Wandering Monsters: Dragons Revisited

The last time I recall dragons coming up there was mention of a "legendary" status that could, among other things, allow them to manipulate their environment in interesting, flavorful ways. It had a lot of promise, and so I find it disappointing that all of the dragons in the bestiary still look like 3rd Edition dragons (ie, the same but with different breath weapons).

Well, that is not entirely true; they do not have a big list of spell-like abilities, which is a plus in my book.

Personality-wise this article does not bring anything new to the table: green dragons are masters of manipulation and misdirection, and black dragons are acidic avatars that define decay. I actually like this about them, as both aspects are solid cornerstones for very diverse foundations. What I like even more is that unlike many of the previous Wandering Monsters articles, this one brings more interesting flavor to help get your creative juices flowing.

Green dragons and forests have gone hand-in-hand for awhile, though barring other factors these forests were pretty typical for Dungeons & Dragons (with "typical" being defined as "infested with more monsters than could be reasonably supported"). For now at least the Next generation of green dragons will not only be able to transform forests into fog-shrouded, hallucination-inducing mazes, but can even bend the animals to serve as its eyes and ears.

That...sounds pretty damned cool.

I like how 4th Edition provides recommendations for populating encounters with multiple types of creatures, so it is nice to see something similar here in the servants section (and I especially like the bit about how a servants mind can influence the hallucinatory sounds and images within the fog).

The section on hoards is not very long, and rather than defined items provides some themes to work with. Kind of a "teach a DM to fish" approach, which is more useful to me than a smattering of specific things, so I approve.

Finally, lairs. I guess the stated goal is to present the lair as an entire dungeon, which is pretty much how I have always seen it done in the past. To be fair it at least reads like it is going to be more interesting and extensive, benefiting from whatever legendary effects/moves are going to be called, like the disorienting fog (which can be souped up to slow or weaken the mind) and entangling roots.

The black dragon gets a similar treatment, just with pools filled with acid and/or food (ie, dead people), venomous vermin, lizardfolk minions, evil(?) shambling mounds and druids, and even kobolds get a shout out.

Lots of good stuff, which sucks that Next has been so unsatisfactory for me recently (though these ideas could be cribbed in other games). I can see a case for the green dragon's effects being ported over to various fey denizens (even forest spirits), so I hope that instead of tying them to specific monsters that they just give individual effects or thematic packages for you to attach to whatever you feel is appropriate for your game.

You know, another toolbox thing.

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