Thursday, March 01, 2007

Great Random Charts from RPG History, volume II

I can't say that I'm a big fan of Adventures in Fantasy, the second RPG that Dave Arneson ever worked on. It's too bland for my tastes. Like the new Blackmoor d20 material all the awesome stuff like laser beams and robots has been cut out, leaving behind nothing but super-vanilla Tolkienisms and Old World folklore. The section on dragons is pretty much the only part of the game that I like. These charts (which I have reformatted but not otherwise altered) look like a super-fun way of freaking out jaded D&D players.

Head (d10)
1) Horned Ram
2-3) Horned Camel
4-6) Hornless Crocodile
7) Elephant
8) Salamander
9-10) Serpent

Body (d10)
1-2) Green Scales
3-5) Armored Scales
6-7) Red Scales
8) Gold Scales
9) Green Armored
10) Red Armored

Extremities (2d10)
2) Shelled belly, front feet of tiger
3-5) Lion forelegs, eagle rearlegs
6-7) Forked tail, neck of serpent
8) Webbed feet, bovine ears
9) Winged, forked tail, neck of serpent, webbed feet, bovine ears
10) Winged, shelled belly, front feet of tiger, lion forelegs, eagle rearlegs
11) Winged, lion forelegs, eagle rearlegs, forked tail, neck of serpent
12) Winged, shelled belly, front feet of tiger, forked tail, neck of serpent
13-15) Winged, lion forelegs, eagle rearlegs, webbed feet, bovine ears
16-19) Winged, shelled belly, front feet of tiger, webbed feet, bovine ears
20) Winged, shelled belly, front feet of tiger, lion forelegs, eagle rearlegs, forked tail, neck of serpent, webbed feet, bovine ears

That last entry is a doozy! After these charts are several more pages of dragon details, include random personality charts and stuff like that. I'm not going to retype all 9 pages of draconic info, but let me hit a few interesting highlights.
  • Female dragons lay 1-6 eggs six months after mating occurs. Only 50% of the egges are fertile. Infertile eggs crumble to dust in 1-3 years. Fertile eggs hatch after 30 years, during which time they are impervious to all non-magical attacks. After the hatching the mother drives the young out of her lair.
  • Some dragons can be convinced to adventure with the PCs if sufficient treasure is involved. The treasure must contain at least 100,000gp, 4 magic items, or something of peculiar interest to the dragon (see below). In no case will the dragon venture more than 90 miles from its lair.
  • All dragons are hobbyists. Common areas of interest include magic, academia, warfare, crafts, history, the natural world, food, and sex. Only those dragons with specific interest in sexual matters ever go to the trouble to mate. The rest of them consider the act beneath the dignity of the species. By the numbers 90% of all dragons are celibate.
Arneson's dragons are like the ultimate super-nerds. They're pretty freakish looking, don't venture out too much, have weird tastes, and they're pretty much all virgins. Yet inexplicably they sit at the top of the food chain.

1 comment:

  1. That's as good as the random Demon charts in one of the old Best of Dragon mags. I keep thinking about converting that to v3.5, but keep forgetting about it when I have the time.

    Anything that takes a monster group players know a lot about, and totally munges it up rocks for the DM.

    Hmm... that Demon chart could be built as randomizing parts of the stat block -- making it also immediately useable by a DM. More thought needed.