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5 Reasons Why You Don’t Impress Tiamat

Written by Janna - Published on December 15, 2008

Janna discovered D&D at the age of 16, and she's been rolling the dice for 16 years. (You do the math.) She is fond of intelligent villains, drow society, and campaigns that explore the Dark Side.

Some of you might remember my article about Orcus and all the ways he can destroy you, followed by Nicholas’s goblin minion parody. Well, bear with me, folks – I’m still obsessed with big evil monsters and the ways they can kill our PCs with a glance. That’s why we’re going to learn a little more about one of the biggest and baddest monsters in D&D’s history – Tiamat. (Cue ‘gong of doom’ sound byte.)

Tiamat has gone by many names: The Chromatic Dragon; Takhisis; The Dragon Queen; and “Oh S!@#”. She was named for a Babylonian goddess, and one look at her stat block reveals that she’s living up to that name. In fact, she’s sort of getting a big head (x5) from all of that fame and glory. But don’t bother trying to humble her; she’ll only erase you from existance, and we will point and laugh.

In the spirit of doomed adventurers everywhere, let’s take a look at five reasons why Tiamat is thoroughly unimpressed with you.

Reason #1: Her Killer Stats

With stats in the 30’s and an AC of 50+, Tiamat is what every powergamer aspires to become, but never will. Don’t even try to be as cool as she is; you’ll only bring shame upon yourself and a stain upon your l33t d20 skillz for all time. Remember: your PC has dump stats. Tiamat doesn’t.

Reason #2: Your Puny Level

Tiamat is immune to attacks by anyone and anything below level 20. If that includes your PC, you’d better go chop up some smaller threats until you’re man enough. Don’t worry; everything counts as a ‘smaller threat’ than Tiamat, so you’ll have plenty of material to work with.

Reason #3: Your Pathetic Initiative

While you’re sitting there praying to the dice gods for a good roll, Tiamat is laughing at you. Tiamat doesn’t roll initiative. But she does own the crap out of you with all five of her heads, every round, beginning on initiative 45. Then 40. Then 35. You get the picture.

Reason #4: She’s a Cheaty Deity

Tiamat breaks the rules. She rolls a saving throw in response to any adverse condition you slap her with, even if it doesn’t allow a saving throw. She speaks and understands every language. And she can’t actually be killed unless you undertake an arduous quest to lure her into Bahamut’s realm; kill one of her consorts (and a lot of other ancient dragons) and turn them into magic items for yourself; or steal her precious eggs and exploit them. Good luck with that.

Reason #5: She’s Tiamat

She’s been eating PCs since 1975’s first Greyhawk supplement. Her groupies are dragons. She has been in numerous books, and even on television. If you face Tiamat, she will claw you, dominate you, bite you, stun you, sting you with her tail, and breathe a five-pronged attack of elemental fury – if her crazy aura doesn’t kill you first. 

Tiamat is stronger, scarier, and better than you. No matter what you do with your life, you will never impress her. You could sprinkle seasoning on yourself to become a very tasty hors d’ourve for her. Then again, she’s probably had better.

Have you ever had a run-in with the 5-headed chromatic dragon? Did you manage to beat her? Did she make you cry for your mommy? Share your Tiamat triumphs (and epic fails) in the comments section!

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Janna discovered D&D at the age of 16, and she's been rolling the dice for 16 years. (You do the math.) She is fond of intelligent villains, drow society, and campaigns that explore the Dark Side.

 

 Comments

43 Responses to “5 Reasons Why You Don’t Impress Tiamat”
  1. Av says:

    what if you’re one of those people who play their chaacters into levels higher than the max level? (i know people did that in 3.x). would you have a chance of becoming strong enough then?

    (probably not, I got scared just reading that…)

  2. Nicholas says:

    Does this mean I have to do “5 Reasons Why You Don’t Impress a Zombie Rotter”?

    Note: All five reasons are that it’s physically incapable of feeling impressed.

