Last week's hint is going to prove more misleading than I intended, because the article scheduled for this week will be delayed a few more days. In the meantime, we'll look at a couple of the premier minis in the War of the Dragon Queen expansion for the D&D Miniatures Game: the Aspect of Tiamat and one of her new children, the Greenspawn Razorfiend.
Aspect of Tiamat
The name Tiamat comes from Mesopotamian mythology, but this five-headed dragon goddess has become ingrained in the D&D game. Our version of Tiamat is the goddess of evil dragonkind, who for the most part has laid low in her designs on the world. Sure, she's had some influence here and there: In the Forgotten Realms, where gods have walked the world, a titanic battle involving Tiamat resulted in the death of the god-king Gilgeam. Dragonlance fans might argue that Tiamat and Takhisis are one and the same (though others argue that they aren't). But in the core D&D game, Tiamat hasn't made much of a stink until recently, with her involvement in a certain hobgoblin uprising. All that is about to change, as Tiamat and her spawn prepare to invade your campaign.
Our challenge in adapting the Aspect of Tiamat to the skirmish game was making her feel like more than just a dragon. With five different dragon heads, Tiamat needed to have five different breath weapons and more than just one or two attacks per round. Adding the breath weapons was easy, providing Tiamat with three cones and two lines, each of which deal 45 points of dragon-flavored energy damage. But what if all the heads wanted to bite instead of breathe? Shouldn't they all get a chance to do so each round? To address this, we determined that Dual Activation was the way to go. That way, she can act twice each round, and attack up to three times during each activation. We added a Poison Sting attack, which Tiamat can use with one of her attacks each activation, giving Tiamat a total of six attacks per round that accurately mirror her five heads and nasty tail stinger. Add in her energy resistances and Aura of Fear 5, among her other abilities, and the Aspect of Tiamat is truly the Queen of the battlefield.
Tiamat created her dragonspawn to be the army commanded by her true dragon children or to overrun those dragons that refuse to serve her in her quest for domination. The dragonspawn are created in the image of the chromatic dragons and share many of the characteristics of dragons, but each dragonspawn is created for a specific role. Redspawn Firebelchers are the artillery, Whitespawn Hordelings swarm the enemy, and Greenspawn Razorfiends are the hard-hitting skirmishers and shock troops.
The Greenspawn Razorfiend has the potential for massive damage with its two wingblades. When developing the skirmish stats for the creature, we focused on the wingblades as the primary feature of the mini. The Razorfiend has a devastating critical hit range, and we mirrored that in the skirmish game by giving the mini Keen Critical 19 (Scores critical hits on melee attack rolls of 19 and 20) as well as Vicious Attack (Triple damage on a critical hit). These abilities combined give the Razorfiend a potential 90 points of damage if it scores two critical hits in one turn. Though the Razorfiend, as presented in Red Hand of Doom and Monster Manual IV, has a breath weapon, the mini does not, because the Large Green Dragon was already in the set, and we didn't want the two to feel too close to each other. As with all magical beast dragonspawn, the Razorfiend also provides Tiamat's Blessing, granting energy resistance to nearby Spawn creatures. The Razorfiend provides a solid strike platform for dragonspawn armies and warbands.
Next week, you'll see what you should have seen this week.
About the Author
Stephen Schubert is a Developer with RPG/Minis R&D and is the lead developer for D&D Miniatures starting with next July's War of the Dragon Queen. He's also helped develop many exciting upcoming D&D products, including Player's Handbook II, Monster Manual IV, Tome of Magic, and Tome of Battle!