Dragons and Giants in game

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rabindranath72
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Dragons and Giants in game

Post by rabindranath72 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:03 pm

I have recently converted my Dragonlance campaign to D&D 3.0 from Castles & Crusades. One of the things I adjusted are dragons and giants. Dragons play too strong a role in the setting to relegate them to high level appearances; similarly, at least hill giants (or "giant ogres" in Dragonlance parlance) should be relatively common. So I reduced their hit dice (and in the dragons' case, I changed the whole age progression.) I have only just tested these revised dragons and giants in a few encounters, but I am still not sure I got them right.
Now, I have seen that Pathfinder chose the route of reducing the HD of both dragons and giants! Taking a cue from them, I'd probably apply the same changes, but I'd like to ask: how do these "reduced" versions play? Are they noticeably less powerful than their ordinary 3e counterparts?

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night_druid
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Re: Dragons and Giants in game

Post by night_druid » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:41 pm

Can't say how it changes game play, but I think its a good idea. 3e had the mechanics to level up creatures via adding class levels; I would think it'd make sense to have giants (and dragons, to a lesser extent) have a relatively lower starting point in terms of HD and size. Having giants start at their 1e HD & size (8 HD, 10' 6" height) makes sense, and then it would be easy to slap on a few levels of barbarian to make a chief or some tribal champion. Maybe add rules or notes that as giants get older, they get bigger & meaner, so a hill giant elder might be 16' tall and have 12 HD, plus any character levels.
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rabindranath72
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Re: Dragons and Giants in game

Post by rabindranath72 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:13 pm

night_druid wrote:Can't say how it changes game play, but I think its a good idea. 3e had the mechanics to level up creatures via adding class levels; I would think it'd make sense to have giants (and dragons, to a lesser extent) have a relatively lower starting point in terms of HD and size. Having giants start at their 1e HD & size (8 HD, 10' 6" height) makes sense, and then it would be easy to slap on a few levels of barbarian to make a chief or some tribal champion. Maybe add rules or notes that as giants get older, they get bigger & meaner, so a hill giant elder might be 16' tall and have 12 HD, plus any character levels.
That's an interesting idea, although in general I don't like adding class levels to monsters for simplicity.
For my revision of dragons, I take the same starting HDs as Pathfinder (which are also the same as 3e, as Wyrmlings) and increase by one HD per age category; 3e increases by 3, PF by two. I also scale armour class in steps of 2, but 3e and PF in steps of 3.
For giants, I downgraded the hill giant to an 8 HD variety; reduced STR by 2, and removed 1 feat. PF instead has 10HD hill giants.
The group is composed by a Fighter 4/Knight of the Crown 1, Rogue 5, Cleric 5, Wizard 3
The last two encounters they managed to kill both the giant and the dragon, although the Knight was close to be clobbered to death, and the wizard went into the negatives twice. So...I am still not sure that my versions are "right".

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Re: Dragons and Giants in game

Post by timemrick » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:32 pm

In Dragonlance, giants and dragons may be more common at lower levels, but they should remain a tough challenge even with your house rules. Sounds like you did okay, esp. if it was their first time fighting either kind of monster.

Were the two encounters close to each other in time? Or did they get a full night's rest in between?
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Re: Dragons and Giants in game

Post by Michael Tumey » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:01 am

Rite Publishing has a PF supplement called In the Company of Giants, which is also part of a larger composite for In the Company of Monsters, but all the "In the Company of..." series includes a racial paragon class. This is a 20 level specialized class that depicts a typical monster with powers appropriate to level in comparison with its Bestiary counterpart. So a 7HD hill giant is equivalent to 7th level paragon, with lesser abilities, size, STR, saves from 1st - 6th level, powering up as it levels, with an uber giant at 20th level.

While the In the Company of Monsters include the Jotun (giant race), Taurian (minotaur), Gargoyle, Ironborn (warforged-ish), Restless Souls (back from the dead race), and Wyrd (Elf-Ogre Magi cross), 2 more in the series (one for Medusa, and one for Fey) have been added, but not part of the compilation, also all the In the Company of series for Kaidan are separate (henge, kappa, tengu).

Here's a look at the Hishoken racial paragon class for tengu, from In the Company of Tengu, so you can see what a racial paragon class build is like, and if it works to fit your needs (link points to d20pfsrd.com)

I think using the Jotun race of the In the Company of Giants would be a good way to depict lower HD giants. Got nothing for dragons, though one could custom build a dragon racial paragon class in the same way as the other racial paragons are built - once you take a look at a couple, you should be able to extract the process to build ones for any monster. Dragons might be a bit of work though.

