Age of Dragons: Ghost Dragons
The Dying and the Dead
Appropriately, for the draconic firstborn of the season of Death, the Ghost Dragons are entirely obsessed with their mortality.
They were never numerous - even with their strong Pneuma most found that the Birthing Sickness was too high a price to pay for the privilege of offspring. When the Ascendancy started hunting the Ghosts, their numbers dwindled further, and the desperate flight south has claimed its toll of casualties as well.
Now they are told that Endless Night has declared their future extinction - they have only four hundred and nineteen years before the dreaded Prophecy Clock runs out. They are all going to die - few can deny the certainty of this - the only question is how they will choose to face their fate.
Character Creation: Game Rules
- Soma 4
- Sophia 5
- Pneuma 6
Ghost Dragons are unusual in that they are adept magi, but weak at charisma and manipulation. They are amongst the most effective, learned and puissant necromancers in the Realm however, especially when it comes to dealing with restless spirits.
Deathsight - Ghost Dragons can visualise the energy they call Deathforce, which flows into the world from the Void Beyond, and surrounds that which is touched by death. With Ghostsight they can instantly identify if someone is dying, if a creature is alive or dead (or undead), can detect even the most subtle of necromantic magics, can determine to the nearest year how old any creature is, and to the nearest five years how much longer they would likely survive before death from old age, natural causes or pre-existent disease were to take them.
Voidtongue - Undead, elemental creatures of death energy and (rare) ghosts typically do not communicate in mortal fashion, instead simply moaning and wailing. When these entities do speak they speak Voidtongue, the empty and formless language of the nothingness beyond. This language is somewhat unique in that it can never be learnt - even by the most skilled linguist - but Ghost Dragons find they can understand and speak it intuitively.
Masque of Disquiet - Ghost Dragons make for disturbing and unpleasant company. Their voices seem soft, but also seem to cause others to feel uncomfortable. Their physical forms seem basically normal (if unhealthy), but there is something oddly wrong about the way they move. On actions relating to any positve socialisation (i.e. any socialisation except intimidation and attempts to cause fear or discomfort) Ghost Dragons must remove any dice they roll that roll a "6". These "6s" neither count towards achieving a success, nor contribute to the power of an action.
When dealing with other Ghost Dragons, ghosts, undead or any other creature that speaks Voidtongue, this flaw is not activated.
Fated - If you are using the default metaplot, the Ghost breed as a whole has a major world-changing event ahead of it that will happen inevitably on a certain date, and beyond player control. Players who select this breed should be aware that the metaplot has this surprise in store and that they probably won't be able to do anything about it.
Ghost Dragons are pale grey in colour, with jaundiced-looking yellow eyes, and an overall build that seems sickly and unhealthy to other breeds. Their horns are spiralled and a dirty off-white colour. Their skin seems to be drawn a little too tightly across their ribs and limbs. Others cannot help but note that there is a certain intensity to them - they stare too long, breathe a little too quietly and are generally unsettling to be around.
Society and Culture
Its been over one and a half millennia since the Ghost Dragons fled the north, and just over 1200 years since the breed settled in their current location. Every Ghost Dragon now alive was born in the south, but almost every one can remember stories from parents or grandparents of the long flight. The new generation may be southern-born, but they still regard themselves as refugees.
Their place of settlement is Ghosthome, which that lies on the outskirts of Arrantis, only a short distance from the Ashen Kingdom. Once Ghosthome was just empty and misty marshland, but its new inhabitants have changed it to their liking, building their lairs from the twisted wood of the long-petrified mangroves and establishing a defensive perimeter of wards and protective sorceries. Within Ghosthome the Ghost Dragons converse only in Voidtongue and are wary of all strangers - even their Alliance protectors. This little patch of dirt may not be much, but they consider that it is their own sovereign territory now. While the Alliance may have been planning to just foist off a piece of unwanted and unpleasant domain on the refugees, the Ghosts have found that the place is very much to their liking, the cloying mists and grey swampland suiting their temperaments and preferences well.
