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RDS
Seeker

USA
19 Posts

Posted - 14 Jun 2017 :  12:01:25  Show Profile Send RDS a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you want something a little different then how about a scythe made from Varanyx's largest claw. Keeps the 'claws of Varanyx' visual and allows the wielder of Savilar's will to let the Cult 'Reap what they have sown'.

A look on google showed me that it's not as original as I had hoped but it's not a staff, sword or dagger. And you can deal with the cultists up close and personal like.

RDS
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29893 Posts

Posted - 14 Jun 2017 :  14:50:02  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I really, really like the staff idea, though.

I'm currently leaning towards having a staff that flares out and widens at the top, with like four dragon claws fixed to it, holding an irregularly-shaped lump of rune-covered, unknown metal. Instead of the claws being the standard metal fixture, these are actual claws that are bound to the staff with wire, and instead of being arranged in a distinct pattern, the tips of the claws overlap each other. So the whole thing has a kind of crude, unfinished look to it.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5348 Posts

Posted - 14 Jun 2017 :  19:25:34  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I really, really like the staff idea, though.

I'm currently leaning towards having a staff that flares out and widens at the top, with like four dragon claws fixed to it, holding an irregularly-shaped lump of rune-covered, unknown metal. Instead of the claws being the standard metal fixture, these are actual claws that are bound to the staff with wire, and instead of being arranged in a distinct pattern, the tips of the claws overlap each other. So the whole thing has a kind of crude, unfinished look to it.



This works. What if the claws themselves also have runes carved into them. I'm picturing black claws, runes carved and filled in with gold and silver, and its holding within the claws the phylactery of Varanyx (a rune-scribed, small chest made from jet black, cast-off scales from Varanyx, encrusted with gems, and when you open the chest it holds a small vial of Varanyx's blood). Just to give you some imagery that might work. Also, this would be the staff topper, no? What would be the staff itself? I'm picturing the actual ulna and carpal bones that make up the "foreclaw"... such that the staff is actually everything from the "elbow" forward, which the claws/hand enclosing the phylactery.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29893 Posts

Posted - 14 Jun 2017 :  19:38:59  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Your idea is a nifty one, but I don't like it for this purpose -- I don't see Savilar happily making his dad's hand into a tool to carry around. It also fairly screams "dead dragon!" and thus seems like it would make a good trophy for the Cult -- even if it was nothing more than a simple staff +1.

The staff you describe, though, sounds perfect for a necromancer... I'm thinking of a slight tweak, towards that end: the chest contains the phylactery of a lich, but while it's in the chest, it's sealed away as if on another plane -- so the lich inside the phylactery is effectively trapped, there. Mayhaps the trapped phylactery provides some lich-like immunities/abilities to the staff wielder.

This staff would obviously be in the hands of a necromancer powerful enough to do that to a lich.

I may use the idea of the runes on the claws, though...

I'm actually thinking that the staff itself would predate Savilar; it would be something unique that he found and modified for his use. Among other things, this would make it less noticeable to the Cult.

Oooh, maybe it even belonged to the Cultist that failed to turn Varanyx into a dracolich!

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5348 Posts

Posted - 14 Jun 2017 :  20:52:16  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Your idea is a nifty one, but I don't like it for this purpose -- I don't see Savilar happily making his dad's hand into a tool to carry around. It also fairly screams "dead dragon!" and thus seems like it would make a good trophy for the Cult -- even if it was nothing more than a simple staff +1.

The staff you describe, though, sounds perfect for a necromancer... I'm thinking of a slight tweak, towards that end: the chest contains the phylactery of a lich, but while it's in the chest, it's sealed away as if on another plane -- so the lich inside the phylactery is effectively trapped, there. Mayhaps the trapped phylactery provides some lich-like immunities/abilities to the staff wielder.

This staff would obviously be in the hands of a necromancer powerful enough to do that to a lich.

I may use the idea of the runes on the claws, though...

I'm actually thinking that the staff itself would predate Savilar; it would be something unique that he found and modified for his use. Among other things, this would make it less noticeable to the Cult.

Oooh, maybe it even belonged to the Cultist that failed to turn Varanyx into a dracolich!



The idea of a trapped lich is a good one. Make it a lich sorcerer instead of a lich that has prepared spell slots. Then maybe it basically works to give the wielder extra memorized spells (which you can swap into existing spell slots). In 5e this would be a simple mechanic, but in 3.5 you'd have to detail it a bit.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Mirtek
Senior Scribe

499 Posts

Posted - 14 Jun 2017 :  21:53:23  Show Profile Send Mirtek a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

One minor little detail of the process for creating a dracolich has long been of interest to me: per The Cult of the Dragon and other sources, the potion that turns a living dragon into a dracolich has only a 50% chance of success. Not only that, but there's a 10% chance that it will outright kill the dragon, without turning the dragon into a dracolich.

It occurs to me that this isn't something the Cult would publicize... And it further occurs to me that odds are that it's happened more than once that a dragon has simply keeled over dead.

And the death of a loved one has always been a great motivator for revenge...

I think most dragons would be aware of that risk, especially the older ones. That's why they're all struggling with this decision and the cult has to work to convince almost every single one of them.

