Draconic Foes

One of my most common complaints about 4th edition is how much it treats dragons as disposable bags of hp and treasure. I personally think that a dragon should, in combat, unprepared and taken by surprise, be a nearly primal force of rage and destruction, and if they hear you coming, they should be so much worse.
Here’s a cr 11 black dragon solo designed to bring some serious hurt on a party if they decide to treat it as a bag of hp and treasure instead of a dangerous foe.

Devastator Black Dragon

Level 11 Solo Brute

Huge elemental magical beast (aquatic, dragon)

XP 3,000

HP 464; Bloodied 232

AC 26; Fortitude 30; Reflex 23; Will 26

Speed 6

Resist 15 acid

Saving Throws +5; Action Points 2

Initiative +0

Perception +13

Darkvision 60, Tremorsense 30


Draconic Vitality

At the end of each of its initiative turns the dragon ends any dazed, stunned, sleep, imobilized, or dominated effects.

Draconic Fury

Instead of rolling initiative, the dragon takes a full action (one standard, one move, and one minor) at initiatives 25, 15, and 5. The Dragon may only use one immediate interrupt between each initiative. Bloodied Fury is not limited by this.

O Caustic Miasma • Aura 5 All enemies in the aura take ongoing acid damage, save ends.


Standard Actions

m Bite • At-Will

Attack: 2 (one creature); +18 vs. AC

Hit: 3d8 + 11 Acid.

m Claw Grab • At-Will

Attack: 2 (one creature); +16 vs. AC+16 vs. AC

Hit: 2d10 + 6 Target is pushed 10 and knocked prone.

Double Attack • At-Will

Effect: The dragon makes either a claw grab an bite attack or two claw grabs.

C Acid Blast (acid) • Recharge 5 6

Attack: Close Blast 6 (Creatures in Blast); +14 vs. Reflex

Hit: 5d6 + 3 10 Ongoing Acid Damage (Save Ends).

C Frightful Presence (fear) • Encounter

Attack: Close Burst 10 (All Enemies in Burst); +14 vs. Will

Hit: 1d10 + 9.

Effect: Target is stunned until the end of their next turn.

Move Actions

M Pounce • At-Will

Effect: The Dragon shifts its fly speed and makes a Double Attack.

Minor Actions

C Wing Buffet • At-Will

Attack: Close Burst 4 (Enemies in Burst); +14 vs. Reflex

Effect: Target is pushed 8, knocked prone, and dazed until the end of their next turn.

M Tail Flick • At-Will

Attack: 3 (One Creature in Range); +16 vs. AC

Effect: Target is Pushed 6.

C Cloud of Darkness • At-Will

Effect: Close Burst 3 (Zone ); This power creates a zone of darkness that remains in place until the end of the Dragon’s Next Turn (not initiative action) The Zone blocks line of sight for all creatures except the dragon. Any creature entirely within the area except the dragon is blinded.

Triggered Actions

M Bloodied Rage • Encounter

Trigger: The Dragon is bloodied for the first time.

Attack (Immediate Interrupt): 2 (one enemy); +16 vs. AC

Hit: 5d12 + 5 ongoing Acid damage, Target is Pushed 10.

Effect: The Dragon’s Acid Breath Recharges and can be used immediately.

C Tail Lash • At-Will

Trigger: The Dragon is Flanked.

Attack (Immediate Interrupt): Close Burst 3 (Enemies in Burst); +14 vs. Reflex

Hit: 1d8 + 6 Target is pushed 3 and knocked prone.

R Miasmatic Phlegem (acid) • At-Will

Trigger: May only be used when the Dragon is Bloodied.

Attack (Standard): 15 (One Creature); +16 vs. AC

Hit: 5d6 + 7 the target is immobilized and blinded (save ends).

Skills Insight +13, Intimidate +11, Stealth +11

Str 18 (+9)

Dex 12 (+6)

Wis 16 (+8)

Con 20 (+10)

Int 12 (+6)

Cha 12 (+6)

Alignment evil Languages Draconic, Common


More on the gods and Na Essad.

