Age of Wonders 4 Dev Diary #18 – Dragon Lords
Hello everyone, my name is Tom Bird and I’m a senior developer at Triumph. Today I’m here to talk about the standout feature of our next DLC Dragon Dawn, the Dragon Lord.
For some background, dragons come in three major forms: the young, less sophisticated wyverns, the common dragons and, lastly, the mighty Elder Dragons. The Elder Dragons were among the first creatures that the Allfather gifted with life. They could utilize their vast intelligence and mastery of the elements to aid the Archons in shaping the worlds around the cosmos, as well as in crafting powerful artifacts. Now that the gates of Athla have reopened, these Elder Dragons have returned as Dragon Lords, seeking ascension to the ranks of Godir.
It is one of these Dragon Lords that you can now create to lead your race across the Astral Sea in order to claim new realms for your Pantheon. Where Godir focus on magical power, and Champions focus on diplomacy and economics, Dragon Lords focus entirely on their power to dominate the battlefield.
They’re so powerful they actually cost you economically to field, that 30g per turn can heavily impact your ability to build new armies early on. However, this cost can be offset by the new Dragon Hoard mechanic, which passively generates gold based equipment that you do not have equipped on your heroes. Since Dragon’s themselves can only use a limited amount of equipment, you should have plenty of armor and weapons left over to stash in your lair and earn you gold!
Of course, in order to make your dragon your own, you need to be able to customize your dragon’s appearance! While some things are fixed - you will always have 4 legs, 1 head and 2 wings - you have a huge amount of choice over how your dragon will look.
While creating your Dragon, you can also choose its starting affinity. This has several effects:
It grants you a point of that affinity, aiding your progress though the empire upgrade tree
It determines the type of damage your dragon’s breath weapons will do. A chaos dragon will breath fire, a nature dragon poison, an astral dragon lightning, etc
It determines the effect of your dragon’s aura, which is unlocked later via the hero skills system
This is only the start of your Dragon’s journey, of course. Once you are done in the Faction Creator, it’s time to take your newly created Lord into the world and into battle!
Obviously having a dragon on your side is a large advantage in early battles, and this only increases as your dragon grows in power and experience.
On top of the standard hero skills, Dragons can learn from their own set of skills:
These let you upgrade the size and shape of your breath weapon, as well as granting you extra abilities, such as a roar to inspire your armies or the ability to devour your unfortunate foes.
As your Dragon levels up, its connection to its affinity also increases. At levels 4 and 12, instead of gaining a signature skill, your Dragon can instead choose to deepen its connection to an affinity. You do not need to stick to the affinity you chose during Faction Creation, you can mix and match to truly make your dragon your own.
Here we can see our Astral Dragon has taken the path of Order, as well as getting a nifty new halo, their breath weapon has been upgraded to do spirit damage and inflict the Condemned status effect on their enemies.
The Ashen War
And here is Thomas writing a piece on the Ashen War Realm he developed.
A new Realm has revealed itself, the battlefields of the Ashen war. In this world still to be formed, great dragons clash over its fate.
Six Elder Dragons, brothers and sisters in Creation, torn asunder by strife.
On one side, the Reshapers; Vox'Sebas the Forgefather, Alipavar the Destroyer and Kralicavir the Collector, guarding the cosmic balance of creation and destruction.
On the other, the Dawnwardens; Sumuskira the Grovetender, Soncevar the Radiant and Boszorkan the Arcanist, fighting to maintain the precious beauty of life and spirit.
In this Realm you face six Elder Dragons, split into two factions. Befriending any members of either alliance will please their allies, but aggravate members of the opposing faction. A wise ruler, Godir though they may be, would be wise to avoid invoking the ire of the Elder Dragons before they are ready, the Elder Dragons are not an easy foe to best.
Each Elder Dragon controls a people of considerable power, but their true strength lies in themselves and the lesser gifts they bestow upon their Heroes.
Each of the Elder Dragons represents an affinity, an aspect of creation, and has a unique ability that represents their exceptional power.
For example, Kralicavir the Collector, a Reshaper, is an Elder Dragon of Shadow commanding the many souls she has collected. This is reflected in her unique property: The Collector, granting her attacks the ability to raise slain units as Decaying Zombies under her control, and giving her a unique ability: The Collector’s Gift.
The Collector’s Gift is a powerful summon ability that summons several undead units under her control in tactical combat. While she herself can cast this powerful effect every few turns, her Heroes are granted a fragment of her power, able to use the Collector’s Gift once per combat instead.
While Kralicavir collects the dead, ensuring half of the cycle, her nemesis Sumuskira instead nurtures life ever-growing. Sumuskira the Grovetender, a Dawnwarden is an Elder Dragon of Nature, and is fiercely protective of all life, this is reflected in her unique talents and the boon she grants her chosen heroes.
Her gift heals all her allies on the battlefield, granting them regeneration and returning any Animal and Plant units on her side to life. This makes Sumuskira, like Kralicavir who is her mirror, an Elder dragon best dealt with first, lest their warriors overpower you thanks to their support.
Her chosen Heroes gain a lesser version of this ability, spreading the fortitude and regeneration to more of her beloved children, though the lesser power of such Heroes leads their effects to be more restricted.
The Ashen war is home to more than just these two however, Reshaper Vox’Sebas The Forgefather creates powerful Golems from his seemingly endless hoard while reinforcing his prized creations.
Dawnwarden Soncevar the Radiant awakens his unquestionably loyal legions and bolsters their morale to unnatural heights.
The youngest of the Dawnwardens, Boszorkan the Arcanist, seeks naught but the pursuit of the arcane, his ability to unleash a whirlwind of spells is revered by his disciples, who are eager for but a taste of his prowess.
Last there is the youngest of all the Elder Dragons, the one whose birth sparked the Ashen war, Allipavar the Destroyer, a Chaos dragon of indomitable might, none can rival her in a direct confrontation, and her brood likewise dominate on the battlefield through brutal strength.
The Ashen War is a Presence Realm trait included in Dragondawn and does not require any pantheon progression to unlock. Enter the battlefields of the Ashen war, and become a peacemaker, a Dawnwarden or a Reshaper as the Dragon Dawn rises.
Next week we’ll take a look at more Dragon Dawn’s content including the Tomes, Units and Lizardfolk Form! Also stay tuned for news on the upcoming Wyvern Update and other patches. We’re working hard fixing bugs and processing feedback!