The Dragonlance Nexus

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Dragonspawn and Dragon Magic

D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules

by Crown


Disclaimers and Notes: Some ideas have been borrowed and changed from Wings of Fury, Heroes of Steel: The Rising Storm, and Key of Destiny - Age of Mortals Campaign, Volume One. The idea for the dragonspawn spell/ritual came from Jean Rabe's Dhamon Trilogy, where spawning is done by Sable's lieutenant Nura Bint-Drax. Also, in Jean Rabe's The Dawning of a New Age, Khellendros starts the process before the Dragon Purge. So it seems that this magic is not tied to the power of a dragon's skull totem (even in the Age of Mortals sourcebook it is stated that Khellendros founds the spawning process as late as 18 SC). Also I liked spawn and even though some overlords are dead, other powerful dragons could create them (as per "sea dragonspawn" in the Bestiary of Krynn). It is actually stated in Heroes of Steel: The Rising Storm that spawn can reproduce, but in Key of Destiny it's said that the victims of spawning became infertile. Regardless, there is now a way to create new spawn.
Also included below are links to other forms of dragon magic mentioned in the Dragonlance books based on the Age of Mortals.

Origin

Khellendros (Skie) is credited with the first creation of Dragonspawn. He found this strange magic from the dimensions he traveled before the Age of Mortals began. He begins experimenting with the spawning process just after the Chaos War. It seems that the next Overlord to discover this magic could have been Onysablet (Sable) who probably learned this twisted magic on her own somewhere between 403-413 AC (20-30 SC). Malystryx (Malys) learned this magic from Skie somewhere between 413-415 AC (30-32 SC). Soon after, she taught this magic to Beryllinthranox (Beryl), Gellidus (Frost), and Brynseldimer (Brine) as an exchange of loyalty to her.

In addition, a few loyal supporters were given the secrets of this vile magic. To keep control over the spawning performed by these underlings (some of which were other dragons), the only ones given this "honor" were those not old enough to create their own catalyst. They could make the spell and ritual, and use the Overlord's catalyst to make loyal supporters (dragonspawn). But actually it was these supporters that spread the secrets of spawning after the death of overlords. Example: Brine taught another sea dragon under his command, Tempest, the secrets. Sable taught her loyal supporter Nura Bint-Drax (powerful Ambient Tempest Naga), who was actually a double agent for the mysterious Chaos Shadow Dragon, and Skie shared the secret with a mature adult black dragon known as Cauxillor (also an Ambient Tempest) who lived in the swamps of Knight's Spur.

Ritual of Spawn Creation

A spawn is formed by infusing a seed from the spirit of a draconian and part of the dragonlord creator's evil essence into the body of a human or half-elven captive (it can be done to other humanoid races, but this causes Abominations) during a painful ceremony, with spells needed for creation. The invading essence of evil dragonlords and draconians eventually corrupts and ejects the victim's own spirit.

The ritual is performed in a magical circle where the victim is with the draconian (or - as was later discovered - about a pint of draconian blood and a few scales) and the Dragonlord's catalyst (explained below). Then, the spell is cast and the transformation begins. As important as the spell and catalyst are, the draconian's essence is equally important. The shock can actually kill the donor draconian, but most survive. The draconian must make a Fortitude save against DC 12. If succesful, the draconian loses 1d10 hit points instantly. If the save fails, the draconian loses 1d6 hit points instantly per Hit Die of the victim(s) that are going to be transformed during the spell and are inside the circle. But as mentioned before, full draconians are not needed for the process, only their blood, which holds the essence needed.

For the week following the ceremony, the victim slowly becomes corrupted inside and out. His body transforms into that of a winged, reptilian monster whose scaly coloration matches that of the dragonlord who gave his catalyst for process. While this physical metamorphosis is inevitable, an individual can hold the inner transformation at bay. If the victim refuses to give in to the invading spirit, it has to fight to keep control of its body. During the process, the victim must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 dragon's HD + dragon's Charisma modifier) to retain control for one day. This save is made every day with a cumulative +1 bonus to the save DC. When the victim is finally turned, another Will save is made (at the same DC) to determine if the spawn fall under the dragon.

