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DB campaign - the Heretic Dragons antagonists (need some ideas)

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  • DB campaign - the Heretic Dragons antagonists (need some ideas)

    Hello everyone,
    I am a casual user of the forum, so I understand if this post does not attract much attention. I am looking for ideas to improve on this concept of mine for my campaign. The long version will be followed up by a TL;TD for the hurried ones. Thank you for your attention, here I go.
    The long version
    So, I am the ST in this campaign where I am playing with just hatched DB, Dynasts or Lost Eggs, loyal to the Realm and as far as I saw legit upright good guys, young and brave heroes in the making. We have played lightly so far, a series of 10-12 one-shots a bit everywhere in Creation (they are ~20yo), to have a good laugh, which we had. Things are going well and it’s time to spice things up. As I am unambitious I already have 3 narrative epic arcs I’d like to make them suffer through play. This would be the first.
    Ah, also note that the Empress hasn’t disappeared yet, the players don’t know when it will happen, or what their PCs’ age will be then (I intend to make a few jumps in time in the future).
    It resolves around this question : is the Realm a force of Good in Creation ? I am not looking for a black and white false/easy dilemma here, and I don’t want to loop back to a DB vs Solar/Lunar until much later, so it’s going to be very a Realm-centered story. The view that I will try to develop will be more insidious, as I will try to really blow big this moral quandary. So yes it is also obvious that DB are legit heroes, and that the immaculate way is inspiring people to work hard within their purview to improve the world they live in, and that while this is true it is also true that decadent behavior and collateral damages are also occurrences (sometimes and with regret) when such raw power and will are applied.
    But now let’s look not at the individuals, but at the society : the Realm. The different institutions, families, kinships, are often working counter-current to each-others. And even though it has given the Realm resilience – the capacity to endure and to implement durable improvements and limit blowbacks – they are working in an ever-complicating, ever-frustrating, ever-slowing system. Though some DB, heroic even by the Realm scale, are sometimes able to transcend those limitations, they are few and apart, and most have the Empress' blessing.
    After centuries of domination by the Scarlet Empress has the Realm stopped of growing ? If that’s true then that would mean that the Realm is heading into stagnation and then, inevitably, decay… Is this really the best they could become ?
    If not, could it be a failure by design ?
    To caricature the extreme view, which was first spoke softly in a dark room during a wild party : what if the Scarlet Empress is holding them back ? Who is to tell when the centuries-old has become a Tyrant, even if quite benevolent for now ? A power-crazy, artefact-hoarding, control-mad ruler like the Demon-Gods Anathema of old ? What signs should we be on the lookout for ? WAIT ARE THE SIGNS NOT ALREADY THERE ?
    Suspicion, panic, the need of answers : curious careless people started to disappear. The circle retreated but the seed of doubt grew fast.
    And so unvoiced questions were asked to deafened ears. And answers were given.
    In the heart of immaculate monks, heresy was birthed.
    Then proof was offered : The Dragon-Blooded could become more.
    The very nature and destiny of Creation – of Exaltations ! – was held back !
    The number of lives, of souls, in jeopardy was staggering. The lie of the despot, unforgivable.
    But so was the size of the beast, the abomination named Realm.
    Chains passing as Order and powers used and wasted like party tricks, to entertain them, distract them with ultimately immaterial plots while veiling the truth.
    Upon this revelation they meditated deeply and found new – or lost maybe ? – petals of the Perfected Lotus. So came the Understanding of what is and what must be done. What will indeed be done, in time.
    And they learned and taught the Five Heretic Dragons.
    They will be my main antagonists for this arc. I think there is only 5% of chances that my PCs will join them, but it is a possibility albeit an improbable one. A dark conspiracy is growing of monks who are seeding doubt and dissatisfaction within the Realm, especially within Lost Eggs although without many Dynasts they would be doomed. It is a slow work, but they don’t need most : they just need enough…
    So they are kind of right because they do indeed develop strange hybrid-elements powers. But who is to say DB are supposed to go there ? Have they trully transcended the limitations that were set upon them by centuries of immaculate domination, training, and disillusion ? Or is there something sinister brewing behind their back ?
    I do not intend for them to fully vanquish this group at age 20-something so I am good to make them recurring antagonists for now, have one or two big showdowns, and bring them back in the 2nd big narrative arc as a big question mark (since there will be worst guys by then). Or something else. I don’t know yet.
    Except that the Empress’ game is even deeper and will involve the PC if they refuse to join and survive…
    TL;DR
    Conspiracy : I am homebrewing a conspiracy of immaculate monks who thinks that the Empress is a holding the Exalted back. That while it is so the end is inevitable, that every soul in Creation is at stake, so yeah big extremists there. Except they could be right because they have developed strange and powerful mixed-element martial-arts and survived using them. Are they wrong ? Are they manipulated ? Could they be right AND corrupted by a nameless entity ? WTF is the Empress doing ? Well, we will see.
    What I have and what I need
    I will have those monks fight with hybrid-elements martial arts, called the Heretic Dragons Styles. I have already a few elements which I want : Ice and Smoke. As variations on Water (+air) for the first and Air (+fire) for the second.
    I was thinking of magma too, but it is cliché (a cool cliché though) and I have already used fire for smoke… I’d like smoothing that loop but if good ideas come to me I might also not limit myself to 5 heresies. 5 would be already well enough work, even if I don’t have to do everything right now.
    So yeah I a missing 3 hybrids styles. I find it particularly difficult to work Wood into that. Maybe a Wood+Earth style that invokes golems to fight (maybe mud-made animals ?). That could be fun and different.
    In this direction I would need a Fire+Wood and an Earth+Water to make it circular.

