INCREASED in power, being the ultimate encounter. But, if you want to make
dragons (slightly) easier to fight, I suppose this is one way to go.

But, for what it's worth, it's easy to picture how a dragon attacks the same
target with all attacks without spinning. He's facing his target and he's
on the ground, first, bite and claws, then the two wings come over the
shoulder and thwack the guy from the sides, then the tail comes in from one
side of the dragon and thwacks him too(ala Aliens). No spinning necessary.

--
Jeff Goslin - MCSD - www.goslin.info
It's not a god complex when you're always right
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 3:05:28 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

In news:1125257041.718978.80850@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com,
chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> typed:
> Jeff Goslin wrote:
>> Why would you WANT to nerf dragons? In our game, dragons have been
>> INCREASED in power, being the ultimate encounter.
> You're playing 2nd Ed, aren't you?

He is.

> In 3.0 (and in 3.5 as well, though not quite as much), dragons are
> horrifically powerful. More importantly, they are too powerful for
> their CR, which means they give too little XP for their difficulty.
>
> I have nothing against "ultimate encounters", but ultimate encounters
> should give ultimate XP when defeated. And 3.x dragons don't do that.

Then how about raising their CR?

--
T. Koivula
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 4:56:11 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
[...]
> Michael Scott Brown wrote:
> > The entire 3.5 combat system presumes that combatants move and turn in
> > their space, sir! Further, if you have ever seen footage of a swan
> > fighting with its wings, you'll realize that making wing strikes to
> > the fore is not difficult at all.
>
> Likewise, it shouldn't be difficult to lash its tail forward.

Lashing the tail forward depends on its length and flexibility; I don't
think there is enough agreement about dragon body structure to decide
it is possible.
On the other hand wings, as MSB observes, should be large and enough to
reach forward.
We could keep attack arcs with limited restrictions: bite and claws in
the forward arc, wings on the respective side or forward (or maybe also
back, or forward only), tail back or on either side or forward.

I don't think restricting the twisting and turning of dragons weakens
them much; it is more a matter of dignity and "realism". If dragons are
considered weak or strong, increasing or decreasing damage, armour
class, hit points and other quantitative stats should be the best
choice; and if their CR is too high or too low the DM can just award as
many experience points as he feels right.

Lorenzo Gatti
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 5:08:04 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Michael Scott Brown wrote:
> <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1125253639.241964.173580@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > As I (and my RL players) see it, there are two problems with dragons.
> > First, they are rather overpowered for their CR. Second, their attack
> > routine is ridiculous: there's no way I can imagine a Huge dragon
> > attacking a person with two claws, a bite, two wings, and a tail slap
> > in the space of six seconds, unless it's spinning like a top.
>
> The entire 3.5 combat system presumes that combatants move and turn in
> their space, sir! Further, if you have ever seen footage of a swan fighting
> with its wings, you'll realize that making wing strikes to the fore is not
> difficult at all. Your belief that their attack routine is "ridiculous" is
> the only thing here that is ridiculous. Take your boring failures of
> imagination somewhere else.

Well, my "failure of imagination" seems to be widely shared by all
manner of creative artists. If you think it's plausible, then please
give me an example of any creative visualization or description that
has a dragon attack a single foe with its claws, bite, wings and tail
in a short space of time.

There is a _huge_ number of fantasy novels, movies, cartoons, and comic
books that have dragons fighting single foes. Just _one_ example of the
dragon going Cuisinart on its opponent will do.

I have no trouble imagining a dragon making all six of its attacks on a
single target. I just imagine it looking stupid while doing so, which
is not how I want my dragons to look.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 5:10:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

gatti@dsdata.it wrote:
> Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
> [...]
> > Michael Scott Brown wrote:
> > > The entire 3.5 combat system presumes that combatants move and turn in
> > > their space, sir! Further, if you have ever seen footage of a swan
> > > fighting with its wings, you'll realize that making wing strikes to
> > > the fore is not difficult at all.
> >
> > Likewise, it shouldn't be difficult to lash its tail forward.
>
> Lashing the tail forward depends on its length and flexibility; I don't
> think there is enough agreement about dragon body structure to decide
> it is possible.
> On the other hand wings, as MSB observes, should be large and enough to
> reach forward.
> We could keep attack arcs with limited restrictions: bite and claws in
> the forward arc, wings on the respective side or forward (or maybe also
> back, or forward only), tail back or on either side or forward.