Within the breed there is a general obsession with their refugee status, but even more so with the Prophecy Clock - a prediction/threat by Endless Night made a quarter of a century ago that the Ghost Dragons would be extinct within 444 years. With only 419 years left (far less than a lifetime, for dragons) the Ghost Dragons have found their society is fracturing into different factions.
The Fatalists believe that Endless Night has never been wrong in his arcane predictions, and that the Prophecy Clock cannot be denied. They are preparing to face extinction, and deciding how best to deal with this. The key Fatalist belief is that the only thing to do now is to put personal affairs in order. Fatalists are understandably keen that no new births should occur, but otherwise believe that individual Ghosts should be allowed to fade any way they choose.
The Vengeful also believe that the Prophecy Clock is true - or at least is probably true. They argue that Ghosthome should be abandoned, and that the Ghosts should head north again, to meet their end bravely and in battle. Ghosts being Ghosts, they wonder if there is some puissant arcane sorcery they can invoke to wreak revenge, perhaps fuelled by their own lifeforce.
The Deniers are probably the largest faction, though their numbers shrink year by year. They believe that the Prophecy Clock is just an Ascendancy propaganda tool, intended to divide prior to conquering. They don't believe extinction is inevitable, and will do all they can to convince others of this. They also believe in being proactive in fighting, but they seek to fight their prophesied destiny rather than going out in a blaze of glory like the Vengeful.
The Concilators are the smallest faction. They believe that the Clock is a threat, and that only Endless Night has the power to revoke it. They want to go back to the Ascendancy, arguing that maybe they can earn mercy. Their beliefs are understandably extremely unpopular, and expressing Concilator sympathies is a surefire way to earn hostility from most Ghosts.
Lifepaths and the Ghost Dragons
Prior to their migration, Ghost Dragons were traditionally Scholar-Sages, naming themselves Necrosavants and studying the mysteries of the Void Beyond. Many of their number retain this interest and inclination, though changing circumstances have changed the nature of their study from something academic to the possible way to finding the key to survival.
Some have redirected their studies, for example as Animist Adepts (or Spiritworkers) or even as Demonbinders (called Voidwatchers). They keep their studies secret from Alliance and enemy alike - their hosts would probably not look kindly on them studying such heretical secrets.
Changing circumstances have necessitated some Ghost Dragons taking up different lifepaths. It is hard to survive without Warmasters, so a few have felt obliged to ake up arms to defend their people. Likewise living on the move has caused a handful of Ghost Dragons to "devolve" into the path of the Beast Unbound, and the pracise of this path has occasionally been passed onto descendants.
Sorrowful Burden has been called a Fatalist... he's actually just a realist:
- Pure Dragons - "The Goddess existed, yes, but praying to her will not keep the Void Beyond at bay. But then, nothing will, so keep praying if it makes you feel better."
- Argent Dragons - "You can't fight shadows with steel. Sharpen your minds rather than your blades, and you'll survive against the coming darkness a little longer than you would otherwise."
- Solar Dragons - "Scared of the dark? I don't blame you..."
- Hunter Dragons - "My father's uncle was killed by a Hunter pack as he crossed their territory. Ah well... he'd still be dead now anyway."
- Forest Dragons - "Each of you carries your own Prophecy Clock, and it is so short. How do you not go mad? Perhaps you already have."
- Storm Dragons - "They understand. They know about the Void Beyond and though they name it differently... they understand."
- Ashen Dragons - "You turned away my ancestors because you feared Endless Night. I cannot fault this logic, but I still hate you for it."
- Velvet Dragons - "Blind to the darkness around you because you are looking at your own reflection all the time. You'll die just the same."
- Chimerical Dragons - "Dreams are merely our mind's guard against the waiting emptiness in the world sleep. The dream will end soon, then they will be defenceless."
- Blood Dragons - "They hunted my ancestors, and killed many of them. If we are doomed now it is because they have hounded us to extinction."
- Sable Dragons - "They seek to master darkness, but they are its slaves. They are gone, and demons are in their place."