  3. Drekey says:

    hey man great post. I tend to DM more then play a PC, and yes i’ve used a Tiamat, but I never made my pc’s fight her. She’s more of a quest giver or a “don’t go that way” item. Once a group, just out of spike, tryed to fight her. She wasn’t very impressed with the fighter lvl 20. So the rest of them backed off.. its a very usefull monster.

  4. Toord says:

    That’s asking … “have you ever fought a God”? Hmmmm can’t think of any pleasant outcome.

  5. Steve-o says:

    This is why you need to have Venger in your group beforehand.

    I’ve never used Tiamat in any of the games I have GM’d. I place her at the deity level that players don’t mess with. I don’t think I have actually ever run across her in all the years I played, at least I don’t remember. Perhaps I did and it was so traumatic that I just blanked it out.

  6. Noumenon says:

    Does this mean I have to do “5 Reasons Why You Don’t Impress a Zombie Rotter”?

    Note: All five reasons are that it’s physically incapable of feeling impressed.

    That’s funny, I could have sworn reason #5 was “Zombie Rotter knew Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris was a friend of Zombie Rotter’s. You are no Chuck Norris.”

  7. Diego Draw says:

    Actually, I’m starting a war campaign between dragons and tiamat worshippers, and the humanoid races…Tiamat is going to be the dragon patron, but I think the PC’s are going to be on the dragon’s side, so I doubt they’ll have to fight her, unless they want to like steal her place in the god hierarchy or something. That would be neat…

  8. Av says:

    ^that’s like in dragonlance legends, with raistlin trying to defeat takhisis. it’s a good idea.

  9. Janna says:

    @ Nicholas: Yes, write it. WRITE IT NOW!!! ;)

    @ Diego: That sounds like a fun premise for a campaign.

    @ AV: I think epic-level PCs would stand a chance IF they had great equipment and/or a metallic dragon buddy. It would be an awesome battle, that’s for sure!

  10. Nicholas says:

    @Janna: Alright

    #1: Zombie Rotters do not have brains capable of forming opinions, including being impressed.

    #2: Zombie Rotters’ eyes may have decayed out, making it difficult to assess your worth for good or ill.

    #3: Zombie Rotters are the basis for a stereotype often mis-attributed to Jewish mothers, they are never satisfied with your accomplishments. Also, you should bring a sweater and call more.

    #4: Zombie Rotters are actually incredibly powerful, they just let you win so you can feel better about yourself.

    And a special guest number 5 from Noumenon:

    #5: Zombie Rotter knew Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris was a friend of Zombie Rotter’s. You are no Chuck Norris.

    I wouldn’t say “friends” per say, but someone had to put all those zombie rotters in their graves.

    There you go, Janna, just for you. That one was on the house.

  11. Illun says:

    I DM a game in which the good old Dragon war is the main story line, so the PC’s will have to face off to a Tiamat-Aspect at some time. Were still playing D&D 3.5, anyone any suggestions as to where I can find stats of the Dragon Queen of Evil (or a beatable aspect…)

  12. ZedZed77 says:

    I once ran a one-shot 3.5 epic-level session (mostly because I had bought the old 3.0 epic level handbook and wanted a chance to actually use it.)

    Once the level-40 characters had Vorpal-sworded Elminster, I knew I had to throw something more challenging their way. Enter Tiamat.

    One character in the session was riding a black dragon for his blackguard mount. At least, he was, until Tiamat commanded the dragon to eat him. Good times, good times.

  13. Janna says:

    @ Nicholas: Lol!! Thanks. That was almost enough to impress even Tiamat.

    @ ZedZed77: That’s hardcore! And gives me ideas….

  14. Labareda says:

    Good article!

    The whole can’t be killed thing for some reason makes it all the more appealing. You just have to fluff that stuff, which I like, cause the crunch don’t cover that kind of thing.

    That’s epic level fluff. It conceivable you could plan to overthrow some temporal ruler who was well entrenched (a paragon level sort dude) without that ruler inconveniencing the players too much.

