January 2, 2012

Rethinking a Bad Idea

"If you roll a 3 for any of your six ability scores, you may play a dragon. The life of a young dragon is no picnic. Email me, we’ll roll on the dragon charts and see what you get."

That's out. 

The dragon charts aren't coming together like I'd hoped.  The xp requirements would make them level extremely slow.  Besides, dragons are cool because of their mystique and rarity.  I don't want to loose all that by putting one in the party at first level.

Still, I want to do something special when someone rolls an ability score of 3.  Something to change the player reaction from "oh crap" to "oh, interesting".  Players who roll an ability score of 4 or 5 already have the option to help make a customized class to play, so...

If you roll a 3 and choose a human class:  Pick one of these, then roll any die.

Psychic! (Mental Mutation)
Mutant! (Physical Mutation)
Cyborg!  (Mechanical Enhancement)
Inheritance (Bonus Gemstone/Jewelry/Gold)
Magical family heirloom. (Magic or "Magic" Item)
Sentient construct (Robots, Golems, and Androids - altered xp)
Average person, nothing special at all. I swear. (The Special Chart)
Parent was an alien abductee, mad wizard, or cult member (Rosemary's Babies)


  1. I'm toying with the idea that all dragons are actually cursed humans. Whether there's some Item of Dragon-Form or some cult of eccentrics cursing people, I can't decide.

    Otherwise, this seems like a grand idea to me. Why did they get that 3?
    If they roll an 18 do they also get some secret problem? Like they're pre-infected with hubris?

  2. I like when a player rolls an ability score of 3. I think those characters can be some of the most interesting, so long as the player is willing to work with it. I guess I just feel that rolling a low score can sometimes kill the mood at the table before the session even gets started. Especially for new players. So I thought this might help them feel more invested in the character. Players already seem invested in a character with an 18, so I'll leave those alone.

    I really like the idea of dragons as cursed humans! If it was me, I'd probably have the humans curse themselves. Maybe something like this?

    Legends speak of a loosely organized cabal of intellectuals who claimed to have found the secrets of longevity. They were all eventually ostracized when it was discovered that they were eating gold, gemstones, and magical items (repeatedly). The cabal members try to explain themselves, claiming that the practice nourishes and strengthens their bodies with the essences of agelessness.

    Once discovered, paranoid stories of "Glitter Shite" and its supposed ill effects on decent folk spread like wildfire. Merchants soon refuse to sell anything to a member of the cabal, knowing that to accept a payment would ruin their business forever.

    The cabal members increasingly turn to thievery to survive, which only adds fuel to their persecution. Soon they take to covering their faces and disguising themselves at all times. Eventually they distance themselves from the cities of men altogether, only venturing into civilization when tempted by opportunities to increase their personal hordes. The legend ends with the cabal falling to infighting and greed. They disband, go their separate ways, and are never heard from again.

    Thorough examination and research into later histories reveal sporadic mentions of strange hermits with familiar sounding names. These tidbits seem to continue for centuries... until the time of the dragons.