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The dragon sank back underground as if the earth were water, and then rose again and swallowed Tatius, who had just been wakened, and Scarlet Enerian, whose last burst of magic brought gouts of black blood from the consuming monster.

--"Dragonrise", Glorantha Sourcebook, p.40.

My adventurers are currently exploring the region around Dragon's Rift and the ruins of New Lunar Temple, and the above text caught my eye in re-reading the section on the Dragonrise for ideas. As far as I'm aware, a True Dragon is really more a cosmic entity than a Middle World one. Further, magic crystals are IIRC the blood of gods either still-living or dead (I don't think this is noted in the GM's Pack, and think my memory comes from RQ3's Elder Secrets or maybe some sidebar in the Guide but I claim no certainty).

So that got me thinking: what is a True Dragon's blood like? They're hugely magical and powerful creatures who fight gods in some of the Orlanthi myths, so I reckon their blood my have some parallel properties to a god's blood. Has anyone worked with something like this before? Is there some odd grognard-trivia which talks about True Dragons in that way? What sort of weird powers or characteristics do you think a True Dragon's blood would have?

Currently, my thoughts are something involving attunement, like a crystal, but I'd prefer weird abilities to bestow rather than the generic chart. I'm thinking that using one might incur penalties to an adventurer's Elemental Runes? Invoking the whole "detachment from material things" schtick that dragonewts are into. I imagine it could also have some interesting alchemical or other magical properties.

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Umm how about 

Drinking:

Potential Draconic illumination 

1 day +2d6 Pow, going above species maximum, having to roll under CON to avoid taking 2d6 damage. 

Attunement

Use Dragonnewt roads

Sic transit gloria Glorantha. Lose 50% on all passions, hatreds and loyalties. 

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6 hours ago, Crel said:

What sort of weird powers or characteristics do you think a True Dragon's blood would have?

We're talking about imbibing it?  My first thought was, a significant chance of instant and irrevocable death, followed by a lesser, but still significant chance of "draconic" madness.  If one survives, well, the boon should be equally significant.  It's the draconic equivalent of putting your tongue in a light socket.

!i!

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44 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

...It's the draconic equivalent of putting your tongue in a light socket.

...

If you live, the reward is:  you lived.

 

The lesson is:  that was really stupid, you almost died, don't do it again.

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12 hours ago, Crel said:

Has anyone worked with something like this before? Is there some odd grognard-trivia which talks about True Dragons in that way? What sort of weird powers or characteristics do you think a True Dragon's blood would have?

1) not to my knowledge

2) not that I'm aware of - there was none back in WF14, and that's really the first good reference for True Dragons and dragonewts (and provides the core of what has come forward)

3) I'd make it in-line with aspects of the Dragon's other powers (as well as being naturally "fiery" or corrosive).  Minimally POT 20, but I'd expect more like POT 25-30.  Might have properties like a liquid "metal" - the Brown Dragon's blood might have aspects like bronze, the Green Dragon's like copper, etc - until it solidifies and then becomes like an unenchanted metal.  Maybe imbibing it (and not dying in the process) turns your blood purple or they gain one Dragon Magic effect.

4) And of course there should be weird effects if they imbibe the blood. Dragonewts approach. They can see phantom dragonewts walking on the dragonewt roads. It becomes harder to connect or talk to spirits or gods (penalties to abilities such as Worship, Spirit Travel; or to Passions such as Devotion).  Maybe they take on the Passions of Crested Dragonewts!  And then there are the dreams … the dreams of a Dragon … they start penetrating into the PC's dreams and it starts to become difficult to separate reality from the Dragon's dreams.

Edited by jajagappa
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4 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Might have properties like a liquid "metal" - the Brown Dragon's blood might have aspects like bronze, the Green Dragon's like copper, etc - until it solidifies and then becomes like an unenchanted metal. 

Blood as liquid bone? While this makes a little sense chemically, it goes against established supernatural physiology. Use of dragonbone is established as a (quasi-) metal.

True Dragons' bodies are drawn from the environment and magically transformed into the body features of the monster.

"Black blood" sounds like something already gone wrong in the dragon as the consequence of the wound. No idea whether the concept of the humours of Greek medical lore applies in any way to Glorantha, but there black was associated to one kind of bile.

