Friday, April 25, 2014


I love one-off dragon species.  The true dragons are all well and good, but the idea of tidily categorized dragon species was overdone even when I was a kid.  (Best of “Dragon Magazine” Vol. III had already introduced me to the gem dragons by 5th grade.)  So I love things like gorynyches and tatzlwyrms and peludas—anything that returns me to the days of Fáfnir (or hell, even Xanth *shudder*), when “dragon” could mean any number of reptilian shapes, and you never knew what foul energies were going to come out of their mouths.

The Inner Sea Bestiary’s woundwyrm (courtesy of Jason Nelson) is an eyeless creature of Abyssal pollution—on Golarion, a product of the demonic incursion that is the Worldwound (hence the name).  But with “rainbow hues drift[ing] out of their gullets,” according to the ISB, and a maw that can “inhale and ingest the very substance of reality,” I’d be stunned if they didn’t own some of their inspiration to Bas-Lag’s Cacotopic Stain (which we last mentioned here).  So you could use them anywhere entropy holds sway—Golarion’s Maelstrom/Limbo…“basic” D&D’s Entropic Plane…any Abyss…The NeverEnding Story’s Nothing…or a setting of your own—wherever there is corruption so deep that reality itself becomes uncertain.

The Cambrian Empire runs on lightning stone and wraith oil…but few of the tethercar-riding citizens have ever visited the vast, desolate fields where these fuels are mined.  In the swampy deserts of rust and oil and ether, woundwyrms are a constant threat, spreading the very pollution that created them with their entropic breath.  Officially the dragons do not exist, but the Cambrian government is always quietly looking for bounty hunters to kill the beasts…and for still more bounty hunters to kill those who don’t keep their mouths shut.

Even the Abyss has a Lost & Found.  The Abandoned is a barren realm that once bordered the Plane of Battle before that realm long ago moved on.  What’s left is a sort of junkyard of everything evil in existence that has ever been lost.  If travelers are lucky, they will only run into gremlins, gearghosts, fiendish giant vultures, and the odd dretch or omox demons. If they are unlucky, they will run into a woundwyrm, long ago mutated by the foul energies here but no less eager to blindly devour whatever warm thing they scent.

The land of Umber is a fiction—a bubble in the demiplane of dreams that captures other sleepers.  To the residents—a mix of human, catfolk, kobold, leprechaun, lammasu, saguaroi, frost giant, and dire corby races—it seems quite real, and generations have lived their entire lives in the expansive dreamscape.  Journey too far or ask the wrong questions, though, and the demiplane of (Sl)Umber will defend itself, sending the woundwyrms that forever gnaw at its borders to hunt down offenders.

Inner Sea Bestiary 61

Speaking of one-off dragons, one day I need to work some azi into these posts.

Paizo must have known I’d gotten through my stack of softcovers, because my latest order arrived today as a monster combo of five books: a Pathfinder Adventure Path, two Player Companions, and two double-sized adventures.  “Just when I thought I was out…”  By the way, if you’re short on cash (or order a lot, like me) look for their non-mint offerings on modules—a ding or two in the corners is worth the discount.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with your love of the "one-off" type of dragons. Something about them just feels more authentic and rooted in real-world myths and legends of old.