Dodges and Dragons
by Charles A. Oines

HTML conversion by Michael P. Owen, March 2000

At Caltech, bored genetics students carve up the genes of an iguana and force-grow the result. Something small and fast flies out and
escapes through the window just after they open the incubator . . .

Aragorn watched the Dragon fly in over the horizon, coming in fast. This time I'm ready for you, Windlord. He snapped down his visor; a steely glint flickered in his eye as the holographic targeting reticle appeared and tracked the foul Wyrm. The warrior's gauntleted hard moved to the joystick. As Windlord arced up into range, preparing for a dive, Aragorn stabbed the firing button. Three SAMs wove crazily up to meet the dragon . . .

[Editor's Note: It's really hard to describe just how unofficial these rules are. Don't even ask. Since it to say that they are at least as unofficial as, say, the rules for tanks published in a recent article in Dragon magazine. -- Stephen Beeman]

Obviously, there's no real way to justify dragons in Car Wars except that they're fun. If you can find the "Magic in Car Wars" articles from Space Gamers 51, 55 and 60, more power to you. [Editor's note: We could reprint these in an issue of ADQ if anyone's interested. -- SB.] Realism? We ain't got no realism. We don't need to show you no stinkin' realism. If you want realism, go play Air War. Here are the relevant stats for dragons:

Baby Dragon -- Use a pedestrian counter. Accel. 5, top speed 20 on land, no flight. Armor 2, 6 DP; no wings. Breath does 1d damage with a to-hit of 8, max. range 5". Spell points: 6. Claw attack does ld-4 damage. Size modifiers: -3 from front, -2 from side. 250 lbs., 2 spaces as cargo.

Small Dragon -- Use a motorcycle counter. Accel. 10, top speed 30 on land, 90 in air. Armor 4, 10 DP. Wing DP 4. Breath does same damage as baby dragon's but hits on a 6, max range 5". Spell points: 12. Claw attack does 1d-2 damage. Size modifiers: -2 from front, -1 from side. 750 lbs., 6 spaces as cargo.

Average Dragon -- Use a car counter. Accel. 15, top speed 40 on land, 120 in air. Armor 6, 30 DP. Wing DP 6. Breath does 1d+2 damage and hits on a 5, max range 10". Spell points: 20. Claw attack does 1d damage. Size modifiers: -1 from front, 0 from side. 2,000 lbs., 18 spaces as cargo.

Huge Dragon -- Use a small helicopter counter. Accel. 20, top speed 50 on land, 150 in air. Armor 8, 50 DP. Wing DP 10. Breath does 2d+4 damage and hits on a 4, max. range 10". Spell points: 30. Claw attack does 2d damage. Size modifiers: 0 from front, +l from side. 4,000 lbs., 36 spaces as cargo (may only be carried on a flatbed).

Dragon movement: Dragons move on the ground like pedestrians (fast pedestrians) and fly exactly like helicopters. In the air they have HC 5; they get no reflex roll and recover handling status at their base HC of 5. Dragons never suffer ram concussions or confetti.

Dragon attacks: Dragons can attack any target within l/2" with their claws (to-hit 5, no point-blank bonus); claw attacks do full damage to tires and pedestrians but only half damage to other vehicular components. Breath attacks have a 360-degree arc. They fire like flamethrowers, leaving behind regular smoke clouds, and all breath attacks have a fire modifier of 4 and a burn duration of 3. Dragonbreath costs 1 spell point to use (spell points recharge fully at the stroke of midnight); dragons may also use spell points to cast any "Magic in Car Wars" spells they wish, provided those issues of The Space Gamer are available. Dragons can use both their breath and their claws in a single turn, at the same or different targets; a dragon that casts a spell may make no other attacks.

Dragon defenses: Dragon armor is treated in all ways exactly as laser-reflective metal armor. It is universal, like component armor, but does not cover the wings (see below). Dragons die when they lose all their DP, but suffer no adverse affects until then. Firing at a dragon's wings is only possible when the dragon is flying (they fold up along its sides when not in use) and is treated in all ways exactly like firing at a helicopter's rotors; if a dragon loses its wings, it plummets to the ground. Damage to the wings is separate from damage to the body and can never kill a
dragon (although the fall might . . . ).

Dragons and pedestrians: Peds who wish to ride dragons must have the Rider skill. This skill doesn't give the rider actual control over the dragon, it merely allows him to make suggestions and avoid falling off. Riders are treated lie motorcycle gunners in every way. No dragon may carry more than one. Without a special saddle ($1,000 -- where are you going to find one?), a rider stands a good chance of being thrown off: Whenever a dragon is forced to make a control roll, the rider must make one as well, with his Rider skill as a positive modifier. If the dragon fails, it rolls on the Helicopter Crash Table; if the rider fails, he falls to his doom but the dragon is unaffected.

Instead of clawing a pedestrian, a dragon larger than a baby may attempt to grab him for whatever nefarious purpose. The dragon makes a to-hit roll in the normal way; success means the character is grabbed and takes collision damage at 20 mph less than the dragon's speed. If the dragon chooses to eat the pedestrian in the next turn, he can make no other attacks that turn.

Dragons in Autoduel America: Dragons love fame and TV coverage -- they will occasionally swoop down on an open-air arena event just to get on camera. They are haughty and aloof and will not even consider carrying a character with a prestige of less than 25 for any reason. Dragons are also greedy and will hoard nearly anything they can get their claws on.

Dragon lairs can be found not only in caves in mountain fastnesses but also in abandoned skyscrapers and other buildings. Lairs are usually protected with high-tech anti-theft systems as well as the common traps and pitfalls of old. Some dragons will have minions -- there are dragons in Colorado and Deseret who have enslaved whole biker gangs to do their bidding. Remember that most dragons are intelligent, crafty, egocentric and greedy as hell. They cannot be goaded into a fight against superior forces and will flee if such forces arrive.

ADQ Vol. 6, No. 1 Index

Car Wars*Steve Jackson Games*ADQ Index