Sunday, November 07, 2010

AD&D Monster Manual part 12

Bronze Dragon: Also known as Draco Gerus Bronzo. We know from their first appearance in Supplement I that they live near the sea and can polymorph into animals. This book adds that they are beneficent, and take animal form to observe humans. They still get the same breath weapons: a lightning bolt and a cloud of repulsion gas that forces the targets away from the dragon. Their alignment could previously be Lawful or Neutral (with a greater likelihood of the former) but now they are Lawful Good. Their damage has been tweaked from 1-4/1-4/3-24 to 1-6/1-6/4-24. There’s less chance you’ll find one in its lair than before, but they now have more treasure. It’s slightly more likely that they are able to talk, less chance you’ll find one sleeping, and more likely that they can cast spells.

Chromatic Dragon: Or Tiamat, for those of you more familiar with the D&D cartoon. The queen of dragons is a gigantic creature with five heads, one for each colour of evil dragon. She first appeared in Supplement I. She still has 16 hit dice, but also a fixed total of 128 hit points. She’s almost always in her lair, and she gets four different treasure types all at 100% of the possible totals – that is a hell of a lot of treasure. She gets five bite attacks, each one doing the damage listed under the appropriate dragon type. Disappointingly though, she can now be encountered while asleep, whereas before she never slept at all. In Supplement I her lair was said to be a stupendous cavern beneath the earth, but here she rules the first plane of the Nine Hells. She is also said to spawn all of evil dragonkind, which is an origin I’ve never seen before. I like it, though – it makes Tiamat that much more important. She can also now travel Astrally or Ethereally, which I suppose is necessary for her occasional forays into the Prime Material Plane. The rules for her breath weapons are clarified – she doesn’t do damage based on her own hit points, but on the maximum total for a huge ancient dragon of the appropriate type. She can also only use each breath weapon once per day. I understand not wanting to make Tiamat too powerful, but the monster lover in me sighs with disapproval. It’s frickin’ Tiamat, you know? That’s not the monster to be pulling your punches on. There are also now rules for disabling each head, with a mere 16 hit points required to put each one out of commission.

Copper Dragon (Draco Comes Stabuli): These guys first appeared in Supplement I. Their stats haven’t really changed, except that they now have a smaller chance of being able to speak, a greater chance of being able to cast spells, and a smaller chance to be found asleep. In OD&D they could be Lawful or Neutral, but now they are Chaotic Good. Their breath weapons remain unchanged: they can breathe a line of acid or a cloud of gas that slows the targets. In OD&D we learned that Copper Dragons live in arid rocky places, and that is still true. We now learn that they are rather selfish, and tend towards neutrality where personal gain is concerned.

Gold Dragon (Draco Orientalus Sino Dux): Gold Dragons first appeared in OD&D. Their damagr ange has increased, with claws going from 1-4 to 1-8, and bite going from 3-36 to 6-36. They have less chance of being able to speak, but their chances of spellcasting and being found asleep have not changed. They were Lawful in OD&D, and now they are Lawful Good. They still have breath weapons of fire and chlorine gas, and they can still polymorph themselves. The only other thing we learn about them is that they use jewels and pearls as nourishment. So they eat gems? That’s cool.

Green Dragon (Draco Chlorinus Nauseous Respiratorus): These Latin names are starting to get ridiculous. I’m imagining them as something that might pop up under the dragon when the action pauses, as in the Road Runner cartoons.

Their stats have changed very little. Their claw damage has gone up from 1-4 to 1-6. They were previously Neutral of Chaotic, but now they are Lawful Evil. They have less chance of being able to speak, and a greater chance to be able to cast spells. Otherwise they’ve changed very little, and still employ a breath weapon of chlorine gas. The note that they are evil and nasty tempered is all we learn about them.

Platinum Dragon: The Platinum Dragon is named as Bahamut for the first time. He now has a fixed hit point total of 168. He gets some stats that were not provided in Supplement I, such as his damage range. There’s a small chance now that you can find him asleep, whereas before the likelihood was 0%. He is still said to dwell in a palace behind the east wind, but now there is some speculation that this could be in the Elemental Plane of Air, or in another plane between it and the Seven Heavens or the Twin Paradises. He can now travel astrally or ethereally. His breath weapons (one that causes gaseous form and another that disintegrates) are now better clarified, and impose a penalty to the target’s saving throw. His spellcasting is slightly less powerful, as he is now limited to 7th level spells when before he could cast up to 8th. Although I just noticed that he can cast cleric and magic-user spells, which evens things out a bit. The entry finishes with an amusing story about Bahamut’s seven gold dragon advisors, and how he once disguised them as canaries while posing himself as an old man. Now there’s an encounter to spring on your players…

Red Dragon (Draco Conflagratio Horriblis): This dragon’s Armor Class has improved from 2 to -1. It’s claw damage has increased from 1-4 to 1-8. It was previously Chaotic, but is now Chaotic Evil. It has less chance of being able to talk, and a much greater chance of being able to cast spells. They can now cast up to 4th level spells, when before they were restricted to 3rd. Otherwise they haven’t been changed. No sense messing with the classics, is there?

Silver Dragon (Draco Nobilis Argentum): Their damage range has increased from 1-4/1-4/3-30 to 1-6/1-6/5-30. They could previously be Lawful or Neutral, bit now they are Lawful Good. They have slightly less chance to be able to speak. They are otherwise unchanged, except for the one thing no other dragon has: there’s a chance that they may have a spell book, which will grant them a greater range of spells to use.

White Dragon (Draco Rigidus Frigidus): Their Armor Class has worsened from 2 to 3. They were previously Neutral or Chaotic, but are now Chaotic Evil. Their chances of speaking are less, and they now have a slight chance to be able to cast spells (in OD&D, they had no spellcasting abilities). There are no other changes from OD&D.

Yeah, I got lazy with this near the end. I’m kind of sick of dragons at this point, you know?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The Road Runner connection may be more explicit than you think. Draco Rigidus Frigidus is definitely a joke.