Common knowledge holds that when a victim becomes a spawn, there is no chance of survival. However, there are rumours that some powerful mystics have succeeded in saving fresh victims, but no one really knows if this is true (see below for details).

The list of everything needed to perform the spawning:

  • Spell & Ritual: Create Dragonspawn (see below for link)
  • Magical Circle (no special components, only physical circle)
  • The Catalyst
  • Draconian, or a pint of draconian blood and a few scales

Catalyst

To create the spawn, a Dragonlord must use part of its essence to create the Catalyst. This Catalyst forms the connection with the Dragonlord. Dragons must be Ancient age or older to create the Catalyst. Creating the Catalyst causes 1 point of Constitution ability damage per "pint" of essence used for the Catalyst. One "pint" of Catalyst creates one spawn.

If the Dragonlord dies, any previously-created Catalyst is still usable and spawn can still be created. However, in this case the spawn is not subject to anybody's control. Listed below are the "parts" of the Dragonlord that are needed for the Catalyst.

Amphi Catalyst: Dragonlord's corrosive skin ooze
Aquatic Catalyst: Dragonlord's inky breath
Black Catalyst: Dragonlord's spittle
Blue Catalyst: Dragonlord's tears
Fire Catalyst: Cooled magma from the Dragonlord's body, looks like volcanic rock
Frost Catalyst: Icy part of Dragonlords body
Green Catalyst: Dragonlord's chlorine breath, condensed
Red Catalyst: Coal fired with the Dragonlord's fire
Sea Catalyst: Part of the Dragonlord's shell, superheated from its own steam breath
Shadow Catalyst: Dragonlord's breath, turned into a gas-like Shadow-essence
White Catalyst: Dragonlord's quicksilver blood

Links to Spells

Create Dragon Vassal
Create Dragonbody
Create Dragonspawn

Healing Dragon Magic

Healing Dragon Vassals or Victims of Create Dragonbody Spell

There is a way to heal an affected victim that doesn't want to be affected by the dragon's scale without killing the victim. The major problem is finding a healer with enough power and the right spells. The second problem could be the Dragonlord that has planted the scale (who is usually aware of the vassal's movement). The third problem is the component needed for most of these spells: another dragon scale of an Ancient (or older) dragon.

The following spells or combinations of spells can heal a victim. Spell-combinations must all be performed inside a two-hour period. Only one try with these spells can be conducted during any 24-hour period.

  • Miracle (Evoc) or Wish (Univ) [No scale needed]
  • Polymorph Any Object (Trans) [Scale needed]
  • Antimagic Field (Abjur) + Limited Wish (Univ) + Banishment (Abjur) [Scale needed]
  • Special: Another dragon can cast either Create Dragon Vassal or Create Dragonbody. This negates the original effect if the new dragon spellcaster succeeds with either of these spells. First, the victim gets a normal save against the spell, then the new Dragonlord must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the original Dragonlord's HD). If both saves are successful, the original scale (and its influence) is broken, and the victim is now influenced by the new scale.

Healing Dragonspawn

There is a way to heal an affected victim. The major problem is finding a healer or group of healers with the necessary spells to do this. The second problem is the dragonspawn itself, because when the change happens the spawn usually becomes a loyal servant of its Dragonlord creator, and it doesn't remember its former life. Therefore, it will consider the helpers to be enemies. Any companions/rescuers that help the spawn should be wary of sudden attacks or more devious betrayals.

The DM should also consider the possibility that few creatures know the right combination of spells (or have enough power) in Krynn to heal dragonspawn. There are many rumours about powerful healers, hermit sorcerers, or powerful shamans that live in the deepest jungles and highest mountains. Gather Information checks should be used by characters trying to find a cure. Failures may take them to healers that cannot cure the dragonspawn.

The spells (ritual) to heal a victim must all be performed inside a two-hour period. Only one try with these spells can be conducted during any 24-hour period. Those victims that have not yet lost their spirit have the best chance to be saved, regardless of how much time has passed (see below). The time indicated below represents how long it has been since the victims lost their spirit. The physical change takes about 24 hours, during which time the former victim is helpless as his body slowly reverts to its original form. The victim's mental change, however, is very quick and the victim is helpless for only 2d10 rounds.

