12 June 2024

Post-dragon attack regional ecology (RPG Blog Carnival)

For this months RPG Blog Carnival because the prompt 'after the dragon' from Sea of Stars is a great prompt with tons inside it. I was sure this was covered by an old Malhavoc press book but no - I was thinking of Requiem for a God which is not quite the same thing.

What we have below is probably best for terrain set up early in a campaign or when venturing into a new location because this stuff is slower and should probably be baked into the terrain players encounter. You could use this as an encounter generator for an immediate dragon attack or as some spillover from an attack last year but I think it might be best done as time-layers and then encountered from outside in by journeying PCs.

Stealing three of the five steps from the disaster management cycle we have:
1. Impact
2. Immediate aftermath
3. Post-disaster change

For the impact, the first question is what type of dragon ~ type of damage was wrought?

2d6 for damage type
2. Necrotic - Topaz
3. Radiant - Crystal
4. Acid - black, copper
5. Lightning - blue, bronze
6. Fire / searing - red, gold, brass, ruby, purple
7. Mysterious slaying - emerald, shadow, jade
8. Cold - silver, white, cloud
9. Physical only - non-destructive breath weapon, only claws, bite, tail used
10. Poison - green, steel
11. Force - Amethyst
12. Thunder - Sapphire

This type of damage dealt is still visibly present in a twisting of terrain to match. Where breath weapon effects are non-destructive effects like slow, paralysis or repulsion that would leave little to no trace behind, then assume it was a godzilla-style physical rampage of smashing things up but without lingering terrain effects.

Immediate aftermath (following year)

Necrotic - terrain has sickened and died, turning into a wasteland, perhaps swampy or just dead and rotting. Undead are likely present
Radiant - things sicken and die earlier here or mutate if they live. The natural order has come apart and patched itself together again wrong.
Acid - much of the environment died and has shifted toward a more primal, ferny, scrubland or acidic swamp if wetlands
Lightning - smashed ruins and major trees along with signs of fires but signs of regrowth and recovery.
Fire / searing - post wildfire zone, ash layer, beginning of fertile regrowth
Mysterious slaying - ruins standing abandoned, nature regrown over them, farms gone wild, ploughs in field, Pompeii like 'flash death'
Cold - hard winter survived
Physical only - ruins selectively destroyed, torn open
Poison - some hardy weeds persist, soil near-toxic, little life remains
Force - blast-packed barrens and shattered ruins amidst normal environment
Thunder - post-Tunguska appearance - flattened forests, ruins blasted apart, regrowth around/through these

If the dragon takes up residence then you get a climate shift locally toward the dragons preferred terrain as they over-power local reality. As noted by Goblinpunch "Dragons are more real than other things around them. They are the Most Real Things."

Post-dragon change

Where the dragon is now resident we get weird weather effects in the neighbouring locations.

d8 Strange Weather Effects:
1. Weyr-winds: where the winds carry the draconic atmosphere to nearby regions.
2. Dust winds: like the harmattan, bringing dusts, smokes and other traces far from their usual locations and temporarily changing the nature of the local place. Perhaps sand coats all surfaces, or this forest air is suddenly sulpurous with volcanic ash, or mushrooms sprout from spores carried in.
3. Elemental tides: where things from beyond this world are drawn in by the strong element resonance with their home plane. Here the elemental spirits that resonate with whatever the other place is are now found here.
4. Extreme floods - surges of water along rivers or coasts, sometimes even avalanches that are not inherently magical but can carry larger, heavier things from magical places.
5. Leyline resonance - the magical phenonema that occur in one place start cropping up elsewhere - neighbouring regions begin to feel dragon-resonance
6. Migrations - when flocks, shoals and herds of smaller creatures typical to a place surge into another, bringing the rest of their ecosystem along with them. Like a plague of locusts but not necessarily automatically a disaster, just the 'wrong' critters being found in a place
7. Avalanches and collapses - where a chunk of the nearby terrain is carried along into this one - down a river valley, atop an avalanche or simply driven by gravity down a slope. This can range from debris to whole chunks of a strange landscape complete with occupants
8. Expansion - the draconic resonance spreads to this region too and the local climate shifts towards the dragon preferred terrain type.

If the dragon never took residence, roll d6, otherwise roll d12:
1. Monster migration - something that likes the new terrain
2. Settlers either desperate if the terrain is terrible or opportunistic if it is recovering
3. Undead-haunted by those slain in original attack
4. Nomads, using these lands for hunting or glory seeking
5. Sanctioned 'salvage' region by local authorities
6. Wizard in residence, building tower

If d12 rolled 1-6, also assume dragon sleeps on its hoard, dreams influence local region
7. Dragon cult attends sleeping dragon
8. Dragon tending eggs, actively hunting in region
9. Dragon active, wyrmlings around
10. Dragon recently defeated, hoard gone, bones remain
11. Dragon wounded, furious at new interloper
12. Dragon in glory, growing their power

For live dragons, cults - a reminder of the more common Draconic natures:
Bronze Duty bound, honourable
Green Lazy, duplicitous
Silver Gregarious, nurturing
Copper Devious, clever
Brass Mercenary, adaptable
Black Cruel, covetous
Red Domination, ambition, drive
Gold Dedicated, honour bound
Purple Scheming, entitled
Blue Manipulative, puppet masters
White Fierce, prideful, bitter
Topaz Clannish, self-seeking
Emerald Lore keepers, observers
Crystal Hedonistic
Amethyst Honourable, regal
Sapphire Militaristic, defenders

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