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 Post subject: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:00 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

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I was messing around making a Dragon, and I am a little confused about one column on one of the tables, specifically the "HP per HD" column on Table II.

So on Table I you determine a dragon's Size. Let's say we roll a 4, that would give us a small dragon (size range from horse to elephant) . According to the table, this dragon would have 1d6+2 HD. Lets say we roll a 4, that would give him 6 HD (because he gets a +2 bonus on the same table). Also according to this table, we would roll 1d6 for his age on the next Table (Table II).

Now according to the rules, dragons use d12 for their hit die. The part I am confused about is on the next table, table II, there is a column that says "HP per HD". Say I rolled a 1 on the 1d6 for his age, that would make him 1-5 years old. The "HP per HD" for that age is 1.

We previously determined above that this dragon has 6HD, so does that mean that this 5 year old dragon would only have 6 Hit Points!?! That seems WAY under powered. I know he is a young dragon, but he is still a dragon. That's not many more HP than my cat, lol. Seems like something the size of an elephant would have more HP than that. According to the table, even a 15 year old dragon would only have 12 HP. Am I reading this wrong?

I know I could go ahead and roll a d12 for each HD to determine hit points, but some clarification on this column would be helpful....


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:18 pm 
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The HP per HD thing is a throwback to old-school dragons that used to have their number of Hit Dice based on their color (not age) and had more or less HP for each HD to represent the differences between age categories.

...the way DCC puts dragons together is a bit odd since it tries to use both more or less hit dice and more or less HP per hit dice which can make things feel a bit disjointed.


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:44 am 
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Consider maybe that dragons grow very, very slowly. So maybe a 1-5 year old dragon is very much like a kitten. Also consider a 6hp cat is stronger than 90% of all 0 levels. :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:15 am 
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Yeah I read it as:

HD = number of hit dice to roll
HP per HD = additional HP per hit die

EDIT:
So in your example -
6 HD
1 HP per HD

Means you roll 6d12+6 for the dragon's HP.


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:25 am 
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maxinstuff wrote:
Yeah I read it as:

HD = number of hit dice to roll
HP per HD = additional HP per hit die

EDIT:
So in your example -
6 HD
1 HP per HD

Means you roll 6d12+6 for the dragon's HP.


I was thinking of maybe looking at it as a bonus as well...


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:34 am 
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beermotor wrote:
Consider maybe that dragons grow very, very slowly. So maybe a 1-5 year old dragon is very much like a kitten. Also consider a 6hp cat is stronger than 90% of all 0 levels. :-)


Yeah, I did consider that, and in fact I do like that concept :) . And if you take that column literally, they do grow in HP quite fast as you they get older, it just seemed like a huge gap to me between the young and the mature. Just made me wonder how any dragon would really survive past the 15 year mark, especially a smaller one.

In the end it's obviously my call as the GM, I was just curious on other peeps thoughts about it, or how they handled it.


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:23 am 
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Listen, I just gotta tell ya -- don't get between a baby dragon and it's momma. Seriously.

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Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:53 am 
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GnomeBoy wrote:
Listen, I just gotta tell ya -- don't get between a baby dragon and it's momma. Seriously.

This reminds me of how one group of players learned the lesson "The smaller the dragon, the harder the kill."

Dragons, at least in my world, are solitary creatures that are fiercely independent... except when they are struck by the urge to mate.

Mates lair together for decades working towards a successful pregnancy, which usually takes extreme displays of patience to finally get a clutch of healthy eggs.

Then, the kids are born... and mom & dad start the rearing process, all the while the family lairs together.

So if you see an adolescent or younger dragon, you should know to watch out for brothers and sisters, and expect mom, dad, or both to be somewhere nearby waiting for you to dare raise a hand to harm one of their precious children... so sure, the hatchling has 6 HP and you could probably kill it in a single blow, but he has 3d4 siblings nearby and 1d2 parents, if you aren't lucky their might even be a small number (1d3) siblings that are an age category or two older nearby because an older clutch didn't completely fail.


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:11 am 
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TheNobleDrake wrote:
GnomeBoy wrote:
Listen, I just gotta tell ya -- don't get between a baby dragon and it's momma. Seriously.

This reminds me of how one group of players learned the lesson "The smaller the dragon, the harder the kill."

Dragons, at least in my world, are solitary creatures that are fiercely independent... except when they are struck by the urge to mate.

Mates lair together for decades working towards a successful pregnancy, which usually takes extreme displays of patience to finally get a clutch of healthy eggs.

Then, the kids are born... and mom & dad start the rearing process, all the while the family lairs together.

So if you see an adolescent or younger dragon, you should know to watch out for brothers and sisters, and expect mom, dad, or both to be somewhere nearby waiting for you to dare raise a hand to harm one of their precious children... so sure, the hatchling has 6 HP and you could probably kill it in a single blow, but he has 3d4 siblings nearby and 1d2 parents, if you aren't lucky their might even be a small number (1d3) siblings that are an age category or two older nearby because an older clutch didn't completely fail.


That's a great idea Noble.


