View Full Version : DM could use some advice

2011-12-02, 06:05 PM
(First off, I don't know if this is the right place to put this. Also it is for D&D 3.5, if that matters)

So I play in a local gaming group and we have recently started a new D&D game since the previous one finished. I said I would run a dragongame, where I was thinking to use alot of the material from Dragonmagic, Races of Dragon, Draconomicon. I was thinking that the players could play dragon themed characters since I wanted the campaign to have a Dragon-oriented theme.

One player/DM suggested half-dragon, while another player/DM and another player have suggested doing actual dragons ala Council of Wyrms which i have never heard or read much about. I am partially accepting of the playing as dragons idea but mentioned thinking they should or ought to start at Wyrming age or up to the next age catogries up.

Apparently this idea was not favorable as two players having mentioned the dragons should be young adults and then they changed it to adults. I am very hesitent about this idea now and am now serious questioning what to do since these two players have made some comments suggesting that the party should be playing dragons and that they ought to be adult age. I'm not sure how any plot ideas I am coming up with are going to work, and I very much think that maybe I shouldn't run the game.

The idea of a party of 5 adult dragons leaves me cringing. Its not what i had intended and despite my protestions or comments about how i am thinking of doing it, the adult dragon party continues to be the thing those players want. I can accept having dragons at wyrmings or older because they are going to be more managable. I also wanted to have the dragon characters (if any) to grow into their responsibilities and roles.

For my game I have been considering that it would be dragon-dominated, like there was a dragon that was king and maybe a few other dragons as nobles. There would be the dragon controlled kingdom and some others. I wanted to have some decent amount of dragonic involvment, whether its dragons, draconic creatures or draconic items.

For the main quests, I have been doing some thinking and have a few ideas so far because I have decided to start my planning and prep work now. It might be a while before my game starts but having it ready would be nice. In viewing over the quest ideas and considering what the party could do, I find that none of them really work with 5 adult dragons in a party. I am also unsure as to how much i could stand having to stat up other dragons or such to face off against the party before i just decide to call it quits because the amount of work involved is far more than the amount of fun i would be having. Having to need the party fight dragons all the time or most of it would mean having to make 5 dragons since each dragon would need an opponent to face. I feel that this is going to make the campaign dissolve into dragon battles with nothing but dragons fighting dragons.

I have tried doing some talking about my concerns, but they have been handwaved or passed over or strangely described as not being fun. I am not sure what more really to do, because I am trying to make something that will be fun, and not a headache for me. I have tried coming up with some limitations like having a max starting level of 10 which would include both Ecl and La.

Dragons can fly, breath some kind of energy, and have decent natural armor to start out with at birth. Since the available dragon types are only metallic, it means adding another breath weapon for some, plus everything higher in age dragons get. So added in would be spell-like abilities, spells available to cast, spell-resistances and of course the dragon's hoard. A dragon with the right feats could decrease or remove any vulnerability they might have and increase their natural armor. Since a dragon is still a dragon even in an anti-magic area, they are not very much weakened in any real way. Also, dragons can fly and so would be able to bypass a lot of encounters as well as significantly weakening those challenges involving strong melee opponents. The dragons can just stay at ranged until the opponents have died.

I would like to try running this game, but I am unsure about how to voice my concerns in a way that other two DMs could understand. One DM wants to play an adult dragon. I don't know what to do, if i should just say I am not willing to run the game any longer because of issues i have with what the players want.

Any advice?

2011-12-02, 06:23 PM
Some thoughts that crossed my mind.

1) Dragons don't have societies in the same meaning that humans have societies. They probably don't have the same meaning for "king" as we do, they are probably all a bunch of hermits that get together every century or so. Or maybe every year, but not cities, they don't depend on each other like humans do.
2) Dragons don't do dungeon crawls, they have dungeons that other beings crawl into. They are not quest seekers.
3) A dragon campaign would be more about trying to achieve goals of cosmic proportion, it's basically a epic level adventure by default, except the PCs are the quest givers.
4) Dragons are motivated by acquiring shiny things, even the good ones. They are also extremely aloof and are interested in discussing philosophy while eating virgins (ok, the latter is not true for the good ones).
5) Dragons can pretty much do whatever they want, unlike other being who have to struggle to live, the world is the dragons oyster, very few things can stand up to a dragon, not even age is a bad thing for a dragon. They don't know what "hardship" means, because they'll never experience it.

Taking those things in mind a campaign where the players are dragons is going to be completely different than any other D&D campaign. It's not going to involve a plot hook that you give them, it's going to involve a intricate world that they will try to control for better or worse.

