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1

Go with the 16 HP dragon In Dungeon World, a dragon has only 16 HP. This may actually be less than that of a really tough starting character. The dragon is still a terrifying creature, though, because it's hard to hurt, it can fly, breathe fire, and lay waste to the entire countryside. Keep in mind that Smaug, the most famous dragon in fiction who ...


3

Part of the core issue in an RPG is to maintain an illusion of the game world being real. Making a "real dragon" be something that your party of six level 3-4 characters can defeat has impact on the world game fiction. It means that a "real dragon" is only as dangerous as other things a party of six level 3-4 characters can defeat. Mechanically modifying ...


8

You Just Nerf Them Adventures do this all the time. Take the creature you want and then weaken it. This can be via templates like Young or Drunk as @Aaron suggests. It can also be done simply by wounding it or messing it up. Take as an example the feared Crag Linnorm. Well, in the Jade Regent AP there was this variant "wounded" crag linnorm with missing ...


1

To add some ideas I haven't seen mentioned here yet: Illusory dragon; some spellcaster is running it from behind-the-scenes (I do see someone mentioned this idea) Sick dragon - I recently ran the Legacy of the Savage Kings adventure, which is for level 5-ish characters, but includes an adult black dragon which is afflicted by a disease which blinds it and ...


2

I'd probably go with a back story about the prisoners escape, how they were able to injure or poison the dragon ( poison neutralizing fire breath ability? ) as they were escaping, or which lead to their ability to escape. Perhaps they were able to collapse a portion of the roof onto the dragon, badly injuring it, or simply damaging its scales, creating a ...


1

The only thing I have to add to this that Hey I Can Chan and Aaron have not already said (edit: looks like Brilliand and I made this suggestion at the same time) is that you could do a "special" encounter. By which I mean there might be extenuating circumstances that make the fight easier. If you want, you could have a CR 9 blue dragon fight the party. ...


7

Put the dragon in a bad situation The dragon doesn't need to be able to lose in a fair fight if it doesn't get a fair fight. There are a few ways circumstances could conspire to give the PCs a significant edge: Have the dragon already be fighting something else when the players show up (something it would be able to defeat if not for the players' ...


19

The Dragon Needn't Be a True Dragon As Aaron's answer indicates, dragons that have appropriate CRs for the party will be at most Medium. Although that means the dragon could be, potentially, the size of a professional wrestler, for a dragon that's sort of... unimpressive. I suggest the following. Use a creature that could be mistaken for a dragon Were ...


12

There is a Wyrmling Blue Dragon that is only a CR 5 encounter that might suit what you are after more than redesigning a creature, though that is a very young, Small sized dragon that might not fit the backstory. If you need to design a monster that is meant to be a weaker/younger version of a monster you can also use templates such as the Young Template to ...



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