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D&D players (if there are any here...): Poll question about dragons
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#18373
D&D players (if there are any here...): Poll question about dragons 7 Years, 10 Months ago  
OK, so I'm looking at my Gargantuan Black Dragon and my Collossal Red Dragon, and I'm thinking about the blue that's on the way in January....

And I'm remembering what it was like in the 80's when I played first edition. Back then, dragons pretty much looked like whatever the particular artist wanted them to look like. Dragon magazine covers, monster manual art, module covers, calendars, whatever -- the only official rule from TSR was that you weren't going to have a good dragon that was red, blue, black, green or white, and you weren't going to have an evil dragon that was gold, silver, bronze, brass, or copper. All else was open.

Now, the dragons are fixed in design, with almost no variation. Also, of course, there are "characters" now, like Lidda and Tordek and so on, so that 90% of the time, official WOTC artwork has a particular halfling, a particular dwarf, a particular fighter, etc. But every now and then they shake things up, plus they have a lot of these "characters," so the artwork for PCs varies. But never for dragons -- blue dragons always have that horn, black dragons always have that horse-skull face, dragons always have those fish-fins on their necks, most metallics always have that particular style of wing, etc.

On one level, this makes sense -- most tigers, most penguins, most swans, most mosquitos, they tend to look the same, so why should black dragons vary wildly from individual to individual? Short answer: because they're magical. Longer answer: because they're more intelligent and closer to human beings and therefore we can distinguish between them more readily than we can between monkeys, or swallows, or greyhounds (which, by all evidence, are readily distinguishable to other monkeys, swallows, greyhounds, etc)

So here's the question (finally): Do you object, or do you prefer, or do you have no strong opinion, about the decision by WOTC to make dragon varieties "official" for D&D? A black dragon that doesn't look a particular way just isn't a D&D black dragon now, where once upon a time any dragon that was colored black could be a dragon in the world of D&D.

As is probably obvious, I don't really care for it. The designs are neat enough, but they get kinda dull to me -- every time a dragon comes up, it always looks the same, in new books, new magazine articles, new minis. It is so static, it gets a bit bland. Plus, the dragon varieties are so closely connected, they look a lot alike. The metallics almost all look the same to me, with the exception of the gold. And if you don't like a particular feature -- like those fins down the necks -- you keep running into it, dragon after dragon .

I prefer the approach taken by Reaper or McFarlane -- every new dragon done almost from scratch, no intimation that they're going to be repeating themselves, even though occasionally they do feel free to do variations on a theme rather than design simply for the sake of originality.

Ah well -- Sunday morning musings...

L
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#18374
D&D players (if there are any here...): Poll question about dragons 7 Years, 10 Months ago  
I like the fact that the D&D mini's line look exactly like the pictures in the Monster Manuals. I can show the picture in the book to my players and have the exact same monster on the board in front of them. This marks a huge step forward in my opinion. If I want different looking dragons I am free to buy them elsewhere (and i do).
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#18375
D&D players (if there are any here...): Poll question about dragons 7 Years, 10 Months ago  
It may come down to part of the Mind set of 3.X of that everything is now much more "codified" in 3 than is was in 1 or 2. 3rd actually has a very distinct system, it has very much been systematized. In many sesnes i like that in 3 where everything follows a pattern or set of rules that is very specific, allowing DM's/GMs to ad hoc rules for idd situations by looking at what exsists in the system, the whole SRD, and going "ok in a similiar situation X happens so we can do based on the rules for X, we can use that and make it easier or harder".

In some cases it does take some of the mystery out of things, but it makes things easier on the DM/GM to makes adjustments and have them be in a patern that the Players can ubderstand. But part of that systems means that eveything has to be in the system, and there is a whole set of things that go with it. If you see a devil, human, troll, heck now even a Kobold, with a blue tinge to his skin he could be a half dragon and you know what type, of dragon and that gives you info, on how to fight it and what it can do.

