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GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 4: Dragons, Sean Punch 18 December 2018

This fourth Dungeon Fantasy Monsters book deals with the traditional Ultimate Fantasy Foe.

This is not a revision of GURPS Dragons; that book already exists. That book talks about dragons in myths from various cultures, and how to work them into a campaign, overtly or secretly; this one is about big lizards with breath weapons, that a well-equipped party of psychopaths can reasonably hope to be able to kill.

The variability means it's sensible to break them down into types rather than give the same stat block repeatedly, so the first chapter gives the basics, four sizes of dragon and ways of constructing the numbers for larger ones. The second deals with the breath weapons, breaking them down broadly into things that produce clouds (relatively little damage in a large area) and those that produce narrow cones (more damage to each of fewer targets). Boxed notes deal with scaling damage up or down, cones that affect more targets, and cones of vermin.

The third chapter looks at things that can be added to the basic lizard plus breath weapon template to make dragons unusual rather than just another monster. This deals both with the things that all dragons are expected to have (like keen senses and lots of damage resistance) and with things that can be used to customise the individual beast, not always keeping a clear distinction between what's expected to be standard and what's explicitly optional.

The final chapter gives tactics for dragons, which in general come down to "fight smart", but there's some more detail too: how to use size to advantage, when to fly, and how to arrange the terrain where the fight will happen.

An appendix gives stats, and suggestions, for four specific dragons, in each case making them more interesting than a sack of treasure guarded by a spiky sack of hit points.

Obviously, given the sort of game I tend to run, I've had more use out of GURPS Dragons than I'll have out of this book, but in a more conventional fantasy beat-em-up this should do a decent job of making dragons a suitably terrifying foe. GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 4: Dragons is available from Warehouse 23.

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