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Dragonstar. It was three days before I got my first glimpse of the invaders: great monstrous, manlike machines that strolled through the city like they owned it. The Dragonstar SRD is based on the Dungeons and Dragons SRD & the Gaming Content from Fantasy Flight Games "DragonStar" campaign setting. Home › Ron's RPG Stuff › Shades of the Dragon Empire Dragonstar is a unique space-fantasy campaign setting for the d20 PDF Button.

Welcome to Dragonstar , a boundless universe of magic and machine, science and sorcery. Intrepid adventurers explore the Outlands in starships powered by fusion fire and arcane rituals. Dwarven prospectors work veins of pure adamantine in remote asteroid belts, and elven loremasters conduct secret experiments in living space stations. Grizzled mercenaries augment their bodies with bioengineered spellware, and orc raiders armed with pulse lasers massacre innocents on isolated colony worlds. Dragonstar is a unique space-fantasy campaign setting for the d20 System from Fantasy Flight Games. This book allows you to incorporate your own fantasy world into the Dragonstar universe or introduce high technology and space opera elements into your ongoing campaign. The book also presents new d20 System rules for firearms and vehicle combat. These eBooks are digitally watermarked to signify that you are the owner. A small message is added to the bottom of each page of the document containing your name and the order number of your eBook download. If any books bearing your information are found being distributed illegally, then your account will be suspended and legal action may be taken against you. Log In. New Account or Log In. Hide my password.

House Altara is firmly allied with Asamet, and the white dragons were among the first to kneel to Lazalius when the kingdom was founded. Nimgroth does his best, however, to stay away from the. The Dragon Empire is the kind of political arrangement that could only have emerged from a crisis. At times, it seems so fragile that it will collapse from within under the slightest pressure. The Empire has survived for 5, years not because it is efficient or just, but because for all its flaws it is preferable to the state of total war that preceded it.

The Empire was created solely to put an end to this war and prevent its recurrence, and this overriding objective is responsible for its most unusual features. As irrational, unstable, and fraught with peril as the line of succession is, King Khelorn could devise no other way to secure the support of the dragon lords of Asamet.

The royal houses are truly vast institutions, encompassing thousands of families and millions of dragon lords. The houses are given some coherent identity simply by the natures of the dragons they represent, and by the grand dukes who dictate their policies and actions. Nevertheless, each house is a complex tapestry of competing visions and individual endeavors that often work at crosspurposes.

Early in its history,. King Khelorn held it together for a thousand years with his charisma and force of will, but it would quickly spin out of control with Emperor Alarion on the throne. Four thousand years and innumerable crises later, the descendants of these observers predicted that Mezzenbone would declare martial law on the throneworlds and set about executing his political enemies as soon as he entered the imperial palace.

Once the Imperial Charter was in place, however, the chromatic dragons generally had an easier time abiding by its terms than the lords of Qesemet did. As a general rule, the evil dragons have few concerns beyond the power and prosperity of themselves, their families, and their houses. Because the Imperial Charter grants them significant autonomy in the way they administer their domains, most are perfectly happy with the status quo. Even under the rule of Qesemet, they were the master of their domains and suffered few real restrictions on their activities.

The good dragons, however, have faced a more difficult moral challenge. While many are convinced of their superiority to other species, they nevertheless care about the welfare of others. These dragon lords believe it is their moral duty to look after the less powerful races in their care. Why else did the gods bestow such bountiful gifts on the dragons if not to shepherd and protect those less fortunate?

Others do not share this patronizing attitude but do feel compassion, empathy, and concern for the other races. For these dragons of good conscience, the question is how they can justify collaborating with the rule of evil beings. If by inaction or active participation they are responsible for the suffering of others, are they not obligated to rebel and attempt to throw down this regime?

As might be expected, different dragons have approached these moral questions in different ways. Some, typically the ones in the highest positions of power, believe that the imperial order is necessary to save the people of the known galaxy from far greater suffering and evil.

Others believe that the Empire was flawed in conception and corrupt in execution and secretly work with insurgent elements to bring about its demise.

No dragon lord has yet tried to openly break away from the Empire, but a few are becoming increasingly daring in their covert resistance. The pact that established the Dragon Empire marked the end of open warfare between the Kingdoms of Qesemet and Asamet. It did not bring peace. The pact did move the war out of the public spotlight and into the shadows, however.

