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Thread: [PF] Dragpocalypse: A Dragonrider’s Unofficial Pathfinder Campaign Setting

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  1. #1
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    Default [PF] Dragpocalypse: A Dragonrider’s Unofficial Pathfinder Campaign Setting

    Part 0: An Indexent Proposal

    Part 1: Terms and Conditions (see below)
    Part 2: An Ontological Examination, aka Skip
    Part 3: Let There Be Overview (see below)
    Part 4: Arbor the Wood (see below)
    Part 5: Benthos the Deep (see below)
    Part 6: Karoo the Desert (see below)
    Part 7: Lea the Plains (starts below)
    Part 8: Nome the Urbanity (
    Part 9: Root the Underground (
    Part 10: Sine the Hills (
    Part 11: Stratus in the Sky (
    Part 12: Zenith the Mountain (
    Part 13: Dragons in Space (
    Part 14: Places of Interest, Specific (
    Last edited by Isada; 12-31-2017 at 08:52 PM.

  2. #2
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    Part 1: Terms and Conditions

    The term provokes countless reactions from dragons and their kind ranging from laughter to scoffter, cold rage to purest pity. To many, it embodies the last remnant of humanoid hubris amongst the broken and scattered non-dragon peoples who now share their place in the world of Dragpocalypse with the unthinking beasts, just below the sentient beasts. An equal number consider it a euphemism embodying the last and only hope of the humanoids in escaping their place in pyramid of predators and prey, for few among the Riders willingly call themselves ‘familiars.’

    Unsurprisingly, this is a term coined by those same humanoids who would dare speak of dragonriders though perhaps not in the vicinity or thought-presence of any of their dragon overlords. The world of Dragpocalypse, to be described within, is one in which dragons and their kind have replaced humanoids as the dominant societals. Humanoid society now exists only in fragmentary or dragon-codependent form.

    Humanoid Familiars
    This guide assumes familiarity with the third party content class of Dragonrider released by Rogue Genius Games. It is herein interpreted as a dragon or one of its kind taking on a humanoid familiar. The class as written offers various apologies from both the humanoid and dragon perspective on conforming to the class restrictions. This guide offers another, more than one other, but all boiling down to the same short: power.

    In this world, humanoids have lost all access to magic. At this time, some even question whether they ever had it in the first place. A humanoid who becomes a Rider gains access to magic. Though this will be touched upon again in greater detail, it is recommended for a campaign of entirely Dragonriders that the player of the Rider be allowed to choose a spell list at first level from any of the casting classes though conform to the class’s other spellcasting restrictions.

    The Dragonrider class offers very reasonable explanations from the Dragon’s perspective. The Dragpocalypse explanations are less so being for the most part left to the reader. Rather than give justifications from the alien mind of a dragon, the effects and consequences of having that bond between two powerfully sentient and, in the case of the dragon, a truly powerful being are herein explored. The player of the Rider may put together their dragon’s justifications from these pieces or may find it more stimulating to leave it a mystery to be explored during the campaign.

    It is recommended that the DM control the use of the Dragonrider’s void-jumping touched upon in Part 2 if the DM would like to use this unique form of teleportation at all.

    Abusive Notation
    Isada, you devilish old goat, you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. I do not even recognize that as a word.

    You are most probably correct. I use the words that I like and while the derivatives of these words are likely words in English, the words that I use may not be. UNTIL TODAY.

    One of them is humanoid--every PC race is going to be referred to as humanoid so I don’t have to keep writing ‘PC race,’ which is more likely to break the suspension of disbelief that’s already going to be stretched to the outer limits.
    Last edited by Isada; 11-01-2017 at 10:42 AM.

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    Part 2: An Ontological Examination, aka Skip

    I see you’ve discovered that, despite being author, I can’t tell you what to do. Very well, I’ll just have to live with that.

    The Premise of Myth
    Picture the ocean as a four-dimensional object. This is The Ocean. Every ocean in every world, in every universe is of The Ocean.

    The Ocean is a Form, one of a group of objects that is here both the most essential and the fullest possible expression of itself. This Form, The Ocean, and all Forms exist across all worlds as oceans or what have you because the Forms are these four-dimensional objects, hereafter to be loosely referenced as tesseracts.

    The Inner Sea of Paizo’s Golarion is one face or Paradigm of The Ocean tesseract while Earth’s very own Atlantic is but another Paradigm.

