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Dragon as Darklord? 
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Post Dragon as Darklord?
Cyan Bloodbane is an awesome Green dragon. Schooled under a powerful evil archmage in the ways of magic, corrupting a powerful Elf King to make his kingdom fall, serving under ANOTHER evil archmage, trying (and failing) to orchestrate the fall of a whole elven subrace...
Magic, trickery, manipulation, power. A need to prove himself superior by orchestrating the fall of others (others being anything from kings to whole races). He could create vivid hallucinations and taint minds.
The usual picture of him, is whispering at the ear of the fallen Elf King
Image

My main problem: I can't think of him as a darklord, his awesome as a villain NPC but he doesn't stuck me as the Ravenloft material. Nothing Romantic or tragic or fallen about him. The fallen King? Sure. The dragon that orchestrated it? Not so much.

What I have so far:

The Darklord
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Duke Carpasinus Daturfel
Half-elf ex-green dragon (about 400 years old) with innate magic abilities and a powerful spellcaster. He learned magic while young, serving as the mount of a powerful evil archmage... before he betrayed the archmage in a crucial battle.
Having the rare power to change shape, this dragon was drawn in Ravenloft after orchestrating the fall of a human kingdom by corrupting the king. In human form, he drove him to madness and forcing him (and the kingdom) down to a path of ruin. Paranoia turned the king against neighbor elves and other former allies so when the various revolts turned to a rebellion and foreign enemies he ignored came in force, nobody helped. Before the dust settled, the dragon attacked in his true form spearheading monster invasion and destroyed the city. The Mists came as the dragon was mummifying the still alive king for his collection amid the ruins of his kingdom.
The dragon found himself in half-elf form on the throne that was similar to the throne of the King he ruined, in a duchy that was similar in geography and customs to the kingdom he ruined... but smaller. Less prosperous. Less worthy of his time. Every one hailed him as the Duke now that his "father" has died.
It wasn't long before the dragon realized that he couldn't change to his true form, that he couldn't leave the backwater place to go to his lair and bask in his treasure and the mummified remains of people he has ruined; effectively he had to start over. The duchy didn't have a lot of riches and as importantly for the dragon, it didn't have anyone worthy of his time. There wasn't a large righteous church he could corrupt. There wasn't a big prosperous guild he could lead to ruin. There wasn't even a magical academy he could turn to infernal practices!
Sure, there was a monarch... but he was that monarch.
Acting in anger he brutally killed some of his advisors. But few cared; the advisors weren't loved, weren't particularly competent and they weren't from any important noble houses (there were no important houses). And then the assassins came. And the Dragon found out nearly too late that he wasn't immune to poison. That he had his magic, but his frail humanoid form was way too easy to beat. Without even moderately powerful healers, wizards or warriors, he nearly lost his life to a group of 5 pathetic assassins that would have died in the first breath if he was able to take his true form. He realized then that he needs to surround himself with pathetic humans, that he actually needs protection.

In the two decades since his imprisonment, the dragon has tried to build up some of the institutions so he could lead them to ruin; but his position of power, intelligence and magic made it too easy to lead an institution to raise and his nature made sure he would sabotage and ruin the institution way too soon; he simply wasn't interested to put the effort needed nor suited in leading an organization to greatness or wait for one to be ripe enough. And he has come to realize that even if the whole duchy is brought to shining prosperity... it would still be not enough of a prize. It's simply too small compared to the kingdom he led to ruin, too poor compared to the riches he has amassed and too untalented compared to the remains of artists, rulers, generals and leaders he has gathered.

From investigations, rumors and spies he has learned of places far away; he has heard of the Weathermay family. He has heard of the large kingdom of Darkon, the church of Ezra, the church of the Lawgiver... all more worthy to him than what he had available. And the dragon seethes in anger and frustration, making it even harder for him to tolerate prosperity enough for him to be mildly interested to ruin.