That's also fine.

> I don't think restricting the twisting and turning of dragons weakens
> them much; it is more a matter of dignity and "realism".

Yep. The real issue I wanted to solve is a complaint one of my players
had after fighting a dragon. He thought it was dumb that a dragon would
bring all its natural attacks to bear on a single foe. After some
consideration, I agreed with him, and this house rule was the result.

The fact that it gives dragons a well-deserved nerf is basically a
pleasant side-effect.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 5:14:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Dirk Collins wrote:
> chaoslight@gmail.com wrote:
>
> > Note that this _only_ applies to where a dragon can place its melee
> > attacks in a round. It has no effect on how it can be sneak attacked,
> > where it can shoot its breath weapon, or anything else.
> >
> > Opinions?
>
> The dragon can always just lay down on a character too. The
> immense mass should be sufficient to crush all but the strongest
> of PC's.

That's already explicitly handled by the rules. There's no need to
pretend a dragon' six attacks are "actually" the dragon crushing its
opponent with its weight: Huge and larger dragons already have a Crush
attack that does exactly that.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 6:55:22 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

T. Koivula wrote:
> In news:1125302884.192844.3820@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com,
> chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> typed:
> > There is a _huge_ number of fantasy novels, movies, cartoons, and
> > comic books that have dragons fighting single foes. Just _one_
> > example of the dragon going Cuisinart on its opponent will do.
>
> Novels etc. are even worse than rpgs for realism.
>
> > I have no trouble imagining a dragon making all six of its attacks on
> > a single target. I just imagine it looking stupid while doing so,
> > which is not how I want my dragons to look.
>
> Why? Big does not equal clumsy. Besides isn't the frase "How can anything
> that big move that fast" or "faster than anything that big has a right to" a
> basic element of describing huge monsters like dragons?

They are fast, but not agile (which is what you're talking about).
Check their Dex.

> I would say that the
> main problem is in how you visualise a dragon moving. Think of tail attacks
> by scorpions or Aliens in the movies.

It's called a tail SLAP, and is a Bludgeoning attack.

> Or think of the dragon momentarily turning to guard against other directions (as combatants in DD are assumed
> to constantly do) while pressing the attack on his main opponent with the
> tail.

And doing that every six seconds? I must reiterate: that looks stupid.

> Could it be that your visualisation is too static? Like a turn based
> computer game.

Not IMO.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 6:57:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

T. Koivula wrote:
> In news:1125303043.116677.60950@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com,
> chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> typed:
> > Yep. The real issue I wanted to solve is a complaint one of my players
> > had after fighting a dragon. He thought it was dumb that a dragon
> > would bring all its natural attacks to bear on a single foe. After
> > some consideration, I agreed with him, and this house rule was the
> > result.
>
> Umm... How come? Is it dumb for a dragon to want to be effective in a fight?

I meant "could", not "would". What it wants is irrelevant.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 6:57:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
> chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Yep. The real issue I wanted to solve is a complaint one of my players
> > had after fighting a dragon. He thought it was dumb that a dragon
> > would bring all its natural attacks to bear on a single foe.
>
> Why is that dumb? It's not unrealistic -- if the dragon rears up, it can
> easily attack downward with all its weapons -- and it's a good tactic.

Not with its tail slap.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 7:02:10 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
> chaoslight@gmail.com wrote:
> > I have no trouble imagining a dragon making all six of its attacks on
> > a single target. I just imagine it looking stupid while doing so,
> > which is not how I want my dragons to look.
>
> I personally think it would be terrifying, not dumb-looking, if a dragon
> reared up and came down with claws, wings, etc. slamming into a single
> target.

Yeah, me too. Only when I imagine that scene, I just don't see a tail
slap fitting well into that "etc".

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 7:06:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

chaoslight@gmail.com wrote:

> Note that this _only_ applies to where a dragon can place its melee
> attacks in a round. It has no effect on how it can be sneak attacked,
> where it can shoot its breath weapon, or anything else.
>
> Opinions?

The dragon can always just lay down on a character too. The
immense mass should be sufficient to crush all but the strongest
of PC's.

