Age of Dragons: Hunter Dragons

From RPGnet
Revision as of 08:08, 26 October 2010 by GORT (talk | contribs) (Reverted edits by 93.174.93.148 (Talk) to last revision by Asklepios)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Age Of Dragons: Main Page -> The Twelve Breeds -> Hunter Dragons


Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw[edit]

Dragons are animals. It is a truth that the other breeds often deny or choose to forget, but to the Hunter Dragons, it is a truth that is self-evident. They are aware that nature is a pyramid of predator and prey and they see that as Dragons, their place is at the head of the food chain.

Many other breeds often assume that because Hunters live as animals, that they lack the wit to adopt civilised ways. The Hunters know better - they have seen civilisation and they know that it makes dragons weak. They have seen the land poisoned and warped by those who espouse "progress" and they know that their way is better.

Hunter Dragons point out that you only have to look at the blunt stubby claws and shortened teeth of the other breeds to recognise the harm that their weak ways are doing them.

Hunters believe in survival of the fittest, and in living in the old ways. On the one hand, their ways can seem cruel - they will kill stunted and disfigured young, and they will leave the sick and crippled to fend for themselves. On the other hand, no-one can deny that the Hunters have a vibrancy of soul and a strength of form that few others can match.

"This is nature," they say, "red in tooth and claw. Hunt or be hunted."

Character Creation: Game Rules[edit]

Sphere Ratings[edit]

  • Soma 6
  • Sophia 4
  • Pneuma 5

Hunter Dragons are in top shape physically, thanks to a mix of genetic advantage and hard outdoor living. They have little inclination for academia or learning, and though they are reasonably strong in pneuma this tends to manifest in mastery of magic rather than through talent at diplomacy or negotiation. Any social skills they do have tend to be directed towards their pack, in maintaining dominance and pack standing.

Birthrights[edit]

Mark of the Predator - The claws and teeth of the Hunter Dragon are a good thirty to fifty percent longer than those of weaker "ordinary" dragons, and are far sharper as well. In physical conflict, Hunter Dragons gain a +1 Power modifier to Finisher attacks made with their bare claws and teeth.

Flaws[edit]

Contempt of Civilisation - Hunter Dragons can not adopt any Lifepath edge relating to possessions or to civilised society. They cannot read or write, and they have little understanding of the use of even the simplest technologies. They may not willingly use weapons, wear armour or don clothing of any sort. They cannot adopt any Lifepaths which involve the trappings of civilisation (such as Scholar-Sage or Warmaster).

A Hunter Dragon who wishes to integrate himself into society can do so, simply by adopting one of the civilised lifepaths as noted above, or learning a civilised skill. Doing so removes the "Contempt of Civilisation" flaw and replaces it with the "Disconnection" flaw below.

Disconnection - A Hunter Dragon who embraces civilisation loses touch with the essence of his breed. His mind starts to wither, and he falls into insanity and idiocy. Every 1 month he permanently loses 1 point of Sophia. When Sophia hits zero, he becomes irrecoverably insane.

Physical Appearance[edit]

Hunter Dragons are called "bronze-scaled", but the majority of their scales are earthy-brown and non metallic, with only the armoured back-plates having any metallic shine. There is great variation in hue with Hunter Dragons, with males tending towards darker scales, and females towards lighter scales. On close examination their scales are decorated with spirals and whorls, like those found on petrified wood or the shells of beetles. The most distinctive feature of Hunters, however, is their "ferality". To other breeds, the Hunters are primitive and bestial looking, with longer horns, teeth and talons than other dragons, deep set black eyes, predator facies and quill-like spines running in rows across limbs and back. Even their voices are snarling and animalistic. Other dragons respond to Hunters in the same way that a human might respond to a neolithic caveman - they find their appearance primitive, and a little frightening.

Society and Culture[edit]

What most dragons and mortals refer to as the Ashen Kingdom, the Hunter Dragons call the Skies of the Free People. This vast swathe of land includes plains of long grass, cave-run hills and tracts of open veldt. It is the land which the Hunter Dragons claim that the Mother Goddess placed in their care, and they view the Ashen Dragons who claimed it from them millennia ago as invaders and defilers. The Hunters see that thanks to the Ashen, the heart of this land has been replaced with the wasteland of a bloated and decadent civilisation. While other breeds might see the Ashen Kingdoms as a triumph of civilisation (with its sprawling metropoli, its fertile fields of crops and fine vineyards and its well built network of roads) the Hunters see them as nothing less than an abomination upon the land.

