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Draconic magic has been something as bit of mystery to me when researching it. I only found some base spells but never on how to cast them. I understand it is Taboo for those that aren't of Dragon Kin to use but the EWF (Empire of Wyrm Friends) and Some select Groups of Humans have figured it out. My main question is how is it casted and how does one become gifted or cursed to cast them. Some sources say it dampens the Dragonewt cycle but how does this effect those who cast it that are Human? Any help or points would be gratefully appreciated.

 

GeminniRed 

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For Draconic Magic with humans, I'd say first become Draconic Illuminated.  Then sacrifice for Draconic Powers using Rune Points.  If draconists are shamanically inclined then they could have draconic powers has shamanic gifts.  I'm still wondering how it would work with sorcery.

Dragonewts don't obey these rules because they are intrinsically weird.

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It depends on what you mean by dragon magic. First off, there's dragonewt magic, which is innate to dragonewts and impossible for humans to use without significant spiritual and physical modifications, such as the tongue splitting practiced by the EWF. Dragonewts dislike using their powers because they enmesh them in the world and may cause them to revert to an earlier stage by unbalancing their emotional mastery. Humans who gain the ability don't have that risk and can use dragonewt spells without fear of devolution, resulting in bizarre personalities and degraded souls.

Secondly, there are some mystic schools that grant dragon powers to adherents, especially in Kralorela, but impose strict requirements on members and don't really allow the use of their powers outside of certain ritual purposes. For some more insight into this method, look up Ingolf on the Well of Daliath website. He was a dragon mystic in the EWF with incredible power who ultimately failed because he used his powers wrongly.

Thirdly, in the EWF there were the so-called "short cut paths" which offered powerful dragon magics without many of the restrictions of the other two methods. The Ten Step Program, which may be related to the Path of Immanent Mastery, was the most famous of these, and allowed its followers to transform into dragons physically. Unfortunately, most of these short cuts were stunted spiritually and none of their followers, including the members of the EWF's ruling ring, ever achieved their goal of becoming True Dragons. How these exactly worked is a mystery, but we know at least some of them were theistic, worshipping dragons (or rather heroes who had heroquested to form a link to a dragon) in return for Rune magic. It's possible some were shamanic as well, gaining powers from dragon thoughts and dragonewt spirits, and the Accelerated Dragon Worship of the council appears to resemble the Malkioni Chain of Veneration, though it's unclear whether ADW benefited anyone save for the council and their direct companions.

Edit: if you want some possible (though fanmade) rules for dragon magic, there are a few attempts to provide a framework for at least one method. First and most popular is Simon Phipps', which is for RQ3 and uses Pendragon's emotional pairs system but could easily be adapted for RQG (and the emotion pairs even replaced with Power pairs possibly): http://soltakss.com/dragon2.html and http://soltakss.com/kralori1.html

Secondly, there's my own ham-handed attempt to develop a system for casting dragonewt magic, though it's not very developed and would require some extra work to get going: https//basicroleplaying.org/topic/5792-dragon-magic-for-rq4-when-it-comes-out/

If you have the old RQ3 Gods of Glorantha book I believe it has a write-up of the Path of Immanent Mastery, if you want a quick and dirty theistic path to dragon magic. It could easily be adapted into a cult, though I'd say initiates would have to somehow develop a connection to the Dragon rune.

There is a book on Kralorela in the works too I think, which should have a more detailed treatment of dragon magic in the third age, but it probably won't be out for a good while.

Edit 2 Wyrmish Boogaloo: dragon magic often leads to a form of Illumination known as Draconic Consciousness. As far as we know, it follows the traditional rules for illumination (no fear of dragons/chaos, ignore spirits of reprisal, etc.) but it's gained by communicating with True Dragons rather than through Nyaslorian riddles. I'd say that it could be a requirement to be illuminated this way to join a dragon mystic school or learn dragonewt magic, and it could possibly give the illuminate either the dragon or dragonewt rune as well.