    You almost have to assume she would know if someone was trying to lure her to her doom, and her having lots of bad dragons as her pose’… So, Tiamat would find out your trying to do her in and with the ridiculous “I cannot die!” clauses she has going for her she would immediately crash your party.

  15. Noumenon says:

    Nicholas, I really like #4.

  16. Alxael says:

    Could the Tarrasque be a challenge for Tiamat or only the gods can fight against her?

  17. Heather says:

    There are stats for the aspect of Tiamat in the Encyclopedia of Demons and Devils for v. 3.0. It’s not exactly 3.5, but it’s certainly compatible enough for use. I’m actually getting ready to use her in my campaign. My PC’s tangled with Tiamat’s son/lover (gross!) some years ago in a game where they are immortals. She’s pissed and has been searching for them for like 300 years and is gettin’ ready to find them. dun dun DUNH!

  18. dominic says:

    dungeons and dragons is the greatest game in the milkey way!!! i would pwn all of you anytime you want orrrr just have a friendly chat.. any questions? contact me 617 877 0924

  19. Yugure says:

    @ Labareda: I’m kind of with you on that one. Is tricking and/or trapping a being so intelligent and powerful even possible?

    That isn’t even a rhetorical question. I’m really trying to figure this one out, seeing as I’m building a campaign for my group the works up to a final battle with Tiamat that is partly assisted by Bahamut. But the obstacle still remains: how do you trick a diety into deathtrap?

    – Dani

  20. Ix says:

    I never faced Tiamat when I was a player. But I have used her in my actual mastered campaign. My players fought with her once and only a warrior survived and he survived just because the wizard teleported him away. It was very funny and very impressive too. My player rolled critical hits and fought bravely but died anyway. Tiamat is Tiamat.

  21. FDL394 says:

    I’m actually creating a VERY elaborate, difficult, and rewarding questline/campaign that will send all the PCs through the requirements to have the ability to kill Tiamat. Obviously, by the end of this campaign, they’ll be in Lvls 21-31, and if they don’t screw up on the way, hopefully towards the higher end of that range xD. I’m hoping that it will be a success and land the PCs in an amazing final clash with Tiamat. And if they win (Which probably won’t happen even then unless some freak ghost possesses me to throw Bahamut into the mix) they’ll have the choice of dealing a final blow to the greedy god, or let her live. Good idea? And furthermore, do you think (even with REALLY lucky dice rolls) they’ll even have a chance?

  22. siree says:

    I am running a campaign that involves all of the dieties, and tiamat and bahumat are the main ones they are going to end up with. The two people I have as my players, and my NPC are all halfdragons (a homebrewed race) and another of our choice. It is a little complicated to explain the full background of our characters but the whole idea is gonna lead to a plan that has a 15 floor dungeon that deals with ALL of the deities.
    One of my characters has Tiamat wanting him to be her follower, bahumat has interviened and has sent him on some kind of journey that is unknown to my player.
    does anyone have some good ideas to shpae this story where we can all have fun?

  23. Ruthless Deity says:

    My whole campaign is based on Tiamat, Her Followers, Bizarre Clerics, Grotesque Locations, a former right hand and a countless treasure. The players are still on level 12, and I am working on great advance for the last battle. Still out of ideas.

  24. siree says:

    @Ruthelss Deity: The best way to create a final showdown is to find out what your players think. You need to get inside their head make them feel afraid for their lives, and get the players to react as their characters. One thing you need to remember is THEY ARE FIGHTING TIAMAT!! She is a deity, and one of the baddest ones out there. There is no planning with her. She does what she wants, when she wants, and always gets her way no matter what. If that is not enough of a final showdown for your characters, then I do not know what is.

    But if you need some more help, I do have a few ideas that can help you out, but I will need to know the story so far, and what you have planned also. You can email me it if you want at mistress.of.hell6663@gmail.com. Make sure the you have something to do with D&D on the subject bar or I will delet it.

