Archive for March 23rd, 2014

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Review – Dragon Templates, Vols 1 -3 (for Pathfinder)

23 March, 2014

Dragon Templates, in three short volumes, by Ennead Games provide tools to customize that most iconic of fantasy creatures, the dragon.  So, how well do these works do so?

Each product opens with (the same) list of true dragon types in Pathfinder and how the templates and variants are to be applied.

Dragon Templates (and Variants), Volume 1 – A to H, has 23 templates ranging from a -1 to +3 Challenge Rating (CR).  The templates are light on detail, providing an introductory paragraph or two, a brief note on the physical changes that the template causes, and lastly the mechanics which sometime come with drawbacks.  While some of the ideas are interesting and solid, they are not well developed and the CR adjustments do not seem to always align with the powers granted.  The hybrid (half dragon/half something else) variant is especially sketchy but the albino, broken and glass templates have a considerable amount of potential.

Dragon Templates (and Variants), Volume 2 – I to O, has seven templates ranging from a -1 to +2 Challenge Rating (CR).  Like the first volume, they are more sketches than fully realized ideas and this is the weakest of the collections, with templates such as: insane, which beside being a poor model of insanity is essentially unplayable as every 1d4 rounds there is a one in six chance it will become defenseless (and this is a +1 CR?), kaleidoscope adds an unneeded random element to combat and nothing more (though it rated a +1 CR as well) and the masochistic template is a misuse of language at best (sadists enjoy inflicting pain, not masochists as this template implies) only the lazy and obsidian templates look salvageable.

Dragon Templates (and Variants), Volume 3 – P to Z, has 11 templates ranging from a -1 to +2 Challenge Rating (CR), with one with a variable CR bonus that could go to +4!  As the pattern established by the previous two volumes, the templates are unpolished but useable, just.  Some interesting ideas here, the stone imbued xenolith, the amusing yodeling and the astrologically tied zodiac templates.  But the quantum template will just drive everyone (including the GM) crazy, the temporal template gives out limited uses of 8th and 9th level time spells and splitter looks like a mathematical headache though it is a neat idea.  There are some useful pieces here and some dross to be sorted through.

If you use a lot of dragons in your campaign, or if you just want the ones that show up to be unique and interesting, these products will provide inspiration and a starting point for various unusual dragons but they are only a starting point, you will need to work out the finer details and balance them yourself.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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