Conquering the Vale

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

There are a lot of things I like about dragons. They're iconic, they fly, they have breath weapons, they're deadly in melee, and they're incredibly intelligent (for the most part). Unfortunately, this usually puts them in the role of "boss monster" or lone combatant. Fighting against a host of dragons either feels a bit out of place or is reserved for very high-level characters. True dragons are also kind of a pain to generate, unlike other monsters.

For GameMastery Module W1: Conquest of Bloodsworn Vale, I really wanted to include a dragon-like monster that was easy to use and could be used in a group, without having to resort to the oft-overused half-dragon template. Enter the flame drake. This offshoot of dragonkind is a degenerate cousin of true dragons that breeds true. Like true dragons, these drakes have breath weapons, can fly, and are dangerous in melee. Unlike true dragons, however, flame drakes are less cunning, prove far less resilient, and do not age like true dragons, making them easier to use both alone and as part of a group (in their case, a rampage of 3–12).

Flame drakes in particular (and there will be other drake types) can unleash a ball of flame that works like a fireball every few rounds. They also have a rather nasty bite that deals a bit of fire damage with each chomp. Finally, flame drakes can call on their draconic heritage a few times per day to take an extra move action. All in all, they're a nasty critter that falls solidly in the CR 5 range. Dangerous? You bet, but nothing that a group of PCs set on taming the deadly wilderness of the Bloodsworn Vale can't handle. Their master, on the other hand, is another story entirely.

Jason Bulmahn
GameMastery Brand Manager

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Tags: Bloodsworn Vale Dragons Monsters
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