  25. Jubei Tuk from the Shire says:

    Yeah!!! my dungeons and dragons party just killed Tiamat, was an epic 8 hours battle where we were close to lose many times, we lured tiamat to Bahamut’s realm, (actually Tiamat wasnt scared of folloing us since Bahamut was dead) our power tank Runkdar dealt amazing damage, shaking Tiamat with his 2 magic hammers), our bard Aldaron gave us incredible buffing (believe me all buffs you can have help a lot), our cleric Alberto healed and protected us, our deadly wizard shot like an artillery cannon, our exhalted Druid Way (druids are cool) and me, Jubei the halfing Rogue managed to put the hurt in Tiamat, of course we had items that helped us, but getting them was part of the 2 years campaign we played, we started at level 2 (practically one lol) and costed us pain blood and suffering getting the necesary things to kill the mean dragon god to restore balance after Bahamut died (dont ask why or how), people who died epically in the fight, our Troll Monk (swallowed), our Ranger (Tiamat’s breath) our Paladin (you dont want to know how), our Frenzied Berserker (epic death, enough said). Their names will be remembered forever (specially cause resurrect them is impossible) But everything was worth seeing Tiamat die, the world didnt end and universe balance is restored thx to a few brave adventurers. The elves, Satyrs (or Fawns), Dwarves and The halfings of the Shire (or hobbits if you like)who Tiamat made extinct were resurrected and their souls returned. The most epic campaign i have ever played, took us long enough to get level 21 to kill Tiamat. We fought bravely and deserved to win, Tiamat is Tiamat, but we impressed it and killed it, i would like to say Tiamat didnt impress us but i would be lying, it was the most fearsome thing we ever killed, everything looks smaller, everything looks easy once you kill Tiamat.
    PD: you can ask for our actual classes, stats and items if you want, my character sheet is on the wall next to my University Degree in my office now.

  26. Toph says:

    @Jubei Tuk: You’ve got to understand, that whole campaign was just a lunch break sort of thing for her (extinguishing hobbits? honestly, she was bored, okay?) and Tiamat only left you a convincingly illusory simulacrum waiting for you at the end there because she had other dimensions to get back to work dominating. Just be glad her interest in your world was purely passing, and recreational. In fact, she doesn’t even remember this brief episode, she was just doing it to unwind anyway.

    So no, you still don’t impress Tiamat.

  27. Elderon Analas says:

    Well you said have you ever faced Tiamat. Well i haven’t but I am a Brass dragon and posibly hope to at least meet the gods, but funny story. Turns out my cross bread son turned out to be the reincarnation of Io. Yes Io. If you have no idea who Io is, your no dragon history buff. I’ll explain. Io was the first dragon ever. He consisted of all dragon colors and forms, he was almost never seen and can kill all of the other gods with a single swip of his mighty claws. Oh but here’s why my son was SO special. Io was defeatd once. He was split down the middle in a great battle of the gods. One half formed Bahamut and the other Formed Tiamat, so HA my son and in turn me ARE better than Tiamat and all the other gods combined. He has now taken his rightfull place in the Asteral Plane and there he will rule.

  28. Netstorm says:

    In advance, sorry for any spelling and/or gramma errors, English is not my native language 8(

    Impressive… but far from unbeatable. I recall a thread about a Hulking Hurler that does 1 att against a square your standing in (meaning its gotta hit an AC of 10). The hit would do little over 3000d6 dmg with a ref for half… Now if this Hulking Hurler would be lvl 20+ and have all the items needed and so forth (meaning it could hurt Tiamat), it would prob 1 hit here.
    3000d6 in average is… shall we say 9000 dmg on 1 hit? Half would be 4500 dmg ^_^
    Only problem would be Evasion, although I’f never seen a dragon with that ability or a ring (actively using it) but there’s a first for everything.
    I also recall a post about a small Kobold or something like it, (lvl 6) with X str and one other stat with X (Cant remember the other stat). Meaning X can be anything. There was a Loup howl that allowed that small char to boost his str and the other stat with an unmarked bonus permanently infinitely, meaning X could be 90.000. Again bye bye Tiamat if that char would reach lvl 20+ it could easily beat 5 Dragons at the same time with arm wrestling and he would be using his little pinky ^_^
    Nice list though :)
    Love the Chuck Norris one xD

  29. Jack says:

    OH MY GOSH! TIAMAT IS MT FAVORITE DRAGON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Amber says:

    “Are you a god?”
    Should have said yes. And ran.

