Mere-Dragons are close kin of True Dragons. In appearance Mere-Dragons are much like True Dragons, they have four legs, bat-like wings, sharp teeth and claws, but Mere-Dragons are considerably smaller than True Dragons, being only about the size of a pony. Determine height normally, but weight is four times normal for their strength. Mere-Dragon features are broad and their bodies are thickly muscled. All Mere-Dragons are dark brown, with golden highlights upon the edges of their scales, and their under-bellies are always tan. Their eyes are large and can really be any color.
Their heads are roughly human sized, but have the long strong jaws of a alligator. Their fore-legs end in three-fingered hands (with a thumb), so Mere-Dragons are able to use weapons and tools as well as a human can. Much like a cat, a Mere-Dragon's claws are retractable and when not needed are safty out of the way. Mere-Dragons should be considered as 2 hex creatures and their claws and teeth have a 1-hex reach from their front hex. Their tails have a 2-hex reach. Mere-Dragons can stand, walk and even fight while on their hind legs, using their tail for balance (they are unable to use their tail strike while standing and they are also at a -1 penality on their move score while on their hind legs).
A Mere-Dragon can fight on it's hind legs using either a two-handed weapon or a one-handed weapon and/or shield combination (But Fencing skill is out of the question due to the Mere-Dragon's slighty off-balance fighting stance (which is the reasoning behind the above mentioned penality). A Mere-Dragon can attack with a one handed weapon (or claw) with it's full move and full dodge if at least three of its legs are on the ground.
While we are talking about movement, Mere-Dragons are controlled gliders and not true flyers. They can gain altidude while gliding by riding updrafts or "thermals." IQ roll requird to spot them. Flight speed is twice normal movement. To get airborne, MereDragons have to either launch themselves off cliffs after climbing up, or be in a strong wind using it for lift as they charge forward like a gooney-bird (it ain't a pretty sight)...once airborne, most Mere-Dragons are very ungainly flyers and cannot carry more than light weight and hope to gain altidude. Their landings tend to be rough, and have often been called controlled crash landings. Mere-Dragons have bat-like wings, with a wing-span of around 25-30 feet or so.
20 Breath Weapon
10 Teeth (Imp dam based on ST; Bite delivers Corrosive Venom)
55 Claws (Swing +2 cutting; Thrust +2 - impaling)
15 Tail Striker w/ 2 yards of reach (Imp dam based upon ST, delivers Corrosive Venom)
10 Corrosive Venom (level 1)
10 Elemental Magery 1 level
10 Hard to Kill, 2 level
70 PD 3
12 DR 4
15 Modified Arm Strength, +3 ST Arms Only
5 Four Legs
22 Controlled Glided Flight
-10 Short Life Span (Life span decreased by 1/4)
-25 (Constant) Dependency on Mana
-10 Easy to Read
-20 Increased Life Support (Eats 3 times as much as an average human)
-15 Inconvenient Size (cannot wear armor or clothing)
-15 Xenophilia - Fascinated and attracted by strangers and alien races
-10 Sleepy: 9 months sleep 8-hours a day; 3 months sleep 100% of the time
-10 Frightens Animals
-10 Short Attention Span
-10 Low Self Image
Racially Learned Skill:
2 Flight P/A at DX
2 Climbing P/A at DX (+5 on any climbing from Flexibility)
2 Breath Weapon P/A at DX
In spite of their fearsome appearance, Mere-Dragons are a completely unassuming race. Generally Mere-Dragons are often nervous, timid and some are quite shy. Many Mere-Dragons believe that all unexpected events are dangerous, and most are not very confident in their own abilities and self-worth...they (and others) may underrate their abilities. Mere-dragons prefer the company of Non Mere-Dragon individuals as they feel safer in mixed groups. Mere-Dragons really enjoy meeting and talking with members of other races, believing that different races are talented in different ways, and that a Mere-Dragons is much safer having friends around with many different talents and abilities.
The biggest difference between Mere-Dragons and True Dragons is their views on fighting, life and death. Generally True Dragons believe in survival of the fitest and consider themselves the top of the food chain. Mere-Dragons are not nearly so secure of their place in the food chain and they do not take dangerous risks without pause, instinctily knowing that there things out there that a Mere-Dragon cannot beat in a fair (or not so fair fight).
Mere-Dragons have a strong survival instanct, and put self-preservation top on their to do list. Some Mere-Dragons are quite brave, but even the bravest mere-Dragon will not fight against hopeless odds, believing that as long as there is life, there is hope and no matter how bad it is or can get, death is aways a worse option.