The land
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Avaritia:
Population: 56000. 88% humans, 7% elves, 2% halflings, 1% dwarves, 2% other.
The Duchy is situated South of Sithicus. The Northern part (about 1/3 of the domain) is mostly a mix of temperate forests and hills that are home to various independent elven tribes. The misttop mountains and Disappearing mountains intrude a bit and end in this part of the domain and have a couple of old, small dwarven underground settlements. The Southern part, is mostly temperate, fertile grasslands and plains while it has some wooded areas, a few gentle hills and a large lake. It is inhabited mostly by human settlements close together and a few halfling villages.
Similar to other nearby domains, the empty areas and the forests of the domain hold ancient, mysterious ruins. Some of these still show signs of exceptional beauty that has now faded, others are crude remains of castles and forts long ruined and abandoned. Some show signs of elven architecture, some are unmistakably of dwarven craftsmanship and some show the utilitarian design of humanity. Some were obviously meant to hold, with strong (or even once enchanted) walls while others are structures made by necessity from those past owners with clay and wood. Amid the vines, crumbling arches and dusty facades, danger may lurk in waiting. Dangerous monsters or ghosts can often be found or curses may befall those that risk investigating them for valuables. Nearby settlements may have stories about the previous owners of those ruins but whether they're reliable is a matter of debate.

The majority of the humans live in hamlets and villages. These villages are not uniformly spread; several settlements will be within an hour walk of each other, then it would be empty land and wilderness for several miles before the next group of hamlets and villages. These village groups typically have 1000-2000 people with a few lesser nobles in command and their retinues keeping the peace. A single noble could own a couple small hamlets or a large village with lots of farmland and herd animals could be split between two nobles. Food and goods from those villages are usually catered to a nearby town, controlled by a baron. The towns are small, having a couple thousand people and between a dozen and a score of soldiers. The barons own the fealty of 12-20 lesser nobles and their retinues and receive some tax from them. There are three baronies in the duchy, that owe fealty to the duke, pay taxes and support him with their armies if needed. The capital is a moderately large town of about 6000 people, surrounded by a large, dense ring of small villages and farms whose lords are vassals directly to the duke, that account for another 8000 people.
The Halfling settlements pay more taxes in foodstuff and services but are usually exempt from military duty. In return, they are mostly self-governed. If needed the local baron would lend them support against monsters or enemies that threaten the piece.
The elves in the North are independent from the duke and his laws and resist the barons and the duke. From time to time, a tribe may fall under the influence or even command of a human baron but for various reasons such successful barons are quickly led to ruin. The dwarves are isolated enough and hard enough to be completely independent, but occasionally the make trade agreements with the various merchant guilds. Such agreements are temporary; the dwarves are not keen to spread their trade to humans too far and they have witnessed way too many successful merchants suddenly becoming erratic, cruel and paranoid crippling their own guilds.

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Last edited by alhoon on Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:24 am, edited 7 times in total.



Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:48 pm
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
I would not use him as a Darklord.

I think dragons aren't really a good fit for Ravenloft overall personally, I mean we /the PCs might be afraid of dragons because they're very powerful and might squish us like bugs, but there's nothing really horrifying about them in the same way with vampires, or lycanthropes or flesh golems,.. the difficulty I find with mixing dragons and Ravenloft is that dragons don't speak to the human condition, and how it can be changed/transformed by having the wrong thoughts/impulses/desires.

If you feel differently about how dragons and Ravenloft mesh feel free to ignore this post though just trying to giving my two cents.


Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:24 am
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
jamesfirecat wrote:
I would not use him as a Darklord.

I think dragons aren't really a good fit for Ravenloft overall personally, I mean we /the PCs might be afraid of dragons because they're very powerful and might squish us like bugs, but there's nothing really horrifying about them in the same way with vampires, or lycanthropes or flesh golems,.. the difficulty I find with mixing dragons and Ravenloft is that dragons don't speak to the human condition, and how it can be changed/transformed by having the wrong thoughts/impulses/desires.

If you feel differently about how dragons and Ravenloft mesh feel free to ignore this post though just trying to giving my two cents.


Yeah i haven't used a dragon in Ravenloft yet either, though it's not because they don't fit for me. I just generally don't use dragons as enemies a whole lot. You could always play up the inhumanness of dragons, as well as their lizard like aspects. You might even make the dragon to sound demonic, kinda just depends on the flavour you are going for and how it is being used.

I find it funny that there are tons of Gothic images with dragons yet hardly any gothic stories that I know with dragons eh?

