Savage Dragons: Customisable PC dragon race

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Zadmar
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Savage Dragons: Customisable PC dragon race

#1 Postby Zadmar » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:43 pm

A recent discussion about dragons motivated me to have a go at creating my own PC dragon race, in a similar style to my minotaur proposal. Sundered Skies has a kobold-like drakin race that can eventually transform into a full dragon at Legendary, but I wanted a race that starts out as a full dragon (even if only as a little hatchling).

This idea has been discussed before, and I've previously proposed building a dragon using the Super Powers Companion, but this time I wanted rules for creating PC dragons balanced for existing fantasy settings such as Shaintar, Accursed, Hellfrost, etc. When converting monsters from Pathfinder I noticed that many of the wyrmlings aren't much stronger than starting characters, so I thought why not extend the concept to a full race?

You can download it from here: Savage Dragons

The race creation rules are designed to be generic and flexible, covering different types and breeds of dragon. It's also possible to recreate the dragon from the SWD bestiary, although it would require 23½ advances! Even if you don't want to play a dragon, a Legendary character could use the rules to create a dragon mount using the Sidekick Edge.

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#2 Postby JarJarMessiah » Wed Oct 02, 2013 3:18 am

Good Job!
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#3 Postby Zadmar » Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:50 am

I thought it might be interesting to consider how my dragon race could be utilised in different settings, and decided to start with Accursed (a very promising dark fantasy setting which still has another 11 days in Kickstarter - check it out if you haven't already).

In Accursed, the Grand Coven invaded the land of Morden. After the Great Betrayal, "more than half of the Witches took their armies with them and retreated back beyond the Darkfall Peaks". Of the other witches, we know that the Djinn (who created mummies) vanished after being stabbed by King Auberon’s blade, and that the Crone (who created golems) has since vanished as well. That leaves the Chimera (who created mongrels), the Morrigan (who created Revenants), Sanguinara "the Blood Witch" (who created dhampir), and Baba Yaga "the Forest Witch" (who created vargr).

At least seven other witches are unaccounted for (because "more than half" of them left), meaning there must have been at least thirteen witches in the Grand Coven. If you're a fan of the Margaret Murray witch-cult hypothesis (which despite being much disputed, would fit rather well thematically) then you'll probably stick with thirteen witches.

Two of the Kickstarter backers have pledged at the "Curse Maker" level, which means they'll each be choosing a new witch and her witchbreed to be introduced officially. That leaves at least another five witches that GMs can play around with "unofficially". Here's a rough outline for one of them.


Lilith "the Serpent witch"

A corruptor and temptress, Lilith spawned dragons, serpents, wyverns, hydras, and other such creatures by tainting her victims and warping their form. Her foul children served as living siege weapons during the Bane War, and although most of them accompanied her back beyond the Darkfall Peaks, some remained in Morden.

Acceptance and Defiance of the curse

Stage 1: Acceptance

Dragons who accept their draconic taint will rapidly grow in size and strength, although this acceptance also brings out the bestial side of their nature.
Effect: Gain an Age Edge (even if you don't meet the rank requirement; if you've got them all you can take Venerable instead). Gain Bloodthirsty (if you already have the Hindrance then you suffer an additional -4 Charisma instead); you have a strong tendancy to eat enemies and prisoners.

Stage 2: Acceptance

As the dragon continues to grow, so does its blind aggression.
Effect: Gain another Age Edge, as well as the Excessive Greed Hindrance (if you already have it then apply another -2 Charisma). You now always use Wild Attack in melee combat, and rolling 1 on your Fighting die hits a random adjacent target as if you were Berserk (if you're Berserk as well, a 1-2 hits a random target).

Final Stage: Acceptance

When the dragon gives in completely to its primal urges, it becomes a devastating force of nature.
Effect: Gain another Age Edge. You can never assume human form; if you already have Humanoid Form you must replace it with a dragon Edge for which you meet the requirements. If someone flees from you while you're not in combat, you must make a Spirit roll to resist chasing and killing them. If you kill someone and there are no other enemies actively attacking you, you must make a successful Spirit roll, otherwise you spend your next action eating them.