Re,
Dirk
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 8:53:35 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1125253639.241964.173580@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> As I (and my RL players) see it, there are two problems with dragons.
> First, they are rather overpowered for their CR. Second, their attack
> routine is ridiculous: there's no way I can imagine a Huge dragon
> attacking a person with two claws, a bite, two wings, and a tail slap
> in the space of six seconds, unless it's spinning like a top.

The entire 3.5 combat system presumes that combatants move and turn in
their space, sir! Further, if you have ever seen footage of a swan fighting
with its wings, you'll realize that making wing strikes to the fore is not
difficult at all. Your belief that their attack routine is "ridiculous" is
the only thing here that is ridiculous. Take your boring failures of
imagination somewhere else.

-Michael
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 9:06:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

chaoslight@gmail.com wrote:
>> As I (and my RL players) see it, there are two problems with dragons.
>> First, they are rather overpowered for their CR. Second, their attack
>> routine is ridiculous: there's no way I can imagine a Huge dragon
>> attacking a person with two claws, a bite, two wings, and a tail slap
>> in the space of six seconds, unless it's spinning like a top.

Michael Scott Brown wrote:
> The entire 3.5 combat system presumes that combatants move and turn in
> their space, sir! Further, if you have ever seen footage of a swan
> fighting with its wings, you'll realize that making wing strikes to
> the fore is not difficult at all.

Likewise, it shouldn't be difficult to lash its tail forward.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 10:57:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1125257041.718978.80850@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>
> Jeff Goslin wrote:
>> <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:1125253639.241964.173580@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>> > As I (and my RL players) see it, there are two problems with dragons.
>> > First, they are rather overpowered for their CR. Second, their attack
>> > routine is ridiculous: there's no way I can imagine a Huge dragon
>> > attacking a person with two claws, a bite, two wings, and a tail slap
>> > in the space of six seconds, unless it's spinning like a top.
>> >
>> > I realise that this is simply the result of 3.5 Ed (wisely) removing
>> > facing rules, but I think my house rule can serve to both make dragon
>> > attacks easier to picture, and serves as a slight, but much-needed
>> > nerf.
>>
>> Why would you WANT to nerf dragons? In our game, dragons have been
>> INCREASED in power, being the ultimate encounter.
>
> You're playing 2nd Ed, aren't you?
>
> In 2nd Ed, dragons are kind of weak. (I remember a level 20 Kensai I
> once DM'ed for who could kill two adult Red Dragons... per round.)
>
> In 3.0 (and in 3.5 as well, though not quite as much), dragons are
> horrifically powerful. More importantly, they are too powerful for
> their CR, which means they give too little XP for their difficulty.
>
> I have nothing against "ultimate encounters", but ultimate encounters
> should give ultimate XP when defeated. And 3.x dragons don't do that.

I made the following changes:

1) Give the dragon the same stat array as the PCs.
2) Give the dragon feats and spells from the Draconomicon.
3) If the dragon is CR 1-3, double CR. If the dragon is CR 4 or more, add 4
to CR.

This seems to work fairly well.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 11:00:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1125309476.838733.196650@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>
> Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
>> chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote:
>> > Yep. The real issue I wanted to solve is a complaint one of my players
>> > had after fighting a dragon. He thought it was dumb that a dragon
>> > would bring all its natural attacks to bear on a single foe.
>>
>> Why is that dumb? It's not unrealistic -- if the dragon rears up, it can
>> easily attack downward with all its weapons -- and it's a good tactic.
>
> Not with its tail slap.

Have you ever seen a lizard attack with its tail slap?

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 11:01:17 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1125257041.718978.80850@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > Why would you WANT to nerf dragons? In our game, dragons have been
> > INCREASED in power, being the ultimate encounter.
>
> You're playing 2nd Ed, aren't you?
>
> In 2nd Ed, dragons are kind of weak. (I remember a level 20 Kensai I
> once DM'ed for who could kill two adult Red Dragons... per round.)

Yes, they are weak, which is why we houseruled them to be pretty much the
ultimate encounter. All dragons are super-intelligent, all are
spellcasting, all can use their breath weapons at full power an unlimited
number of times, and, most importantly, all are immortal(in the sense that
it is impossible to kill them permanently). There are some other fine
points but those are the really big ones that we use to really crank up the
power of dragons.

Just out of curiousity, how long was this 20th level Kensai played? Did he
start at 1st level or was he just made at 20th level or something close to
that? I only ask because it's notoriously difficult to advance in the upper
levels in 2E.