Also, make sure that all are either chromatic or metallic.
And don't bother letting them increase in power, they're already super powerful, it's all about the plot from here on.

For the record, I would be hesitant too to hold a dragon campaign. There's no shame in not being up to the task, if you don't think you are explain it to the players.

Nameless Ghost
2011-12-02, 08:31 PM
In one of the Dragon magazines there was an article about running dragon PCs. I'd have to look it up though, nor do I recall the exact details on how it works.

Exempting that article, it would be possible to run a game with dragon PCs, but it would almost certainly require the DM the fully grasp the power of such a group. It is likely that the campaign would revolve around some objective of global significance which a council of dragons decided was in their interests to significantly affect.

You would want the dragon PCs to be able to advance by character class, as well as gaining additional dragon ability equivalent to gaining age categories. I'm not entirely sure what the best way to handle this would be. Perhaps using homebrewed monster classes rather than a flat LA (which will certainly differ from dragon to dragon).

Also, you would probably want to houserule that all dragons have the polymorph-at-will ability that some metallics do to make it possible for the party to walk around with humanoids where necessary - as well as allowing players to choose from a wider range of dragons.

2011-12-03, 02:32 AM
Ok, let's start with Council of Wyrms, which was an awesome setting, but very, very different. You can probably find the original setting online if you search, and I recommend it. I'd link you, but I don't think we're allowed here.

Now, one of the major concepts of Council of Wyrms was the idea of kindred. Specifically, long-lived individuals of the lesser races, such as elves, dwarves, and gnomes, who form a special bond with an individual dragon and serve them. The reason for this was that when a player creates a character in Council of Wyrms, he actually creates two characters - the dragon, AND the bonded kindred. Some adventures are designed for the dragon, others for the kindred.

The other thing about the Council of Wyrms setting is that it was placed in an entirely unique campaign setting specifically designed to handle dragon PC's. You didn't just plop player-character dragons down in Toril or Oerth or whatever.

So, I would not recommend trying to run a dragon campaign in a typical setting. If you're going to do this, get hold of Council of Wyrms. Read it. Figure out if that setting is interesting to you and if you can make a game work in it. Or at least if you can use the ideas from there to design a setting where Dragon PC's makes sense. Because frankly, a group of dragon PC's just doesn't work in typical campaign settings.

Oh, and in Council of Wyrms? Players didn't just start out as wyrmlings. They literally started the adventure still in their shells and the first adventure involved them hatching and discovering that the rookery was under attack or something like that. So that whole 'starting with adult dragons' isn't really what Council of Wyrms was about.

2011-12-03, 03:19 AM
Don't run a game you don't want to. Put your foot down on it: "In my game, I'm willing to allow dragon characters of this age and younger, and/or of these CRs and lower. If you want to play a game full of adult dragon PCs, you can DM it, because it's just not the sort of game I want to run." Alternatively, you could just put it in the basic game information: "I'm running a game of X level. You can be whatever you want, but your ECL must equal that."
I would hope that, as fellow DMs, they would understand you not wanting to run a game you don't want to run.

2011-12-08, 05:04 PM
I talked to them, well two of them, and explained my ideas. So now, there won't be any dragon characters at all. Which is what I had been planning. I was able to correct the misscomunications.

So I have been doing the planning and have come up with this bit but i am unsure of how believe it would be or if it is slightly too much:

So in the planned gameworld, there is a continet on which the players will adventure where it is all controlled or mostly controlled by the Dragonempire which is ruled by a red dragon. The alignment system for the empire is Lawful Neutral and dragon has both tiamat and Bahamut as state-sponsered deities. There are different provinces and there is also the DragonWall. It guards against the northlands and is manned by teh Dragonwatch.

So for the wall and watch, think nightwatch from Game of thrones, with the Rahl empire from the book series/television series for about the dragonempire. Also, thinking about how empire is in Star wars should help in how the dragonempire functions.

Is there anything more people need to know? I have come up with a good main quest idea: I have a dragon that pulled a voldemort and is trying to return/invade. I want the players to foil his efforts at higher level, but i also want to put in a good amount of other adventures so they can do other things besides the main quest at times.

Advice would still be welcome as i have not run many games, and the main times i have run were for a group of min-maxers/powergamers. Also i would like some advice, since my DMing style is having influenced by playing a 2nd ed Dark Sun video game, so i need to try to tone things down because of that but i'm not sure exactly how.

Thanks for advice in advance.

