Here Be Dragons


8, 8, I forget what is for
Too busy (and having a bout of writer's block) to produce much good stuff recently.

This post about Cloud Giants got me thinking a bit...

In my home campaign, there's this Cloud Giant/Titan in his (another trope) Cloud Castle that sits on top of a mountain range near the mega-dungeon. The players have already found the Elevator (from inside the dungeon) up to the Wizard's Sanctum high in the permafrost, and used a flying carpet from it to return to the outside world (that's because the mega-dungeon is what we used to a call a "one-way" dungeon --- easier to get in, but harder to get out).

Anyway. The Wizard (long-time absent) has/had a rival Cloud Giant Sorcerer who ALSO lays claims to these particular mountain peaks. Could be explosive, but the two power-houses made a 100 year truce---like 40 years ago. The PCs have also made an ally of the Golem Caretaker of the Wizard's Sanctum...but if the Cloud Giant sees them zipping about, he might (random chance) capture them in order to ask some questions (or worse). IF the Giant finds out the Wizard is no longer around, he'll seize the opportunity to declare the truce null and void --- and try to seize the Wizard's holdings. So the PC have an opportunity to majorly influence the world. Good Design Principle, right? long as there is some fore-shadowing to let them know what's what.

They tipped an in-dungeon stalemate towards the "good" by hooking the Wizard's Caretaker up with the trapped survivors of the fallen Dwarven City (where the Nymor Dragon now lurks). Will they next "bring the bad" by unfettering the Cloud Tyrant? Time will tell.

Anyway (again). I am thinking this Giant/Titan/Elder-Being dude needs some neat abilities (and...sigh...his castle fully mapped out!). So that's why I put it here, in the "Show Me Your Dragons" thread.

I really like "Solidify Clouds" --- that's not something I would have thought of. Good stuff. I'm not rolling 1d6, I'm giving him ALL those abilities.

Q: Should there be a Singing Harp in the Castle??

Oh yeah. The Wizard's on Barsoom (or thereabouts)....well, his mind, anyway. Like Adam Strange.

Wonder if the game will ever get to these places? I'm ecstatic that my player's can now say they've been to the Ethereal Plane (via the Phase Minotaur Maze mirrors)---which opens up a WHOLE other world of quasi-scifi exploration and horrific Aliens!! (I need to post on how fun I think that can be). But, will they chase the Wizard too?...some day? I'm thinking if they do...then there's a body-swap and they get to switch-up classes/roles. Everyone's a HUMAN barbarian (HAH!)...or perhaps something weirder?

Yes, I all sounds like silly, whimsical, cr*p.
Rest totally is.

To touch on the Open Ended Situations topic (over in the Through Ultan's Door thread). I have NO predetermined solution to all these world problems. There is no "correct path". It's all just there --- in a quasi-stable state --- waiting for the PCs to screw with.

Well, that's not entirely true...if they do nothing, Evil very, very, slowly wins and Civilization falls.

Most importantly---no matter where you go, the Rabbit Hole continues ever deeper.
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8, 8, I forget what is for
Naw. Not my best work. Just a quick jot. Didn't even break the single-post text limit.

Nothing to be said about Ethereal Plane as a gateway to SciFi? Felt like an epiphany...


8, 8, I forget what is for
Finished reading Prince's review of Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter...which I enjoyed. I got me googling Dunsany's other works and specifically The Gods of Pegāna

I started thinking about the home campaign, and when the PCs make that final assault against the Dark Man's Tower. I want his underground realm to have that through-the-looking-glass/Elfland (Bradbury's Carnival in Something Wicked...) vib---for the character to feel as though they are traveling through a twisted dreamland that gets more dangerously insane the deeper they go. Having strange non-antagonistic elements like Dunsany's Skarl the Drummer as "bizarre things you should not mess with" (I do have a sleeping titan one-should-not-wake already) I think might help convey the other-worldlyness of it all.

But like Dante travels through the nine rings of Hell, do they need a guide? Someone or something to interpret the madness? Any clues on how to make that dynamic work in D&D? Would it be even worse that a Brycian-diary?

I also have a Green King who rules the Old Wood from his Folded Palace --- perhaps I can get some inspiration from Elfland for his abode too.

Another quote from comments on Prince's blog:
Thief of Whispers said:
...That razor’s edge between to [sic] much and not enough, where legends rise and nightmares are born under alien stars.
That's what ya' want in your D&D game. That's the line I aim to walk as a DM.
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8, 8, I forget what is for
I just decided one day I'm going to publish an adventure called "Pale Light".

Carl Sagan is the inspiration.


A FreshHell to Contend With
Wow. I read through the posts so far and I feel like that Peanuts cartoon where they are all saying what they are seeing in the clouds in the sky, like Linus seeing some ancient mythic kings or some crazy thing like that and then Charlie Brown finally just says, "well, I was going to say I saw a ducky, but I changed my mind."