> > But, for what it's worth, it's easy to picture how a dragon attacks the
same
> > target with all attacks without spinning. He's facing his target and
he's
> > on the ground, first, bite and claws, then the two wings come over the
> > shoulder and thwack the guy from the sides, then the tail comes in from
one
> > side of the dragon and thwacks him too(ala Aliens). No spinning
necessary.
>
> For what it's worth, Unearthed Arcana, page 128 agrees with me: it
> introduces optional facing rules (which are, unfortunately, pretty much
> unusable), and shows a dragon's possible attack locations. It's not
> quite the same system as my attack arcs, but it's rather similar.

Well, by all means, knock yourself out. Personally, I don't have a problem
visualizing how a dragon could use all of it's attacks against a single
man-sized target, but if it's an issue, the solution you've found should
work nicely for you.

--
Jeff Goslin - MCSD - www.goslin.info
It's not a god complex when you're always right
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 11:05:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1125302884.192844.3820@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> I have no trouble imagining a dragon making all six of its attacks on a
> single target. I just imagine it looking stupid while doing so, which
> is not how I want my dragons to look.

Hrm. In the end, this is ALL a question of imagination. Maybe all you need
to do is imagine a little more gracefully. If you didn't imagine it looked
stupid, it wouldn't look stupid, right? So just be a little more
imaginative, and you'll find this problem disappears. ;) 

--
Jeff Goslin - MCSD - www.goslin.info
It's not a god complex when you're always right
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 11:12:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1125303043.116677.60950@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Yep. The real issue I wanted to solve is a complaint one of my players
> had after fighting a dragon. He thought it was dumb that a dragon would
> bring all its natural attacks to bear on a single foe. After some
> consideration, I agreed with him, and this house rule was the result.

That's a question of TACTICS not phsyical ability. Would a
hyper-intelligent foe bring the entire weight of it's attacks to bear on a
single target? Sure it would, if that one target was doing boatloads of
damage to it. I don't know how dragons are in YOUR campaign, but in my
game, they NEVER split their attacks. They work to drop numbers. They
attack as much as possible with their breath weapon, and when forced to
engage in hand to hand combat, they invariably focus on the most dangerous
opponent until that opponent is dead.

That said, if a dragon were in melee range of spellcasters, it would do
everything it could to disrupt the spellcasters AND kill as many folks as it
could. It would probably reserve an attack on each of the spellcasters, and
then use the rest on the most dangerous opponent in melee.

But without exception, it would do EVERYTHING it could to get OUT of melee
range and use it's breath weapon as a matter of course. Fry em til they are
dead, then feast on the silly adventurer guts that are now nice and tender
and char-broiled. ;) 

--
Jeff Goslin - MCSD - www.goslin.info
It's not a god complex when you're always right
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 1:31:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote:
> Yep. The real issue I wanted to solve is a complaint one of my players
> had after fighting a dragon. He thought it was dumb that a dragon
> would bring all its natural attacks to bear on a single foe.

Why is that dumb? It's not unrealistic -- if the dragon rears up, it can
easily attack downward with all its weapons -- and it's a good tactic.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 1:34:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

chaoslight@gmail.com wrote:
> I have no trouble imagining a dragon making all six of its attacks on
> a single target. I just imagine it looking stupid while doing so,
> which is not how I want my dragons to look.

I personally think it would be terrifying, not dumb-looking, if a dragon
reared up and came down with claws, wings, etc. slamming into a single
target. It sounds like you have some particular image stuck in your
head, of a dragon spinning around or something, and it's blocking you
from a more realistic vision.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 1:56:58 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Malachias Invictus wrote:
> <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1125309476.838733.196650@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> >
> > Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
> >> chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> > Yep. The real issue I wanted to solve is a complaint one of my players
> >> > had after fighting a dragon. He thought it was dumb that a dragon
> >> > would bring all its natural attacks to bear on a single foe.
> >>
> >> Why is that dumb? It's not unrealistic -- if the dragon rears up, it can
> >> easily attack downward with all its weapons -- and it's a good tactic.
> >
> > Not with its tail slap.
>
> Have you ever seen a lizard attack with its tail slap?
>

They bend their body pretty much in a U, and do it pretty quickly, they
can easily attack something in front of them with thier tail. Dragons
are supposed to be more supple than lizards. I don't see any problem
with them tail slapping something in front of them along with a bite,
claws, wing buffet, all in a 6 second period.

