Age of Dragons: Physical Adept
- 1 Overview
- 2 Lifepath Powers
- 2.1 The Connected Web of Breath (Experience Rating: 1)
- 2.2 A Veteran of Hard Words (Experience Rating: 2)
- 2.3 Suspires of Words and Binding (Experience Rating: 4)
- 2.4 Lord of Intrigue (Experience Rating: 6)
- 2.5 Master Magus of Words and Binding (Experience Rating: 8)
- 2.6 Fruition of the Millennial Seed (Experience Rating: 10)
- 3 Lifepath Resources
Shaping the Clay
'He was Lord Valerius of Arrantis, but he was also Ugruk-Kar of the Orcish Twelve Skull Tribe, Longtooth the Shadow-Wolf and Tika-Maal, the Elfwarden of the Gray Vale. He had also been Chases-the-Sirocco of the Storm Dragons, Light-of-Piety of the Pure Dragons and Phantom-Father of the Ghost Dragons. His real name, if you could call it that, was Shadow-Mask of the Velvet Dragons, and he was a Physical Adept.
He was Lord Valerius at present, and at Imperial council with a cluster of humans oblivious to his true identity. He smiled to himself, happy that the fools around him had no idea who he really was.
Across the chamber, Ambassador Matteus watched him. He was Matteus of the Gold Coast, but he was also Samael the Wise of the Lizardman Kingdoms, Dawnwing the Great Eagle and occasionally Angel's-Descent of the Sable Dragons. His true name was Guardian-Eye of the Solar Dragons, and he had the infiltrator in his sights.
The Solar Dragon knew that he had to eliminate the spy, but that he could not expose him here, as a conflict in the council chambers would both cost human lives and panic the mortals unnecessarily at the thought that their security was so frail.
When Council was over, and Lord Valerius returned to his manor, there would be a reckoning.
The Physical Adept Lifepath
In the first Age draconic students observed how the Mother Goddess and her twelve children were able to shape the clay of the earth into different forms, breathing life from mud and rock with their magics.
Legend says that the Mother Goddess told these first Shapers that their studies could not continue, as to shape earth into Soma was a First Age magic, and had no place in ages to come. To ease their disappointment, she taught them another secret instead - how to shape their own Soma into other shapes. The first Physical Adepts took great joy in this small magic, and soon refined the tricks they had been taught so that they could run the land as wolves, swim the sea as fishes, crawl into small places as insects or walk and talk amongst the mortals as humans.
As ages have passed the secrets of polymorphing have been retained and refined. Sadly, in this day and age, the darker applications of this study have been refined as well. The inoccuous title of "physical adept" incorporates spies, assassins, infiltrators and impersonators. What was once a mere academic study has practical purposes in an age of war.
The Connected Web of Breath (Experience Rating: 1)
At this stage the Ambassador-Courtier has begun mastery of the fundamentals of his craft, exploring the power of words and diplomacy, and learning the ways of influence and intrigue. He begins to perceive that every spoken word has consequences, and that society consists of a connected web of breath. He gains the following powers:
- Improved Social Evasion
During Social Conflicts, an Ambassador-Courtier can use the Strategy Evasion on spotting 4+ Pneuma dice, instead of the usual 5+.
- Improved Social Focus
During Social Conflicts, an Ambassador-Courtier can use the Strategy Focus on spotting 4+ Pneuma dice, instead of the usual 5+.
A Veteran of Hard Words (Experience Rating: 2)
With passing time the Ambassador-Courtier is hardened by his experiences and others will find it far harder to sway him. He is not only more wilful, but also cannier and wilier, more able to deflect the manipulations of others. He gains the following powers:
- Mode of Argument
During Social Conflicts, an Ambassador-Courtier who deals at least one point of Mental Resilience damage during a turn regains 1 point of Mental Resilience himself at the end of that turn.
- Barrier of Wits and Suspicion
The Ambassador-Courtier has a passive social defence value equal to half his current Experience Rating, rounded down. As his Experience Rating increases, so too does this passive defence value.
