Welcome back adventurers and DMs Wizard Charlie here! Last time on “How to Run” we focused on creating our very own scary, adult, Black Dragon. Join me today as we look into the great hunter, the white dragon. This will be more of a guide to help DMs but all are always welcome.
White dragons are not as intelligent as other dragons, nor are they as big, but what they lack in those traits they make up for by being extremely dangerous and animalistic hunters. White dragons are in no way stupid, they have the intelligence of a regular humanoid; so whatever a person is capable of thinking up, so are they. They have a smooth and sleek look to them with eyes like a hunter and the growl of a predator. White dragons love snowy or icy tundras but they enjoy solitude even more. They prefer to ice over tough prey and keep them as trophies in its lair along with treasures frozen in deep ice so they can watch them sparkle. They are very greedy, as all dragons are. And finally, even though these icy hunters don’t have the highest intelligence they have extraordinarily long memories, never forgetting a sleight or defeat as they seek to rectify such events.
Since these creatures are solitary in nature, rather than have the creature bother their region why don’t we have the party go to him. Let’s make this…our first ancient dragon. Hell you really want to set up this bad guy as a challenging side thing? Why not have your NPC’s early on mention the terror in the Tundra, the feared white hunter that feasts on those that stray too far? Maybe early on it can be an off comment about the deep woods that houses a deadly ancient dragon. But late in the campaign after the heroes have made a name for themselves maybe introduce it again, maybe the king is asking for someone to rid the world of this menace for a handsome reward. Maybe the dragon hunts nearby cattle and game? Maybe many adventurers have been sent to take him down and none have ever returned. You can set up your hook to be whatever you like.
For the purposes of this I want the name Frostbite The Devourer. Corny and simple? Yes, but I love it and it gets the message across. His region can be a large forest with tall pine trees with his lair being a cave deep within. In his lair make sure to have frozen corpses of the many many worthy foes he has defeated, like trophies. In fact have them riddled throughout the forest; maybe he had so many trophies in his lair that he had to expand out. When the adventurers first arrive at the edge of the woods maybe they see one frozen corpse (hell put a magic item on the corpse that they would want to get to) and as they get closer to his lair they see more and more frozen corpses. Really set up the fact that your group are in his domain. Since we are now dealing with an ancient dragon make sure to add in some lair effects as the team gets within 6 miles of it.
Seeing as how these creatures are hunters that prefer solitude I think it’s important to remember that less is more, especially if it is an ancient dragon. This thing has lived for potentially thousands of years, it probably doesn’t even remember the sound of its own voice. Hunting means remaining quiet. If you decide to give him a voice; short responses or one word answers are often the way to go. I say growl more, talk less and focus more on describing his appearance and actions.
- Speech Patterns/Cadence
Once more, I say talk less; no long speeches, no evil plans, just short and quick answers. This of course can change if he has worn them down and now is stalking in to finish them off, he might brag a little then.
I would say, think of this dragon as a lone wolf. Have him lick his teeth every so often as he finishes saying something, or maybe when he is introduced he has just finished a meal and licks his teeth clean of the blood. And if you really want to capture the beastial nature of this hunter; simply have him pace predatorily around the party as the conversation progresses. Nothing captures that wild nature like when something that is used to running freely has to wait patiently for others, pace my friends, have him pace.
Now this is where our ancient white dragon will shine. This dragon is good at one thing, and that is hunting. And since this is a very old boy, he would have developed a keen sense for hunting, which means very good tactics while in his forest. Why fight the team head on when he can have them chase him so he can tire them out? Why give them the satisfaction of duking it out (his thoughts not ours) when he can just as easily starve them out and pick them off one by one. This is the hunt, and in the hunt there are only those who are the hunters and those who are hunted. Have your ancient boy run away, he could make them pursue him through a series of checks. When he is far enough away he can purposely knock over a tree and stomp loudly to leave behind prints, before flying off in another direction and watching them from afar as they go in the wrong direction.
Your white dragon’s tactics aren’t about the fight, that part is easy, his tactics are about the lead up. He has the cunning intellect as a hunter to try and starve them out over several days. He will want to weaken them so that when he is ready to finally pounce and finish them off they might already be exhausted, proving he was the better hunter. Make this an ordeal where they have to survive five days. He plans to attack in five days no matter what, he tries to take their supplies, wound one of them, take out all the game in the area; meanwhile your players set up their own traps and defenses in order to outlast him. Then on the fifth day he strikes and the best hunter wins.
When it comes to the actual fight white dragons love to fly up, ice their prey, then swoop in and finish them off. You can repeat this pattern as much as you like. You can have him pin someone against a tree and take a bite out of them before moving on to the next target in hopes of having maimed or severely weakened that target. He can dart in and out of the forest, using it for cover to hide in. Reward any player that out thinks your cunning dragon, handsomely. These things can make this fight so very memorable.
Let’s make our ancient white dragon.
Frostbite The Devourer is an Ancient white Dragon who lairs in an old cave that overlooks a very thick forest. He hunts wild game regularly and on occasion he gets to fight a creature that fights back, but rarely. He longs for the thrill of the hunt, for a prey that can test his skills as a hunter. One day he is out hunting, he has just finished taking down his prey and begins to gorge himself. A snap of a twig draws his attention up. He sees a small group of adventures moving forward, they look very powerful with their bows and robes. How well have they prepared with supplies? Could they outlast him out here in the wild? For how long? As they approach he smiles and licks his bloodied teeth of his most recent meal, no words are exchanged for they are soon to be part of the hunt. He paces back and forth very slowly as they approach, letting out puffs of cold smoke from his nostrils as he breathes in deeply. He sizes them up as they begin to close in and try talking to him when suddenly he darts off further into the woods. They give chase for a time and even get a few attacks off but he escapes after leaving false tracks. He later circles around and watches them from afar. On occasion he dives in and starts by taking and killing their horses and pets. Then he goes for their supplies, if he can snag one of the adventures in the process then perfect, but if not then there is no rush…the hunt will still be on. He attacks at night once before darting back into the forest, now they are paranoid of the nights. He plays this game of cat and mouse in hopes of forcing them to retreat; hungry and dying of cold, and that is when he strikes. He waits for them to be so tired of the hunt that the fight is once again in his favor. The cunning hunter will survive many more winters, the party are nothing but his next meal, he hopes they put up a strong fight.
And there we have it friends, are extremely dangerous hunter. If you have a Ranger, make this a game of cat and mouse between the two and see who is the better hunter. Make this a personal test of hunters and really let the ranger put those not often used skills to the test. As always make sure you reward creative ideas. Be as fair as you can and always make sure they are having fun, encourage them whenever you can and show excitement when they come up with good ideas. Well that’s all for today my friends! Adventurers go out there and defeat those dragons and DMs go have fun with your groups. And 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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