Stage 1: Defiance

When the dragon defies the taint, they start to feel more comfortable in their human form.
Effect: Gain the Humanoid Form Edge (if you already have it, you instead gain +1 benny per session). You now have to make a successful Spirit roll whenever you wish to shapechange into a dragon during combat: unless you get a raise the Spirit roll consumes your entire action for the round.

Stage 2: Defiance

As the connection continues to weaken, so does their unnatural lust for treasure, and ease with which they can assume their draconic form.
Effect: Lose Treasure Hoard. It now takes you even longer to shapechange; use the same rules as the vargr Bestial Form when transforming into a dragon.

Final Stage: Defiance

In some cases the character is able to break the connection entirely, becoming completely human.
Effect: You can no longer shapechange into a dragon. Your Strength is reduced by one die step and you lose your Low Light Vision. If you have any Edges that only apply to your dragon form (other than the free Scourge Edge), you may exchange them for different Edges. If you have the Water Dependancy Hindrance, it should also be replaced with something more appropriate.

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Good Job

#4 Postby arktreium » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:43 pm

Great Job, like it a lot, Thank You for Sharing it!

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#5 Postby John_Dunn » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:54 am

Cool stuff, Zadmar!

Minor issue for Accursed is that we don't have the Bloodthirsty Hindrance for Stage 1 Acceptance. That'd probably be pretty easy to swap something else in there instead.

Looks like a lot of fun to play!
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#6 Postby ValhallaGH » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:25 am

John_Dunn wrote:Minor issue for Accursed is that we don't have the Bloodthirsty Hindrance for Stage 1 Acceptance. That'd probably be pretty easy to swap something else in there instead.

Alternately, this is the one place in the setting where it actually appears. Like Inquisitors and Arcane Resistance in the 50 Fathoms setting.

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#7 Postby fanchergw » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:29 am

This is great, Zadmar! Thank you. I can see a lot of uses for this, especially considering my daughter's fascination with dragons.

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#8 Postby Zadmar » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:35 am

For my own games I'd go with ValhallaGH's interpretation. But an alternative would be to change Bloodthirsty to Habit (Major) - the driving urge to eat their kills. As it's a Habit Hindrance they'd also need to make at least one kill every day, sating their predator instincts, but I'd allow them to scratch their itch by hunting animals.

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#9 Postby The Dread Polack » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:23 am

I like this. Too bad there's no place for it in Shaintar, which I'm running right now.

I might have to whip up a fantasy one-shot (or 3-shot) with some odd-ball, high-powered PCs, like an arch-mage, a dragon, a demi-god, etc.

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#10 Postby Zadmar » Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:52 pm

The Dread Polack wrote:I like this. Too bad there's no place for it in Shaintar, which I'm running right now.

Yeah I was a bit disappointed to discover that there are no dragons in Shaintar. There are drakes (thunder lizards), hydra and wyverns, but they all have animal intelligence, which doesn't fit very well with a PC race.

The Dread Polack wrote:I might have to whip up a fantasy one-shot (or 3-shot) with some odd-ball, high-powered PCs, like an arch-mage, a dragon, a demi-god, etc.

My dragon race should actually be on-par with "normal" SW races (in fact I'd estimate it's probably a couple of advances weaker than most Shaintar races).

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#11 Postby The Dread Polack » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:09 pm

It sounds like the dragons are only "officially" gone from Shaintar. There seems to be a few implied winks included with their statements. I totally expect there to be some sort of official event where the dragons return in some way. But, don't tell SPF I said that :D

As for my super-powered fantasy campaign: I'd build characters at heroic or legendary rank and/or use the Super-powers companion. Either way, your breakdown is very useful as a way to advance a dragon PC.

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#12 Postby ogbendog » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:18 pm

I know want to setup a dragon knights campaign

Or Savage Bazil Broketail
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#13 Postby Zadmar » Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:40 pm

So it looks like dragons might still exist in Shaintar after all, but if they do, they'd be very subtle about it. Here's how I'd probably handle them, based on what I know so far:

In Shaintar, dragons would get Humanoid Form and Wyrmling for free, but would also be treated as if they had the Vow Major Hindrance (to keep their existence secret from non-dragons at all costs). The Dracolich Edge requires Necromancy, which isn't available to PCs.