It is now fought on isolated Outlands worlds that few imperial citizens have heard of, or in the private chambers of the Imperial Council, or in the dark alleys of the great metropolises. It is fought not with dreadnoughts and weapons of mass destruction, but with silenced handguns, poisoned daggers, and political propaganda. This is a covert war that has been ongoing for 5, years and for which neither side has a clear objective. Rather, both kingdoms simply know they must continue the fight wherever and however they can.

Mezzenbone was in his element during the great war that almost exterminated life in the known galaxy. Most people viewed the war as a hideous mistake and colossal tragedy that had cost billions of lives. Mezzenbone saw it as a glorious opportunity to serve his dark gods and become like unto a god himself. The Red Dragon lusts for violence and thrives on the pain and suffering of the weak. These things have meaning only insofar as they enrich or empower him.

Even the smallest defeat is unthinkable, for it would make him question himself and the unique place in the cosmos that is his alone to occupy.

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During the great war, Mezzenbone saw an opportunity to make his personal vision a reality. With the vast. The five houses would serve his cause until Qesemet had been ground into dust and then they too would join his enemies in oblivion. If he had continued to believe he could win the war. And he needs servants willing and able to carry out the difficult and dangerous tasks he sets before them. When he took the Golden Throne. Mezzenbone had found his new strategy.

He will either cripple all opposition in his initial assault or he will fail. The Dragon Empire war machine of Asamet at his command. It would also give Mezzenbone time to prepare. Mezzenbone is actively gathering artifacts and relics of legendary power on worlds in the Outlands.

He needs weapons capable of destroying whole worlds and even star systems. They must be decapitated and paralyzed by his initial.

It was only when it became clear that the great war would inevitably claim him too that he began to explore alternative strategies. Mezzenbone does not expect to fight a war in the ordinary sense: He expects the fighting to be over in a matter of minutes. When King Khelorn proposed the creation of an empire ruled by both Asamet and Qesemet. His legions are being trained and blooded in countless frontier wars.

He needs artifacts capable of slaying the near-immortal dragon lords and scattering the fragments of their souls across the planes. He will either fulfill the promise of the great war five millennia ago. The Emperor realizes that a military effort of this scope and scale against an enemy of such might will require magical and technological weapons of enormous power. Mezzenbone does not intend for House Osorus to inherit the Golden Throne. The five millennia of rule under Qesemet would soften the people of the Empire.

Even with more than 5. The Dragon Empire has always encouraged a healthy capitalism within its borders. Because there is a seemingly unending supply of these Outlands worlds. These huge. These worlds offer few goods that are in demand in the Empire. As with tax policy. While this motivates those who can afford it to chapter two: Commerce Mortal beings are scattered throughout the stars from one end of the known galaxy to the other. Many Outlands worlds are an exception to this rule. Most citizens of the Dragon Empire have one thing in common: They need to work for a living.

Laws covering everything from environmental protection to child labor regulations have been significantly weakened or repealed altogether. These obstacles are dealt with in very different ways within the Domains of Qesemet and the Domains of Asamet. Every planet can benefit from trade and few offer goods or services that are unique in the Empire.

When the metallic dragons colonize a new world. Taxes have historically been moderate. While this approach is likely inefficient in the long run. In this respect. They trade the sweat of their brow for credits. In short. In systems where specific goods are heavily taxed or restricted. First contact is followed by a steady stream of money. Over the past 40 years. Where tariffs do exist. These include everything from fair trade laws to environmental and safety regulations.

If a local lord imposes unusually high tariffs or engages in trade practices that other lords consider unfair. In these domains. If he cultivates closer trading relationships with the Domains of Qesemet.

Since the reign of Emperor Khelorn. If it is brought to fruition. The policies of the houses of Asamet are frequently more severe. If he proposes a measure to the Imperial Council that would loosen security and increase traffic along the Long Road.

The individual domains also levy their own taxes. A planet with a much less developed technological base has a difficult time integrating with the imperial economy. They spend their days growing food. In the daily lives of many citizens. The negotiations that determine the granting of commercial rights in Outlands worlds are complex and secretive. Due to the entrenched obstacles and prejudices that confront them in the aristocorps. Together with land grants on the planets themselves.

They wield an enormous amount of power that almost no one can escape. After a long career of service to an aristocorp. Arcane magic provides such an edge on the social and commercial battlegrounds that few can go very far without access to it.

The rich are richer. This prejudice against thinbloods often seems irrational to outside observers.

