An Interpretation of Dragonbane’s Resting rules

Going through the mechanics for Journeys in Dragonbane, I came upon this rule in the section on resting:

“A shift rest lasts one full shift of time and can only take place in a safe location where there are no enemies nearby.”

Other rules in the Journeys section indicate pretty strongly that the writer assumes anywhere that isn’t inside a dungeon to be a safe location. But personally, I wouldn’t consider pitching a tent in the goblin hills or spider woods to be “in a safe location”. Ultimately, what is safe enough to allow the PCs to rest is at the discretion of the GM.

For the Woodland Vales system, I really want to players to set up proper base camps while exploring a stretch of wilderness, where they can store their food and other supplies, as well as the heavy treasures they find under the guard of their hirelings who also take care of the pack animals. Using a more severe interpretation of what constitutes a safe place for the purposes of resting immediately makes this a much greater necessity without really touching the rest of the Dragonbane rules at all.

Similar to the havens (I think that’s the term) in The One Ring, finding the home of a friendly NPC, the shrine of a benevolent spirit, or an abandoned tower with intact walls can be a hugely beneficial discovery. A location secure enough to regain all HP and WP and remove all your conditions becomes a key resource for the ability to delve further into the unknown wilds. Without it, you can only get four Round Rests to recover 1d6 WP and four Stretch Rests to recover 1d6 WP and HP per day.

A less severe approach to this is to assign all outdoor areas a security rating of safe, wild, and dangerous. In a wild area, the Bushcraft roll to find a suitable camp site for making a Shift Rest is made normally. But in a safe area it is rolled with a boon and in a dangerous area with a bane. In a dangerous area you might still be able to find the occasional safe campsite to make a Shift Rest, but with a bane (roll twice, take the worse result) it would be quite unpredictable which nights you will be able to. Even with this house rule, any place that is reliable secure and does not require Bushcraft checks at all would still be a very valuable resource.

Dungeons & Dragonbane

While I love Dragonbane precisely because it’s not Dungeons & Dragons, while still providing mechanics and content to represent similar kinds of fantasy worlds, there are a few things from D&D that I really love and want to carry over into Dragonbane anyway.

Reaction Rolls

I really love the B/X reaction rolls. It’s one of my favorite game mechanics. Any time the PCs encounter creatures or armed people in the wilderness or a ruin, and their disposition hasn’t already been determined by previous events, roll 2d6 to see how they react to seeing the party:

  • 2: They see the PCs as enemies and attack.
  • 3-5: They are hostile and threaten attack if the PCs don’t leave or surrender.
  • 6-8: They are uncertain and observe what the PCs do.
  • 9-11: They don’t want trouble and will avoid confrontation.
  • 12: They are friendly and might offer information or assistance.

PCs approaching a brigand camp might be mistaken for bandits who want to join or expected reinforcements and told to come inside. A troll might be friendly and offer to share his roasted dwarf. Lots of interesting situations that can happen if you don’t start encounters without the expectation that it obviously has to be a fight. And once the players get used to it, it changes how they approach creatures and people who haven’t spotted them yet.

Morale Checks

Plenty of armed and dangerous people might be willing to risk the chance of getting killed and to accept that some of their allies will get killed. But it is extremely rare for people to stay in a fight where their own death is certain and there’s nothing to be gained from it. Most fights should end with the losing side making an effort to escape with their lives.

But when you decide as GM that the enemies will break off the fight at a specific moment in the action, the players might always suspect that you were going easy on them because some PCs would have gotten killed if the enemy had fought on a bit longer. And that creates the expectation that you’ll probably do it again if their PCs are getting in real danger, and causes frustration when their character’s don’t get saved by a fortuitous enemy retreat.

Making a dice roll in the open solves all of that. Make the dice decide when the enemy loses morale and then stick to what the dice said. I like to roll when the first enemy is killed (or looks to have been killed), when the enemy leader is killed, and every time the enemy group is reduced by half.

Roll 2d6 against a morale value between 3 and 11 works for B/X, and I think it should work just as well for Dragonbane.

Random Encounters

Dragonbane already proposes to make a roll for a random encounter once per shift when in the Wilderness. I would also make a roll once per stretch while inside dungeons.


I really like the concept of having the PCs travel to ancient ruins deep in the wilderness with a group of camp followers. Not exactly sure how to implement that yet, but that’s something I want to have in my campaign.