Edited by Richard S.
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For dragon magic to work, you need to have a field of draconic energy to work with IMG. A sleeping dragon or a bunch of advanced dragonewts in deep meditation leak enough such energies to allow some fantastic draconic effects. The dragonewt road plinths may be such a source, though tapping into any of these may alert dragonewts or sleeping dragons.

You can have such a magical field from sufficiently draconized theist worship. That's how the EWF core lands operated, combining local human worship, local draconic stray energy and also "magical tribute" in Peloria and Ralios to create a highly magical field in which life became more draconic, as described in Middle Sea Empire.

There are ways to finance draconic magic with rune points or their equivalent (e.g. bachelor newtlings who survived their indenture with dragonewts who may receive dragonewt effects as their rewards). These rewards should be multiplied (or cost diminished) when applied in a strong draconic environment.

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

For dragon magic to work, you need to have a field of draconic energy to work with IMG. A sleeping dragon or a bunch of advanced dragonewts in deep meditation leak enough such energies to allow some fantastic draconic effects. The dragonewt road plinths may be such a source, though tapping into any of these may alert dragonewts or sleeping dragons.

You can have such a magical field from sufficiently draconized theist worship. That's how the EWF core lands operated, combining local human worship, local draconic stray energy and also "magical tribute" in Peloria and Ralios to create a highly magical field in which life became more draconic, as described in Middle Sea Empire.

There are ways to finance draconic magic with rune points or their equivalent (e.g. bachelor newtlings who survived their indenture with dragonewts who may receive dragonewt effects as their rewards). These rewards should be multiplied (or cost diminished) when applied in a strong draconic environment.

I remember hearing the EWF's draconic energy field referred to as the "dragon's dream" once. My theory is that when you get a sufficiently powerful draconic consciousness it broadcasts a field in which reality begins to conform to the dragon's thoughts. True dragons, having no interest in the material world, rarely cause it to change. Ruler 'newts and the Inhuman King try and keep it constrained to their cities, so they don't unintentionally create debts to the material world. The EWF masters, however, were too interested in the affairs of the world and so their consciousness reflected that on the empire.

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2 hours ago, Richard S. said:

I remember hearing the EWF's draconic energy field referred to as the "dragon's dream" once.

Yes, that's the more poetic and less scientific name for this effect.

2 hours ago, Richard S. said:

My theory is that when you get a sufficiently powerful draconic consciousness it broadcasts a field in which reality begins to conform to the dragon's thoughts.

Or draconic consciousness doesn't end at their skins or skulls, but extends outward, and may at any moment gather the material there up into its being.

2 hours ago, Richard S. said:

True dragons, having no interest in the material world, rarely cause it to change.

True dragons 

Dream Dragons and wyverns are a change to the material world, too. Activity by proxy, or by shedding - a dream dragon might be the spiritual equivalent to skin left behind by a snake or a lizard.

2 hours ago, Richard S. said:

Ruler 'newts and the Inhuman King try and keep it constrained to their cities, so they don't unintentionally create debts to the material world. The EWF masters, however, were too interested in the affairs of the world and so their consciousness reflected that on the empire.

That geographical dragon project may have contributed to this, but its effects would have been noticeable in barbarian Ralios, too.

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Draconic Sorcery - First off learn the Dragonewt (or Dragonpower) Rune as per other runic knowledges.  For the unilluminated, this can't be used for direct magic in the manner of other runes.  What the sroceror does instead is to cast several rituals that resmble meditations on specific hexagrams of the I Ching.  Successful completion of these rituals increases the chance of illumination.

Now I don't think Draconic Sorcery can be used to cast big spells as standard sorcery already does this and there's little point in drawing up special spells that only have the same effect as standard spells.  So I feel they must be manipulations of the True Dragons for some effect.

