Monday, April 13, 2009

From the Attic: Update #8 Dragons of the Majestic Wilderlands

Dragons of the Majestic Wilderlands

Dragons were created by Set during the Uttermost War. They were used as shock troops in the battles against the demons. When Gods and the Children Races triumphed over the Demons, they created the Abyss and imprisoned the remaining Demons. Each of the ten surviving Gods created a crystal harboring their power. Towers were constructed around the gateway to the Abyss to house nine of the crystals (Crimson, Ochre, Saffron, Emerald, Azure, Indigo, Amethyst, Ebony, Ivory). The tenth crystal, the Chromatic Crystal, was used by Veritas the High Lord to activate the nine and seal the gateway. Set’s Dragons were then assigned as guardians of the towers.

Dragons Unbound

For a millennia the Dragons guarded the towers. There were no assaults to free the demons, no thieves to steal the crystals and some of the Dragons started chafing at the boredom of their duties. They wanted to be free to soar and hunt in the Wilderlands. Their opportunity came when the Dark Lord came to the Towers with the Chromatic Crystal.

The Dragons prepared to do battle with the Dark Lord, but he knew of the discontent that existed among the Dragons. He sent envoys and made a deal with them.
Follow and aid me, I will not use the Chromatic Crystal against the towers if you do.
The loyal Dragons were not able to prevent the escape of those who choose to follow the Dark Lord back into the Wilderlands. The escaped Dragons flew north with the Dark Lord and aided him in the Crystal Wars. The mountains where they first made their lairs are still known as the Dragon Mountains.

With the renegade Dragon’s help, the Dark Lord was able to crush his enemies and established his empire. At first the Dragons and the Dark Lord ruled as equals. But many of the renegades chafed even at the mild restrictions imposed by the alliance. They left to pursue their own path in the Wilderlands.

The Dragons that remained at the towers were horrified at their brethren’s actions. Torn between revenge and their duty to guard the Towers, they finally decided to send a small contingent to aid the Dark Lord's foes. With the Tower Dragon's aid the forces of good were able to triumph over the Dark Lord.

The war cost the lives of many Dragons on both sides. With the Dark Lord's downfall the renegade Dragons scattered throughout the Wilderlands. Most of the loyal Dragons returned to the Towers, leaving a few to aid the Races against the depredations of the renegades. Some of the loyal Dragon refused to return because the lust for vengeance consumed them.

Dragons Today

There are several different types of Dragon in the Wilderlands today.


These are still the Guardian of the Towers, charged by the Gods to prevent anyone from tampering with the Crystals. They are also the first line of defense against the Demons in case the Crystals ever fail. They are the most powerful of all the Dragons and they will not let any mortal pass to the Towers.

All the colors are found among these Dragons with Black the least common. The leaders of the Chromatic Dragons are colored Gold. The highest honor of Dragonkind is to be allowed to wear the color of Gold.


These are the Dragons that left the Towers with the Dark Lord and aided him in the Crystal Wars. They are very evil and extremely dangerous. Most of them are do not mindlessly ravage the land. Instead they prefer to use their abilities to hide and manipulate the races around them.

Black is their symbolic color, but Red and White are common.


These Dragons left the Towers with the Dark Lord but eventually left the Dark Lord during the Crystal Wars. They were the first to chafe at the restrictions of the alliance and soon escaped to experience the world on their own. Copper Dragons are hedonistic and unpredictable. They are master manipulators; however their plans are more for entertainment value rather than power like the Black Dragons.

Copper is their symbolic color but in general any bright, or flashy color will be found. Many Copper Dragons are known to have gold and silver colors.


These Dragon were among those who were sent by the Chromatic Dragons to fight the Black Dragons. They did not return to the Towers after the Dark Lord’s defeat but instead stayed to destroy all the remaining Black, and Copper Dragons. They are totally consumed by revenge and will use any means to destroy a Black or Copper Dragon including manipulation of the races around them.

Blue is the Color of Thor the God of Warriors and of Revenge. All Blue Dragon are blue, no other color has been noted among them.


These Dragons were among those who were sent by the Chromatic Dragons to fight the Black Dragons. They did not return to the Towers after Dark Lord’s defeat but instead stayed to aid the races against the remaining Black Dragons and the antics of the Copper Dragons. They try to moderate the actions of the Blue Dragons as their focus on vengeance can cause great harm to those involved their plans.
Silver is their color, no other color has been noted in these Dragons.

