Dragons

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eldersphinx
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Dragons

Post by eldersphinx »

Dragons of all ages, sizes and varieties have been pulled into Piazzaworld - chromatic, metallic, gemstone, oriental, ferrous, linnorm, planar and many more. Dragons are unlike other races arriving in Piazzaworld, though, in that some strange force or magical effect - possibly intrinsic to the planet, possibly caused by the Moonstrike or the meddling of some ancient civilization - subtly but intrinsically changes their mental state on arrival. Their appearance, powers and overall capabilities remain unchanged (though magical potential may apparently be awakened, or command of spell-power broadened) but goals and intentions are quite literally rewritten.

Every dragon on Piazzaworld is dedicated to a precept - a specific abstract concept, that the dragon seeks to comprehend, nurture and promote. A dragon's precept doesn't appear to be linked to its age, heritage, alignment or interests, world of origin or any similar common thread - two nest-mate dragons both pulled to Piazzaworld at the same time can find themselves with diametrically opposed precepts upon arrival. If there's any element of choice, it appears to be subconscious - though the dragon's former personality and ethos may impact how the dragon chooses to promote their precept (a noble bronze with the Death precept might choose to become a bane to the undead, while a wrathful red with the Mercy precept might adopt a particular community to treat as favored pets, striking viciously at any group that threatened them).

Dragons that share a precept will often cooperate with one another and may even mate - meaning that precepts, oddly enough, impose a common culture on a species that would likely otherwise be too few in number to be anything other than solitary loners. If dragons of different breeds/appearances mate, they will be able to bear offspring; half the children will be the same breed as the father, the other half the same breed as the mother, not any sort of mix or fusion.

Dragons of differing precepts, on the other hand, will be instinctively and implacably opposed to one another, competing constantly to prove the superiority of their chosen precept. This competition will generally be indirect, attempting to bribe or coerce local humanoids or alter the natural world, rather than direct combat. It's not at all uncommon for experienced adventurers to be approached by a dragon to meddle with or inconvenience a rival.

Some of the more common precepts among Piazzaworld dragons are as follows:
- Greed
- Death
- Change
- Lore
- Strife
- Beauty
- Merit
- Magic
- Trickery
- Mercy
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Chimpman
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Re: Dragons

Post by Chimpman »

I like this take on dragons - I'm wondering if we could impart any special abilities based on their chosen precepts, just as a way to help customize individual dragons and their abilities.

One question would be - Where do these precepts come from? And are dragons the only race that can subscribe to them? We might be able to build up some nice specialty/prestige classes around each of these precepts for use by PC races.
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LoZompatore
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Re: Dragons

Post by LoZompatore »

This is very nice! :)

Going one step further, I'm wondering if it could be possible for dragons of different precepts to cohoperate in order to get their goals. It seems to me that some precepts are quite apt to work together, such as the Lore-Magic-Beauty group, the Death-Strife or Merit-Strife combinations, or the Greed-Lore-Trickey block. Maybe such groups could form when dragons need to accomplish tasks which cannot be done by individuals or small groups.

Moreover, I wonder if a dragon may ally with other races' specimen in order to better fulfill its precept (for exampole, a dragon with a precept for magic allying with human magic users, or a wyrm with a precept for strife allying with humanoid warriors and the like).

The basic idea is indeed very original and could lead to many developments, in my opinion :)

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Ashtagon
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Re: Dragons

Post by Ashtagon »

I wonder if these precepts could be tied into a local pantheon for this world.

Then again, I'm half-tempted to bowdlerise American Gods for 'modern' deities.
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eldersphinx
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Duzmaghen - Dragons In Action

Post by eldersphinx »

The dwarven settlement of Duzmaghen, located high in the Dragonback Mountains some 300 miles east of Refuge Point, is an important source of metals and craftgoods for other nations and city-states of the Northern Continent. Duzmaghen's mines are rich, their workers are reliable, and their prices are cheap... not least because of their social structure. In Duzmaghen, everyone is born into one of two castes - the elite Overseers, who use the technology, manage the infrastructure and give the orders, and the larger Helot underclass, who do all the manual labor and receive very little in return beyond the basic necessities needed to survive from day to day.

