RPG Hooks: The dragon

Illustration by Ed Appleby

Illustration by Ed Appleby

Spicing up a classic

By Davie Wong, Sports Editor


If you have any RPG experience—or even if you don’t—the classic dragon hook will probably sound familiar. An evil dragon has stolen something valuable and now a ragtag party of adventurers must band together to go and slay the beast. It’s the basis to a lot of storylines. To be honest, it’s kind of played out, but that doesn’t mean dragons are doomed to serve only the uncreative. In fact, it opens up the door for you to really spice it up with our scaly foes… or friends?

Instead of being the classic go to big baddie, perhaps the dragon the party is hired to slay is really just misunderstood. Throw in a welpling (baby dragon), and it becomes awfully justified as to why said dragon was stealing. If you enjoy intrigue, perhaps the dragon is a political target, or a distraction to keep powerful warriors occupied while other things are happening.

If you are set on doing battle with a scaled monster, the party could unveil that the person that hired them to kill a dragon was another dragon vying for his rival’s territory. Perhaps even their treasure?

Another twist along those lines is that the task given to the party was a lead up to a trap by their employer, secretly the dragon himself, hoping to lure away the guardians of the city in order to slay and then assault said city.

One of my personal favourite classical twists goes off the good ol’ “Dragon stole the Princess” hook. While going to slay the dragon, the party learns that they were deceived by their employer. The dragon didn’t steal the princess. She ran off with him! The timing of the reveal is everything. Perhaps the team learns of it after the dragon has been slain, and the princess is devastated. Maybe they learn about it when they arrive and the situation changes from killing it to protecting it from a very angry mob of villagers.

No matter which way you twist the dragon’s tail, you’ll need to remember the most important thing. It’s a dragon. Dragons are smart, cunning, and beyond powerful. Not all are evil, but they inspire fear when they are discovered. However you decide to go about this classic, remember, the dragon is the epitome of this story. It doesn’t work if the dragon turns out to be a joke! Or maybe it does… Happy adventuring!

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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5 comments on “RPG Hooks: The dragon
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