- Justisaur

I watch way too much animal planet
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 2:05:37 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

> T. Koivula wrote:
>> Or think of the dragon momentarily turning to guard against other
>> directions (as combatants in DD are assumed to constantly do) while
>> pressing the attack on his main opponent with the tail.

chaoslight@gmail.com wrote:
> And doing that every six seconds? I must reiterate: that looks stupid.

It's not doing anything "every six seconds." It's in constant motion,
like any other fighting creature. Snapping its teeth, smacking the foe
between claws, whipping with its tail and its wingtips, occasionally
bearing down with it all at once.

Also, keep in mind that D&D dragons are bipedal, like a carnivorous
dinosaur. (At least, the adults are, judging by illustrations and the
D&D minis.) They don't need to spin or dance around to attack with all
weapons, because all the natural weapons already face the opponent when
they attack in the "rampant" posture.

>> Could it be that your visualisation is too static? Like a turn based
>> computer game.

> Not IMO.

It sounds like it, from your description above. Either that, or you're
assuming that they're more like alligators than dinosaurs.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 2:17:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Bradd wrote:
>> Why is that dumb? It's not unrealistic -- if the dragon rears up, it
>> can easily attack downward with all its weapons -- and it's a good
>> tactic.

chaoslight@gmail.com wrote:
> Not with its tail slap.

Why not? It's easy enough to slap with the tail while it's reared up.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 2:25:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Jeff Goslin wrote:
> <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1125257041.718978.80850@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > > Why would you WANT to nerf dragons? In our game, dragons have been
> > > INCREASED in power, being the ultimate encounter.
> >
> > You're playing 2nd Ed, aren't you?
> >
> > In 2nd Ed, dragons are kind of weak. (I remember a level 20 Kensai I
> > once DM'ed for who could kill two adult Red Dragons... per round.)
>
> Just out of curiousity, how long was this 20th level Kensai played? Did he
> start at 1st level or was he just made at 20th level or something close to
> that? I only ask because it's notoriously difficult to advance in the upper
> levels in 2E.

The PCs started at 20 (there was two of them: this Kensai, and a Drow
Lich). It was a fun campaign.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 2:33:47 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Michael Scott Brown wrote:
> <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1125309322.269284.251540@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> > It's called a tail SLAP, and is a Bludgeoning attack.
>
> So is a strike from a whip.

No, that's Slashing, actually.

Laszlo
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 4:12:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

chaoslight@gmail.com wrote:

> And doing that every six seconds? I must reiterate: that looks stupid.
>
>>Could it be that your visualisation is too static? Like a turn based
>>computer game.
>
> Not IMO.

I think that the depiction of a dragon as a "whirlwind" of
destruction is a bit misguided.

It is more like dragons can be so very destructive that they are
precieved as a whirlwind. Two of my favorite dragons "Reign of
Dragons" and "Dragonslayer" features just such dragons.

In Dragonslayer, you see the dragon rise up before the chained
sacrificial maiden and then strike with a blinding speed.

In Reign of Fire, when the dragon clutch is first discovered, the
dragons spring in their original attack on humanity, bringing all
their malice to bear.

I doubt a dragon would make every single attack it has, in every
round. It would make none, some, or all of it's attacks, depending
on the situation, and the dragons' perceptions of its nearby
enemies. In most cases, the dragon would ignore any player
characters to the flanks or rear, in favor of it's chosen target.

If you don't like the way dragon attacks are presented, then
making up your own way is just fine. The game would feel a bit
munchkiny if a dragon used every attack it has on one target every
round, but fortunately dragons are smarter than that.

Finally, most people or characters around attacking dragons
wouldn't be busy noticing the number of attacks a dragon has, they
would instead be peeing their pants, worrying about the single
attack that is coming their way, or running away, like they were
fleeing from hell.