I would treat this as wound effluvia, possibly of great value to alchemists who would subject it to all manner of further transmutations and putrefactions (fermentation) in order to extract some essence, but the raw stuff would IMO best be treated as a venom when entering a body through open wounds or imbibed/inhaled. Given the Lunar origin of the wound, the stuff might be as bad as the ichor that resulted from Larnste being bitten at the Footprint, with a dose of Chaos.

The after-effects of dermal contact might very well provoke a reaction that produces "scales", possibly even granting a point or two of armor in exchange for an inhuman appearance.

4 hours ago, jajagappa said:

4) And of course there should be weird effects if they imbibe the blood. Dragonewts approach. They can see phantom dragonewts walking on the dragonewt roads. It becomes harder to connect or talk to spirits or gods (penalties to abilities such as Worship, Spirit Travel; or to Passions such as Devotion).  Maybe they take on the Passions of Crested Dragonewts!  And then there are the dreams … the dreams of a Dragon … they start penetrating into the PC's dreams and it starts to become difficult to separate reality from the Dragon's dreams.

This sounds like a fun after-effect.

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Drinking Dragon Blood might allow you to gain a small measure of the power of the Dragon.

Bathing in Dragon Blood might give you natural Armour Points, with tough skin, or some permanent Shimmer effect, or something similar.

Dried Dragon Blood might form Powered Crystals, perhaps with some Draconic bent.

Bottling up Dragon Blood might allow you to have a link to the Dragon, perhaps even to control it, but good luck with that.

 

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions, ideas, and so forth. In the end, here's what I came up with as a long-form write-up for use in my campaign. It probably still requires a lot of tweaking, particularly the powers table, so worth treating very much as a "Work-in-Progress."

RQG PLUNDER – TRUE DRAGON'S BLOOD

 

Description: The blood of a True Dragon has two different states: molten and solidified. Each state has its own set of powers. When shed the blood appears in substance to be like a thick liquid, glowing and radiating heat—similar to the pouring of smelted bronze. Despite this intense heat, spilt True Dragon's blood lights no fires. Rather, it causes the world around to become mutable, melting as if made of candle wax. No substance save truestone resists this entirely, although older things endure it better than younger. The more fixed into its shape a thing is, the better it will endure a True Dragon's essence.

Deprived of the irreality—or perhaps hyperreality—of the True Dragon, the shed blood slowly cools over the course of a season. The process can be accelerated by mundane methods of dousing heat. Once the True Dragon's life leaves it, the hardened blood is smooth and glassy, typically affixed to another substance. It is brittle like obsidian, but of many iridescent colors rather than black. Often, extant pieces have been cut and shaped into jewelry by those who don't know their true value.

 

Cults: Associated – Dragonewts; Friendly – Kralorelan mystics;

 

Knowledge: Cult Secret; Few;

 

History: The blood of a True Dragon is rare. While many of the gods fought against and alongside dragons in the God Time, it is more difficult to find their blood in the Middle World than to find the blood of gods. Further, the cooled substance is often mistaken for colored glass or an unusual rock, rather than the rarity it is (though it does detect as magic to appropriate spells). The substance's fragility (when compared with magic crystals) further adds to its scarcity.

The largest known piece of True Dragon's blood was about the size of a big man's head, and shimmered ivory and aquamarine in daylight. It was kept in the treasury of Orlanth's temple in Whitewall, and said to be the blood of Aroka. This treasure disappeared after the city's fall in 1621.

 

Procedure: Make a True Dragon bleed, or more realistically find a chunk of the cooled blood from some forgotten age.

It may be possible to bring back molten True Dragon's blood from an appropriate God Plane heroquest (like Orlanth Slays Aroka) as a boon.

 

Powers: Like a magic crystal, a True Dragon's blood has a variety of potential effects. The POW of the blood varies, depending on the size of the sample. Using the blood typically requires attunement, which is done in the same fashion as for magic crystals. It can also be used for alchemical purposes, as described following. An adventurer can only be attuned to one piece of True Dragon's blood at a time, and cannot be attuned to both True Dragon's blood and a typical magic crystal.

Dragons are anathema to the gods and elements, creatures which see the Glorantha for the illusion it truly is. They are dispassionate and unattached to the Middle World. Any adventurer who attunes to a True Dragon's blood is consequently affected by this alien mindset. In addition to other consequences described below, any adventurer attuned to True Dragon's blood has a constant penalty to their Passions equal to the attuned piece's POWx5%. This penalty lasts for a full day after attunement ends.

