Archive for November, 2014

I was on a recent episode of The Tome Show podcast and was part of a team which reviewed, The Rise of Tiamat fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons adventure.

The 5e review gang joins Jeff Greiner and Tracy Hurley again this episode. This time we take on the second half of the Tyranny of Dragons story-line: The Rise of Tiamat. This is the continuation of the story that began in the Hoard of the Dragon Queen – how does the story end? Listen as Mike Shea, Sam Dillon, and I discuss the adventure with Jeff and Tracy. The discussion is followed by an interview with Steve Winter, the lead designer of the campaign.

Links:

slyflourish.com

rpgmusings.com

sarahdarkmagic.com

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

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It’s Thanksgiving here in the US so I’m going to give you a quick update today and what you should expect to see on this blog on Tuesday next week! But first, I want to remind you that in addition to a lovely blog post from yours truly on Tuesday December 2nd, remember that’s also the date of the Tiamat Takedown! Be sure to check it out at 8:30PM Eastern! Expect a few NPC previews to show up too…

Speaking of which if you voted for the class and race of Topher Kohan‘s NPC, thank you so much! Voting has closed now. Topher will be playing a dwarf ranger, which brings our dwarf total to 3 in the party.

Now onto the goods. Continuing the catastrophic dragon conversion to 5e (we’ve already seen the blizzard, earthquake, and volcanic). Tuesday will see the release of the typhoon dragons in all their glory, but for now, here’s an ancient taste of their statistics.

Ancient Typhoon Dragon

Gargantuan dragon, chaotic evil


Armor Class 21 (natural armor)

Hit Points  385 (22d20 + 154)

Speed  40 ft., fly 80 ft., swim 40ft.


STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
27 (+8) 12 (+1) 25 (+7) 20 (+5) 19 (+4) 17 (+3)

Saving Throws  Dex +8, Con +14, Wis +11, Cha +10

Damage Immunities lightning, thunder

Skills Intimidation +10, Perception +11

Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive perception 21

Languages Common, Draconic

Challenge 22 (30,000 XP)


Amphibious. The typhoon dragon can breathe air and water.

Catastrophic Aura. A 5-foot aura of raging winds and rain surrounds the typhoon dragon. Area within the aura is treated as difficult terrain and creatures within the aura cannot use their action to disengage.

Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If the typhoon dragon fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.

Actions

Multiattack. The typhoon dragon can use its Growing Aura and then make three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.

Bite.  Melee Weapon Attack: +15 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (2d10 + 10) piercing damage plus 11 (2d10) lightning damage.

Claw.  Melee Weapon Attack: +15 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d6 + 10) slashing damage plus 5 (1d10) lightning damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (2d8 + 10) bludgeoning damage plus 5 (1d10) lightning damage.

Cyclone’s PullThe typhoon dragon creates a raging storm in a 25-foot cube originating from the dragon. Each creature within the cube must make a DC 22 Constitution saving throw. Creatures who fail take 22 (5d8) thunder damage and be pulled 20 feet towards the typhoon dragon, creatures who succeed take half damage and are not pulled.

Growing Aura. The typhoon dragon’s Catastrophic Aura expands its radius 10 feet. If the dragon uses this ability when its Catastrophic Aura is 25 feet, the dragon’s aura explodes with energy and all creatures within 90 feet of the dragon must make a DC 22 Constitution saving throw. Creatures who fail take 33 (6d10) lightning and 27 (6d8) thunder damage and are moved 20 feet in a direction of the dragon’s choice, creatures who succeed take half damage and are not moved. Once the dragon’s aura explodes with energy it resets to 5 feet.

Legendary Actions

The typhoon dragon can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The typhoon dragon regains all spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Tail Attack. The typhoon dragon makes a tail attack.

Sudden Thunder. Each creature in the typhoon dragon’s Catastrophic Aura must succeed on a DC 22 Constitution saving throw. Creatures who fail take 18 (4d8) thunder damage and the dragon has advantage on attacks against those creatures until the end of the its next turn, creatures who succeed take half damage and the dragon does not have advantage on attacks against them.

Cyclone’s Pull (Costs 2 Actions). The typhoon dragon uses Cyclone’s Pull.