Mere-Dragons are often flighty and have a short attention span, they quickly become bored and often seek something new and exciting, as they are curious by nature about new places, people and things, but they usually try to be very careful in their exploring and most often prefer having a lot of company, just in case they get into real trouble. As a general rule, they will treat others fairly and while seeking the best possible terms in any dealings, they usually keep their agreements to the letter.
A great many Mere-Dragons are shy and while many avoid unnessairly fights, most will fight if they need to do so, or are left without a choice in the matter. Mere-Dragon approach combat carefully, always keeping in mind the risk to their survival. If the odds are really against them and the fight appears lost, Mere-Dragons will always seek to surrender or run away if they believe continued restistance is hopeless. If surrendering looks like the best option for survival, it will usually be a Mere-Dragon breaking out the white flag, some going so far as to practice fast-talking skill just to be better able to convince their Non Mere-Dragon companions that the fight is lost and that surrender is really the best option. If allowed to surrender, Mere-Dragons will agree to very unfavorible terms and will make the best of it, their pride is not nearly as important to them as is their survival. This "thinking" has caused the Mere-Dragon race to be considered cowardly, especially by the True Dragons. Mere-Dragons feel it serves no good purpose to throw away their one and only life in a totally hopeless cause. While Mere-Dragons approach combat with a different mind-set than other races, most Mere-Dragons are not really cowards, but it should be noted that there are a fair number of Mere-Dragons who really are cowards.
Generally, Mere-Dragons like to learn about other race's culture, most of them really do like and enjoy music, song, dance, story telling, and in general carousing. Other interest including reading, politics, gossiping and many play or compose poetry or music....often they grow bored and never complete such a work, but they enjoy doing it none-the-less. Mere-Dragons like wagering and games of chance and skill, but while True Dragons perfer chess, Mere-Dragons prefer checkers...
While not as strong nor nearly as aggressive as True Dragons, it would be a mistake to consider Mere-Dragons as just watered-down True Dragons, because they are so much more...and less. Mere-Dragons are tough little survivors who are generally quite able to take care of themselves, even if sometimes they themselves may forget it.
Many Mere-Dragons never go armed, trusting instead in their tough hide and their natural weapony for protection. Those who do use weapons generally favor weapons that keep their foes at bay. One of the most dangerous combinations is an airborne Mere-Dragon armed with net and spear. Swooping down from height in a gliding passes from overhead and just out of reach, using the net to entangle his foe, the Mere-Dragon will then land and use the spear to finish off the foe, from a safe distance...
Mere-Dragons do not live as long as True Dragons (or even as long as humans for that matter), perhaps the aging process has something to do with the Mere-Dragon's personality. It is thought that because their bodies age so quickly, their mental abilities and thinking process may not "age" quite at the same rate and perhaps that is why some Mere-Dragons have been described as being very child-like and innocent in their out-look. Regardless, one thing is very certain, Mere-Dragons have a very hard time hiding their emotions and most people can tell exactly what sort of mood a Mere-Dragon is in by his body langauge.
True Dragons and Mere-Dragons....
True Dragons tend to bully Mere-Dragon whom usually put up with it as better than angering the True Dragon because the Mere-Dragons knows instinctly that in a fair fight against a True Dragon (at least most of the time), the Mere-Dragon does not stand much of a chance. True Dragons generally treat Mere-Dragons with contempt, believing that Mere-Dragons are cowards, fools and that they give Dragonkind a bad name.
Mere-Dragons and other Races....
Mere-Dragons like and prefer the company of members of other races, they all hate to be alone. Generally other races tolerate Mere-Dragons pretty well, but the mental make-up of Mere-Dragons is such that if someone bullies them or taunts them, they are often affected by it and most people know that a Mere-Dragon is not the bravest of the brave and often will not stand and fight to the last. Most people know Mere-Dragons can be bullied and forced to back down or surrender, rather than the Mere-Dragon risking death in combat over some minor (or not so minor) point. Mere-Dragons will often grovel and promise their new master faithful service if only "Master" will spare them....and surprisingly they mean it, willing to make the best of a bad position until a new opportunity for escape presents itself.
Mere-Dragons and Mundane Animals....
Animals are to very afraid of Mere-Dragons (although often trained animals like a party's mounts will get used to a Mere-Dragon after awhile). Perhaps this is because Mere-Dragons eat a lot, and most often really are hungery and animals can sense this...and that the Mere-Dragon might well be considering the animal as its next meal...