    Note: Never go into a cave, when they tell you there’s Tiamat in there.

  31. Rhogar says:

    I am going to put together an adventuring party to kill tiamat and resurrect Io. please let me know if you want to help, i could use anyone.

  32. Chamaeus, Savior of Death says:

    I’ve been building a world for my lvl 2 players to run around in, and i’ve been having trouble because i’d originally planned on a angels vs demons war and realized that my ‘good guys’ deity was Kord, who is, of course, neutral. I had just decided to switch him out with Bahamut when i realized that i had the potential for an awesome Draconic combat, and this list just got the juices flowing. My party is perfectly neutral (one good dragonborn fighter, one evil halfling rogue, and the other four are neutral) so they can end up fighting whitchever dragon god they want. I hope they pick Tiamat! >:)

    ps: the neutral four are a halfling ranger (beastmaster style), a hal-elf druid (predator style), an eladrin wizard, and a half-orc palladin of Kord if you can imagine that.

  33. cyberkyd says:

    Munchkins. ‘Nuff said. If you don’t get the reference, pick up a copy of ‘The Munchkin’s Guide to Power Gaming.’

    Munchkins can and will find a way to get higher stats than any boss you put out there. So, don’t give your bosses stats. :P

  34. Wolfzr0 says:

    Yeah I’m currently DMing a campaign centered around defeating Tiamat herself, when the time comes to actually fight her, the PCs will be level 20, and will be buffed the hell out of by Bahamut himself (who actually can’t directly help them fight because of a story mechanic I made up).

  35. Dan says:

    And THAT is the reason my username has been Tiamat for the past 5 years! lol Avatar for life BABY!

  36. Zach says:

    play as a colossal half dragen using + double size spell + medusa’s head = one big statue.

  37. Revlis says:

    Tiamat, or as my players know her “oh god not again”. has made an appearance in 1 or 2 of my campaigns as a counter to the paladin of bahamut.
    and normally someone has to go and challenge her and it never ends well i think the full battle lasts all of an in game 12 seconds.
    only once have they been successful as lvl 25 players against her avatar from the 3.5 demigod book and that fight through her 2 forms and then 5 headed monstrosity took all of 5 hours and only 1 player survived by turning into a whirlwind and using nothing but touch attacks

  38. Bunny says:

    I have both DM-ed a Tiamat campaign and hd arun in with ehr as a demi-god level 100 player. (And before anyone tells me it is not possible let me tell you that if you have the right Dm and he wants you to move the current characters into retirement it was possible) I was a Cleric and I never had a chance to attack her because until he brought Bahamut into the scene “due to our bravery at attempting to save the world from utter destruction” and saved our butts I was healing every time I turned around! She is NOT a Goddess to mess with!

  39. unbrokn1 says:

    One word……

    WISH!

  40. Dragon GM says:

    I setup a game where they fought her but they had Bahamut’s help so of course the person doing damage was him and the PC’s were just trying not to die creating support dropping her AC raising his and trying to stun (which was very unsuccessful but it happend

  41. Max says:

    I had a friend in a campaign who was able to get Tiamat to give him a blowjob. He got some sort of favor from practically an overdeity, and cashed it in for that. Kind of a waste if you ask me, but it’s certainly a cool story to tell.

  42. Benny Patenaude says:

    Savvy ideas , For what it’s worth , if anyone is requiring a PROB 1 , my wife filled out and faxed a sample form here http://goo.gl/0z8kjf

  43. gman says:

    I once got a tramp stamp from Tiamat, it’s wasn’t very nice, as if anything from here would be.
    It read “Tiamat’s Bit¢h”

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