The Saving Throw
Dungeons and Dragons, 4th Edition ~ Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons 06.12.2009
Saving Throw's review of the Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons

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Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons
published by Wizards of the Coast reviewed by Martin Drury
256 pages, 2008, $39.95
Content 4.5
Organization 4.5
Consistency 4
Intelligibility 4.5
Review Scoring

   If two things are iconic with the Dungeons & Dragons game they are dungeons and well, dragons. Many gamers believe that you can never have too many dragons in a gaming world, and Wizards of the Coast has been quick to capitalize on this by providing Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons for the 4th Edition ruleset. This book, while covering only the chromatic dragons, will provide the Game Master with an almost limitless supply of ways to challenge players and their characters.

With 36 different dragon types, and assorted variations, the Game Master can easily devise new foes with varying and increasingly deadly attributes to wreak havoc upon heroes.

In addition to providing numerous dragon types, Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons provides plenty of dragon lore to help Game Masters make their game world come alive. Skillful Game Masters can dole this lore out in small, bite size pieces that can lead or mislead players as they see fit. Either way, weaving a complex yet interesting backstory for any type of dragon is a breeze.

The next two chapters are filled with game mechanics detailing combat and social encounters, adventure hooks and campaigns, hoards, artifacts, rituals, famous dragons and a variety of dragon lairs. Half of the book is spent on these two chapters, and not a page is wasted. Even when running a campaign that does not feature dragons, a Game Master can find something to spice up the game in these two chapters. Game Masters running campaigns that feature lots of dragons will find these two chapters invaluable; with the abundance of examples Game Masters might well develop ideas for several campaigns in a matter of a few hours.

A book on dragons would not be complete without lots of example dragons. Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons provides 36 different dragon types, expanding on the existing chromatic dragons presented in the Monster Manual and adding brown, gray, purple, 13 planar dragons, and 15 undead dragons. With this many dragons, a Game Master has a nearly endless supply of dragons for terrorizing, helping, or otherwise interacting with players.

Rounding out the book are chapters on other creatures related to dragons, a dragon hall of fame converted to 4th Edition rules, two templates and alternate powers for dragons.

Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons is stuffed full of materials that Game Masters will find helpful. Unfortunately, the retail price of this book may turn off all but most die hard of dragon fans, or Game Masters who know they will be running campaigns featuring lots of dragons.

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