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Political intrigue among Dragons (RPG Blog Carnival)

13 January, 2022

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival theme is hosted by Daemons and Death Rays and is on Political intrigue, Courtly drama and Factions and, as I am hosting next month, it seems only right that I contribute to this month’s carnival.  And the theme is perfect for the Sea of Stars in any case.

dragon-princeDragons are the rulers of the Sea of Stars from the Empress at the top who, in theory, ultimately controls everything to the lowest of individual dragons who only rule over a single island (for no dragon does not have at least a small piece of land that belongs entirely to them).  Each of them (except for the Empress, perhaps) is seeking to advance themself and gain more power, preferably at the expense of other dragons for everything is better when it is taken from another, thus proving one’s strength and a rival’s weakness.  Yes, dragons are usually right bastards.

But the dragons rarely descend to physical conflict with each other, as that is risky even with proper preparation, so they primarily focus on political maneuvering which, in many ways, is more satisfying in any case as it proves you are cleverer than your rival.  As dragons are functionally immortal, they have time to craft long-term, and occasionally absurdly complicated, plans to gain advantage over their rivals.  This is less of an advantage than it sounds as the rival they are acting against is also functionally immortal with the ability to prepare equally elaborate defenses or even counter maneuvers.

Now, what does this mean for the world in general and player characters in specific?  It means that there may be something happening that effects you even though you have no idea what is happening, who started it or what it is suppose to do.  For example:

  • A group of bound elementals constructing a huge dam that will block a river, drastically reducing water flow downstream restricting agriculture and slowing water-born transport.  The elementals are unlikely to bother anyone who does not interfere in their project, but the upstream effect of the dam could drown villages or even the place the characters want or need to go.
  • A precision military raid on a mining town aiming to destroy the mine’s entrance preventing production for weeks or months and seizing all of the ore currently mined economically crippling the mine’s owners.  This will disrupt trade and make the mine’s owner lose contracts and face with their trading partners.  Being in the town during the raid would be . . . uncomfortable.  Depending on the orders of the raider they may be targeted for slaughter or maybe ignored, if they do not get in the way.
  • The character are hired to deliver a message to a local ruler, unknown to the characters a dragon in humanish form, preferably by reading it aloud to them.  The message is highly insulting and depending on how it is delivered by the characters, it could get messy (though most rulers in the Sea of Stars are wise enough not to kill the messenger).  If the characters play it right, they may be hired to take a reply, equally filled with insults to the sender in an increasingly high stakes game of insults.

Or many other things.  However, as dragon plots are usually operating on such a different level from the life that most people live that they are likely to appear incomprehensible at first (and probably still puzzling after analysis).

Notes: I may, or may not, have more thoughts on this subject later in the month.

Image Dragon Prince, Vintage public domain illustration by Warwick Goble found on publicdomainpictures.net.

2 comments

  1. I’m gonna use some of these ideas in my Strixhaven in Eberron campaign…


    • Glad to be helpful. Let us know how it goes if you have time.



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