Divine Sites

The BECMI Companion rules introduced the concept of Clan Relics. Powerful mystical objects that allow their keepers to activate a number of divine spells and create a magical ward that keeps away undead and demons. The idea was to let nonhuman settlements have access to the powers of a cleric in a game system where only humans could be of the cleric class. While there is no such thing as a cleric class in Dragonbane, I still really love the idea that there are powerful magical sites associated with particular deities or divine spirits that provide mystical protection for settlements that grow around them, and draw pilgrims who seek the special blessings of the shrine or temple. The priests tending to such a site don’t even have to have spells of their own.

Domain Lords

The Expert Rules imply through their mechanics and recommendations for designing a setting a world in which there is little centralized authority, and the typical social structure that is encountered consists of a lord and his soldiers in a keep providing security for a few small villages in the surrounding area. I always thought that was really cool and evocative, and something that should mesh very well with the tone and presentation of Dragonbane.

Return to the Forest Moon

Looking proudly at the sandbox map I made over the last two weeks from first rough layout sketch to mostly finished version, I made the disappointed realization that I had once again prepared a D&D campaign. Despite my joy at having found a game in Dragonbane that is free of the underlying mechanical framework shared by all D&D versions and with a bit more substance than Barbarians of Lemuria, and writing a whole post about needing to approach sandbox preparation differently, I was still falling in the old established patterns that I’ve trained myself to adopt for the last ten years or so. Trying to fill the new sandbox with all my favorite D&D dungeons that I always wanted to use one day and taking a new shot at the old Forest of High Adventure concept surely didn’t help with that.

I feel a cleaner break is in order. To really approach a Dragonbane campaign with a fresh perspective on Kaendor.

Seven years ago, I wrote Project Forest Moon, a list of new design principles that I wanted to put at the center of the worldbuilding for a Sword & Sorcery wilderness setting. Which I still consider a huge success and my biggest breakthrough in really finding the right focus and tone for my following work. I think writing down a similar updated concept paper might be really quite useful for me now. When I think of new ideas how I can manifest the style I am aiming for in concrete setting elements, I often remember that I already did come up with something great a few years ago, but it somehow slipped from my mind at some point and I didn’t do anything with it. This post is a collection of many of these ideas for myself, to look up again when I’ll inevitably get lost in the weeds again.

From Nate Simpson’s Nonplayer.

Tone and Style: One thing that has always been core and center of all my worldbuildilg is that I wanted it to be a big forest setting from the very start. And it soon developed into a desire to give it somewhat of a pulpy lost world style. Influences have come and gone over the years, but I think a really good foundation for my own mental image as I further develop environments and cultural elements is “a Sword & Sorcery jungle world collaboration by Frank Frazetta and Moebius”. If they had painted and drawn such a world, how would I translate what I see into descriptions and scenes? Another huge influence I mention all the time is of course Morrowind, which really set the standard for me for fantasy settings that feel like different worlds than slightly rearranged versions of European folklore. And more recently, Kenshi has become a major influence on what I want to accomplish with the setting. While not actually a fantasy setting and very much a desert world, it’s such a fascinating example of small warlord societies on a desolate alien planet.

The Forest Moon: The term Forest Moon comes of course directly from Endor in Return of the Jedi. The visuals in that movie and The Empire Strikes Back have left a giant impact on my imagination since I saw them for the very first time. There are no sci-fi elements in Kaendor, but a lot of classic pulp art blended fantasy and space elements together with no clear separation, and the idea of Kaendor being an alien world around a huge gas planet really resonates with me to evoke that amazing pulp style. It means very little in practice since conditions on the moon are identical to Earth and nearly any fantasy world, but one way in which such a setup would logically manifest itself is in frequent and long-lasting eclipses. I did work out a complete 16-year cycle calendar with 24 months of 16 days and three leap years of 23 months, that also indicates likely eclipse days at some point. I think I need to make renewed efforts to incorporate this into the culture of the world. At least the eclipses that can happen multiple times per year should have some dramatic impact.

Permian Pangea: Dinosaurs are extremely cool. But they also kinda on the nose. Barbarians riding on dinosaurs can be great pulpy fun, but they don’t really evoke a sense of a plausible alien world. I found that a great solution to this is to instead populate the world with animals from the Permian and Paleocene periods directly preceding and following the dinosaurs. They are still very realistic animals, because they actually did exist, but are mostly unknown even to people who can name dozens of dinosaurs on pictures. They seem like they are made up to most people and a bit alien, but nothing exceptionally weird. I think I worked out the main predators and livestock animals for Kaendor years ago and still don’t feel like there’s any more work to be done. Just make frquent mention of drohas and krats as pack and farm animals in places that the players are coming through. I only need to stat them for Dragonbane, which is really quick and simple.

