|Drakes from pg. 91 of Monster Manual I, Fourth Edition|
". . . Argument 1. Having drakes actually makes the D&D world less fantastic, not more. If a wizard has a pet guarding his tower, it should be a guard dog or an owlbear, not a guard dog dressed up in a lizard costume (which is all a guard drake really is) . . ." (Not-Dragons by James Wyatt)
This is a true statement as long as you consider the elephant a mount rather than a dangerous creature. In Third Edition Dungeons and Dragons the elephant was a Challenge Rating 7 creature that could devastate a group in only a few short rounds, and in Fourth Edition Dungeons and Dragons this only got exacerbated as the Challenge Rating was raised to 8 (Adventurer's Vault I, pg. 12).
". . . Argument 2. A guard drake watching a wizard's tower is way cooler than a guard dog, and a group of hobgoblins with a tamed rage drake is much more impressive than a bear or elephant. It's a solid reminder to the players that they're not in the real world any more, and a nod to the significance of dragons in the world . . . . . ." (Not-Dragons by James Wyatt)
I'm sorry but the Guard Drake is not able to put out that sort of damage let alone create the sort of dangerous impression in the minds of players; for that matter, a dinosaur is far more intimidating and dangerous than the Guard Drake. And both the elephant and dinosaur are classic, exotic creatures from pulp and fantasy literature that have a proud tradition in the game, whereas, the Guard Drake is a recent addition that barely warrants a second glance.
I reject this argument outright. Dragons need no extra work, they're fucking dragons. You kill them and take their stuff. What else is needed?
". . . Argument 3. Drakes are to dragons as specters are to ghosts. That is, with dragons playing such a weighty role in the game, practically demanding center stage and a lot of history and story wrapped up around them, the drakes are a version of dragon that doesn't require all that story work. A drake is a plug-and-play dragon—a story-light dragon. And they're a better opponent for low-level characters than full-on dragons . . ." (Not-Dragons by James Wyatt)
". . . Argument 4. Drakes as a concept are pretty cool, but the specific execution of the drakes in 4th Edition was flawed. For that matter, the idea from the original Chainmail game that the felldrakes were a gift to the elves from Bahamut doesn't make sense. We should just redesign a new set of drakes . . ." (Not-Dragons by James Wyatt)
". . . Argument 5. We'd be better off tossing drakes out entirely than scrapping the ones that at least some people like and inventing new, untested ones . . ." (Not-Dragons by James Wyatt)
No, no it is not.
". . . Argument 6. Felldrake is a cooler name than just drake . . ." (Not-Dragons by James Wyatt)
Adding the word "fell" to any term only makes it a trite fantasy trope that should have been abandoned long ago. The term drake is far preferable to felldrake.
|What do you mean we're lost by Keith Parkinson|
Finally we come to the Dragonspawn.
Drakkoths (Monster Manual II pg. 90 - 91) from Fourth Edition are just one more variation of the Draconians and can go right to hell.
What I'd like to see with the new edition is a return to the Draconians. They were violent, dangerous creatures bound to the service of Tiamat and marching across the face of Ansalon putting the world under their booted heels and grinding it to dust.