 

Table: Size and POW of True Dragon's Blood:

Size:

POW roll:

Average POW:

ENC:

Tiny (the size of a coin)

D6

3-4

0

Small (the size of one's palm)

2D6

7

(2)

Large (the size of one's fist)

4D6

14

1

Enormous (Anything larger)

6D6+

21+

3+

 

Whether or not the adventurer succeeds at attuning the piece of True Dragon's blood, they lose 1D10% from their highest Elemental Rune as a result of magically tampering with draconic powers. While they remain attuned, their Elemental Runes cannot rise higher than 100 minus the blood's POW; if a Rune is already above, it remains locked at that value.

In attuning hardened True Dragon's blood, an adventurer is borrowing a fragment of draconic power for him- or herself. Typically, this takes the form of providing the adventurer with a draconic effect. To randomly determine a fragment's ability, roll D100 and consult the table below depending on the piece's POW. Ability descriptions are following. This should not be treated as an exhaustive list of the powers of True Dragon's blood, but rather a collection of “most typical” abilities.

 

Table: True Dragon's Blood Powers:

Ability: // POW:

1-5:

6-10:

11-15:

16-20:

21-25:

26-30:

Molten:

Draconic Passion

01-20

01-15

01-10

01-05

01

----

----

Understand Auld Wyrmish

21-50

16-35

11-20

06-20

----

01-30

----

Dragon Claw

51-65

36-45

21-30

21-30

02-15

----

01-05

Growth

66-75

46-55

31-40

31-35

----

31-35

----

Shimmering Hide

76-80

56-65

41-50

36-40

----

----

06-15

Draconic Blood

81-85

66-70

51-55

41-50

16-30

36-40

16-30

Rough Scales

86-90

71-80

56-65

51-55

----

----

31-35

Dragonewt Roads

91-98

81-90

66-80

56-60

31-40

41-45

----

Dragon Armor

99-00

91-97

81-85

61-65

41-50

46-60

36-40

Firebreath

----

98

86-95

66-70

51-70

61-70

----

Soul-blast

----

99

96-99

71-80

71-85

71-80

41-55

Sprout Wings

----

----

----

81-95

86-90

81-85

56-60

Call Dream Dragon

----

----

----

96-99

91-98

86-95

61-70

Draconic Consciousness

----

----

----

----

99

96-99

71-00

Roll Twice

----

00

00

00

00

00

----

 

For pieces of True Dragon's blood which exceed 30 POW, roll once for a POW 30 portion, and then a second time for the remaining POW. The piece has all rolled abilities. Always re-roll duplicated abilities, whether for extremely high-POW pieces or for results of Roll Twice.

Attuning a portion of still-molten True Dragon's blood is somewhat more complex. In attuning to this substance, the adventurer changes the substance of their being, becoming a little draconic. First, add an additional D6 to the rolled POW based on the portion's size. Then, have the adventurer roll to attune to the molten blood. If they overcome the blood's POW, they feel a strong compulsion to sacrifice POW equal to the blood's POW, which will bond the adventurer to it. In any case, the blood rapidly cools into a hardened state. If the adventurer sacrificed their POW to it, the piece's appearance is different to normal cooled True Dragon's blood; it shimmers and glitters, slowly changing colors; life is preserved within it.

If the adventurer did not sacrifice, determine the piece's ability as usual for it's POW.

For attuned pieces of molten True Dragon's blood, roll both on the appropriate POW column in the Powers table, and then again on the Molten column. Re-roll any duplicates; the piece has all rolled powers. The adventurer also permanently gains Draconic Passion. While they are attuned to the piece of blood, they gain access to all of its abilities. Any other person who attunes the piece will not gain access to the Molten ability. In addition, so long as the adventurer does not unattune the piece, it will act as a POW Yielding crystal, storing MP up to its own POW and generating that amount as if a living creature. If the adventurer ever unattunes the piece (whether by choice or involuntarily through death, etc) the piece “dies”. Reattuning can give the adventurer renewed access to the Molten ability, but the piece won't continue to yield MP.

 

True Dragon's Blood Powers:

 

Call Dream Dragon: The adventurer spends fifteen minutes focusing on the blood, and must succeed on a Meditate skill roll. If they do, a dream dragon is called from the surrounding area within the next hour, similar to the dragonewt effect. This does not, however, give the adventurer the supernatural ability to command the dragon. Call Dream Dragon does not cost magic points.