Human Civilization is new and small: I don’t really believe in the idea of lost golden ages and actually find the concept somewhat offensive. It’s the conservative moaning about a better past that never was, and a rejection of change as a matter of principle. But impressive ancient ruins are really cool, and post-apocalyptic anarchy can be a lot of fun. To eat my cake and still have it too, I very early came up with the idea that the past great empires that build monumental castles and made the magic treasures were otherwise actually really terrible and their disappearance a good thing for the world and its people. Kaendor is full of ruins and treasure hoards from the naga and shie who enslaved the early humans or drove them into the most remote regions of the wilderness. Now that they are mostly gone, humans can build civilizations of their own, but they are way too small to fill out the vast territories ruled by the elder peoples, and so numerous huge, empty ruins still cover what is now again wilderness. Still largely untouched and unexplored. Human civilization consists only of a handful of relatively minor city states, separated by vast stretches of wilderness full of terrible beasts.

Nature Always Wins: People always seem to think of themselves as the masters over nature who have taken control over the world they live in. But that perception is simply the result of a limited perception. They see the changes to the environment within sight of their homes and think of history on the scale of decades and centuries. But on the global scale, and the cosmic scale, none of the works and accomplishments of mortals mean anything. Eventually, everything will be reclaimed by the wilderness and forgotten, leaving behind only a few mysterious traces that hint of something that came before. And even those will completely fade away eventually, when the mountains still stand and forests still grow.

Bronze Age Technology: Bronze age weapons and armor, and architecture and administration. Because it’s a cool style.

A World of Demons: Unlike many other fantasy worlds, Kaendor has a clear separation of the natural and supernatural. Creatures are either ordinary animals, even if huge and deadly, or they are supernatural monsters. For many people, the common term for the later beings is demons. They don’t come from some other dimension or realm and are creatures of flesh and blood that are born, need to eat, and can be killed. But they do have magical powers and age very differently, if at all. Another class of creatures does exist that are pure spirits without physical form that come from another world, and they are typically referred to as demons as well, but they are actually a completely different type of beings.

A World of Heroes: Just as there is a clear difference between ordinary animals and monsters, there is a clear distinction between heroes and ordinary people. Like monsters, heroes are in some way connected to the supernatural. There are countless different beliefs of what makes a person a hero, from being blessed by the gods or chosen by fate, to circumstances of birth and the heroism of ancestors, or that it is something that can be attained through devotion to the divine or a form of enlightenment. None of these might be true, or all of them might. What is clear is that all heroes are destined for greatness, be it for good or for ill. And it usually does not take long for people to recognize heroes for what they are. All PCs and mages are always heroes, as are many kings, chiefs, and warlords. Rulership is often inherited in the lands of Kaendor, but close relatives who show the traits of a hero are almost always seen as more legitimate successors than those who do not. (In Dragonbane game terms, all PCs and all NPCs who have Willpower Points are heroes.)

Sorcery is corrupting: Magic is a power that does not come from the natural world but from outside of it. It is not inherently evil or destructive, but it is not bound to respect the natural laws that govern and sustain all living things. In the presence of poorly controlled magical energies, living things become corrupted and warped from the inside out until they become sickly and twisted and eventually die, or continue to exists in a state between life and death, sustained by the very magical forces that are destroying them. Even rocks and metals can become brittle and crumble after long exposure to extreme corruption. The spells most commonly known and taught by most mages are the result of many centuries of careful study and research and dangerous and costly experimentation to minimize any unintended corrupting effects on their surroundings and nearby creatures. But those with the ambition to explore and discover new and greater magical powers rarely take the caution to have the care and patience to keep their work from corrupting their surroundings and themselves. Making ambitious sorcerers seen as very dangerous and rightly feared.

Everything is a Cult: In the lands of Kaendor, every gathering of people with a common purpose prays to one or several gods to protect them and bless their efforts. In some places, all groups, factions, and organizations might pray to the same god worshiped in the local temple, while in others there might be dozens of different gods and spirits, which might be so obscure that barely anyone outside the group has ever heard of them. But every group has some kind of altar in their main gathering place, and members show their status as initiates with talismans displaying the symbols of their cult.

