When the Golarion setting was introduced, it was very consciously billed as “the best of all possible worlds.” That Panglossian take might have raised the eyebrows of the Candide fans out there, but it did clearly establish the philosophy underpinning Golarion’s construction: Golarion intended to give you a logical place to set pretty much every kind of adventure you wanted. A Viking setting? Easy. Mummy-filled pyramids? Sure. But Golarion kept going places a lot of other settings don’t even attempt: Renaissance scheming, the French Revolution, mammoth taming, or Expedition to the Barrier Peaks-style sci-fi? Done, done, done, and done.
But where were those hoariest of fantasy tropes, the dragonriders and their loyal dragon steeds?
Turns out, they weren’t on Golarion itself. But they were a few planets over, on Triaxus. And the dragons were actually dragonkin.
These Large creatures are smaller and less powerful than true dragons, but more flexible in game terms. Their alignments aren’t tied to their color, they can use arms and armor, and at CR 9 they are powerful PC allies without becoming game-ruining Mary Steeds. That makes them ripe for using in your game, whether you want to keep them on a remote continent or different planet, sprinkle them sparingly throughout your setting, or go The Full Dragonlance. Even to the most jaded fantasy player, there’s something magical about dragons, especially one you can call your very own.
When a ranger’s mother dies, it is her duty to take her place at the side of her mother’s dragonkin partner. But a rift between mother and daughter is what set the young ranger adventuring in the first place, and the dragonkin still flies in the legion of a lord who the ranger has distrusted all her life. The ranger and her friends must travel to the front lines to befriend the dragonkin and see what comes next. If they don’t, the dragonkin will come looking for her anyway, possibly even becoming an enemy of the party.
Adventurers drilled to fear chromatic dragons and revere their metallic cousins are often caught up short by the wildly divergent alignments of dragonkin. When good-hearted blue dragonkin scouts cross the Ambergris Strait in search of fugitives from the deposed Wraithflight, adventurers might attack them before the blues can make their friendly intentions known. Meanwhile, one of the most brutal members of the Wraithflight, a gold dragonkin commandant, has installed itself at the right hand of the primarch of Redgate and begun whispering tales of blood, gold, and righteous fury into the primarch’s ear.
The planet of Tortal has only known two kinds of dragonkin: the stern whites who serve Gaullin’s Knights of the Air, protecting that cold land from serf uprisings and the clockwork Deathless, and the reclusive greens who dwell in jungle observatories along the equator and are bloodbound to their sorcerer-thralls. When the greens in three cities collaborate to open a portal during the Concordance of the Fox, when the red moon darts in front of the constellation of Lupin the Hunter, dragonkin of all colors come spilling through the magical gate. The resulting draconic, social, and political upheaval will change Tortal forever—and could send certain adventurers’ careers soaring…
—Distant Worlds 61 & Pathfinder Bestiary 5 98
Last Tuesday's radio show had three missions: 1) Celebrate Pet Sounds’ 50th anniversary. 2) Honor Guy Clark. 3) And play a ton of new music, especially from Kyle Craft. Those are not goals that should be attempted in the same two hours, but I'm really happy with the results. The bad news is, since I’m late posting this the link expires tomorrow (Monday, 5/23) at the stroke of midnight. Stream/download it now to enjoy it before it’s gone.