Edit: I also made a race for the big bad to have his servants be and it critiqued some about how workable it would be. I am also curious about what the LA would be too. The players will be primarily start fighting them at one point and finish the game mainly fighting them. Also at higher levels, I was going to introduce champions, since the big bad had made some of his servants champions by giving them special weapons and ability enchancements (powers, spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities, etc)

Medium Size or Large Size or Huge Size(should i have one be this size?)
30ft movement, plus fly speed of 60ft since they all get wings
+2 Str, Con (Medium size)
+4 Str, Con (Large size)
+8 Str, Con (Huge size)
+2 Cha (for all sizes)
+8 Natural Armor Bonus (for all sizes, since i am not planning on having them use armor but they might use shields)
Darkvision 60ft, plus lowlight vision
+1 attack/damage for all weapons (to represent their special weapon training)
Breathe Weapon: Cone of Fire, like half-dragon
Claw attack-like half-dragon
Immunity to Fire, Vulnerability to Cold
Immunity to sleep spells/effects
+2 bonus against Enchantment spells/effects
They would get some kind of SR, i would think but not sure how to implement
Languages: Common, Ancient Draconic
Favored class: Any

Any advice for the race any other DMs have?

2011-12-10, 11:56 PM
How do you handle levels? A silver, copper and bronze dragon are way more similar than a wizard, a fighter and a rouge.

2011-12-11, 12:19 AM
There won't be any Dragon PCs.

2011-12-11, 03:03 AM
One thing is to think about how a country would run if there where near godlike in power magical large beings who run the empire (dragons), with normal races and the like.

Things that come to mind

-Guilds: Evil and good dragons tend to stick to their lairs and though they will attack on sight opposing dragons they know dragons are something that can kill them, so usually conflict is an issue of territory. Even good dragons sometimes kill adventurerers just for stepping foot in their lair because they see humans as we might see mosquitos (tiny insects that have a very very small chance of killing you).
However, since they are all living together and controlled by the same government That means their outright conflict and disregard for the lives of "mortals" (read:The servants of other dragons) is something they have to control. This would most easily be done by having guilds, Most likely based on type (as SImularly colored minds think alike). So if a Silver dragon is concerned that a Black dragon's hunting with his acidic breath is ruining the farmlands of his province, he will send representatives (wyrmlings or Mortal races) to talk to the black dragon guild and see if they can keep him under control.
Outright war would be stopped quickly.
Naturally this gives your PCs a way to work with dragons.

DragonGodKing: Some dragon types are stronger and weaker than others, but All Dragons live for millennia, have access to magic, and allies( especially in a world with lots of dragons.) There needs to be some force that keeps the dragons in check, physically (Read: Magically). Be it a larger near omnipotent dragon, or an artifact they all give their essence to to limit their powers in dragonland, against other dragons (Im thinking Dragonsoul here)

DragonChampions:With Dragons as the primary authority in the realm they will probably have representatives and champions. That means every(or almost every, see below) instance of Paladin, cleric, Law enforcement or government official is either a minion of the DragonGodKing(however you want to go about that) or a DragonGuild. Dragon-SHaman and Clerics of Tiamat/bahamut and Paladins who revere particular dragons will be the most common form of Authority or adventurer. With allies as strong as that you'd be stupid not to ally with them. And with such a significant presence people would grow up where Dragon authority is the norm.

The Human Element:Even in a world with dragons, one where they would hunt human kind, compared to dragons humans are like rats, as easily killed and just as quickly breeding and vemonous. No matter a dragon's viewpoint the mortal races are something they have to accept, be it as slaves, servents, or allies. Mages and clerics of the non-draconic variety are the only beings who could kill a dragon (with more than an army) and wield enough power to rival a dragon and gain followers. Even ones who are part of the dragon empire are probably closely watched (by Enemy alignment dragons, or by the entire government).
In fact you must think about how The dragons started their rule, and if there has been a rebellion yet. A rebellion is going to happen sometime. It could be now, or it could have been a thousand years ago. If it happened in the past then there is probably A) A Mortal Race council with near or equal (political) power, that the dragons honestly respect or just keep around to placate the mortals. And B) Some power on the continent (or on an island near it) that is independant of the empire (and may oppose it, or be at peace at the moment)
Further Hunters and Rogues tend to be more free spirited, Both are pretty much the underground power. Even hunters who work for the authority work as scouts and huntsmen on the borderlands, thus do not encounter enforcement as much as others. Thus when enforcement arrives they are more resentful. Naturally the poor and deviant are the most likely to be on the bad end of Law, so vagabonds, rogues, and bards, as well as poor civilians probably resent their overlords the most, and Rogues would be more rebellious then ever, There should be (if not an outright rebel group) at least a gang or mafia that usurps the Dragons if not directly pisses them off.

