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FabulousFizban
2021-05-25, 06:13 PM
What would make a good lieutenant for an ancient red dragon BBEG? Who would be the dragon's right-hand man, the person to run the day to day of the dragon's evil empire, and the person the party will have to face first; or maybe be the Sauron to the dragon's Morgoth and take over things after the dragon's fall. Who is a good dragon (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheDragon#:~:text=Tropes%20related%20to%20The%20Dr agon%3A%201%20Beta%20Bitch%3A,that%27s%20happy%20w ith%20his%20position.%20More%20items...%20)for a dragon?

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Tvtyrant
2021-05-25, 06:17 PM
What would make a good lieutenant for an ancient red dragon BBEG? Who would be the dragon's right-hand man, the person to run the day to day of the dragon's evil empire, and the person the party will have to face first; or maybe be the Sauron to the dragon's Morgoth and take over things after the dragon's fall. Who is a good dragon for a dragon?

I thank the playground for its help!
The dragon presumably has brute force and magical power down, so I assume something close to a major domo who takes care of details. Something like a spymaster/accountant/diplomat combination, which sounds like a good job for either an entrenched noble or a devil. The devil would be a good one since it is fire proof and sinister already, even red scaled if you like.

J-H
2021-05-25, 09:45 PM
Junior (is there a word for female junior?). The dragon's heir/kid. Maybe Junior is a dragonborn or half-dragon or full dragon of the same or different color... but Junior is loyal, not quite as strong, and likely shares the same ideology, plus has a moderately different skillset. Maybe Junior is actually a 50 year old half-dragon from his parent's...youthful indiscretion... who, because he's half-humanoid, is substantially better at managing the minions (and doesn't snack on them).

Squire Doodad
2021-05-25, 11:07 PM
What would make a good lieutenant for an ancient red dragon BBEG? Who would be the dragon's right-hand man, the person to run the day to day of the dragon's evil empire, and the person the party will have to face first; or maybe be the Sauron to the dragon's Morgoth and take over things after the dragon's fall. Who is a good dragon for a dragon?

I thank the playground for its help!

Probably someone humanoid who can run the gamut in contrast to the decisively non-human dragon. If you want a set of races to be the core population of the empire (say Dragonborn, Human, Tiefling), then have them be a non-draconic race. Fire theme for the gear and abilities would fit nicely.

The real question is, do you want to make a second-in-command to run things and be the also unseen evil general (major boss in the penultimate campaign before the RD's arc, minor boss in the final dungeon, etc) or do you want someone to be the villain the players repeatedly fight across campaigns? In other words, do you just need an accompanying bad guy or do you need an archnemesis to represent the Red Dragon's power?

Think about Order of Tales (http://www.rice-boy.com/order/). Rog is the overarching antagonist, the final villain and the one the protagonist must ultimately fight. Technically, Chasmus is his second-in-command. But for the majority of the story, Aethirus is the one who the protagonist clashes with. He's still high-ranking, sure, but he's much more significant to the reader than Chasmus ever could be.

If you want someone who is the second-in-command but the party sees him frequently, I'd suggest making the RD's empire be still growing. The Dragon Lieutenant is probably out to conquer and oversee various subjugated lands, and gets seen once or twice before the player meets them as a level 7 big boss or something. He presumably flees (or gets envivified into a lesser lich, who knows) after he gets his behind handed to him. Perhaps he fights them again at some point.

Towards the end of the campaign the empire has gone from a new and strong power to the dominating force in the region, and the Lieutenant is in charge of the imperial capital and the army and all that. Whether during a storming of the capital that happens after the party reaches the town, guarding the palace's main hall, or standing with his Emperor in the final battle, the Lieutenant gets to come back as a powerful level 14 boss, having grown as much as the party.

Stonehead
2021-05-28, 01:14 PM
Probably someone humanoid who can run the gamut in contrast to the decisively non-human dragon. If you want a set of races to be the core population of the empire (say Dragonborn, Human, Tiefling), then have them be a non-draconic race. Fire theme for the gear and abilities would fit nicely.