While newly colonized worlds within the Domains of Asamet have always struggled with their dragon masters. The management ranks of the aristocorps are filled with the lesser lords of the royal houses. When a new colony is established on an Outlands world. The deals that are made and broken between corporations and royal houses often decide the fortunes of the former and can have a profound impact on the latter.

These shares are often traded between families or offered as rewards to lower-ranking lords for exceptional service. They are therefore free to grant. Even in Qesemet. These laws no longer exist. These executives typically outperform their ungifted colleagues and certainly enjoy more social prestige. Most of the management professionals have at least some dragonblood. Families own shares in these companies in proportion to their political and social standing within their house.

Under the rule of the Qesemet Emperors. Some well-placed lords make do with advisors who can provide the magic they require. The highest-ranking decision-makers in the aristocorps are therefore almost always either truebloods or thickbloods.

There are chapter two: The Dragon Empire Aristocorps Many of the largest interstellar corporations in the Empire are wholly owned private enterprises of the royal houses. This has led to a division of the non-trueblood nobility into two subcastes: If the local kings and princes know they will keep their kingdoms. The latter occurs more often than one might expect. If she is recognized by her dragon parent. Beyond the imperial core.

This is especially true of raw materials. The universal laws of supply and demand govern trade between star systems. Sorcerer characters. The same elements occur everywhere in the known galaxy: If a world discovers that it is relatively poor in gold or uranium.

The trueblood dragons are the ones who perpetuate the current class structure. Halfdragons who are not recognized by their dragon parents are called houseless lords. Khelorn himself effectively established this class structure when he founded the Kingdom of Qesemet. Goods are downloadd on worlds where they are plentiful or inexpensive to produce and transported to worlds where they are rare and expensive.

They are treated as members of the aristocracy. Even the dragons of Qesemet are proud. Player characters can lay claim to the blood of dragons by their choice of race or class. These materials are often magical or at least have verifiable mystical properties. The most common examples are mithral and darkwood. The only consistent exceptions are materials that are very rare and that do not occur everywhere with the same frequency.

They keep their title and the privileges that entails. Interstellar Trade few of these families who have not been touched by the tragedy of thinning blood. For those who strike out on their own. With effort. The stratification of society by purity of dragonblood is most severe in the Domains of Osorus and Esmer.

They serve in the aristocorps. Most aristocratic adventurers have left behind the life of both the idle and the committed nobility. It is therefore almost never profitable to transport raw materials across interstellar distances. Beyond transport costs. The extremely high cost of star travel. If the character is a half-dragon. The worlds in these sectors chapter two: They may always have friends and family members in their house who they can call upon for assistance.

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The distance between colonized systems is vast and the costs of transport correspondingly high. A cargo of mithral downloadd from a dwarven asteroid mine and transported to a developed world lacking the metal can be extremely profitable. The aristocorps and other giant conglomerates dominate interstellar trade between the core systems of the Empire. These massive corporations have the largest fleets and warehouses. When it comes to explaining the gods. No one of sound mind seriously doubts that they are guided by the divine.

Aani remains the religious capital of the Empire. They hire their own crews. They operate on tiny margins. While they are always one step away from financial ruin. They sometimes lack strong markets. Free traders often earn just enough from a run to maintain their ship and download their next cargo.

Orthodox clerics of the Unification Church believe that the thousands and thousands of deities worshipped in the known galaxy are cultural aspects of the.

In its early years. It is impossible to prove that its doctrines are true in the way that a scientific theory about the physical universe may be proven or disproved.

While most citizens of the Empire worship one or more deities and clerics can even commune with them. For several millennia. In the Dragon Empire. They are bold and sometimes even foolhardy. It is not the only way to understand or make sense of the gods. Clerics can cure the sick. In this cultural environment. Law enforcement is sometimes lax in these systems. Qesemet and Asamet had risen to dominate the old Star League.

These distant sectors of the Empire are the domain of free traders and independent merchants. The Dragon Empire In the Dragonstar universe. Some own their own freighters. The symbol of the Unification Church is a stylized spiral galaxy. Under its spreading influence. With a shared religion. The church rose to prominence during an age in which regular contact and trade between worlds was increasing at a dramatic rate.

Even in a universe where mortals speak with the gods and wield their magic. Evidence of their presence can be found everywhere. They also claim that the opposition inherent in the Empire will eventually tear it apart. While sometimes difficult to comprehend. Two kingdoms dominated by beings of supernatural power. Progressive clerics. These supreme beings. According to the strict interpretation of doctrine. According to these heretics. The only differences are cultural artifacts imposed by the worshippers themselves throughout the centuries or millennia in which their cultures have developed.

