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Cryptid Dragons

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  • Cryptid Dragons

    I have seen many depictions of dragons on the Chronicles of Darkness forums. However, in medieval morality plays and general lore, demons are connected to dragons. They were both considered servants of the devil and enemies of god. In fact, when you see morality plays depicting dragons, the dragon is a metaphor for the devil.

    So, I decided to make a system of dragon creation where they are cryptids. Keep in mind that this is a system of creation, not the creation of an individual dragon. So, I tried to make it versatile enough for storytellers to create whatever dragons they want.

    So, without further ado:

    Long ago, before humans even existed, the God-Machine created a massive piece of infrastructure in what is now Africa. It was a massive garden, created as a testing ground for creations of the God-Machine. The garden was heavily guarded; however, one day, a serpent found a way into the garden and was transformed into the first dragon. Though the serpent tried to negotiate with the angels, it was futile and the serpent fled from the garden. Out of spite, the serpent led humanity’s ancestors into the garden and fed them the fruit of knowledge, which the God-Machine was not ready to give them yet. The fruit transformed the apes into creatures of mind and intellect. Since then, the God-Machine and the dragons have been at war.

    The dragons are the spawn of the serpent. They hid from the God-Machine for millions of years after human’s ancestors ate the fruit. However, when true humans came about and started building cities, the dragons left their hiding-holes. They told humanity of the God-Machine and showed them infrastructure to make them able to fight against it. This was unacceptable. The God-Machine sent its angels to drive away the dragons and, once they were done, used a great deal of its power to turn humanity against the dragons. It was so successful that whenever a dragon came near a human settlement, the humans themselves would come out and kill the dragon. And between the humans and the angels, the dragons were eventually whipped out.

    Or so most scholars think. In truth, the dragons were never whipped out. They simply got better at hiding. Dragons have found a way to take human form and have hidden amongst human society. They lie in wait, hiding and biding their time. They know of demons and are slowly making contact with them. Soon, the moment will come: the moment when they can take their revenge on the God-Machine.

  • #2
    Mechanics: Dragons are cryptids and, as such, they follow the same mechanics of other cryptids. However, there are a few dragon-specific rules. These rules will be presented below in the process of cryptid creation.

    Form: Dragons are cryptid serpents; however, their ancestor was no ordinary serpent. It was a member of a now extinct species of giant snake that has not yet been discovered in the fossil records. Since then, dragons have spread across the world and have taken many forms. As a result, no one template could possibly cover all the variations of dragons; however, there are some general rules. In terms of size, dragons vary quite a bit. Most dragons are between the size of an assault rifle (size 3) in the case of hatchlings to the size of an elephant (size 15) in the case of large adult dragons. Due to the distance between dragons and their ancestors, so long as they stay between those sizes, their rank is not affected by their size. Dragons have different species factors for speed depending on their size. Typical dragons have a species modifier between 4 and 6.

    Physical Attributes: Strength tends to be above the human limits for dragons. Stamina tends to be in the upper limits of human attributes and dexterity tends to be in the lower end of human attributes.

    Mental Attributes: Dragons have a least two intelligence and have high resolve. Wits is also at least two.

    Social Attributes: Dragons have high presence and composure and low manipulation.

    Psyche: Dragons, due to the size of their serpent ancestor, are not used to being prey and are very proud creatures. They do not take insults lightly and expected to be treated with deference. However, they will also treat those they deem worthy with respect and will pay back all their debts. Their pride will not allow them anything else. Despite this, dragons still retain some animalistic qualities. In particular, they are attracted to shiny objects. How much they are attracted varies based on where the dragon is from, but all dragons are at least slightly interested in collecting shiny objects. Note that dragons are not interested in accumulating wealth, it just happens that a lot of what humans have used as currency is shiny. In terms of skills, dragons tend to have high occult, intimidation, athletics, brawl, and survival.

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    • #3
      Adaptations: Dragons have many adaptations; however, all dragons, except maybe some hiding in remote corners of the world, have the Variable Form adaptation. Most dragons only have an alternate human form, but there are rumors of dragons with many different forms. All dragons also have Longevity. This means that they do not age and do not suffer from disease. In addition to that, some dragons keep growing for their entire life. It is said that the oldest living dragon is so long that his body circles the Earth with his nose touching his tail. Other common dragon adaptations are listed below.

      Armored Plates: As the demonic form power.

      Claws and Fangs: As the demonic form power.

      Fire Resistance: As the demonic form power.

      Wings: As the demonic form power, with the exception that they have a species factor of 15 while flying.

      Aquatic: For water dragons, as the demonic form power.

      Fire Breath: The dragon can exhale fire. Roll stamina + athletics to hit; anyone more than dragon’s size(1.6) feet away is immune. The fire inflicts a maximum of 5L damage regardless of successes rolled, meaning that if 1 success is rolled, the fire will inflict 5L damage and if 10 successes are rolled, the fire will inflict 5L damage. However, the damage removed by metal armor is halved. Any flammable material the fire comes into contact with, including clothing, is ignited. Ignited characters suffer 4L damage per turn. If the dragon hits an area with a lot of flammable material (such as a field with grass or a wooden house), the area suffers the inferno tilt.