Is that bad, in some caes yeah, it annoys me as a DM, where players go, oh blue dragon, (while this was the same in the old 1st E MM and Second, so some of it hasn't changed) it has a lightning as a breath weapon, and has certain abilites for spell.From the players stand point "lets see i made my knowledge Arcan check, of DC 35" now in the mind of the player they re thinking but not saying ' that should tell me what it's hit dice is depending on how much info i get from the DM'.

Now the system makes everything determined by dice rolls, more than in he past.

While in the past you could use any "Blue dragon" to represent you blue, now they look all alike. From what i rememeber there were Always Black Dragons, Red Dragons, etc that looked a certain way by the MM's of ages past. But without an SRD i guess it was easier to say yeah it's a black dragon even thought it doesn't look like the picture in the MM, becuase the whole system back then was much more wheeling and dealing it felt like.

For me While it love the minis and the 3D physical representations i am not {i]That much [/i] of a stickler on it has to look that right if i don't have the right thing. Becuase i can use the system to my advantage, i just tell them what it is like i would have in the past, and if they make a certain DC, giving thewm the knowledge that they would have gotten anyway.

So I guess my annswer is

No Strong Opion

I'm Still the DM, and i still control what it is even if were are using a box to reprsent the creature becuase it is the right size. I don't get as hung up on what the representation of the creature is, i prefer to have it as close as possible but if i can't get it, it doesn't change my choice of critter.
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#18376
D&D players (if there are any here...): Poll question about dragons 7 Years, 10 Months ago  
I have despised the AD&D dragons from day one.

Originally, I think the idea was to make things easy for the GM. But the only thing the dragon color wheel did was allow players to memorize the stats from the Monster Manual so they knew exactly what to expect, and cry "foul" if the GM had the nerve to mix things up by making a dragon with green scales breathe fire instead of poison gas.

I would have greatly preferred a set of tables, for breath weapons and natural armament, and perhaps weaknesses, that GMs could pick and choose from (or roll randomly) -- then each dragon would be unique, and sometimes startling. If the players want to know about a particular dragon before they fight it, they should do research, or talk to the survivors of the last attempt to kill it, or sneak into its lair. And why should every single dragon of a particular type have a particular alignment -- isn't it better to let the GM decide whether or not a dragon is good or evil, and to have the option of surprising players by having their silver dragon mentor turn on them when they've implemented his terrible scheme?

Now, the "official" appearance is a marketing ploy. D&D minis look like the pictures in the Monster Manual because the company wants its customers to associate each type of dragon with a particular appearance, one that they hold the copyright to. And by creating a wide variety of (potentially) iconic images, they make it difficult for other companies to create dragon minis that don't infringe on their copyrights. Any dragon with a single prominent horn might be an infringement on the Blue Dragon, any dragon with horns that sweep forward might be an infringement on the Black Dragon, any dragon with a hadrosaur fin might be an infringement on the White Dragon, and so forth. The fact that dragons are part of ancient myths and folklore puts them solidly in the public domain, but SPECIFIC features (or combinations of features) CAN be copyrighted, and a company that holds enough enforceable copyrights could conceivably attempt to hold a monopoly on that portion of the miniatures market.

If you think that a company wouldn't do something that silly or heavy-handed, remember that Marvel attempted, in effect, to enforce a copyright on THE ENTIRE SUPERHERO GENRE!

(BTW, when did dragons get all covered in spines and horns? This is a VERY recent and pervasive trend in dragon art, and is being carried to ridiculous extremes in many cases.)

Sourcebooks are great, but they really do tend to restrict a GM's creativity. Instead of making dragons (and other types of monsters) so specific, they should have made them more general, or at least included guidelines for creating unique and effective creatures. I'm seeing less and less source material for generic villages and towns and abbeys, and more and more complete worlds with very specific elements designed to keep GMs and players bound to the source material (rather than using the bits they like). Roleplaying is supposed to be a game of "yes, and" -- players should have as much room as possible to create the background, personality, and outlook they want for their characters. Instead, roleplaying is very much a matter of "no, but" -- players are told what their backgrounds, personality, and outlook MUST be according to race and class. I want to play the game myself, not act as a proxy for some writer I've never met.
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#18377
D&D players (if there are any here...): Poll question about dragons 7 Years, 10 Months ago  
Just as a side note, jackattack, I'm right there with you on alignment - I've always thought it was fascinatingly oversimplified in AD&D. It is useful enough for most games, so I tended never to tinker with it, but I loved the idea of a more true-to-life system where alignments were more fluid.