It would be very difficult to have a mixed party, but I could see the potential for a group of young wyrmlings - too weak to fend for themselves, and unable to trust outsiders with their secret, they might band together for companionship and strength in numbers.

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#14 Postby The Dread Polack » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:20 pm

I don't think it's been said whether dragons are inherently evil in Shaintar, so that would definitely matter whether you could potentially have one as a PC or ally in the sort of party encouraged by the genre.

I, for one, really like the idea of a dragon who has had his powers severely limited for some reason. Perhaps a greater power (one of the Ascended or a powerful Life Spirit, a celestial, etc.) managed to place a geas on the dragon for betraying an oath, for instance. And now the dragon is forced to slowly gain his power back by atoning for the betrayal. I've wanted to run a character like that for a long time.

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Re: Savage Dragons: Customisable PC dragon race

#15 Postby Zadmar » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:34 pm

Savage Dragons has just undergone a makeover. In addition to redoing the trade dress, the new version includes revised racial abilities, more Edges and Hindrances, the Witchbreed guidelines, a custom Injury Table for dragon-shaped creatures, and 5 archetypes.

Image
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Re: Savage Dragons: Customisable PC dragon race

#16 Postby SeeleyOne » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:01 pm

Cool, I had used it to create a were-dragon race. I left the "default form" as a Human as per the character sheet, then applied becoming the Small Dragon as an edge. I had it require one of the "Scourge of the" edges as a build-up edge that did not actually do anything until getting the Were-Dragon edge. The math ended up being the same, but it worked better for were-dragons, and it could be taken as advancements. I figured that the different ages and edges were how the character developed his/her draconic might, and not really a measure of age or any other characteristics. It allows for a character to develop into the dragon that they want to become.
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Re: Savage Dragons: Customisable PC dragon race

#17 Postby Zadmar » Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:11 am

SeeleyOne wrote:I figured that the different ages and edges were how the character developed his/her draconic might, and not really a measure of age or any other characteristics. It allows for a character to develop into the dragon that they want to become.

Yeah, that's sort of how I handle it too, thus the comment in the Hindrances section that "Dragons cannot take Elderly or Young, for they age differently to other races; as magical creatures, they mature as they gain in power rather than through the passage of time."

The difficulty is that dragons are often classified by age, so I wanted to address that concept while at the same time justifying how player characters could progress through the age categories without playing a campaign that literally spans centuries (although that could make a pretty cool dragon-focused PPC).
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Re: Savage Dragons: Customisable PC dragon race

#18 Postby Fponkdamn » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:45 pm

For Savage Rifts, you could use this as a way to play a Dragon that isn't a Hatchling by using this as your race and the "Personal Concept MARS Option." You start with more XP and advances that you can use on Age category Edges, thus creating a dragon that wasn't "hatched yesterday." I like it a LOT, and would definitely allow a PC to pick that if they wanted.

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Re: Savage Dragons: Customisable PC dragon race

#19 Postby Zadmar » Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:28 am

Fponkdamn wrote:For Savage Rifts, you could use this as a way to play a Dragon that isn't a Hatchling by using this as your race and the "Personal Concept MARS Option." You start with more XP and advances that you can use on Age category Edges, thus creating a dragon that wasn't "hatched yesterday." I like it a LOT, and would definitely allow a PC to pick that if they wanted.

I'm afraid it would be much weaker than the Rifts hatchling. If you really want to use Savage Dragons for Rifts, my suggestion would be to build a 45 point SPC2 character with dragon as their race, and rule that Super Edge can also be used to take dragon Racial Edges.

However you might find the Draconic Injury Table useful for Savage Rifts, even if you're using the official Flame Wind Dragon Hatchling.
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Re: Savage Dragons: Customisable PC dragon race

#20 Postby Fponkdamn » Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:22 pm

Interesting! I like that as well.


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