At this moment we’ll be taking some time to have a look at Walking With Dragons and it’s history. Originally WwD was intended for use with D&D and included the dragons of the 3rd edition. Now after all these years I no longer have the books for 3e and so can’t really put my dragons into those terms. In this version the mechanics and format I’ll be using is for Dangerous Journeys, most particularly Mythus. Still, there will be reminders of a sort of the D&D version.
Probably the most important is the the division of dragons into two families, the drakes and the wyrms. What were known in D&D as the western and eastern dragons. Now the dragons are members of the order archosauria, which includes the sub-orders dinosauria and crocodilia. Archosauria in turn belong to the super order Reptilia -though I could have this wrong. Note that at this time I am thinking of introducing additional families, such as the linnora and the therae or beast forms. In any case this is basically an interruption of sort to this series provided for your information
The time is the early Jurassic, the scene a field somewhere in modern day Central Asia. Over a field of what we don’t entirely know a dragon flies. But not a dragon as we have previously found in fossil form, but a living dragon and one much larger than the previous specimens found on our digs. From all appearances this dragon is some 3′ in length including the tail, and as one wag noted, having the flight characteristics of a brick. The specimen is though to weigh some 3oo pounds and it has a wing some of about 4′. Obviously a set of wings no where adequate to get anything like this airborne.
The footage is from a video shot on location by a time probe, the most ambitious time probe yet performed. It took years for the trip back in time and another 4 years to the present day. In fact, so ambitious was the effort there is some rancor over whether or not it actually occurred at all, and many are the scientists arcane and mundane arguing over the matter.
I can’t really explain it myself, but what I have seen in the footage says to me that it did. And as one deity in particular has told us, it does accord with his memories of the time. (There are gods who remember seeing the formation of the Moon way back when, but we just have to have confirmation.)
So how is the dragon in question flying. Heck, how does any modern day dragon fly? That’s simple, it’s levitating. Certain parties have tried using such as helium and hydrogen to explain matters, but when you take good close look at, say, a bronze drake -one of the largest living dragons at a weight of 5 tons, you realize that it would take some sort of super gas to provide the lift.
In any case we now have some idea of just when dragons were able to become the giants they are now, and the gargantua they once were. And they would become enormous indeed. Next up, dragons diversify and come to dominate the Mesozoic world.
Sometime in the early Triassic -successor to the Permian- the early draco-forms began to exhibit a feature found in the early Sarcopterygii. In this group a number have been found in what you could call a hexapedal condition. That is, having six legs. This being a case of embryonic development and not a matter of incomplete twinning as may have been the case of the early proto-dragons of the Permian.
By this time the early dragons had evolved into an arboreal insectivore, apparently having found that conditions down on the ground were not exactly salubrious for them. To be honest with you the proto dragons were somewhat out classed by the other tetrapods, and that the hexapedal may have been somehow adaptive. But that was not the case. In any case it was actually really somewhat counter adaptive in that it meant that energy was now being relegated to what amounted to extra work.
It wasn’t long until the mid-limbs began to change, growing longer than either the fore or hind limbs, and a membrane of skin starting to grow connect the mid limbs to fore and hind. But that really didn’t last all that long. With the early pterodactyls out competing them the front of the “sail” -as it is known- disappeared to be replaced by the sail between mid and hind limb. In addition the mid limb began to “migrate” to a position now just above and behind the shoulders of the fore limbs. In addition, the toes of the mid limbs began to extend much as the fingers of the bat did in his evolution. This giving the dragon the appearance of having bat-like wings.
Still, the early pterodactyls had the advantage and it would appear that these first “dragons” were destined for extinction. Still they persevered, surviving into the early Jurassic.
Note: It should be mentioned that the world I’m writing about here does have gods and goddesses. Deities who do mess with things, and apparently one or more of them just happened to like the dragon idea so they mucked around with evolution and probability. It also should be mentioned that in this world magick works and its effects have been seen even prior to the early Jurassic. But what this meant for the dragon will have to wait for another post.
In this case “foreword” refers to the flood of lava that accompanied the Siberian traps that marked the end of the Permian.
But Just Before
A new type of archosaur appeared. A lizard like animal most closely related to the early thecodonts and suchians. As you might expect they were small. They were also quadrupeds much as the other vertebrates of that time, not yet exhibiting the unique feature now found in most dragons.
They are thought to be terrestrial insectivores, though some may have been early arboreal animals. That would come later. It should be noted that one specimen from near the end of the Permian does show signs of a sort of hexapedal condition, but that is thought to be more due to incomplete twinning instead of the later re-expression of an old lung fish condition. Still, the first dragons were on the scene even though they really didn’t say anything about what was to come.
Back years ago there was a series on the Discovery Channel known as Walking With Dinosaurs. Being a puckish soul I decided to do a version featuring the story of D&D Dragons, at least as they existed back then. Then I let it lapse, though it did inspire in turn the Dragon Earth setting for D&D 3e. Now I’m bringing it back, set now more for Dangerous Journeys, or at least how I see DJ. That’s your introduction, next we’ll get into the early history of dragons starting with a look at my version of the early archosaurs such as the suchians..