Counting the number of attacks a dragon has is pure metagame
thinking, and if your players do that, throw a few real curve
balls at them. You can;

1) Have the dragon do a foreswipe/backswipe multiple attack with
one or more claws (In the same round... don't dragons get multiple
attacks at higher levels too?)
2) Ditto #1 for the tail attack.
3) Constrict a player with the tail attack, then throw the player
high, far, and away, and/or at other party members with more
velocity than a baseball pitcher.
4) Instead of counting a wing attack as an attack with wing claws,
have the dragon simply flap it's wings vigorously, with the
resulting winds doing the damage from a wing attack by buffeting
nearby players in the area with the resultant winds.
5) Grapple two characters, grabbing one in each foreclaw, in the
next couple of rounds, fly fast, going very high, then throw the
players down towards the ground with all available strength. What
do you suppose falling damage is for that kind of fall? Once up in
the air, the dragon could also throw the grappled characters down
at other party members as well, in addition to doing a wing buffet
attack, and or breathing fire/lightning/gas/ice.

MSB is right. A Dragon is only as good as the GM that is playing
the dragon, and as a GM, it is your varied imagination that counts
most in presenting the attacks. The goal is a suspenion of
disbelief, and a total immersion in the story of the dragon
attack. Anything less, and the GM is failing.

Re,
Dirk
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 4:23:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

In news:1125303043.116677.60950@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com,
chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> typed:
> Yep. The real issue I wanted to solve is a complaint one of my players
> had after fighting a dragon. He thought it was dumb that a dragon
> would bring all its natural attacks to bear on a single foe. After
> some consideration, I agreed with him, and this house rule was the
> result.

Umm... How come? Is it dumb for a dragon to want to be effective in a fight?

--
T. Koivula
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 4:31:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

In news:1125302884.192844.3820@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com,
chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> typed:
> There is a _huge_ number of fantasy novels, movies, cartoons, and
> comic books that have dragons fighting single foes. Just _one_
> example of the dragon going Cuisinart on its opponent will do.

Novels etc. are even worse than rpgs for realism.

> I have no trouble imagining a dragon making all six of its attacks on
> a single target. I just imagine it looking stupid while doing so,
> which is not how I want my dragons to look.

Why? Big does not equal clumsy. Besides isn't the frase "How can anything
that big move that fast" or "faster than anything that big has a right to" a
basic element of describing huge monsters like dragons? I would say that the
main problem is in how you visualise a dragon moving. Think of tail attacks
by scorpions or Aliens in the movies. Or think of the dragon momentarily
turning to guard against other directions (as combatants in DD are assumed
to constantly do) while pressing the attack on his main opponent with the
tail.

Could it be that your visualisation is too static? Like a turn based
computer game.

--
T. Koivula
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 6:09:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1125309322.269284.251540@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> It's called a tail SLAP, and is a Bludgeoning attack.

So is a strike from a whip. Get with the program!

-Michael
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 6:09:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1125303043.116677.60950@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Yep. The real issue I wanted to solve is a complaint one of my players
> had after fighting a dragon. He thought it was dumb that a dragon would
> bring all its natural attacks to bear on a single foe. After some
> consideration, I agreed with him, and this house rule was the result.

Which is dumb. Good show!

-Michael
Anonymous
August 29, 2005 6:10:35 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1125302884.192844.3820@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> > The entire 3.5 combat system presumes that combatants move and turn
in
> > their space, sir! Further, if you have ever seen footage of a swan
fighting
> > with its wings, you'll realize that making wing strikes to the fore is
not
> > difficult at all. Your belief that their attack routine is
"ridiculous" is
> > the only thing here that is ridiculous. Take your boring failures of
> > imagination somewhere else.
>
> Well, my "failure of imagination" seems to be widely shared by all
> manner of creative artists. If you think it's plausible, then please
> give me an example of any creative visualization or description that
> has a dragon attack a single foe with its claws, bite, wings and tail
> in a short space of time.

Aliens.

> I have no trouble imagining a dragon making all six of its attacks on a
> single target. I just imagine it looking stupid while doing so, which
> is not how I want my dragons to look.

Again, we are back to your boring failures of imagination.

-Michael
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 12:08:23 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

In news:1125309322.269284.251540@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com,
chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> typed:
> T. Koivula wrote:
>> I would say that the
>> main problem is in how you visualise a dragon moving. Think of tail
>> attacks by scorpions or Aliens in the movies.
> It's called a tail SLAP, and is a Bludgeoning attack.

I wondered if a "...just done sideways." was required at the end. Apparently
it was. My point was to give examples of a tail suple enough to attack at
the front, since the only issue here is the way you choose to imagine a
dragon.