    There can be countless Forms--The Mountains, The Forest, The City, The Village, ad nauseum if your world needs them. This guide however, is only interested in the Forms as they relate to dragons and Riders.

    The Premise of Being
    Consider the Paradigm of New York City. It’s full of people. You would not find these people in the Paradigm of Paizo’s Absalom. You would instead find humans, half-orcs, dwarves, etc. People are Paradigm-specific.

    This campaign setting assumes that dragons are not. An urban dragon in the Paradigm of New York City is the same being of urban dragon in any Paradigm of The City. The red dragon in the Paradigm of Paizo’s warm mountains is the same being of red dragon in the warm part of The Mountains. Dragons and their kind are not Paradigm-specific but Form-specific. They are not Forms, they are of the Forms. They are not Forms yet.

    The Premise of Power
    When a dragon, a Form-specific being, bonds with a humanoid as a Rider or familiar, a Paradigm-specific being, the two become a new being together as one. Each retains their old three-dimensional shapes and existences, but their bond adds a degree of freedom, a fourth dimension to their being. This fourth dimension is not so much perceived by dragon and Rider as it is acted upon. As a four-dimensional being, the dragon and Rider are tesseracts--they have become a Form themselves.

    The Dragon And Rider is Form that exists within some environmental Form and Paradigm, say The Desert and the Sahara Desert. The dragon and Rider can’t perceive their Formness, which means they exist entirely in whichever environmental Paradigm they’re currently located, here the Sahara Desert.

    The magic of the dragon and Rider, however, specifically teleportation, can tap into the Formness of The Dragon And Rider. Teleportation thus allows them to shift their Paradigm of existence from one environmental Paradigm and Form, the Sahara Desert of The Desert, to another Paradigm of the present Form, the Osirian Desert of Paizo’s Golarion. This four-dimensional, tesseractile teleportation works three-dimensionally within the tesseract teleport as well, allowing the dragon and Rider to teleport from the middle of the Sahara Desert to the edge of the Osirian Desert if they so choose.

    Mobility is power, especially mobility across worlds when your dominant society is a consumer society with destruction-loving members who actively wreck havoc on efforts by subordinates and equals toward productivism. Think mobility of self, of goods, of evils, of allies of enemies. Mobility is power but may be as simple and complicated as the power to escape and start anew.
    Last edited by Isada; 11-02-2017 at 09:00 PM.

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    Part 3: Let There Be Overview

    The world-building of the Dragpocalypse campaign setting focuses on dragon and kind communities of environments within this world of Dragpocalypse based on the environmental Forms referenced in Part 2.

    The world of Dragpocalypse exists on the massive planet of Colossus. Colossus is a curious planet whose nine continents are of a single, Formic environment: forest, mountain, marsh, hill, etc., and which stretch to a cold north, hot south, rainy east and arid west. These continents are connected by the imaginatively named Sea of Colossus which also follows the easy-to-remember scheme of cold north, hot south, rainy east, and arid west. The interpretation of an arid ocean is left to the reader.

    The nine respective continents are:
    -Arbor, the forest continent (including jungles)
    -Benthos, the continent sunk below the sea
    -Karoo, the desert continent
    -Lea, the plains continent
    -Nome, the urban continent
    -Root, the underground continent
    -Sine, the hill continent
    -Stratus, the sky continent (a liberal application of imagination is recommended)
    -Zenith, the mountain continent

    Technically, there are ten Seas of Colossus, one between each of the nine continents. As the distinction of seas is irrelevant against the setting of the aquatic/sunken continent of Benthos, however, they will be glossed over in favor of examining Benthos and the Sea of Colossus as a single aquatic entity. The ultimate arrangement of the nine continents is left to the reader, though for ease of reference they will be treated as though in alphabetical order.

    Colossus is the only planet in its solar system. It orbits a single sun-star, Solaris, and is orbited by a single satellite-moon, Lunarium. While the space-vacuum of its solar system is not inhabited by any viable Rider species, it is the home environment of Dragpocalypse’s Outer dragons.

    The world of Dragpocalypse has confirmed planes of Earth, Fire, Air, Water, Shadow, Heaven, Elysium, Abyss, Hell, and Boneyard, all inhabited by their respective planar, but these can be assumed to be equivalent to their official Paizo designations. The same goes for the Esoteric dragons in the Ether and Astral Planes as well as the Dimension of Dreams. While Occult dragons are also Esoteric, they live in the Material Plane and will be touched upon in Part 13.