Let me know what you think!!!!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, Gamer to Gamer, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


I sit down with Jeremy Crawford, one of the lead designers of fifth edition D&D! We talk about Jeremy’s career at Green Ronin and Wizards of the Coast, the campaign world he’s been running since he first started playing, and all things Dungeon Master’s Guide, Jeremy’s latest creation. This podcast was recorded on November 12, 2014.


Links:

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my other podcast The Round Table, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

UPDATE: The statistics for these catastrophic dragons have been moved, but fear not! You can now grab them in a totally awesome Pay What You Want PDF on the DMs Guild.

Know what’s pretty terrifying and gripping? A volcanic eruption. When you see volcanoes erupt in nature films part of your brain says, “That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.” The other half of your brain is like, “This is sweet! Nature is crazy!”

Last week I explored bringing fourth edition’s catastrophic dragons into fifth edition D&D. The blizzard and earthquake dragons were first on my list. Today I’d like to share the volcanic dragon with you. This dragon is the baddest of the bunch and has an attitude to match.

A Recap Of Catastrophic Dragons in General

Here are a few quick words about my take for catastrophic dragons. This is from my first post last week. You can just skip ahead of you’ve already been reading these posts.

Catastrophic dragons were once chromatic dragons who desired more than a hoard and a lair. For while others stole and hid from the humanoids over whom they claimed superiority, these dragons knew that all other life in the multiverse should be bowing to their will. Power is a far greater reward than any material possession and as the smartest and strongest in the land, dragons deserved to be in charge. Any thought other than this was impractical and stupid.

These dragons tried to convince their brethren to leave their caves and make the humanoids submit to their will. The other chromatic dragons did not like this sudden interest in the affairs of lesser beings and so with greater numbers they did come together. They banished their radical kin to the elemental planes. For hundreds of years these rebellious chromatic dragons were locked in seas of fire, ice, wind, and stone. Those who did not die were shaped by elemental forces and remade into catastrophic dragons.

Each trapped catastrophic dragon has its imprisonment tied to the soul of a chromatic dragon on the material plane. If one of these gatekeeper chromatic dragon should die before it can pass the responsibility onto another, the catastrophic dragon can leave the plane of its imprisonment and wreak havoc on the world.

Catastrophic dragons once wanted to dominate all life in the multiverse. After years of suffering the harsh terrain of the elemental planes, their minds are warped and they desire only to kill all those inferior to them, especially chromatic dragons whom they hate above all others.Their memories are long and catastrophic dragons do not forget their betrayal at the hands of their kin. If they escape their bonds, they may keep a hoard, but usually only for the purpose of attracting other dragons and killing them.

Volcanic Dragons

Volcanic dragons have skin made of barely cooled molten rock. Cracks in their skin large and small show off the dragon’s glowing lava insides, which grow brighter as the dragon becomes more agitated. Heat and embers radiate from the dragon’s form and getting too close can result in a toxic death before the dragon ever lays claws onto a victim. A dry heat wave heralds the volcanic dragon’s approach.

Righteous Rage. Like all catastrophic dragons, rage constantly simmers in the heart of the volcanic dragon. The rage of the volcanic is one of a wronged creature out for justice. Volcanic dragons see the destruction of life as their righteous mission. As the mutliverse’s superior beings they must destroy any non-elemental they come across as just punishment for their imprisonment. Most carry this twisted belief in their heart until the end of their days.

Chromatic Hunters. With a warped idea of justice in their minds, volcanic dragons are the dragons most likely to hunt and kill chromatic dragons. Since they share a love of volcano lairs, volcanic dragons will often challenge an established red dragon and try to take its home. These battles are brutal, as both creatures are unaffected by the heat and must use claws and jaws to battle.

A Volcanic Dragon’s Lair

Volcanic dragons tend to create lairs in their namesake. Since many volcano lairs are occupied by red dragons, volcanic dragons do not build their own, but rather siege the lair of a red dragon, kill the host, and claim the volcano as their own.

Volcanic dragons do make modifications to their stolen homes. They open cracks in the walls of the tunnels, allowing even more lava and noxious fumes inside to make the place habitable only by creatures who fear neither fire nor poison. Pieces of the defeated red dragon’s corpse are mounted here and there as a show of the volcanic dragon’s dominance.