The Dualist clerics claim that the Dragon Empire was prophesied in the ancient scriptures of the Unification Church. This doctrinal schism has usually remained peaceful and scholarly.

To the progressives. Five hundred years ago. Begun by a small group of clergymen. As a devout follower of the Destroyer. The Destroyer appears in countless guises in many different cultures. These clerics rarely work together to advance their cause.

Shades of the Dragon Empire

Protection Symbol: A balanced scale In different aspects. Whereas the Mother represents raw. Through destruction. Mezzenbone openly worships the Destroyer. Those who worship the Destroyer believe that life is a cycle of death and rebirth.

The Father is often considered the highest authority in a culture or civilization. In other cultures. He strives to undo all that has been done and bring creation to an end. In the Empire. This is of grave concern to many. Patriarch of the Gods. These conflicts have even led to war on countless planets throughout the known galaxy.

Many police precincts in the Dragon Empire have chapels dedicated to the Judge. In the religions of most cultures. Lawful good Domains: It is their duty to tear down what others have built. Chaotic evil Domains: War Symbol: A black.

His clothing is often archaic or timeless. A golden sun The Father is one of the two creator deities within the Great Pantheon. In most civilizations. He is the ultimate lawmaker. He is the lord of entropy and the master of the void. In some cultures. Among the long-lived races. Clerics of the Father often work closely with the ruling class or government of their culture. Among the short-lived races.

He may appear as a great. The Judge is both the arbiter of fairness and the divine hand wielding the hammer of punishment. The Judge is worshipped by those whose job it is to make.

Neutral Domains: Plant Symbol: A crescent moon The Mother is the deitype of life. Her eyes sparkle even in the darkest night. In common renderings. In different depictions. In her gentler aspects. She is also worshipped by those searching for love or romance. She is often depicted wrapped in bedsheets or other diaphanous materials. He is the traditional patron of the dragonblooded aristocracy and the divine mentor of sorcerers and wizards.

Trickery Symbol: A gold coin The Merchant is the goddess of commerce. Lawful neutral Domains: She is often represented as the unattainable goal. The Merchant is worshipped by traders. The Mother is worshipped by women throughout the Dragon Empire. While the Father created the universe.

They prefer the privacy of their secluded temples and remote monasteries where they can devote their attentions to the sacred pursuit of knowledge. She is also honored by those who make their living from the land or in the wilderness. Her temples and clerics are often affiliated with commercial enterprises.

Her clerics devote themselves and their temples to the glorification of beauty. She is often draped. She is the personification of nature in all its aspects. Her aspects can also appear as deities of celebration. Some are drawn to the hedonistic aspects of the Lover.

She is the lady of gardens. Their own financial institutions often support these enterprises with low-interest loans for factories or starships and other services.

The Mother usually appears as a beautiful matron clothed in the colors of the seasons. Many clerics of the Magus are sorcerers as well and a few of the most reclusive are wizards. He is also the god of knowledge. She is the patron of mothers and motherhood. Clerics of the Magus are rarely involved in the politics of the Dragon Empire. Chaotic good Domains: The Lover usually appears as a breathtakingly beautiful and seductive nymph.

The Magus is worshipped by all practitioners of arcane magic. In many cultures.

Dragon Star - Guide to the Galaxy

An open eye The Magus is the personification of magic. The Dragon Empire Alignment: Neutral good Domains: They are always closely involved in imperial politics.

Water Symbol: A white dove The Lover is both the object of ultimate desire and the personification of ideal beauty. Many of the common folk honor the Magus and ask for protection from evil magic in their everyday lives. She is the goddess of fair contracts and exchanges that benefit both parties. Many bards also offer prayers to the Magus. He often wields a great trident or harpoon in one hand and a conch horn in the other.

Chaotic neutral Domains: The people of island nations and port cities honor him whether or not they live and work at sea. The Trickster has a reputation as a thief and deceiver. In many mythic stories. Lawful evil Domains: A silver trident The Stormlord is the deitype of the elemental forces of nature. The Reaper is commonly depicted as a bleachedwhite skeleton wrapped in a voluminous robe of impenetrable black.

