UPDATE: The statistics for these catastrophic dragons have been moved, but fear not! You can now grab them in a totally awesome Pay What You Want PDF on the DMs Guild.
Few disasters work as quickly and devastatingly as a tornado. The terror of these catastrophes can be seen in movies like Twister and The Wizard of Oz, but the true horror is even worse as seen in real life articles and news reels. When it comes to disasters, tornadoes strike fast and without warning. The same happens when a tornado dragon rolls through town. It isn’t looking to chat or for treasure. It’s looking to kill.
If you haven’t been following the blog, I’ve been busy converting the fourth edition D&D catastrophic dragons to fifth edition mechanics. So far I’ve done the typhoon, blizzard, earthquake, and volcanic dragons. I’m hoping to get feedback on these baddies from you all and then I’ll add them to the Free Game Resources section of this site. Anyway here’s my story for catastrophic dragons in fifth edition, pulled from earlier posts.
Catastrophic dragons were once chromatic dragons who desired more than a hoard and a lair. For while others stole and hid from the humanoids over whom they claimed superiority, these dragons knew that all other life in the multiverse should be bowing to their will. Power is a far greater reward than any material possession and as the smartest and strongest in the land, dragons deserved to be in charge. Any thought other than this was impractical and stupid. These dragons tried to convince their brethren to leave their caves and make the humanoids submit to their will.
The other chromatic dragons did not like this sudden interest in the affairs of lesser beings and so with greater numbers they did come together. They banished their radical kin to the elemental planes. For hundreds of years these rebellious chromatic dragons were locked in seas of fire, ice, wind, and stone. Those who did not die were shaped by elemental forces and remade into catastrophic dragons.
Each trapped catastrophic dragon has its imprisonment tied to the soul of a chromatic dragon on the material plane. If one of these gatekeeper chromatic dragon should die before it can pass the responsibility onto another, the catastrophic dragon can leave the plane of its imprisonment and wreak havoc on the world.
Catastrophic dragons once wanted to dominate all life in the multiverse. After years of suffering the harsh terrain of the elemental planes, their minds are warped and they desire only to kill all those inferior to them, especially chromatic dragons whom they hate above all others.Their memories are long and catastrophic dragons do not forget their betrayal at the hands of their kin. If they escape their bonds, they may keep a hoard, but usually only for the purpose of attracting other dragons and killing them.
A solid mass of tearing, howling wind creates the body of the tornado dragon. Its form is constantly moving, and the dragon itself can barely sit still. If one comes across a calm tornado dragon, be wary indeed! For surely their rage is approaching a boiling point which cannot be contained.
Restless Rage. Tornado dragons are constantly on the move in search of something new to destroy. Being idle gives them time to reflect on their pain and suffering in the elemental planes, and they distract themselves with their labor of devastating all life. Tornado dragons use every ounce of energy they have wreaking havoc on the world and then retire to their lairs for long periods of time to rebuild their energy and heal their wounds. During these rests, the rage boils in tornado dragons’ hearts and it is only a matter of time before they explode forth, eager to ravage the land once again.
Angry Liberators. More so than any other catastrophic dragon tornado dragons are driven to find gatekeeper chromatic dragons and slay them to free their catastrophic brothers. Often while resting they perform divination rituals to find the closest gatekeeper chromatic dragons. These rituals determine which direction their next swath of destruction will travel.
A Tornado Dragon’s Lair
Tornado dragons prefer to be outside wreaking havoc and destruction as often as possible but they do claim lairs as sanctuaries where they can rest and heal. Usually a tornado dragon’s lair is great ruined structure, possibly destroyed by the dragon itself. Pyramids, arenas, castles, and palaces are the kind of enormous ruin a tornado dragon might claim. They prefer structures on wide open flat planes. The ruins are concealed with illusion magic, and guarded by elemental creatures.
The inside of a tornado dragon’s lair is littered with all manner of magic and mechanical alarms which can alert the dragon to an intruder’s presence. If the dragon is inclined, it will seek out the intruder itself to fight in the halls, or it may trigger one of its devious traps, which often involve the collapsing of a room, or the entire floor of a structure.
When the dragon does face foes in its lair, it prefers to confront them in an area with plenty of space, to make the most of its catastrophic aura. These open spaces often have flimsy barriers, made to look sturdy. Intruders may hide behind these barriers, thinking themselves safe right before the dragon’s wind rips it apart exposing them.
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