Welcome back adventurers and DMs Wizard Charlie here! Last time on “How to Run:” we focused on creating our first ancient dragon with the carnivorous, White Dragon. Join me today as we look into the last of our chromatic dragons, the dastardly rulers of the skies, the Blue Dragons. This will be more of a guide to help DMs but all are always welcome.
Blue Dragons are terrifyingly vain creatures with a need for control. They need a territory to control and they will not let sleights against their status or strength pass; they are better and stronger than you. Similarly to red dragons, blue dragons tend to be overlords; they love to be in charge and they love to dominate an area. They adore gems above all other treasures and they tend to reside in the desert. They sport a massive ridged horn, have a large lower jaw that juts outwards with dozens of teeth, and smell of ozone. These desert dwelling, electrically charged creatures are patient and methodical so a fight with them is expected to be challenging. Blue dragons are intelligent, tactical, and very powerful; all things to consider before facing off against them.
Right away I have an idea. Let us close out the chromatic dragons with a bang. Let us make this one an ancient dragon that not only has lived a long time but is extra powerful. Dragons are ancient creatures, so I like to think they have access to magics and abilities that your normal everyday creatures wouldn’t have access to. I like to think that after a certain point all dragons should be able to change shape into other creatures; so why not give these creatures the ability to change shape into a humanoid? Whereas a green dragon might be running a criminal underbelly of a city, a blue dragon might rule an entire region. So let’s make our ancient blue dragon a leader, and not only that but a successful one. Hell maybe your party begins their adventures in this city where the dragon is the leader.
Blue dragons rule over a dominion, therefore a city and its people would fall under her dominion wouldn’t it? Meaning she views everyone there as her subjects, her domain, hers. Blue dragons reward loyal subjects as well. She would protect her territory, defeat any who questioned her power, and would be feared as the queen that hides away a terrifying blue dragon for times of war (no one knowing that she is in fact the blue dragon). How about that for subverting your players expectations? She can be the final big bad of an entire campaign and better yet maybe she is actually their most powerful ally? Maybe early on they saved her from assassination attempt sent by a neighboring green dragon that wanted her seat of power. Maybe she rewards them throughout the campaign with magic items and jobs before finally sending them to deal with the green dragon that tried to have her assassinated; and right before they take out the green dragon they reveal that the queen that they all follow is in fact an ancient blue dragon. Well now what, does the team leave her in charge? Could they do it, could they take down a powerful ally that has helped them from the beginning? Whatever you decide, let’s build her shall we? Let’s call our dragon queen… Inut Lady of the Blue.
Inut shall be a terrifying ruler. And you know what makes a ruler more terrifying? When they demand respect in people without having to raise their voice; meaning that if they ever do raise their voice then it is truly terrifying to witness. So keep her voice confident and calm. In dragon form, do the same thing except if she is in this form she is most likely angry, you can get a little gravely. Try your best but if all else fails then simply use the same human voice except with growls. But no matter what form she is in, if she gets angry speak in a suddenly scary dragon voice as electricity crackles in her eyes.
- Speech Patterns/Cadence
Seeing as our ancient dragon has been around a long time we can imagine that she has learned a great deal of patience when dealing with people. While in her human form she can speak with a confidence that has everyone hanging on her every word. She takes her time with her words, no need to rush; everyone respects and follows her so they will wait for what she has to say anyway. Maybe she gets irritated when someone interrupts. In dragon form it can honestly be the same except with more growls. But remember she is a queen, try to make her sound more royal with a fancy word here and there and enunciate your words where you can. It isn’t “battle” with her, its “B-a-t-t-l-e”, every syllable pronounced.
