Codex Draconis: Black Lords of the Marsh (PFRPG) PDF

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Welcome to the first Codex Draconis, the line of products that gives you what you need to drop dragons into your games with a minimum of effort and a maximum of options. Here in the first volume of our line, we present options and alternatives for a dozen black dragons, covering every age category of the obsidian lords of the swamps and marshes. Each age category also has three pregenerated treasure hoards, some alternative monster builds, and suggestions on how to build even deadlier dragon encounters.

Dragons are among the most iconic, and most popular, of all fantasy roleplaying game foes. Once the domain exclusively of higher-level adventures, dragons now have rules for every stage of life thanks to changes made in the past few versions of the world’s most popular roleplaying game. Setting dragons up in this manner allows wet-behind-the-ears heroes to face dragons early in their careers (though likely they’ll be facing dragons the size of housecats). To ensure a dragon is always just the right threat for heroes of any level, dragons are given twelve stages of life that, that, when combined with the many different types of dragons, creates a range of CRs from 2 to 22.

The problem with that, of course, is that it requires a lot of stat blocks, and those take up room. To save space, instead of presenting a full write-up of every dragon at every age category, the game’s creators present a set of rules outlining how to write up dragons, and then give a few examples of each type. As a result, although you can find a dragon of the right CR for an encounter, it takes a considerable amount of work to get that dragon ready for the game.

To help with that problem, the fine folks at D20PFSRD.com took on the job of creating full stat blocks for every true dragon of every type, and when we expressed an interest in using those as the starting point for our Codex Draconis line, they were kind enough to give us their blessing. In addition to their dragon write ups, Codex Draconis: Black Lords of the Marsh presents additional material to expand the ways you can use these dragons and allows you to drop them into your campaign.

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4.00/5 (based on 2 ratings)

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A good book of dragon stat blocks.

4/5

Black Lords of the Marsh by Super Genius Games

This product is 29 pages long. It starts with a cover and intro. (1 ½ pages)

The Dragons ( 26 ½ pages)
There is full stat blocks for 13 dragons in this book at CR 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 19. Each CR listing has 3 sample hoards for fast, medium and slow progression. A section on suggested tactics the dragon could use to make them more dangerous and final a section on alternative builds. Such as swapping out feats or what have you. These finally sections where very well done, with some good advice for the most part, with some interesting optional builds. The hoards where pretty simple but that’s understandable considering they are doing 3 for each dragon.

It ends with a OGL and credits. (1 pages)

Closing thoughts. I will be totally honest, this is mostly a book of stat blocks and I am not a huge number cruncher. I went over the stat blocks and nothing stood out to me as obviously wrong, I will as I mentioned not great at that so I fully admit I could have missed errors in the stat blocks. I am more of a if it looks right I just go with it type GM and not worry if the stat blocks are perfect. With that said I didn't notice any big errors in the stat blocks. The art is a mix, there is color, black and white and computer 3D art. The quality is also a mix, from pretty meh to very good and everything in between. The editing and layout was good. So whats my rating? Well if you are looking for complete stat blocks, advice, tactics for black dragons look no further than here. If that appeals to you then I highly recommend this product. I am going to settle on a 4 star though. Mostly cause while it accomplishes what it claims and does it well. I wasn't wowed either. I honestly think the section on alternate builds, advice etc needed to be bigger. Especially on the older dragons. I think the first half needed another half page and the later ones a full page. I think that would have helped make this product better. So I think it is a good product that could have been even better.

Trust me, I'm a Succubus.


An RPG Resource Review

4/5

The introduction to this work explains not just the pivotal role of dragons in fantasy role-playing, but that with systematic advances that allow for varying ages and sizes, dragons can now be presented at a range of challenge levels appropriate to any group of characters! Much of the ground-breaking work and number-crunching has been done by the people maintaining the D20PFSRD website, and they have been kind enough to allow their work to be used here. Excellent cooperation in the true spirit of the game! The good news is that this is just the first dragon book planned...

So, this product is all about black dragons. They live predominantly in swamps and marshes whatever size or age they happen to be. They are solitary in nature, liking caves beside (or even under) fetid pools in which they wallow in mud and dirty water... but can have some interesting items in their hoards, should you find a way to get at them. Their preferences for treasure tend towards that which does not rot (so coins, gems, and metal artefacts predominate) while they do like their food, shall we say, well-aged... rotten, if you prefer.

The bulk of the book is taken up with stat blocks for black dragons of all sizes and ages from mere wyrmlings little larger than a cat (and presenting a CR of just 3) up to a great wyrm with a challenging CR of 19. Each one comes with plenty of detail including a run-down of likely items to be found in its hoard, as well as combat tactics and variations galore. The hoard data comes with gp values, making it simple to swap things around without destroying balance, and there are also suggestions as to how the dragon may actually use some of the things he's got, rather than merely sit around admiring them. A section called 'Upping the Ante' gives ideas of how to make each dragon a formidable, thinking, opponent; while there are suggestions for variants on the basic build as well.

