Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dragons of Renewal: Icons for 13th Age

As time goes on I realized that 13th Age captures the feel and spirit of heroic epic fantasy better than a lot of other retroclones and even D&D Editions.  As the Dragonlance Chronicles fall into this genre, I figured that they'd go well both thematically and mechanically with this game.

One of the things many people change for their home campaigns is that of the Icons, major power players who have an indirect relationship with the PCs.  To that end I repurposed some of the most iconic characters and organizations from the War of the Lance era and turned them into Icons.

Astinus Lorekeeper (Neutral)



Quote

“I’ve written countless works over many mortal lives, and in that time I learned how fragile true knowledge really is.”

Usual Location

Astinus lives in the Library of Palanthas day and night, since the last stone set into the building.

Common Knowledge

The Library of Palanthas is one of the few true bastions of lore in the Age of Despair.  Its head librarian never aged a day since he appeared at its founding.  Many rumor that he’s immortal, a powerful wizard, or even a long-forgotten god of knowledge.

Adventurers & the Icon

Astinus is a patron of many bards, and he hires many teams to go out into the world and retrieve scrolls and tomes in risky areas to take back for safekeeping.  Many mages come to him in search of spells and lost lore.

Allies

Those who know the Library’s value, such as the Knights of Solamnia and the Wizards of High Sorcery, appreciate Astinus’ contributions.

Enemies

At the same time, there are those within the order of High Sorcery contemplating annexation of the Library, thinking it would be in better use in their hands.  Lord Soth seeks its secrets for reasons unknown, and devotees of Chaos seek the destruction of knowledge and higher thought in all its forms.

History

Astinus has lived far beyond any mortal lifespan, a fixture of the Library since the last brick layed completed its foundation.  And for as long as the people of Palanthas can remember, he's been in there, dutifully writing and archiving the knowledge held in the written word.

The True Danger

Everything will be alright provided that the forbidden tome detailing dire prophecies of Krynn's last days remains unfound.


Chaos (Villainous)



Picture by The Paranoid Freak of Deviantart


Quote

You hear only the churning emotions of hate and rage

Usual Location

Imprisoned within the Greygem.  Even within he is capable of moving it about, causing much woe on Krynn wherever he goes.

Common Knowledge

Before the gods and the Wizards of High Sorcery brought order, magic was an uncontrolled force ravaging the land.  Only through their hand does the land stay in harmony.

Adventurers & the Icon

Chaos thrashes against the shackles placed upon him, but sometimes his conscious reaches out to mortals, imbuing them with dark powers.  Some of them are unknowing vessels, others willing servants of entropy.

Allies

Chaos opposes the gods and reality’s existence.  Only maddened mortals and demons serve his will.

Enemies

Even the most craven forces of Evil don’t seek the unmaking of reality, nor do any of the gods.  No reasonable person wants to free Chaos.

History

Chaos existed since the dawn of reality, and some say before that as the void of nothingness.  He lost much power during the creation of the world of Krynn, and was imprisoned by Reorx in the Greygem to limit his vast power.

The True Danger

Everything will be alright provided that nobody finds the means to split open the Greygem in a fit of true desperation, releasing the avatar of destruction into the world.

Disciples of Nature (Neutral)



Quote

"The sea's awash with blood and demons.  Armies raze forests and drown the afterlife in wailing souls.  The world is broken, and we must restore it, protect it, for the true gods to return."

Usual Location

The Disciples wander the whole of Ansalon, usually where the specter of war and fell magic taint the land.

Common Knowledge

There's no shortage of odd religions in Ansalon, but every so often you hear talk of wandering druids.

Wearing medallions of feathers, shells, and other natural displays, they come into villages and towns, sometimes to drive out evil spirits and ward off plague and famine, other times to force people to stop their incursions into 'sacred areas.'  They have a mixed reputation, to say the least.

Adventurers & the Icon

Many Disciples are adventurers themselves, traveling with similarly-inclined groups and offering their magical aid.  Elves, sailors, and folk who still know of and respect the old gods often ask for their aid.

Allies

Disciples who worship Habbakuk often find a common bond among Knights of Solamnia who still remember the role their deity played in their organization's founding.  The Speaker of the Sun remembers stories of times when the forest still had druids, and will welcome their return.

