Dragons?

Dungeons and …….  Fill it in and you get the other D word.  Synonymous in the game that made our hobby but how often do they get used?  And how do you play them when you do use them?  I am thinking about all of these reptile related questions and realised that as a creature I have really under utilised the Dragon in my games for an extended period.

I have read this recently…

This is an unreal situation when I think about my history with the Dragon.  I was once accused when I ran Shadowrun of having a book that opened naturally to the Dragon page.  Now while that literally may not have been the truth it is reflective of my use of the beast as a plot device in that game.  I moved on to Earthdawn after Shadowrun and found a new plot device, the Horror and the Dragon and I fell out of sorts.  They didn’t even write!

I have been playing Pathfinder a long while now and I have never used a Dragon yet.  I have been tied up with a few adventure paths (Skull and Shackles, Reign of Winter and Serpents Skull) and so far two out of those three have no Dragons anywhere in the plot.  I am now having to think about it again and I have to say I have done some reading in the interim that I am a little overwhelmed with information.

There are official Pathfinder campaign books that look at the roles of Dragons in the game but the book I chose the last time I was in a gaming store I opted for a third party book instead, Von Graaf’s Journal of Dragons from Mongoose Publishing.  It is a beautiful book with a load of information in it about Dragons and their organisation.

It is great that Dragons have been so fleshed out but wow!  I got hugely overwhelmed!  I am looking at a full on book the size of a regular roleplaying game in itself full of information covering the role of a Dragon, the followers of Dragons, Dragon hoards, Dragon feats and oh so much more.  As you can tell I am a bit overwhelmed with the amount of information I am now processing in relation to this, one of the most integral parts of the fantasy game.  I am not being negative about this book in any way either.  If you want to run a campaign in Pathfinder that centres around a dragon or a council there of GET THIS BOOK.  It is just that I am a little out of practice with the large and scaly so would love some other points of reference.

So, I throw a lot of information out looking for help, and now I am hoping to get a little back.  Let me know how to handle a Dragon?  Should it be simple and straight forward or should I go with an elaborate setup where the Dragon toys with their prey before they attack?  If it helps I am looking at a juvenile Dragon who is probably on a mental par with a Goblin.

Give me a hand!  Let me know what you think I should do!

7 Comments


  1. I suggest putting Giant Dragons into every game.

    My last game was about Italian rug merchants and the advancements in rug making technology during the renaissance. After 5 games about politics, intrigue and thread counts.

    All of Florence was stomped flat when a Giant Robot fought a Giant Dragon. All the characters were killed when the building they were hiding in got stomped.

    Always use dragons. It keeps things interesting.

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  2. Yep, sense of dread regarding tonight’s Pathfinder game and it’s “random encounter” growing…..

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  3. I think it depends very much on the setting mate. In some games, the dragons are agents of sheer destruction, with very base motives. They hunt, they eat, the reproduce and repeat. It can make for some interesting “action” oriented gaming to seek them out and then hunt them. As base creatures, they are great agents for outright destruction and wiping out things, which bother you about a setting. Certain characters, locations and even races can be utterly destroyed by a rampaging “base” dragon on a spree.
    However then there are the dragons, which are intelligent, magical and powerful in their own right. Shakers and movers, the “high” dragons work better in games with intrigue, where character development is detailed and where there is scope for their grand machinations. Beings that immensely powerful, old and malevolent for the most part, after all what really are the concerns of mortals who think in terms of decades at best to them. In my mind they are more dangerous and the thing I am most scared of. Their minds are and should be utterly alien and they act for themselves only.

    So I guess it depends on the setting. If the local mega fauna is more base, then it should be dangerous like a true predator, cunning but not overly intelligent. However if it is more like a high dragon, juvenile, then I think it would be most amusing to see it act like a tempestuous child prodigy. It should be very base in its desire…the acquisition of size, wealth and reputation but a bit more blunt in method and manipulation and prone to fits of massive rage when things do not go its way. (This also sets the players up to get themselves a really formidable nemesis as it grows in power, influence and manipulative skill…just think of the potential of a dragon whose entire being is shaped by the sleight offered by a player group. Who studies them, tests them and then in the end utterly destroys them…maybe…)
    Muddy.

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    1. Thanks Muddy. There is some awesome insight that I can use for another game I have coming up!

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  4. Dragons play a big part in my current Pathfinder campaign but mostly behind the scenes. Dragons do dragon things and characters go adventuring, sometimes the path cross, but rarely.

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