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Think of Draconic magic as being a bit like losing skill.  By analogy, suppose if you will, that you had a power that you could access to give you a large but not insurmountable advantage in combat, but you had to spend points of your primary skill permanently to activate it.  Worse still, your improvement in your primary skill was also your "victory condition", so to win was actually very costly to you.  Given that dragonewts are able to reincarnate very quickly, it is often easier to die and come back to try again, rather than to use draconic power.  it is also worth pointing out, that many dragonewts starve to death rather than find food.

I like this idea of Dragonewts.  While most people in Gloranthat have access to 5 dimensions, being the 3 spacial dimensions, the spirit plane, and time, Dragonewts also have access to their own nested dimension that no other species can really get at without the split brain/tongue operation, and draconic training.  This dimension is where the dragons are tied to their egg, and their destiny to eventually hatch into dragons, after multiple lives.  When a dragonewt performs dragon magic, they are folding out their eventual dragon metamorphosis into reality prematurely, which means they have to rebuild what they have lost.  This idea also accounts for how dragonewt cities operate, with disappearing and reappearing structural elements is also neatly explained by this extra dimension, as this is how extra dimensions behave when modelled mathematically.

It is also important to point out that all the dragonewts in the world today are incompetents.  It is a sad but true fact, and one that they hate having pointed out, but they all know is true.  All the competent dragonewts have already become fully fledged dragons and moved on.  The dragonewts around today have been around since before time, and given that most of them are only crested, that means that for all their efforts, nearly none of them have made it to "a 25% skill in being a dragonewt", which is hopeless given the time they have had.  This is thrown into sharp relief by the human initiates of the EWF, who shamed the dragonewts by making rapid advances in the dragon path in a single lifetime.  Do not think that there is no tacit jealousy towards humanity involved.

The other thing about dragonewts is that they are mystics, and their magic permeates many other magical traditions.  This is the true illumination, not the falsified and chaos influenced Lunar or Nysalor versions.  Many deities were introduced to elements of the dragon path during their younger years as part of their initiation.  The difference is that Dragonewts can actually use their illumination for more than humans can... but they don't... because... attachment.  This attachment is also why dragonewts go to such pains to destroy their old bodies with the utuma ritual of self-dismemberment; so their remains can't be used by others due to their attachment to the dragonewt's ongoing connection to its egg/dimension.

Edited by Darius West
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Hi!

As you can see from the responses, there are no definitive answers to this question.  In my Glorantha:

(1) "True" draconic magic is a by-product of Draconic mysticism.  It is not something you learn; it is something you realize after having obtained a sufficient level of enlightenment.  And it is not something you cast; you essentially just use it or not use it.  This is probably not helpful to you since you want PCs to use it in a game.

(2)  If you somehow do become an initiate of Draconic mysticism (meeting a dragon, becoming possessed by a second age ghost, being instructed by a renegade dragonewt), I have always liked the suggestion (made by Sandy Petersen in a zine?) that using dragon magic destroys your personality.  For example (applying this to the current rules), using a draconic healing spell would reduce your Fertility Rune percentage, while sprout wings might reduce your Mobility Rune.  A dragonewt can eventually recover from this and rebalance, while a human cannot (i.e., it reduces your maximum in a rune).  So human users of dragon magic become more and more alien and probably become monsters if they destroy too much of their personality.

(3)  But as mentioned in the earlier answers, there are plenty of "false" dragon magic cult that a player character can join; for example the Path of Immanent Mastery, which teach spells that look like dragon magic as ordinary rune magic or sorcery.  The EWF probably had something similar (it started off as "true" Draconic mysticism, but lost its way) which could be rediscovered by an adventurer.  I don't know if you have the old Gods of Glorantha book, but there are versions of the Path of Immanent Mastery available on the internet to use a model.     

I hope this is helpful.

Thanks,

David.

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One thing I found fascinating about EWF is how it acted like a Ponzi scheme; early converts got the lions share of the magic, people on the ground floor got pain and suffering, with no real hope of advancement.

