Age of Dragons: Argent Dragons
The Hierarchy of Scales
The Argent Dragons believe that the Mother Goddess imbued their blood with the Essence of True Order - a metaphysical quality that sets them above their peers. To the Argents, Order is not merely about inner peace or mere faith to a higher power - rather, it is about each Dragon knowing his place in the world, obeying his superiors and being obeyed by his inferiors.
An Argent Dragon knows that Hierarchy is something that is as natural and undeniable as breathing, and knows that those who fight it deny their own draconic nature.
That the less disciplined breeds have a hard time grasping this concept is a source of much frustration for the Argent Dragon. To the Argent mindset, disobedience of proper authority is unnatural and unquestionably wrong, and that anarchy is nothing less than hell on earth.
Argents believe that responsibility always outweighs freedom, duty must always be greater than personal gratification and obedience to rightful authority must always outweigh personal beliefs and ethics. The Hierarchy of Scales demands this, and the Argents gladly obey.
Character Creation: Game Rules
- Soma 6
- Sophia 5
- Pneuma 4
Argent Dragons are the soldiers of Order, far hardier in battle than their Pure and Solar cousins. They are far from dumb brutes, though, and value discipline and learning as much as physical training.
Mithril Fortitude - Argent Dragons are determined and tough, rarely willing to give up a fight and hard to put down with injuries. It is often said that the Argents are at their most dangerous when you think them nearly defeated. During Soma-based Conflicts, if an Assault action targeting the Argent Dragon would reduce him to a negative energy pool value, then he gain a +2 bonus to physical energy at the end of that conflict step. For example, if an Assault would take them to -1 physical energy, then their new Physical Energy value would be 3 instead of the usual 1.
Soul of Cold Silver - In the mystic tradition, silver is a metal that is a bane to the supernatural - it can harm ghosts and demons normally immune to attack. Any natural attack made by an Argent Dragon's weapons or natural attacks is considered to be silver for the purposes of bypassing resistances and affecting vulnerabilities.
Arcane discord - The silver souls of the Argent Dragon render him unable to channel magic through himself. Argent Dragons cannot use suspires of any sort, with the exception of the firebreathing granted by his draconic birthright.
Argent Dragons are called "silver scaled" by other dragons, but in actuality a single dragon with have scales varying from the gleaming silver-white colour of mythril, to the dark and shiny black-greys of graphite. Dorsal surfaces (especially the heavy back armour plates) tend to be brighter coloured, while wing membranes and undersurfaces tend to darker silvers. Blue-grey shades tend to be the norm for Argent Dragon eyes, with a distinct black central pupil. Like Pure Dragons, Argent males have longitudinally aligned horns, though their horns are teardrop shaped in cross section, with the "edge" downwards. Their facial features and body structures are best described as "military", with a certain heaviness and solidity of torso even in females, and often accessory rows of spines along the back.
Society and Culture
The Argent Dragons rule over the predominantly human Empire of Arrantis that lies in the southwest of the Realm. The Empire consists of two dozen City States that are governed by human princes, but who owe allegiance in turn to the Silver City where the Argent Dragons rule. The Silver City (and Arrantis) is ultimately governed by the Emperor of the Hierarchy of Scales - a title passed down in heriditary fashion from eldest son to eldest son of an Imperial line of dragons. The Argents say that the first Emperor was none other than the first Argent Dragon, and have recognised the Imperial Line for as long as they can remember. In contrast, the humans of Arrantis have recognised the Emperor for just over six hundred years ago: a mere generation ago for dragons of course, but an entire era as far as the loyal human citizens of the Arrantian Empire are concerned.
As all Argent Dragons are descended from the first Emperor, they all claim royal blood. Over the generations different descendant bloodlines have named themselves as various Noble Houses. The Imperial line is known as Silverscale, while other Houses Major include Brightwater, Ironheart, Stoneforge and Icetalon. The Imperial line and the Houses Major comprise almost three quarters of all Argent Dragons, with the remaining quarter either aligned to one of the two dozen Houses Minor, or disowned by their Houses for some crime or treachery. Argent Dragons consider it crude as to incorporate their House names into their draconic names, but even neonate Argents are fully aware the various bloodlines and of which Argent is of which House.
Because of their royal status, Argents are fully integrated into Arrantian society, and revered as near-immortal nobility by the humans of the Empire. Every inch of land in the Empire is the feudal domain of one or another Houses Major, with the Houses Minor serving beneath them. The Argents, more than any other Alliance breed, can mount massive military expeditions with relative ease and have the resources of an entire nation at their disposal.
Lifepaths and the Argent Dragons
To an Argent Dragons, lack of skill as a Warmaster is a sure sign of character weakness. To be trained in war is to be a Silver Soldier, and worthy of respect. To be incompetent in arms is to be an Untried Pup, worthy only of contempt.
An acceptable alternative is to take the role of a Farsky Ranger, acting as a scout for the Hierarchy of Scales military campaigns. Scouting is considered to be one of the few socially acceptable lifepaths for an Argent with any desire for personal freedom and an escape from the rigidity of Argent society.
A more experienced Argent may find a role as an Ambassador-Courtier, likely donning the title Voice of the House. However, this is considered to be a role that can be taken only with a background of military experience, and only when your House asks you to.
Similarly, while Argents see the necessity for Hatchery Guardians and Hallowed Choristers, they see this as something of a weak option. It'd be a socially brave Argent who chose to walk one of these paths without first serving in the army.
Argent Dragons very rarely leave the Alliance - it is mentally very hard for an Argent to break away from the established society of the Empire. Those who do break away often find service as Warmasters sworn to Ascendancy Sable Dragon lords. Very rarely an Argent Dragon's sense of societal duty may even break altogether, as he takes up the path of the Beast Unbound, or less radically of the free-spirited Sky Dancers. The Argents call such unfortunate souls Fractured Mirrors and will do their best to "bring them in", gently or forcibly, and to reintegrate them into society.
Honour-Through-Duty, Argent Weaponmaster of the House Icetalon, speaks of comrades and enemies:
- Pure Dragons - "If we are the Emperors, then they are our Priests. The two hierarchies, religious and military, must exist side by side and all dragons must obey."
- Solar Dragons - "They call themselves fellow Dragons of Order, but they waive and falter when they should stand firm and unmoving. They are, however, our allies and we will honour the pact that binds us to them."
- Hunter Dragons - "They understand hierarchy on their bestial level, but do not perceive any sort of strength save the physical. They need educating, and taming, then they will be a valued part of the Hierarchy of Scales."
- Forest Dragons - "Their ways are strange, and their societal structure is confusing. They need order to their lives."
- Storm Dragons - "I do not pretend to understand the sea-swimmers, but I recognise that they are soldiers like us. They have my respect."
- Ashen Dragons - "They understand how to rule, but not how to serve. The chaos in their blood becomes evident as they tear themselves apart with infighting. I pity them.
- Velvet Dragons - "Take your seductions and lies away from me, filth. I am Argent, and I am immune to your whispers."
- Chimerical Dragons - "There is no truth in dreams, and there is no order in ephemera. If they do not face reality, they will not survive this age."
- Ghost Dragons - "They have fallen low, and we have given them refuge. So long as they obey the laws of the Alliance, we will honour our pledge to protect them."
- Blood Dragons - "They may be warriors, but they are not soldiers. Hold the line, do not retreat when faced with their rage, and you will find that their discipline is weak. We will defeat them."
- Sable Dragons - "The enemy is to be respected. He is clever, he is organised and he is powerful. We must respect the enemy, then we must defeat him."