Gods are not People: I have still not yet fully decided on the actual nature of gods in Kaendor, but while they might be depicted as such in iconography, they are definitely not people or even individuals. They are more like divine forces or powers that are believed to have a real influence on the world and who can be influenced through worship and rituals, but they are not beings with a defined shape or who exists in precise locations, and won’t directly communicate to mortal creatures through words. Ultimately, priests with magical powers are mages who have studied and mastered spells just like sorcerers do, but who pursue the advancement of their magical skills within the teachings and philosophies of their faith.

Sural for Dragonbane

Monsters and animals in Dragonbane are pretty simple. They only have five stats and maybe three skills, and they are all numbers that you assign independently at any value you think seems appropriate. There’s a good piece of wisdom that’s been around for a while that says that almost any custom monster you’ll ever want to stat will be adequately represented by the default stats for a bear, wolf, or giant spider. Nearly every fantasy RPG has these three and they work well enough as stand-ins for most medium or large predator and giant insect. Maybe adjust hit points and armor a bit, but in practice players probably won’t even notice that difference.

However, occasionally, you have a creature that takes a bit more tinkering than that. The sural from Kaendor doesn’t resemble any of these three. But even in such a case, you usually can get pretty far with just combining parts of existing creatures. The Dragonbane rulebook only has 15 creatures and none of them are either aquatic or snakes. But there’s also an adventure book in the set, which does have a few adventure specific creatures as well. And the White Death is just what I need.

The sural is a large eel-like creature that lives in many swamps and partially flooded caves. While it does feed on fish, its main prey are mammals and birds that come to the water to drink, which it grabs with its jaws and then drags into the water to drown.

  • Ferocity: 1
  • Size: Large
  • Movement: 16 (in water)
  • Armor:
  • HP: 16
Monster Attacks (1d6 or pick one)
  • 1-2: Tail Swipe! The sural swipes its tail at a player character within 10 meters. The attack inflicts 2D6 bludgeoning damage and knocks the victim down.
  • 3-4: Ferocious Bite! The sural bites a player character with its strong jaws. The attack inflicts 2D8 slashing damage.
  • 5-6 Drowning! The sural pulls a player character into the deep and the  victim immediately begins to drown. The player character cannot move or perform actions that require body movement, except trying to break free, which takes a STR roll. Others can help.

Monsters in Dragonbane are different from animals and NPCs. They automatically hit with their attacks unless a player decides to make a Dodge check. (They can not be parried.) They can see in the dark, are immune to poison, fear, and some spells, can not be shoved or grappled, and automatically resist the Persuasion skill. They are very much considered to be unnatural creatures.

While I guess surals could be treated as ordinary animals, I think that encounters with them should be memorable scenes in dramatic environments of heroic scope. Making them monsters with everything that comes with it seems appropriate. However, since they are meant to be encountered in small groups and not supposed to be the big monster of the week for an adventure, I decided to only give them a single turn every round (Ferocity: 1), instead of the multiple turns that most monsters get. And while being scaled, creatures like minotaurs and giant spiders don’t have any armor either, so surals can go without them as well.

Dragonworld: A Dragonbane Fantasyland setting outline

Around the same time that I started reading the Dragonbane rules, road constructions made me take a different route back from work in the evening, leading to me driving through the fields and forests of East Holstein during sunny summer afternoons.

And even though I’m neck deep in setting up a Sword & Sorcery style campaign in Kaendor and frequently tinker around with my Iridium Moons Space Opera, I keep having lots of inspirations for a classic, straightforward Fantasyland setting for Dragonbane. That game very strongly comes across as a good old Fantasy Heartbreaker, but one that actually strikes me as having found a really great balance between oldschool B/X D&D and the Basic Role-Playing system, and incorporating influences from contemporary D&D and the Year Zero system, resulting in just the type of game system that I think I’ve been looking for the last decade. And it’s generic Elfgame style for illustrations is kind of charming. Charming in the same way as I remember first reading the 2nd Edition Forgotten Realms campaign setting box.

I’ve been thinking for a long time how I find it disappointing that few fantasy works seem to have any interest to draw on actual medieval history and culture for their settings anymore, and how all Northern European style fantasy is really just Viking stuff and nothing else. And another thing that’s been on my mind last winter was how the Heartlands and Unapproachable East regions of the Forgotten Realms have a couple of interesting ideas, but feel too sparse and thin for me to consider running campaigns in them. But there could be some potential by combining the more interesting parts of both regions into a single region. And then really dialing up the 13th century reference, which the first Forgotten Realms box actually referenced but were then very quickly forgotten and discarded.