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:56 am 
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Sundweller wrote:
TheNobleDrake wrote:
GnomeBoy wrote:
Listen, I just gotta tell ya -- don't get between a baby dragon and it's momma. Seriously.

This reminds me of how one group of players learned the lesson "The smaller the dragon, the harder the kill."

Dragons, at least in my world, are solitary creatures that are fiercely independent... except when they are struck by the urge to mate.

Mates lair together for decades working towards a successful pregnancy, which usually takes extreme displays of patience to finally get a clutch of healthy eggs.

Then, the kids are born... and mom & dad start the rearing process, all the while the family lairs together.

So if you see an adolescent or younger dragon, you should know to watch out for brothers and sisters, and expect mom, dad, or both to be somewhere nearby waiting for you to dare raise a hand to harm one of their precious children... so sure, the hatchling has 6 HP and you could probably kill it in a single blow, but he has 3d4 siblings nearby and 1d2 parents, if you aren't lucky their might even be a small number (1d3) siblings that are an age category or two older nearby because an older clutch didn't completely fail.


That's a great idea Noble.

Agreed!


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:54 am 
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Historically, I think that dragons were supposed to be some of the top-line monsters of the game. That's part of why their name appeared in the game's title. Of course, as the game has evolved characters started fighting demons and demigods and the poor dragon became just another monster.

I'm all for rules that make dragons more feared and badass so that perhaps you want to talk to them instead of try to kill them. Or they eat you.

I was playing in a D&D Next playtest last weekend and the GM through a "legendary" dragon at us. The rules apparently allowed for the dragon to heal during combat, to have more than one attack in the initiative round, and several other cool things. Made the dragon a lot more fun and a lot more scary, although in the end we killed it so maybe it still wasn't tough enough. :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:59 pm 
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One of the things I always try to do when I put a dragon into an encounter is to design the encounter so that the dragon has a big tactical advantage, particularly if it is close to (or in) the dragon's lair. My feelings are that the dragon, an extremely intelligent monster, has had plenty of time to work out a superb plan for dealing with intrusions with its superior intellect.

I usually have something in their lair like a high shelf or suspended nets full of round stones that the dragon can easily trigger to create an avalanche, caldrons (or pools) of burning oil or acid strategically placed to knock characters in, illusionary floors covering pits and plans to trick the party in some way. I once saw a published encounter where the dragon hid in a pool of water and created an illusion of himself for the party to fight. The party blows all their spells and drinks down most of their healing potions before someone catches on and then the real dragon emerges to deal with the party that has now depleted most of its resources. To me, that's how a dragon encounter should be.

Maybe the small dragon can summon a pair of trolls to fight for it, or maybe it has a pet cave bear that sleeps near the entrance to its lair. If the dragon is only marginally bigger than the average human, what's to stop it from using the magic items in it's possession, particularly things like weapons, rings, wands and scrolls? With the right circumstances, even a small dragon with 10 or 12 hit points could be a big challenge to a party.


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:29 am 
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finarvyn wrote:
Historically, I think that dragons were supposed to be some of the top-line monsters of the game. That's part of why their name appeared in the game's title. Of course, as the game has evolved characters started fighting demons and demigods and the poor dragon became just another monster.

I'm all for rules that make dragons more feared and badass so that perhaps you want to talk to them instead of try to kill them. Or they eat you.

Demons? How about sea monsters, greater elementals and liches, that came earlier? :) By the way I like dragons as medieval beasts a lot more than the overpowered, huge, demigod-like ones that started to appear in 2nd edition. I like it that you don't have to be on high levels to fight and defeat one. Heck, even some mythic heroes weren't. You either find a clever way to gain the upper hand, or you get roasted in a few turns.

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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:29 pm 
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The scariest thing about DCC dragons isn't their HP, it's that their breath weapon deals damage equal to their hitpoints. I rolled up a random dragon last year that did something like 93 damage with a breath attack. Half on a failed save. I haven't seen a PC yet that would survive even a successful save.

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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:08 am 
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You either find a clever way to gain the upper hand, or you get roasted in a few turns.

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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:31 pm 
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dmcolby wrote:
The scariest thing about DCC dragons isn't their HP, it's that their breath weapon deals damage equal to their hitpoints. I rolled up a random dragon last year that did something like 93 damage with a breath attack. Half on a failed save. I haven't seen a PC yet that would survive even a successful save.


I think it depends what you want to achieve in terms of story with the dragon.

Personally, I prefer the usual roll-the-dice damage. A big chunk of dice, but dice nonetheless.

The problem with breath damage = HP (this is how it worked in AD&D and I DMed a bunch of dragons back then), is that either the dragon pretty much kills the PCs outright if it's uninjured; or if it's injured enough by the PCs before it can use its first breath weapon (normally, it's first attack), it's too weak to be a matchup for the PCs and the PCs can possibly kill it quickly (or it flees).