    Drag-dangit, Isada, you’ve touched upon an environment to which my favorite dragon/kind is native but you’ve failed to include said dragon/kind in the narrative. PM me through TTW or Discord and I’ll take a look, though I can’t guarantee it’s inclusion.

    Magic and Technology
    As mentioned in Part 1, it is assumed that humanoids in the world of Dragpocalypse have lost access to magic although they can regain this by becoming Riders. As such, magic items can be discovered by any or crafted by Riders. Should you choose make use of the world-jumping aspect of Riders described in Part 2, magic items can be bought in other worlds and imported and would be exceedingly valuable--ripe for hoarding.

    The world of Dragpocalypse is for the most part at a technological standstill. While tech could be imported by Riders from other worlds, most humanoid populations are under threat of dragons and kind and don’t have the luxury of time for invention. Most live in state of hunting, gathering, and fear.
    Last edited by Isada; 11-02-2017 at 09:01 PM.

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    Part 4: Arbor the Wood

    Places of Interest: Glass Castle of the Linnorm King (Taiga), Court of the Green (Hylos), Village in the Mist (Akela), Village of Ash (Cardoon)

    Native species: Imperial Forest dragon, Forest drake, Tatzylwyrm, Taiga linnorm, Father of All Linnorms

    Taiga is the cold, coniferous land that stretches from sea to sea across the Arborean North. The woods are lush evergreen to the west and white with the near-constant snows of the east. The pressure and pile of such snows has led to a phenomena known as a ‘glass castle’ where the snows upon a swathe of woods have crystallized into icen glaciers and trapped the trees within.

    The Father of All Linnorms reigns supreme in Taiga and none dare challenge him. When he is not in a deep and frozen sleep within a glass castle, he prowls freely through Taiga, scattering all before him.

    Taiga linnorms recognize only the Father of All Linnorms as the supreme. While traditionally solitary, should any other dragon or kind enter their coniferous territory, they attack as one.

    Unfortunately for those broken and scattered fragments of humanoid society attempting to etch together a semblance of a life in Taiga, Imperial Forest dragons have claimed the deep but most habitable center of the land for themselves. Though solitary, each one is a malicious being who will go out of their way to hunt down every humanoid in a village should they discover such an establishment.

    Should one encounter a Forest drake in Taiga, run. Run or hide. The solitary, pairs, or rampages of Forest drakes are here because their ancestors were driven out of the temperate forest just south of Taiga for being even crueler and more degenerate than the temperates. The relative scarcity of their favorite prey, elves and fey, here in Taiga has only drawn out and crystallized this nature.

    Tatzlwyrms are the smallest of the dragon kind in Taiga. Their subterranean nests occupy the southernmost fringes of the land where they can stay well away from their deadlier cousins.

    Humanoids have taken a hint from the Tatzlwyrms and keep their residences hidden and often underground should they be forced to sustain themselves at the fringes of Taiga. They wander in small, family groups of hunters and gatherers. Any family as large as a clan would draw unwanted attention from the dragons and kind who rule the land.

    When the family needs more members, they wait for the women’s period of fertility, then seek out another family. One or more women have ritualistic intercourse with the males of the other family to become pregnant. The children they bear are raised by everyone in the mother’s family group and belong to this group.

    The women of the Taiga families are revered for their ability to keep the entire family alive in this capacity. This leads the majority of families to look to a woman and mother as the head of the family.

    Native species: Jabberwock, Jadeling, Smoke dragon, Mist dragon, Gorynych, Green dragon, Imperial Forest dragon, Pseudodragon, Pseudowyvern, Tatzlwyrm, Forest drake

    Hylos, the land of temperate forest, sits just under the frosty northern Taiga and follows its neighbor from sea to sea across central Arbor. The evergreens of the north filter into a forest of deciduous hardwoods and softwoods. Their deep root system keeps the trees of the arid west watered while those in the near-perpetually rainy east are protected by soil with excellent drainage that sends the rain into the underground rivers common to most continents on Colossus.

    Though the Green and Imperial Forest dragons are typically solitary beings, their clash for territory and supremacy in Hylos has led to an alliance between the Greens to keep the Imperial Forests down. Most Hylean dragons and their kind have been forced to take a side, and because of their well-known proclivity for intelligence and cunning, humanoids may also find themselves involved whether by choice or drafting.