Certainly the current/old system allowed for things like "Hey, I'm LG but that doesn't mean I'm never cranky, or that I have to like you" so you could still have conflict and tension even if alignments were compatible.


But I like the idea that it simply shifts throughout a lifetime, especially so long as various alignment-modifiers and related game mechanics stayed the same. Some of this is present in the current rules - characters getting into real trouble if they violate their alignment rules, etc. -- but I'd love to see more of it. I think alignments should be one of those stats that players just never know, their own or anyone else's. It makes things a lot more fun -- you want access to those magic items, those rooms, those blessings? Well, try to live a righteous life and hope for the best! Here, try to pick it up... !ZAP! OW, oh well, I guess you should have remembered your mother's birthday last week. She cried for two days straight, so hope those electric burns of yours heal soon! :D

L
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#18378
D&D players (if there are any here...): Poll question about dragons 7 Years, 10 Months ago  
No strong opinion (with "prefer" tendencies).

I have found I enjoy the "standardization" on both a marketing and GMing level.

Marketing - brand ID. Very simple and marketing on the base level. Good for the brand and thus good for me (as a consumer of the product).

GMing - My philosophy as a DM/GM is to not do what past DM/GMs have done to me. Players spend time and effort in skill points that the rules allow them to accomplish things with. Nothing makes me as frustrated as a GM telling me that my HUGE skill check just dosen't work. I do not do this to my players. My little GM plot/storyline be damned - I run the game for the fun of my players which in turn is fun for me.

As far as imagination goes, I find I have enough freedom within a few of the various source books I have (not all of them BTW - not even close!) to give various and challenging monsters to my players to interact with. I've been known to throw the same monster at players and make it different by speaking in a differnt voice and changing it's name.

When I buy "other party" minis (McFarlane and Reaper mainly) I'm not to much of a stickler on the appearnce though. I stay close to the WOTC standard, but in the long-run, player fun is my goal and they don't really care if the mini is exactly like the MM.
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#18379
D&D players (if there are any here...): Poll question about dragons 7 Years, 10 Months ago  
I don't mind the standardizaton. It keeps things simple for establishing a uniform set of rules for the "board game" that is 3.5, i.e. move of 8 spaces, etc. 3.5 does have a variety of templates to add to allow for special appearances, 2 heads, undead, chimaeric or whatnot. And if you give more of your $ to WoTC you can get the specialty book for dragons, so they can shape their breath into elementals or breathe different energies.

However, the GM, always has the right, IMHO, to do whatever he darn well pleases. Tell the players that you are doing it ahead of time and let them know that is the standard operating procedure. Then let them deal with it. As I said, I don't mind the standardization, but as the GM, my huge blue dragon may have black stripes and look amazingly like a McFarland's or Mage Knight dragon. I think it partially comes down to the maturity of your gaming group.

Then again, in my world an ORC is at the minimum a CR 4 with mist walking and some other unheard of extraordinary abilities. If anyone says "orc" a mist shrouds the area in the near future and a band of ORCs with a CR = party level +3 arrive in the mist, causes mayhem, and disappears just as quickly. But like I said, that's my gentle little world... My 2 cents.
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#18380
D&D players (if there are any here...): Poll question about dragons 7 Years, 10 Months ago  
Well, guys, THIS is why I LIKE the DragonStar universe. DS is set in the D20 genre, and it demands the PHB, CMG, and MM (3rd Edition, please!), but expands from there.
And THAT means that Hasbro/WotC has granted FFG (and ME!!!!) license to play with things.
MY dragons can be humanoid in form, but OH, BOY, don't mess with them! One of my regualr gamers has a character called Tasden (I think that's how he spells it) who is half-dragon - RED dragon. Now, in DS, chromatics are NASTY SOBs, and reds are the worst; however, Tas' sire raped his human mother, and ol' Tas baby is on a vengeance quest - as a Paladin! And, as all dragons, he has halitosis of DEATH!
And yet, we play primarily in a D&D milieu. Go figure.

