Big Damn Dragons

Dragons are like Gods, beyond good and evil, armour class and hit points.

This is just an idea that popped into my head this afternoon. Its completely unbalanced and unfair, assuming Dragons have a power level on par with a natural disaster made of flesh and malice.

In combat a Baby dragon flips a coin:

  • Heads, it bites someone in half. They die.
  • Tails, its swipes someone into a terrain feature, hard. They are knocked out.

Adult dragons come in dice sizes, d4, d6, d8, and so on up to Tiamat the mother of dragons who rolls 1d100. Smaug is a d12. Ancalagon the Black is a d20 or d30.

For adult dragons, the die roll is the number of enemies the dragon kills each round. Heroes die after NPCs. If the dragon uses its breath weapon, roll the die again for extra damage. Dragons usually breathe fire in the first combat round, and when they get angry.

NPCs must make a morale check when a dragon breathes fire. If your game system has forgotten to include morale rules, the NPCs automatically fail the morale check and flee in mortal terror.

Only critical hits hurt dragons. Only heroes can score critical hits on a dragon. The actions of nameless NPCs never hurt dragons. Each time a dragon is hit, flip a coin:

  • Heads, the angry dragon uses its rage to power its breath weapon on the next round.
  • Tails, the dragon moves to a safe location, taunts the heroes, then destroys a terrain feature (forest, bridge, ship, town, lake, mountain, etc), or places something or someone of importance to the heroes at risk.

If a dragon rolls three tails in a row from critical hits, it flees the scene, seeking a safe place to rest and heal up.

A baby dragon dies on one critical hit. Other dragons need to take critical hits equal to the maximum number they can roll on their die. So a large d12 dragon needs 12 critical hits to be slain.

If the dragon was flying when slain, anything its corpse crash lands on is destroyed.

When you kill the big damn dragon flip a coin:

  • Heads, the dragon curses you as it dies, this is deep magic from the time before time and not even a wish or divine intervention will change your doom.
  • Tails, the dragon’s foul blood spills out, blighting the land for dragon size die roll centuries, and it might poison the victorious heroes as well (dodge the poison or die in agony in 1d3 days).

If you survive to reach the Dragon’s hoard, roll the Dragon die to see how many lifetimes worth of treasure you loot.

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