Kol Korran
2011-12-11, 03:55 AM
I'm glad you're not going to DM a campaign you don't want to. but if you're going to DM a dragon centered campaign, then i'd suggest reading Dragons of Eberron. it's setting specific, but you can easily import the more relavent parts to your campaign.

the dragons there are grouped in an ancient continent and empire, called Argonessen (one of the four chapters in the book). the place was not meant to be seen by humanoids, but some were brought in as servents, experiments or... game. the chapter does well to try and describe in broad enough terms various aspectsof dragon society that might be useful. two ares i think might be great for your campaign:

- the vast: this is a huge expanse that proves as a training ground for young dragons. it is filled with all manner of beasts and the like that the dragons must face (serious beasts that pose a threat) and all sort of small domains that some dragons inhabit.

- another i don't remember the name of, is a place of anciet battles that corrupted a great swath of land. the battle with demons left it's scars, and the area is guarded by an elite force of dragons sworn with their lives to prevent any horror escaping (which sounds a bit like your idea).

one last question: WHY did your players want to play dragons of that particular age? for the power? for the epicness? for fear and domination? for the horde? for the image? answer this, and you may be able to better prepare your campaign.

the Dakka sound find in statistics, but they may be a bit bland after awhile. in my experience it's not the stats that make a minion group memorable, but rahter mannerisms, tactics and... adaptability. you have a good base, but those could be sort of summed up as "half red dragons". they need some sort of a SIGNATURE unique trait, something to make them special. perhaps they could burst into flames? or try and make others burst into flame? i'll try to think of this some more (if i remember)

i hope the campaign goes well for you, you seem like a dedicated DM and those are hard to find. good luck!

i hope things go well for you, you sound like a dedi

2011-12-11, 11:11 PM
i know for me the appeal of being an adult dragon is the same appeal of being an epic level character.

THats what i would have suggested if he didnt solve his problem, was to explain that Adult dragons are epic level characters (or near epic) and he wanted to run a lower level campaign.

The main appeal of being the adult dragons are
-Lording over lesser monsters
-Midair battles
-between breath weapons, claws and teeth and spells, Being a weapon.
-Non-humanoid technology. Ie. Actual weapons and magic items designed to be used by dragons.
-Epic level battles. The image of 5 different dragons using their own magic specialties during a midair battle in order to combat a giant monolith of a monster who is going to destroy a city they are in charge of protecting by orders of the Dragongodking is pretty epic. YOu can achieve about the same epicness with an epic party.

(Even if you dont like the story or the voice acting or....whatever, you got to admit the battles in Legend of the Guardians: the owls of Ga'huul, where awesome. Now imagine that with titanic spellcasting multilimbed firebreathing monsters with the quirky almost human personalities we see in a normal party but rarely see in monster form. Thats one thing i loved about warcraft and Dragonlance was seeing Dragons with personality.)

2011-12-13, 07:00 PM
Well, first off. The reason the players wanted to do actual dragons was because they didn't understand me when was talking about the game. That was cleared up and there are going to be no dragon pcs. I probably will have dragon blooded pcs since I am using races of the dragon and the races from Dragon magic in the game besides the phb, plus the 3 other race books.

For you Cerlis, some of what you said is pretty good, but i have some questions.

1) Since the Empire is ruled by only one actual dragon, a red dragon, how or why would there be guilds involving other dragons? Also, I am planning on having the mage's guild be controlled or run by the empire since it makes sense in regards to arcane magic and psionics.

2) The dragon emperor, my red dragon leader, would have champions and those champions would probably receive power from him via something like the various dragon pacts in dragon magic. There would probably be also champions of bahamut and tiamat there since they are state-sponsered religions. also, the dragon emperor leaves most of the rulership of the empire to his small council of handpicked advisors. Would there be any difference in their outlook on how things should go compared to the emperor since he is a dragon and they are not? Would they be taking a lesser view or one more short term even if long term compared to his long term views?

3)Given that the empire has carved up into provinces that each contain a kingdom that existed before they were conquered by the empire and each province has the members of that kingdom's ruling family or its offshoots in charge unless the province is ruled by a governor appointed by the emperor, how would those provinces interact with the empire at large? would whatever kingdom that had been there still hold some influence over the province? would it affect how the province percieved its relationship to the empire?

For the draca, i was thinking their main traits would be how they turn to ash or nothing when they die, as well as they fact they don't react or atleast interact in any peaceful fashion towards non-draka. They would be totally committed to completing their master's plan and carrying out his orders. They would be fanatics and extremely fanatical in their loyalty. They would give no mercy to their enemies and if they were being helped by someone, they would turn on that person once the mission or task was completed that had required the help.