The cunning volcanic dragons rig their lairs with all manner of unexpected traps as well. Knowing their opponents may have prepared with spells and items to help them resist flames, volcanic dragons often create magic traps which deal acid, cold, and lightning, to show any who might think themselves clever that they cannot hope to outsmart a cunning dragon in its home.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!


I sit down with Jeff Greiner, Sam Dillon, Liz Theis, and Dave Gibson to talk about the latest Dungeon Master’s Guide previews and a recent Mike Mearls Reddit AMA. This podcast was recorded on November 13, 2014.

Links:

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my other podcast Gamer to Gamer, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Hey, everyone! So Topher Kohan, all-around great dude and member of the party we’ve put together to take-on Tiamat in the December 2nd Tiamat Takedown, wants some help building his PC! Use the polls below to help Topher determine his race and class!

Voting ends Thanksgiving Day midnight Eastern time so place your picks now!

We’ll be living streaming the game on Google+ Hangout and on YouTube on December 2nd at 8:30PM Eastern. I’ll be posting characters here and we’ll release an edited version of the audio as a podcast on thetomeshow.com and have a follow-up conversation as part ofThe Round Table podcast I host.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

UPDATE: The statistics for these catastrophic dragons have been moved, but fear not! You can now grab them in a totally awesome Pay What You Want PDF on the DMs Guild.

On Tuesday, I gave you all a glimpse at my first attempt at creating one of fifth edition D&D versions of the fourth edition catastrophic dragons. If you want to go back and checkout that post you can read all about the blizzard dragon. I’m welcoming any and all feedback before I add these baddies to the Free Game Resources section of this site, so if you’re interested, please go check it out and let me know what you think!

A Quick Recap

Now some of you may have missed fourth edition, catastrophic dragons, and/or the post before this. If you’re wondering what they are and what my vision is for them, I’ve pulled an excerpt from Tuesday’s post below. If you’re already caught up, feel free to skip to the next section of this post.

Catastrophic dragons were once chromatic dragons who desired more than a hoard and a lair. For while others stole and hid from the humanoids over whom they claimed superiority, these dragons knew that all other life in the multiverse should be bowing to their will. Power is a far greater reward than any material possession and as the smartest and strongest in the land, dragons deserved to be in charge. Any thought other than this was impractical and stupid.

These dragons tried to convince their brethren to leave their caves and make the humanoids submit to their will. The other chromatic dragons did not like this sudden interest in the affairs of lesser beings and so with greater numbers they did come together. They banished their radical kin to the elemental planes. For hundreds of years these rebellious chromatic dragons were locked in seas of fire, ice, wind, and stone. Those who did not die were shaped by elemental forces and remade into catastrophic dragons.

Each trapped catastrophic dragon has its imprisonment tied to the soul of a chromatic dragon on the material plane. If one of these gatekeeper chromatic dragon should die before it can pass the responsibility onto another, the catastrophic dragon can leave the plane of its imprisonment and wreak havoc on the world.

Catastrophic dragons once wanted to dominate all life in the multiverse. After years of suffering the harsh terrain of the elemental planes, their minds are warped and they desire only to kill all those inferior to them, especially chromatic dragons whom they hate above all others.Their memories are long and catastrophic dragons do not forget their betrayal at the hands of their kin. If they escape their bonds, they may keep a hoard, but usually only for the purpose of attracting other dragons and killing them.

Earthquake Dragons

Mighty earthquake dragons appear to be hewn from great craggy mountains. Their skin looks like tightly packed boulders and their muscle is stone, with piercing, bright eyes which promise hate and death. Those who dare to get close enough to an earthquake dragon can see its entire being quivering with rage and elemental energy.

Blunt and Brawn. Short on patience for even their own kin earthquake dragons are always one wrong look or comment away from a murderous outburst. They have no time for lies or manipulation. Those who are in the dragon’s way will be destroyed. The dragons rely on fear of their power to get the job done when they do work with minions, which is not often. Any who work with earthquake dragons know eventually their rage and hatred for all non-elemental life wins out. Partnerships with these beasts are short-lived and end in murder.