For as long as they can remember, the Hunters have been fighting a losing battle against the spread of this cancer of civilisation, and year by year the natural world is being replaced with the unnatural. Though the Hunters are physically and spiritually strong, they lack the infrastructure, raw cunning and mortal military support of the Ashen breed.

Even though there are (at present) twenty seven Sky Tribes, each with a dozen or more Hunter Dragons, and even though there is only one Ashen Kingdom (with a mere two hundred or so Ashen Dragons) it is too often the forces of the Ashen who are hunting the Hunter Dragons. The Sky Tribes struggle to survive, and are reduced to hit and run guerilla tactics. The Hunters know that if they can't find some new resource or new strength, they will likely lose what lands they still have within a century or two.

With this threat hanging over them, the Hunters cannot help but see both Ascendancy and Alliance as lesser enemies (though they are enemies nonetheless). The desperate pleas of Solar Ambassadors to bring them into the Alliance have for the most part fallen on deaf ears. Only a single tribe - the Talons of Open Sky - has joined the Alliance, and they have done so only because of a foolish preemptive strike by the Ascendancy on them earlier in the war. Because Hunters tend to identify with their tribes rather than with the breed as a whole, the rest of the breed have seen little reason to follow the Talons of Open Sky into a war that they see does not concern them.

The Ascendancy have had even less luck recruiting Hunters. The usual inducements of arcane power and wealth do not tempt Hunter Dragons, and only a handful of corrupted Hunters have ever defected northwards.

Lifepaths and the Hunter Dragons[edit]

Without thinking, the majority of Hunters will follow the Lifepath of the Beast Unbound, simply because it is in their nature to do so. In fact, most Hunters do not recognise this as a particular lifechoice or calling at all, simply seeing it as the way things should be.

The depredations of war sometimes drives Hunter Dragons to work become Redtooth Berserkers, as the pain of loss and the frustration of defeat are channelled into rage and anger. Though berserkers are respected for their martial might, other Hunters pity them as having fallen into despair.

At the other end of the spectrum are those who choose the path of the Animist Adept. Animists act as Shamans and spirit guides amongst the sky tribes, though never as tribal leaders. They officiate over ceremony (such as coming of age, or marriage) and are seen as the wisest of the breed, looked to for sage guidance, though always a little outside the tribe, and outside of the pack. Traditionally a tribe will only ever have a single Shaman, and an apprentice will usually be dispatched on a lonely sojourn far from home to gain experience of the world before they are called back to their tribe.

Amongst the Alliance, over half of the descendants of the Talons of Open Sky have chosen to serve the war effort as Far-Sky Rangers - a role which allows them to balance their nomadic nature and their desire to fight the Ascendancy.

Outlook[edit]

Tooth and Claw, Hunter from the Bloodied Tooth Sky Tribe, tells it like it is:

  • Pure Dragons - "The Mother Goddess is not trapped in their little temple buildings. She is on the wind that lifts my wings, in the joy of the hunt and in the blood of prey."
  • Argent Dragons - "Nature has only one law - survival of the fittest, and the rule of the strong. I have no use for their petty codes of conduct."
  • Solar Dragons - "They try to fly with our tribes, so to draw us into their war against the North. We have our own war to fight and it is a far older and closer one."
  • Forest Dragons - "Young cousins to the west, rulers of their domain as we rule ours. They keep to their lands, and we to ours, as it should be."
  • Storm Dragons - "I have never seen a Storm Dragon, but I hear they live in the underwater realm. Is such a thing even possible?"
  • Ashen Dragons - "Defiling scum! They will perish beneath my bloodied claws!"
  • Velvet Dragons - "Pretty to look at, but soft, weak and useless - just like civilisation."
  • Chimerical Dragons - "I don't pretend to understand them. Are they even dragons?"
  • Ghost Dragons - "They make me shiver, these creatures. I am glad that they did not stop in our lands, as I want nothing to do with them."
  • Blood Dragons - "They are almost wise, in that they recognise the beast within. They are fools though, because they have fallen into atavism."
  • Sable Dragons - "A distant threat, to the far North. They know better than to cross our skies. They fear us."