Suspires of Words and Binding (Experience Rating: 4)
To gain an edge over his opposition, the Ambassador-Courtier may learn a handful of suspires that will improve and supplement his skills.
- Suspires: Lesser Lore of Words
The Ambassador-Courtier may learn suspires from the Lesser Lore of Words, which concerns itself with the magic of names and language. Knowledge of these spells must be acquired in-game.
- Suspires: Lesser Lore of Binding
The Ambassador-Courtier may learn suspires from the Lesser Lore of Binding, which concerns itself with the magic of agreements, contracts and pacts. Knowledge of these spells must be acquired in-game.
Lord of Intrigue (Experience Rating: 6)
By this stage the dragon is a weaver of intricate webs of intrigue, working almost subtly and invisibly to attain his goals. He is instinctively and intellectually aware of the larger social context of every utterance, and is able to track the repercussions and echoes of the smallest whispered word.
- Pulled Strings
The Ambassador-Courtier no longer needs spies and servants to work his will at a distance - he simply twists any lesser beings in the vicinity into being his unwitting agents. In social conflict, he is always assumed to have the resources and connections to be able to make indirect attacks, even if he is completely new to the area and seemingly without any support. Also, he can use the focus strategy at any range he is able to attack (rather than being limited to close range as normal).
- A Subtle Knife
The dragon can attack someone socially without them realising who is attacking them. When making an attack during a social conflict, the dragon can spot three 5+ Pneuma dice in order to conceal his identity. If he does so, then any mental resilience damage done to a target that turn will seemingly be without source - the target will either think that the weakening of his position is due to the vagaries of fate and fortune, or will randomly blame someone else.
Master Magus of Words and Binding (Experience Rating: 8)
The Ambassador-Courtier's skill in his chosen sorceries grows, and he attains command of draconic sorceries of great potency.
- Suspires: Greater Lore of Words
The Ambassador-Courtier may learn suspires from the Greater Lore of Words, which concerns itself with the magic of names and language. Knowledge of these spells must be acquired in-game.
- Suspires: Greater Lore of Binding
The Ambassador-Courtier may learn suspires from the Greater Lore of Binding, which concerns itself with the magic of agreements, contracts and pacts. Knowledge of these spells must be acquired in-game.
Fruition of the Millennial Seed (Experience Rating: 10)
Over his centuries, the ambassador-courtier has laid a complex web of intrigues, favours and influences all across the entirety of the realm. This web goes beyond geographic borders, across species and factions, and is anywhere and everywhere the dragon wants it to be. The ambassador-courtier need only apply the slightest pressure on this web and he can achieve massive effects. Within a single day the dragon can set into motion any single event that can conceivably be achieved through politics, be it the fall of the Ascendancy, an end to the Dragonwar or the utter destruction of a breed.
- The Millennial Seed
This power can only ever be used once by a dragon, as it represents the completion of a lifetime of manoeuvring and subtle planning. The GM and the player should collaborate to discuss exactly how the event will come to pass, and how long it takes (be it weeks, years or millennia). Regardless, the intervention's effects are inevitable and can only be cancelled by another Ambassador-Courtier using this same power to negate the effect.
At the GM's discretion, a Dragon that somehow manages to keep taking his Experience Rating higher and higher may get the chance to "seed" another event - perhaps one for every +5 Experience Rating beyond 10 that he gains.
Knacks are learnt abilities common to this lifepath. As they are internal to the dragon, they are not easily passed on as legacies, but are also hard to take away from the Dragon.
- Unusual Language (2 points per Language)
Every dragon speaks the draconic tongue of Essraghai, and even the mentally slowest dragon is likely to be a dab hand at mastering mortal languages with only a week or two of practice. This resource represents knowledge of the more unusual languages that a Dragon might come across - ones for which there are no readily available teachers, or which are too alien to master easily. Each time you buy this resource gain fluency in one unusual language. Example languages might include Kraken-speak, Wyverntongue, Low Daemonic and any others that the story introduces.