All Mere-Dragons are of the same racial stock, but there are four groups or sub-types of Mere-Dragon, based on the elements (Air, Earth, Fire and Water). Each individual Mere-Dragons is aspected toward one of the four elements at birth, finding it easier for them to work with the particular element that they are aspected with, while finding it harder to work with the other elements. Not even other Mere-Dragons can tell which element an unknown Mere-Dragon is aspected with, at least not just by appearance. But Mere-Dragons do tend to name (or "nickname") themselves after their own element...(i.e., Sparks, Flame, Torch, Misty, Steam, Terrain, Hurricane, Breeze, etc.).
Mere-Dragon's Elemental Aspected Magery
The type of Mere-Dragon (Air, Earth, Fire or Water) determines both the type of breath weapon (see below) and the particular type of Elemental Aspected Magery that the Mere-Dragon uses. A Mere-Dragon's magery default is 1 level of his type of Elemental Magery (costs 10 points, and is included in the racial package). The 2nd and 3rd level of the particular type of Elemental Magery cost is 5 points each. Details about what I use as the Elemenatal Magery advantage can be found at... Magic Affinities as a Limiting Factor
Any particular type of Mere-Dragon can mate with any other Mere-Dragon and may produce off-spring, but it should be noted that the type of parents a Mere-Dragon has does not completely determine the type of Mere-Dragon the off-spring will become, at least not toally. If two different types of Mere-Dragons mate, the offspring may or may not be the same as either parent, and there is a reasonsiable chance it could be either of the other two types as well..
It should be noted that female Mere-Dragons lay 1 to 3 eggs about every other year. The newborn Mere-Dragon is fully developed, but unable to fly. Normally sometime between 19 and 13 months, the young Mere-Dragon is able to begin gliding.
To determine a Mere-Dragon's random offspring when the parents are of different elemental types, use the following table.
Roll a d6
1-2 Same as Father
3-4 Same as mother
5 Father's Hostile (if mother's is hostile to father, father's friendly)
6 Mother's Hostile (if father's is hostile to mother, mother's friendly)
So in an example with a Fire male and an Air female, the off-spring the roll to determine what the off-spring would be is...
1-2 would mean a Fire type.
3-4 would mean an Air type.
5 would mean a Water type.
6 would mean an Earth type.
In cases where both of a Mere-Dragon's parents are of the same type of Mere-Dragon, use the modified table below.....and the terms from Magic Affinities (See Elemental Magery Above)....
1-3 Same as Parent's Type
4 - Friendly to Parent's Type
5 - Neutral to Parent's Type
6 - Hostile to Parent's Type
Adult Mere-Dragons do not marry per say, but often a couple will travel and live together for years, some staying together until death parts them. Some females mate with many different males, while others rarely if ever mate with more than one partner. It seems to be a personal, rather than racial preference.
Mere-Dragons prefer company and it is not too uncommon for a large family group of Mere-Dragons to be encountered with grandparents, parents, young and distant cousins all living and hunting together. At times these groups come into conflict with one another and if the hunting is getting too poor, often a duel is fought between each group's "Champion," which is usually the ones whom cannot come up with an excuse why they shouldn't fight. Many such a "Mere-Dragon Duel" is spend talking and coming to terms in the one-on-one face off, both sides using the threat of violence more than use of force...
If the talks fail, the "Duel" lasts until one or the other yields or cannot continue the fight. No biting or tail strikes are allowed (the Venom often continues to work after one side or the other has yielded and could prove deadly).
Mere-Dragons At War...
(or at least in combat)
Mere-Dragons have a great many choices when it comes to combat...
While standing on their rear legs...
...use a one-handed weapon and shield,
...use two one-handed weapons,
...use a two-handed weapon,
While standing on three legs
...use a one-handed weapon
...use a shield to defend (attacking with a bite or tail strike)
Additionally, while either on two, three or four legs they can...
...using their breath weapon
...use their claw(s),
...strike with their tail
THE MERE-DRAGON'S BREATH WEAPON
Each of the four types of Mere-Dragon, (Air, Earth, Fire and Water) have their own different breath weapons.
The basic Mere-Dragon 's breath weapon costs 20 points and does d6 damage (modified by breath weapon type, i.e., Fire and Water do d6 base damage, Air and Earth do d6-1 base damage) and has a base range of 3 hexes. It normally costs 3 fatigue for each use and is limited to being used no more than 6 times in a 24-hour period. The fatigue used for the breath weapon is unlike fatigue used for spells in that fatigue fueling breath weapons must be true fatigue and it cannot be used gained by trading hit points for fatigue (as is possible with spells).