Inut will most likely try to remain composed and do very little to give her feelings away but then again…she’s a dragon, so why don’t we give her a few little mannerisms to describe, while she is in human form. For starters, the most composed of frustrating actions can be something as simple as a puff of air to move a strand of hair that has fallen out of place. It is minuscule but memorable enough if it is repeated a few times. Or when she hears some truly good news maybe she whips hair back and gives a small smirk, a charming smirk for the masses of shippers out there. But most of all if someone says something stupid she can simply roll her eyes; a simple act of defiance to decadence and royalty shows that she isnt just another uptight, royal, princess; it shows she’s a little bit cool. Then if she ever meets the party in dragon form…do. All. Of. The. Exact. Same. Things. Seriously, even without having hair in her dragon form, it can just be a mannerism she is used to from being in humanoid form for long stretches of times. Make sure to keep those eye rolls and with any luck these traits can even become endearing if the party has interacted enough with her, or maybe they hate these little quirks; either way you win because it was memorable enough to be pointed out.
Now let me tell you, I fought a blue dragon once and he was a pain in the arse. My paladin friend Skye couldn’t land a blow on him because he stayed in the air the whole time; we had to cast fly on her just to get her within melee range to the bastard. These tricky tactical tyrants (try saying that five times fast) are very smart. Blue dragons will remain in the air the whole time if it pleases them, they are patient and can stretch an entire fight out to last several hours, days, or even weeks if it must. They will shoot down lightning, get to cover, and then return to shoot more lightning. So in the beginning of a fight they might use their claws and tails but then very quickly take to the skies. A blue dragon will fight you on their terms so this might be a hard fight for melee fighters. For this reason I would say have access to range weapons, ballistas, or whatever you deem fit in the area, if you want to.
But a fight like this doesn’t have to go straight into fisticuffs, your team just potentially betrayed her, there should be words exchanged. From Inut’s point of view, these people whom she trusted have just turned on her; she might actually show anger and sorrow in her voice maybe she even hates herself for believing they were her subjects. It is totally up to you as always but I think we have our fearsome blue dragon, let’s dive right in.
Inut lady of the blue is a queen of an empire that resides near an ancient desert. She is known for her marvelous blue dresses which come in various styles, a city made of blue marble, and most of all for showing no mercy to her enemies. She has reigned victorious for years now, with every nation that tried to take her terrain she toppled each overnight. An assassination attempt was made on her life earlier this year but they were thwarted by a band of up and coming adventurers. She rewarded them handsomely and sent them on a journey to discover who would dare try to harm her, she takes a bit of a liking to them for they are useful, seemingly loyal and funny.
Over time they prove themselves to her and uncover several plots to overthrow her. She rewards the group further and entrusts onto them access to magical items from her vault, they have proven to be powerful allies and help topple her enemies. But then one day they come home and begin asking her questions, questions like “Are you truly an evil dragon?” She tries to dodge their questions but they have grown much more proficient at reading lies. The conversation heats up and accusations are made, her eye rolls become low growls and before long Inut begins to lose her patience with this impudent behavior. With an angry slam of her fist on her throne, it cracks, she shouts out “Silence!” and electricity courses throughout her eyes and body, the air smells of ozone. The group begins to encircle her, pleading with her to step down. How dare they? After everything she did for them? After all that she entrusted them with? Ungrateful little curs. She made them, and for this betrayal she would unmake them. She explodes out a wave of electricity as she grows in size and returns to her true form. A battle takes place but before long she is out of the castle halls and taking to the skies. She can’t trust a single one of them. If she can’t have them, no one can. She inhales a deep breath and unleashes a blast of electricity into the city. They will learn respect one way or another.
And there we have it my friends our magnificent diva of a badass blue queen dragon. Playing with the idea of an ally that turns out to be the big bad of the campaign is always a fun one but it can be hard to pull off without giving it away. Show little moments of their queen being ruthless then show moments of her being a good ruler. An evil dragon that sort of dwells in the shades of gray is a fantastic way to make a memorable dragon. And who knows? Maybe at the end they can’t deal the killing blow to their once entrusted ally, maybe they can change the nature of the game and lead her down a different path…or maybe she never forgets and next campaign she makes a return.
Whatever you decide just make sure you and your players have fun with it. This concludes the last of the chromatic dragons from the PHB. Join us next time as we take a step away from the evil and join the side of good with a basic outline of the metallic dragons and how you can run good powerful npcs. Adventurers go make friends with evil npcs and then betray them and DMs go run a campaign long con. But don’t forget as always DMs it isn’t just your world, and it isn’t just the player’s world, it’s all of yours.
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