Dragon Warriors Book 1 cover
Dragon Warriors is a fantasy role playing game system written by Dave Morris and Oliver Johnson and published by Corgi Books between the years 1985 and 1986. In 2009, it was re-collected in a new hardcover edition by Mongoose Publishing. This print run included the publication of several supplements to the Dragon Warrior's world "Legend". However, as of September 2010, this publication run has been discontinued but the books continue to remain available in pdf format.
Dragon Warriors is set in the world of Legend, the same as that of the Blood Sword game books.
As of April 2011, Serpent King Games is the licence holder of Dragon Warriors, and has re-published updated versions of the Mongoose books which are available on DriveThruRPG.com .
Books: Original Series
Books 1-3 were published together and established a coherent and fully featured, if lightweight game system. The latter three books were released one at a time and added depth to the game.
Book 1: Dragon Warriors
Dragon Warriors (ISBN 0-552-52287-2) was the original book. It included rules for combat, a listing of weapons and armor, and a selection of opponents. The game offered a choice of warrior classes, Knight and Barbarian, as well as the necessary information required to play a Human, a Dwarf, or an Elf. The book was published in 1985 and has 208 pages.
Book 2: The Way of Wizardry
The Way of Wizardry (ISBN 0-552-52288-0) expanded the original game to include magical spells, potions, and devices. It added Mystic and Sorcerer to the available classes. It was published in 1985 and has 176 pages.
Book 3: The Elven Crystals
The Elven Crystals (ISBN 0-552-52289-9) provided three long adventure scenarios, as well as a few new monsters, magic, and items, although the scenarios make up the bulk of the book. It was published in 1985 and has 192 pages.
Book 4: Out of the Shadows
Out of the Shadows (ISBN 0-552-52333-X) added rules for the Assassin class. It includes rules for stealth, martial arts, alchemy, and trance-magic. It also includes a new selection of monsters, which for the most part are more powerful and less common than the ones featured in Dragon Warriors. It was published in 1986 and has 256 pages.
Book 5: The Power of Darkness
The Power of Darkness (ISBN 0-552-52334-8) added rules for the Elementalist class. It includes new spells as well as an epic adventure scenario making up the bulk of the book. It was published in 1986 and has 192 pages.
Book 6: The Lands of Legend
The Lands of Legend (ISBN 0-552-52335-6) adds rules for the Warlock class. It also includes several elements for campaign setting such as a complete world map and the accompanying descriptions of far away lands and cities. Sections are also devoted to popular myths or rare items, both of which lending themselves to become starting points of new adventures. It was published in 1986 and has 272 pages.
Books: Updated re-release
Dragon Warriors rulebook
Dragon Warriors rulebook (ISBN 978-1-906103-96-5) is the first book of the re-released series. The original material from the six Dragon Warriors books of the 1980s has been re-edited and updated, including new covers and artwork. The new material has been overseen and approved by the original Dragon Warriors authors, Dave Morris and Oliver Johnson, and includes a new introduction to the rulebook by the former. The 8.5" x 11" hardback book was published is 2008, and has 256 pages.
Dragon Warriors Bestiary
Dragon Warriors Bestiary (ISBN 978-1-906103-99-6) is the second release of the re-released series. It is a supplement containing a large list of monsters from the world of Legend along with a set of Random Encounter Tables for various terrain. It also contains an expanded Treasure/Habitat tables for the new and existing monsters. The book itself is a softback at 88 pages in length and was released in 2008.
Dragon Warriors Friends or Foes
A supplement containing 36 NPC characters for inclusion in campaigns.
Published so far are The Elven Crystals (taken from book 3 of the original series), Prince of Darkness (taken from book 5) and Sleeping Gods (a compilation of the adventures contained in books 1, 2, 4 and 6).
An unofficial fanzine ran for 2 issues, and was known as Ordo Draconis. It was produced in pdf-format only, featuring adventures, new professions, and other material for the Dragon Warriors RPG re-release. In August 2010 two fans who had contributed to Ordo Draconis released a 54-page pdf adventure through Magnum Opus Press titled Fury of the Deep; it is a digital-only release that will not be issued in printed form. These are available through sites that sell electronic versions of roleplaying games, such as DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.
Like a number of RPGs, Dragon Warriors uses a variety of contextual rule systems rather than a single encompassing game mechanic or dice system. However, there are two primary mechanics within the game. The first is the opposed score system, where an ability value of a character or creature is subtracted from the opposed ability value of another to generate a number that must be rolled below on either a d20 or 2d10. Examples are ATTACK vs. DEFENCE, MAGICAL ATTACK vs. MAGICAL DEFENCE, STEALTH vs. PERCEPTION, and SPEED vs. EVASION. The second main mechanic involves an attribute score being compared to a difficulty score determined by the GM. If the attribute is equal or above to the difficulty, then the character succeeds automatically, otherwise they must roll below their attribute score on d20.
Dragon Warriors requires the use of the whole spectrum of polyhedral dice: d4, d6, d8, d10 (d100), d12, and d20. The game's designers have since stated that utilising mechanics that involve polyhedral dice, rather than just simply common six-sided dice, was an error of judgment, and could have had an effect on the accessibility of the original series.
Robert Dale reviewed the first three books in the series - Dragon Warriors, The Way of Wizardry, and The Elven Crystals - for White Dwarf #74, giving it an overall rating of 9 out of 10, and stated that "The three books are well-presented, eye-catching, and should appeal to the uninitiated. The more experienced gamer should appreciate the care that has been taken to provide a fast, unrestrained, yet balanced and fair game."
Dragonwarriors was ranked 48th in the 1996 reader poll of Arcane magazine to determine the 50 most popular roleplaying games of all time. The UK magazine's editor Paul Pettengale commented: "Unfortunately, even though this is a fine, solid system, the format makes it tricky to use in play. Still, it was well received throughout its short life, and is highly collectable these days."
- Casus Belli #31 (Feb 1986)
- Blood Sword: A series of gamebooks set in the same fictional world as Dragon Warriors.
- "Mongoose Publishing". www.mongoosepublishing.com. Retrieved 2020-03-09.
- "Serpent King Games is new home for the Dragon Warriors RPG | Serpent King Games". Retrieved 2020-03-09.
-  Archived January 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- "WebCite for magnumopuspress.com". 2010-12-13. Archived from the original on March 16, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
- Dale, Robert (February 1986). "Open Box". White Dwarf. Games Workshop (Issue 74): 8.
- Pettengale, Paul (Christmas 1996). "Arcane Presents the Top 50 Roleplaying Games 1996". Arcane. Future Publishing (14): 25–35.
- Fabled Lands blog curated by Dave Morris, co-creator and owner of Dragon Warriors
- Way of the Waysider; presents new adventures for DW and has good maps of Legend
- The Cobwebbed Forest; new rules and professions for DW by Lee Barklam
- Shaun Hately's new Dragon Warriors website
- The Unofficial Dragon Warriors Homepage
- DW Repository
- Advanced Dragon Warriors - an extension to the Dragon Warriors RPG system
- Maps of Legend, the Dragon Warriors world
- Dragon Warriors Wiki
- Serpent King Games, current publishers of Dragon Warriors