 

Draconic Blood: While attuned to this piece of True Dragon's blood, the adventurer adds its POW to their own when resisting spells. However, they automatically resist all spells—including spells the adventurer casts on him- or herself. Additionally, the adventurer's blood changes color, typically to purple or green.

 

Draconic Consciousness: In the process of attempting to attune the blood, the adventurer's mind is forcibly opened to the infinity which is OUROBOROS. The adventurer must succeed at a POWx1% roll, or else become insane. Roll on the Insanity table for the Madness Rune spell (RQG p.334) to determine the exact effects. If they succeed and manage to attune the blood, the adventurer has survived some form of Illumination. The exact effects are best determined by the GM of each individual campaign. Some examples might include:

  • Losing 1D6% from the Beast and Man Runes, and gaining the Dragonewt Rune at the lost percentage. If the adventurer's Dragonewt Rune becomes dominant among the three (all adding to 100%), they transform into a beaked dragonewt.

  • Gain the Charismatic Wisdom skill from RQ3 Gods of Glorantha and the ability to sacrifice POW for points in the Path of Immanent Wisdom's draconic magic.

  • Realize Glorantha is but the dream of cosmic Ouroboros, and learn to sacrifice POW to shape it, per the magic of the cult of Godunya in RQ3 Gods of Glorantha.

In any case, this effect is permanent. The adventurer may attempt other attunements as usual and behave as expected for their culture, but they know that the nature of reality is otherwise. The draconic attunement penalty to their Elemental Runes and Passions remains permanent, even while they are not attuned to a piece of True Dragon's blood.

 

Draconic Passion: The adventurer gains a draconic Passion at the blood's POWx10%, feeling a proportionally strong compulsion to behave that way. These might include pervasive attitudes like Suspicion, Optimism, or Laziness. Consult the dragonewt entries in the Glorantha Bestiary p.39-41 for ideas. This passion remains so long as they are attuned, and for 24 hours afterward. It can increase and decrease as usual. If the Passion decreases to zero while the adventurer is still attuned, they immediately gain one POW and a new draconic Passion—usually one in some way opposed to the previous. The penalty to an adventurer's Passions while attuned to True Dragon's blood does not apply to this special Passion.

Subject to GM's discretion, the adventurer could spend time researching this Passion as though it were a skill to reduce it, instead of increasing it. This process would involve meditation and focusing on the adventurer's emotions, with the goal of developing self-control and the ability to focus on Right Action.

 

Dragon Armor: Invoking this ability costs the adventurer 1D10% from one of their Elemental Runes. Their skin changes slightly, being covered in shimmering, nearly-transparent scales. While this effect is active, damage is absorbed at a cost of magic points, at a rate of 1MP per point of damage. This happens after reduction from armor, protective spells, etc, and even mitigates damage from critical hits. The most damage this ability can absorb from a single blow is the piece of blood's POW. The magic points can be pulled from any source.

Dragon Armor ends when the adventurer dismisses it, deattunes from the blood, or if they take a blow and do not have enough magic points to absorb it. All MP will be spent reducing the damage as far as possible, and then the effect ends.

 

Dragon Claw: This ability can be invoked at the cost of 1D10% from one of the adventurer's Elemental Runes. It transforms their left hand into a dragon's claw, which has base damage of 2D6 + Damage Bonus, and a base skill of DEXx5% when used in combat. A successful parry blocks as if it had AP equal to the blood's POW. It can hold weapons and shields made by dragonewts, but handles other objects clumsily, reducing the adventurer's skill to half. Dragon Claw lasts until dismissed. It ends immediately if the adventurer unattunes.

 

Dragonewt Roads: The adventurer can detect the nearest dragonewt road by concentrating on the piece of blood for a minute. It doesn't tell them the distance. They can enter a dragonewt road at suitable locations and travel it, bringing along a number of companions equal to the piece's POW. Entering the dragonewt road requires a successful POWx5 roll, and costs each traveler 1MP per hour on the road. Each hour on the road covers the distance of a day's travel by mundane means.

 

Firebreath: Activating this ability costs the adventurer 1D10% from their highest Elemental Rune. They immediately spit a glob of fire at a target within the blood's POW in meters. This deals damage to each hit location of the target equal to the percentiles lost from the adventurer's Rune. Armor and magic protect as usual.

