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In the world of video game development, one thing is absolutely true: if something comes at you from the outside, you’ll be hard-pressed to get through it. But what if the outside wasn’t just another, potentially useless opponent; instead, it was an actual, living creature that you had to confront? One that made up its own set of rules? A being that was the size of a small, human-sized animal? And just as there might be a different way to beat one challenge from the outset of its fight or defend yourself against its onslaught, there might be a different way to beat a dragon. What if there were a creature more powerful than the mighty dragon and a different strategy to beating it than what had been used in the past?
Meet a species of giant, armored, amphibious, and reptilian creatures that call D&D home and would never make for good game characters. Their first appearance was in The Shatter-Shield adventure for D&D 3.5 and are perhaps best known for appearing as bosses in Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition. We recently talked to Brian Heins about their origins, how big they are, and what they want to be remembered for.
Dungeon’s Master: In your opinion, what are dragons like? Why do they exist, what does their life expectancy be, and are they related to any larger creatures?
Brian Heins: Dragons appear to me to be an intelligent, manipulative, and aggressive species, which fits their name. Although there are many creatures capable of this behavior, these are the only good examples of dragon behavior. However, the behavior of a dragon differs from species to species, from dragon to dragon. In my humble opinion, it could be said that any animal that’s large enough to have limbs and a body must have a brain, because if it doesn’t, you shouldn’t eat it.
DM: As far as we know, the vast majority of a dragon’s life is spent in a dormant state or in flight. What makes a dragon go berserker when you unleash it upon it’s unsuspecting foes?
Brian Heins: It all depends on whether the dragon sees the attack as a great challenge or