Dragon powers

All Dragons are reptilian in nature with four limbs, tails, and wings folded into their front limbs. Their hide is made of scales and is one of the toughest substances known in the Wilderlands.

Dragons have the ability to breathe fire, and change the color of their hides. They do not speak as normal people do but instead use telepathy to speak inside your mind. In addition they are known to exhibit many different psionic powers.

A Dragon sense of time/sense is very different than that of the Races. They know their beginnings as well as their ends. For unknown reasons this doesn't extend to the Races only to themselves. It is rumored that the reason that the Races are involved in so many of the Dragon’s plans is that it is only through mortal action that a Dragon’s fate can be altered.

A Dragon is extremely confident of himself and his position in the world. They believe that they are the highest creatures of creation and view other races with contempt. A few dragons, notably the Silver Dragons, have learned of the ability of mortal races to alter their destiny and are now actively are involved with mortals.

For a long time the iconic creatures of D&D did not play a large role in my campaign. I never liked how Dragons were killable in AD&D. After a few easy slaughters in my early campaigns I never used them.

When we switched to GURPS Dragon became epic monsters again. However the dial was turned to far in the other direction. In addition GURPS idea of dragons is like most thing in GURPS they give you a bunch of ideas and toolkits and it up to you to put them together.

So Update #8 was born. Since the Dragons have played two memorable roles in my campaigns. The first is when Duke Draco-lindus and his friend William Enderil were cursed by an enemy and set adrift in time. They visited many different eras including a memorable visit to when City-State was under siege and they though Atrabilorin, the dwarven savior of the city, was the bad guy. I didn't use DM fiat and was able to successfully get Atrabilorin away although it was a near run thing.

It was revealed that eras visited was manipulated by the goddess Mitra. (no this is not a mistype, Mitra is a goddess in the Majestic Wilderlands) While there was nothing she could have done to stop the curse from taking effect, she could manipulate where Draco and William ended up. She chose eras that she felt would instruct Draco about the destiny she has placed before him.

The final era she sent them too was Draco, and William aiding St Caelam the first Dragon rider in calling up the Silver Dragons. During this one of the Silver Dragon, Alesandros, greeted Draco as a familiar friend. Startled Draco and William felt the familiar twist of a time change and found themselves back in the present. Only to be startled again when Alesandros and a dozen other Silver Dragons landed in front them to hail Draco as their commander.

The second time a Dragon appeared in the campaign was during the all Mage campaign where everybody played a GURPS Wizard. Part of the campaign had to do with plots instigated by the Church of Set. As it turned out the players found out that they were orchestrated from our favorite hive of scum and villainy, Warwick.

What they didn't know that the Ancelgorn (yes I spell it differently) of the Majestic Fastness was the true mastermind. Evidently the old dragon saw something about his future he didn't like and has now involved himself with mortals to change it to something more his liking.

Eventually the players forced his hand and forced him to lead his troops in open battle. Mind you up to this point Ancelgorn has remained shape shifted in human form. So the player thought he was some big bad guy.

A memorable moment came when one of the PC Mages, Barton, attempted to teleport him out of his armor. The player put a lot of in-game in researching this variant of the teleport spell and used to great effect. It was costly in fatigue tho so he was careful about when he used it.

With the big bad leader riding with this troops, Barton thought it was a good time to use the spell. Get the leader out of the armor, make a mockery of him in front of his troops and break their morale.

In GURPS the cost of the teleport spell is based on the mass of the target. The more massive the target higher the cost. Being shape changed into human form doesn't mean that dragon's mass has gone away. So when Barton let lose his teleport other he felt a higher than normal resistance. But his skill was high enough to burn through and then the fun began.

He successfully teleported the human form dragon out of his armor and damned near killed himself as all of his fatigue was sucked into the spells as well as from his numerous powerstones, and horded stacks of temporary mana. Finally the remaining needed mana was sucked out of his health driving it below negative health, the point where you need to make a death roll. He succeeded on the death roll and immediately passed out.

The spell enraged the dragon who promptly shapeshifted back to dragon form. This caused both the bad guys and the good guys to scatter from dragon fear. In the meantime Barton's friend hastily used a teleport to escape back to the Guild of Arcane Lore in City-State.

They didn't exactly defeat Ancelgorn. But by forcing him to reveal his true form the PCs threw his plans and his alliances into chaos.

And gave me a good story to tell.

1 comment:

Scott said...

This is a really cool alternate take. It almost makes me like color-coded Dragons. :)