In these civilizations. Most mortals honor the Reaper. His hair is long. The prosperity of all in such cultures is inextricably tied to the weather and the ocean. Some pray to the Reaper to grant them the power of his dark realm. An anvil The Smith is the god of crafts. These traditions present the Trickster as a fundamentally unpredictable and whimsical god: His actions may be cruel and even evil.

The Smith is often the patron deity of pilots. The Stormlord is revered by sailors. He is the god of storms. A humanoid skull The Reaper is the embodiment of death. Even in human cultures.

While the Mother represents the nurturing and life-giving aspects of the natural world. Inland cultures rarely draw upon the influence of the sea in depictions of the Stormlord. He is the patron of cruel humor and biting wit but also of children. Spellcasters make offerings to him when they craft magic items. He is the master of technical knowledge and practical magic. He wields a great scythe that severs souls from their mortal bodies.

Evil clerics of the Reaper are usually reclusive and disorganized. Prayers and gifts are offered to the Stormlord in return for the bounty of the sea and his protection from storms. These clerics are the keepers of dark secrets. He does not represent battle for the sake of bloodlust or destruction. One cannot gain enlightenment by ignoring the negative forces that are just as crucial as the positive to the unfolding of the universe. By striving to attain purity in their own lives.

He fashioned the material universe from the void between the planes and planted the seeds that blos- Alignment: Any but Good and Law Symbol: These rare villains willingly sacrifice their souls in return for power.

A greatsword The Warrior is the deitype of strength. Clerics of the Creator devote their lives to the benevolent cause of their deity. While these clerics never fully succeed in their quest. The universe was created. In the Dualist tradition.

For the Warrior and those who follow him. Only the most evil mortals devote themselves to the Adversary. Clerics devoted to the Adversary sometimes work together.

The Trickster is often depicted as a humanoid figure of uncertain sex and race. These purist clerics seek neither to do evil nor to punish it.

Any but Chaos and Evil Symbol: A golden wheel The Creator is the Dualist god of the positive forces of the universe. It is filled with light but also vast dark spaces. Clerics of the Creator believe it is their duty to guide those who have turned away from it back toward the light. Unsurprisingly, their closest relations were with the gnome nations of Irindul III: While they attempted to develop close ties with all of the races of this new world, they remained most comfortable with and trusting of their own kind.

Unfortunately, the generosity of Forongorn proved to be the undoing of Irindul. The gnomes of Aranal had acquired their high technology through centuries of painstaking experimentation and development in relative isolation.

In the process, they developed the social and political maturity to use it responsibly. The people of Irindul never had that opportunity, and many of them were unwilling to serve a lengthy apprenticeship to their benefactors in the Forongorn Confederation.

Their new technology gave them an undreamed of freedom to explore the galaxy, and they wanted to test their wings immediately. The dark nebula that would eventually become known as the Dark Zone spread across the sky like the black, slit pupil of the Serpents Eye. Long before the discovery of spaceflight, it had drawn the attention of mystics and astronomers and spawned countless stories, superstitions, and speculative theories.

The Forongorn Confederation had steadfastly avoided it, but to the people of Irindul, it seemed the ultimate symbol of the unknown and they dedicated their newborn spacefaring civilization to conquering its mysteries. For decades, they mounted countless expeditions into the Dark Zone, and every starship they sent into the dark nebula was lost.

Finally, a spacecraft did emerge from the Dark Zonebut it hadnt been launched from Irindul. The strange ship was crewed by alien, evil creatures that used the powers of their minds to prey upon and enslave the other races. The ship was responsible for much destruction before it was finally defeated. In the aftermath, scientists from the Forongorn Confederation confirmed that the alien creatures were mind flayers. They theorized that the creatures were not indigenous to this part of the galaxy, and that their homeworld must lie somewhere in the interior of the Dark Zone.

They argued that the rare mind flayers encountered on the worlds visited by the confederation must be the remnants of ancient colonies or enclaves. Once the mind flayer threat had been dealt withat least temporarilydiplomats from the Forongorn Confederation met with the leaders of Irindul and forged a treaty covering spaceflight, exploration, and colonization.

This treaty banned travel to or exploration of the Dark Zone. Every time this restriction has been lifted or ignored, it has proven costly. To this day, no imperial ships have explored the depths of the Dark Zone and returned. Fortunately, these conflicts were always contained to relatively small regions and were never allowed to engulf the whole Star League. As a general rule, the people of newly contacted planets were pleased with the development. There was often a necessary period of adjustment, but the benefits of advanced technological civilization were a powerful incentive to peaceful integration.