Everything Must Die. It is said that earthquake dragons carry such rage in their hearts and they barely care for their own lives. Even in battle their attitude is grim, and they fight to the bitter end, destroying all that they can with their very last breaths. The anger they feel is compounded with the pain at being stuck in the Elemental Plane of Earth, constantly crushed and claustrophobic. Once free, most can only think about how they must inflict the same crushing anguish upon all living things.

An Earthquake Dragon’s Lair

Earthquake dragons make their lairs underground in mazes of tight, twisting tunnels in which they can trap intruders with a well-placed collapse. Amidst these tunnels are usually huge caverns where a dragon and its elemental minions might confront threats head on. Earthquake dragons tend to leave their kills wherever they happen to fall, letting them serve as warnings and signs of the dragon’s might to any who dare enter.

The entrance of an earthquake dragon’s lair is usually deep within a canyon or fissure filled with all manner of elemental guardians. The entrance of the lair is often blocked by a collapse which the earthquake dragon can easily clear, but serves as a more difficult obstacle for smaller creatures. Sometimes earthquake dragons will block several tunnels, most of which are decoys meant to throw off any would-be heroes. These decoy tunnels end in dead ends.

Earthquake dragons lack finesse and prefer to face any threat directly, using all their brawn. They normally face threats in large rooms with plenty of loose rock structures they can topple over to hinder foes. Earthquake dragons rarely form an escape plan. Their rage forces them to fight until the bitter end.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

UPDATE: The statistics for these catastrophic dragons have been moved, but fear not! You can now grab them in a totally awesome Pay What You Want PDF on the DMs Guild.

I loved a lot of things in fourth edition Dungeons and Dragons. The balance, the monster stat blocks, the warlord class, the shardmind race, and more. While that edition has been panned for many worthy and unworthy reasons, it created some of my favorite beasties ever – the catastrophic dragons.

It’s no surprise we didn’t see the blizzard, earthquake, and volcanic dragons in the fifth edition Monster Manual. The book already has over thirty pages of draconic goodness between the chromatic and metallic dragons. Still, you know what the great thing about TRPGs is? We can, nay, we are encouraged to create things on our own for our games. Well I thought I’d share my version of the catastrophic dragons with you over the next week or so for feedback and use in your own game. Once I’m happy with it and after reading your feedback, I’ll put these bad mamma jammas on the Free Game Resources section of this site!

But First, a Shoutout!

I probably wouldn’t be writing this post if it weren’t for this month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme of races, chosen by John Four over at Roleplaying Tips. Now I know by races John means PC races, but I’m going to write about a few new races of dragons! I want to use these baddies in my Exploration Age campaign, so here I’ve given them a story that should work in most game worlds in case you want to use them in yours too.

Crafting the Story

When you look at the catastrophic dragons description in the Monster Manual 3 for fourth edition, you learn these beasts are tied to primordials and the Dawn War. Essentially once Io died, some chromatic dragons were all like, “Tiamat’s my jam!” and the metallics were all righteous and like, “Bahamut’s the shiz, brah.” Some dragons, though, were like, “Both ya’ll cray. Those gods are selfish and weak.” These dragons went to the side of the primordials, seeking protection from the chromatic and metallic dragons who were all, “Say what? Now you gots to die for talking smack about our gods.” The primordials hid away these naysayer dragons in the furthest reaches of the Elemental Chaos, where they were reforged in elemental forces and became the catastrophic dragons. They hate pretty much everything that isn’t an elemental and want to watch the world be torn apart by these forces.

It’s a good story, but not all campaign settings fit that mold so I want something that can work a little more generally. This includes the world of Exploration Age, which has no Dawn War in its history. My idea for a story is below, which borrows from the original tale above.

It was around this time monsters got really great in fourth edition.

The History of Catastrophic Dragons

Catastrophic dragons were once chromatic dragons who desired more than a hoard and a lair. For while others stole and hid from the humanoids over whom they claimed superiority, these dragons knew that all other life in the multiverse should be bowing to their will. Power is a far greater reward than any material possession and as the smartest and strongest in the land, dragons deserved to be in charge. Any thought other than this was impractical and stupid.

These dragons tried to convince their brethren to leave their caves and make the humanoids submit to their will. The other chromatic dragons did not like this sudden interest in the affairs of lesser beings and so with greater numbers they did come together. They banished their radical kin to the elemental planes. For hundreds of years these rebellious chromatic dragons were locked in seas of fire, ice, wind, and stone. Those who did not die were shaped by elemental forces and remade into catastrophic dragons.

