Author Topic: "Dragon" as a character class?  (Read 2669 times)

Valtiel

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"Dragon" as a character class?
« on: February 19, 2013, 11:41:00 AM »
Ok, I'm SURE I recall reading about someone creating a playable Dragon class in Dungeon World. But I can't for the life of me find it; so I wrote my own. Here we go. Fairly rough first draft. See below the second line for my comments and questions.

The idea is to portray a young, fairly small dragon. It doesn't yet have the vast magical power, vast reserves of arcane secrets, or enormous golden horde of an ancient dragon; which in part explains why it's hanging around with a bunch of grubby adventurers.

Please comment on this. Balance comments are welcome, as are remarks on whether or not this feels suitably like playing a dragon,



The Dragon


Damage d10
Max HP: Constitution +10

Look:
Burning eyes, alien eyes, or strangely kind eyes.
Brightly shining scales, battered armour-like scales, or well-camouflaged scales.
Massively muscular body, sinuous body, or lean and hungry body.
Aura of imperious glory, aura of vast magical power, or aura of monstrous menace.

Alignment:

Good: Endanger yourself to protect a mere mortal.
Evil: Terrify or torment lesser creatures just for the fun of it.
Lawful: Pass judgement over lesser creatures in a just and fair manner.
Chaotic: Defy or shatter the petty laws of mortals.

Race:

You are a dragon. Pick a natural environment:
  • The cruel mountain peaks. Your breath weapon is a bone-chilling blizzard of ice and snow.
  • The shifting desert sands. Your breath weapon is a surge of crackling lightning that fuses sand into glass.
  • Deep beneath the earth. Your breath weapon is a volcanic gout of molten rock.
  • The dank, dismal swamps. Your breath weapon is a spray of noxious acid.
  • The vast ocean. Your breath weapon is a sonic shockwave that can sunder the hull of a galleon.
  • Or choose somewhere else. Your breath weapon is a wave of searing flame.

Starting moves:

Dragon's scales:
Your scales are as tough as chainmail. You have 2 armour. You cannot increase this by wearing armour or carrying a shield.

Dragonflight:
You can fly, although not particularly gracefully.
When you attempt a difficult aerial maneuver, roll +CON.
*On a 10+, you succeed. *On a 7-9, choose one:
  • You don't quite pull it off as you'd intended.
  • You succeed, but you're going to be forced to land.
  • You succeed, but you get hurt in the process.

Dragon breath:
When you unleash your breath weapon at Near range, roll +CON.
*On a 10+, choose one. *On a 7-9, choose 2. *Either way, deal your damage, ignoring armour.
  • It's less impressive than you'd hoped. Deal d4 less damage.
  • Your aim is off, and you only hit one of the targets you were aiming at.
  • You exhaust yourself, and can't use your breath weapon again until you rest for a bit.
  • You miscalculated - either you hit something you weren't aiming at or you leave yourself vulnerable.

Draconic majesty:
When you terrify lesser creatures with your awe-inspiring presence, roll +CHA. *On a 7+, they choose one:
  • Grovel before you
  • Flee in abject terror
  • Swallow their fear and attack you
*On a 10+, you also take +1 forward against them. *On a miss, they do as they please and you take -1 forward against them.

Ravenous hunger:
Whenever you consume rations, consume one extra ration.

Gear
Your Load is 12+STR, although you can only fly with a load of 4+STR or less. You start with a harness that lets you carry things easily, a flame-grilled sheep (ration, 6 uses, 4 weight) and 100 coins worth of miscellaneous valuables. It's not a horde but it's a start.

Advanced moves:

Devastating breath:
When you unleash your breath weapon, deal +d4 damage.

Iron scales:
Your armour increases to 3.

Mighty Pinions:
Your wings increase in strength. You can carry one creature up to Medium size when you fly.

A Dragon's Lair:
You have established a lair. It benefits from a permanent version of the Wizard's Alarm spell. While you are within your lair, you take +1 Ongoing.

A Dragon's Horde:
Requires "A Dragon's Lair"
You have resolved to accumulate a mighty horde. Whenever you obtain a significant treasure and add it to your horde rather than spending it, mark XP.

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch:
Your claws and teeth gain the Messy tag and Piercing 1.

Precision shot:
You can use your breath weapon to Volley at long range. If you expend ammo, treat it as "you can't use your breath weapon again until you rest for a bit".