 

Growth: Acting like a spell matrix this ability can be activated on POWx5 and costs MP, up to a maximum of the piece's POW. Each MP spent on Growth increases the adventurer's SIZ by one, and changes their HP, Damage Bonus, category modifiers, and so on accordingly. Growth lasts for minutes equal to the blood's POW.

 

Rough Scales: This ability is activated on the adventurer's POWx5. It gives changes the adventurer's skin, making it rough and scaly. This provides one AP per MP spent on the effect, up to a max of the piece's POW. It lasts for minutes equal to the blood's POW.

 

Shimmering Hide: This ability causes the adventurer to take on a mirage-like appearance. It is activated on POWx5. Each MP spent on this ability reduces chances to hit the adventurer by 5%, and adds 5% to the adventurer's Stealth skills, to a max of the piece's POW. Shimmering Hide lasts for minutes equal to the piece's POW.

 

Soul-blast: Using this ability costs 4 MP, and requires a successful POWx5 to activate. If the adventurer overcomes the target's POW with their own, the target loses 2D6 MP. Soul-blast has a range equal to the blood's POW.

 

Sprout Wings: Invoking this ability costs the adventurer 1D10% from one of their Elemental Runes. They sprout wings, which last until the effect is dismissed. The adventurer can use them with a Fly skill of DEXx5 and a MOV equal to the average of STR and the blood's POW. If the adventurer attempts to use this ability while wearing solid armor, they immediately take 1D6 damage to the chest and the ability fails.

 

Understand Auld Wyrmish: The adventurer understands Auld Wyrmish at the blood's POWx5%. This does not give them the ability to speak it (although it certainly should accelerate the process if they can find a native speaker willing to teach). This does not let the adventurer learn to speak the language above 25% per RQG Core p.174-175.

 

Alchemical Properties of True Dragon's Blood:

 

Ground-up, hardened True Dragon's blood can be used in potions which restore magical essence. Due to the scarcity of this material, no cult teaches the recipe; an alchemist must discover it for him- or herself either through experimentation or by the Library Use skill in a library which might have the relevant documents.

Properly prepared, a Tiny portion of True Dragon's blood can make one potion, which restores a D6 Magic Points per point of the piece's POW. This restoration happens at the end of the melee round the potion is drunk. The drinker takes a penalty to their Passions equal to the MP restored for the next 24 hours; this penalty is cumulative if multiple potions are drunk.

Larger chunks of True Dragon's blood can be broken down into the powder needed for potions, making potential doses as noted on the table following. Each time a Tiny portion is broken off, roll that portion's POW, and reduce the larger chunk's POW by a full six (there is always some magic lost in the processing). Further, roll the initial piece's POWx5; only on a failure does the smaller fragment retain its magical potency.

 

Table: Blood to Doses Conversion:

Piece Size:

Doses Possible:

Small

D3

Large

D6

Enormous

D10

 

Some adventurers may attempt to imbibe molten True Dragon's blood or bathe in it, and so on. This is generally suicidal. Making the attempt requires at least a full melee round. Coming into direct contact deals 1D6 to the relevant location. If the adventurer continues their foolhardy attempt, they must resist the blood's POW with their own, or take that POW in general Hit Point damage as it melts their very existence into a waxy puddle.

Should the adventurer survive, that is their reward.

 

Value: Molten True Dragon's blood is functionally priceless, if it could be transported or preserved in that state. Hardened blood's value varies depending on what power the piece bestows. At the very least, it should have a value of POWx100 Lunars, if the adventurers could possibly find someone with both the coin and the inclination to purchase.

 

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29 minutes ago, Crel said:

Thanks everyone for the suggestions, ideas, and so forth. In the end, here's what I came up with as a long-form write-up for use in my campaign. It probably still requires a lot of tweaking, particularly the powers table, so worth treating very much as a "Work-in-Progress."

<GREAT STUFF SNIPPED>

 

Great work! Want to submit it to the Great Plunder Competition?

 

Edited by Jeff
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30 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Great work! Want to submit it to the Great Plunder Competition?

1) Yes, absolutely! ... Although maybe after a revise/edit/proofread cycle. But thank you!

2) There's a Great Plunder Competition? 😲 Exciting!

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