Dragons, True dragons, spawn from failed civilizations. All the might and power and the rage and cruelty of a thousand thousand mortal souls condensed into a single nightmarish manifestation of their collective failure. Just like how individual mortals can have their psyche stripped and repurposed into nightmares, just on a bigger scale.
Not to be confused with Drakes and Wyrms and Wyverns and the other sorts of biological dragons that lurk about. Those things are offshoots of primordial chaos serpents and while they rank very high on the bad news list, they can be defeated by 1d6 knights, damsels, and troubadours.
Dragons exist not in reality, but in the deepest layers of Nightmare because they are the dashed hopes of an entire people, long gone. They had their chance to menace the waking world back when they were living civilizations, and now they writhe and gnaw in nightmares dark and forgotten, unable to put their immense strength to the cruel uses they yet dream of.
TRUE DRAGON GENERATION
The civilization that spawned them was some form of despotism with a single ruler, it has but one head. If it was ruled by multiple people, it has multiple heads.
How the civilization fell is related to how to kill the dragon.
1- Assassination- Has a single weak point, like a missing scale or vulnerability to exact poison
2-Coup- Blow must be dealt to each head or limb simultaneously, by weapons of the age
3-Hereditary Incompetence- The dragon's offspring, or weapons made from them, are required
4-Revolt- The only thing capable of harming the dragon is itself and parts of itself.
5-Invasion- You can just stab it with whatever, but they are hard to kill.
6-Disaster- Dragon vulnerable to plague, lava, drowning, starvation, etc
AC is equal to the best armor of the civilization that spawned them, +3, and HD is about 10, +/- 1d4, with a set amount of HP per die.
3-spawned by small nomadic tribes that never really got around to the agricultural revolution
4- spawned by city states
6- spawned by Kingdoms
8- spawned by Empires/Colonial states
Moves-Dragons get 1 random move per turn per foe they are faced with, acting after each opponent, BUT each move is telegraphed and mentioned before the player takes their turn. They were once armies and castles, and the more foes they face, the easier it is to remember this.
1-Claw- 'The Dragon draws back a claw, one slitted eye following the movement of (target)
2-Jaw- 'The head coils its neck like a serpent, eyes fixed on (target).'
3-Breath-'It inhales, the sound of wind, and its nostrils flare and glow as it sizes up (targets)'
4-Wings- 'Wings unfurl with the sound of flapping sails and the dragon begins to ascend'
5-Gaze/Command- 'The huge eyes gleam, and reflect (target) for a moment'
6- Other- Other
1-Claw of Conquest- Just as the civilization took what they wanted by force, those struck by a dragons claw lose something valuable from their inventory, as it is broken. And take damage, for what is more valuable than life? d6 damage
2-Jaws of Defeat- Fangs like spears/swords/common weapon of the civilization's army. Should deal damage directly to meat points/cause maiming/Force a save or be swallowed. 2d6
3-Breath of Razing- The flames billowing from a dragon are the flames of every enemy structure put to the torch. Damage= Half Current Dragon HP, save to avoid. If it has to target someone in melee it can only toast one of them, but it can do strafing runs and great gouts of flame to 1d3 people in the same general area. It can only Breathe once per round.
4-Wings of Sails and Hooves- The more horses and ships a civilization had, the faster the dragon flies, and the taller the towers, the higher it flies. It flies to a different position, such as atop a tower or to that pesky wizard cowering in back. If you wanna use the Abstract Dragon Positioning, it moves everyone 1 space relative to itself unless they save, and moves on specific unlucky target wherever it pleases, or 1 space if they save
5-Subjugating Gaze- Meeting the eyes of the dragon mean you have to save or obey its next command. Don't worry too much about avoiding this, it can also shout commands for the same effect.
Other- The dragon should have a special move related to its lost civilization, and this should be exploited to make the lair. Some random examples
1-The civilization's bureaucracy means can write, and those reading what it writes must Save vs Subjugating Gaze. It has scraped written traps that gotta be obeyed to the letter if read.
2-The civilization's spy network means it can read minds, learning secrets, plans, and so on, and acting accordingly.
3-The civilization's wizards means the dragon can cast spells.
4-The civilization's extensive fortifications means the dragon's tail is huge, totally impenetrable and can be coiled around like a wall to defend itself, separate players, and so on
You can go from ring to ring with a full round of movement, or go from flanking to frontal or vice versa (probably vice versa) with the same. The 'Wings' move is to represent dragons turning, flying to flank people and line up killer breath shots, buffeting them about with windstorms from wings and tailslaps, that sort of thing. I like this abstract battlefield cuz it shows how everything revolves around the dragon. It IS the dramatic landscape (though there's no reason not to have cover from dragon breath to hide behind and cliffsides and what have you as well).