Age of Dragons: Velvet Dragons
Rules were made to be broken
The Velvet Dragons can't help being beautiful - its the way the goddess made them. They can't help it if Dragons of other breeds sinfully lust after them - to their mind, it is the purpose for which they are made.
So the Velvets use their beauty - they tempt, they deceive, they lie and they manipulate. They make no secret of being a force of sin, as they know that this is why they were created. They represent the hidden urge within every living being to just do what instinct and feeling says to, regardless of laws and morality.
Even in serving the Ascendancy, they see no paradox. After all, if the Mother Goddess hadn't meant for them to spurn her, then why did She create them as sinners?
Character Creation: Game Rules
- Soma 5
- Sophia 4
- Pneuma 6
Velvet Dragons are adept manipulators, yet lack the willpower to resist manipulation. They are decently strong, yet are crippled in war by their cold iron aversion. A Velvet knows that he must play to his strengths to thrive...
Glamourweaving - A Velvet Dragon appears beautiful, for reasons that go beyond the physical. They have an aura of desirability that makes every dragon want to touch and caress them. Likewise their voices are mellifluous and soothing, making others want to believe them even when they should know better. During a social conflict, a Velvet Dragon may choose reroll one dice, taking the new result in place of the previous one. However, this birthright can only be used if the social action relates to persuasion, deception or seduction.
Note that Glamourweaving by default only affects dragons, but if the Velvet uses a polymorph effect to adopt the appearance of another species, his glamour changes so that it affects that species instead.
Aversion to Iron - For some unknown reason, the touch of iron disagrees with Velvet Dragons. Whenever they are in physical contact with iron (or steel) their glamourweaving ceases to function, and the touch of iron causes them pain. They cannot wear iron armour or equipment or use iron weapons. Furthermore, in physical conflict iron weapons gain a +1 power modifier to Assault actions against Velvet Dragons.
Velvet Dragons are hued a deep and luxurious purple colour, that is so dark as to be almost black, but offset by their deep golden eyes. Dragons of this breed are uncannily beautiful, though in an unsettling way. Dragons of other breeds know that they should not find Velvet Dragons sexually attractive, but they cannot help doing so, and they hate themselves for doing so. The Velvets are graceful in movement, sensual in appearance and always seem to smile faintly. Their horns, claws and teeth are the colour of polished ivory, but have a fascinating curve to them that hypnotically draws the eye to them. Theirs is not a noble or elegant beauty, but rather one that triggers unhealthy lust and a sense of discomfort twinned with fascination.
Society and Culture
With all their power to deceive and manipulate, it would make sense if Velvet Dragons were the secret movers and shakers behind draconic society. The truth is quite different, however - while other dragons may find themselves clouded in thought and judgment when the Velvets are about, the glamour fades as soon as they are gone, leaving little but resentment from being manipulated.
Likewise, Velvets rarely form close attachments to each other. They are used to declarations of love (or of undying friendship) that later turn sour, so they often do not recognise or reciprocate when faced with sincere attachments. Tie this with the fact that Velvet Dragons are the most likely breed to have interbreed relationships (and thus expend their precious pneuma on harlequin babies rather than true breeds), and the result is that Velvets simply do not have the numbers that other breeds do.
A single Velvet may work his way into a position of influence, but their skill is in manipulation rather than true charisma or kingship, so they can rarely achieve much with that power. Anyone who wants to take a Velvet domain through force of arms need only equip himself with iron and steel, and the Velvets can be easily beaten.
Velvet Dragons are not and have never been empire-builders. Individuals may prosper, but the breed as a whole has never established itself as a significant power block. Their preference instead is to work within the domains and power structures established by other breeds. While this makes them excellent spies, and masters of intrigue, it also means historically they have never had a homeland to call their own.
In the current age, the Velvets have found a new role within the Ascendancy, comfortably letting the Sable Dragons lead while they work from the shadows.
Lifepaths and the Velvet Dragons
By far the most popular Lifepath for a Velvet Dragon is that of the Ambassador-Courtier, which allows them to play their games of intrigue in a social mileu. Harpies play games of social one-upmanship within the Shadow Courts of the Ascendancy. Companions work to gain the favour of more powerful dragons through their seductive wiles. Persuaders operate in foreign lands to act as the pleasing face of the Ascendancy - mostly within the Ashen Kingdoms and the unaligned breeds but sometimes even within Alliance territory.
Also favoured is the role of the Physical Adept. Velvet Dragons appreciate the versatility of polymorphing, and are more than happy to work behind layers of false identity to achieve the goals of their Sable masters. Whether spying deep in Alliance territory, or subtly corrupting and manipulating a mortal king, the Velvets are adept at using disguise and deception to achieve their goals. The Ascendancy's main espionage branch is called The Faceless, and most of their number are Velvet Dragons.
Other lifepaths are more rarer and more unusual: Velvet Dragons have sufficiently strong pneuma to be potent mage Scholar-Sages but they often lack the motivation or intellect for such a path. Still, those that do choose this path (the so called "Velvet Shadowmagi") often command extremely puissant sorceries.
Finally some Velvets are forcibly co-opted into a Fecund Breeder program. Only the most deranged and insecure would enter a Hive voluntarily, but Endless Night has recognised that the Velvet's ability to inspire lust makes them quite useful for this purpose. The breed as a whole have not objected to this abuse of some of their number - if nothing else it is helping the Velvets close the population gap...
Shames-The-Sunset is a regular sight in the Ascendancy' Courts, and all listen to what he has to say:
- Pure Dragons - "A challenging quarry for seduction, as they seem immune to our beauty. It just makes the chase more fun though..."
- Argent Dragons - "Its hard to make one of these soldier-knights betray his ideals for a kiss... hard, but not impossible."
- Solar Dragons - "Of all the Alliance Dragons, these ones are the easiest to work on. It's almost endearing how easily they fall for a few small lies."
- Hunter Dragons - "The trick is to appeal to the animal lust inside - clever words just infuriate them, but promise them rutting, and they'll follow you like puppy dogs."
- Forest Dragons - "Young flesh is so supple, though I prefer more mature lovers for pleasure. On the other hand, young minds are so much easier to influence..."
- Storm Dragons - "They have this grand martyr complex going on - pander to that, and they can be manipulated easily."
- Ashen Dragons - "An Ashen was the most experimental lover I ever had. Ah... fond memories..."
- Chimerical Dragons - "Fellow dragons of chaos, though obsessed with the cerebral and spiritual. They should learn to appreciate the physical and emotional a little more."
- Ghost Dragons - "With their endless wittering about doom and gloom they ruined every party. I'm glad they've gone."
- Blood Dragons - "The blood dragon is a creature of insatiable appetites. We can but try our best..."
- Sable Dragons - "Our Lords and Masters. They like to be in control, and to dominate. That's alright - I can be submissive if that's what master needs."