Dragaera

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Solar Conflict
 Creator(s) Stephen Brust
 System(s) D&D 3.5
 Genre(s) Fantasy

Overview

Dragaera is a world created by author Stephen Brust. It is a world of sorcery, witchcraft, and intrigue. The Dragaeran Empire is ruled by the Dragaerans, a race of tall, long-lived human-like creatures. Living among them and treated as second-class citizens (at best), are the Easterners, which are more or less identical to real-life human beings. Much more information on these races can be found on the active Dragaera wiki.

Races

There are four races of intelligent beings on Dragaera: the elf-like Dragaerans, the human Easterners, the strange Serioli, and the tribal cat-centaurs.

Easterners

These humans trace their ancestry to the east of the great Dragaeran Empire, beyond the Eastern Mountains. If these names sound a bit unimaginative, be assured that the Easterners feel the same, thinking their long-lived cousins quite idiotic in their naming practices.

Easterners live short lives by Dragaeran standards, often only sixty or seventy years. They exist within the Empire as second-class citizens, at best, but more often as menial laborers, servants, or indentured farmers.

A small number of Easterners have become citizens of the Empire, either by working their way, as farmers, into House Teckla, or by buying an Order of Nobility into the Jhereg; both of which are lesser Houses which the others scorn.

Easterners lean naturally towards witchcraft, which is best used for enchantments, locating, healing, and curses. Witchcraft spells are long and involved, often taking minutes or even hours to complete. Witches can form circles, increasing the power of the spell for every additional witch. Witches also acquire familiars, animal companions magically enhanced and in constant psychic contact with their masters.


Game Rule Information

Easterners are smaller and generally weaker than their Dragaeran counterparts, but learn quickly and are often underestimated.


Medium Size: Easterners gain no special benefits from size.

Bonus Class Skill: An Easterner may select any single skill as a class skill. This selection is permanent. If an Easterner later gains this skill as a class skill, he may not change his bonus skill.

Bonus Skill Points: Easterners gain an additional skill point every level, and four additional skill points at first level. Easterners learn new skills with ease. Bonus Feat: Easterners gain a bonus feat at first level. Easterners are quick to pick up new skills and techniques.

Witchery: An Easterner has a racial +2 bonus to all skill checks involving witchcraft. Easterners are natural witches.


Dragaerans

The Dragaerans, who think of themselves as human, are divided into seventeen Great Houses: The Phoenix, the Dragon, the Lyorn, the Tiassa, the Hawk, the Dzur, the Issola, the Tsalmoth, the Vallista, the Jhereg, the Iorich, the Creotha, the Yendi, the Orca, the Teckla, the Jhegaala, and the Athyra, all of which are named after a native animal.

A Dragaeran's House is his defining characteristic, determining everything from his temper to his intelligence to his typical lifestyle. Dragons, for example, tend to be haughty and short-tempered, and most of them take up the life of a career soldier. A smaller number of them are wizards.

All Dragaerans born into the Empire as citizens have a natural link to the Imperial Orb, a magical artifact belonging to the reigning Emperor, that allows them to use sorcery. Most Dragaerans are capable of minor cantrips, many capable of using sorcery for attacking or defending themselves, and a smaller, but still large, number of them are capable of advanced sorcery, including teleports, mass destruction, construction, and other major undertakings. Dragaerans are capable of witchcraft as well, but very, very few of them ever learn; sorcery is much easier and effective.

A Dragaeran has a lifespan of about 2500 years, stand between 6'6" and 7'6" tall. Their children reach full growth by their 20th year, but aren't considered adults until around their first century.


Game Rule Information

A Dragaeran's attributes vary from house to house. His house gives a Drageran a House Feat at first level, two bonus class skills, a favored class, and varying stat adjustments. Every Dragaeran must choose a house, and must take the accompaning bonuses and penalties. House Jhereg is a major exception.

See the Great Houses section for more details.

Serioli

The Serioli are a strange, reclusive race native to Dragaera. In fact, the Serioli predate both humans (that is, Easterners) and the Dragaerans themselves. Short, spindly, and with arms that "move as if boneless," very few people know much of the Serioli.

The Serioli are notable in that they first discovered the method of crafting Morganti weapons. These soul-destroying weapons were created by Serioli smiths in an effort to make war so abhorrent that all would live in peace. They were successful, at least among their own race. While the Empire as declared all Morganti weapons illegal, many powerful nobles keep collections, and many of these find their way into the black market. The Easterners, hating these weapons, simply refuse to use them, and instead wage war with more mundane weapons.


