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Dragon Kith: "Who, what, where, why, how?"

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  • Dragon Kith: "Who, what, where, why, how?"

    Because this topic was notable in the "More Books" thread, I figured it would make sense to split this one off into its own topic. Personally, I'm of the camp that a general-purpose "Dragon Kith" in the "St. George's ordeal" manner feels a bit problematic, as they are either better off as Chimerical familiars, cosmetic changes to the miens of preexisting kiths, or as legendary Bygones in the Far/Deep Dreaming. From a classic (as opposed to a contemporary) mythology, their general depiction is as plot-devices for the protagonists to overcome, or even exploit (in Vortigern's case). Whether Herakles slaying a hydra, to Trajan's Legions...and even the term Draconic (in the punitive sense) comes from a Greek statesman, and had nothing initially to do with dragons whatsoever!

    There are three main examples of "dragon-people" that I can think of. from a classic mythology case.
    -The first example I can think of is Cadmus/Jason in the quest of the golden fleece. Upon sowing the dragons' teeth, each tooth planted in the ground would grow into an armed warrior, that immediately took to fighting. In a sense, the spartoi were almost like Ur-Orcs, more interested in krumpin' rather than any of the traits normally associated with Dragons. Arguably these are Redcaps or Ogres of a degree.
    -Next is Lạc Long Quân, the Dragon Lord of Vietnam, who married a mountain fairy and sired the Baiyue, the mythic ancestors to the Vietnamese people.
    -The final example I could think of is Tugarin Zmeyvich (Tugarin Serpent-Son) of Slavic mythos, a dragon-man who was effectively a mashup of the Dragon and the Black Knight archetypes. Depending on the individual tales in question, he wore platemail, rode a fire-breathing horse, and either had non-functional wings or it was his horse that had the wings. Depending on the tales/adaptations, he was merely a mortal with dragon-blood, or he was full-up Trogdor Dragon-Man. However, his main trait was his raw gluttony, and his ability to eat anything: He could stuff two full loaves of bread, one in each cheek, and then swallow an entire swan whole. Needless to say, he enjoyed this at dinner parties. IMO, Tugarin is simply a very eccentric Redcap.

    Are there any notable examples I am missing?

  • #2
    I think you had a good idea breaking this off into its own topic.
    These were the dragon kiths I wrote to go with my story in the C20 Anthology. I figured I’d share the link here to make it easier for those interested to find them.
    http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...-c20-anthology


    Jason Ross Inczauskis, Freelance Writer
    Projects: Dark Eras 2, Mummy: The Curse 2e, Book of Lasting Death, DtR The Clades Companion, Pirates of Pugmire, They Came From Beyond the Grave!, TC Aeon: Mission Statements, TC In Media Res, DtD Night Horrors: Enemy Action, C20 Anthology of Dreams
    Masculine pronouns preferred.

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    • #3
      I think you have excessively high standards for a game that has no issue having Pooka, Selkie, Sachamama, Rainmakers, Satyrs etc. That has 13 houses named randomly after mythic figures that often have nothing to do with their characterization(See: Ailil and Gwydion). And has Kiths coming into existence in Modern times. More to the point it has a Kith that is litterally a "Mini" god.

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      • #4
        I can google Pooka/Selkie/Satyrs and have a rough idea of their mythological origins, their semi-humanoid status, and their general "roles" so to speak.
        I get that it's imperfect (for example Pooka is derived from Puca, aka Goblin...but Goblins are the Thallain of Nockers) and that the names are splitting hairs, but I suppose this is all a certain shrug and a nod (consider, for example, the ambiguity of what Domovoi exactly are. Depending on the edition, they're either Umbral elementals, Inanimae, or a Boggan variant). All things considered, the idea of "trickster animals" is fairly old, while "dragon-people" are usually viewed in more contemporary terms.

