Spawns of Tiamat, Children of Bahamut

A Walk Through the Planes – Part 61: Spawns of Tiamat, Children of Bahamut




For its anniversary issues, Dragon Magazine would always be themed after dragons themselves. I suspect that these were also some of the more popular issues of the magazine because, well, who both likes fantasy and dislikes dragons? That’s gotta be a truly tiny Venn Diagram. Issue #260 of the magazine, published in June of 1999, gave us this fittingly end-of-the-edition blowout focused on the children of the two major dragon gods, all of whom are fully stated out but largely insane to fight. But then, at the end of the edition there were some ridiculously high level games out there, and this article added more creatures for them to deal with. And for those of us who didn’t have level 30 wizards just chilling in their downtime, “Spawn of Tiamat, Children of Bahamut” added a tad bit more of both draconic and planar lore to the game.

The article details three good dragons and three evil ones, and though it’s implied by the title and introduction that they’re all related to the dragon gods, this isn’t necessarily the case. The very first entry, for An-Ur, the Wandering Death, notes that “Legends say that it sprang into being from Tiamat’s first breath.” Which I guess is a familial relationship, of sorts? In any case, they’re individually powerful dragons aligned with good and evil and each have something or other to do with the far more well-known dragon gods. Most notably for us, all of these dragons except for one are also associated with non-Prime Material planes, and even that one feels like he should really be hanging out elsewhere, but we’ll get to that in a second. They’re not full gods like their sires or Chronepsis, but given their age and power level they might as well be (any of them, for instance, could completely trounce one of the archomentals). 


An-Aur dwells on the Ethereal Plane and subsists on a diet of primarily prima matera, i.e. protomatter. It (The article sometimes uses “it” pronouns, which feels… frankly, bad, especially when some of the dragons are given genders. There’s some weird editorial oversight going on here.) literally causes ether cyclones at will, and is even speculated to be “an ecological regulator” for the plane through the way An-Aur feeds off of its energy and maintains some sort of equilibrium with it. Most importantly, it’s a specific individual with strange needs and desires. This is what keeps this article from repeating the flaws of “Desteriers of the Planes.” The essay isn’t just about grid filling, and in fact having an evil dragon be a sort of caretaker/devourer in the Ethereal Plane doesn’t seem like a natural state for the multiverse. In all, I like it. 

Illustrations were by Andrew Goldhawk, and generally I dig them for giving the dragons a bit of personality.

Then there’s Dhrakoth the Corrupter, another evil dragon, this time with a perhaps more fitting connection to the Negative Energy Plane. Yet despite this connection, he spends a lot of time hanging around tombs and mass grave sites. Plus, he’s undead, because why not? Maybe a less creative entry than An-Aur’s, but given his goal of annihilating the multiverse and displacing Tiamat at least he’s got a bit of individualism. 


Most interesting of the evil dragons is Mordukhavar the Reaver, who is “reputed to be the offspring of Tiamat and one of the Dark Eight.” His stats seem to bear this out, as Mordukhavar is the most powerful entity short of the tarrasque that I’ve ever encountered. What’s worse, he seems to have recently aligned himself with the devils, which should be mighty helpful for them in the Blood War. If you don’t want players to fight Tiamat herself a la The Throne of Bloodstone, perhaps because that’s a mighty stupid idea, then facing them off against this dude is probably the next best thing. 

On the good side of the spectrum, Medrinia feels off because unlike her kin she doesn’t have planar origins. Instead, she lives in “Deep seas or oceans” and “is the representative of Bahamut to all aquatic dragons.” Frankly, she’s boring, and it feels like she should either be located in the Elemental Plane of Water or perhaps Aquallor or Thalasia or some other part of Oceanus. If for some reason I were to use her, that’s what I’d do. Whatever, let’s move on. 


Far more interesting is Xathanon, who was “Formed by Bahamut from the essence of the Positive Plane.” Xathanon has no physical form and is composed entirely of positive energy, to the point that “some say this beast isn’t a dragon but rather the physical embodiment of the Positive Energy Plane.” It’s a pretty neat concept and also adds something to what is otherwise one of the dullest and least visited or even dealt-with planes of the whole multiverse. While there’s a grid filling aspect of having both a positive and a negative energy dragon, the pair is actually quite distinct from each other such that aside from their predilection for these energies they have little in common. Xathanon even has a strange ability to “fuse its essence to the corporeal form of a Good-aligned character.” Really, it feels like there are multiple possible uses for Xathanon in an adventure, which is pretty rare for player-designed monsters. 

Really wish Vanathor had a giant dragon harp to go with him here.

Last of all is Vanathor, the Golden Harpist, who serves as Bahamut’s advisor and bard. That’s right, this gigantic elder dragon, second most powerful of this entire article of overpowered nonsense monsters, primarily hangs around Bahamut’s palace and sings. Sometimes he transforms into a human and plays the harp while singing, too. Also worth noting is that Vanathor “simply appeared as an unexpected guest at Bahamut’s Court and offered its services.” Again, it’s a quirky dragon who fills a strange niche in the multiverse and fleshes out the rather unclear Bahamut and his court a little bit. In short, I’m a fan.


None of these dragons feel super necessary as far as planar material goes, but they do add more options for DMs. Dragons tend to be far rarer in Planescape than in most of D&D, and I don’t have a problem with giving us more of them in other parts of the multiverse, especially when they’re both not meant to be fought and have their own strange agendas. By no means is this an article you need to search out unless you’re a completist, but I do think it’s surprisingly good as far as this sort of monster profile-piece goes. 

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