Under your wing:
When you Defend by using a part of your body to shield someone, in addition to any other advantages of the Defend move, they benefit from your armour as well as their own.

Studying the ways of mortals:
Pick a move from any class.

Advanced moves for levels 6+:

Ruinous breath:
Replaces "Devastating breath"
When you unleash your breath weapon, deal +d8 damage.

Adamantine scales:
Replaces "Iron Scales"
Your armour increases to 4.

Growing fast:
Only take this move when you have significant time between adventures.
Your size increases to Large. Your claws and teeth gain Reach. You gain +4 HP.

Devour:
Requires Growing Fast.
Once per combat, when you roll a 10+ on Hack and Slash against a Small creature, you may ignore their armour and hitpoints and simply swallow them whole.

Hideous rending:
Replaces "The jaws that bite, the claws that catch"
Your claws and teeth gain the Messy tag and Piercing 3.

Following the ways of mortals:
Pick another move from the same class used for "Studying the ways of mortals"

Mastering the ways of mortals:
Pick another move from the same class used for "Studying the ways of mortals"




I'm a little concerned the above-listed version of Dragon Breath is too powerful considering it's d10 damage ignoring armour. Here's an alternative version of dragon breath. This one is weaker since you only get one shot per fight.
Once per fight, when you unleash your breath weapon at Near range, roll +CON.
On a 10+, you deal your damage, ignoring armour. On a 7-9, you still deal your damage, but choose one:
  • It's less impressive than you'd hoped. Deal d4 less damage.
  • Your aim is off, and you only hit one of the targets you were aiming at.
  • You miscalculated - either you hit something you weren't aiming at or you leave yourself vulnerable.

And, of course, this one allows for advanced moves letting you use Dragon Breath more than once per fight.


I want to give the dragon some innate magical potential - maybe the ability to detect magic by smell, or something - but I can't work out how to best represent this. It'll be an Advanced move or two, I know that.

I don't currently have Bonds worked out, because honestly I don't even know where to start. I have absolutely no idea whether 100 coin is a sane amount to start with - on the one hand, that isn't actually enough to buy most characters' starting equipment when you look at the prices for armour and weapons. On the other hand, the Dragon doesn't need armour or weapons.

I know +CON moves are pretty rare, but Dragon Breath really does seem to work best keyed off Constitution, and I wanted to base Dragon Flight on the same thing to avoid making the Dragon too dependent on multiple attributes.

Draconic Majesty really is just the Paladin's "I am the Law!" with a slight modification.

I really am not sure whether Dragon's Lair and Dragon's Horde are at all useful. I think they're an important bit of flavour; but maybe I don't need mechanics to encourage a dragon to make a lair and a horde.

Why three multiclass moves? Because I want "dragon wizard" and "dragon cleric" to be more viable at higher levels.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 12:12:40 PM by Valtiel »

Option

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Re: "Dragon" as a character class?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2013, 06:35:28 PM »
Hello, I'm too new to DW to offer any good advice on custom playbooks but the DW thread on the Something Aweful forums seems to have a lot of good discussion and helpful feedback on custom playbooks from very experienced people. There may be a Dragon playbook posted there to give you further inspiration.

Scrape

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Re: "Dragon" as a character class?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 07:13:07 PM »
There is, in fact, a dragon race in the Beginner's Guide. I like yours, there's a lot going on there. It is extremely powerful, getting 2-armor right off the bat among other things. Also, the breath weapon choices seem a little off. I'd remove "you only hit one of your targets" and keep "hit something else or leave yourself vulnerable," 'cause that's a cooler trade-off.

Also, you should def check out the SA forums thread and post there; it's FILLED with great classes and player options.

vsh

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Re: "Dragon" as a character class?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2013, 07:14:23 PM »
What's not good is that your Dragon is all about fighting. Throw in social or personal moves too.
Hoard of 100 coins it the best thing in class, keep it. You can even make it 1000, doesn't break anything. Oh, how about this:
You start with [...] and either 1000 coins worth of miscellaneous valuables (it's not a horde but it's a start) or a mortal friend.

Valtiel

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Re: "Dragon" as a character class?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2013, 09:56:09 AM »
Thanks for the feedback, guys! I won't be posting on the SA forums thread, since joining the SA forums would either be a waste of money for something I only post on once or it would eat my life. However, if someone wants to copy-and-paste The Dragon into the SA thread, as long as you include a proper attribution to "Valtiel", I'm ok with that.