        That said and done, I did read White Oak Dragon's article, and although some of the crunch looks WIP, I am now somewhat persuaded. Not necessarily as a "existed alongside the Kith during the Interregnum" sort of deal necessarily, but as either marks to the assorted Houses, or as a Post-Resurgence sort of affair. Whether they are a form of ascended Chimera (akin to the Wolpertiger), or a form of Lycian, I can see that working. I imagine the next question is, if there are Dragon-Kith proper during the Interregnum, what myths were they derived from? I can see Kobolds being a potential option, despite their historical association with Bluecaps/Brownies/Nockers, if only because D&D has altered the popular conception of what a Kobold is. Alternately, the idea of Lizard-People being formed from collective conspiracy paranoia...

        (Incidentally, the 13 Houses are another thing which several people I game with have...had some issues grokking/working around. The biggest challenge is how the majority of them are generally based off the GB Isles/Ireland, with Aesin, Beaumayn, and Varich being the exceptions notably in terms of how much they wear their regional hats. (And Digital Dreaming implied that Beaumayn more French, based on the idea of interchange of Arthurian Myth with Frankish legends). This gets tricky if you want to work with myths from other parts of the world ("What House would claim Rostam?"), unless you intentionally decouple the regional aspects of the assorted houses.)
        Last edited by MagicJuggler; 10-01-2019, 04:49 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MagicJuggler View Post
          I can google Pooka/Selkie/Satyrs and have a rough idea of their mythological origins, their semi-humanoid status, and their general "roles" so to speak.
          I get that it's imperfect (for example Pooka is derived from Puca, aka Goblin...but Goblins are the Thallain of Nockers) and that the names are splitting hairs, but I suppose this is all a certain shrug and a nod (consider, for example, the ambiguity of what Domovoi exactly are. Depending on the edition, they're either Umbral elementals, Inanimae, or a Boggan variant). All things considered, the idea of "trickster animals" is fairly old, while "dragon-people" are usually viewed in more contemporary terms.
          I throw them out there because you casually dismiss a Dragon Kith because it would be redundant with Redcaps. There is a whole bunch of "Redundant" kiths. Trickster animals is pretty old. But so are Other shapeshifters not as tricksters(There's this whole game about it even!) I Feel like each of your "just make a Redcap with wings' could be applied to any of these other kiths, A selkie is litterally just a Pooka with a more excessive flaw. Yet you have no issue with them existing. If the issue is "Dragon" is too broad pick a particular take.

          IT doesn't have to cover each and every variant there of it is. I mean Sidhe and Goblin for example are often used generically as fairy type: See David Bowie in Labyrinth.



          That said and done, I did read White Oak Dragon's article, and although some of the crunch looks WIP, I am now somewhat persuaded. Not necessarily as a "existed alongside the Kith during the Interregnum" sort of deal necessarily, but as either marks to the assorted Houses, or as a Post-Resurgence sort of affair. Whether they are a form of ascended Chimera (akin to the Wolpertiger), or a form of Lycian, I can see that working. I imagine the next question is, if there are Dragon-Kith proper during the Interregnum, what myths were they derived from? I can see Kobolds being a potential option, despite their historical association with Bluecaps/Brownies/Nockers, if only because D&D has altered the popular conception of what a Kobold is. Alternately, the idea of Lizard-People being formed from collective conspiracy paranoia...
          Or they could be causal. Fairies are the source of Alien abductions or "Aliens are just hte modern understanding of fairies' is a pretty common trope. People have invented an elaborate mix of mythology, conspiracy theory that dates lizard/dragon/snake people back centuries... in a setting where vampires exist and have such an elaborate conspiracy that... we can't use modern mythology and backdate it. Just like amazingly Vampires function most like modern views rather than ancient views!



          (Incidentally, the 13 Houses are another thing which several people I game with have...had some issues grokking/working around. The biggest challenge is how the majority of them are generally based off the GB Isles/Ireland, with Aesin, Beaumayn, and Varich being the exceptions notably in terms of how much they wear their regional hats. (And Digital Dreaming implied that Beaumayn more French, based on the idea of interchange of Arthurian Myth with Frankish legends). This gets tricky if you want to work with myths from other parts of the world ("What House would claim Rostam?"), unless you intentionally decouple the regional aspects of the assorted houses.)
          The Beaumayn fall into the broad "Celtic" issue. They are From Brittany. Banner Houses Help(For example where Classical Religion has hold I'm Calling it the HOuse of ZEUS not Gwydion...)