--
T. Koivula
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 2:46:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 29 Aug 2005 00:56:11 -0700, gatti@dsdata.it carved upon a tablet of
ether:

> Lashing the tail forward depends on its length and flexibility; I don't
> think there is enough agreement about dragon body structure to decide
> it is possible.

This is what the Draconomicon is for. It shows that while medium and
smaller dragons don't have very long tails, from the time they become
large onwards a dragon's tail becomes a longer and longer portion of
their total length. Some species have longer tails than others, but
even the stumpiest tails are over 1/3rd of a large dragon's total
length. That makes them about the same length as the dragon's body.

To say a dragon couldn't use such a limb in any direction in a game
that allows a person to attack anywhere (and everywhere) in the circle
around them is just silly.

> I don't think restricting the twisting and turning of dragons weakens
> them much; it is more a matter of dignity and "realism". If dragons are
> considered weak or strong, increasing or decreasing damage, armour
> class, hit points and other quantitative stats should be the best
> choice; and if their CR is too high or too low the DM can just award as
> many experience points as he feels right.

Dignity? I've yet to see any animal or person in a real fight show
concern for their dignity. Why in the heck should a dragon?

--
Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 2:54:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Mon, 29 Aug 2005 10:05:37 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
<bradd+news@szonye.com> carved upon a tablet of ether:

> Also, keep in mind that D&D dragons are bipedal, like a carnivorous
> dinosaur. (At least, the adults are, judging by illustrations and the
> D&D minis.) They don't need to spin or dance around to attack with all
> weapons, because all the natural weapons already face the opponent when
> they attack in the "rampant" posture.

The Draconomicon says they're built like huge cats, and shows them
leaping into the air for flight. That means they have powerful hind
limbs (also shown by Jump being a 'class' skill for many species), and
as cats all all sizes can and do rear up to swat with both fore-paws,
I see no problem with this method of fighting.

Besides, unless you declare that large creatures turn more slowly than
small ones, which would require an extensive re-write of the most of
the MM, there's nothing to stop the dragon turning end-for-end anyway.
Animals the size of big horses and bulls manage very quick
end-for-ends, as do mature domestic pigs (not an animal reknowned for
its agility).

--
Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 2:54:57 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Bradd wrote:
>> Also, keep in mind that D&D dragons are bipedal, like a carnivorous
>> dinosaur. (At least, the adults are, judging by illustrations and the
>> D&D minis.) They don't need to spin or dance around to attack with all
>> weapons, because all the natural weapons already face the opponent when
>> they attack in the "rampant" posture.

Rupert Boleyn wrote:
> The Draconomicon says they're built like huge cats, and shows them
> leaping into the air for flight. That means they have powerful hind
> limbs (also shown by Jump being a 'class' skill for many species), and
> as cats all all sizes can and do rear up to swat with both fore-paws,
> I see no problem with this method of fighting.

Same here. I hadn't thought of them like cats, although some of the
illustrations and minis do show that kind of build. Others have a
posture similar to a velociraptor, and a few look like tyrannosauruses
but with stronger arms. Anyway, some of the dragons look better suited
for a full frontal attack than others, but I don't find it at all
implausible to full-attack a single foe, going by the minis.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 2:56:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 29 Aug 2005 03:02:10 -0700, chaoslight@gmail.com carved upon a
tablet of ether:

>
> Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
> > chaoslight@gmail.com wrote:
> > > I have no trouble imagining a dragon making all six of its attacks on
> > > a single target. I just imagine it looking stupid while doing so,
> > > which is not how I want my dragons to look.
> >
> > I personally think it would be terrifying, not dumb-looking, if a dragon
> > reared up and came down with claws, wings, etc. slamming into a single
> > target.
>
> Yeah, me too. Only when I imagine that scene, I just don't see a tail
> slap fitting well into that "etc".

Dragon leaps, smashing its tail forwards under itself, and then comes
down on the victim, clawing and tearing, and then as it steps back a
little it slams its wings into what's left of the the poor sod. There
you go.

--
Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 4:44:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Mon, 29 Aug 2005 12:12:49 GMT, Dirk Collins
<dirk.collins@Earthlink.Net> carved upon a tablet of ether:

> If you don't like the way dragon attacks are presented, then
> making up your own way is just fine. The game would feel a bit
> munchkiny if a dragon used every attack it has on one target every
> round, but fortunately dragons are smarter than that.

If it feels munchkinny, it probably is the most effective way to
fight. In D&D, unless there's a compelling reason not to, the best way
to attack is almost always to unload everything on one opponent until
they fall, and them move on to the next one.

