So, I had, for years, been tweaking my Talisman game, adding new dangers and obstacles...and lots of dragons (as evidenced by multiple threads). My game was pretty dangerous by the time T : Dragons arrived on the scene. When I added it in, things could get too dicey, too quickly.
For a while, I culled out some of the more dangerous (and repetitive) cards. Some games seemed like all there was to fight were dragons! Nothing seemed balanced. I had emphasized the Dungeon in my custom efforts, really. I felt like there needed to be way more variety, and I added lots of danger and lots of reward. The best magic objects in the game were behind the most dangerous enemies and obstacles...in the Dungeon. With the addition of Dragons, the Adventure deck itself became very similar...great followers and magic items, but sometimes you'd never see those, just a string of corpses.
So, I've finally uncovered a variant I'm trying now. It requires a little bit of work, but I think it'll make the expansion worthwhile for me, and equitable in light of all the other custom stuff I've added.
1) I separated the Dragons cards, and they are shuffled into their own deck, albeit temporarily.
2) I created two additional "Dragon Sleep" and "Dragon Dawn" cards for the regular adventure deck. They look like my customs, so they don't stand out any more than anything else, but the wording is a little different.
3) When the custom "Dragon Dawn" is drawn, the Dragons deck gets shuffled right into the Adventure deck. And when the custom "Dragon Sleep" is drawn, those cards get ignored (plus the regular effect of turning face-up dragons face down).
It has the effect of keeping a throttle on how much danger is around, before the merry adventurers get some steam behind them. In fact, they might NEVER see the Dragons at all. Thats okay, because there's plenty of danger already. Likewise, a well-timed spell or character ability may divert the entire set of cards anyway (Prophetess, for example). Or, a weaker character may delve into the Dungeon or the City for the duration of the "Dragon Dawn" making more use of those boards, simply due to the elevated danger level on the main board (another problem at times).
One other thing; two of the cards that bugged me from the beginning are scarcer, and less likely to occur with this set-up: the "Great Portal" card and "Cave of Bones". I never liked the idea of getting to the Crown (or the Dragon King) too early, and I also really like using the alternate ending cards. Using this set-up allowed me to keep those from appearing too often, too early and someone else may be able to set up an alternate ending (other than the Dragon King) before the Dragon King ending is locked in.
The possibility of having so many dragons running around will still keep the dragon-specific characters still viable, but without the certainty that their (somewhat powerful) abilities will give them too big an advantage.