I recently read Stephen Long’s introduction to Hero System 6th edition, on pages 8 and 9 he made mention of two important elements of his philosophy, freedom and responsibility; the freedom to create as you think best and the responsibility to, well, be responsible for it.
To put it into my own words, my goal is to give you a set of tools you can use to make the system you prefer to use in a Dangerous Journeys guide, and to remind you that you have responsibilities where play is concerned.
Glad you asked.
First, that your players are engaged and that they can make a difference in the course of play. That what they do makes a difference. And that means that you as the guide are responsible for paying attention to what they are doing or are trying to do.
Of course this doesn’t mean that they have to succeed. Indeed, quite often they are going to fail. But it does mean you will need to be aware of the possible consequences of the proposed action, and that means being aware of your Personae’s personalities and motivations. Years ago this balrog in an old session of D&D had no motivation by the rules as written to take on a red dragon a fledgling Prestidigitaor had just said had insulted him. But, balrog and dragon were rivals and balrog and dragon were chaots as we called them back then. So when the balrog in question heard, “He called you a wimp.” what else do you think the demon had to do. Our GM had a pretty good idea as to what was most likely to happen, and seeing much potential in what could happen went forward and let his balrog kill the dragon. Or nearly kill him, for it was the neophyte wizard who finished the wyrm off.
And that’s my point, things will happen succeed or fail and the guide needs to let them happen whether the consequences are good or bad or the Personae. While the players also need to be responsible for the consequences of their actions. Keep in mind that destroying the villain Rahotep -the Necropolis adventure- will free a demon of some power and he may have to be dealt with later.
So be ready and willing to take responsibility, for that is the price of freedom.
After giving this some thought I have decided to go back to calling the system I’m now working on “Dangerous Journeys”. “Dangerous Journeys” because that is apparently what the fans prefer to call her. So now when I write you’ll know I’m writing about the system originally created by E. Gary Gygax and friends, with some messing about by me.
So hence forward it is the Dangerous Journeys role playing system, and such as Mythus and Cavalier are Dangerous Journeys role playing guides. And “Cavalier”? I’ll introduce that later.
In the DJ group on FaceBook a member wondered which chart for determining a Persona’s heka he should use. The chart he mentioned is the one of P176 of Mythus, though there is a chart of P8 of Mythus Magick. Now my initial advice was to use which ever you prefer, but after having a look at the two charts I find myself changing my mind. In short, the chart on P8 of Mythus Magick is more likely the one Gary preferred you use, though I can see a few changes mostly incorporating the 3rd note. So…
1st School Dweomercræfting
STEEP + MM Category*
Subsequent Schools Dweomercræfting
STEEP + Mnemonic Power*
STEEP+ SM Category*
*Now note that this note is a bit more complex than the equivalents in Mythus Magick, to elucidate:
In the case of a Full Practitioner in Dweomercræfting in the case of the first school in the Dweomercræfter’s repertoire which STEEP gets the multiplier depends on if the K/S in question or the Magick K/S has the higher STEEP. Just to keep matters simple for me I’m going to say that we’re talking about the base STEEP for the two K/S Areas without any additions. Which means you’ll have to keep track of this. In addition, in the case of the Mage’s first school of Dweomercræfting the addition would be his Mental Trait. So if he had Full practice in the Green School of Dweomercræfting at a STEEP of 40 he would then get 400 points of heka for it. With a Mental Trait of -say- 105 he would then have 505 points of heka were the Dweomercræfting STEEP to be lower than his STEEP in Magick.
In the case of a Priest -Full Practice in Priestcræfting- which gets multiplied depends on whether the base STEEP in Priestcræfting or Religion is lower. In addition, a Priestcræfter of any sort can only have the magick of one Ethos at any time. So if the STEEP in Priestcræfting, Ethos of Moonlight was 40 points then the Priest would get 400 points of Heka for it, assuming of course that the K/S Area in question was lower than the base Religion STEEP. In addition as a Priest he gets his Spiritual Trait added to his base STEEP in Priestcræfting. So with an STrait of 105 our HP would have 505 points of Heka to play with.
Other Full Practitioners
Now Ed Anderson at the DJ group on FaceBook has proposed allowing Personae to have Full Practice with other K/S Areas which include Castings. Astrology say, or Heka Forging. I like his thinking, but now it’s a matter of expanding what I’ve written above to incorporate it. What would the criteria be for a Mystic having Full Practice for example. Maybe having the Yoga K/S , but maybe not. And while the Mental and Spiritual K/S Areas should be obvious, what about the Physical K/S Areas? And keep in mind that I would allow a K/S Area such as Civil Engineering to have Castings available in the right setting -my emphasis.
I have more to think about it, another work in progress.
I was going to post here about the work I’m doing for an Infinite Adventures mechanic; the one on overbearing that is, but it seems that at the moment the Hero Games site is having trouble with searching, so I can’t at the present find the page for the The Ultimate Brick supplement for Hero 5E. Guess I’ll just have to wait for tomorrow.
Folks, keeping communications open is important, so don’t fuck with it.