And since Fantasy Flight Games built DragonStar on the D20 OGL, WotC can't say ONE THING to us about it.

As far as the WotC D&D dragons are concerned, my 2 cents worth is that they are overpriced, oversized, and overrated. The paint job on the Red sucks. And I WILL NOT buy one.

Which leaves me more money for DF, which is better designed, better painted, and more versatile anyway, so why shouldn't I save my hard-earned for Stefan's specialities?

I should, of course.

See ya!

Jim
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#18381
D&D players (if there are any here...): Poll question about dragons 7 Years, 10 Months ago  
I'm not too bothered about any attempt at 'standardisation' for D&D (still my favourite rpg, warts and all) because I collect and paint my own minis from a wide range of sources - particularly Reaper and Evil Empire (GW) ranges. When we play, it is in 'our' world, not the official D&D world so we can make Dragons Pink if we want to!

I haven't bought any of the plastic pre-painted minis as fortunately, I enjoy painting my own and so do a small circle of friends. The only pre-painted stuff I buy is DF, and that's because it's well painted and top quality.

Dave
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#18382
D&D players (if there are any here...): Poll question about dragons 7 Years, 10 Months ago  
On one hand I like the dragons looking standardized so that someone can say " hey that is a green dragon ". I am confidant that WOTC did this to hold power over sales so now we fork out 40 bucks for a dragon " or more " that has half the detail " referring to the McFarland dragons " to some that are three times less in price. I absolutely despise and " well I should not say it " that.... For this reason alone. I don't own any of the new gargantuan or colossal dragons. I say yeah, use what ever dragon that looks good and put it on the board. We should not stand for this price gouging, " unless you want to of coarse " ;)
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#18383
D&D players (if there are any here...): Poll question about dragons 7 Years, 10 Months ago  
I have despised the AD&D dragons from day one.

Originally, I think the idea was to make things easy for the GM. But the only thing the dragon color wheel did was allow players to memorize the stats from the Monster Manual so they knew exactly what to expect, and cry "foul" if the GM had the nerve to mix things up by making a dragon with green scales breathe fire instead of poison gas.

And as you say with mentioning AD&D, that could happen in 2nd Edition, or even 1st. One of the things that really made me make the switch from 2nd to 3rd was the fact that the players who had memorized the MM in 2nd, and had explotied ever rule now had to restart at ground zero and couldn't make the Uber character at level 1 like they used to.

I saw some one who had tried to purposefully break the 2nd Edition Skills and Powers rule set to make an emotinally crippled Knife fighter who can deal 1d4+30 points of damage with a Knife, and knew every ability, save, and THAC0 of certain monsters in the MM. The Color wheel has been around since 1st Edition and players have been memorizing it since then.

It's not limited to a certain Edition of the Game, but i guess you said that, which is a reason why in my 2nd E world All dragons breathed fire, no matter what color, but as they aged they got other abilities some, say a Green may have Electric attack, a Red might be LG, and Gold CE. But in 3E i actually really had to re-think that, becuase of Carnivore mentions bellow. where things got different with an in game system to say ok i now "know" X based on my skill check. My solution was if i fudged with the critter i made the DC harder for a Knoweledge Check becuase it was different (+2 for each fudge/templete or off the wall thing, a Green with an Electric attack), but made it so they could make more than one check than the one the book "allows", to as time went on in a combat just letting them know things outright with no checks, like if that Green with the Electric type was getting Electric thrown at it, i would allow the people to just notice it isn't doing anything, then they can adjust, so they don't fell like a Skill or ability was wasted and can actually do something and have fun.

