Dragons of Blackmoor

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Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Zeromaru X » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:01 am

I asked this at the Inn, but I guess is a good idea to ask here as well.

Dragons is why I like D&D, so when I become interested in a campaign world, I eventually began to study about the dragons of that world. Now that my campaign about the Temple of the Frog is going to end, is time for some lore about Blackmorian dragons. Thing is, there is no much lore about them in the 4e and d20 Blackmoor books (I only have the d20 campaign setting).

So, my questions:
-What makes Blackmoor dragons different to dragons of other worlds? (such Greyhawk or the Realms)
-Are there any unique blackmoorian races of dragons? Or only the classic ones?
-What about their society? if they have one.
-Is there any lore about the dragon gods besides what is said the books I have?

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Big Mac » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:48 am

Blackmoor and Greyhawk were the first two D&D campaign settings, so there must be an element of Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax establishing the D&D stereotypes via their campaign settings.

But hopefully, there are some dragon-related plots in the Blackmoor books.
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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Zeromaru X » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:57 am

Oh, I see. So, is the classic of the classics. Well, I guess that gives me a lot of freedom to do my things.

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Havard » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:09 am

Great topic!

At one point, I was planning on a series of artices on the Dragons of Blackmoor as a follow-up to my series on the Demons of Blackmoor that I posted on my blog. I only have time for a short reply right now, but will be back with more later on.
Zeromaru X wrote:So, my questions:
-What makes Blackmoor dragons different to dragons of other worlds? (such Greyhawk or the Realms)
-Are there any unique blackmoorian races of dragons? Or only the classic ones?
Dragons were always an important race on Blackmoor. They were allies and enemies, involved in all the key conflicts of Dave Arneson's Campaign. According to the D20 Sourcebook, another unique feature is that the Dragon Gods walk around on the world of Blackmoor and don't have a separate home plane. Visually, Blackmoorian dragons have a wide range of appearance. Some are lizardlike, others serpentine and yet others seem more humanoid. Bobjester brings up some material that expands on this in this Comeback Inn thread.

Two types of Dragons exist in Blackmoor that are rare or unheard of on other worlds. These are the Grey Dragons and the Brown Dragons.

-What about their society? if they have one.
Dragons are similar on all worlds in that they like to hoard treasure and seek out isolation. But Blackmoor dragons have always been willing to serve the mortal forces in their conflicts as well. Some are allied with the Egg of Coot and its demonic forces, while others have chosen to ally themselves with the Kingdom of Blackmoor and unique individuals such as the Wizard of the Woods.

Dragon Names, as they are spoken in the language of Dragons is incredibly difficult for mortals to pronounce. The people of Blackmoor with their typical sense of humor have adapted a tradition of giving Dragons their own names in the style that they would normally name their house cats. Gertie, Sophie and Tuffy are some of the better known dragons of Blackmoor, but don't let their names fool you into thinking they could not turn you into a quick roast :twisted:

Since Blackmoor came to be before the current Alignment system, I suggest using the conventions from the AD&D Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix for Dragon Alignments: Color determines the Law/Chaos axis, but the Good/Evil axis varies by individual.
-Is there any lore about the dragon gods besides what is said the books I have?
The Father of Dragons (later: Insellageth), , is briefly mentioned in the First Fantasy Campaign (1977) as is Gertrude (Tsartha). Gertrude is also mentioned in many of the unpublished tales from the original campaign although it was not known to the original players that she was a deity. Or perhaps she had not reached that status yet at that point.

I also wrote an article on my blog about the relationship between the Peshwah and the Dragon Gods, although this is not official.

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Zeromaru X » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:27 am

MMm... Grey dragons and brown dragons also exists in the Nentir Vale's world. Brown dragons even had their own empire, the one that preceded Arkhosia. I guess this is NV doing an homage to the old settings.

As for the dragons involved in the affairs of mortals, I like that. Its something that I'm going to take into account in my take on Blackmoorian dragonborn clans.
Havard wrote:Since Blackmoor came to be before the current Alignment system, I suggest using the conventions from the AD&D Mystara Monstrous Compendium Appendix for Dragon Alignments: Color determines the Law/Chaos axis, but the Good/Evil axis varies by individual.