Enemies

Lord Soth's creation of undead to swell the Blue Dragonarmy's ranks makes him one of the Disciple's main targets.  Chaos seeks to undo the world of Krynn entirely.

The True Danger

Everything will be alright provided that the secretive Plague Knight faction doesn't convince the other disciples that the death and suffering of the current Age is but a natural cycle which must be hastened.

Dwarven Council of Thorbadin (Neutral)


Dwarf Council by AhmetCanKahraman of Deviantart


Quote

"Famine, infighting, the departure of the gods.  All this and more threatened our way of life, and yet we still stand proud.  Are we to let the doomsayings of chaos and tyranny in wider Ansalon rattle us so?"

Usual Location

The mountain nation of Thorbadin remains the largest settlement and spiritual homeland of the dwarven people, even to those clans exiled to the surface.

Common Knowledge

The underground kingdom is a glorious city of iron and jewels, with a glorious underground tree and rich valleys allowing a good standard of living.  Even then there are troubles, as the fractured council of clans bickers and jockeys for power and their role in the wider world.

Adventurers & the Icon

Hill dwarves of the Neidar clan wish for one day to return to their homeland.  The Council's multiple factions advocate for alliance with either the Whitestone forces or Dragon Empire, whether or not to continue their isolationist stance, and many other divisive issues which may affect the race as a whole.

Allies

The High dwarves traded with the Qualinesti elves and humans of neighboring nations.  It is said that the Dark Dwarven clans are being supported by the Dragon Empire.

Enemies

The betrayal of Fistandantalus in the Dwarfgate Wars instilled a deep distrust of wizards of all robes.  The Council members themselves are at each others' throats as often as foreign foes.

The True Danger

Everything will be all right provided that the dark dwarf council members don't instigate a coup and prop up a Council in line with Imperial interests.

Emperor Ariakas (Villainous)



Quote

“Ergoth fell, as did Istar.  But the Dragon Empire shall be immortal, as Takhisis wills.”

Usual Location

Sanction or Neraka, the military and religious centers of the Empire.  Or leading the charge at the head of the Red Dragonarmy.

Common Knowledge

Emperor Duulcet Ariakas is the unquestioned leader of the Dragonarmies.

A military genius, his territory grows across Ansalon every year.

It is said that he pays homage to one of the gods of old, and his forces include monsters and those skilled in magic.

Adventurers & the Icon

The Dragonarmies are on the lookout for talented men and women with little scruples, willing to do what must be done to further the Empire’s glory and vanquish its enemies.

Allies

Ariakas’ minions secured a fragile alliance with Lord Soth.  Kitiara of the Blue Dragonarmy shows promise.  Wizards of High Sorcery wearing the Black Robes supplement his war machine with fell magic.

Enemies

All who call themselves champions of good look with horror at the cruelties wrought by the favored of Takhisis.  The Knights of Solamnia are the greatest point of resistance to the Empire’s expansion, while agents continue to hunt for Berem.

History

Emperor Ariakas had humble beginnings, but after making a pilgrimage to the old ruins of Neraka Takhisis chose him as her hand upon Krynn.  In a mere two decades his forces laid claim to much of central and eastern Ansalon, and there is nary a country unaffected by his machinations.

The True Danger

Everything will be alright provided the PCs successfully unite the forces of Good against the Dragonarmies and prevent them from plunging the world into a nightmarish realm of evil and tyranny.

Fizban the Fabulous (Heroic)



Quote

“I’m so happy you put your unconditional trust in me to help you on your quest.  Hold on, is bat saliva the component for a spell of healing or internal immolation?”

Usual Location

Fizban shows up in the most unusual locations, guided by the hand of fate.

Common Knowledge

The village children talk of a sagely old wizard in grey robes who loved to tell stories by a cozy hearth.  The local librarian sees much truth in his tales.

Adventurers & the Icon

Although he rarely appears to be willing and more guided by his own whims, he often appears when heroes are in need of help, be it a magical fortress to hide refugees or the key to the doors of a pre-Cataclysm ruin.

Allies

Fizban is beloved by many locals in whatever town he stays in, and many people across Krynn fondly remember a “kindly old man who helped save my family from peril.”