- Xenoculture Mastery (3 points per Xenoculture)
Every dragon is presumed to know his own culture like a native - it comes with being a native! For example, a Solar Dragon would know about Alliance life, the traditions of the Coastal regions, the history of the Solar Accord, of Coastal slang and colloquialisms and of Solar behavioural mannerisms. On the other hand, a Velvet Dragon wouldn't know about those things at all! Each time you buy this resource you gain knowledge of one culture, gaining the same degree of intimacy with it as a native would.
Possessions are actual physical resources which the Ambassador-Courtier has acquired. Possessions are easily acquired and easily lost, but are also convenient legacy resources for a dragon's descendants or proteges.
- Hoard of Gold (3 points)
The dragon has accumulated a massive hoard of gold, which is more than sufficient to hire armies, buy thrones and bribe emperors. Other dragons are less impressed by mere wealth, but they see its utility.
Connections link the dragon to the rest of society. In many ways, these are the true measure of power of an ambassador-courtier. Connections can potentially be passed on to proteges and descendants, though it takes a little work to do so.
- Friend (1 point)
If you take this resource, you have a powerful friend. This friend can be anything up to an elder dragon in power level. This friend is your genuine ally, and will go out of his way to protect your best interests, even at cost to himself. This friend may mentor you, trade with you, exchange favours, etc. Of course, friendship is a two way street - if you use your friend over the centuries and offer nothing in return, or if you make it obvious you are manipulating them, then the friendship will likely die.
- Mortal Patronage (1+ points)
If you take this resource, you are a patron of a group of mortals. This might be a merchant house, or a gang of mercenaries or a cabal of sorcerers. Regardless they see you either as a leader, or as a respected patron. They will likely do anything you ask of them, knowing that you will protect their interests as they protect yours. Alternatively, you could be one of many draconic patrons of a larger organisation (as for example, the Priesthood of the Pure Dragons tend to be for the Temple of the Mother Goddess). By spending more points on this resource you can increase the extent and strength of your influence.
- Draconic Influence (1+ points)
With this resource, you are a respected member of draconic society. Generally this will apply to either the Ascendancy or the Alliance - membership of one precludes membership of the other. The resource could instead apply to one of the smaller factions, or even just a single breed. You can even by this resource several times to represent influence with multiple factions. Spending more points on this resource increases the influence you hold with that faction.
- Protégé (5 points)
To take this resource, you need to have a minimum Experience Level of 5. You gain a Protégé whose age is equal to half your own current age. This will generally be a dragon of your own breed and lifepath. It is possible to have multiple protégés, though of course your legacy can only be passed to one.
The Lesser Lore of Words
The Lesser Lore of Words concerns itself with understanding and perceiving the magic inherent in language. Magics of communication and of naming are within the lesser lore's scope. The Lesser Lore of Words also allows for subtle magics that influence the speech or thoughts of others, but direct control is beyond it. The below spells are examples of suspires from the lesser lore of words, but scholarly dragons might discover more, either through study or design.
- Wind Whisper (1 point) (1 Arcane Energy, Expend one 5+ Pneuma Dice)
This suspire carries the dragon's words to a distant message recepient, with the message travelling as fast as the wind is blowing. This spell allows either ten words of speech per dice expended, to a range of 100 miles per dice expended.
- The Naming (1 point) (1 Arcane Energy, Expend one 5+ Pneuma Dice)
The dragon casts this spell and examines one creature or person within line of sight. The dragon immediately learns the calling name that the creature identifies himself with.
- Call to True Speech (1 point) (1 Arcane Energy, Expend one 5+ Pneuma Dice)
To cast this spell successfully, the dragon must expend one 5+ pneuma dice per point of Sophis the target has. If successfully cast, the target is bound to speak truth for the next hour. Not only can he not lie, but he is also forced to fully answer the Ambassador-Courtier's questions.
