Themes: essentials unique to Council of Wryms

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Coronoides
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Themes: essentials unique to Council of Wryms

Post by Coronoides » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:56 am

I have identified five themes that I believe are the foundations of the Council of Wryms setting and make it such a compelling place to play in. What do you think? Am I right? What have I missed?

Dragons dominate
Dragons not only rule the Council of Wryms they dominate everything about the setting. PCs are dragons, dragon servants, or dragon-blooded, dragon culture is the focus of the setting, adventures are designed for dragon protagonists, and everywhere you look there are NPC dragons. All the powerful NPCs will be dragons, there are no equivalents to Merlin or King Arthur, ultimate magical, martial, and political power rests in the talons of dragons.

Dragon minds
Dragons are not *just* flying engines of terror. The boxed set discusses how to roleplay the psychology of dragons. Dragons are to be portrayed as arrogant and having a long view that enables them to patiently pursue plans that will take centuries to complete.

Threats within and without
From the moment of hatching dragons of the Io’s Blood Isles face threats from within and without. Giants raid coastal areas and everyone dreads another invading army of fanatical human dragonslayers. Wild beasts and lands must be tamed as territory for the next generation of your clan. Other dragons though are your greatest foes, they look upon your lands, hoard, and vassals with avarice. At the first sign of weakness other dragons will take what they can from you by threats, politics, or murder. Worse still the Council ensures you can't just exterminate these foes.

Slow rise to power taking centuries
A campaign will span centuries.Gaining respect and rank in dragon culture is dependent on age and great deeds but the rewards can be as great as ruling over your own clan of dragons or being a councillor who steers all of dragonkind.

Preventing war
THis is the big one. In the past so many greedy, territorial, dragons stomping about like gods made flesh resulted in violence easily igniting and spreading. To prevent the terrible dragon-wars of the past from happening again the dragon god created the Council of Wryms to prevent war by debate, rulings, and formal duels of wing and claw. While most epic fantasy campaigns and fiction are about winning the war against evil, the Council of Wryms campaign is about preventing the war.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/magh66x3ly8q5 ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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Re: Themes: essentials unique to Council of Wryms

Post by willpell » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:51 pm

Coronoides wrote:While most epic fantasy campaigns and fiction are about winning the war against evil, the Council of Wryms campaign is about preventing the war.
I love it. This can also be a big theme in Eberron, and suits my Whiteleaf campaign setting. What I'm really interested in is whether there's mechanical support, in COW or Eberron or anywhere else, for making this sort of intrigue-based play as compelling as the combat system. Freeform roleplay and the very minimalistic skills system (even in 3.5, which is the most skill-centric edition of D&D as far as I know) really don't cut the mustard, in terms of making a game that's deep and multifaceted enough to be interesting.

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Re: Themes: essentials unique to Council of Wryms

Post by Coronoides » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:41 pm

I intend to leverage the existing rules for Characteristics (especially Bonds and Ideals), Factions (inc. rank within), and more formalised rules for social interactions (DMG244). So yes 5e, especially the DMG, gives you tools to back this kind of story with mechanics. tThese rules are just under-used MHO.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/magh66x3ly8q5 ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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Re: Themes: essentials unique to Council of Wryms

Post by willpell » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:58 am

Coronoides wrote:I intend to leverage the existing rules for Characteristics (especially Bonds and Ideals), Factions (inc. rank within), and more formalised rules for social interactions (DMG244). So yes 5e, especially the DMG, gives you tools to back this kind of story with mechanics. tThese rules are just under-used MHO.
I'll look at that DMG reference when I get a chance, but Characteristics and Factions are just fluff, there's absolutely no mechanical effect that you can exert on the game (other than by GM fiat, and IMO the "you can always do GM fiat" line is an excuse for inadequate sourcebook writing). These rules should actually effect your dice rolls in more and crunchier ways than just granting Inspiration occasionally. Factions could become that, but not without an insane amount of work.

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Re: Themes: essentials unique to Council of Wryms

Post by Coronoides » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:41 am

Yeh, I agree things could be a little crunchier. A bonus to rolls equal the difference in faction rank would be a good start. Then each conversation using the structured method in the DMG is like a 'round' or combat. Over several meetings each with either a obvious 'stake' that matters to the players OR a favour (i.e. Adventure) demanded by the opponent the PCs alter the NPC's (or groups) attitude stepwise until they do the major favour the PCs want. Bonds ideals etc. provide adv. or disadvantage just as standing on a table might provide advantage in melee. Needs some tinkering but that's the basic idea. Something like this (but still too vague) is in Out of the Abyss.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/magh66x3ly8q5 ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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Re: Themes: essentials unique to Council of Wryms

Post by Big Mac » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:14 pm

I'm still learning about Council of Wyrms, so I've not really go anything useful to contribute. But this is a great topic.

I wonder if these fairly unique themes make it harder to find non-CoW content that can be adapted for a CoW game.
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Coronoides
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Re: Themes: essentials unique to Council of Wryms

Post by Coronoides » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:37 am

Big Mac wrote:I'm still learning about Council of Wyrms, so I've not really go anything useful to contribute. But this is a great topic.

I wonder if these fairly unique themes make it harder to find non-CoW content that can be adapted for a CoW game.
That's part of the issue. Isolated adventure sites, small villages, and wilderness adventures could be imported for side adventures but then you hit the other big problem. The dragon PCs in the original 2e and the 5e conversion are at a different power per level scale to other PCs making judging adventure difficulty and using rules from other supplements difficult. A 3e LA based game (Savage species, draconomicon, or Dragon 320) might be the best in terms of cross compatability. My 5e dragons also put metallic young dragons (only) into an LA framework allowing good compatibility but the scope of that work is too limited for a proper CoW campaign.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/magh66x3ly8q5 ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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Re: Themes: essentials unique to Council of Wryms

Post by Havard » Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:30 pm

Great summary! I really like your way of analyzing unique features and themes of the setting like this! :)

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Re: Themes: essentials unique to Council of Wryms

Post by Coronoides » Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:19 pm

Havard wrote:Great summary! I really like your way of analyzing unique features and themes of the setting like this! :)

-Havard

Thanks, I tend to get obsessive about one topic at a time. Currently its my new physical copy of CoW. It is good to know my compulsive focus is useful to somebody.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/magh66x3ly8q5 ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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Re: Themes: essentials unique to Council of Wryms

Post by Coronoides » Fri Nov 24, 2017 1:03 pm

Some further thoughts.
I think another theme might be 'A non-human world'
The other striking difference is that humans are essentially a ‘monster’ species. The dominant culture of the Io’s Blood is that of elves, dwarves, and gnomes living under dragon rule. Other native peoples are on the fringes of this culture as allies of the dragons or hiding in the wildness. Humans are failed invaders from across the ocean who have no place among the dragons or their servants. Thus the Io’s Blood setting does not just showcase dragons, it also showcases elves, dwarves, and gnomes. It is a place where the specialist roles found in these non-human cultures belong the mainstream (as evidenced by the kits listed for use in the boxed set CWB61).
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/magh66x3ly8q5 ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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