Within a few centuries, the Star League encompassed dozens of inhabited worlds and stretched hundreds of light years from its historical center in the Gulinar system. This was the Star Leagues golden age, and like all such eras, it was destined to come to an end. Inevitably, they encountered other inhabited worlds and slowly inducted them into their growing community. When this community had grown large enough, they formed an umbrella government to peacefully administrate the many competing nations and worlds.

This interstellar organization was called the Star League, and it was based in large part on the institutional and legal structure of the now-venerable Forongorn Confederation.

Each world was allowed a great deal of autonomy, as long as it respected the rights and interests of the other member planets.

Usually, contact and assimilation of new worlds occurred without incident, but on occasion, weapons were fired in anger and blood was shed. While the children of the gods had left the worlds of their birth behind, theyd inevitably brought aggression, greed, and prejuThe imperials use a standard calendar in which time is reckoned from the founding of the Empire. Thus, the current year is IE.

On most of the planets the Star League contacted, dragons were encountered. By nature, these creatures were few in number and rather reclusive. As planetary civilizations were globalized through technological development, however, the dragons found it more and more difficult to maintain their privacy. Inevitably, the dragons were faced with a choice: either integrate with this new civilization or be overcome by it.

As the centuries passed, more and more dragons chose integration. Harnessing their native power, intellect, and hoarded wealth, they became industrial and commercial giants, political and military leaders.

Some rose to positions of power in established national, planetary, and interstellar states, while others built their own pocket empires through conquest or subversion. With access to star travel, the dragons were able overcome the primary obstacle to their influence in the known galaxy: their rarity. As they traveled throughout the stars, they encountered others of their kind and forged alliances, whether social, economic, political, or military.

Before long, these dragon networks controlledoften secretlythe most powerful corporations, governments, political and military institutions, and social organizations in the Star League. As the dragons grew more powerful and influential, jealousy and prejudice toward them became more common. Few races in the Star League could match the dragons powerful bodies, immeasurable life spans, innate magic, seemingly limitless wealth, and countless other gifts.

Inevitably, resentment toward the dragons grew. They were characterized as greedy, aggressive, arrogant, and self-absorbed. Even the good dragons gained reputations in some quarters as megalomaniacal, self-styled gods who would squeeze every last drop of power and wealth from the galaxy for their own benefit.

On some worlds, hate groups formed and dragons began to be targeted by acts of covert violence and terrorism. On others, local governments passed laws restricting the chapter one: the dragonstar galaxy 10 10l10 rights and activities of dragons, including corporations and other organizations they were involved in.

The dragons responded to these developments in very different ways. Many of the chromatic dragons lashed out with violence and retaliation, launching military campaigns, trade wars, and covert operations against their rivals and enemies. These actions created an era of great instability in the known galaxy, and it looked like the Star Leagues delicate political structure might tear itself apart from within. The metallic dragons decided they could win a secure future for themselves only through unity.

At a great council on the planet Scion III, the metallic dragons founded Qesemet, which means golden kingdom in the Draconic language. The great gold wyrm Khelorn was crowned the first king of Qesemet, having received the unanimous support of the attending delegates.

The territories of Qesemet were spread across dozens of worlds, but it offered membership and security to all of dragonkind. The dragons organized into individual clans based on subspecies, but all the clans were ultimately answerable to King Khelorn. The kings homeworld, Galador, was established as the capital of Qesemet. Of course, the chromatic dragons refused to send delegates to Scion III and scoffed at the idea of serving King Khelorn.

Led by the blue wyrm Lazalius, the chromatics founded a rival dominion called Asamet, the iron kingdom. Fearing the unified power of Qesemet, the evil clans flocked to King Lazalius and began to spread the influence of Asamet throughout known space. Led by the great dragons, the wealth and might of Qesemet and Asamet grew quickly.

The twin kingdomsone light and one darksoon became the dominant powers in the galaxy. The old Star League faded away, becoming little more than a treaty and advisory organization. As their influence grew, the relations between Qesemet and Asamet grew colder: Their worldviews, values, and beliefs were diametrically opposed and could never be reconciled. Inevitably, the two kingdoms made war on each other. While the buildup to war lasted decades, the first incident between forces of the two kingdoms occurred in AE.