- Echoes of Silence (1 point) (1 Arcane Energy, Expend one 5+ Pneuma Dice)
To cast this spell successfully, the dragon must expend one 5+ pneuma dice per point of Sophis the target has. If successfully cast, the target is bound to silence for the next hour. The target cannot speak or vocalise any noises at all, though he is not prevented from making noises with his movements or otherwise. As a side effect, this spell also prevents the target from casting any suspires of any sort for the duration of this spell. Note that using this spell on another dragon is considered to be as bad as physical violence - expect suitable retaliation if you silence another dragon.
The Greater Lore of Words
The Greater Lore of Words is a less subtle thing, taking words and infusing them with the celestial power of the draconic elder. These suspires use words like swords, cutting deep into the conscious mind.
- Crown of Domination (3 points) (3 Arcane Energy, Expend three 5+ Pneuma Dice)
The spellcaster speaks a single single word command, which (if the spell is successful) the target must immediately obey to the best of his ability. The command cannot be directly self-harming or self-destructive, but can be indirectly so. For example, you could not command "Jump" to a man standing at a clifftop, but you could command "Scream" to someone who is trying to hide, or "Stop" to someone who is trying to flee from you. The duration of the command is never greater than a single combat round. This spell can be used at any range as long as the target can hear your words.
Any creature which has a Sophis of 4 or higher is too strong willed to be easily dominated, and can only be effected by this spell if it has 0 Mental Resilience remaining.
- Word of Dissonance (3 points) (3 Arcane Energy, Expend three 5+ Pneuma Dice)
The spellcaster speaks a word of chaos, which has no meaning but which strikes into a single target's psyche disrupting his thoughts. If the spell is cast successfully, the target is rendered unable to speak coherently or understand any language (whether spoken or written) for the next twenty four hours. This spell can be used at any range as long as the target can hear your voice. This renders the target unable to participate in social conflict, but also mostly immune to its effects. Note that using this spell on someone is generally considered to be a declaration of aggression in itself, so the spellcaster should perhaps not be surprised if he is the subject of violence from the incoherent one.
Any creature which has a Sophis of 4 or higher is too strong willed to be easily disrupted in this way, and can only be effected by this spell if it has 0 Mental Resilience remaining.
- Phrase of Fascination (3 point) (3 Arcane Energy, Expend three 5+ Pneuma Dice)
The dragon can subtly weight a single phrase within his arguments, so others will remember it above all others. This phrase has no inherent power in itself, and is not a command as such, but rather a sticky meme that listeners cannot shake and will persistently come to mind for them in years to come. For example, the dragon could weight the phrase "we are all brothers, after all", and for years afterwards the listener will consider these words, perhaps slightly inclining him towards negotiation rather than war, or perhaps making him more vengeful when a comrade is wronged. This is a subtle, subconscious and magical effect.
- Shattermind (3 point) (3 Arcane Energy, Expend three 5+ Pneuma Dice)
The dragon speaks a word of shattering, which breaks an opponent's will, piece by piece. If this spell is successfully cast, the target takes 2 points of mental resilience damage. Non-magical defences cannot protect against this.
The Lesser Lore of Binding
The Lesser Lore of Binding is the sorcery of social contracts and traditions. This Lesser Lore is considered weak by some sorcerers, as so much of it depends on the agreement and consent of all effected by it spells. Ambassador-Courtiers know better: agreement and consent are nebulous things, easily manipulated by a wily courtier, and the spells themselves enforce civilised behaviour with arcane power.
- Oath of Brotherhood (1 point) (1 Arcane Energy, Expend one 5+ Pneuma Dice)
To cast this spell, the Dragon must breath into the mouth of another Dragon, then inhale their breath afterwards. Both must then speak the words "I swear you are as my kin." After this spell is cast, the Ambassador-Courtier cannot offer violence to his sworn brother, or vice versa. Any physical violence of any sort immediately curses the offending party, marking him with glowing runes of treachery, that burn into his flesh permanently scarring him and reducing him to Physical Resilience 0 (incapacitated), but immediately ending the spell's effect (thus freeing the other to engage in violence as they will). The spell is ineffective on anyone who has slain an immediate member of their own family (i.e. brother, sister, child or parent), and simply will not work in those circumstances. Similarly, if a dragon bound by the Oath of Brotherhood kills an immediate member of his own family, the Oath's effects end, and an instant pang of emotional pain is felt by both of the Oathbound.