      Note that these are just some of the most common adaptations. Dragons can have other adaptations and they could have none of these adaptations.

      Rank: Dragons typically have ranks between 3 and 5. Some dragons have higher ranks; however, while those dragons can survive in our world with the same ease as lower ranked dragons, they are typically noticed and killed by angels or they spend their days hiding in the most remote corners of Earth.

      So, this is the base dragon template. I have more content, including Dragon Riders (if you want something stupidly overpowered), Half-Dragons (a supernatural template that I'm worried is a bit under-powered), and even a dragon mystery cult. However, I'm going to give people a chance to comment on what I have before I post more.

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      • #4
        Cool beans. The giant snake thing is probably necessary to avoid spending all your points on just being bigger.

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        • #5
          Yeah, there were giant snakes in prehistory, but they all predated Homo Habilis (the proto-humans the serpent guided into the garden). So, I made it a snake species that hasn't been found in the fossil record yet. Anyway, here are the rules for dragon riders. And, no, I'm not going to balance dragon riders. Dragon riders are overpowered by nature and I would only recommend putting them in the game if you're fine with having ridiculously powerful characters.

          Dragon Riders: Some humans have a psychic connection to dragons. These humans are known as Dragon Riders, even if they don’t actually ride dragons. The origins of this connection are unknown, but the dragons claim that it came from them leading humanity’s ancestors to their fruit. Both those who are allied with dragons and those few who still hunt them value Dragon Riders immensely. At their basis, Dragon Riders can sense dragons. Of course dragons can also sense them, but that could be used to lure the dragon into a trap…or to connect it with allies. The allies of dragons actually find Dragon Riders more useful than their enemies do, as dragon riders can form even greater bonds with dragons that can grant both much greater power.

          Dragon Rider Merits:

          Dragon Sense (2): A variation on unseen sense. It is the prerequisite for all the other Dragon Rider merits. It allows the Rider to sense the presence and direction of dragons. However, dragons can sense the Rider in the same way.

          Dragon Bond (Style 1 to 5):

          1: The Rider forms a strong psychic bond with an individual dragon and can sense the dragon’s specific location, rather than just their general direction.

          2: The Rider uses their bond to direct the dragon and aid them in combat. By taking no actions in a turn, the Rider can give the dragon an extra point to their defense. This increases to 2 points if they make a successful meditation roll.

          3: The Rider develops a telepathic connection with the dragon and can send and receive messages to and from the dragon using only their mind.

          4: The dragon and the Rider simultaneously charge their enemy. The Rider does not actually need to ride on the dragon for this to work, but it is recommended to maximize the speed bonus of the dragon. By both the dragon and the Rider sacrificing their defense, they can move up to half their speed, the dragon adds the Rider’s weapon rating to their own, and the dragon gets a +2 bonus to attack.

          5: The dragon and the Rider are now deeply interconnected. By having either one of them spending a point of willpower, the Rider can gain claws doing 2L damage or the dragon can gain better social skills, giving it a +1 bonus to manipulation rolls.

          So, if you want to balance dragon riders, go ahead. I honestly wish you good luck because when you're trying to balance something as overpowered as dragon riders, you'll need it.

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          • #6
            And here are the rules for half-dragons:

            Half-Dragons: Dragons with human forms can have children with humans. These hybrids are known as half-dragons.

            Character Creation: Half-dragon characters all possess the Dragon Sense merit. In addition, half-dragons may select one of their parent dragon’s adaptations as their own. If the adaptation is a permanent physical alteration to their body, the half-dragon can spend a point of willpower to hide it for the rest of the day. They can bring it back out at any time without spending willpower. Also, the half-dragon must choose a minor adaptation. These adaptations are essentially skill specialties with a draconic theme. For example, a half-dragon may have a thunderous voice that gives them a bonus die for making direct threats with the intimidation skill or may have a tail that gives them a bonus to grappling with the brawl skill. Unlike with regular adaptations, minor adaptations can be concealed at no cost.

            Aging: Half-dragons age at roughly half the rate that normal humans do. However, they are free to take the Longevity adaptation to halt their aging altogether.

            Growth: Half-dragons are naturally larger than humans but can take a while to reach their full size. In gameplay terms, they may take the Giant merit at any time, not just at character creation.

            Draconic Pride: Half-dragons inherit a large portion of their parent’s pride and, like their parents, do not take insults lightly. When acting against someone who has insulted them, half-dragons get a bonus die when spending Willpower. However, for a half-dragon, refusing or being unable to pay a debt is a breaking point. They see it as an admission of weakness and it absolutely destroys their pride.

            Hoarding: Half-dragons have the same desire as their parents to possess shiny objects. However, this desire is much more subdued amongst their kind. Instead of possessing many shiny objects, half-dragons are known for closely guarding a single sparkly item. Any time a half-dragon defends that item, they regain a point of willpower, as if they have fulfilled a vice.

            Now, Half-Dragons are meant to be balanced, so if anyone has any suggestions on how to make them more balanced, please let me know.

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