And I still think that could work: 13th century Baltic Sea region, with countries shamelessly ripped off from the Dalelands, Moonsea, Impiltur, Rashemen, and Thay. Do I have anything meaningful to add to generic Fantasyland or anything to say on the subject that hasn’t been said before? Not really. I can’t think of any. But there’s still the thought that generic Fantasyland could be done better than it has before, and that I know what it would look like.

Will this go anywhere? Probably not. Will I have interesting pieces to share in the common months? Maybe, but probably not many. Might I actually run a Dragonbane campaign in that setting? Possibly, but I still have a big Kaendor campaign that is in the final preparation phase, which will hopefully go well enough to keep my fantasy cravings fed for the next few years. But maybe, in four or five years, I might find myself in the situation that I feel like running a somewhat different flavor of fantasy. And then, maybe, I might think that this Dragonworld concept I had in 2024 might be worth getting my full attention.

That’s the kind of worldbuilding work you can expect coming from this.

The Lands of Dragonworld

The landscapes and cultures of the setting are very much based on the Baltic Sea region about the time of the 13th century. Temperate to sub-arctic climate and home to various Germanic and Slavic peoples. And the main cultural force that is shaping society throughout all the lands is sea trade. A long an narrow sea protected from the worst weather of the open ocean serves in many ways just like a river for the transportation of goods, but unlike a river there is no way for any powerful lord to block all ships at a strategic choke point and gain control of all trade through huge tolls and taxes. There is even a theory that this open access to a convenient transportation network was the foundation for more egalitarian social structures that eventually made Skandinavia in particular the birthplace of modern Social Democracy, and northern Europe extremely wealthy despite modest to poor conditions for agriculture. (But I digress.) The Baltic Sea became home to many very powerful small merchant republics that ended up playing in the same political and military league as the actual kingdoms of the region. Forgotten Realms also has a very strong presence of free cities and merchant lords, which always reminded me of Northern Europe. I think this is an environment that is really much more interesting than the typical Fantasyland with their English and French kings.

The Imperial Marches are the northern borderlands of a great southern kingdom that fancies itself an Empire but in truth is no more powerful or larger in size than its other neighbors to the south and east. The Empire has long desired to further expand into the lands of the North but has seen almost no successes in the last few generations. The Imperial Marches are home to some of the largest cities in the North and can field large and powerful armies, but most of their excursions into the rest of the region are undertaken by merchant ships trading with the cities of the Narrow Sea.

The Western Duchy is an old and proud nation of herdsmen and farmers sitting on the coastal plains below the Woodsmen Hills. The position of the Duke is a largely ceremonial title as the cities and towns of the country are highly independent, but holds the responsibility of a common leader of the city’s armies in times of attacks by neighboring realms. While the current Duke has sworn fealty to the Emperor as his vassal, in practice the Duchy remains a sovereign nation in nearly all ways that matter.

The Woodmen Hills are a region of densely forested highlands that are inhabited by numerous barbaric tribes closely related to the people of the Western Duchy. While they share very similar languages and worship the same gods, their culture is very different from the plains dwellers down on the coast. Since the Western Duchy has nominally accepted the sovereignty of the Emperor, the Empire has focused its attempts at expansion to the north into the Woodmen Hills, but so far has found very little in the way of success.

The Tyrant Cities are a number of merchant cities with a reputation for lawlessness and the rule of cruel and uncaring despots. They are typically each other’s worst enemies, but also frequently harbor pirates and are busy markets for slaves. Occasionally one tyrant or another attempts to take control over nearby towns in the Western Duchies or Forest Dales, but these conquests are typically short lived as their soldiers are pulled out to defend their cities against rival lords who sensed an opportunity to attack.

The Cold Steppes are the westernmost edge of a vast plain of frozen grasslands that is said to stretch east for thousands of miles. While there are no major settlements in the Steppes, trade caravans from the East occasionally reach the Tyrant Cities or the Western Duchy, and in years of hard winters raids of horse riders from the plains are a common occurrence come spring.

The Forest Dales are a vast region of woodlands on the western shore of the Narrow Sea, though nearly all of the noteworthy towns of the regions are within a few days travel from the coast. There are no significant cities in this part of the northern lands, but it produces much of the special lumbers sought highly by shipbuilders all across the region.