I love dragons. My chaotic dragons are all inspired by Tolkien, in the main, especially Farmer Giles of Ham, then the Hobbit, and then Glaurung, in that order. When I roll up a dragon, I go for a name first. I play tropes full tilt and sometimes also go for tongue-in-cheek humor. My last random dragon encounter was a large adult blue dragon. I named him Chrystolite Sacchrinex. That implies a personality to me. In this case, I decided to go with the irony of making him a complete psychopath.

I guess all my dragons are complete psychopaths. But they vary with regards to how surface this fact is. On the surface, they vary between pride, averice, and jealousy. Then their psychopathy is either relatively close or far from that surface veneer.

Recently, I had a player use ESP to see if there was a mind in the next room. It was a red dragon, so I had the thoughts be, "I hate that other dragon. He has all the cool treasure. I should have is treasure! Everyone is always talking about how great he is. He isn't so great. I'm really the great one! I don't get any respect." So they went in brandishing a big fancy crown they had recently found in another dungeon. Before he fried them, they exclaimed they had come to admire him and crown him with this ancient and regal treasure that they had come to realize only he deserved. He easily bought it. He extended his neck to be crowned. You can guess the rest. Fun times!


Should be playing D&D instead
So, what's the rub? I cannot convey how difficult it has been for me to name this particular terror. I have changed it several dozen times over that last 7 years since I mentally "birthed" the beast.


This thread:

>>>> Tell me about your dragons! (or campaigns, worlds, multi-verse, or whatever) <<<<​
On the subject of names:

My dragons start off as larvae. Stirges, in point of fact, are larval dragons. Dragons feel no emotion towards stirges, any more than humans do towards eggs or sperm cells. They don't consider them to be dragons yet. Once they drink enough blood and metamorphose, they turn into the youngest stage of dragon (depends on the game system how this is expressed). At that point they get a long name.

As dragons age and become more powerful and famous, their names get shorter. Falkovankalloth the hatchling needs a lot of syllables to remind other dragons who he is, but when he grows up a be an adult, "Falkovan" may be enough. As a Wyrm, "Falkov" may be all the introduction he needs, and by the time he's a truly ancient Great Wyrm, you can say "Fal" and everybody knows exactly who you're talking about.

Dragons refer to Bahamut and Tiamat as simply "He" and "She" respectively, effectively zero syllables. It's obvious from context. (Bahamut and Tiamat don't necessarily *exist* any more than other gods do, but that's a different discussion, and besides the dragons act like they do, in a way somewhat similar to how Americans act about Santa Claus: a shared identity with known characteristics which is available to anyone who wants to assume it for a time in order to accomplish things associated with the known characteristics.)

Dragons are all the same species, but their disposition influences their coloring. Stupid and brutal dragons grow up to be white; cruel and callous dragons grow black scales; wise and generous and intellectual dragons turn gold; friendly and gregarious dragons become silver; the scales of tyrannical and power-hungry dragons darken to deep red. It's rare but not impossible for a dragon to change its disposition and its scales. Furthermore, just because a dragon is gold or silver and generally benevolent in outlook does not necessarily mean it is friendly to humans and hostile to red or white or black dragons (etc.), who might be its own blood relatives. You can imagine a silver dragon taking a similar attitude towards a dragon killing or tormenting humans as a human would towards a neighborhood bully killing or tormenting dogs or raccoons: it's distasteful, you'll put a stop to it if you can, but if the dogs or racoons kill the tormenting human that's not right either and something may need to be done.

(Making dragons all the same species was originally motivated by trying to ensure a large enough breeding population on each planet, but I also like what it does to the interdragon and interspecies social dynamics.)
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8, 8, I forget what is for
I do think the larval stage is very you still have dragon eggs?

Shortening of names is very good too.


Should be playing D&D instead
I do think the larval stage is very you still have dragon eggs?
Fred Saberhagen-inspired stirgespawn clumps floating on rivers. More like caviar or frogspawn than anything most players would recognize as dragon eggs.


(Oh yeah...if and when they do eventually get to the Lost City to face the Dragon...I assure you there will be a TWIST! --- Illusions, Lies, and Deceptions will abound!
Some recent illusory-minded discussions may interest you on this front:

1. see Anthony Huso's posts at (newest to oldest):

2. You already know about these from the comments thread in Bee/Butterfly but did you know about...:

...some useful analysis on illusions (probably, from the previous threads @ Huso's ;) ):

>>>> Tell me about your dragons! (or campaigns, worlds, multi-verse, or whatever) <<<<
My version of Tiamat:

My dragon house rules: (I really should type up the more-current additions, with the Gem Dragons from TD#37 too....).