In the greater multiverse most of the god-class entities know of Na Essad. They generally avoid it because it is exceedingly dangerous for a god class entity. The dangers are two fold. Designed to hold a deity, the only escape from Na Essad is through death, and Na Essad specifically bars that option from god class entities. The second problem for a divinity in Na Essad is that they have to remain hidden from the demiplane’s defenses unless they wish to be encysted and buried helples in the heart of the world. The handful of divinities who walk free in Na Essad are exceedingly careful not to use their power too often or too profiligately.
At any given time there are a dozen or so god class entities represented by Aspects, but the sacrifice inherent in creating an aspect means that even these lesser constructs are used very carefully. Aspects are generally weak enough that when they die, their essence can pass through death to escape.
A deity who is trapped in Na Essad has two options. One, it can keep a low profile, avoid triggering the god traps of the demiplane and go about its business. A god class entity that does this for a few hundred years is likely to be approached by one of the powers that is voluntarily bound here and offered a place as a guardian of the world. The Guardians possess the knowledge of how to circumvent many of the bindings that are designed to capture free god class entities, though even thee creators themselves can not escape in any way save death.

The second thing that a captured god, primal, primordial, or powerful abberant lord can do is surrender their divinity in a bid to become mortals and thus attain the escape of death. When they do this, the power that was embodied in their godhood coalesces into a physical object, a unique power source that Na Essad uses to help maintain its wards. These items collect in a hidden grotto deep within the core of the plane.

Over the centuries, most god class entities trapped in Na Essad except for those who have ascended here and those who chose exile here during the creation of the demiplane end up either captured by the world or attempting escape by mortality.

A large proportion of the god class entities that have been encysted by Na Essad have been beings from the far realm. By the standards of the rest of the multiverse they are insane and their motivations are unfathomable. They don’t generally lay low very well and most of the ones that cross over from the far realm are quite active beings anyway.

Card Based Character Creation for 4th E.

*edit* I forgot the Will/Reflex/Endurance defenses.

I ran across this on twitter a few days ago and it got me thinking about how to use cards in character creation for 4th edition D&D. http://www.myrpgame.com/2011/03/09/game-changers-using-a-deck-of-powers-to-change-your-game/

As part of the 4.0 line up, WotC published several sets of boxed power cards. They represent all of the powers available to a given core class from level 1 to level 20. Of course by the time they came out, people had already posted their own versions online then the DDi Character Builder allowed you to print similar card with the actual numbers your character used, and they lacked the powers granted by assorted feats, so at the end of the day, they weren’t a particularly good product. But they got printed for all of the Player’s Handbooks (blue boxes) and the assorted power source books (purple boxes)

My FLGS had a stack of them on their discount table, so I bought all of the blue boxes they had (Sorcerer, Warden, Avenger, and Shaman) I also bought the Martial Power: Warlord box in hopes that it would help me fill out some gaps. It turns out that these aren’t the absolute best decks to use to test the “deck based character creation” idea, but they’ll work. The goal is to add a significant aspect of randomness to character creation without entirely squashing player input. This should be done as a group and the DM can construct decks to encourage specific themes. Ideally you will have at least one deck per player, and you will want to have them represent all of the combat roles. If you want, you can also use 4 different colors of opaque backed card sleeves, but that is strictly optional.
Before your players get there, separate all of the first level cards out from each deck. Then separate those cards into stacks: Class Feature, At Will, Encounter, and Daily powers. When you are done, you will have sorted all of your decks into 4 piles. (plus all of the higher level cards you aren’t using right now.Since each class’s cards has a different back, this is where the optional card protectors come in.

Drawing Cards
Any Time I say to draw a card, follow this method.
Your players will each draw their class features, at will powers, encounter powers, daily power, and utility powers. To draw a power you shuffle the appropriate deck and the player draws three cards. They select one card to give their character.

