Path of Dragons
The first installment of the Mythic Paths-series clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 3 pages how-to-use/introduction, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
So, know what sucks in my book? The relative vulnerability of dragons to certain builds. Yeah, in my home-game, I fixed that via templates etc., but the matter of fact remains that in mythic rules, this is further enhanced. Enter this pdf.
Beyond a number of suggested abilities from the Mythic Adventures base book to help design challenging draconic adversaries, we receive new abilities – a lot of them.
Take bloodied breath – this one allows a dragon to breathe as an immediate action after being critically hit when below 50% HP via mythic power, even if cooldown would prevent that – not a fan of the bloodied concept in the first place, but know what? In this instance, I can live with it. Metabreath modifications to make breath-cones into lines also is nice. More interesting, though: The option to use mythic power to not only extend the range of their breath, but also change the shape of the breath weapon. What about ball-shaped, splashing breath (including no saves for direct hits)?
Fast healing after some damage incurred, splitting breath weapons into two different areas and classics like clinging breath weapons can be found herein. What about automatic snatches with tails? Significantly increased damage when smashing down to hapless saps, combining charging with breath weapons for truly devastating assaults…pretty awesome. Now remember my first premise? Well, draconic fortitude allows the dragons to partially ignore a lot of the annoying cheap shots against them – and this ability alone should very much be a must-have for proper draconic bosses.
Adding stench, a kind of omni-evasion (for all saves versus magical/spell-like/supernatural attacks) that also doubles as minor healing, flinging foes, blinding scales, less susceptibility versus mind-influencing tricks or polymorphs…glorious. Adding repositions to Stand Still, resistance towards negative energy (and death effects), stealing mythic power, better defenses versus touch attacks, better spell sundering (send that barbarian home crying…), strafing breaths, dual claw attacks…this is BEAUTIFUL. Seriously, this takes all the cheesy cheap shots and negates them, bringing back the wonder and fear to our beloved apex predators.
This, however, is NOT where the pdf stops – instead, we are introduced to so-scaled Draconic Paths – these can be used as an alternative or addition to mythic powers granted by tiers etc. (come on, they’re dragons – go for “in addition!”), including a short discussion on whether or not to upgrade the CR. A total of 7 such paths are provided – from the archmage to the tyrant to the watcher and miser, they delve deeply into archetypal behavior of our favorite draconic adversaries; From the sybillant’s masterful manipulations and shape-changing, their mesmerizing gazes and riddle-suffused talking habits to true masters of the skies that can tear through any opposition in the heavens to hulking brutes of titans that are truly the all-destroying melee adversaries one would expect, these paths SIGNIFICANTLY enhance dragons further.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games’ 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Th pdf does sport some glorious full-color artwork, though fans of Legendary Games may be familiar with all pieces from previous supplements.
All right, let’s not mince words here: Jason Nelson is an extremely prolific writer and the average level of quality of his writing is very high, impressively so. But even taking that into account, once in a while, he produces a pdf that simply excels, that goes above and beyond, that puts its metaphorical finger at a certain pulse in the rules.
This pdf is one such example. It oozes heart’s blood and passion – it analyzes the things that made dragons less fearsome and allows for valid counter strategies. It goes above and beyond what one can see in several similar draconic toolkits and produces rock-solid crunch that belongs to a very special type: Know those instances, when sometimes, just reading a rule sets your imagination ablaze, makes you go “Heck yeah, THAT’S how it ought to have been in the first place!”? Well, this pdf is just such a file.
While not all abilities breathe this level of awesomeness, the matter of fact remains that the dragon-enhancers herein are simply glorious. To a point where I’d argue for their inclusion even in non-mythic builds. We *ALL* want dragons to face off alone versus groups of PCs without them mopping the floor with our beloved royal reptiles, don’t we? We want this level of awe, the fear, the sense of accomplishment that should accompany every draconic encounter. This book brings that back. Now as a warning – player-supplements à la Dracomancer/In the Company of Dragons should not be used in conjunction with these abilities – what is herein is defiantly powerful. It elevates the most iconic monster back to the peak of the food chain. I’d honestly recommend this pdf to any DM looking for abilities that bring the challenge back to their dragons. I love this pdf – it is utterly and totally glorious and oozes passion, while providing more than solid rules-design.
My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars +seal of approval, given without any hesitation. This is a superb example and an excellent reminder of the excellence Jason Nelson is capable of. This is a total must buy pdf.
You can get this superb dragon toolkit here on OBS!
(And if you’re a sadistic bastard like me, combine with Rogue Genius Games’ gruesome dragons for really nasty dragons!)