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Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:56 pm
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
I use dragons often in Ravenloft. The same way I use hydras. The same with Giants: As D&D encounters\adventures in Ravenloft.
Nothing Ravenloftian about a Hydra in the swamps eating people. But it's an interesting encounter. Nothing Ravenloftian about a dragon eating people, or terrorizing people, but it's an interesting adventure. I had a homebrew domain where the darklord was representing the "lawful" side of evil and I had 3 red dragons representing the "chaotic" side of evil (and as cash\magic item reservoirs for my high level PCs; you have to find that +2 keen silver sword somewhere!).

I can't put my finger on why I don't use dragons as darklords though. I have no problem with "unappealing to human nature" darklords. I've used a naga as a darklord and I've used mind flayers extensively.

Anyway, I decided I'll try this: I won't use Bloodbane himself.
I'll use a similar background green dragon, of less power that has been cursed to be always in humanoid form after orchestrating the fall of a kingdom. That guy now has a lot of magic and mind influencing abilities but... he's a half-elf.
No eating elves, no hiding in the woods, no flying... Can't corrupt the boss cause he's the boss. Now he has to make sure he's not poisoned\assassinated (he lost the immunity to poison) by those that want his position.

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Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:13 pm
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
alhoon wrote:
I use dragons often in Ravenloft. The same way I use hydras. The same with Giants: As D&D encounters\adventures in Ravenloft.
Nothing Ravenloftian about a Hydra in the swamps eating people. But it's an interesting encounter. Nothing Ravenloftian about a dragon eating people, or terrorizing people, but it's an interesting adventure. I had a homebrew domain where the darklord was representing the "lawful" side of evil and I had 3 red dragons representing the "chaotic" side of evil (and as cash\magic item reservoirs for my high level PCs; you have to find that +2 keen silver sword somewhere!).

I can't put my finger on why I don't use dragons as darklords though. I have no problem with "unappealing to human nature" darklords. I've used a naga as a darklord and I've used mind flayers extensively.

Anyway, I decided I'll try this: I won't use Bloodbane himself.
I'll use a similar background green dragon, of less power that has been cursed to be always in humanoid form after orchestrating the fall of a kingdom. That guy now has a lot of magic and mind influencing abilities but... he's a half-elf.
No eating elves, no hiding in the woods, no flying... Can't corrupt the boss cause he's the boss. Now he has to make sure he's not poisoned\assassinated (he lost the immunity to poison) by those that want his position.


That I can totally get behind/I only had something along the gem of an idea but couldn't quite put my finger on.

On the other hand the principle of "I used to be immortal/invincible but then I lost my powers" is always fun/a good source of why a character can hate their current situation.

Also I think that is interesting because... honestly he'd be the only character I can think of who GOT WEAKER as part of becoming a Darklord so there's got to be something interesting in the pure novelty of it.

Does he have to try and be a good king or is he free to oppress as much as he wants?


Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:22 pm
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
Oh, there are other darklords that got weaker. Like that emperor in Roku-something (The Japan Sengoku-period domain). He's a geist with no powers forced to watch as his sons destroy his empire and he can't do anything about it.

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Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:25 pm
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
jamesfirecat wrote:
Does he have to try and be a good king or is he free to oppress as much as he wants?

I thought of it like 15 mins ago... I haven't worked out the kinks of it.
The way I imagine it he's quite oppressive but not drakov-y. He's a manipulator and wants to corrupt leaders in order to lead their people to ruin. He wants to be a Dominic but he was thrust in the spotlight when mists cleared. After leading a kingdom of hundreds of thousands to ruin, corrupting the local merchant's guild of 100 people or one of the many different churches with a few hundred followers each, isn't exactly to his standards.

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Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:33 pm
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
alhoon wrote:
jamesfirecat wrote:
Does he have to try and be a good king or is he free to oppress as much as he wants?

I thought of it like 15 mins ago... I haven't worked out the kinks of it.
The way I imagine it he's quite oppressive but not drakov-y. He's a manipulator and wants to corrupt leaders in order to lead their people to ruin. He wants to be a Dominic but he was thrust in the spotlight when mists cleared. After leading a kingdom of hundreds of thousands to ruin, corrupting the local merchant's guild of 100 people or one of the many different churches with a few hundred followers each, isn't exactly to his standards.


Here's an idea, the official crown/throne/whatever of office of the King should be a semi-powerful magical artifact/the reason he still has some dragon powers in mortal form.