The real question is, do you want to make a second-in-command to run things and be the also unseen evil general (major boss in the penultimate campaign before the RD's arc, minor boss in the final dungeon, etc) or do you want someone to be the villain the players repeatedly fight across campaigns? In other words, do you just need an accompanying bad guy or do you need an archnemesis to represent the Red Dragon's power?

Sort of building off this, I think it'd be a good idea to give your dragon (second in command) some skills that the dragon (flying lizard) doesn't have. I see two big reasons to do this: justifying his existence, and adding a foil to the big boss dragon.

Typically, the dragon (second in command) trope is the bodyguard, or military leader, contrasted to the ruler/political leader of the big boss. Dragons (flying lizards) are pretty capable in the combat department, so there's not much of a need for a bodyguard. Why would anyone want a bodyguard who's weaker than they are? So, the dragon (second in command) needs to bring something else to the team in order to make sense. Off the top of my head, some ideas are charismatic leadership skills, military/tactical knowledge, magical expertise, or engineering skills. Maybe the big dragon needs some in-between to lead his horde of humanoid armies, or a master craftsman to bring the boss's ideas into reality.

Secondly, you can better characterize both by highlighting the contrast between the two. The dragon (boss) looks even more violent and aggressive if he's always standing next to the cold and calculating master of intrigue. Fighting against a single dragon (flying lizard) makes him even more imposing if the fight immediately before it was against the dragon (second in command) leading an army of followers.

I think a humanoid dragon (second in command) is a good way to accomplish this, not the only way, but a pretty reliable one.

Grim Portent
2021-05-28, 01:49 PM
Some sort of administrator or priest would be my go to. Depending on setting specifics a priest of Tiamat or similar would work well.

They might work best as a representation of the corrupt but functional structure that exists beneath the red dragon's rule. Roads need maintained, soldiers paid, food stockpiled and all the other bits of stuff involved in any civilization. The dragon considers this beneath itself and so a humanoid has taken that role. They're not necessarily a mighty warrior, or a powerful mage, they might just be the only person who properly understands how the bureaucratic bits of the empire work.

Because after a certain point the dragon emperor is largely unimportant to the empire, much like many historical emperors being largely uninvolved in the actual day to day functions of their empire. The rest of the government structure in the empire won't just poof into smoke, and in a few years they'll have rebuilt their armies, chosen a new emperor and be continuing with their expansionist ambitions, decadence and so forth.

Killing the second in command would be trivial and it would be easy to kill their underlings, but there's a lot of normal people reliant on the evil empire that will suffer during the period of turmoil and discord that would be caused by the empire losing it's actual administrator(s).

SiC doesn't even need to be overtly evil, just more concerned with having a strong centralized government with a robust organizational structure to provide stability and peace while also being quite happy to enjoy the material rewards of such a high station. From their perspective the red dragon's position as emperor removes the risk of succession crises, pretenders to the throne, the emperor falling ill or being assassinated. A huge source of internal political conflict is removed by having the guy at the top weight 10 tonnes and breath fire, which should in theory let the empire enjoy much longer periods of stable growth.

Witty Username
2021-05-30, 10:48 AM
Dragons all the way down.

Squire Doodad
2021-05-30, 05:29 PM
Sort of building off this, I think it'd be a good idea to give your dragon (second in command) some skills that the dragon (flying lizard) doesn't have. I see two big reasons to do this: justifying his existence, and adding a foil to the big boss dragon.

Typically, the dragon (second in command) trope is the bodyguard, or military leader, contrasted to the ruler/political leader of the big boss. Dragons (flying lizards) are pretty capable in the combat department, so there's not much of a need for a bodyguard. Why would anyone want a bodyguard who's weaker than they are? So, the dragon (second in command) needs to bring something else to the team in order to make sense. Off the top of my head, some ideas are charismatic leadership skills, military/tactical knowledge, magical expertise, or engineering skills. Maybe the big dragon needs some in-between to lead his horde of humanoid armies, or a master craftsman to bring the boss's ideas into reality.

