18 thoughts on “So the Druid in my game has decided that Red Dragons are of his land.”

  1. I’m assuming Breathe Fire and Swoop Like a Hurricane are already in play. Maybe also: 

    Scatter Those Below In Terror.

    Draw The Attention Of The Mighty.

  2. It seems to me that it should be really hard to shift into a dragon, and if even possible, have serious trade offs.

    Devil’s Advocate mode: just because dragons are from his land, I am not sure it means he can shift into one. What if Elves are also from his land?

  3. Elves aren’t animals, that’s ridiculous.

    He said dragons, give him dragons, don’t nerf it because you’re worried about balance. Make the dragon’s moves BIG. Make them have consequences. That’s how you “balance” it.

    Dragons don’t breathe fire, they Melt the Landscape with Their Breath. They don’t Fly, they definitely Swoop like a Hurricane, emphasis on the hurricane.

    Yeah, guess what, a dragon is an excellent thing to shapeshift into — but its indiscriminate and no self-respecting King/Baron/Wizard/Lich will want a Druid traipsing around able to turn into one willy-nilly at any time. That means attention, that means drama, that means excellent stories.

  4. he has the same moves that will get used on the rest of the party when the other red dragons come looking for the upstart that is giving them a bad name.

  5. Alfred Rudzki

    I’m not sure what context a dragon (Intelligent, wants to rule over other creatures, has higher level motivations) qualifies as an animal but an elf doesn’t but that’s not really anything I’m concerned with. I like the idea of tradeoffs. I think you and Jay Haase both make the same good point. However, in going further, you bring up something I want to be careful about. I’m not particularly worried about mechanical balance. However, I am concerned with narrative balance (which tends to somehat help with mechanical balance). What you describe about King/Baron etc not wanting a druid/dragon in their area is very fictionally relevant, but it would also create a story that very seriously revolves around a single player in the party and I’m not sure I want to do that with the story.  I think I’d probably want to use tradeoffs that are more immediate if that makes sense. So far, lots of great input though so thanks a ton everyone!

  6. Hey you’re right about the intelligent thing etc but if the player says “I can be a dragon” then dragons aren’t intelligent anymore. Because the player says so, all dragons in the setting are now animals. That’s how it works. The difference between that and Elves is Elves being mindless animals isn’t really a fantasy thing — but its common for fantasy to have animalistic dragons. One is a huge genre stretch, the other isn’t.

    As for the plot revolving around only one party member, it only does that if you let it. You’re the one making the fronts, write them to revolve around the other characters too. And yeah, immediate consequences are definitely the best way to go, regardless.

  7. Not all dragons, just the red ones.

    I also don’t think the social consequences of shapechange are all about one character. They won’t kick in until after the Druid changes back probably, but will continue to be a concern for people in the setting. What happens when the peasants all get together to talk about killing the dragon and one of the other PCs says “Dragon? Yeah, I know that guy!”

  8. Not only peasants Johnstone Metzger ! What about all the dragon hunters or knights seeking fame and glory?

    Sounds like a mine of plot hooks to me.

    Plus bestial, animal red dragons sound like a scary thing to be trapped in (say on a hard GM move or a failed shapechange).

  9. Try thinking of this as the player setting the stakes very, very high. If he’s successful, there’s quite a payout. If he’s not, it’s catastrophic. And either way, there’s going to be some collateral effects.

    EDIT: I would also suggest that you advise the player of these high stakes before any dice are picked up, so it doesn’t feel like a nasty surprise, revenge, or a “gotcha”.

  10. – Give a sinister monologue about your greatness

    – Sense a small foe in hiding and frighten them into showing themselves

    – Sense a potent magical item on a foe and their abilities

    – Say “I am the only King Under the Mountain!”

    – Allow a weapon to hit you, only for it to shatter

    – Give yourself a longwinded series of titles

    – Whip your tail like a lightning bolt


  11. I’d try to understand what the player realyy wants to do with a Red Dragon. Does he want to fight? To command fire? etc. Then I’devise a sort of red dragon, maybe different from the usual, whose moves try to emphasize the desired qualities.

    EX: a fighting red dragon is like a bull, huge, animalistic, doesn’t talk much. Fire, Talons, wAAAArrRRRRRGGGHHH!!

    A Red Dragon master of the arcane could be not much taller than a human, wings like a robe, a bit skinny, fiery red eyes, arcane marks burnig on his skin.

    – Hey, player, seems fine?

    – Hm, not really… It’s more like…

    Then questions, questions.

    Tried this approach with my PC elf druid (fire panthers, foggy sparrows, etc).

    If Red Dragons are part of a PC’S  homeland’s ecology, they are now VERY IMPORTANT.

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