Enemies

People who distrust and fear wizards, as well as folk of an evil bent, often cross paths (or more likely spell and sword) with Fizban the Fabulous.

The True Danger

Everything will be alright, provided that the forces of darkness do not figure out Fizban’s true nature and take him down once and for all.

Kitiara Counterpart (Villainous)

Image Varies Depending on Your Campaign

Quote

“I’m only telling you this because you’re my friends, but you’re backing the wrong cause.”

Usual Location

Occupied Solamnia, directing Blue Dragonarmy forces on the front lines.

Common Knowledge

Kitiara is the Blue Dragon Highlord.

Kitiara’s been instrumental in conquering much of northern Ansalon, and her forces are battering down what’s left of the Solamnic armies.

Were it not for the Red Dragonarmy’s superior numbers, Kitiara’s forces would be the most powerful.  They are the most well-disciplined, though.

Adventurers & the Icon

As she is a long-time friend and traveling companion of the PCs, her defecting to the forces of evil is a complicated affair.  She might aid or show mercy to them, and all the better if in doing so contribute to the Blue Dragonarmy’s power.

Allies

Kitiara’s a valuable asset to Emperor Ariakas’ war effort.  She and Soth entered into a pact of mutual alliance.

Enemies

Kitiara’s the face of the enemy as far as the Knights of Solamnia are concerned, and no other Highlord is as responsible for the massive devastation the invasion wrought upon their country.  The forces of good oppose her as strongly as they do Ariakas.

The True Danger

Everything will be all right provided that Kitiara has no chance of uniting the Dragonarmies after Ariakas is defeated.

Knights of Solamnia (Heroic)





Image from Ansalon MUD

Quote

“Solamnia Solamnia, may the light of justice shine eternal
Solamnia Solamnia, protect the good folk of this world”

Usual Location

The Knights have a presence across all of Solamnia, and the Isle of Sancrist as well.

Common Knowledge

The Knights of Solamnia were founded back in the Age of Dreams, devoted to the Gods of Light and hold fast to a strict code of honor.

Knights live by the Oath and the Measure, a complex code of volumes governing proper conduct of a knight ranging from peace times to war.

The Knights are divided into three Orders of ascending authority: the Order of the Crown, the Order of the Sword, and the Order of the Rose, representing the values of loyalty, courage, and wisdom respectively.

The Knights lost a lot of popularity and prestige in their home country, as they were unable to keep the commoners safe and secure from the ravages of the Cataclysm.

Adventurers & the Icon

Many Knights travel Solamnia and the lands beyond for wrongs to right, and their battle against the Dragon Empire means they’re in need of much help.

Allies

In these troubled times the Knights do not have anyone to rely on but themselves.  Many of their subjects blame them for failing to stop the Cataclysm, and even Solamnia’s neighbors are more concerned with their own needs than helping the war effort.

Enemies

Solamnia’s the last bastion of true resistance against Emperor Ariakas’ empire, and Kitiara’s conquering more and more of their territory.  A former Knight himself, Lord Soth bears no love for his old order.

The True Danger

Everything will be alright provided that Solamnia stands strong and its Knights do not fall upon themselves from infighting and external foes.

Lord Soth (Villainous)



Quote

"There is no hope for this dying world.  All that matters now is if they can return her to me."

Usual Location

Dargaard Keep in Nightlund, a haven for undead activity and prime supplier of such beings for the Blue Dragonarmy

Common Knowledge

It is said that in the cursed land of Nightlund sits a former Knight of the Rose, cursed to live forevermore.

Those few knights who managed to come back alive speak of a figure clad in black armor surrounded by an aura of decay.  They say he moves as one with the legions of zombies and wraiths.

Adventurers & the Icon

Warriors in their final days and students of the necromantic arts often approach Dargaard Keep, hoping that the fallen knight might gift them some blessing or knowledge for their personal gain.

Allies

Lord Soth is allied with the Dragon Empire and allows Kitiara to use his keep as a base of operations, albeit reluctantly.

Enemies

The flames of hate burn bright in his undead heart, for the gods who condemned him to his condition and their servants such as the elves and the Knights of Solamnia.

The True Danger

Everything will be all right as long as Lord Soth doesn't make for a power grab in the Blue Dragonarmy and plunge all of Solamnia into an undead apocalypse.