A Mere-Dragon's Breath Weapon is also unlike a spell in that it is not considered or treated as a magicial attack, instead being considered as a mundane form of that particular attack type, so Magic Resistance does not affect a Mere-Dragon's Breath Weapon...nor does mana level increase or decrease the cost to use the breath weapon...
The Mere-Dragon can improve its Breath Weapon by spending 6 points for each additional level of basic damage done. To extend the range of the breath weapon, it costs 4 points to extend the range of the breath weapon by 1 extra hex of range.
The maximum that a Mere-Dragon can improve his breath weapon is 3 additional levels from the base.
For example, we are building a Mere-Dragon character and want him to max out his breath weapon at character creation. We spend 20 points for the Flame Breath Weapon, which does 1d6 damage. We improve damage by 3 levels spending 18 points (i.e. 3 levels x 6 points = 18). We also want maximum range and additionally spend 12 points (i.e. 3 levels x 4 points = 12).
Add 20 (base cost) and 30 (total cost of damage and range improvements), which is 50 and then take away 25% (50 x .25 = 12.5) or 12.5 points (for the limitations) which is 50 - 12.5 = 37.5 points. The final cost for this breath weapon is 37.5 points.
This particular Flame Breath Weapon does 4d6 Fire Damage, has a range of 5 hexes, costs 3 fatigue for each use and may be used 6 times in a 24-hour period. A fearsome breath weapon able to over come all, even knights in enchanted plate...
Breath Weapon skill is P/A but is not like regular skills, in that improving the aim of a breath weapon can only be improved so much, as it is basically projectile vomiting. Maximum skill level a Mere-Dragon may have with his Breath Weapon is DX +4. Also note, that points spent on improving the aiming of a Breath Weapon is not reduced as for the limitations on damage and range.
note that it is possible to lower (or raise!) the character point cost of the Breath Weapon by raising or lowering the amount of Fatigue it costs to use the Breath Weapon at a rate of -5% per point of fatigue required to use. Default is 3 Fatigue spent per use, a -15% reduction for cost. Minimum cost to use a Breath weapon is 1 fatigue, a -5% reduction. Maximum cost is 10 Fatigue, a -50% reduction.
Fatigue Cost and Reduction amount
A Mere Dragon can not raise the number of uses past 6 uses in any 24 hour period, but he could lower the number of times the breath weapon could be used per "day"(reducing the cost).
Number of uses per 24 hours and the cost reduction
6 Times....-10% (default)
Please note that it is possible to carry this to silly extremes. In the above example, for the 50 point breath weapon, it is possible to reduce the final cost to 5........making it a Breath Weapon doing 4d6 Fire Damage, range 6 hexes, usable only once per day at a cost of 10 fatigue.... (50 - 90% = 5)....but really, why would you want a Mere-Dragon who could only use his Breath Weapon once per day...?
Mere-Dragon Breath Weapons costs (above) are at the time of character creation. If a player wants to raise a Mere-Dragon's breath weapon after play has begun, COSTS ARE DOUBLED for any improvements on damage and range (but this does not count on raising the Dragon Breath aiming skill....).
The following are the Mere-Dragon Breath Weapons by type with damage...
The Air Mere-Dragon's Lightning Breath Weapon can basically be treated as a Lightning spell in jet form, and remember that metal armor is treated as PD 0, DR 1 against Lightning!
The Earth Mere-Dragon's Terra Breath Weapon can be considered as a much improved form of the Sand Jet spell, as it is super high-pressured dirt that gushes forth which causes knock-back, causes damage and it can be dodged, but not blocked nor parried. In effect, the target is hit by one pound of dirt for every point of damage rolled, which could cause a character to be knocked over or buried alive, but the dirt is loose and would only require a successful ST roll for the character to dig himself out.
In addition to possibly being knocked over and/or buried, if the target is hit, then target must make a HT roll....
If critically failed, the victim is blinded for as many hours as points of damage rolled (not taken).
If the HT roll is failed, victim is blinded for as many seconds as damage is rolled.
Once the victim can see again, he will be at DX -3 for watery eyes for as many rounds as damage taken.
On a successful HT roll, the victim covers his eye for one second and is at a DX -3 penalty for the next round only (due to watery eyes, dust and grit in the air).
On a critical success, the victim's sight is unaffected and the victim takes half damage only.
The Fire Mere-Dragon's Breath Weapon can be considered as an improved form of the Fire Jet spell doing more damage but basically being the same as the spell.