If you pick a class feature from a class that has other associated features not on the cards, you may select one of those features for your character. You will want to make that decision after selecting your other powers, in order to best choose features that complement your choices. If a power requires a feature that is not represented by a card you may take that feature as well.

Now we are ready to begin character creation.

1. Choose Race. Do this as you usually would. If your racial ability allows you to select a power from a different class, you may select this power from the book after you are done selecting powers from the deck.
2. Have each player rank the following things in order of decreasing importance (1 to 5):
Number of Class Features
Healing Surges
Weapon Selection
For each category their selection determines what the character can get
Class Features The higher they rank class features the more features they get to draw from the features deck.
1 Draw from the features deck 3 times.
2-3 Draw from the features deck 2 times
4 Draw from the features deck 1 time
5 No class features.

1-2 15+ Constitution HP +6/level gained
3-4 12+ Constitution HP +5/level gained
5 10 + Constitution HP + 4/level gained.

Healing Surges
1 10+ Constitution Modifier/Day
2 9+ Constitution Modifier/Day
3-5 6+ Constitution Modifier/Day

Armor Proficiencies
1 Cloth, Leather, Hide, Chainmail, Scale, Plate Mail, Light Shield, Heavy Shield
2 Cloth, Leather, Hide, Chainmail, Scale, Light Shield, Heavy Shield
3 Cloth,Leather, Hide, Chainmail, Light Shield
4 Cloth, Leather, Hide
5 Cloth

Weapon Proficiencies
1 Simple Melee, Military Melee, Simple Ranged, Military Ranged
2 Simple Melee, Military Melee, Simple Ranged
3 Simple Melee, Simple Ranged
4 Dagger, Hand Crossbow, Shuriken, Sling, Short Sword
5 Dagger, Quarterstaff

3. Draw Class Features
First thing to do is decide if different characters will be able to have the same features and powers.
If so, each player can select their powers in turn, returning all drawn cards to the deck after they have finished drawing. If not, the players must draw a single feature then pass the deck along to the next player. They hang on to their selected card but return the rejected ones to the deck. In either case, start with those players who have the fewest choices to make and go to those with the most choices.
If a class feature modifies a different class feature, then treat it as the next less frequent type of power (thus at will becomes encounter, and encounter becomes daily. Daily stays daily) unless you also draw and select the requisite class feature.

4 Draw At Will Powers
Each Character gets to draw two at will powers from the 1st level at will power deck following the same method as the Class Features Draw.

5. Draw Encounter Powers
Each Character gets to draw a single encounter power from the first level encounter power deck.

6. Daily Powers
Each character gets to draw a single daily power from the first level daily power deck.

7. Determine Ability Scores
Do this as usual per the PHB.

8. Choose your defense bonus.
You may take a +2 bonus to any one of your non-AC defenses or you may take a +1 to all of them.

9. Choose Skills Select Three Skills to be trained in. You may wish to use your selected class features as a guideline for skill selection.

10. Select Feats
You can pick any feat you have the requsite skills or abilities for. If a feat requires only that you be of a given class then you count as all of the classes you have drawn feature cards from. If you have no feature cards then you must select a single class to count as your class. You must have at least one power from this class.

11. Choose Equipment
Do this as normal.

12 Fill in the Numbers
This is the mathy bit. There is likely more math in this than in the general game, but it is the same math.

13. Fill out role playing aspects of your chracter. Now it is time to paint a coherant whole out of this pc.

14. Leveling
Gain new powers drawing from the appropriate level deck of a given power type per the Powers by Class Level chart on pg 143 of the DMG. I suggest allowing a character to switch one power out for another power of the same level (drawn randomly) every three levels. Paragon powers

Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies require a little more interaction with the dm and more dm judgement than in the standard game, but they should present no major problem.

mostly a reminder to myself

If everything goes well and the FLGS has what I want, I’ll have a post in a day or two that is inspired by http://www.myrpgame.com/2011/03/09/game-changers-using-a-deck-of-powers-to-change-your-game/