Now, some people like this, I respect that. I'm not too fond of it myself. Not for a dragon. I prefer a good battle where the dragon will either win or lose, but it won't be decided very quickly. Or, rather, let me rephrase that: it might be decided quickly, but it doesn't HAVE to be. With breath weapon = hit point, you pretty much don't have a choice: the battle will be decided before it really starts. It's trick or treat. Trick = you win before you get roasted; treat... well, you don't :)

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Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:00 pm 
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We're all handling this as "as it's hp drops, so does the damage from the breath weapon," right?

I like the idea that you have to play smart vs. the dragon -- you must find a way to weaken it before you face it head-on. If you face it head-on... All the sniping that goes into trying to whittle it down -- all the chances that those plans go horribly wrong. I love that stuff.

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Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:15 pm 
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GnomeBoy wrote:
We're all handling this as "as it's hp drops, so does the damage from the breath weapon," right?

I like the idea that you have to play smart vs. the dragon -- you must find a way to weaken it before you face it head-on. If you face it head-on... All the sniping that goes into trying to whittle it down -- all the chances that those plans go horribly wrong. I love that stuff.


You don't need a breath damage = HP mechanic to support that. Any strong creature will do. Don't you think?

I don't like that the dragon is as strong as a hurt puppy when he's almost dead. I want him to be able of leaving in more than a puff of smoke!

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Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:24 pm 
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Skyscraper wrote:
You don't need a breath damage = HP mechanic to support that. Any strong creature will do. Don't you think?

Variety. It's not just a magazine that swirls into shot to reveal show-biz headlines in movies.

You can have any big ugly monster that you have to play smart against. But dragons should be iconic and absolutely feared. I have seen dragons deteriorate into stuff you just step up to and go toe-to-toe with... and that saddens me. *wipes tear from eye* I like the idea that what makes a dragon terrible is that they will kill everyone in range of their breath weapon. You will be ash -- or a puddle of goo, or ice cubes, or whatever. Contrary to, "well, yes, they'd kill normal folk instantly -- but not us heroes!", this way a big dragon will just kill you, if you give it the chance.

Seems appropriately scary.

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Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:48 pm 
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At the risk of sounding repetitive... You don't need a breath damage = HP mechanic to support that. Any strong creature will do. Don't you think?

The breath damage = HP mechanic means that your dragon is as dangerous as a slug that had too much to drink if he's hit hard enough. Don't you like that dragon to be fearsome to the last? I'd hate for the PCs to move up to my beloved dragon, step on his muzzle, spit in his eye, and laugh at him, pointing their finger at his lousyness and... and... be right.

I'd prefer for the latter scenario to end by the dragon breathing fire one last time, killing the warrior and the priest, before the thief drives his sword through his back to take away the last of his life. "We shouldn't have underestimated him. We should have finished him while we had the chance. Never again..."

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Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:25 pm 
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No, you don't need it -- but personally I wouldn't throw it out, either. If I was at the point of running a third dragon for the same group of players (whether different campaign or not), I might be looking for something else to base the breath weapon on (assuming all three had had damage-dealing breath weapons). But unless there were other considerations that made it not the best choice, I'd certainly use it the first time.

And since Dragons only get to breathe X number of times based on age, and since they don't have to wait 1d4 rounds or whatever between using their breath weapon, they are more likely to be spewing non-stop for the first few rounds, if targets are present. That'd wake players up. That'd be something they wouldn't expect. For those reasons alone, it'd be worth doing, I think.

Given how dragon breath weapons work (X uses, no wait period), I think there's something I might awkwardly refer to as 'realism' in the idea of the potency trailing off, round by round, as the beast gets weaker.

It's not the only mechanic I'd audition for the role, but the audition tape is very good.

The scenario you sketch out sounds very cool, but very AD&D -- these dragons work differently. If you'd rather they not work how they do, then yeah, BW=HP is not the way to go. But the drunk slug was Godzilla for weeks, months, or years -- until the party figured out what to do (probably losing many members and/or hirelings along the way). I guess I'm asking: does the method just not fit with your idea of "dragon-ness", Sky?

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Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!

Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)


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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:06 pm 
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GnomeBoy wrote:
The scenario you sketch out sounds very cool, but very AD&D -- these dragons work differently. If you'd rather they not work how they do, then yeah, BW=HP is not the way to go. But the drunk slug was Godzilla for weeks, months, or years -- until the party figured out what to do (probably losing many members and/or hirelings along the way). I guess I'm asking: does the method just not fit with your idea of "dragon-ness", Sky?


Sure. It fits because I've played that way for years. But my memory of AD&D dragons where BW=HP is that dragons were very underwhelming. Some could argue that I didn't play them right etc.. etc.. and they'd probably be right, I was never a tactically oriented RPG-er. But Compared to other monsters, the dragons didn't pull their load except at best for that first round breath weapon.

I of course agree that BW=HP is a valid way to play them. I'm sure a lot of fun can come of it too. This entire thread is one of splitting hairs a bit, but that's what it is: dragon hit points and, incidentally, the associated BW damage output. I'm quite sure we'd both have fun with a dragon however much damage he does with his breath weapon :)

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 Post subject: Re: Dragon Hit Points
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:44 pm 
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Skyscraper wrote:
I'm quite sure we'd both have fun with a dragon however much damage he does with his breath weapon :)

True. :D

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