I wonder how this differs from dragonewts; maybe dragonewt nests they share the magic, rather than jealously guarding their gains.

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46 minutes ago, EricW said:

One thing I found fascinating about EWF is how it acted like a Ponzi scheme; early converts got the lions share of the magic, people on the ground floor got pain and suffering, with no real hope of advancement.

That's not how the real draconic mysticism worked, but how the short cuts of Isgangdrang and his cronies on the Third Council worked out.

Mystics like Obduran and Ingolf did not participate in the channeling of draconic reveration.

Obduran is the one draconic mystic from the early period who also embraced the Cult of Orlanth. That dual dedication brought him onto the Ring of Orlanthland when that was mainly comprised of traditionalist, anti-draconic priests of Orlanth.

I am fairly certain that other mystics of his school did not identify with the Cult of Orlanth and went about their ascension (or at least preparations for that) on their own, without the new-fangled "Great Living Hero" munchkinnery the traditionalist Ring of Orlanthland had bestowed on Hardrad Hardslaughter after his strike against the Shadowlords, rather than making him their king.

History of the Heortling Peoples names two more Great Living Heroes, Renvald Meldekbane (a traditionalist from the Hendriki kingdom, outside of the EWF) and Varankol the Mangler, first of the Tusk Riders, from within the EWF but not a draconic mystic in any way), leaders in the Machine Wars.

I have the impression that the magical boost Isgangdrang, Lorenkargartan and probably the Dragon Sun too used was this kind of Great Living Hero worship, turned towards their ambition to become Great Dragons. The Dragon Sun Emperor may have been a conventional, non-short-cut draconic mystic.

 

46 minutes ago, EricW said:

I wonder how this differs from dragonewts; maybe dragonewt nests they share the magic, rather than jealously guarding their gains.

Dragonewts do take exception to magicians tapping their road network for magical power. Ths usually leads to a bunch of warrior newts dropping out of that road and wreaking havoc

Anyone lingering near one of their nest cities may become prey for their hunting - like trolls, it doesn't seem like dragonewts have any ethical problems with hunting and eating sapients for food.

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6 hours ago, EricW said:

One thing I found fascinating about EWF is how it acted like a Ponzi scheme; early converts got the lions share of the magic, people on the ground floor got pain and suffering, with no real hope of advancement.

The EWF did not act like a ponzi scheme.  A ponzi scheme collpases of its own accord.  The EWF took several knocks and still kept on fighting until internal enemies destroyed it from within.  The EWF was massively unequal (moreso than many bronze age civilizations) but that is not the definition of a ponzi or pyramid scheme.

 

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5 hours ago, metcalph said:

The EWF did not act like a ponzi scheme.  A ponzi scheme collpases of its own accord.  The EWF took several knocks and still kept on fighting until internal enemies destroyed it from within.  The EWF was massively unequal (moreso than many bronze age civilizations) but that is not the definition of a ponzi or pyramid scheme.

 

Hmm. Maybe more like a chain letter then - give me power to sign up, and when you get enough converts you can become powerful as well, by sharing their power.

if people at the bottom were happy with their personal progress they probably would not have rebelled. The chain letter failed when the supply of new recruits faltered.

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9 hours ago, EricW said:

if people at the bottom were happy with their personal progress they probably would not have rebelled. The chain letter failed when the supply of new recruits faltered.

That's not what happened. People in the provinces didn't want to make personal progress, they were happier in their unenlightened, non-draconic state and didn't see any benefit in enabling the draconic weirdness of the EWF core lands. Dara Happa rebelled because it had had enough of the dragon sun emperor and a hero who was able to harm it.

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In my Glorantha, the Dragonrise released a lot of draconic energy into the world, revitalising many lost or almost forgotten draconic subcults, mysery cults and hidden sects. also in my Glorantha, the Boatrise took a True Dragonship and brought it across the Sky, also adding to the draconic power.

These allow draconic magic to be used far more easily than before.

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