In short, he only has access to those particular powers as long as he remains the actual king/spends X amount of time on said throne, so despite being a master manipulator, he's not able to just get some patsy to take his place and be the one who everyone blames/tries to kill for screwing things up the way that Dominic can without loosing most of his powers.


Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:35 pm
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
jamesfirecat wrote:
alhoon wrote:
jamesfirecat wrote:
Does he have to try and be a good king or is he free to oppress as much as he wants?

I thought of it like 15 mins ago... I haven't worked out the kinks of it.
The way I imagine it he's quite oppressive but not drakov-y. He's a manipulator and wants to corrupt leaders in order to lead their people to ruin. He wants to be a Dominic but he was thrust in the spotlight when mists cleared. After leading a kingdom of hundreds of thousands to ruin, corrupting the local merchant's guild of 100 people or one of the many different churches with a few hundred followers each, isn't exactly to his standards.


Here's an idea, the official crown/throne/whatever of office of the King should be a semi-powerful magical artifact/the reason he still has some dragon powers in mortal form.

In short, he only has access to those particular powers as long as he remains the actual king/spends X amount of time on said throne, so despite being a master manipulator, he's not able to just get some patsy to take his place and be the one who everyone blames/tries to kill for screwing things up the way that Dominic can without loosing most of his powers.



This all sounds interesting , maybe do a combination of both. Have it a complete backwater and he has to spend 12 hours on the throne. She is also cursed that every time she tries to manipulate something it goes wrong and it is traced back to her. Have her form be a naïve looking 16 year old girl so everyone thinks she is a naïve bimbo who is incapable of learning. To make it worse the dragon was male when he was in his true form.


Wed Apr 08, 2015 3:26 pm
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
Well, those are kinda too much for what I want and what I have in mind.
For the "why he chooses to rule" the answer is simple: That darklord's curse in my mind should not be that he has to rule while he doesn't want to. It's that he's a manipulator bend on corrupting leaders, stuck in a backwater place... without leaders worthy of his attention. In half-elf form.
It's more like: "I was used to play in NBA and now I have to play in the city high-school class championship; and there are just 5 high-schools"
(As a note, the thought of abdicating the throne to someone else, losing so much power is completely out of what a dragon would think; it was nearly unheard of in the middle ages for a monarch to abdicate. Even in our decade, with the back-to-back monarch resignations of the past few years they abdicated at advanced age to their kids and it still was odd)


Sure, there's anti-human elven tribes in the forests... that are small and independent. There are small churches with few followers each. There are a few merchant guilds... without being terribly prosperous.
He could ruin each of those small institution by manipulation, corruption and dark whispers. Sometimes he does. Sometimes he even puts the effort to build up one of those factions to prominence to make its fall louder. But his evil nature soon emerges and his ruins those factions way before they are truly worthy of his attention.

NOTE:
PCs of high level should not go in the domain, or if they do the dragon shouldn't be able to corrupt and claim them. High level persons (as well as exceptional craftsmen) are exactly what the dragon needs for his hoard (greens gather persons as well as wealth in D&D next) and to get out of his ennui. As such, the Dark Powers would help powerful PCs get out of the dragon's clutches even if they start getting corrupted by him.

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Last edited by alhoon on Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Wed Apr 08, 2015 5:36 pm
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
I EDITED THE FIRST POST

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Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:31 pm
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
Don't know much about this character, but why is a Green Dragon named Cyan? Shouldn't it be a Blue Dragon? (a Light Blue Dragon?)

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Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:05 pm
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
Gonzoron of the FoS wrote:
Don't know much about this character, but why is a Green Dragon named Cyan? Shouldn't it be a Blue Dragon? (a Light Blue Dragon?)


That's a very good question that has no answer. You have to ask Margaret Weiss about it. CBB is a dragon in the dragonlance novels (Dragons of Winter night unless I'm mistaken). The one that held the Silvanesti king as a thrall and send out nightmares that scared even the "immune to fear" kender.

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Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:15 pm
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Post Re: Should I consider Cyan Bloodbane as a Darklord?
Gonzoron of the FoS wrote:
Don't know much about this character, but why is a Green Dragon named Cyan? Shouldn't it be a Blue Dragon? (a Light Blue Dragon?)


My favorite color to be exact. XD Now I want to have a campaign of color named dragons. xD

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Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:52 pm
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