November 10, 2008

Word of Wizards - Excerpts: Heart of Darkness

Draconomicon Excerpts: Heart of Darkness

This week's excerpt is a dragon's lair stated with two full encounters and a new way of running encounters. But don't be fooled, there's not all for this excerpt.

We are also introduced to a couple of new monsters. Meet the Purple Dragon and the Primal Storm.

The 19th level Solo Controller Elder Purple Dragon has the standard of dragon attacks that deals mainly psyhic damage but has a Nightmare Gaze (minor; at-will) that can dominate a PC and force them to attack an ally or take 20 psychic damage. It also has a Phasing Strike (immediate reaction; at-will) that is triggered by any enemy standing 3 squares away from him which deals damage and pushes the target 5 squares away while granting them phasing.

The greatest weakness of this dragon is sunlight. If it begins its turn in sunlight, it can only take a single standard action. If it ends its turn in sunlight, it takes 233 damage!

There isn't any fluff description for the purple dragon in this excerpt but it plays an interesting role in combat. When PCs are going through any encounters in his lair, it only springs in for a couple of rounds and then leaves only to return after that. To determine whether the dragon makes an appearance, the DM is suppose to roll a d6, one round after it left the encounter. On a 5 or 6 (just like recharging powers), it would appear anywhere that provides more tactical advantage.

This puts a really odd and confusing, at first, feel to running encounters. There are different encounter levels depending whether the dragons makes an appearance or not and if it stays or leaves combat which also determines the XP.

The second monster is the Primal Storm which is only described as a dragon-shaped mass of energy (in which case, shaped like a purple dragon) that seems to emulate whichever dragon it is suppose to resemble. The Primal Storm in this excerpt also deals psychic damage with its Psychic Bolt (standard; at-will) which can attack up to 3 targets that are within 10 squares of each other. It also has a Psychic Step (standard; encounter) that is a burst 2 attack that can daze and then teleports the Primal Storm 8 squares away after that.

This excerpt can be a short adventure by itself considering the dynamic nature of how encounters are being done. The PCs would probably be going on a wild goose chase to put the dragon down and its frequent interuptions while they are busy fighting something else can be pretty annoying for them.

I would say that you need to download and read the excerpt itself to understand how the dragon ambush is suppose to work together with the other encounters and it will be quite confusing at first. I'm hoping someone will playtest this first and tell me about their experiences.

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