Monday, April 25, 2011

The Dragons of Doom & Tea Parties

Rules Magis at Gamers Closet wants to know:

So I have a question. Not sure if it is that fact that I have been playing WOW, the book I am reading or the current campaign I am playing in. But dragons seem to be vastly different from one setting to another. Some are the King Arthur type of a foul beast to be slain by a knight on a quest; some are the invincible all knowing creatures of legend like in the Raymond Fiest books and others are the mounts and servants of Dragon Lords.
Dragons have been important to me for a very long time. I can certainly see the benefit in treating them as just another monster on the list. However, in what I assume is a similar way in which some folks believe that fighting the gods is anathema, I really can't treat dragons as just more fodder for higher-level combats.

So dragons hold a central place in my Doom & Tea Parties campaign. Their nature is something that has been building in my campaigns over time, drawing from many sources, some literary, some mythological, with a pinch of pop-culture. As the eldest children of Tiamat, they are chthonian creatures, almost forces of nature. They are sadistically playful in the manner of cats, primal in their instincts and assumptions, and extremely self-centered. They are scions of primal chaos, and, as such, unpredictable, unreliable, and untamable in the long run.

Each is unique; there is not a race of blue dragons, but a blue dragon. They come in a wide variety of colors and combinations, and no, they are not coded for player convenience. To slay a dragon, which is sometimes necessary, is to destroy something that the world will never see again.

There is a spiritual aspect to this as well. There is a conservation of souls at work in my current campaign. Even without spells, a soul will eventually reincarnate (which, incidentally, has nothing to do with my own personal beliefs, but works really well with the spiritual geography of my campaign). Myth says that the first life of every soul is as a dragon. While they are certainly not on any endangered species list, there are noticeably fewer now than there were in the past. The death of the last dragon will mark the beginning of the end of Creation.

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