All in all, this is a tremendous resource if you want to challenge your characters at any level with a black dragon specifically... or if you are building an ecology in which black dragons feature, or intend one to be a recurring enemy - or even acquaintance - growing in capability as the party progresses and becomes more powerful.


Scarab Sages

The latest from SGG goes live today: Codex Draconis: Black Lords of the Marsh, presenting 29 pages of black dragony goodness--or should that be vileness? It’s the first in our Codex Draconis series, each volume of which focuses on a single type of dragon and gives you stat blocks, options, alternatives, and extras such as pregenerated hoards for EVERY AGE CATEGORY of that dragon.

Available now!

The Exchange

WOOT WOOT! I bet this one is better than EVERY SINGLE OTHER BOOK ON THE PLANET! ;)

Dark Archive

Pretty cool.


I like the idea, a drcaconomicon for PFRPG a great concept, I will bemoan for a long time I did not think of it.

Dark Archive

Rite Publishing wrote:
I like the idea, a drcaconomicon for PFRPG a great concept, I will bemoan for a long time I did not think of it.

How about a "demonomicon" for the various evil races; i.e., daemon, demon, devil, nightshade, protean, and qlippoth?

Liberty's Edge

Cool!

Scarab Sages

joela wrote:
How about a "demonomicon" for the various evil races; i.e., daemon, demon, devil, nightshade, protean, and qlippoth?

That's an interesting idea. Of course one of the big selling points of the Codex draconis line is you get stat blocks, alternatives, and pregenerated hoards (for slow, medium, and fast advancement) for every age category of the dragon highlighted (black, for this one).

What would you want to see in a demonomicon-style line of books?

Sczarni

I was kind of expecting to see at least something related to the dragonrider class. No biggie thou.

Scarab Sages

Frerezar wrote:
I was kind of expecting to see at least something related to the dragonrider class. No biggie thou.

While some more dragonrider-friendly material is on the schedule for the not-too-distant future, we really felt Codex Draconis was best served being very focused. Especially since, with focus, it's already 29 pages long!

Dark Archive

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
joela wrote:
How about a "demonomicon" for the various evil races; i.e., daemon, demon, devil, nightshade, protean, and qlippoth?

That's an interesting idea. Of course one of the big selling points of the Codex draconis line is you get stat blocks, alternatives, and pregenerated hoards (for slow, medium, and fast advancement) for every age category of the dragon highlighted (black, for this one).

What would you want to see in a demonomicon-style line of books?

Oops! Meant that for Rite Publishing!

Scarab Sages

joela wrote:
Oops! Meant that for Rite Publishing!

Heheh. Go ahead, tell Rite what you'd like to see. I don't mind...

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Yes please! (buys it)

If you're doing all 192 dragons... that's a lot of cash. A bit scary, actually! Any chance of doing a subscription or an all-in price for the whole series?

Scarab Sages

carborundum wrote:

Yes please! (buys it)

If you're doing all 192 dragons... that's a lot of cash. A bit scary, actually! Any chance of doing a subscription or an all-in price for the whole series?

Of course we're doing them 12 at a time, since each Codex Draconis covers all 12 age categories of one dragon, and at $3.99 for 29 pages/12 dragons, that's only 34 cents each dragon.

Right now, we just have no good way of doing a subscription, unfortunately. And when we do try a subscription, we're likely going to start with a "every Pathfinder PDF SGG does" subscriptiin before we break it into individual lines. I expect the Codex Draconis to come out about once every 4-6 weeks, so the hit to your budget in any given quarter shouldn't be too bad.

And of course sales of the each product will drive the decision to do the next one, repeated for all 16 true dragons. It may be there isn't a market for 192 dragon stat blocks, pregenerated hoards, alternate builds and tactical suggestions. But if there is, I'm all over it.

Grand Lodge

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
It may be there isn't a market for 192 dragon stat blocks, pregenerated hoards, alternate builds and tactical suggestions. But if there is, I'm all over it.

Speaking only for myself of course, I'm in for at least the 10 "standard" dragons...

-That One Digitalelf Fellow-


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Digitalelf wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
It may be there isn't a market for 192 dragon stat blocks, pregenerated hoards, alternate builds and tactical suggestions. But if there is, I'm all over it.

Speaking only for myself of course, I'm in for at least the 10 "standard" dragons...

-That One Digitalelf Fellow-

+1


I love this book. Its already filled my mind with evil plans for my players. As black, blue and green dragons are my personal favs..I will get my happiness on early in the line.

Scarab Sages

Digitalelf wrote:
Speaking only for myself of course, I'm in for at least the 10 "standard" dragons...
Elorebaen wrote:
+1

Thanks folks, I really appreciate the vocal support. I just have to decide what order I'm going to release these in...

Blackerose wrote:
I love this book. Its already filled my mind with evil plans for my players. As black, blue and green dragons are my personal favs..I will get my happiness on early in the line.

I *may* not be releasing the dragons in that order, though I haven't made that decision for certain yet. There are a lot of hands in play here, and blue may not be the next book to get finished, and I don;t want to delay the next book.

