Friday, 5 August 2011

Kobold Acension Fight: Redux

So, expanding on the campaign mentioned here:

The land of Delraith is, for the most part, controlled by human and demi-human races. However, behind most great leaders is a "mystery benefactor" - dragons. Great, powerful beings, who use the local cities and ports as pawns in their games to collect more wealth.

As previously mentioned, Dragons are not a true race - they are the final stage of a Kobold's spiritual evolution. Those who take their time, learn the truth of their bloodline, and eventually ascend through meditation, prayer, and sacrifice tend to become Metallic Dragons. Those who cheat and bypass the process with magic and unspeakable rituals become Chromatics.

Each Dragon holds a few tribes of Kobolds in their sway - they naturally flock to the Dragons, subconsciously aware of their link. And really, it'd be a waste of good service... Chromatics keep them about as slaves, snacks, and expendable warriors. Metallics keep them around to keep them safe. Few Metallics will tell their charges the secret of their ascension, for fear that they might take the route of the Chromatic Dragons and cheat their way to the top - however, they will choose certain members of their tribes to study under them, and pass on their knowledge when they feel the student has proved themselves worthy of such knowledge.

There are a couple of major players on the continent, and more lesser dragons looking to get ahead.

Anathraxiis - a Young Black Dragon, she is an up and comer in the Game of Cities, but her ruthlessly analytical mind and tendancy towards subterfuge have helped her gain a real step-up. She is currently the most proactive of the dragons, sending out scouting parties and collecting as much information on the other dragons and the rituals used for ascension. Anathraxiis's Kobolds are a sneaky bunch, tending towards stealth and trickery to fufill their Mistress's desires.
Anathraxiis owns Valerian's Reach, a small port town on the South Coast. It's mainly known as one of the few places to receive traffic from the Southern Continents, and for its famously "relaxed " City Watch. From here, she organises small black-market trading operations, in poisons, illegal magics and unusual races seeking shelter and asylum.

Valkrith - an Old Red Dragon, Valkrith is a savage beast, mainly concerned with war and bloodshed. He only remains a major player due to his connections with several tribes of Orcs and other Humanoids living in the wildernesses between the other Cities, occasionally taking the form of a powerful member of their races, and procreating with the locals to produce Half-Dragon children to lead the tribes. Each tribe worships him as a living God, and his progeny as Saints of sorts, with a spark of their God's "divine favour". Despite his rage and bloodlust, his followers are a frighteningly coordinated military machine (due, in part, to a large tribe of Hobgoblins who intentionally sided with him, spread out amongst the other tribes to share their gifts in warfare). He can also call in some favours with Githyanki mercenaries, making him a near-planar threat.
Valkrith's kobolds are a vicious bunch, with many bearing a strong resemblance to their master - it is suspected that he also interbreeds with his subjects, and enforces a fierce inbreeding program. Many wear animal skins, and practice defiled blood-magic rituals before battles to strengthen themselves, and enter furious rages.
He doesn't own territories, so much as rules them through fear. Mostly wilderness areas, forests, and other out of the way places.

Liserr - a Mature Gold Dragon, Liserr is concerned with the accumulation of arcane knowledge. Her natural arcane abilities are helped along by a sorcerous disposition, and frequently plans battles to ensure she has just the right spell ready. She tends to help fledgling empires to grow, and ensures their good nature through a careful regiment of review and veto before finally granting part of her hoard to them.
Liserr's Kobolds tend towards Sorcery and magic in all its forms, with Sorcerers and Wizards being common, and even the most obscure of arcane traditions are represented within the tribes. They rely on their magics to replace their fighting ability, and can be lethal foes with enough prep time.
Liserr has shared her tribute to several small cities, but the biggest is Serlise, a mixed Elven/Human settlement near the Serlise Woods. Known for its magocracy, most of its exports are arcane in nature, as well as items of fine craftsmanship, and the arts.

That's just three to get you started - you can have as many or as few as you want. I'd tend towards fewer, to make it clear that Draconic Ascension is a long-winded and rare process. You might notice that there's no stats, etc. for each of these. The assumption of you being Kobolds mean you won't need them - you're not fighting these things, they're Gods. They make background elements themselves, providing adventures - encountering their servitors, raiding their hoards, and travelling through their territories. 

The game assume players are Kobolds under Anathraxiis' leadership - after all, they have the requisite sneaky attitude and pro-activeness that marks PCs out from the common man. It was also originally to be used as a more comedic setting, but when I started out writing these, I realised it could be used to run a wide variety of adventures - from the comedic Paranoia-style Kobolds, to the grand scheming and political intrigue of the Dragons themselves, to generic fantasy adventures inbetween.

It's pretty much become the comedic/dirty version of Council of Wyrms, and I love it so far.

Look out for a playtest, coming to you soon!

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