I'm considering reducing the armour progression to 1-2-3 rather than 2-3-4. That said, the Fighter and Paladin can both start with 2 armour and increase it to 4 with advanced moves, and they don't suffer from the Clumsy tag either. And the Dragon can't use a shield. It's a tricky call. Also, I'm not certain d10 damage and +10 HP is correct - they're certainly the right numbers for a front-line warrior type, mirrored by the Paladin, Fighter, and Barbarian (although the latter has less HP); but the Dragon also has flight, a breath weapon, and commanding presence. Something needs to give; and I like the Flight and Commanding Presence moves as they are. Less damage on the breath weapon would work, as would lower HP, damage, or armour. I'm currently leaning towards lowering the armour.

I'm going to take Scrape's advice with the breath weapon move. "Hit only one target" is a no-brainer if you were only aiming at one target; so out it goes. Still not sure whether I prefer the one-use-per-fight version or not.

I'm creating more social, magical, and general problem-solving advanced moves. New list below.

Main changes here: "Devastating breath" and "ruinous breath" are gone, replaced by "belly of the beast" and "bottomless reserves of fury". These assume that dragon breath is once per fight. These might end up being changed back if I go with the earlier version of Dragon Breath.

Precision shot is gone, because it felt wrong.

A Dragon's Lair is gone. An awesome lair should be a thing you find, not a thing you buy with XP.

Hideous Rending has been improved to add the Forceful tag as well as more piercing. While the Fighter and Paladin can deal more damage, the Dragon slams people back across the room.

Advanced moves:

Belly of the beast:
If you roll a 10+ for Dragon Breath, you may take one of the 7-9 results anyway. If you do, you may use your breath weapon again without resting.

Iron scales:
Your armour increases by +1.

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch:
Your claws and teeth gain the Messy tag and Piercing 1.

Under your wing:
When you Defend by using a part of your body to shield someone, in addition to any other advantages of the Defend move, they benefit from your armour as well as their own.

Mighty Pinions:
Your wings increase in strength. You can carry one creature of up to Medium size when you fly.

A Dragon's Horde:
You have begun accumulating a magnificent horde. At the end of each session, if you obtained a significant treasure and added it to your horde rather than spending it, mark XP.

As patient as the stone:
Whenever you use the Bolster move, take 1 more preparation than normal.

Vox Draconis:
You can speak a magical, universally-comprehensible dialect. This does not enable you to understand the reply.

Born of magic:
You are an inherently magical creature. When you successfully Discern Realities, you may also ask "what here has the stink of magic"?

Studying the ways of mortals:
Pick a move from any class.


Level 6+ advanced moves:

Bottomless reserves of fury:
Requires "Belly of the beast".
On a 12+ result on Dragon Breath, you may use your breath weapon again without resting.

Adamantine scales:
Replaces "Iron Scales"
Your armour increases by +2

Hideous rending:
Replaces "The jaws that bite, the claws that catch"
Your claws and teeth gain the Messy and Forceful tags and Piercing 3.

Growing fast:
Only take this move when you have significant time between adventures. Your size increases to Large. Your claws and teeth gain Reach. You gain +4 HP.

Devour:
Requires Growing Fast.
Once per combat, when you roll a 10+ on Hack and Slash against a Small creature, you may ignore their armour and hitpoints and simply swallow them whole.

Elemental blood:
Requires "Born of magic"
You are strongly connected to a particular elemental force. Take +1 to interact with any magic associated with your element.

Living focus of magic:
Requires "Elemental blood". You must NOT have "Living vortex of magic"
Raw magical power flows into the world through you. When you use this power to augment an existing magical working, roll +CON. On a success, you may enhance it: Improve its effect, its area, or its duration. On a 7-9, you also take a Debility from the strain.

Living vortex of magic:
Requires "Elemental blood". You must NOT have "Living focus of magic"
Within your heart is a swirling, seething nightmare of magical chaos. When you unleash this power against an existing magical working, roll +CON. On a success, you may disrupt, weaken, or destroy it. On a 7-9, you also take a Debility from the strain.

Following the ways of mortals:
Requires "Studying the ways of mortals"
Pick another move from the same class used for "Studying the ways of mortals"

Mastering the ways of mortals:
Requires "Studying the ways of mortals"
Pick another move from the same class used for "Studying the ways of mortals"