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          • #6
            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seraph
            >The word*saraph/seraphim*appears three times in the*Torah*(Numbers 21:6–8, Deuteronomy 8:15) and four times in the*Book of Isaiah*(6:2–6, 14:29, 30:6). In*Isaiah 6:2–6 the term is used to describe a type of celestial being or angel. The other five uses of the word refer to*serpents.[6]

            >Seraphim appear in the 2nd-century BC*Book of Enoch,[10]*where they are mentioned, in conjunction with*cherubim, as the heavenly creatures standing nearest to the*throne of God. They are also called the*Akyəst*(Ge'ez:*አክይስት*"serpents", "dragons"; an alternate term for*Hell).[11][12][13]

            >An ancient Judean seal from the 8th century BCE depicts them as flying asps, yet having human characteristics, as encountered by Isaiah in his commissioning as a prophet.

            There we go. Winged beings of light, who depending on scholarship, are either a subtype of Angelic messanger, or are a servant that exist outside of angels altogether, who have a name that is interchangeably used to refer to serpents, flying asps, or dragons.

            I think, if there is a "precedent" for dragon-kith, this may well be one of them. Ir would also add a WOD-reason for why Enoch is considered part of the Apocrypha, and not even deutercanonical (like Esther/Maccabees).

            (As a former 40k/WHFB player, this makes the AOS renaming of Lizardmen to Seraphon...make a lot more sense in hindsight too. Not that AOS is defendable, but...)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Lian View Post
              More to the point it has a Kith that is litterally a "Mini" god.

              Not just a kith, but an entire society of Hsein, who are all modeled after minor asian deities. In fact, they don't even function like normal Changelings, leading further credence to the idea that they aren't the same as western fairy folk.

              Originally posted by MagicJuggler View Post
              I can google Pooka/Selkie/Satyrs and have a rough idea of their mythological origins, their semi-humanoid status, and their general "roles" so to speak.
              I get that it's imperfect (for example Pooka is derived from Puca, aka Goblin...but Goblins are the Thallain of Nockers) and that the names are splitting hairs, but I suppose this is all a certain shrug and a nod (consider, for example, the ambiguity of what Domovoi exactly are.
              Actually, the name "Goblin" pretty much translates to "Ugly Fairy" and can be applied to many different kiths. Pooka, Redcap, Boggan, Troll, Knocker, any of them can be considered a form of Goblin.

              The kith who actually ended up with the name should have been called "Gremlin," since a creature who takes delight in causing tools and machinery to break down and explode is pretty much the first thing I think about when I hear the word.
              Last edited by Nyrufa; 10-02-2019, 08:04 AM.

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              • #8
                Its very appropriate in my opinion, its not the form the Kith originally took in the times of legend, its the form they take if they partake in the changeling way. This is the same for Wolpintinger, and Inanimae. And its fun and would have a lot of people flocking to the player option.

                When I said I think the Minotaur would make a good kith someone said they wouldn't because there was only one Minotaur, I disagreed because a lot of games have used them as a concept for a species, and it works. The Minotaur likely did breed with maidens sacrificed to him as well as cannibalized them. Its a classical mythic monster.


                It is a time for great deeds!

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                • #9
                  If you're looking for a popular, modern day interpretation for a Dragon kith, you could make them Dauntain who embody nightmares of vanity. There seems to be quite an awful lot of stories involving Dragons who adorn themselves in excessive amounts of wealth and luxury, demanding that everyone within earshot showers them with praise. Some stories even include people being transformed into Dragons as punishment for their narcissism. I've got a book which tells the story of a maiden who was so obsessed with her own beauty, she was transformed into a Dragon, and could only regain her true form if she found somebody who loved her for more than just her appearance.

