Monday, January 30, 2012

Thoth Razylym: First Dragon in my Setting

So, now that the party in my Skype campaign has had a dragon take notice of them (and send two dopplegangers to try to kill them next session), I need to create a dragon which is doing all of this. I used three resources to create this dragon, plus Swords & Wizardry Core for the final format in which I write up my dragon.

First off, I used this Random Female Dragon Name Generator until I found a name I liked: Thoth Razylym, which I'm deciding, from the options, means "Worm Steel." This is also what helped me decide to have this dragon be female.

Secondly, I used Matt Finch's excellent Tome of Adventure Design to figure out a few things about this dragon:
  • There is some kind of parasite/symbiote/other life form always attached to Thoth's body. I've decided that this will be a Firx, which I'll address in a later post. This is the Dying Earth connection that got me thinking about the topic of my last post.
  • Thoth has some kind of illusion special ability. I decided that her spells will come from the Illusionist spell list instead of the Magic-User Spell list. This also inspired me to decide that the assassins she sends after the party will be dopplegangers. I'll generally try to have her minions be creatures and people that use illusion. Also, though every dragon in my setting can transform into human-ish form, Thoth can transform into many, many forms.
  • Her breath weapon is a large cloud that even envelopes her; the cloud causes those who breathe it to dance uncontrollably.
  • Her obsession is to collect something. This caused me to reject more detailed rolls in the next resource until they came up with something compatible.
Lastly, I used the extensive Unexpurgated Dragon Generator, probably the best way to create a unique dragon that I've seen to date. From it I learned that:
  • Thoth is Neutral Evil
  • Thoth has some kind of "madness"
  • She's young, with 2 hit points per hit die
  • She's large, about 4 meters long
  • Her AC is 21
  • She has 11 Hit die
  • She moves with BMR 3/8 when on ground/flying
  • She has three attacks per round, which do 1d4, 1d6 and 1d10 damage.
  • She has claws of sharpness that sever limbs when they hit on a natural 20
  • She's amphibian
  • Her body type is serpentine- no legs, no wings. This seems to clash with the flying and claws of sharpness. I'm ruling that she can fly without wings by flattening her body (similar to a flying snake), having fins along her sides and because of natural dragon buoyancy and that she's got some sort of sharp claw-like thing on her tail.
  • She's white and brown. I decided that she'll be striped, much like many real-life snakes.
  • She has a 40% chance to be in her lair and a 5% chance to be asleep.
  • She collects maidens and may or may not eat them. I've decided that she doesn't eat them- at least not right away- because that's more interesting, that's more consistent with "collecting" and I can see Thoth having the maidens dance for her with her breath weapon.
I didn't roll on some of the tables, such as about Thoth's intelligence and her ability to use magic, as I'd already decided that all dragons in my setting are super-humanly intelligent and can use magic.

I also needed to find a "madness" for Thoth. The DMG doesn't come out until April, so I can't use the insanity tables I believe are in it, and the OSRIC table only contains very debilitating insanities I don't want to use for a foe as formidable as I want Thoth to be.

Fortunately, I own a copy of Dragontree Press' Handbook of Traps and Tricks, which has more extensive insanity tables. Many of these options are also severe, but that can be remedied by choosing an insanity instead of rolling for one, as many other options are not so bad. Looking through the phobia/philia sub-table, I noticed the entry "paladins." Maybe Thoth has an unhealthy fascination with paladins? Perhaps she's collecting maidens so that a paladin will try to rescue one of them and she will be able to meet, and, hopefully, detain and get to know, him? That sounds very interesting to me and is a nice twist to Thoth. She'll lop the limbs off of a knight or cleric without a second thought, but somehow a paladin grabs her fascination.

The last thing I need to figure out is Thoth's spells. Dragons in my setting all use magic, and I've already decided that Thoth uses Illusionist instead of standard Magic-User spells, but which spells will she have? Upon some research, Illusionists are seeming somewhat complicated (for someone like me who is only used to Swords & Wizardry), what with only seven spell levels and choices to make about spell slot progressions. I'm going to leave off on Thoth's spells for now, saving them for another post.

Finally, here's a Swords & Wizardry compatible write-up, with some added notes so I can use it quickly with my house-rules:

Thoth Razylym, Dragon
Hit Dice: 11
Hit Points: 22
Armor Class: -2 [21]
Attacks: 1 Fin Swipe (1d4), 1 Bite (1d6), 1 Tail-Claw (1d10)
Saving Throw: 4
Special: Breathes Cloud of Dancing (surrounds Thoth to radius of 30 meters, distributes 22 points of damage among victims, save or dance, check save every round), Tail-Claw of Sharpness (severs limb on natural 20 to-hit roll)
Move: 9/24 (flying) (3/8 with my movement system)
Alignment: Chaos (Chaotic Neutral)
Challenge Level/XP: 12 (22/4=5.5, round up to 6, +1 to finish dragon calculation, +1 for irresistible dance facet of breath weapon, +3 for multiple spells 5th level and higher)/2000


  1. "This also inspired me to decide that the assassins she sends after the party will be dopplegangers."

    You might consider Invisible Stalkers - a little more mysterious/spooky and "illusory." The players might think they're being attacked by poltergeists at first, or something, and they might get a little creeped out if they figure out they're being specifically targeted by these things. The stalkers could even have some of the characteristics of Thoth, albeit invisibly, if you wanted to give them a hint...or confuse them more (until they finally meet the dragon sending these things).

    Nice dragon, man!

  2. Thanks! Another reason that I used dopplegangers I seem to have omitted from this post is that I rolled on my Puppet Master tables and came up with Thoth sending 4HD monsters after the party; dopplegangers are 4HD monsters, while Invisible Stalkers seem to be considerably more. I do appreciate the comment, though!

  3. No prob, I was actually thinking you could ratchet them down to appropriate difficulty: "Lesser Stalkers," "Invisible Paparazzi" or something. Not that dopplegangers aren't cool, too. :)