Dragons in Echelon, Part 1: Introduction

I was prompted by a couple conversations on Google+ to delve a little into how dragons might be implemented in Echelon. I originally looked into this a couple years ago at my other site and it’s long past time to revisit the topic. There have been a number of changes since then that will affect how they might be implemented, especially with regard to the number and types of talents — I didn’t even have cornerstones and capstones at that point, or even a full Basic tier!

As with many things, it looks like it’ll be either easy, or hard, and the difference lies in having good definitions.

I asked “what makes a dragon a dragon?” and most of the definitions I received amount to, in Echelon, “high tier”. Tough, dangerous, a threat to everything that they want to threaten… but that describes high-level demons, wizards, and — I am aiming for — fighters as well. This would make it hard.

On the other hand, if we look at other characteristics, it might be easier. William Mims provided a list:

  • serpent- or reptilian-like
  • breath & flight optional, independent of structure
  • almost certainly magical, even primordial elemental, in aspect
  • extremely long lived if not nigh-immortal
  • inclined to gather occluded secrets and mysterious artifacts, but not necessarily studious
  • rightly convinced of power, if not outright conceited
  • rarely “stupid” in intelligence, even when purely bestial in psychology
  • often wise from long experience, if not innately discerning
  • really big, often colossal, but not always larger than huge
  • leanings of learned lore can vary; divine devotion, arcane acumen, mystic mentalism, and studious scientific, are all seen… or none at all

Many of these might be difficult to capture explicitly. The very variation present, though, tells me that going back to basics lets me do almost anything, which is something of a freedom.

Rather than doing that, then, I’ve examined the Pathfinder dragons and found that there is actually a lot of structure there I can use, and greater qualitative difference between dragons than I remember from D&D 3.x.

I’ll start exploring that in the next post.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Dragons in Echelon, Part 2: Common Abilities | Echelon d20 - An RPG framework based on the d20 system.

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