                  Other stories involve them going to different towns, disguised as people asking for charity. And if you were selfish enough to not give them any assistance, they would unleash their wrath upon you. While conversely, rendering them aid and shelter would often result in the Dragon paying you back for your generosity.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                    If you're looking for a popular, modern day interpretation for a Dragon kith, you could make them Dauntain who embody nightmares of vanity. There seems to be quite an awful lot of stories involving Dragons who adorn themselves in excessive amounts of wealth and luxury, demanding that everyone within earshot showers them with praise. Some stories even include people being transformed into Dragons as punishment for their narcissism. I've got a book which tells the story of a maiden who was so obsessed with her own beauty, she was transformed into a Dragon, and could only regain her true form if she found somebody who loved her for more than just her appearance.

                    Other stories involve them going to different towns, disguised as people asking for charity. And if you were selfish enough to not give them any assistance, they would unleash their wrath upon you. While conversely, rendering them aid and shelter would often result in the Dragon paying you back for your generosity.
                    "Much to the surprise of the Thallain, they found themselves clothed in mortal flesh upon their return to the waking world. Somehow they were included in the Changeling Way Ritual with the Kithain. Even the greatest changeling scholars are at a loss to explain how such a thing could have happened, but it has disturbing implications. " -C20, Pg 370

                    I find it noteworthy that Chimerical creatures such as the Thallain or Wolpertinger, without wanting to or trying, can be brought into the Changeling Way. Add this to the fact that there are examples of Dragons shapeshifting into humans and even breeding with them, there is definitely precedence for a wayward Dragon Chimera succumbing to banality only to wake up, suprised to find they are inhabiting the body of a human. Though it would likely be a rare occurance (and entirely outside canon), its 100% possible within the rules of the Dreaming. The Dreaming is a fickle beast. Additionally, because there are so many variants of "dragons" within an extremely diverse dataset of mythos, I think it would be fair to say that just because A dragon underwent the Changeling way doesnt mean EVERY dragon underwent the changeling way. You could still have draconic Chimera, Bygones or cosmetic changes to the miens of current kith. After all, there are Sidhe that still havent undergone the Changeling way. Just because one member of a Fae group has done so doesnt mean EVERY member must. Fae are anything but consistant. They change constantly, it's in the name.

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                    • #11
                      RigelJ Another thing worth mentioning is that when talking about mainstream Changeling society, we seem to be referring to the European folklore by default. Fairies from other cultures, like Asia, Native America and others seem to be their own separate entities. Their situation may be similar to the Kithain, but they're not identical in terms of mechanics or behavior.

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                      • #12
                        Nyrufa Thats 100% accurate. I have never played in a game where the Gallain were a major facet, and I would feel uncomfortable running one. I want to ensure that I am representing those cultures accurately and in a non-discriminatory way, and I would want to run any/all ideas I had on it by people from those cultures so I dont just purport stereotypes. I have read the C20 splats on the other groups, but I will not pretend I understand their experience or stories.

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                        • #13
                          @RigelJ:

                          "Magical Ethnic" is admittedly uncomfortable, especially nowadays when one looks back on it as a relic of the 70s-90s. Speaking as a Werewolf Player, there's one joke, based on the intersection of that, alongside minmaxing.

                          ST: What Tribe do you want to be.
                          Player: I want to be Uktena!
                          ST: What tribe?
                          Player: Uktena!
                          ST: I mean mortal, not Garou.
                          Player:...U-Uktena?
                          ST: So why *do* you want to play Uktena?
                          Player: Their totem is Uktena.
                          ST: ...

                          Nunnehi and Hsein both have unique hooks (Totems, Elemental Alchemy) that make playing them seem so tempting, while the most notable "African" Kith from the Player Guide (at least in terms of meme potential) is the Djedi. Anchoring player characters to the mortal world and avoiding full-on Dungeons&Dreaming seems to be one way to help mute the tendency towards full-on Magic Ethnic.

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                          • #14
                            RigelJ That's fair, but I was actually trying to draw attention to the idea that what constitutes a "dragon" has varied wildly between cultures throughout the world. In this particular instance, we can narrow it down some, by focusing on European folklore, instead of trying to create one that spans across all regions.

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                            • #15
                              Also, being a Dragon is also a function of House, whether titular (Ailil) or more directly physical (Balor).

                              If there was a pure Dragon Kith, you could have the statement that "Some Dragons are Dragons, but not all Dragons are Dragons."

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