The Water Mere-Dragon's Water Breath Weapon can be considered as an improved form of the Water Jet spell, which is like a super high pressured hose that causes knock-back and physical damage. It may be dodged, but not blocked nor parried. In addition to possibly being knocked back and/or down, if hit the victim must make a HT roll with the following results:
If critically failed, the character swallows water and must spend d6 turn vomiting up the water....
If the HT Roll is failed, the victim swallows water and will be at a DX -3 penalty for as many rounds as points of damage taken.
If the roll is successful, the character doesn't swallow water, but is at a DX -3 penalty for the next round due to watery eyes.
On a critical Success, the victim is unaffected by the special effects, taking half damage only.
If used to put out fires, each point of damage rolled would put out one hex of flame.
Mere-Dragons and Multiple attacks...
Normally Mere-Dragon Breath Weapons will only be used against one foe at a time. Mere-Dragon breath weapons should be considered as thin jets about one inch in radius. If the Mere-Dragon faces multiple foes in the Mere-Dragon's front hexes, the Mere-Dragon may take a DX-4 penalty on his to hit roll and swing his head as he is breathing his breath weapon and target up to 3 foes.
The 3 foes must be in the dragon's front hexes and all must be within his range (and if there are more than 3 foes, the closest 3 are the targets, i.e., the Mere-Dragon doesn't get to pick his targets in such a case). In such a case where the Mere-Dragon targets 2 or 3 foes, the victims hit only take ½ of the damage rolled. When a Mere-Dragon is facing multiple foes, this tactic could be a real life saver, or a total waste of time.
A Mere-Dragon can take an "All-Out Attack: 2 Attacks"...and use two of any of the following attack forms...Breath Weapon, Bite, Claw, Tail Strike, Weapon Attack, it is also possible for a Claw/Claw attack if the Mere-Dragon is standing on it's hind legs...
Mere-Dragon can learn the Duel Weapon Attack Manouver, but must chose which two attack forms they will use with it and are limited to using just them...
(Some ideas, comments and shop talk...)
Mere-Dragons were envisioned as being a quirky sort of lesser dragon with their own world-view and problems, and their own unique personality quite different from the (True) Dragons or of any other race. They are intended as role playing characters and not just some sort of hack 'n slash combat monster race bred only for combat...if properly played, they should attempt to avoid serious combat to a certain extent (they really prefer living on their knees rather than dying on their feet). Mere-Dragons can and should be deadly if they are backed into a corner and have nothing to lose...
I had a thought, "Why not have another type of Mere-Dragon? A totally non-elementally aspected Mere-Dragon...?" What follows is the product of this idea carried out...
The 5th Type of Mere-Dragon....65 points
There is rumored to be another type of Mere-Dragon, one that is not aspected towards any particular element. Such Mere-Dragons do not have a breath weapon nor magery (or optionally, not elementaly aspected magery). This type of Mere-Dragon is believed to be very uncommon. Such a Mere-Dragon can basically be considered a standard Mere-Dragons except without the Breath Weapon, Elemental Magery and the Dependency on Mana disadvantage (which are all dropped). How other Mere-Dragons react to a Non-Aspected Mere-Dragon might range from either extreme. Non-Aspected Mere-Dragons commonly have Magic Resistance at some level or another (5 maximum), while others commonly have different types of magery (but not magic resistance and magery together for the same Mere-Dragon).....it costs 65 points to play a Non-Aspected Mere-Dragon.
My first thought in designing such a Non-Aspected Mere-Dragon character would be for a personal quest of discovery to determine if the Mere-Dragon character could learn why he was not elementally aspected and how he might become elementally aspected, perhaps in time gaining and learning to use his breath weapon and his elemental magery and so become more "normal" and accepted amoungst his Mere-Dragon peers...or at least learn to live with being a different sort of Mere-Dragon...either way I see a lots of room for character development and personal growth...).
Depending upon what the GM and Players want the Mere-Dragons to be, the Non-Aspected Mere-Dragons might or might not be allowed to buy Magery as an individual advantage...another form of limited magery might be interesting for a Mere-Dragon character to have...such a character might even try to fool his fellow Mere-Dragons into believing he is aspected (Perhaps a Secret disadvantage...?).
A Mere-Dragon "Bard" who could only cast spells while playing his harp and singing...or a Mere-Dragon limited to one college of magic might prove quite interesting and very useful to an adventuring party...say a Mere-Dragon with all the Healing Spells...including Regeneration and Resurrection..."But it ain't my greed, I really do need all the Power Stones in this town, you know it does costs an awful lot of energy (300 Fatigue!) to cast Resurrection and I only have one shot to save him..."
Thanks and Enjoy!
Copyrighted, 1999 by "Pat" Patyrsun