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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

RMA: Sea Dragons

Seriously, has anyone ever used this monster? If not, we're all doing a TERRIBLE job as DMs!

What's more classic than a sea monster? 

...Just don't, okay?

Anyone who has read my RMAs has seen me comment on aquatic encounters and their relative rarity, so I have been kind of avoiding doing more of that theme. This fella deserves a mention, though. So let's get started:

Sea Dragon (from Cook)
No. App: 0 (1d4)
AC: 1
HD: 8
Move: 180' (60')
  (Swimming or Flying)
Attacks: 1 (bite or spit)
Damage: 3d8
Save: F8
Morale: 9
Treasure: H

For starters, it doesn't look all that impressive. 8HD is okay,  but not awesome. A decent armor class as well, and the damage from its bite isn't really terrifying, either. So what's so cool about Sea Dragons?

  • All the usual reasons fighting at sea is challenging.
  • They are intelligent, hence the so-so morale (live to fight another day, etc.). There is a 20% chance they speak. If so, that means they are automatically packing SIX spells (3 @ 1st, 3 @ 2nd level MU/Elf). That's a bit scary.
  • Their "breath" attack is a poisonous gob of spit TWENTY FEET in diameter with a range of 100'! (eww!) Don't forget, kids; that's 100 YARDS in the wilderness (p.X19), which is precisely where these fellas are likely to show up! The poison loses effectiveness after 1 round, but it's save or die. By the way, that's a save vs. Dragon Breath, not Poison, which means characters are MORE likely to fail.
  • They can pull a "flying fish." They leap out of the water and glide for up to six rounds. They can cover a lot of distance in that time, possibly getting an air-to-surface poison loogy off in the process. 
  • They can breathe underwater, so no sense waiting for them to come up for air. Their lairs are underwater too (often at the sea's bottom in a shipwreck or a cave), so even if you beat the thing, finding and getting that sweet, sweet Type H loot is its own challenge.
  • I don't even want to talk about the whole "1d4" appearing thing!

Keep in mind also that these are the AVERAGE stats for the Sea Dragon. The book allows for ± up to 3 HD depending on age. 

So give it up for the dragon's wet behind the ears cousin! 


  1. I recall that in "Dwellers of the Forbidden City" there is a bunch of crocs on the river before you get to the actual city environ, and also a Pan Lung and a Pan Lung egg somewhere. The notion of drowning in plate mail has terrified me since I read that at about age 10. Any water encounters (near or on) give me as a player the screaming heebie jeebies

    1. I actually wrote rules into Skull Mountain (+ Wrack & Rune) about swimming and armor (and drowning) because I always felt that there should be more info about that.