A battleship group of House Mazorgrim, the red dragons of Asamet, was interdicted by a small patrol of destroyers in the service of House Golion, the copper dragons of Qesemet. The Meniach system, where the incident occurred, was the main staging point in a contested zone between the two houses. While it officially remained neutral and open to traffic from both houses, the quick-tempered commander of the patrol force interpreted the appearance of the powerful battleship group as an act of war.

The commander hailed the Asamet flagship, denying the fleet access to the inner system. The rest of the patrol attempted to withdraw to the Qesemet space station in orbit around Meniach IV, but it was pursued and utterly destroyed by the Asamet fleet. The great war that followed this incident was the most destructive catastrophe the galaxy had ever knownor has known since. Great fleets of warships clashed above forgotten planets, whole continents were riven by powerful magics, and billions died as worlds were crushed under the clawed feet of the great dragon armies.

Most other races, nations, and worlds became engulfed in the conflict, allying themselves with either Qesemet or Asamet, usually along lines of alignment.

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Before long, the terrible war had spread throughout the galaxy. In the year 12 AE, the consequences of war became so terrible that the tides of history were finally turned. The planet Krellis, a haven for the minor clan of rare yellow dragons, was invaded by forces of House Handor and House Aranath, the brass and bronze clans. The yellows had never been major players in dragon politics, and they tried to remain neutral in the war despite their formal allegiance to Asamet.

During the battle, a weapon of mass destruction was unleashed that completely destroyed the planet, reducing it to a chaotic field of tumbling, superheated rocks in a matter of seconds.

Some have suggested that antimatter weapons were responsible for the destruction. Others believe that a planar bomb was detonated on the surface of Krellis: an arcane artifact that channeled and combined energy from the positive and negative energy planes to create a titanic explosion orders of magnitude more powerful than anything mere technology could achieve. This theory is supported by the scar that now revolves in the orbit once occupied by Krellis: a space-time rift.

This tear in the fabric of reality emits lethal quantities of hard radiation, and its mass seems to constantly be in flux. One second it appears to have negligible mass and gravitational pull, and the next second its mass is greater than a colossal black holes. The system has been rendered completely uninhabitable by the rift, and scientists believe that its unstable orbit will eventually cause it to collide with the primary star, to uncertain but no doubt devastating effect. In a moment of sublime humility and wisdom, Khelorn admitted that the war was ultimately his fault.

When he founded Qesemet, hed known the chromatics would not participate, that they would be excluded and would inevitably feel resentment because of it. Despite their differences, dragonkind could only enjoy a lasting peace if a new kingdom were formed in which all were included: gold and red, silver and blue, good and evil. Khelorn also knew that the evil clans would only agree if they were allowed to share rulership of the new realm.

This time, the leaders of all the clansgood and evilattended. All were wise enough to recognize that they faced extinction if they were not able to forge a permanent truce. Khelorn proposed the creation of an empire that would span the known galaxy. This empire would be ruled in a line of succession by each of the dragon clans. The elder of one clan would rule for a thousand years and then pass the crown to the successor clan, who would in turn rule for a millennium. While the debates and political battles over the line of succession lasted for years, the leaders of all the dragon clans eventually accepted the proposal.

The five clans of Qesemet would rule first, beginning with Khelorn himself. After 5, years, the elder wyrm of the red dragons would assume the imperial throne.

Blessed with practically immeasurable lifespans, the chromatics were willing to wait and prepare for the day when they would rise to ascendancy over the galaxy. Many of the leaders of the other races, nations, and world powers were not entirely pleased with the prospect of subservience to a dragon emperor.

Through a combination of political pressure, rewards, and outright threats, all but a few isolated frontier worlds eventually submitted. The benefits of citizenship in the new empirepeace, security, and prosperitywere simply too enticing to ignoreand the price of defiance simply too high. Their artifacts and machines of war were simply too powerful and their hatred for each other too deep.

The king realized that if he didnt do something drastic, all The Dragon Empire has endured and prospered for more than five millennia. The Imperial Council is wracked by political infighting and intrigue, armed skirmishes often flare up along the borders of opposed royal houses, emperors have been deposedand if the rumors are trueeven assassinated. Despite these continuing problems, though, the Empire has to date succeeded at its primary objective: preventing a new outbreak of the 12 12l12 chapter one: the dragonstar galaxy total war that almost destroyed the known galaxy.

