Friday, January 10, 2020

Shadows of the Dragons - Godlike Dragon NPC's & Their Uses

So I've been thinking about dragons for my Godbound/Cha'alt campaign. I'm talking about dragons with a capital 'D' & these are not your typical fire breathers. Basic & Expert Dungeons & Dragons & Advanced Dungeons & Dragons has a history of incredibly cool & detailed NPC  dragons. But I'm looking for something different & its been a few year since I broke out Rafael Chandler's Teratic Tome.

Its been a long time since I cracked the spine on this book especially to look into the ten venerable dragons of the Teratic Tome. These dragons are unique & haughty monsters that can end cities & towns easily. They range from 160 to 120 hit points with 17 hit dice to 20 or more. The most powerful of which is Uchorah - Thanaphor The Atrous Dragon. These are not regular dragons but dragon gods in every sense of the word. Their appearance upon a prime material plane is proceeded by strange events, horrid signs, weird & terrifying weather. In other words these are monsters of apocalytic proporations.

This fits the gods of dragon kind quite nicely. The Wiki entry on Bahamut goes into a deeper explaination about the gods of dragon kind; "

In many campaign settings, the draconic pantheon of gods consists of the leader Io, and his children Aasterinian, Bahamut, ChronepsisFaluzureSardior, and Tiamat. Other draconic gods may be present in different campaign settings. For example, the Forgotten Realms draconic pantheon also includes AstilaborGaryxHlalLendys, and Tamara (among others); these five deities have expanded their influence to become venerated in many other campaign settings as well."

The role of the gods of dragon kind with the realms of the gods is both curious & slightly vexing. Take a look at the role that Bahamut plays in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition where he's named as an angel; "
The character appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977).[5] In this book, the Platinum Dragon was given the personal name Bahamut.
Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon, King of the Good Dragons, and Angel of the Seven Heavens is further described in Dragon #38 (1980)."

In starke contrast is Tiamat from the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition Monster Manual; "The character appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977).[9] In this book, the Chromatic Dragon was given the personal name, "Tiamat" and is stated to rule "the first plane of the Nine Hells where she spawns all of evil dragonkind". Tiamat, the Chromatic Dragon, Queen of Evil Dragonkind, is further described in Dragon #38 (1980). In the first edition of Deities & Demigods (1980) she is mentioned under the entry for the Babylonian god Marduk ("His battles with Tiamat are legendary."), formally connecting her with the Babylonian Tiamat. Tiamat's role as ruler of Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells, is detailed in Ed Greenwood's article, "The Nine Hells Part I", in Dragon #75 (1983).[10] Tiamat's role in the outer planes is detailed in the first edition Manual of the Planes (1987)."

Tiamat has her own cults, followers, minions, all within the various Dungeons & Dragons
settings & campaigns but
she also got a lair on the first circle of Hell in Judge's Guild's Inferno.

Does this mean that the Venerable Dragons from the the Teratic Tome are actually angels of the Apocalypse? I believe it does! There are cults that are gonna be dedicated to their lords & mistresses who are actually angels of the coming destruction. This means quite a bit for those who are  being affected by the Cha'alt warp now.
Dragon cults are nothing new but imgine the raw power when a dragon crushes a god or two in their claws. The battles are epic and so is the goals! We see this same sort of expansion in the Monster Manual II!

So what happens when the orbs of dragon kind begin to appear?! Could these be the means of bringing about the end of the world? The orbs of dragonkind first appeared in Eldritch Wizardry & 
 "The Orbs of Dragonkind: Each of these fabled orbs contains the essence and personality of an ancient dragon of a different variety (one for each of the major ten different chromatic and metallic dragons)."

An orb could easily appear in my campaign & signal the end of all things quite quickly. There's already a prescient within Venger's work when it comes to the god dragons of his various worlds. They usually have a ton of baggage associated with them but Cha'alt had dragons during the Fifth Age & there's evidence of their  
interference on the Island of Purple Haunted Putrescence. 
Dragons showing up is gonna mean a ton of trouble for any adventurers & when it comes to dealing with them your going to need professionals. 

I've been thinking about busting out Adventurer, Conqueror, King's Heroic Handbook. Why?! Because there are some nifty write ups for various styles of dragons that compliment the dragons we've been discussing. 

Even on Mystara we get a solid array of very powerful almost godlike dragons with the Dragons of Mystara version 2.0 by 
 Frederic Ferro. A really nice overview of some of the most powerful of dragon kind on Mystara.

But how are these powerful NPC's used besides as forces of nature & total destruction within a campaign?! That's the beauty of using adventurers as the motivation for a campaign. They are gonna attract the attention of these creatures. Dragons are alien creatures primoral & very much a part of the forces of magic itself. This is something we as dungeon masters often seem to forget. These creatures are going to be aware of the potential for power & destruction that PC's have within a setting. They'll make it their business to seek out adventurers to size them up.  They'll gauge them & if necessary they will destory them. This is one of the over shadowing thing even about 'good dragons' that seems forgotten. These are creatures of power & they little compunction about reminding the world of this fact. 

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