Edit: Rite Publishing is selecting the cover art for In the Company of Dragons (Playtest) right now, so it looks like there might be a dragon solution after all, though its probably a month or two away from release - since its at the playtest stage, now. I just got an email from Rite asking which cover of 3 is best.

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Re: Dragons and Giants in game

Post by rabindranath72 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:42 am

timemrick wrote:In Dragonlance, giants and dragons may be more common at lower levels, but they should remain a tough challenge even with your house rules. Sounds like you did okay, esp. if it was their first time fighting either kind of monster.

Were the two encounters close to each other in time? Or did they get a full night's rest in between?
They had already fought other dragons, but it was with the C&C rules before converting to 3e (these are even nastier than 3e dragons, so I reduced their overall power level.) It was the first time they fought an hill giant, though.

The first encounter was with the giant. The second encounter was with a 7HD dragon (young according to my reduced progression,) and a 5th level barbarian.

Both the barbarian and the dragon were in a prison compound, the players had the chance to force a fight in the restricted environment which would have limited the manoeuver space of the dragon, but they decided to try to get away with the prisoners they had freed. The dragon and the barbarian took another exit (unknown by the players) so when the players got out, they met the giant. The fighter/knight was almost killed, and I goofed with the rules and allowed a light spell to be cast on the eyes of the giant (I forgot in 3e it's touch only and only affects objects :oops: ) so the giant was killed. When they got away, they were pursued after half an hour by the barbarian riding the dragon; they surprised half the party (except cleric and rogue, who won initiative and dispersed) and the dragon strafed and used its breath on the fighter and wizard; the wizard fell dying, and the fighter/knight was severely injured (this guy is quite lucky; as a 5th level character he has 47 hit points!) The cleric spent the (almost) last of his healing spells on the wizard, who then used his wand of fireballs, injuring the dragon and barbarian. Then the dragon landed, and melee was joined. Again the fighter/knight was about to die, and the wizard was again dying (I got lucky with the barbarian, I hit the wizard even with a mirror image spell cast!) The encounter ended with the cleric completely out of spells (he used his orisons to put the wizard back to 1 hit point) and all of them severely battered. Now they have to return to the outpost, but there is always the possibility of random encounters :twisted:

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Re: Dragons and Giants in game

Post by rabindranath72 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:46 am

Thanks Michael, I'll have a look at those, although in general I prefer to keep things core-books only and the simplest possible.

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Re: Dragons and Giants in game

Post by Michael Tumey » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:39 pm

Which is terrible news for us third party game content creators :(

That's what I love about Pathfinder is OGL, allowing third parties (like me) to create and publish content for the system. Consider that many of us are also freelancers that work directly for Paizo Publishing creating core-book content, and adventure content. There are design decisions that Paizo is not going to make, and to achieve some cool concepts they can only be done by third parties - like racial paragon classes.

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Re: Dragons and Giants in game

Post by blackaeon » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:34 am

Having run my wife and our former roomie through some PF modules, I'd say that the reductions in power for both giants and dragons are a good thing. Being such iconic monsters, it's almost criminal to keep them to high-level play only. They managed to take on a few hill giants and a very young green dragon by 6-8th level through some creative measures (re: lots of booby-traps, some poison, etc). Sadly, I haven't gotten enough gaming in to see how things handle in the higher levels.
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Re: Dragons and Giants in game

Post by Michael Tumey » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:06 am

There's a free open playtest PDF for In the Company of Dragons at DTRPG if your interested in checking it out.

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Re: Dragons and Giants in game

Post by Angel Tarragon » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:04 am

Michael Tumey wrote:There's a free open playtest PDF for In the Company of Dragons at DTRPG if your interested in checking it out.
Sweet! :cool: I loved the Dragon magazine articles covering this for 3E. Now there's some support for Council of Wyrms for Pathfinder! :cool:

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Re: Dragons and Giants in game

Post by rabindranath72 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:01 pm

blackaeon wrote:Having run my wife and our former roomie through some PF modules, I'd say that the reductions in power for both giants and dragons are a good thing. Being such iconic monsters, it's almost criminal to keep them to high-level play only. They managed to take on a few hill giants and a very young green dragon by 6-8th level through some creative measures (re: lots of booby-traps, some poison, etc). Sadly, I haven't gotten enough gaming in to see how things handle in the higher levels.
Totally agreed. I have adopted the PF downgrading, and it's going very very well. In 3.0 it's even better, since dragons are less powerful than PF's for the same HD.

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Re: Dragons and Giants in game

Post by rabindranath72 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:08 pm

Michael Tumey wrote:There's a free open playtest PDF for In the Company of Dragons at DTRPG if your interested in checking it out.
Thanks! I'll definitely have a look.

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