    The only Hylean dragons outside the war between the Green and Imperial Forests are the unfathomable jabberwocks. These solitary but immensely powerful beings wander the temperate forests pursuing some purpose known and understand only by them. They are, however, creatures of wanton destruction who give this gift to any they meet in their wanderings. Allies who fall out of favor with the Greens are assigned the task of hunting Jabberwocks to win back their favor and place in the power structure, but for most the assignment is the equivalent of a death sentence.

    The Smoke dragons, Mist dragons, Tatzlwyrms, Jadelings, Pseudodragons, and Pseudowyverns have allied with the Greens as a matter of self-preservation for the most part. The intelligent Jadelings are happy to use the order imposed by the Greens to climb the ranks normally unreachable to such small creatures. They serve as the eyes of the Greens, attaching themselves to the Greens’s allies and serving as both liaisons and spies. This has given rise to a general distrust of Jadelings by everyone but the Greens.

    The Smoke and Mist dragons as well as the Tatzlwyrms and Pseudowyverns have less interest in climbing social rungs than the Jadelings, but they would rather have the order of the Greens than be subjected to the wanton and destructive whims of the chaotic Imperial Forests.

    Of all the Green allies, the Pseudodragons are the most empathetic. They are the ones to argue in favor of humanoid preservation, among other species, and form strong bonds with friends of any species. This has placed them at the bottom of the draconic pecking order.

    The Gorynychs are the most powerful allies of the Imperial Forests. The Imperial Forests have fostered the Gorynych delight in killing dragons by rewarding them with the creature’s land and treasures. They even allow the Gorynychs to take humanoid slaves.

    The Hylean Forest drakes have allied with the Imperial Forests not out of any particular love of the Imperial Forests’s chaotic brand of cruelty but rather out of spite. These proud beings would rather be ‘free’ or at least unregulated on their own, private territory under the Imperial Forests than bow to the artificial order that the Greens would impose.

    The Imperial Forests only have room for humanoids as slaves and even then, these are the slaves of their Gorynych allies. Humanoids are permitted to live in small tribes under the Greens, but they must swear fealty and are closely monitored. Those with particular skill and cunning may be chosen for special tasks by the Greens, but the majority are serfs bound to the land and responsible for raising game for the Greens and their allies. They practice communal subsistence farming supplemented by little else as the surrounding woods and everything in it has been claimed by their overlords. Even the slightest infraction may be punished by the razing of farm or village.

    Native species: Mist dragon, Kongamato, Korir-kokembe

    Akela is the southeastern stretch of Arbor forming jungle between the tropics of Colossus and along the equator. The constant showers of the east have turned this jungle to rainforest while the continent’s central jungle is sustained by the subterranean waterways. Heavy humidity often leads to massive, rolling waves of fog across the jungle floor.

    While the Mist dragons are the most powerful dragons in Akela, these beings prefer to remain secluded with their clan from the comings and goings of the jungle. Mist youths, however, often come together during a massive fog wave to ride the mist and are sometimes stricken with curiosity by any humanoid constructions they should pass.

    Although Kongamatos typically will not hunt humanoid prey, their taste for herd animals has driven humanoid villages into hiding to protect their farms and beasts. Some villages suffering a Kongamato attack never recover and are forced to separate into wandering tribes or clans to support themselves by hunting and gathering. Any settlement larger than a village has no way of hiding from the keen eye of the Kongamatos.

    Akela’s Korir-kokembes neither seek out humanoids nor prey upon them. Their symbiosis with disease-carrying vermin, however, turns all chance encounters with such beings into a nightmare of contagion. Anyone who reports of simply having seen a Korir-kokembe is placed in quarantine at best and at worst, killed or exiled.

    Both the wandering groups and small villages of humanoids in Akela are exceedingly respectful and wary of the dragons and kind. Some make sacrifices to the Kongamatos in opposite directions from their villages in order to keep these beings at bay, although this practice also risks drawing the vermin of the Korir-kokembe. Any true bond between a humanoid and dragon is most likely to happen with a young Mist. While a travel-loving Mist would not anchor themself as a village protector, they perceive no shame in guarding their humanoid as long as their humanoid maintains what they consider proper bounds.

    Native species: Lava drake

    Though Southwest Arbor is blisteringly hot and arid, there is no shortage of vegetation in the forest continent. The trees here are hearty and heat-resistant such as the baobab, acacia, and all manner of succulents. There is a wide stretch of Cardoon home to cacti packed needle to needle known as Needle Run.

