dragons in 5e

2 consecutive tweets from my twitter feed:


Rodney Thompson (@wotc_rodney) 10h
RIP, Sooty Rediron, my dwarf rogue who was just melted by an acid breath weapon. The first true casualty of @rjschwalb’s #dndnext playtest.
Bruce Cordell (@BruceCordell) 10h
My dwarf fighter Kormak hovers at -13 hp. It’s possible our 2nd level party shouldn’t’ve fought this green dragon. #DnDNext

The green dragon is breathing acid instead of poison! 5e speculation: Every dragon has swapped breath weapons with another. The Red Dragon’s breath weapon is now a line of blinding light (once belonging to the crystal dragon), and the black dragon has taken over the yellow dragon’s breath weapon: salt water.

(Oh man, there are so many B-list breath weapons: hot sand. inebriation gas. shrink ray. apathy gas.)

The speculation is a joke, but the tweets are real. Also for real, I have actually fought dragons in 5e.

I rode Rory’s coattails into the Friends and Family 5e playtest program that preceded the open playtest. There were more monsters in that F+F bestiary, including white and blue dragons. (Don’t be too jealous: the D&D version I played in that early ruleset was much worse than the one we’ve seen in the open playtest. Which means that playtesting is working.)

Like Rodney Thompson and Bruce Cordell, our group was destroyed by the dragon we fought. In that old snapshot of 5e, at least, dragons were TOUGH.

When the white dragon was spotted in the sky, my fifth-level witch wizard, Nelf, crouched on top of a tower, far from the rest of the party. I’d be able to get a fireball off, and, I reasoned, the dragon would rather swoop down and blast the other four party members at once than waste a turn killing one paltry wizard. I was wrong.

My fireball did a lot of damage and got the dragon’s attention. White dragons don’t like fireballs. It changed course and landed next to me on the tower. I’d buffed myself with Resist Energy (Cold), but it didn’t matter, because the dragon launched into a claw/claw/bite routine. I went from full hit points to dead in less than six seconds, and I didn’t even get the dignity of death by breath weapon.

Chewing meditatively on my head, the dragon swooped down on the rest of the party. It unleashed its cone of icy breath. The party died.

The fact that my wizard’s quick death wasn’t a comic freak – that even the party fighters could be flash-frozen in a single round – was, I have to admit, oddly comforting.

But it was a cold comfort.

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