-Havard
This sounds pretty like alignments in 4e.

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Havard » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:45 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:MMm... Grey dragons and brown dragons also exists in the Nentir Vale's world. Brown dragons even had their own empire, the one that preceded Arkhosia. I guess this is NV doing an homage to the old settings.
I didnt realize that about the Nentir Vale. That is interesting. It might indeed be a tribute, or at least moving back to things that were kept rare or unheard of in the editions between the original and 4th. Brown Dragons were also brought back for BECMI back in 1986 which sort of tied them to Mystara. I believe Brown Dragons also existed in Dark Sun, but these were very different from the other versions of Browns.

I'm sure Grey Dragons have appeared in other editions along the way too, but they never seemed to be a major force. In Blackmoor however, the oldest Dragons were Greys and probably these were


As for the dragons involved in the affairs of mortals, I like that. Its something that I'm going to take into account in my take on Blackmoorian dragonborn clans.
Havard wrote:This sounds pretty like alignments in 4e.
I don't recall how alignments for Monsters works in 4E, but if you want to make Blackmoor dragons different in that respect for a 4E campaign, you might want to find a different way to represent them then :)

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Havard » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:27 am

Starting a series of famous dragons of Blackmoor.

First up is Gertie the Gray Dragon.

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Zeromaru X » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:26 pm

Thanks! Gertie seems interesting. And I also forget that the gods in the original setting weren't really gods but immortals.

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Yaztromo » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:27 pm

If you have a look only at the holy symbols of Blackmoor, you will find quite a few dragns in them. Always wingless dragons, if I remember well.
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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Zeromaru X » Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:59 pm

I've been investigating about this for a while. A friend of mine got me a photo of the page talking about dragons from the original Judges Guild Blackmoor campaign. Seems that back in the day, there were only chromatic dragons. The page mentions the five basic chromatics (white, black, blue, green and red) plus purple dragons. Thought, I recall having read that purple dragons were meant to be actually purple worms.

I have to ask, thought. What means the * besides the black and purple dragons? Is some sort of special stadistic?

Also, my friend also said that the book mentions a tomb of a grey dragon. Does that means that grey dragons are unique? (like, for instance, Gertie)

Also, does that means that there are mo metallic dragons in Blackmoor? Are there metallic dragons in Mystara?

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by RobJN » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:39 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:59 pm
Are there metallic dragons in Mystara?
The RC/BECMI only lists Gold dragons. However, Mystara is also home to gemstone dragons: Crystal, Onyx, Jade, Sapphire, Ruby, and Amber
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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Zeromaru X » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:10 pm

Well, gems dragons doesn't exist in 4e or 5e. I guess I'll have to homebrew them. I have some ideas for gold dragons, tho.

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by BotWizo » Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:50 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:59 pm
I've been investigating about this for a while. A friend of mine got me a photo of the page talking about dragons from the original Judges Guild Blackmoor campaign. Seems that back in the day, there were only chromatic dragons. The page mentions the five basic chromatics (white, black, blue, green and red) plus purple dragons. Thought, I recall having read that purple dragons were meant to be actually purple worms.

I have to ask, thought. What means the * besides the black and purple dragons? Is some sort of special stadistic?

Also, my friend also said that the book mentions a tomb of a grey dragon. Does that means that grey dragons are unique? (like, for instance, Gertie)

Also, does that means that there are mo metallic dragons in Blackmoor? Are there metallic dragons in Mystara?
This depends on how you classify mystara...

when mystara was the known world, there were chromatics, gold, and gemstone dragons. As in the BECMI rules.
Not all chromatic dragons were chaotic. Blue was nuetral for example.

if you continue with the second ed. rules when mystara was called mystara, there were metallic Dragons in 2e, but no gemstone dragons.
or they might have been in a later monstrous compendium, I don't know off the top of my head.
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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by RobJN » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:47 pm

BotWizo wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:50 pm
if you continue with the second ed. rules when mystara was called mystara, there were metallic Dragons in 2e, but no gemstone dragons.
or they might have been in a later monstrous compendium, I don't know off the top of my head.
Fortunately, the gemstone dragons were detailed in the 2e Mystara Monstrous Compendium
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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Havard » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:26 pm

According to the article "from Hatchling to Immortal Guardian", Mystara Dragons can be reincarnated into any type of dragon, even types not described in the Classic D&D rules.

