Dragon and Artifact

First of all, forgive me if this is in the wrong section of the forum, and move it as needed.

I wanted fresh sets of eyes on a dragon I’m working on.

I’m four sessions into my BW game, and it has finally clicked with the players how they can declare facts with wises and Research and the like. Four Reasons they have to find the lair of a particular dragon. The player who made his Research roll didn’t want to just find the location of the lair, but any particular weaknesses the dragon had, particularly lightning (surprise, the mage’s favorite spell is White Fire). I gave him a hefty Ob, which he earned hard by using lots of help, FoRKs, Artha, and luck.

Not wanting to just say, “Hey, this dragon takes more damage from lightning,” because that wouldn’t be fun, I came up with the idea that the dragon feared lightning. I told the player that he discovered an account of a battle the dragon was in against a fierce giant hunter who wielded a powerful bow that shot lightning. The dragon took a beating and flew off to lick his wounds and foster a healthy new phobia.

I decided to take the Dragon from the MoBu give him the “Recovering from a Mortal Wound” treatment. With no doctoring skill of his own, he failed any treatment rolls and subsequent recovery rolls. As such, he gained the Mortally Wounded Trait, lost 4D from appropriate Stats, and gained some nasty traits. Here’s the nitty gritty:

Mortally Wounded (-3 to his Power cap)
Blind trait (went along with the -1 Perception from a failed Severe Wound recovery)
-Because of the Blind Trait, I thought it appropriate to drop his Mesmerizing Gaze and Keen Sight
Traumatized: Lightning (I didn’t think the Phobia trait was powerful enough, so I upped it by adding 4 to hesitation where lightning is involved—this trait was earned with a -2 to Forte from failing a Traumatic Wound recovery)
Lame (went along with a -1 Forte from a failed Midi Wound recovery).

Adding up the stat penalties that’s -3 to Power, -3 to Forte, and -1 to Perception.

Definitely something a regular peasant doesn’t want to wander across, but also definitely a shadow of his former self. If the party still won’t be able to take him in a straight up fight, but a few of the mage’s signature spells could have the wyrm flying away quickly. They might not have time to call in wagons and haul away his entire horde, but the MacGuffin and a few pockets of gold would be easy.



I realize the title says “and Artifact,” but I decided to split the post into two topics, the dragon, and the artifact. I’ll start up another thread about the magic item (the Giant’s lightning flinging bow).

Welcome to the forums, first of all!

Good call with the “afraid of lightning”. Burning Wheel doesn’t handle stuff like a weakness to an element well. While wises and the like are important to BW, I would be reluctant to nerf the crap out of a dragon due to a single passed wise test. Personally, I would be reluctant to have the dragon weakened in both stats and steel against lightning. Rather, I would decide on which is more important to the previously mentioned lore (giant vs dragon aftermath), the dragon being injured, or the dragon being afraid of lightning, and run with that. Remember to always apply grains of salt to my words.

That poor dragon! I am sympathetic to his plight.

If you’re going to nerf the dragon… well, hmm, if I were that dragon, I’d try to make up for my weaknesses by being clever. (I have no idea what’s appropriate for your game, but me, I think dragons always ought to be clever.) Maybe if I talk things through with my adversaries, I can outsmart them, and not have to fight. Or maybe I can bluff them into leaving me alone. Or maybe I keep a sharp eye out, (so to speak,) and maybe I know they’re coming and have taken the opportunity to suss out THEIR weaknesses.

Seems like there’s an opportunity to challenge Beliefs in ways that a straight-up fight wouldn’t have, since the dragon’s not going to be as keen on fighting as it might otherwise have been. What if you give the dragon Aura Reading and let him find a way to deliberately leverage their Beliefs against them? (He can’t see, so he’s learned to sense the spirit auras of those around him to partially make up for that?)

Also, he makes for a really interesting character, in my opinion: The once-mighty dragon, confidence shattered, now bitter and furious and wretched. I think you’re missing out if you have him just be there for the players to kill or scare away!

Oh, I have some juicy Beliefs and Instincts that all point to a dragon that hates giants, fears anyone finding his hidden horde, and longs desperately to somehow take vengeance on a long dead foe.

First thing that popped into my head was he’d trade (with some convincing) the MacGuffin for the desecration of the giant hunter’s tomb.


Intelligent dragons+elvish trickses= good fun.

Thanks for sharing this, it really highlights potential creative uses for the system.

First off, a most interesting take on the wounded dragon. A tip of the hat to you on that.

However, I would like some wider context if you don’t mind sharing. What kind of adventurers are heading off to face this beast? What are their Beliefs regarding this dragon and more to the point, how can you tie your Dragon’s beliefs into theirs?