Back in mid 2011, I had an OSR blog called One Winged Wyrm. I posted Swords & Wizardry and Moldvay D&D rules for a monster called the Wasp Dragon. Today, I’m reposting it, but with stats for Ingenium 2nd Edition. Read on for more!
Moments before the screaming started, Hendricks realized something was amiss. The air smelled thickly of sulfur, and the dank stone of the dungeon walls was covered in tiny scratches. As he opened his mouth to mention this to his companions, something quick flew past his ear. Then another. And another. His cheek felt warm, and when he raised a hand to his face, it came away dark and wet. His elven friend ahead of him cried out, and was suddenly enveloped in a cloud of flame that appeared from a hundred tiny throats. Later, when he was a haunted man that drank too much, he would remember two things from this night – the fire, and the screaming. Always the screaming.
Dragons come in many shapes and sizes. Traditionally, they are gigantic and awe-inspiring creatures possessed of a great and terrible intelligence. However, the wasp dragon is another story entirely. Only about a foot long from tail to snout, these miniscule reptiles are fierce and incredibly voracious. They flock together in swarms numbering in the dozens. On rare occasions they can be found in huge swarms of a thousand or more. Though not terribly bright individually, when they group together wasp dragons seem to become smarter. The larger swarms approach sentient beings in their level of cunning.
Wasp dragons inhabit caves, dungeons, and other dark underground places. They avoid sunlight, as their sensitive eyes are best suited to almost total darkness. Their mouths are filled with two rows of razor-sharp teeth, and a swarm of a couple dozen can devour an entire man in less than a minute. If their prey puts up a fight, they will simultaneously unleash blasts of fire from their mouths to confuse and madden it. Though individually this fire is only mildly dangerous, a swarm can use its combined fire to completely incinerate large objects or creatures.
These predatory reptiles fly at tremendous speeds and are difficult to detect before they attack. Besides sunlight, wasp dragons are sensitive to cold, as the lower temperature makes them both drowsy and slower. Temperatures below freezing will kill them outright if they are exposed to it for more a minute. As such, they always live in warmer climates and seek the deeper places in their lairs.
During the warmest month of the year, wasp dragons enter a brief mating season. They are asexual, and each dragon will produce up to a dozen viable eggs. Being very social creatures, they will defend the nests fiercely. During this time of year wasp dragons are much less likely to travel far from their lairs, though forays for food may take them up to a league away from their nests. There will always be at least some of the swarm guarding the nests.
Note: Treat a swarm of 3 or more wasp dragons as a single creature
Intelligence: 1 for every 20 wasp dragons in the swarm
Magical Aptitude: 0
Physical Strength: 1
Hit Dice: 6D10 (for a large swarm), 3D8 (for a small swarm), 1 (for a single wasp dragon)
CL: 5 + 5 per 20 wasp dragons in a swarm (so a swarm of 100 would be CL 30)
Very Cold-Blooded – Wasp dragons can’t stand cold temperatures. If it’s cold enough outside to see your breath, it’s too cold for a wasp dragon to fly. If it’s cold enough that there’s frost on the ground, it’s too cold for a wasp dragon to live. Cold-based attacks deal triple damage to a wasp dragon. Wasp dragon eggs are immune to cold, but will not hatch until warm again.
Rush Devour – Using this ability, a swarm of at least 10 wasp dragons can attack a creature in a flurry of bites, tearing small chunks off with such speed that the creature almost appears to dissolve. This attack costs 4 Actions per round to sustain, but while sustained, the swarm takes half damage from physical attacks and deals 1D6 damage for every 5 wasp dragons in the swarm.
Inner Turmoil – Any wasp dragon can burrow. Most of the time, they use this to carve out nests in stone walls of caves. However, they can also attack by burrowing. When choosing to do this, it costs 2 Actions. The wasp dragon then becomes embedded in its target, slowly burrowing deeper into it. This deals 1D10 damage per wasp dragon per round. The wasp dragon burrows at a rate of 3 inches per round. Once it hits vital organs, it starts dealing 2D10 damage per round.