Why do they take the risk anyway? Same as with human mages, who face the same risk of just killing themselves instead of succeeding: fear of death

At the end of the day even dragons are mortal and many fear the inevitable just as much as lesser creatures such as humans do
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29893 Posts

Posted - 14 Jun 2017 :  23:38:23  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mirtek

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

One minor little detail of the process for creating a dracolich has long been of interest to me: per The Cult of the Dragon and other sources, the potion that turns a living dragon into a dracolich has only a 50% chance of success. Not only that, but there's a 10% chance that it will outright kill the dragon, without turning the dragon into a dracolich.

It occurs to me that this isn't something the Cult would publicize... And it further occurs to me that odds are that it's happened more than once that a dragon has simply keeled over dead.

And the death of a loved one has always been a great motivator for revenge...

I think most dragons would be aware of that risk, especially the older ones. That's why they're all struggling with this decision and the cult has to work to convince almost every single one of them.

Why do they take the risk anyway? Same as with human mages, who face the same risk of just killing themselves instead of succeeding: fear of death

At the end of the day even dragons are mortal and many fear the inevitable just as much as lesser creatures such as humans do



Honestly, I don't think that's entirely relevant, in this case. Certainly it is a valid concern for other dragons who become dracoliches, but not in this particular case.

Varanyx didn't embrace undeath to avoid death -- he embraced it because he thought it would be the next step towards apotheosis, and the Cult was only too willing to agree with him.

And I don't think he would have known about the chance of death. That's hardly a selling point for the Cult -- "hey, there's a chance you may keel over dead, beyond any chance of coming back, but don't worry, it only happens once every double handful of attempts we make!"

And the point of the Claws isn't about whether or not Varanyx knew the odds. Savilar started the Claws because without Cult interference, Varanyx would have lived for centuries more, and because the Cult destroys the majesty and magnificence of living dragons. He felt as if the Cult had murdered his father in pursuit of a very bad cause.

A lot of members of the various itinerations of the Claws have been disaffected Cultists, ones who joined because they revered dragons, only to find out that the Cult has a very different idea of how to treat such majestic creatures.

Think of it this way: if you're a huge fan of a Victoria's Secret model, and someone comes along and says that the way to show your appreciation for her is to make her a literal walking skeleton, you're likely to disagree with that person.

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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1396 Posts

Posted - 18 Jun 2017 :  18:28:35  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

And it further occurs to me that odds are that it's happened more than once that a dragon has simply keeled over dead.

And the death of a loved one has always been a great motivator for revenge...

Good point.
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

A lot of members of the various itinerations of the Claws have been disaffected Cultists, ones who joined because they revered dragons, only to find out that the Cult has a very different idea of how to treat such majestic creatures.

Yes, but they had to learn how to deal with these problems very early on, mostly with Sammaster still around.
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Think of it this way: if you're a huge fan of a Victoria's Secret model, and someone comes along and says that the way to show your appreciation for her is to make her a literal walking skeleton, you're likely to disagree with that person.

That's fairly predictable, however.

My guess of their SOP for dealing with pre-existing fan clubs is "they are likely to see you as rivals, so get rid of them before making the first contact".
Which nicely fits with CotD occasionally escalating a dragon's troubles behind the scene so that the prospective "client" would want more power.
To get rid of a potentially troublesome group of pre-existing sycophants, they can lure that dragon's weaker enemies toward the lair and let the loud competition become quiet casualties (or run away).
This may also have other advantages:
1. The dragon is reminded that no matter how one sets up the lair there are always credible threats around and maybe more protection is in order.
2. This leaves a convenient niche to step in. The dragon is used to have servants, as well as ego polishing on regular basis by a bunch of little creatures who scurry around and grovel - and now is deprived of them.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29893 Posts

Posted - 19 Jun 2017 :  03:48:21  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm more thinking of individual members who are disaffected when they find the real goal of the Cult, not organized groups. People don't join the Cult en masse, individuals either find their way to the Cult or the Cult taps individuals as potential recruits.

That's my entire purpose with the Claws of Varanyx: find the one or two people who joined the Cult because of genuine reverence of dragons (in general, not specific ones), who then found out what the Cult wants to do with live dragons, and who -- again, out of their original reverence of dragons -- want to keep the Cult from turning such majestic creatures into undead monstrosities.

Hence, my Victoria's Secret example. If I join a particular model's fan club, it's because I'm a big fan of her wearing intriguing underwear. If I find out that the ultimate goal of the club is to remove the appeal of seeing her in tiny bits of lace, I'm not going to be enthusiastic about that.

The entire point of this operation is to give a mechanism to a NPC who turns against the Cult, for exactly the reasons I describe here. He's really, really into dragons. He naively joins the Cult to learn more about dragons, to be around them, and to serve them. And then he finds out about the whole dracolich thing, and he wants no part of that. The Claws give him a mechanism to work against the Cult.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5348 Posts

Posted - 20 Jun 2017 :  13:58:46  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
On this last bit, I must say that you should definitely include that in the description of the cult, because it makes it much more interesting. Its not just a revenge cult. Its a cult that specifically wants dragons to not be turned into undead, which has a bit of beauty to it. In fact, thinking on some of the stuff we have from Kara-Tur, it could be interesting if there is a whole swathe of Shou that have come over and heard what the Cult of the Dragon is doing and find the idea abhorrent. Maybe some of them even use "dragon claws" as weapons (think tiger claw weapons).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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