Joined: Aug 10, 2003 Posts: 213 Location: Harker Heights, TX
Posted: Sat May 07, 2005 12:41 am Post subject: Wyrms of the Flanaess
I have started a five part series detailing some dragons on Oerth. I decided to focus on the traditional chromatic dragons - it's more fun to do the villians then the good guys! So with the posting of Razisiz the blue, linked here:
there are four more on the way, black, green, white, and red.
As far as my thought process goes, I keep the articles light on stats, so as to be easily tailored to whatever edition/system you use. I concentrate on making a good background story for each one instead of listing all their horde items and vital signs.
So I hope the articles will prove useful. Dragons are meant to be epic level opponents and not just another encounter. With the database on dragons here on canonfire, there shows that there is not the lack of dragons in published materials, but I find there is a lack of dragons with good detailed backgrounds. Each one of those dragons has a story to tell, maybe this can be a recurring concept in fleshing out these dragons so they are just more then names and stats.
Take care and enjoy. As always, feedback is welcome.
I like your thought. Dragons are so iconic, yet its hard to explain them within areas with significant populations/civilization. IMC, I've worked out a sort of "Dragon politics," not unlike an old Dragon article by Bruce Heard (I think) that looked at the dragons of Mystara. Your dragons will make nice additions to the mix. I agree about a "stat lite" approach and looking at the chromatics. I hate gold dragons. _________________ GVD
One thing that I never liked was the presence of oriental dragons in some GH products. Sure, gold dragons had a kind of oriental look, but having pan lungs crop up at random places just seemed out of whack to me. The pan lung in I1: Dwellers of the Forbidden City exemplified this disconnect - an oriental dragon in a city with a quasi-Meso-American cultural background just did not feel right.
So I created a more topical dragon, a black one, to replace the oriental dragon. Felt it made more sense in the light of the module's location and gives the players a more legitimate opponent to fight. Thus I made my black dragon the slayer of the pan lung that was presented in the module and then went from there.
A couple other things: there has been a lot of discussions back and forth involving the culture of the Olman empire. As far as what my article adds to the debate, I have the tribes led by Prince Zura be of pure Olman descent, with a rich history that they have passed along among themselves. I specifically made the yuan-ti of the city to be demon worshippers rather then having them worship any Olman diety, mostly to emphasize their increasing detachment from humanity and their innate vileness.
Dwellers of the Forbidden City is a great adventure, and one way to maximize its potential is to explore the rival factions within the city. I assumed that Horan would be a Scarlet Brotherhood agent (his description just screamed it) and I incorporated the bakluni angle by looking at the art of the module which seemed to suggest a variety of building styles from the maps.
By adding an ambitious dragon added to the mix, there is a whole new spin to work with.
His article provides as good an explantion as any. It makes sense that, along with migrations of peoples dragons migrated across the Flanaess as well. Most Oriental dragons can become invisible and thus can stealthily move along with the humans. Having an enclave of oriental type dragons in the Suel Imperium makes some sense as well, they could have been ambassadors or spies from further western lands and forced to move east after the Twin Cataclysms.
While all this I give, I still side with the black dragons, especially in adventure I1. As natives of the swamps, they would likely notice the intrusion of other dragon species more readily then humanity. Plus, as Wolfsire mentioned, black dragons have more drive and evil purpose while the Pan Lung seems too passive.
Anyway, anyone can disregard my addition to the module I1 and stick to the oriental dragon as they wish, as tastes dictate. That being said, I think my dragon Gauthogg could whip any lame Pan Lung any day of the week!
Thanks for the comment, O-D. I do not know about Gauthogg in particular, but I was tipping my hat to you in my comparison of the two. The Coiled, and I use that name to give them more of a GH feel, appears to be the stronger to me - with a little to planning to avoid the breath weapon.
I would be interested to know if anyone else has thought about the prevalence and interaction of Black and Coiled dragons in the Hool, insofar and both appear more than once in the modules.
