16 HP DRAGON by Sage LaTorra



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This is one of the articles I refer to a lot. It is a good example of how the story drives the adventure, not the system or HP. I refer to it a lot during my podcasts on Threats, Treats, and Timers, and the Savage Rifter. I cannot emphasize enough the quality and innovation of the article on storytelling. It changed my thought process on RPG’s as much as ICRPG has.

If you haven’t already, take a moment, and read the article. You won’t be disappointed! … Game On!


Best read in a long time!


Never tire of reading that article! I wish everyone who ran DW would read it first. It’s got great application for coming up with moves for monsters, and I definitely agree that big scary attacks are better than more HP. It made me rethink my stats for Goblins. They had got a re-enforcement ability but it was making combat with them turn into a grind. I replaced it with a general Mischief ability so they can set fire to trouser legs, steal loot from bags or quash torches etc.


I thought everyone who ran ICRPG should read it too!.. nothing but the good stuff in there.


I knew this from many years ago. It is arguably one of the best articles ever about RPGs. Such an enlightening piece. Everybody should read this, it is that good.

@Ezzerharden nice work bringing this to the Shield Wall’s attention. :herocoin:


Sage advice!

Get it…Sage advice. :smile: I know, I know…shut up, Slingstone. :zipper_mouth_face:


Great article. I’m on the same path as a GM. For my home brew, I did away with Ultimate damage and introduced something else. When a natural 20 is rolled, players get to roll a d6. A 1 rolled is an instant kill. That “lucky” shot basically just like the arrow to Smaug’s chest through the missing scale for example. If they roll 2 -6… you multiply that by their fist/weapon/magic damage result. This allows for that crit roll resulting in something fantastic no matter what and a chance at the ultimate moment in battle… the lucky shot. Just like a fighter in the ring… all it takes is the right punch at the right time and right place. The “fighters chance” as they call it in the fight game. We all have it.

Punching a fella and roll d20 to hit… roll a 20 and now you roll your d4 for fist damage, I allow adding of strength bonus to this so say they have +3 strength… 1d4+3 is where they are now. Let’s say they roll a 3 so total is 6 damage. Now they get to roll the d6 “ultimate crit” dice (or whatever you wish to call it. I call it “death dice”) and they roll a 5. 5x6 = 30 points of damage.

I think a weak player, a novice player has a chance to kill that dragon as much as anyone else does because luck is luck and it applies to everyone.


I like the way you think… but I would do dragons differently…
TLDR: Dragons should be the greatest fight the party has…
They are epic creatures with way too many fun things to use in a fight… plus they are all devious and smart so shenanigans should ensue… Its the dragons that everyone lives for as fantasy adventures… so I would never one shot kill a dragon… well maybe a small one, but then there is Mama to deal with… and nobody does dragons as well as Runehammer does them… I mean come on… DURATHRAX … ever the name gives me chills… … Game On!


Just a heads up that Sage LaTorra did not write this piece. It was contributed by Stras, one of the members of the Apocalypse World forums. Sage just put the post on his blog.

Original post below:

That being said, I have always loved this article since I first read it. To this day I suggest it to new GM’s!


Thanks for the correction (although not necessary)… Glad I am not the only one reading AW stuff!!! … Game On!