Secondly, you can better characterize both by highlighting the contrast between the two. The dragon (boss) looks even more violent and aggressive if he's always standing next to the cold and calculating master of intrigue. Fighting against a single dragon (flying lizard) makes him even more imposing if the fight immediately before it was against the dragon (second in command) leading an army of followers.

I think a humanoid dragon (second in command) is a good way to accomplish this, not the only way, but a pretty reliable one.

Hm, would making the second in command either a mage (for a more tooth and claw dragon) or a sniper (for a magically inclined dragon) work well?
Dragons are notable for being able to gash and obliterate anyone within their reach, so the two "ranged" options seem like good choices.
Or perhaps in terms of combat, the red dragon is more than confident of their offensive prowess, so their administrators are centered around political prowess, with abilities reflecting that in combat. A cleric would do nicely, both in terms of connections and having abilities that reinforce the red dragon's power.

Which, incidentally, matches the Empress of Blood's two public figures being Malack and Tarquin, who possess the power of the clergy and the military.

paddyfool
2021-05-31, 12:41 AM
I was planning for another campaign to have a kobold high priest as the second in command for a dragon. But their role would be less that of a "Dragon", and more the administrator of all the stuff that the creature nominally in charge could not be bothered with... Making the Dragon their own Dragon, and the Kobold the secret mastermind even if nominally second in command.

noob
2021-05-31, 04:38 AM
A chicken.
Just a plain one displayed constantly as being the right hand of the dragon and said to be able to curse people to die in accidents.
Everybody is worried about it while the person doing the actual job is in fact just a very hidden and talented person that can infiltrate anywhere and assassinate individual people and make it look like accidents.

Stonehead
2021-06-03, 04:53 PM
Hm, would making the second in command either a mage (for a more tooth and claw dragon) or a sniper (for a magically inclined dragon) work well?
Dragons are notable for being able to gash and obliterate anyone within their reach, so the two "ranged" options seem like good choices.
Or perhaps in terms of combat, the red dragon is more than confident of their offensive prowess, so their administrators are centered around political prowess, with abilities reflecting that in combat. A cleric would do nicely, both in terms of connections and having abilities that reinforce the red dragon's power.

Which, incidentally, matches the Empress of Blood's two public figures being Malack and Tarquin, who possess the power of the clergy and the military.

Either could work well, there's a lot of flexibility because there are a lot of things that dragons aren't. If I were building this campaign, I would probably build the second in command as a leader type, with political power. If the penultimate fight is against a swarm of dozens of foot soldiers, that would further accentuate just how crazy powerful an individual dragon is.

I think I agree with your cleric idea. It gives decent charisma, buff spells befitting a leader, and a worshiper of a dragon god has good reason to serve a dragon.

Metastachydium
2021-06-04, 09:15 AM
is there a word for female junior?

(In theory, there is no need for a separate feminine term. The comparatives for masculine and feminine adjectives are always identical in Latin.)

Xervous
2021-06-04, 10:47 AM
From their perspective the red dragon's position as emperor removes the risk of succession crises, pretenders to the throne, the emperor falling ill or being assassinated. A huge source of internal political conflict is removed by having the guy at the top weight 10 tonnes and breath fire, which should in theory let the empire enjoy much longer periods of stable growth.

Or doom it to stagnation because who can really argue with the emperor? If itís decided that gunpowder or wheels are illegal and youíve got no way to slay the dragon then there will be many generations along for the ride. Take the Mistborn trilogy for instance.

Grim Portent
2021-06-04, 01:07 PM
Or doom it to stagnation because who can really argue with the emperor? If itís decided that gunpowder or wheels are illegal and youíve got no way to slay the dragon then there will be many generations along for the ride. Take the Mistborn trilogy for instance.

Stability and technological stagnation often go hand in hand.

Squire Doodad
2021-06-04, 08:32 PM
Or doom it to stagnation because who can really argue with the emperor? If itís decided that gunpowder or wheels are illegal and youíve got no way to slay the dragon then there will be many generations along for the ride. Take the Mistborn trilogy for instance.

