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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Star Wars: The Storm Dragons of Tarl

by Ken Newquist / July 28, 2010

The storm dragons are magnificent creatures hunt the hurricanes of the storm world of Tarl. The Outer Rim planet's binary stars provide a constant source of energy for its moisture rich atmosphere, giving rise to an unending series of cyclones. The dragons constantly ride these storms, hunting the great airbag herbivores that dwell in storms' eyes and battling each other for arial supremacy.

The planet's inhabitants, near humans known as the Tarl-gar capture young dragons to train for transport and defense, and maintained a great avairy for the creatures in their capital city of Lenk.

Storm dragons have steel-grey skin with metallic blue streaks. Their unique physiology absorbs the energy of the storms and harnesses for use in battle, allowing them to discharge lighting from specialized capacitor organs in their mouths. Fully-grown the creatures are the size of small starfighters, and their electrical attacks are capable of overwhelming a starship's shields.

Mandalorian neocrusaders discovered this to their everlasting regret when they sent a small fleet of dropships to capture the Jedi Temple located within the city of Lenk. The dragons tore the ships to shreds before the Mandalorians could even stage their ground attack.

The Storm Dragons of Tarl

Colossal Beast CR 10

Init +2; Senses Low-light vision; Perception +10

Fighting Space: 6x6; Reach: 2 square

Movement Speed 4, Climb 1, Fly 8

Melee Claw (x2) +20 3d6+20; Bite +20 4d6+20

Atk Options Flyby Attack, Running Attack

Hit Points 205 Damage Threshold 76 Second Wind 51< Defenses Fortitude 26 Reflex 10 Will 10

Abilities Str 42, Dex 12, Con 42, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 8

Skills: Acrobatics +10, Pilot +10, Perception +10

Feats: Flyby Attack (move before and after attack); Acrobatic Strike (Gain +5 against next attack you tumble past), Skill Focus: Pilot, Running Attack (move before and after attack)

Special Attack Lightning Breath +9 3d10x2 lighting damage (2 squares)

Designing the Storm Dragons

The storm dragons were made using the creature creation rules from The Unknown Regions source book as a starting point. Unknown Regions is the last of the source books in the Star Wars: Saga Edition line, and Wizards really went out with a bang -- the book included rules for randomly generating star systems (and the planets in that system), introduces a host of scout-specific feats and talents, debuted write-ups on 10 never before seen worlds, and an overhaul of the Star Wars hazards rules. In short, the book is dedicated to ensuring that the story never ends.

It succeeds. The book's hazards, which are somewhat like D&D 4th Editions traps, but tied to the environment rather than some arcane dungeon, are great for spicing up encounters, and I've had fun spawning new worlds with the star system generator.

It's become one of my go-to books for my Star Wars: Saga Edition campaign but I hadn't had a chance to use its creature creation rules until I made the storm dragons. I didn't follow the rules exactly -- the dragon's breath weapon is a bit too powerful for the challenge rating against individual characters -- but I wanted something that could take on a dropship ... and give the players pause if they saw one while marching on the ground.

It worked beautifully -- in the opening encounter with the dragons the PC Mandalorians resorted to dumping fuel from their ship's tanks to create a fireball and incinerate the dragons. Unfortunately for them, they botched the maneuver: the inferno roasted the dragons, but badly damaged their ship and caused it to crash in the jungles below.

The rules worked well. They walked me through the character creation process, providing baseline values for attack bonuses, damage rolls, and defenses, and enabled me to whip up the storm dragons in about 30 minutes.