The Merchant Kingdom used to be considered part of the Forest Dales for a very long time until it was settled by merchants from the Empire several centuries before the conquest of the Imperial Marches. Each city is ruled by a council of merchants, and the leaders of each city elect one of their own as their king. A position that is usually assumed for life, but may be revoked by a vote of the grand council. The title of king exists mostly for the merchants to assert their claim to independence from the Empire, which has long desired to incorporate the wealthy and important cities. The merchants of the kingdom gain most of their wealth from trade in lumber from the Forest Dales, iron and copper from the hellish foundries of the Tyrant Cities, and the occasional exotic goods from trade caravans crossing the Cold Steppes, which they sell  in ports in the Imperial Marches and lands further south.

Heroes and Monsters

In much of fantasy, particularly RPGs and videogames, both hero and monsters are very generic terms, typically applied to any protagonists and fictional creatures. But historically, in ancient myths and medieval tales, the concepts of a “Hero” or a “Monster” have much more specific meanings that give them a greatly heightened significance on a metaphysical scale. Heroes and monsters are not merely exceptional people or creatures, but typically unique individuals that exist outside the common rules of the natural world. They are supernatural beings that break the rules of ordinary life.

Conan the Cimmerian fighting the ape-beast Thak in the mansion of the Red Priest Nabonidus.

While I was looking at the spells available to mages in Dragonbane and how their existence would impact the worldbuilding of a campaign, one spell in particular that stood out to me was Resurrection. It is of course a very powerful ability to raise the dead, but under the rules of Dragonbane, an animism mage focusing on healing powers could get access to it very quickly after just two advances in the Animism skill. And there are no limits on who can be resurrected other than the time that has passed since the target has died. To counter this potency, each casting of Resurrection permanently reduces the Willpower attribute of the mage, which can not be recovered.  If we take the rules of the game as they are written as the internal logic by which the campaign world operates, then any mages with healing spells find themselves in the situation where they could save any 8 to 16 people brought to them from death by sacrificing their own mind. How would they even make the choices which people to bring back to life and to which ones they refuse this service to? And even if a player playing a mage with this spell comes to a decision, this would be a philosophical problem with gigantic implications for the worldbuilding of any Dragonbane campaign. Which I am pretty sure the writer of this spell had no intention to be relevant. There are surely many ways to work around that, but something that came to my mind is that perhaps the Resurrection spell does not work on most ordinary people and can only be used to resurrect a small number of exceptional individuals.

Which brings us back to Heroes. At the most basic level, classical heroes of myth are larger than life individuals who have an exceptional impact on their society and regional history. Quite often their exceptional cunning and wisdom and their superhuman fighting skills and resilience are attributed to a divine heritage, being the children or grandchildren of gods. They are not just brave or lucky or unusually well talented and trained, there is something about their inherent nature that is supernatural. This supernatural quality could be what is necessary for the Resurrection spell to work in a Dragonbane campaign. It can work of course on all PCs, but also on powerful priests and sorcerers and even kings and famous knights. And as it happens, there already is a mechanical element in the Dragonbane rules that establishes such a difference between minion and boss NPCs. Willpower Points are something that only PCs and boss NPCs have, but minion NPCs don’t.

Similarly, not every creature in Dragonbane is a monster. A dragon, manticore, or giant is a monster, while orcs, goblins, skeletons explicitly have the Non-Monster trait. The rules for monsters are quite different from those of non-monster creatures and ordinary animals. They never have to make attack rolls and can not be parried, so any PCs attacked by a monster have to either use their action for the round to attempt to dodge or automatically take damage. Monsters also typically have several actions per round, a table with several different special attacks that usually has at least one fear effect, and players can not use the Persuade skill on them. Monsters are clearly something very different from large and ferocious animals.

I really like this approach to super-human people and supernatural monsters to create a stronger feel of Sword & Sorcery in a campaign. It encourages to use “Monsters” more sparingly and have each of them be at least a major setpiece of the adventures they appear in, rather than as a simple way to avoid too much repetitiveness in long stretches of repeated fights. Dragonbane is not a system meant for classic dungeon crawls like B/X, where going from room to room to deal with a new threat behind every door and corner is the name of the game. I’m really looking forward to see how this will play out in practice and how it will impact the feel and presentation of Kaendor.