Like many other cultural setups found on Piazzaworld, Duzmaghen's caste system dates back to their homeworld - a place that was apparently much more settled and less diverse than Piazzaworld. Duzmaghen's move between worlds has forced some changes on the dwarven society, but not as many as one might think - the Helot caste has been expanded to include human, gnomish and halfling replacements (slaves or outcasts from other cultures) but the Overseer caste has remained exclusive. The Overseers' edge over their inferiors remains what it has always been - organization, education, planning, and a dwindling but carefully preserved cache of technological weapons, which include helmets which impose obedience and passivity on their wearer, wands that project cones of stunning force, orbs that can emit flashes of painful blinding light, and gasses that nauseate and overwhelm anyone who breathes them in. Even with these tools at their disposal, though, the Overseers' grip on Duzmaghen has recently been threatened by the arrival of three different dragons.

The most visible of these draconic meddlers is Xicaaltis, a shadow drake dedicated to the precept of Greed. Xicaaltis uses his power and fearsome appearance openly and unsubtly to advance his interests - attacking merchant caravans approaching Duzmaghen, extorting tribute from the Overseers, inciting bandits, embezzlers and other criminals to steal and hoard wealth, and similar villainies. Xicalltis doesn't want Duzmaghen destroyed or its mines abandoned - if that happened, there'd soon be nothing left for the dragon to plunder. This doesn't mean he wants Duzmaghen to be comfortable or prosperous, however.

The young green Viridian, meanwhile, has slightly grander goals. As a devotee of the precept of Change, Viridian wants to see the entire society of Duzmaghen overturned - at the very least, the Overseers overthrown and a new social order established. She spends much of her time in shapechanged disguise or working through agents to set up revolutionary cells among the Helots, organize slave escapes, smuggle in weapons and propaganda, and otherwise encourage unrest and uncertainty. Viridian's ultimate goal at this point is a violent insurrection that destroys the existing social order of Duzmaghen, and after that... well, things will change, and she'll be there to watch.

Finally, there's Kalithantith, a sapphire dragon dedicated to the precept of Merit. Of the three dragons involved with Duzmaghen, Kalithantith has possibly the most restrained goals - he merely wants to see the Overseers reformed so that membership is based on ability and ambition, not simply a matter of birth. To this end, Kalithantith arranges small-scale crises such as mineshaft collapses, unrest among the Helots, monster attacks, diplomatic incidents with neighboring powers and similar to either give talented Overseers the chance to show their worth or incompetent Overseers the chance to thoroughly embarass themselves. Recently, the sapphire has also begun arranging the death or ruination of highly-placed Overseers that most strongly support maintaining a strict inherited caste system, though he has not had the chance to carry off more than a couple of such schemes so far. Finally, Kalithantith regularly tries to sabotage or wreck Duzmaghen's caches of technological weaponry, in order to make the Overseers more dependent on magic, charisma, and ruthlessness to maintain their rule.

Adventurers could be sent to Duzmaghen by representatives of Refuge Point or any other surrounding nation to deal with the threat posed by one of Duzmaghen's three dragons and return the dwarven settlement to some semblance of order. All but the most adroit heroes, though, will quickly find that meddling in the affairs of one of Duzmaghen's dragons will get them involved in the plots of the other two as well...
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LoZompatore
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Re: Dragons

Post by LoZompatore »

I like a lot Duzmaghen and the three dragons you detailed above: the whole setting could well be turned into a whole adventure module with ease! :)
A few comments:

Xiicaltis is basically acting as a parasite: what if he also sometimes encourages trade in time of crisis so to lure more merchants to the city? He could also be a promoter of further explorations of the mountains, in order to expand the mining system and increase the wealth produced by them. Both aspects, though aimed to augment Xiicaltis' treasure could bring some good to the city, too.

I think that Viridian could also promote new artists and inventors inside the city, as the change she seek could also come from some kind of cultural revolution. I think also that she should encourage foreigners to settle in Duzmaghen, and traders to bring exotic goods in the city. For this reason I guess the dragon could be pretty active also in neighbouring places and she could be the one who lure the PCs to the dwarvish city.

With regard to Kalithantith, I think that he should not pay attention just to the Overseers. I think that if he really searches to create a new meritocratic order inside the ruling class of Duzmaghen he should also sponsor new people, both native and foreigners, to test themselves and see bif they manage to get some popularity or influence (both political or economical) in the city businesses.

I think that the aims of the three dragons could sometime blend, and they could also find themselves to uninetntionally cohoperate on the same subject, even with different scopes (a typical example, the three could want a caravan to reach the city during a time of economic crisis in order to bring more wealth, innovative ideas/people and PCs to test in order they could challenge the old ruling class) ;)

By the way:
[quote]...possibly caused by the Moonstrike or the meddling of some ancient... [quote]

Love this name! Thumbs up! :)

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