Forty years ago, the copper wyrm Emperor Kupric surrendered the Golden Throne to Mezzenbone, and even this dreaded event was not the catastrophe that many had feared it would be. With near-absolute rule invested in an evil dragon for the first time, the Empire held its collective breath and waited for disaster to strike on that fateful day. Upon assuming the throne, however, Mezzenbone failed to satisfy the predictions and prophesies of the doomsayers.

He did not declare himself emperor for life, dissolve the Imperial Council, suspend all civil liberties accorded to imperial citizens, or impose martial law. The dawn of the Red Dragons reign has brought changes to the Empire, but they have been of a more subtle nature. Mezzenbone appointed a drow to the Elven Nations advisory position in the Imperial Council and filled the ranks of his new Imperial Special Police Directorate with the dark elves. The Emperor has channeled trillions of credits into the Imperial Legions and launched a widespread campaign in the Outlands to bring dozens of new worlds under imperial rule.

For the first time in history, Mezzenbone is using conscriptions to expand the size of the Legionsmany of them displaced citizens of the Outlands worlds that have already been conquered. While the Empire under Mezzenbone has a nasty edge it never had before, most imperial citizens have experienced little or no disruption of their everyday lives. Even under the rule of the Red Dragon, the Empire is still wealthy, prosperous, and powerful, and the average citizen leads a comfortable, untroubled life.

The tone of the newscasts is darker than before, with reports of wartime atrocities in the Outlands and political dissidents kidnapped from their homes by ISPD agents, but these incidents have very little impact on most peoples lives. The Empire, in turn, is subdivided into 10 imperial domains, each of which is controlled by one of the royal houses.

Thus, the region of space controlled by the gold dragons is the Domain of Deserene, while the red dragons holdings are known as the Domain of Mazorgrim. When viewed from a vantage point well above the galactic plane, these political borders would look like regular wedge shapes and the whole of the Empire something like a wagon wheel.

The three-dimensional topography would look rather like an orange, with each of the sections representing one of the imperial domains. The borders of the imperial domains were drawn during the decade of negotiation and compromise between the ceasefire and the founding of the Empire.

As a product of compromise, these borders are completely satisfactory to none of the parties involved. The holdings of the various dragon clans, of course, were not so neat and tidy prior to the war.

In this era, a system controlled by House Sarava might be only a few light years from one ruled by House Noros. The often-ambiguous borders and the conflicts they led to played no small role in the events that ignited the war. By the terms of the Imperial Charter, all of the royal houses lost some systems they had once controlled and gained some new ones. As with many aspects of the current political order, these compromises were eventually accepted simply because the alternative was unthinkable.

The borders of the imperial domains, in principle, extend into the Outlands to infinity. This, of course, creates a political geography in which some domains are more strategically placed for long-term advancement than others.

Specifically, the domains facing coreward have much more room for expansion than those facing rimward. The dragons solution to this problem was fairly typical: The most powerful clans got the most favorable locations and applied pressure to the other clans to accept the arrangement. Over the last 5, years, the houses have developed complicated structures of alliance and vassalage within the individual kingdoms of Asamet and Qesemet that have alleviated these political inequities in one sense and entrenched them in another.

The lords of the powerful houses often grant territory within their domains to dragons of other houses, and these fiefs are often in 13 13r13 chapter one: the dragonstar galaxy strategically advantageous coreward sectors.

The overlords may further grant these vassals the right to expand their holdings into neighboring systems in the Outlands. The overlords gain the gratitude of other houses and the service of new vassals, as well as an increased capability to expand the holdings of their houses.

The vassal lords gain valuable alliances with more powerful houses and new holdings with possibilities for expansion that are, in theory, unlimited. The end result is that a given royal house may have at least limited authority over systems in several different domains.

Scion III, the systems only habitable planet, was named Draconis Prime and became the imperial capital. The Imperial Palace and offices of the Imperial Council are both located on the verdant world.

Draconis Prime is the administrative and political seat of the Empire, but in some ways, it is rather isolated and underdeveloped. Unlike the throneworlds, it is not connected to the Long Road. It is also completely lacking in any kind of industrial or commercial development. Its sole purpose is to provide a central location for the imperial government and bureaucracy.

The Imperial Palace is actually something of a misnomer, for it is not a single building as most races would use the term. It is instead a sprawling network of structures that winds throughout the Imperial Rangea great mountain chain on Draconis Primes largest landmass. This network includes massive, vaulted chambers, open-air terraces, sprawling parks and gardens, several state-of-the-art spaceports, and innumerable underground bunkers, command centers, supply caches, and ship hangars.

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