--
Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."
Anonymous
September 4, 2005 3:16:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

chaoslight@gmail.com wrote:
> Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
>> chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Yep. The real issue I wanted to solve is a complaint one of my
>>> players had after fighting a dragon. He thought it was dumb that a
>>> dragon would bring all its natural attacks to bear on a single foe.
>>
>> Why is that dumb? It's not unrealistic -- if the dragon rears up, it
>> can easily attack downward with all its weapons -- and it's a good
>> tactic.
>
> Not with its tail slap.

Around a third of the standard dragon pictures from the Monster Manual have
dragons with their tails snaked around to the front, the tip as far forward
as their head. From the other pictures, I have no trouble believing that the
other dragons could do so if they wish.

--
Mark.
Anonymous
September 4, 2005 3:16:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Sun, 4 Sep 2005 11:16:54 +0100, "Mark Blunden"
<m.blundenATntlworld.com@address.invalid> scribed into the ether:

>chaoslight@gmail.com wrote:
>> Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
>>> chaoslight@gmail.com <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Yep. The real issue I wanted to solve is a complaint one of my
>>>> players had after fighting a dragon. He thought it was dumb that a
>>>> dragon would bring all its natural attacks to bear on a single foe.
>>>
>>> Why is that dumb? It's not unrealistic -- if the dragon rears up, it
>>> can easily attack downward with all its weapons -- and it's a good
>>> tactic.
>>
>> Not with its tail slap.
>
>Around a third of the standard dragon pictures from the Monster Manual have
>dragons with their tails snaked around to the front, the tip as far forward
>as their head. From the other pictures, I have no trouble believing that the
>other dragons could do so if they wish.

Not all dragons should or would have the same kind of tail. Back in the old
days, there was an article in Dragon about beefing up...dragons...since
they were little more than loot pinatas in first edition. One of the ways
was to give them all tail attacks. It then went on to describe how
different dragons would have different styles of tail. White dragons for
example had a wide, thick tail for extra traction when traveling on ice. It
would be a bad thing to be smacked with it because it would hit hard as
hell, but it wouldn't have the flexibility to attack anything that wasn't
in a 90ish degree arc to the rear.

Underground/Burrowing sorts (Blues, Brass) had long, narrow tails that
would impale for piercing damage. More aerial (Silver, Red) dragons would
have a flattened spade on the end of their tails to use as a rudder during
flight, and would inflict slashing damage with it. Swamp dwelling Blacks
would have taller, thinner tails for water propulsion that they could slap
around like a crocodile, etc.
Anonymous
September 4, 2005 3:35:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

chaoslight@gmail.com wrote:
> Michael Scott Brown wrote:
>> <chaoslight@gmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:1125253639.241964.173580@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>>> As I (and my RL players) see it, there are two problems with
>>> dragons. First, they are rather overpowered for their CR. Second,
>>> their attack routine is ridiculous: there's no way I can imagine a
>>> Huge dragon attacking a person with two claws, a bite, two wings,
>>> and a tail slap in the space of six seconds, unless it's spinning
>>> like a top.
>>
>> The entire 3.5 combat system presumes that combatants move and
>> turn in their space, sir! Further, if you have ever seen footage of
>> a swan fighting with its wings, you'll realize that making wing
>> strikes to the fore is not difficult at all. Your belief that
>> their attack routine is "ridiculous" is the only thing here that is
>> ridiculous. Take your boring failures of imagination somewhere else.
>
> Well, my "failure of imagination" seems to be widely shared by all
> manner of creative artists. If you think it's plausible, then please
> give me an example of any creative visualization or description that
> has a dragon attack a single foe with its claws, bite, wings and tail
> in a short space of time.

Google Images search for "dragon Battle":

Second result:
http://home.comcast.net/~esarge69/julie/ma_Bell_Artfant...

Not currently making a melee attack, but its weapons are quite clearly all
in range to strike any one foe.

Tell me neither of these dragons are getting their full attack sequence, or
that the larger one couldn't bring its tail to bear in any direction:
http://www.martialarts.com/martial-art/images/DragonBat...

And finally, do we have any doubt that this dragon is getting his full
attack sequence in against foes to the front?
http://www.jadesite.com/Imagegalle/dragon7.gif


--
Mark.
!