    Humanoids who have committed the most grievous of crimes, such as inadvertently drawn the attention of a Lava drake to one of the hidden, underground villages, are exiled to Needle Run. Lava drakes rise en masse from the deep volcanic crevasses that crisscross the seaward edge of Cardoon. They are feared by humanoids not merely for the destructive threat they pose to villages, but for their deviant desire to be turn these humanoids into their cult followers and be worshipped as gods.

    Those villages subjugated by a Lava drake are free to build above ground, but they must also make war at the Lava drake’s whim and provide ritual sacrifices. It is not unknown for Lava drakes to raze such a village of cultists for failing to live up to the imposed standards.

    Rampages of Lava drakes wander Cardoon as vigilantes of arbitrary law, usually fear and suspicion. Should a Lava drake’s settlement of cultists appear to be too large or powerful, they destroy it with impunity.
    Last edited by Isada; 11-03-2017 at 01:45 PM.

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    Arbor, cont'd

    Species: Guardian dragon, Mithral dragon, Star drake, Elder Wyrm, Scitalis, Taniniver, Vishap

    The Green dragons of Hylos have captured immigrant Guardian and Mithral dragons and bred them to serve their campaign and purposes. They are treated well and with great dignity so long as they maintain their place and due to their fewer numbers, they typically do.

    Star drakes in Arbor rarely stay longer than a decade or so before migrating elsewhere. They are creatures of curiosity and true tourists, traveling the land and treasuring even the most harrowing experiences.

    Elder Wyrms are hunted down in Taiga and Hylos by the linnorms and dragons who fear their power. In Cardoon, they are hunted by the vigilante rampages of Lava drakes in fear of being ousted as the local distributor of ‘justice.’ Elder Wyrms who find themselves in Akela, however, are rarely left in peace for the most part. It is there that they can act on their insistent sense of justice by appointing themselves arbiters of humanoid affairs. The clashes between two Elder Wyrms who have arbitrated different rulings on the same issue are as legendary as they are destructive.

    Scitalises, beautiful but much weaker than many of their kind, are hunted for sport in Taiga, Hylos, and Cardoon. While not hunted in the jungles of Akela, they feed on herd animals like the Kongamato, which often leads them to be driven off by their much stronger competitor and die of starvation.

    Taninivers are a plague not only upon Arborean humanoids but every race of dragon and kind on the continent due to their contagious dragon-blighting diseases. Should one be discovered, they are instinctively hunted down in every corner of Arbor.

    The Vishaps’s propensity to claim territory leads to them being hunted down in Taiga and Hylos, but because their interest is in the ley lines of a land, they are mostly left to their own devices in Akela. In Cardoon, they are only set upon if their activity draws the attentions of humanoids, as the Lava drakes cannot stand that any cultist or potential cultist might worship another dragon kind as god. The Lava drake rampages gladly kill both the ‘false god’ and their ‘heretics.’

    Dragonriders of Arbor
    In general, immigrant dragons and kind are more likely to bond with a Rider due to their status of fleeting security in Arbor. Should an immigrant Rider be discovered, however, they are hunted at once in Taiga, Hylos, and Cardoon. They are treated with suspicion in Akela and must actively earn the trust of their neighbors, humanoid, dragon, or both, if they wish to avoid resentment, blame, and even hatred should calamity befall the natives.

    Riders in Taiga are nearly unheard of, mythical in existence. They are seen as a turn of hope for the humanoids though may still be shunned due to the hostile attention they draw.

    Riders in Hylos are propagated as a perversion by the controlling Green masterminds and those who kill them are afforded award and status. The propaganda is only reinforced by the Riders who bond with an Imperial Forest or ally for survival, only to discover they have almost no means of controlling the dragon’s chaotic, destructive impulses and are simply a tool for accelerating the dragon’s growth and power.

    Riders in Akela are rare but not unheard of as even the curious Mist dragons tend to be solitary beings. Riders of the Mists are considered local heroic figures and are expected to act as such. Those who fail are ostracized by the humanoids and are even further distanced from the already suspicious dragons.

    Riding is considered a privilege for only the most loyal of followers by the Lava drakes but is often seen as betrayal by the humanoids. There are as many Riders in Cardoon as their are fanatical Lava drake cultists, and each cultist Rider is expected to maintain if not heighten the degree of fanaticism that earned them the Riding privilege.
    Last edited by Isada; 11-05-2017 at 09:08 PM.


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