    I would deeply enjoy some help or people to bounce ideas with. Thank you very much

  • #2
    Okay, so I'm pulling this thread out of the limbo-state it ended up in when the forum was broken.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Crop Weaver View Post
      TL;DR
      Conspiracy : I am homebrewing a conspiracy of immaculate monks who thinks that the Empress is a holding the Exalted back.That while it is so the end is inevitable, that every soul in Creation is at stake, so yeah big extremists there.
      Empress in particular or any one figure strongly centralizing power in its hands, like a new Shogun - or a more proactive/theocratic Mouth and council of Paragons - would count too? Because it could or not become a point of contention between conspiracy members if events reach the Empress' disapperance and the Civil War.


      Originally posted by Crop Weaver View Post
      Except they could be right because they have developed strange and powerful mixed-element martial-arts and survived using them. Are they wrong ? Are they manipulated ? Could they be right AND corrupted by a nameless entity ? WTF is the Empress doing ? Well, we will see.
      And how would that be evidence of any particular moral/spiritual rightness or wrongness of their cause in the first place? Explanations, please.


      Originally posted by Crop Weaver View Post
      What I have and what I need
      I will have those monks fight with hybrid-elements martial arts, called the Heretic Dragons Styles. I have already a few elements which I want : Ice and Smoke. As variations on Water (+air) for the first and Air (+fire) for the second.
      I was thinking of magma too, but it is cliché (a cool cliché though) and I have already used fire for smoke… I’d like smoothing that loop but if good ideas come to me I might also not limit myself to 5 heresies. 5 would be already well enough work, even if I don’t have to do everything right now.
      So yeah I a missing 3 hybrids styles. I find it particularly difficult to work Wood into that. Maybe a Wood+Earth style that invokes golems to fight (maybe mud-made animals ?). That could be fun and different.
      In this direction I would need a Fire+Wood and an Earth+Water to make it circular.
      If you have 2e's Scroll of the Monk, i would suggest you take a look at the "pan elemental styles": Crimson Pentacle, Even Blade and specially, Fivefold Shadow Hand, that last one in particular went deep into trying to mess with a "mixing up elements/let's play Narutavatar magical karate fighting" kind of vibe. There are threads touching on the subject too.

      On the 3e Corebook itself, the asceticism & inner alchemy undertones of Soul-Perfecting Elixir's sorcerous initiation and shaping rituals might be a good springboard for ideas, i guess.

      I might have more to add and comment upon later on, but will leave that for after i have read the long version of your opening post, ok? See ya.
      Last edited by Baaldam; 08-24-2021, 08:30 PM.

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      • #4
        Speaking of someone with considerable knowledge of the Dragon-Blooded, Immaculate martial arts but not exactly sees the Usurpation, Shogunate and Realm in a very flattering light, how about this guy for possible unseen spirit patron? Just crossed my mind.

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