Table: Healing A Dragonspawn
Spawn's Age Condition and Save DC Spells Needed
Has own mind (regardless of age) Mental DC 10 Restoration & Break Enchantment
Has own mind (regardless of age) Mental & physical Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement
1 Day Mental DC 12 Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement
1 Day Mental & physical Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement & Greater Command
2 Days Mental DC 14 Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement & Greater Command
2 Days Mental & physical Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement & Greater Command & Heal; OR Miracle OR Wish OR Polymorph Any Object
3-4 Days Mental DC 16 See "2 Days" entry
3-4 Days Mental & physical See "2 Days" entry
5-7 Days Mental DC 18 Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement & Greater Command & Heal
5-7 Days Mental & physical Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement & Greater Command & Heal & Greater Restoration; OR Miracle OR Wish OR Polymorph Any Object
8-14 Days Mental DC 20 Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement & Greater Command & Heal
8-14 Days Mental & physical Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement & Greater Command & Heal & Greater Restoration; OR Miracle OR Wish OR Polymorph Any Object
15-30 Days Mental DC 22 Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement & Greater Command & Heal
15-30 Days Mental & physical Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement & Greater Command & Heal & Greater Restoration; OR Miracle OR Wish OR Polymorph Any Object
1-6 Months Mental DC 24 Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement & Greater Command & Heal
1-6 Months Mental & physical Restoration & Break Enchantment & Atonement & Greater Command & Heal & Greater Restoration; OR Miracle OR Wish OR Polymorph Any Object
6-12 Months Mental No longer possible
6-12 Months Mental & physical Miracle OR Wish OR Polymorph Any Object
12+ Months* Mental No longer possible
12+ Months* Mental & physical Miracle OR Wish

Note: At the DM's option, it may be impossible to heal a dragonspawn that has been around longer than 12 months.

Spawn's Age: How long ago the victim was changed into a dragonspawn.

Condition and Save DC: Whether the character is saved mentally, or both mentally & physically. If the character is saved mentally, he keeps the spawn's body but retains his own memories and knowledge. However, he must make a Will save at the listed DC to fight the effect of healing spells (if the spawn's mind was not his own), or to fight the invading essence (if the spawn retains his own will). The character does not need to save against every spell - just the effect caused by the spells.

If the character is saved mentally and physically, he reverts back to his normal self. It is possible to cure the victim's mind first and cure the physical form later, but the spawn's age continues as noted in the table.

Spells Needed: The spell (or combination of spells) that must be cast on the victim.

Dragonspawn, Vassals, and the Death of a Dragonlord

Both Dragonspawn and Vassals are creatures created through magic, forged from the essence of an evil Dragonlord merging with the spirit of a draconian and the body of a human (or other race). Their existence is intimately tied to that of the dragon that created them.

Dragonbody: Anyone changed by the Create Dragonbody spell is not affected by the death of the Dragonlord. The victim continues changing and finally becomes a dragon.

Dragonspawn: When a Dragonlord dies, all linked Dragonspawn must make saving throws as follows:

  • Fortitude save (DC 25). Failure means instant death.
  • Will save (DC 20). Failure means 3d6 points of Intelligence drain. Dragonspawn with an Intelligence below 7 become insane and are unable to use spells or spell-like abilities, while dragonspawn whose Intelligence is reduced to 0 Intelligence are killed.
  • If the Will save succeeds by 10 or more, then all memories of the spawn's prior life return. The dragonspawn keeps his physical body and regains his former self.
  • Abominations use the same rules, but their save DCs are 30 and 25, respectively. Few abominations survive the process.

Vassals: When a Dragonlord dies, all linked Dragon Vassals must make saving throws as follows:

  • Fortitude save (DC 15). Failure inflicts 1d10 points of damage per age category of the Dragonlord. For example, when an ancient Dragonlord dies, all Vassals of that Dragonlord must make a save or suffer 10d10 points of damage.
  • If the Fortitude save is successful, the Vassal survives and loses all special abilities of the Dragon Vassal template. The scale just drops off.

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