Each trapped catastrophic dragon has its imprisonment tied to the soul of a chromatic dragon on the material plane. If one of these gatekeeper chromatic dragon should die before it can pass the responsibility onto another, the catastrophic dragon can leave the plane of its imprisonment and wreak havoc on the world.

Behavior of Catastrophic Dragons

Catastrophic dragons once wanted to dominate all life in the multiverse. After years of suffering the harsh terrain of the elemental planes, their minds are warped and they desire only to kill all those inferior to them, especially chromatic dragons whom they hate above all others.Their memories are long and catastrophic dragons do not forget their betrayal at the hands of their kin. If they escape their bonds they may keep a hoard, but usually only for the purpose of attracting other dragons and killing them.

Blizzard Dragons

Blizzard dragons appear almost wraith-like. These creatures have thin hides of ice-covered snow which crackles and mists with elemental energy. Their eyes glow white and their frozen bones are visible through the tightly packed snow around their joints.

Cold and storm follow a blizzard dragon wherever it goes. As one approaches the weather turns bitter and windy as snow heralds the blizzard dragon’s arrival.

Planners and Schemers. Blizzard dragons are the most level-headed of the rage-filled catastrophic dragons. This is not to say they are without anger, but they are more likely to work with other elemental creatures and formulate a plan before battle, rather than simply relying on their might to kill everything in sight.

Friend of the Undead. Blizzard dragons have been known to work alongside undead. They recognize in undead the same hatred for life and the desire to destroy and use that to mutual benefit for as long as a partnership will allow.

A Blizzard Dragon’s Lair

Where other dragons carve lairs out of the earth, blizzard dragons often build theirs out of ice and packed snow, creating elaborate, twisting mazes with slick floors and walls. From the outside this mass of tunnels looks almost like an enormous forgotten ball of clear yarn.

These passages are riddled with holes, so the sleet can still pelt the dragon’s enemies as they move through its home. The wind can carry the scent of intruders to the dragon deep within. The tunnels often take sudden turns or dips, creating slick, icy slides which take the dragon’s enemy into some perilous trap.

Legendary blizzard dragons often build their personal chambers with deep pits and ice spiked floors into which they move their enemies using their Catastrophic Aura. Blizzard dragons are crafty. As their aura grows they might cling to the walls or ceiling to use it to its fullest effect. They always have a secret escape tunnel in case events go awry, hidden by a thin sheet of ice and snow.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A new episode of my podcast, The Round Table, is up on The Tome Show’s website.


I sit down with Mike Shea, Joe Lastowski, Topher Kohan, and D&D Adventurers League Community Manager and Round Table newbie Robert Adducci. We dish on D&D Attack Wing, the new miniatures game from Wiz Kids, and then put Robert in the hot seat and get all their questions about the D&D Adventurers League answered. Then I have a great interview with Chris Matney of Trapdoor Technologies. Chris gives the details on the breakup between Wizards of the Coast and DungeonScape and what the future holds for Codename: Morningstar. This podcast was recorded on November 9, 2014 and November 15, 2014.

Links:

If you like what you’re reading please follow me on Twitter, check out my other podcast Gamer to Gamer, tell your friends, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Remember the Tarrasque Takedown? Well the goodness continues as Mike Shea DMs Joe Lastowski, Chris Dudley, Topher Kohan, Liz Theis, and me in a battle for the ages! We’re stress-testing high-level combat in the new edition of Dungeons and Dragons once again and this time we’re taking on the most powerful villain the game currently has to offer – Tiamat! Her statistics were recently revealed in the Rise of Tiamat adventure from Kobold Press.

We’ll be living streaming the game on Google+ Hangout and on YouTube. I’ll be posting characters here and we’ll release an edited version of the audio as a podcast on thetomeshow.com and have a follow-up conversation as part of The Round Table podcast I host.

It’s all going down at 8:30PM Eastern on Tuesday, December 2nd. Please pass the Google+ and Facebook events around and invite people. Also, if you use social media to talk about this, please use #TiamatTakedown. Hell yeah!

It’s on like Donkey Kong!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends, share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!