GMing - My philosophy as a DM/GM is to not do what past DM/GMs have done to me. Players spend time and effort in skill points that the rules allow them to accomplish things with. Nothing makes me as frustrated as a GM telling me that my HUGE skill check just dosen't work. I do not do this to my players. My little GM plot/storyline be damned - I run the game for the fun of my players which in turn is fun for me.
I also run the game the way i would enjoy it, i hate getting Stunned/Paralyzied/Petrefied in the first round of Combat, and sitting there for 30 min to 2 hours (depending on the level of the game) not being able to do anything wile others fight the thing, so i tend not to use those types of attacks in SW or D&D. While i love it when my character gets to shine, and i want others to get the feeling when i GM, i don't want any one character/Player to get left out so i give everybody something to do in an adventure and even in encounters. Even in an Encounter where one person is the center of Attention (like a Jedi in front of the Council with non-jedi in attendecene, or the Wizard, Rouge or Cleric in a Library, Guild, or Temple), i make sure i give ever one a chance to do something if they want, to break things up for the players so they don't feel left out, going around the table and letting others be apart of stuff, express there reactions and be a part of it even if they aren't "doing anything" becuase i know how boring it can be while some one else does everything. Thats not to say i don't give people chances to shine or do solo action in an adventure but i don't want anyone sitting around doing nothing for 15 minutes or more.


I was thinking of this yesterday...

On one level, this makes sense -- most tigers, most penguins, most swans, most mosquitos, they tend to look the same, so why should black dragons vary wildly from individual to individual? Short answer: because they're magical. Longer answer: because they're more intelligent and closer to human beings and therefore we can distinguish between them more readily than we can between monkeys, or swallows, or greyhounds (which, by all evidence, are readily distinguishable to other monkeys, swallows, greyhounds, etc)
I guess depending on how you view things, I tend to think all Human beings also look the same, we are with no weird deformities or accidents all bipedial, bi-ocular, two armed, one mouthed, 10 fingered, 10 toed, creatures with hair on our bodies that have fall within a certain size range, (no one is 40 ft tall or 1 inch). The same with Penguins, and Mosquitos, even with Tigers and Swans. As an Example all Mosquitos have certain characteristics, that's what makes it a mosquito as compaired to a fly, or dragon fly. While all of these insects are two winged insects, there are other things that set them apart even within the same Genus, there are some big differences to get down to Species level with different mosquitos, but even if you are refereing to things in the same species of mosquitos, if you spent enough time looking at them, they look different to an eye used to looking at them (trust me while all cockroaches don't look the same even in the same species or population one of the weirdiest experiments i ever did in my enotmolgy classes at University.)

And that's if you are just using Binomial nomenclature, and not Trinomial nomenclature, Huh, Whats Trinomial nomenclature, where you get into Subspecies, with infraspecific taxons and ternary names. Who's to say in the magic world of where ever you are adventuring there can't be Subspecies of Black Dragons that Don't look like right out of the book. Or that Black Dragons in general are just a Genera of creatures in the family Drakonidae.
Where the Black dragon in the Book is just he Model organism or most represntiative of that Genera, and there are boat loads other Dragon Species, or even Sub species, but one of the Characteristics that defines the Genera in which the Black Dragon is, all things in the Order are immune to sleep paralysis, and the other draconic traits, but when you get down to Genera you get one that breaks out in a Identification Key.

Breath Weapon
has one...................... 8
none.......................... 9

Table 8
Spews Fire............... 10
Spews Acid.............. 11
Spews Lightning........12
Spews Gas................13

And you just get Black Dragons, and the One all of the minis are made of is the most common most representiative species for that Genus.
But i think what you are saying is that in essence by D&D standards there is only one species of each cromatic Dragon per color, who says that has to be true? Make the MM one species the most common and boom, you can add as many other blacks that don't look excatly like the MM as you want....
Ghenghis Ska
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More Sci Fi Please, request a DEAD END for Sci Fi Passages
Classes of the Old Republic
Some RPG and mini stats including the Exodus and AAT (along with good source of a Mini scale version of the AAT).
 
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