Monday, February 24, 2014

Vortex Dragon

Another outer dragon—in only a week!  How cool is that?

If void dragons were about the horror of empty space (or worse yet, the tainted horror of nonempty space), vortex dragons are about space’s malleability—its behavior at light speeds, around wormholes, of quantum there-and-not-there-ness.  The universe has laws, every system of laws has loopholes, and the lawful neutral void dragons exploit these loopholes, simple as that.  Heck, they might even be the loopholes—after all, a void dragon’s very presence seems to distort the space around it.  It can breathe fire or gulp up a target with the tenacity of a black hole.  (Note that the description doesn’t put a size limit on the victim or the dragon’s stomach—and given its nature, I don’t think there should be one.)  And range attacks?  Forget about it.  Once a vortex dragon becomes an adult, it can bite you through a rift in space—anywhere in a 180-foot radius…and that radius only gets bigger as it ages.

And then there’s whom (or what) these dragons serve.  After all, if you’re an intergalactic dragon, you’re not going to be an errand boy for just anyone.  So they serve greater outer dragons—one can imagine older solar dragon stay-at-homes would use vortex dragons to correspond, and time dragons would recruit them to observe far-off events—and godlike entities (and probably the gods themselves, for that matter). 

Hmmm…a creature that speeds through the stars serving godlike entities…  Does your campaign need a Silver Surfer?  Now it has one.

Many vortex dragon belongs to the Order of the Comet, a guild of draconic couriers dedicated to making sure the message arrives—anywhere in the galaxy, and often across the multiverse as well.  The Order instructs member dragons about the celestial byways, teaching them to use solar winds, wormholes, and reliable gates to boost their own galactic emissary talents.  Their dedication to their duties is known across the spheres—in fact, the post horn symbol used on so many worlds as a postal service emblem recalls the Order of the Comet’s own spiraling sigil.  The Order and the dragons profit as well—reliability has a price, and by the time young comets have aged to mature adults they have padded their hordes enough that they can retire and pass along their routes and contacts to younger kin.

Trapping a devil is no easy feat.  When adventurers capture Barnabulus in a warded trap, they unknowingly trigger a magical alert that summons a vortex dragon.  Honoring an age-old agreement, the dragon speeds to the devil’s side.  The vortex dragon may not be able to spirit the devil away (unless it swallows him, which may be one option), but it can certainly make life difficult for the devil’s would-be captors.

A dimensional mishap deposits adventurers in a desert world where the laws of magic are different, the gods they know are absent, and once-familiar races seem sinister and warped.  Almost immediately they are embroiled in a war involving city-states and slave armies—and, without meaning to, turn the tide.  Doing so must upset some cosmic balance, because a vision of an aeon-like entity appears and pronounces, “Here+You+Should/Not/Be.”  Within days, a vortex dragon homes in on them—but whether to rescue or obliterate them is an open question.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 74–75

A little love to Dark Sun in that third adventure seed.

Got a nice note from a Redditor that included this question: 

Throughout your article you referenced Dragon Magazine a lot. I used to love the ones with great feats, spells, and other variant options. I was wondering if you had a list of any Dragon Magazines you would recommend I get my hands on?

My response, in part, ran like this:

“I have actually seriously thought about doing a 'Patch Rereads His Old Dragon Magazines' blog […]  (If I ever do, I'll be sure to let you know.)

“I'll warn you that I'm more about settings, gazetteers, and stories than feats or spells, so I may not be the best person to ask about the articles you like.  But since you asked, off the top of my head, I'd say grab from two eras:

“1) Anything from the years that the ‘Voyage of the Princess Ark’ series was running, from around issue 153 to 200 and maybe until around 224. In addition to ‘VotPA,’ Roger Moore was editing, the fiction was great, and since TSR was kicking out new settings practically every six months, there were always lots of interesting articles and extras.  The 160s and 170s were especially strong, and I reread my copy of 155 so many times the cover came off.

“2) This may be more your cup of tea: The first two to three years after 3rd Edition came out—I don't remember issue numbers off the top of my head, but from August 2000 on.  The new edition was a nice reset for the game, and suddenly you had all these authors rethinking and refreshing the basic races, classes, and settings.  The quality is up and down sometimes, but there are a lot more hits than misses (and the prestige classes were a breath of fresh air at the time […]  Dig up the Dragon Magazine Annuals from those years as well if you can find them—they were quite good.

“Hope that helps! I loved Dragon, and love talking about it, so maybe one day I'll scribble down more thoughts.”

That's a super-vague answer that's missing a lot of great material, but it was the best I could do at work.  Are any of you big Dragon fans?  I would love to compare notes/favorite issues sometime.

For personal reasons and because I was busy with new DJ training, this week's show was pretty much a rerun of old favorites and not a lot of new tunes.  That said, there is one new track from the Menzingers you have to hear.  Listen here!

(If the feed skips, let it load in Firefox or Chrome, Save As an mp3, and enjoy in iTunes.  Link good till Friday, 2/28, at midnight.)

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