Age of Dragons: Storm Dragons
Guardians of The Second Sky
The Storm Dragons will tell you that there are two worlds, and that one is far larger than the other.
One world is the Gift, which is the world as others know it. It the sky and the land - the domain of the draconic breeds, and of the mortal races. It was formed when the Goddess exhaled it into being as a gift to Her children, and is a precious gem to be treasured by all right-thinking creatures.
The other world is the Endless, which is the infinite ocean that comprises the rest of existence. It has existed forever, and the Gift (what other dragons laughably call the Realm) is nothing more than a tiny island within its endless reaches.
The Storm Dragons understand that the Endless not only encloses the land of the Gift but also encloses the sky itself, with all the air that surrounds the realm little more than the contents of the bubble that the Goddess breathed into being for her children. They know that to fly high enough would be plunge into ocean depths again.
The breed thinks it is hubris to believe that the sea is their domain. The Storm Dragons recognise that they patrol only the border waters where the Gift encounters the Endless, and that the best they can do is to keep the Endless at bay. Contrary to the expectations of the other breeds, they do not love the ocean but rather fear its immensity, and only live within it because the duty of guardianship demands it.
Against them are railed the Outer Gods of the Endless, who are legion and who individually are almost as strong as the Mother Goddess herself. The Storm Dragons battle the massive Kraken of the Drowned Abyss, each of whom is many times the size of a dragon, but who are little more than the frontline soldiers of the Outer Gods oceanic armies.
The Outer Gods want to destroy the Gift and reclaim it into the Endless. The Storm Dragons know that they are all that stand in their way...
Character Creation: Game Rules
- Soma 5
- Sophia 6
- Pneuma 4
Storm Dragons are a dour and tactiturn breed, too preoccupied with the endless war to engage in idle chit chat or fanciful magics. Though they are warriors, their true strength lies in their minds. They are learned in mystery, they are fearlessly courageous and they are dedicated to inner discipline.
Breathing the Endless - Storm Dragons can breathe underwater as easily as if they were in air. Also, they can swim as fast as most dragons can fly, whereas most dragons are not well suited to propel themselves underwater.
Echo Location - Storm Dragons can use a bat-like system of sonar-location to "see" their surroundings, even in absolute darkness. Underwater, this is just as effective and detailed as their sight. Out of water, it is less effective, and only half as accurate as their sight.
Ocean Douses Flame - Storm Dragons cannot use any magic relating to fire, including the universal birthright firebreathing.
Storm Dragons are blue scaled, and are divided in appearance according to the ocean depth they dwell at. Those that spend most time by shore or in sky tend to have light blue scales, whereas those who spend most of their time in the deep have dark blue scales, with "horizon breakers" somewhere inbetween. Unlike Forest Dragons, however, this appearance is not fixed by heredity, but rather shifts gradually according to where the Storm Dragon spends most time. A dark-hued "seeker in darkness" who spends a century on dry land will lighten in hue till he is indistinguishable from a "horizon breaker", and a century later in the same environment will appear as light as a true "cloud swimmer". In contrast, Storm Dragon eyes that vary in diametric opposition with their skin hue - a dark scaled dragon will have light blue eyes, and vice versa. Storm Dragons also vary anatomically from the other breeds in many other ways: all have gills on the side of their neck, allowing them their amphibious lives, and many also have fish-like fins and long dolphin-like faces. Male Storm Dragons do not have horns as such, but rather just a series of keratinous ridges in a crown around their temple.
Society and Culture
While the other breeds recognise that Storm Dragons of different ocean depths have different scale hue and titles, they do not often realise that each of the three demarcations (Seeker in Darkness, Horizon Breaker and Cloud Swimmer) represents an entirely different segment of Storm Dragon society.