Silvara (Heroic)



Quote

“I cannot reveal my sources, but I have evidence that the Dragonarmies are using prime blackmail material on some powerful forces of Good.”

Usual Location

Western Ansalon, or any place that needs some clandestine sabotage of the Dragonarmies’ plans

Common Knowledge

Silvara often appears in the form of some mundane traveler.  An adventuring gnome testing out cool new devices, a wandering mercenary named Vanderjack, or a Kagonesti elven druid with silver hair.

Adventurers & the Icon

Angered and upset by the Oath of Neutrality, Silvara cannot sit still as she watches evil gain dominance in the world.  By posing as a mortal, she seeks to lead adventurers of proper moral fiber to treasure and knowledge which can turn the tide of battle against the Dragonarmies.

Allies

Operating in the shadows, Silvara has no true allies, only trusted sources who know only her cover identity.

Enemies

Silvara is not well-liked by Fizban for violating the Oath, and Ariakas is only vaguely aware that some agent in the west is screwing up his plans.

The True Danger

Everything will be all right provided that Silvara’s mission is successful and her information reaches the forces of light before it can be intercepted by the enemy.

Speaker of the Sun (Heroic)



Quote

“You are the last scion of all that is good about elvenkind.  Even if our homes are razed, our people sent to the four corners of Krynn, please bear this light.”

Usual Location

The Qualinesti leadership will be in their homeland around the campaign’s beginning.  When the Dragon Empire invades, they’ll refuge in exile to Southern Ergoth.

Common Knowledge

Elves are said to rule a mighty forest kingdom.  Ever since the Dragon Empire declared war on them, many refugees have been spotted fleeing westward.  Serves the elitist bastards right, if you ask me.

Adventurers & the Icons

Qualinesti’s leadership will call upon the aid of elvenkind and those friendly to them.  Typically many adventurers are tasked with seeing to the safety of refugees, freeing prisoners from the Dragon Empire, and recovering ancestral heirlooms from the now-dangerous forest homelands.

Allies

The Speaker of the Sun’s family includes more than a few White Robe Wizards.  But otherwise their isolationist policies do not earn many friends.

Enemies

The Dragon Empire seeks to commit genocide upon the elves.  Silvara would ordinarily be an ally, but she holds contempt for how far the once-favored children of Light have fallen and their oppression of her people.

The True Danger

Everything will be alright provided that the Dragon Empire doesn’t reach Southern Ergoth and provoke the Speaker into reading the forbidden Desolation Scrolls.


Wizards of High Sorcery (Neutral)




Quote

“It is our greatest gift and burden.  The pursuit of magic deserves nothing less.”

Usual Location

The Tower of Wayreth, deep in the forests of Qualinost

Common Knowledge

The Wizards of High Sorcery worship one of the three moons of magic, and their power waxes and wanes with their phases.

Wizards are dangerous and unpredictable, capable of inflicting curses and devastation with but a thought.

Wizards tend to be a scholarly lot, cloistered in remote towers filled with tomes and artifacts of lost ages.

Wizards swore a vow to only ever fight with a dagger, quarterstaff, or spell.

Adventurers & the Icon

Any adventurers with arcane talent are inevitably bound to attract the notice of senior mages, who force those with budding talent to take the Test of High Sorcery and declare allegiance or forsake the path of magic.  As a result, adventuring wizards tend to be members of one of the three orders, embarking on quests to secure occult secrets and take down dangerous mages, or live the dangerous path of the renegade mage.

Allies

The art of wizardry is held in high esteem by the elves, and many Speakers of the Sun are White Robe Wizards.  The Black Robes threw their lot in with Emperor Ariakas and the Dragonarmies for a cushy position as valued magical aids.

Enemies

The Knights of Solamnia, and the dwarves, and the general populace of Ansalon, distrust and fear those who can work magic.  It’s rumored that Ariakas and the devotees of Takhisis are researching ways to bypass the moon-based avenue of arcane magic so that they won’t have to share power with Nuitari.

The True Danger

Everything will be alright provided the Black Robe faction doesn’t become dominant and sway Ansalon’s mages towards the cause of Evil, or if the Tower of Wayreth remains intact to prevent a magical cataclysm from sweeping across the face of Krynn.