This take on dragons is slightly different then mine. While I focus on the highly intelligent and thus powerful dragons, this article points out that many dragons can not speak or use spells. This means a couple things for a campaign - first, dragons can be more numerous under such a theory. If all dragons were magic using speakers, there would be wider swaths of dragon controlled territory across the Flanaess. With more of the less powerful variety there can be more dragons in far off corners of the world.
I agree with this assessment to a degree. I think that dragons are very rare now in the Flanaess - this is the age of men - so that only the truely powerful dragons are left, with a few exceptioons. Those non magic using and speaking dragons should have some kind of bonus to their physical prowess to compensate for thie lack of communication skills.
Another neat concept from the article was the idea that dragons could gain sustenence from their hordes. I recall that some dragons specifically eat gemstones and precious metals, but to gain sustenance from osmosis while sleeping on your horde makes it more likely that the Oerth ecology could support more dragons.
All in all, this article raises many good points and is worth a good read.
And I wanted to expand a bit more on the Horned Society. They were my favorite villians before they got shafted by the Greyhawk Wars. I also alluded to the great DMG 1e picture of the green dragon slaying the kobolds. Just keeping a tie in to the classics. Finally the name Verithmirax (or something close to it) was the name for the dragon in the old (but still pretty good - underrated in my book) movie "Dragonslayer".
I missed that Dragonslayer bit. It is a pretty good movie. The dragon/kobold piture has always been one of my favorites. When I first saw it, the idea of monsters fighting each other opened new horizons.
I liked what you did with Horned Society, but I am not crazy about he idea of a dragon going back and forth between the planes. Each to his own. Thanks for the nice write up.
This dragon I created to mix things up in the far north. I liked the mysterious location of the Hanging Glacier and thought up the idea of what an amibitious monster would do if they found it. Why have these remarkable locations just sitting around for adventurers to exploit? A dragon can do a lot of damage if they had access to such a place.
Plus, I liked the idea of an army of evil humanoids and creatures rampaging across the northlands. I made this white dragon smarter then most and gave her a reason for gathering an army. With the resources of the Hanging Glacier she should be a power to contend with.
Finally, I link to my review of Dark Clouds Gather - this was a great module and I saw it as a natural tie in with the Hanging Glacier.
Joined: Aug 10, 2003 Posts: 213 Location: Harker Heights, TX
Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 6:39 am Post subject: Wyrms of the Flanaess - Part Five
Finally, after a long hiatus, I have completed my pentad of Wyrms of the Flanaess articles with the red dragon that has plagued giant slayers from the early years of Greyhawk - Brazzemal from G3: Hall of the Fire Giant King.
Now this dragon was the only one in my series of articles to have been specifically mentioned in published materials. Probably every DM in Greyhawk history has come up with some sort of background for this dragon, but I'm throwing in my version for your enjoyment. Here is the link:
I wanted to add some more adventure hooks to make the dragon a more dynamic player in the operations of the Hall of the Fire Giants. It may add some spice to the adventure to have competing parties with different goals roaming through the fire giant lair - one party to slay the dragon the other to end the drow plotting. The parties may or may not cooperate with each other.
Also added in as a possible plot device is the lost city of the Amedio. Sort of like an "El Dorado" type legend for Greyhawk. Brazzemal may use this information as a bargaining chip, or the party may find a map to it in Brazzemal's treasure.
I heard that there was a Paizo adventure that had Brazzemal featured in it, but I do not know any details. If any of that source conflicts with my version, as always feel free to disregard what does not work for you.
This ends my Wyrms of the Flanaess series of articles. Hopefully you all found them useful and/or interesting. Let me know of any comments or critiques of the articles. Also, anyone can feel free to continue more WotF articles, detailing other dragons throughout Greyhawk (maybe some good aligned ones?) for all of our collected enjoyment.
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