The Council of Wyrms boxed set was released in 1994 by TSR for the 2nd Ed. AD&D game. It was written by current head of RPG’s at Wizards of the Coast, Bill Slavicsek. The setting is unique in that for the first time in AD&D it allowed for player characters to play Dragons. One could also play Kindred (demi-human servants of the dragons), and Half-Dragon characters.
The boxed set takes place in “Io’s Blood Island Chain”, a set of islands that encompass all different climates types, and are separated from the other parts of the world by a large ocean. The story has the islands being created by Io’s blood dropping on the ocean, and forming the islands once it cooled.
Included in the box are the following items:
- 3 64 page books (Rules book, Campaign book, Adventures book)
- 12 Full Color Reference cardstock cards
- 3 posters (map of the setting, dragon clans, and Dragon size chart)
Here are pictures of the box:
The three books have cover art by Jeff Easley, one of the iconic illustrators for the 2nd Edition of the game. His cover art really captures Dragons in all their majesty here, and instantly set the tone for this campaign setting. The books all have black and white artwork in the interior, with a bit of color being given to some fonts and borders in the pages. The interior artwork is credited to Arnie Swekel and Glen Angus (inks).
The first rulebook covers the actual crunchy bits of the 2nd Edition. Things like character creation and draconic combat are covered here. It also introduces proficiencies suitable for dragons.
The second book, the campaign one, introduces all the fluff around the islands. All the major npc’s as well as draconic culture is covered here, along with details on how best to use the setting in a campaign, whether new or ongoing. The book covers such things as mating, religion, dragons and magic, and aging and death. There’s tons of material here to use (at least fluff wise) even if you aren’t running a 2e game, and want to experiment with using dragons more in your game, or are simply looking for an alternate dragon lore to use in your games rather than what 4e has been giving you.
The third book provides the DM with adventures to use for the setting. There are four adventures, for level ranges 1-6. One thing I really like about this book is the encounter maps. They aren’t battlemaps, but they are good enough to provide some semblance of where you are and what’s around you to aid in the abstract nature of 2e combat.
What kind of adventures do dragon pc’s go in? Well, an example adventure has to do with the pc’s saving a young white dragon from a village of dwarves looking to kill it in order to protect a secret.
Also included in the box are twelve cardstock color cards with artwork, character sheets, important pc’s, and reference tables for running the game.
My favorite part of this boxed set though, is the poster map of the islands. This map is a pretty neat hex map, and I can see me using it for a possible homebrew somewhere down the line. Check it out below, although there is a great map online of the islands.
The two other posters included are a dragon size chart, and a list of all the dragon clans that populate the setting:
And that’s what’s inside the Council of Wyrms boxed set. I don’t remember this being all that popular amongst my gaming circles back in the day, and I know that I never played in a Council of Wyrms campaign, but there certainly is enough material in this box to get something out of it for your current games.
If there’s one thing that 2e had, it was plenty of campaign settings and locations. There’s nothing keeping you new DM’s out there to look beyond what’s currently being offered as campaign settings for your games and reach into the past for ideas and suggestions. And that’s the point of this “Classics Unboxed” series, to show you other avenues of inspiration.
You can find Council of Wyrms on eBay from about $10 to about $25.