OTOH, there's a lot to be said for doing the Red as the last chromatic...


It looks like there is a typo on page 7: "Feats Toughness (${{$ts}}3)"

I'm guessing that this is supposed to indicate how many HP he's getting from Toughness, but I'm not sure.

Scarab Sages

bstern wrote:

It looks like there is a typo on page 7: "Feats Toughness (${{$ts}}3)"

I'm guessing that this is supposed to indicate how many HP he's getting from Toughness, but I'm not sure.

That means a typesetter mark failed to get noticed by our typesetter. It means x3, so he took toughness 3 times. The hit points listed in that stat block are correct, and the second +24 represents the +3 hp per HD for 8 HD as a result of taking the feat three times.

Even so, I'll put in for a correction and revision. Thanks for the spot!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
bstern wrote:

It looks like there is a typo on page 7: "Feats Toughness (${{$ts}}3)"

I'm guessing that this is supposed to indicate how many HP he's getting from Toughness, but I'm not sure.

That means a typesetter mark failed to get noticed by our typesetter. It means x3, so he took toughness 3 times. The hit points listed in that stat block are correct, and the second +24 represents the +3 hp per HD for 8 HD as a result of taking the feat three times.

Even so, I'll put in for a correction and revision. Thanks for the spot!

Can you take Toughness mulitple times? I thought that had changed when they revised i to be 1hp/level rather than a flat +3. It also doesn't have the standard "you cantake this feat multple imes" blurb.

Liberty's Edge

Paul Watson wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
bstern wrote:

It looks like there is a typo on page 7: "Feats Toughness (${{$ts}}3)"

I'm guessing that this is supposed to indicate how many HP he's getting from Toughness, but I'm not sure.

That means a typesetter mark failed to get noticed by our typesetter. It means x3, so he took toughness 3 times. The hit points listed in that stat block are correct, and the second +24 represents the +3 hp per HD for 8 HD as a result of taking the feat three times.

Even so, I'll put in for a correction and revision. Thanks for the spot!

Can you take Toughness mulitple times? I thought that had changed when they revised i to be 1hp/level rather than a flat +3. It also doesn't have the standard "you cantake this feat multple imes" blurb.

I beleive you are correct Paul.

Scarab Sages

Paul Watson wrote:
Can you take Toughness mulitple times? I thought that had changed when they revised i to be 1hp/level rather than a flat +3.

You can't. A dragon can.

Okay, bad answer. We'll likely change the alternate stat block. For the moment anyone who needs to use it remove 2 Toughnesseseses, add 2 Improved Natural Armors, reduce hp by 16 and improve AC by 2.

Liberty's Edge

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:
Can you take Toughness mulitple times? I thought that had changed when they revised i to be 1hp/level rather than a flat +3.

You can't. A dragon can.

Okay, bad answer.

No, that was actually a pretty awesome answer! :)

I actually kind of sort of almost spit out my coffee when I read it.

Who know Owen was also a comedian?


Owen K.C. Stephens wrote:

You can't. A dragon can.

Okay, bad answer. We'll likely change the alternate stat block. For the moment anyone who needs to use it remove 2 Toughnesseseses, add 2 Improved Natural Armors, reduce hp by 16 and improve AC by 2.

Awesome! :-)

While you're rebuilding, you might want to double-check the Young Adult Black Dragon. D20PFSRD.com got notified of a calculation error affecting the secondary attacks, and you should see if you agree with the math. (The +11 on the wings and the tail attacks were changed to +12: BAB +12, strength +6, size -1, secondary natural attack -5.)

Dark Archive

Reviewed.


Nice review, D_M!

Dark Archive

Did you miss my review of Legendary Items by Purple Duck Games in the 3pp forums End? since you commented on both my other new reviews. and thanks.

Scarab Sages

Dark_Mistress wrote:
Reviewed.

Many thanks!

Dark Archive

Owen, once you've completed the entire Codex Draconis series, any chance of a compendium?

Scarab Sages

joela wrote:
Owen, once you've completed the entire Codex Draconis series, any chance of a compendium?

Anything is possible.


Indeed, i missed out on that one, D_M. I'll look at it right now.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

That means a typesetter mark failed to get noticed by our typesetter. It means x3, so he took toughness 3 times. The hit points listed in that stat block are correct, and the second +24 represents the +3 hp per HD for 8 HD as a result of taking the feat three times.

Even so, I'll put in for a correction and revision. Thanks for the spot!

Did you ever get to do this update? I don't see a new version of it at DTRPG.


joela wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
joela wrote:
How about a "demonomicon" for the various evil races; i.e., daemon, demon, devil, nightshade, protean, and qlippoth?

That's an interesting idea. Of course one of the big selling points of the Codex draconis line is you get stat blocks, alternatives, and pregenerated hoards (for slow, medium, and fast advancement) for every age category of the dragon highlighted (black, for this one).

What would you want to see in a demonomicon-style line of books?

Oops! Meant that for Rite Publishing!

You know, I'd drop some cash for this to be honest.

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