Sunday, June 18, 2017

[D&D] Dragon-blooded

Third (and final) installment in this series of new character races for AD&D, trying to follow Gary Gygax's example with the barbarian of taking a concept that's popular among players and figuring out how to portray it in a way that fits within both the tonal and stylistic framework and the rules-architecture of AD&D:

Dragon-blooded: When a human mates with a gold or silver dragon in human form (see ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, MONSTER MANUAL) most offspring and descendants from that union will be normal humans (with perhaps some knack or quirk (q.v.) serving as memorial to their unusual ancestry), but a small percentage - about 1 in 100 - will bear a more distinct stamp of their draconic parentage. Such individuals are known as "dragon-blooded."

Dragon-blooded individuals generally appear human, but will always have some distinctive feature to their appearance that betrays their heritage, such as golden-hued skin, gold or silver-colored hair, gold or silver eyes, etc.

Dragon-blooded characters may become cavaliers (with a maximum of 9th level with an 18 score in strength, 8th level with a 17 strength, or 7th level with a strength score below 17), clerics (worshiping their ancestors Bahamut (if good) or Tiamat (if evil), with a maximum of 6th level), fighters (with the same level maximums as for cavaliers above, but increased by +2 levels if the character is single-classed), magic-users (with a maximum of 11th level with an 18 score in intelligence, 10th level with a 17 intelligence, or 9th level with an intelligence score below 17, and an increase of +2 levels if the character is single-classed), thieves, including acrobats (with unlimited advancement potential and the same ability modifiers as apply to half-elves), or assassins (with a maximum of 9th level). A dragon-blooded character may also be a multi-classed cleric/fighter, cleric/magic-user, cleric/fighter/magic-user, fighter/magic-user, fighter/thief, fighter/magic-user/thief, or magic-user/thief.  Such multi-classed characters are able to freely employ all armor, weapons, and magical items available to all of their classes, with the exception that thieving activity is restricted to the armor and weapons available to the thief class. Earned experience for multi-classed characters is always divided equally among all of the character's classes, even when one or more of those classes has reached its maximum and the character is no longer able to gain additional levels in that class.

Dragon-blooded characters have infravision, the ability to see into the infrared spectrum, so
they are able to see up to 60' in the dark, noting varying heat radiation.

Dragon-blooded characters receive a +20% bonus on reaction rolls from good and neutral dragons, and all snakes and reptiles, and they possess the natural ability to both speak with and understand the speech of all snakes and reptiles. However, they suffer a -20% reaction penalty from evil dragons, insectoids of all sorts (including such creatures as aspis, formians, and thri-kreen), daemons, demons, and devils.

Dragon-blooded are naturally persuasive, and have the ability to flimflam as if they were a mountebank (q.v.) of one-half their level (or highest level, in the case of a multi-classed character).

Dragon-blooded characters receive a +1 bonus on saving throws vs. poison (if they are of gold heritage) or paralyzation (if they are of silver heritage), as well as against magic. They receive a +2 bonus on saving throws and only suffer half damage vs. cold (silver heritage) or fire (gold heritage). However, they suffer a -1 penalty on saving throws and take an additional +1 damage per die against the opposite effect (i.e. fire for dragon-blooded of silver heritage, cold for those of gold heritage).

Any dragon-blooded character of 5th level or higher (3rd level or higher if the character is a cavalier) may ride a dragonnel as a mount. At 7th level or higher (5th level or higher for cavaliers) they may also ride wyverns. Dragon-blooded characters of 9th level and higher (7th level and higher for cavaliers) may ride dragons as mounts (assuming, of course, they are able to find one and convince it to serve).

Strength Min 6 / Max 18(00)
Intelligence Min 8/ / Max 18
Wisdom Min 3 / Max 18
Dexterity Min 8 / Max 18
Constitution Min 6 / Max 18
Charisma Min 8 / Max 18

Generally as per half-elves in both directions, however their distinctive appearance and near-legendary status will cause some individuals to have extreme reactions (either positively or negatively).

Starting age and lifespan are both as per half-elves, however as a reflection of their draconic heritage the effects of aging are reversed for dragon-blooded characters. They do not suffer the normal aging-related ability score losses and instead continue to increase their ability scores (up to the normal racial maximums) as they grow older: upon reaching middle-age dragon-blooded characters add +1 to their constitution score; old dragon-blooded characters add  +1 to their strength score; and upon reaching the venerable age category dragon-blooded characters add +1 to their charisma score.

Both as per humans


  1. First time... ever I saw your gizzard... ;)

    Seriously, I had a bonafide player who did something like this in 1982. This was back in the days when I shared DMing D&D as a shared campaign of characters in a fantasy space rather than a straight up campaign world. He had DMed himself a dragon family for his character who married a dragon that he had subdued in another DM's campaign. So he played it out with his brother and other people that I didn't know. When he divulged all of this character activity, I had begun thinking all this shared world stuff wasn't such a great idea. His half-breed children were accompanying him with limited breath abilities. These took the form of imbuing objects with their parent's breath to limit the power ( I believe it was a silver dragon and they recharged wands of frost and paralyzation 3 times a day). This was the first time where I had to deal with a sophisticated judgement and ruled that they wouldn't exist normally. So others on my watch couldn't replicate the parentage.

    1. Part of my intent in doing this write-up was to stake a claim to the territory of "half-dragons" in AD&D in order to say that where they exist they're like this (more-or-less Khaleesi from Game of Thrones) and definitely NOT the lizard-headed, fire-breathing dudes of later D&D editions

  2. I see what you're doing and that is good for having an intro package for players to grab and go. For the long run in a long term campaign, I think its important to establish what exactly is going to happen if you mix a cockatrice with a basilisk or an orc with a minotaur. My experience has told me that its better to open up the possibility of having more ways to have genetics take form through magic. That is if a polymorphed monster and a person make an offspring, I factor in magic as a third parent. So for example your take on the dragon human would fit perfectly as one outcome, etc but I'd weigh in other options if it was happening to a pregnant (NPC) character in play rather than a starting character.