I think if you're being told gunpowder and wheels are illegal, then you'll go get a new dragon. Just find one off the side of the road, or some handy warring neighbors to rally to open up the position.

Ettina
2021-06-06, 08:18 AM
One of our DMs homebrewed a draconic-flavored warlock subclass that would feel fitting as a dragon's dragon.

Misereor
2021-06-11, 05:20 AM
What would make a good lieutenant for an ancient red dragon BBEG?


The head of the local merchants guild.
All caravans pay protection money to the Dragon, as it controls the only trade route pass over the mountains.
The dragon takes care of the violent parts of the business, while the merchant guild takes care of logistics and prevent people (adventurers mainly) from doing stupid things that will get everybody killed, or worse, interfere with trade. This is done openly and (for the most part) honestly.


It's brood.
As progenitor of it's clan, it has many underlings who all compete with each other for status and wealth. Clever parties may be able to exploit this.


The head of the inner circle.
Churches, thieves guilds, minor nobles, goblin tribes, wizards. Ale send representatives to the inner circle, and are assigned tasks and responsibilities according to their talents. All for the greater glory of the scaled master.


It's lover.
Quite probably of another species, the lieutenant goes places and does things that a dragon cannot. At least not without generating unwanted interest.


It's main enemy.
Yes, there is a reason why the Knightly Order of the Holy Dragonslayers keeps being so unsuccessful.
It is in fact an xp/loot treadmill which at the same time funnels would-be enemies into situations where the dragon wants them.

Squire Doodad
2021-06-11, 04:50 PM
It's main enemy.
Yes, there is a reason why the Knightly Order of the Holy Dragonslayers keeps being so unsuccessful.
It is in fact an xp/loot treadmill which at the same time funnels would-be enemies into situations where the dragon wants them.

For this one, you can either make them be part of an elaborate conspiracy, or a campier situation where the Chief Dragonslayer has never actually "seen" a dragon, and believes that scaly Emperor of Infernal Fangs they're getting considerable funds from and working on the behalf of is "some sort of winged dinosaur person from way out south". A bit like Dragoon in 8 Bit Theater
Maybe his second in command is part of a conspiracy, or maybe all of the Dragonslayers go along with it because the Chief is a good man and they still do what they think is their job.

Forum Explorer
2021-06-12, 12:19 AM
I really like the idea of a Half-dragon knight. He's vicious, chaotic evil, and has an absolutely massive parent issues as he's constantly trying to impress his parent. Basically a Kylo Ren who is actually scary and vicious while the red dragon is Darth Vader.

Squire Doodad
2021-06-13, 02:32 PM
I really like the idea of a Half-dragon knight. He's vicious, chaotic evil, and has an absolutely massive parent issues as he's constantly trying to impress his parent. Basically a Kylo Ren who is actually scary and vicious while the red dragon is Darth Vader.

Maybe to avoid it being too close of a skillset to the dragon itself, the Half-dragon is a different kind of dragon, the child of the Red Dragon's (also a dragon) vassal.
Like a Green Half-Dragon Knight who's risen through the ranks to be one of the top 5 in the military, but is still super anxious about impressing their boss and their parent.

Forum Explorer
2021-06-13, 10:42 PM
Maybe to avoid it being too close of a skillset to the dragon itself, the Half-dragon is a different kind of dragon, the child of the Red Dragon's (also a dragon) vassal.
Like a Green Half-Dragon Knight who's risen through the ranks to be one of the top 5 in the military, but is still super anxious about impressing their boss and their parent.

If you are going that route, really change it up. Make it a half-silver, or half-bronze dragon that was abducted from their real parents when the red dragon killed them.

Squire Doodad
2021-06-13, 10:51 PM
If you are going that route, really change it up. Make it a half-silver, or half-bronze dragon that was abducted from their real parents when the red dragon killed them.

Half Silver dragon. Other half is Half Copper Dragon. The remaining quarter is Half-Elf.