- Claim Hospitality (1 point) (1 Arcane Energy, Expend one 5+ Pneuma Dice)
To cast this spell, the Dragon must be invited into the home, lair or domain of another being, and freely offered something to eat. The Ambassador-Courtier then speaks the words "I accept hospitality." After this spell is cast, the Ambassador-Courtier cannot offer violence to his host, or vice versa. Similarly, those who are under the host's command, or in the Ambassador's retinue cannot harm each other, or be harmed by each other. Any physical violence of any sort immediately curses the offending party, marking him with glowing runes of treachery, that burn into his flesh permanently scarring him and reducing him to Physical Resilience 0 (incapacitated), but immediately ending the spell's effect (thus freeing the mystic binding of others, allowing them to engage in violence as they will).
- Sanctum (1 point) (1 Arcane Energy, Expend one 5+ Pneuma Dice)
To cast this spell, the Dragon must select a Sanctum object that is inscribed with mystic runes (this could be a skull, a gem, a rock, or whatever). The Dragon then breathes on it, whispering the words "I swear that I submit to the Sanctum, and I will draw no blood." Any other Dragons in the vicinity can then do the same, and the Sanctum object will glow slightly with each utterance. For twenty four hours afterwards, none of the Dragons who participated in the ritual may draw blood from any of the other Dragons who were part of the ritual, so long as they are within a ten mile radius of the Sanctum object. Destroying the Sanctum object negates the effect, so Ambassador-Courtiers who wish their Sanctum to have any meaning pick suitably resilience objects. Any Dragon bound by the ritual who does draw blood blasted by arcane energy and reduced to Physical Resilience 0 (incapacitated) by the magics of the ritual, and the effect of the Sanctum spell is immediately ended.
The Greater Lore of Binding
While the Lesser Lore concerns itself with agreements, the Greater Lore is more concerned with celestial law, with obedience and with punishment of transgressions.
- Justice of the Wheel of Heaven (3 point) (3 Arcane Energy, Expend three 5+ Pneuma Dice)
As he casts this spell, the Dragon points at a target, and pronounces that the target has committed a terrible sin - for example "I name thee kinslayer". If the accusation is correct, then the force of heaven strikes that individual, causing his limbs and wings to be crippled, and his Physical Resilience to be reduced to 0 (incapacitated). However, should the accusation be false, then the backlash of the spell will deal 3 points of Physical Resilience damage to the casting dragon. Only a few select divine crimes can be named and punished by this spell. They include: kinslaying, killing hatchlings, siring or bearing a Harlequin hatchling and raping another dragon.
- Oath Freely Given (3 point) (3 Arcane Energy, Expend three 5+ Pneuma Dice)
The Dragon can only cast this spell as a reaction, when someone speaks a statement of intent within earshot of himself. If successfully cast, that statement is taken to have the force of an oath. If the speaker breaks that oath then he will be struck down with arcane energy, and his Physical Resilience to be reduced to 0 (incapacitated). The speaker is aware of being mystically bound in this way.
- Seat of Neutrality (3 point) (3 Arcane Energy, Expend three 5+ Pneuma Dice)
The Dragon seats himself on the ground, then exhales, and surrounds himself with a halo of silver light. This light remains around him for the next hour, and while it is in place he is both immune to violence, and incapable of it. No direct attack (arcane of physical) is able to harm him, and he can make no direct attack he makes is capable of harming anyone else. Two exceptions apply to this. First, if the dragon moves from the spot where he cast the spell (whether by walking or flying or other modes of transport) the spell ends immediately. Second, the spell offers no protection or control over indirect attacks or environmental damage.