Dungeons & Delvers & Dragons

In A Sundered World, dragons are spontaneously created from the combination of raw astral essence, elemental matter or forces, and heavily resonated negative emotions and desires.

They don't reproduce, age, sleep, or need food, and only live to destroy, kill, torment, and/or hoard treasure. They're more like natural—or what amounts to natural in a world that is the leftovers of various planes of existence all mashed together—disasters given form and a cruel conscience.

While creating Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book, I.put a dragon entry in because people expect dragons in these sort of games, plus it was relatively high-level, and I figured it'd make for a nice soft-endgame monster (for groups that didn't want to convert/create their own stuff, anyway).

I didn't bother going into detail about where dragons came from or their ecology, because GMs that want dragons to basically be like smart, possibly magical animals will do that, and those that want their origins to be stranger and/or more mysterious will do that.

In Melissa's upcoming Krampus adventure you can run into a lindworm while scaling the mountain. Lindworms are Norse dragons that look like serpents, but they usually have two arms (though sometimes they don't have any, and sometimes they have wings). While doing what research I could on them, I discovered that in one of the Norse legends there was a dwarf named Fafnir, who was transformed into a lindworm due to his excessive greed.

I think that sounds neater than "they lay eggs, and then baby dragons hatch out of the eggs", and would also probably work better for your standard fantasy setting than A Sundered World's "they randomly explode into existence", so that's definitely going to be one possible origin we'll include with the description (though of course GMs are free to ignore it or come up with their own).

I also think it could be neat to tweak dragons based on race (and maybe desires), so an elf-turned-dragon might be able to use certain types of magic (or move faster/be better at sneaking, though that's not terribly interesting), and a kobold-dragon could, depending on the kobold type, pass through stone walls or have a Swimming Speed and be able to breathe underwater.

But I don't want to make a couple dozen (or more) entries on slightly-modded dragons: anyone can take a red dragon, make it white, give it cold-themed abilities, maybe make it slightly stupider, and call it good. Instead, we're going  to provide stat blocks on a handful of fairly unique dragon archetypes: giant serpent, wyvern, hydra, standard-four-legged-and-winged-dragon, etc, and then provide some guidelines on customizing them.

This would be similar to how we're handling the vampire and ghost (and somewhat like other various monsters, such as giants): you'd choose a base dragon, and then give it stuff like spellcasting (including divine magic and/or psionics), bolstering their breath weapons (3rd Edition D&D had a bunch of breath weapon feats), adding more heads or legs, and so on, then you'd just bump up their XP value.

What do you think? Got any good dragon origins? Would you rather we cram in a bunch of stat blocks for you? Or maybe you'd prefer a bunch of examples and guidelines on making and modifying them?

You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book in whatever format you want!

After months of doing other things, we turned our attention to and released The Warden. It's based on the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons class of the same name, but judging by the responses we did an excellent job converting it over.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).


  1. I can think of two other examples similar to Fafnir, sorta. One is Lamia, who turned into a monster out of grief, after Hera killed her children in jealousy (whether it was a serpent/draconic monster or not is debatable, but she's often tied to snakes now). The other is Kiyohime, who turned into a serpent/dragon out of rage when her suitor attempted to leave her, pursuing him and ultimately killing him.

    1. @Svafa: Ooooh nice! Gets me started on people turning into monsters for reasons besides greed. Got any other leads?


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