Age Of Dragons: Advancement And Downtime
Character Progression and Lifepaths
With Age Comes Power
With the passage of years, dragons grow in power.
In-game, time passes at a fairly slow rate: while the GM might narrate that a day, week or even month has passed during a game session, it is not usual for him to wind the clock forward a matter of years.
Instead, between stories the GM will decide how far forward the timeline moves. This is called downtime.
How fast the GM moves forward downtime is up to him. The default assumption is that each story will last 2-3 sessions, and at the end of each story there will be 25-100 years of downtime passing. This isn't set in stone, of course, but follows the demands of the story.
As a Dragon gets older, he assigns the years he has lived to various lifepaths.
For example, a starting 190 year old Dragon might have the following Lifepaths:
* Scholar-Sage (140 years) * Ambassador-Courtier (50 years)
As downtime passes the GM could state that thirty years pass. The dragon could then add +30 years to an existing Lifepath or start a new Lifepath. He can even split out this thirty years across multiple Lifepaths. For example, the 220 year Dragon might now have the following Lifepaths:
* Scholar-Sage (150 years) * Ambassador-Courtier (60 years) * Hallowed Chorister (10 years)
Don't forget, that for each full fifty years spent in a lifepath, you add +1 to the Arete you have in that Lifepath.
For example, the 190 year old Dragon in the section above would have the following:
* Scholar-Sage, Arete 2. * Ambassador-Courtier, Arete 1.
But at 220 years old the Dragon in the section above would now have the following:
* Scholar-Sage, Arete 3. * Ambassador-Courtier, Arete 1. * Hallowed Chorister, Arete 0.
Also for each point of Arete the Dragon gains, he selects a new Edge from that Lifepath.
Finally, the Edges he already has on his existing Lifepaths generally become more effective, benefiting from the higher Arete in that Lifepath.
Getting older is not the only way to gain power.
Resources are things external to the dragon that he has laid claim over - such as kingdoms and domains, hoards and treasures or armies and followers.
Player characters, by their nature, are protagonists in the story and often live through tumultuous events, great dangers and special circumstances. Their dangerous lives are not without rewards, however, and it is likely that they will acquire resources.
In a way, many players might regard gathered resources as the only true measure of long term success for their characters. This is their reward for hard work in-game, and the only substantial advantage that they can pass as legacy to proteges or offspring.
Senescence for dragons happens very different than for mortals.
A dragon will remain at full health until his thousandth year. In fact, thanks to gaining experience in lifepaths he will usually grow more powerful till that time.
After that, old age will strike suddenly and irreversibly. For each year that passes, he will lose -1 from Soma, Sophis and Pneuma. During this time the dragon will seem to be transmuting physically into stone - a hard and smooth rock akin to pale grey marble but with a slight translucent quality. Their muscles will grow stiffer and more sluggish, their minds will grow sleepier and their breaths more shallow.
When any sphere rating reaches zero, the light leaves the dragon's eyes, and he is effectively turned into a statue, never moving or responding again.
Dragons call this frozen state the sleep of stone. The statue that they become is no more or less resilient than a marble statue, and if broken apart is made of the same stone all the way through. No dragon ever returns from the sleep of stone, and the stone is not known to have any especial magical qualities, though certain macabre dragons and mortals might seek to acquire such statues for their own collections.
Note that dragons that die from any cause other than the millennial senescence do not enter the sleep of stone, instead rotting away as any other organic creature might.