D is for…

…Divlos, the continent where my desert campaign takes place?  …Dwarf, one of the Seven Races of Marn?  …Draakrill, the house that I have been designing for the last 30 years?  No.  People, I am Gregory.  D can only stand for one thing: Dragon!  I could just link to a previous post and call this topic covered, but that would be disingenuous.  So, here we go.

Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten. — G. K. Chesterton, as quoted in Coraline (2004) by Neil Gaiman, epigraph.

Of course, dragons exist and can be beaten.  Ask Ray and Mike about the seven-headed dragon Babylon.  Christina, James, Hil, and Matt could tell you about the death of Menethesis, an argentyl dragon.  John, Thom, and Mike most likely remember the sea dragon that they slew and then turned its corpse into a boat.  Let us not forget that Charonus Eybender and the House of Wild Geese slew Tel-Mordin the Feared, not once, but twice.  Dragons can be beaten and they are, but not all dragons on Rilmorn are to be fought.

Some dragons exist as plot hooks or background.  Rick, Mike, and Thom might remember Dhivanara, the Dragon of the Purple Sands.  She was a dragon whose body was made up of time elementals and other chronally charged entities and she aged time-creatures were escaping from her form.  Dhivanara charged the party with traveling to the lair of Chronepsis, the Dragon of Fate, and steal her life glass and hide it in Castle Timeless, so that she would cease aging.  Chronpesis appeared multiple times in the Spellguard campaign.  Christina, James, Hil, and Matt may remember him watching the Battle of the Fall of Spellguard during their jaunt into the past.  Maybe they recall the time, Chronepsis appeared after Ghul tried to break the Past Scrying Brazier of the Kron by forcing it to look to the future?  If not either of those times, surely one of them will recall when they had to save Dhivara from the chronal assassins, so she could lay the egg in Spellguard that hatched the triple form of Chronepsis.  Both of these dragons are vastly powerful, but neither of them threatened the heroes, nor gave them great treasures.  Dhivanara always acted as a plot hook.  While Chronepsis did interact with the PCs, he was ultimately window dressing…a reminder that there are stronger and stranger things than the PCs out there.

Some dragons are NPCs.  Prince Vanik of Arkohsia is an orium dragon that appears to the world as a brown dragonborn.  He plays the same role as duke or a queen in a more standard fantasy roleplaying setting; he’s just personally stronger and more powerful than your average ruler.  While Gareth Eybender, Belvar Duerar, and Feldspar von Quan, all began as standard Player Characters, they are now silver dragons and NPCs in my game.  They will no doubt appear in future games.  Dragons, as NPCs, give me characters that live for millennia, but do not have a hominid perspective.  Even those dragons that began as marn soon begin to take on different goals and perspectives than their original races.  Dragons make for alien allies and inscrutable foes.

The Age of Dragons has come and gone on Rilnorn and, now, the world is in the Age of Wyrms.  Ancient, often forgotten, beasts are stirring.  Pieces are being moved in The Great Game and even great adventurers may be no more than pawns in Games that Dragons Play. What dragons do you remember fondly from your days at the Gaming Table, dear readers?  Until next time, Game On!

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One thought on “D is for…

  1. Hah! Dragons are less common and arguably often more powerful than Demigods, Archfey, and the like in my campaign world. Greater and lesser drakes (the 1e “dragons”) are out in force, but not what you are talking about I think.

    While there are always the Great Elemental Dragons that are worshipped by the En Khoda Theos Kirk, the Perihelion of the Heptarchy ride the Great Solar Dragons and the Perilune ride the Great Lunar Dragons. It is unknown if these are allied Gods in their own right, or if they are “mere” servants of primordial might and power.

    The one dragon that has gotten the most play is Katechon, the Hematite Dragon, the God that guards the edge of Creation, waiting and watching for the End of Times when the Dearth rip through the Veil and bring existence to an end. He sits a lonely vigil, waiting to call forth the Great Gods, Their Children, and Their Children’s servants for the final battle and will be, as he has told a number of characters, “The first to fight and the first to fall.”

    There are also the Kin, those men who take the shape of dragons, or dragons who take the shape of men. They have watched history with their metal-hued eyes for time out of mind. Their origin is unknown, but they dwell in havens in the dark and wild places of Creation. Even rarer are their occasional consorts, the women known as weredragons, who wander, both wild and fey, the most famous of which was the Lady Dara Hanann, Consort to both the High Lord of the Shadowlands, and Dulain the Archimage at different times in her life. They say that her daughter still rules Morrow, despite the coming of the Blight and the Fall of Albion. Dulain the Archimage himself was known as the Maelstrom Dragon for the many-hued, flame-bodied dragon form that he took on many occasions. None know if he was Kin or merely a mage, and the truth is likely never to be known.

    Finally, the dragons themselves acknowledge Orm, the Primordial Wyrm, as the Eldest, perhaps even the first dragon. They do not worship Him as humans would worship a deity, but His name carries weight and significance among them.

    D.

    Liked by 1 person

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