Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Non-Dark Sun Creatures in Dark Sun - Dragonnel

There are many creatures from the various monstrous manuals that have been officially added to Dark Sun. I added some unofficially for my game and I'm sure a lot of other DMs do the same.
There is no inherent problem with this, although the flavor text often doesn't fit with the Dark Sun setting. My goal is to list the various monsters that "don't fit" and rewrite their flavor text to make them fit.
I often add a new Athasian variant as well.



Adult Young
Climate/Terrain All, except Sandy Wastes and Silt
All, except Sandy Wastes and Silt Varies, See Description
Frequency Very Rare
Very Rare
Very Rare
Organization Solitary or band
Activity Cycle Night
Diet Carnivore
Intelligence Semi- (2-4) Semi- (2-4)
Semi- (2-4)
Treasure Nil
Alignment Neutral (evil)
Neutral (evil)
No. Appearing 1-4
Armor Class 3
8-4 3
Movement 12, Fl 18 (C; D if mounted)
7, Fl 13 (C) - 11, Fl 17 (C)
12, Fl 18 (C; D if mounted)
Hit Dice 8+4
3+4 - 7+4
THAC0 11
16 - 12
No. of Attacks 3
Damage/Attack 1-6/1-6/4-16
Special Attacks Tail Slap (2-12)
Tail Slap (2-12), Breath Weapon
Special Defenses Nil Nil
Elemental Immunity
Magic Resistance Nil Nil
Size H (24' at shoulder) S (4') - H (20')
H (24' at shoulder)
Morale Elite (13) 11-12 (Steady)
Champion (15-16)
XP Value 2,000
270 - 1,400

Dragonnels are distantly related to wyverns. Their legs, huge wings, and long tails give them a wyvern-like appearance, and from a distance it is easy to mistake a dragonnel for one of its less dangerous cousins. Closer inspection reveals a dragonel’s toothy beak and warty, dinosaur-like hide.
At hatching, a dragonnel is glossy black with a red underbelly. As the creature ages, its underbelly fades to gray and its sides become dark red-violet. An adult dragonnel has long, maroon-colored spines on its back and white frills on its head.
Most dragonnels cannot speak, but 4% of wild adults can speak the tongue common to the area in which it resides. Though not very bright, they tend to be evil, cunning, and malicious.

Dragonnels have no breath weapon; in battle, they strike with their clawed forefeet and bite with their beaks. If they do not attack with their claws, they can lash opponents behind with their tails.

Habitat/ Society
Wild dragonnels are mildly social, gathering for mutual defense, cooperative hunting, and to mate. Males in their prime stay away from other males, collecting small, semi-permanent harems of females. Females leave the band to lay eggs secretly, burying them in warm, moist earth. Once the eggs are laid, the female abandons them, often rejoining their old band, but sometimes remaining solitary until they find a new one.
Dragonnels are sometimes used as mounts for war and raiding, but this is nearly unheard of in the Tablelands. Dragonnels carrying riders can fly at full speed if the total load does not exceed 360 pounds. However, if the load exceeds 100 pounds they lose maneuverability, which falls to the rating shown in parentheses. Dragonnels cannot (or will not) fly when carrying loads exceeding 360 pounds. Dragonnels can run at full speed carrying loads of up to 540 pounds, but if forced cany greater loads, they simply sit down and refuse to move. When serving as mounts they sometimes are equipped with leather barding, which lowers their AC to 2. Leather dragonnel barding weighs 180 pounds and costs 600 cp.
Needless to say, dragonnels are difficult to train, and they serve as mounts only grudgingly. Wild, adult dragonnels cannot be , trained, although evil druids might be able to entice talking dragonnels into cooperating. During such negotiations, dragonnels are vain and greedy. Normally a prospective dragonnel trainer must find a clutch of eggs, hatch them, and train them for about five years.
A trained dragonnel is controlled with a short goad with an obsidian tip and a weighted butt, and with four reins, one pair attached to each of the creature’s jaws. Even trained dragonnels are untrustworthy mounts; more than one careless rider has received a painful, if not fatal, bite when approaching his steed unwarily and without a sharp goad in hand.

Dragonnels are at home in almost any climate, but prefer the moist air of the Forest Ridge. They are virtually unheard of in the Sandy Wastes or near the Silt Sea.
Dragonnel eggs are laid in clutches of ld6+2. If incubated under warm, moist conditions, they hatch in 12 weeks. Hatchling dragonnels can fly almost immediately and mature in about three years. They are fully grown after five years.
Wild dragonnels prefer to hunt and kill large animals, such as erdland, aprig, carru, or even an occasional human or demihuman. However, when necessary they scavenge or hunt nearly anything living – rodents, humanoids, or anything else they can catch. They are true carnivores and cannot eat plants. Domestic dragonnels thrive only on red meat, usually the equivalent of two erdland or carru every month.
Wild dragonnels are hunted by humans and other massive creatures, including drakes and cloud rays.

Young dragonnel's are loners. They seek out prey that they feel they can easily overcome. Their favorite is wounded prey, or sleeping travelers. If a target puts up too much of a fight, the young dragonnel will seek easier prey elsewhere.
Hatchlings are born with 3 hit dice and gain a hit dice, as well as four feet of height, for every year of their life. Thac0, Armor Class, and Movement all improve when hit die improves. They do not receive a tail slap attack until reaching full adulthood.

Some dragonnels have been imbued with elemental, or paraelemental, powers. Elemental dragonnel's are granted a breath weapon and immunites based upon their type from the chart below. All breath weapons are lines 5 feet wide, have a range of 25 feet, and do 3d6 damage. Immunities include immunity from magical and natural sources.
Elemental Summary
(Para-)Element Breath Weapon
Air Gust of Wind
Cold & Ice Damage
Earth Small Stones
Fire Fire
Water Boiling Water
Magma Magma
Rain Lightning Lightning
Silt Scouring Silt
Sun Heat Ray
Heat (Including fire. 1/2 damage from magma.)

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