The way I have always played things with AD&D monsters on Mystara is that if they don't exist in BECMI, they can still be found, but its just that they are extremely rare. Each DM can decide how he wants to run things, but I think that sticking to the BECMI assortment as the most common creatures, that helps retain a unique flavor for Mystara.

As to Blackmoor, even if you play in the Mystara continuity, you can easily add other creatures for that era since many of them could have been killed in the Great Rain of Fire.

According to the Dragonlord Trilogy, Gemstone Dragons would likely not have been around during the Blackmoor era however.

Dragons from Chainmail (3rd edition)
  • Red
  • Blue
  • White
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Purple/Mottled (Purple Worm, but listed as a dragon)
Dragons from the First Fantasy Campaign
  • Gray
  • White
  • Black
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Red
  • "Golden"/Gold - "The Lords of Dragondom"
  • Purple
  • Brown
D20 Blackmoor books also include other metallic dragons.

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Zeromaru X » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:51 pm

Thanks, Havard. I guess I can work something with this.

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Tim Baker » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:07 am

Zeromaru X wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:10 pm
Well, gems dragons doesn't exist in 4e or 5e. I guess I'll have to homebrew them.
If you're running 5e, I suggest Gem Dragons of Faerun from the DM's Guild. They don't map precisely to the gemstone dragons, but maybe they'll provide you with a starting point for several of the gemstone dragons.

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Zeromaru X » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:33 am

Seems to be a good idea. I'm working to create an "age of dragons" before they were replaced by mortals, and so determining this stuff is useful. However, if gem dragons doesn't exist in the time of Blackmoor then I'm not interested in houseruling, as my game only happens in Blackmoor (that I consider a different world from either Greyhawk and Mystara).

Anyways, is there any interesting info about brown dragons? Are they unique or something?

And also. I was reading some topic in the Comeback Inn. Why dragons were sleeping in the city of Father Dragon?

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Havard » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:33 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:33 am
Seems to be a good idea. I'm working to create an "age of dragons" before they were replaced by mortals, and so determining this stuff is useful. However, if gem dragons doesn't exist in the time of Blackmoor then I'm not interested in houseruling, as my game only happens in Blackmoor (that I consider a different world from either Greyhawk and Mystara).
Cool idea. :)
Anyways, is there any interesting info about brown dragons? Are they unique or something?
Brown Dragons as described in the FFC are fire breathers, can fly, slightly slower than Gold Dragons.

In the D&D Companion Set, Brown Dragons are identical to Gold Dragons, but Chaotic. Like BECMI Golds they can take the shape of a humanoid. In AD&D, they were changed to a kind of Desert Dragon, but I think this is a different type from the ones in Blackmoor.
And also. I was reading some topic in the Comeback Inn. Why dragons were sleeping in the city of Father Dragon?
The City of Father Dragon adventure is briefly mentioned in the First Fantasy Campaign. The heroes managed to destroy an artifact that kept the Good dragons in a state of magical sleep. I believe this was an artifact that was similar to the Orb of Dragonkind, perhaps a precursor to that magical item. I don't know who had placed the dragons in this position, but the city is guarded by Balrogs (Demons), so possibly a demon lord or a powerful dark wizard.

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Havard » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:26 pm

If you are real interested in learning how Arneson ran his dragons, I also recommend Adventures in Fantasy. Don't go out of your way to get it though, but it has random tables for generating dragon bodies, heads etc.

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Zeromaru X » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:34 am

Really interesting, thanks. I'm going to search for that system (tho, I guess it would be difficult to get), thought I'm more interested in lore more than mechanics.

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Re: Dragons of Blackmoor

Post by Havard » Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:32 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:34 am
Really interesting, thanks. I'm going to search for that system (tho, I guess it would be difficult to get), thought I'm more interested in lore more than mechanics.
Adventures in Fantasy shows up on Ebay from time to time, but I do not advise you to spend tons of money on one. This game could really have used a revised edition. But this game really gives some insight to the minds of Dave Arneson and his players. It reads a lot like a 70s RPG even though it was published in the 80s.

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