The Seekers in Darkness make up at least ninety percent of the Storm Dragon population, and consider themselves Storm Dragon society proper. They are militaristic, as suits a people at constant war, and driven by their duty to protect the Gift from the Outer Gods and their Kraken servants. Their deep ocean cities are built on a scale far larger than dry land settlements, but also tend to be far more thinly populated, with perhaps a thousand merfolk living alongside a dozen dragons in each city, when the same space above ground would house thirty thousand humans. The mortal and draconic inhabitants of this city alike are used to living under siege from the darkness beyond. Because noise travels so far underwater, and because stealth is a vital skill in an existence defined by warfare, most Seekers speak only rarely and quietly, earning the underwater realm the nickname of "The Domain of Whispers."
Horizon Breakers account for about two percent of the population, but they are considered to be the Storm Dragons point of communication to the other breeds. Other breeds might find it hard to believe that these tactiturn, quiet souls are considered to be the wildest and most vociferous members of oceanic society. They trade with the other breeds as necessary (particularly the Chimericals, who they have a long friendship with), usually seeking to acquire arcane knowledge and arms in exchange for the treasures and secrets of the sea.
Cloud Swimmers, on the other hand, are not considered to be part of Storm Dragon society at all. Rather they are those who shirk the guardian duty that has been given to them. It is not in the nature of Storm Dragons to berate though, so for the most part the Cloud Swimmers are politely ignored and not spoken of, with the silent expectation that one day they will grow up and return to their duties. At that time nothing more will be said of that time, save perhaps obliquely as "that short sabbatical" or "your momentary lapse".
Lifepaths and the Storm Dragons
As a militaristic society, the Seekers-in-Darkness have a large number of Warmasters, though the nature of their war necessitates that they often work solo or in small groups for extended periods rather than in the battle-flights of other breeds. The primary military organisation is the Black Guardians - a brotherhood of draconic knights driven by their code of duty of protection, and renowned for their bravery, but also for their stealth, cunning and intelligence.
A small number of Animist Adepts support the Black Guardians, though their emphasis on the military role often has them dubbed Deepwar Summoners. Likewise, Deepwar Magi concentrate on the combat magic aspects of the Scholar-Sage Lifepath. Its not uncommon for both Summoners and Magi to train as Black Guardians first.
The Horizon-Breakers tend to be Ambassador-Courtiers (dubbed the Voices of the Storm) or infiltrating Physical Adepts (dubbed Eyes of the Storm) who use Polymorphing to spy invisibly on the rest of Dragonkind.
With Cloud-Swimmers, societal roles tend to be abandoned in favour of whatever takes a dragon's individual fancy. With their inclination towards sophistry, many pursue the more academic aspects of the Scholar-Sage Lifepath.
City-Swimmer, a Horizon-Breaker and Eye of the Storm, shares his observations:
- Pure Dragons - "Their devotion to the Mother is admirable, though truly they should learn to act on their faith rather than just talk about it."
- Argent Dragons - "Brave soldiers - a shame they cannot join us in the Kraken wars."
- Solar Dragons - "They don't understand that we have greater concerns than a mere Dragonwar on the Mother's Gift. We have a deeper duty that cannot be abandoned."
- Hunter Dragons - "Their ways are so directionless, and so easy. I envy their freedom, but understand that I can never join them in their life of simplicity."
- Forest Dragons - "The young are so joyful in their innocence. Little do they know how precarious their lifestyle and their world is."
- Ashen Dragons - "Claim dominion over your little domain if you will, Ashen Dragon, but you should never believe that is of any true consequence."
- Velvet Dragons - "I met one of their spies in Kalarn once, and we shared information. They can be dealt with, carefully."
- Chimerical Dragons - "Our friends on the dream isles, and our greatest trading partners. More than any others, they understand us."
- Ghost Dragons - "They fear extinction and have reason to be frightened. What they do not recognise is who they should be fearing."
- Blood Dragons - "Their ferocity would serve well in the Kraken war, but ultimately dragonflame counts for nothing in the deep ocean. They are insignificant."
- Sable Dragons - "We Storm Dragons fight to defend against demons from the deep, yet the Sables invite one to rule over them. It is a shame that we do not have the resources or time to fight this threat - Endless Night is but one demon amongst many."