Game Rule Information

Serioli are not suitable as a player race at this time.

Cat-centaurs

These quadruped, cat-like creatures are known for one thing, and one thing alone: their sheer speed. No animal of similar size can match them. Intelligent, but rather beastial, the cat-centaurs roam the plains near Deathsgate Falls and Greymist valley. Many people in distant locales believe the cat-centaurs a myth; an attitude certainly encouraged by the cat-centaurs themselves.


Game Rule Information

Cat-centaurs are not suitable as a player race at this time.

Great Houses

Seventeen is a sacred number to the Dragaerans. There are rumored to be seventeen Great Weapons. There are seventeen elder gods.

And there are Seventeen Great Houses: The Phoenix, the Dragon, the Lyorn, the Tiassa, the Hawk, the Dzur, the Issola, the Tsalmoth, the Vallista, the Jhereg, the Iorich, the Chreotha, the Yendi, the Orca, the Teckla, the Jhegaala, and the Athyra, all of which are named after a native animal.

The Houses all have their own area of expertise, ranging from battle to building to magic. The Houses each assume the Imperial throne in the order presented above, which the Dragaerans call the Cycle.

The Cycle

The Cycle governs the influence, power, and natural rivals for each House. The higher a House stands in the cycle, the more fate seems to favor it. The Cycle is more than a simple progression, it is a mystical force that shapes the Empire. Deep in the Paths of the Dead, where the gods hold court as the Lords of Judgement, there is a great wheel representing the Cycle. As the Cycle turns, of its own free will, so does the Empire change hands from House to House.

Phoenix

The Phoenix represents rebirth and decay. As such, the Empire always faces its worst declines and greatest recoveries during the reign of a Phoenix.

Always the smallest of the Houses, the Phoenix now only holds one surviving member: Zerika the Fourth, Empress of Dragaera. Zerika's mother escaped Adron's Disaster by a mere few hours, and later died in childbirth. All other members, save one lone exile, died that day when the city of Dragaera dissolved into amorphia. The exile was later executed for high treason by Lord Khraaven, Count of Whitecrest, House of the Tiassa.

A Phoenix tends to fall to extremes, either being outgoing, giving, and selfless, or being introvered and selfish, grasping for power and influence over others. The current Empress is of the former type, thankfully. Most Phoenix have golden blond hair and fair skin, and are extremely attractive. There is no such thing as an ugly Phoenix.

The color of House Phoenix is gold.


Game Rule Information

House Phoenix is not an acceptible PC House, as there is only one surviving member.


Dragon

The most powerful House in the Empire is the House of the Dragon. Nearly all of the top Imperial positions are held by Dragons, including Court Wizard, held by Morollan e'Drien and Warlord, held by the infamous Sethra Lavode, an undead general who may just be older than the Empire. Aliera e'Kieron, who can trace her liniage back to Kieron the Conquerer, who founded the Empire itself, is one of Zerika IV's top advisors.

Dragons are haughty, honorable, and bloodthisty when their short tempers ignite. All Dragons must serve in the Imperial Guards when called, and most take up the life of the soldier. In fact, no Dragon can resist the opportunity for an honorable fight. Exceptional Dragons are often generals of great reknown.

While most Dragons are warriors, some few take up sorcery. The best of these become wizards, and the best of the best often excel at both.

The House of the Dragon is one of the five noble houses, alongside the Athyra, the Dzur, the Hawk, and the Lyorn. The Phoenix was once a noble house, but now only one survives. Dragonlords have high cheekbones and dark hair.

The colors of House Dragon are silver and black.


Game Rule Information


Stats: +2 STR, -2 WIS, -2 CHA. Dragons are strong, but their bloodlust often gets out of hand.

Feat: Blood of the Dragon

Bonus Skills: Dragons receive Profession(Soldier) and Knowledge(Warfare) as class skills.

Favored Class: Fighter

Favored Prestige Class: Battle Sorcerer

Alignment: Most Dragons favor a Chaotic alignment.

Lyorn

The Lyorns are lawmakers, recordkeepers, and justicators.

Tiassa

Always enthusiastic, the Tiassa are known for their loyalty and compassion.

Hawk

The House of the Hawk is one of the five noble houses, and is best known for its highly intelligent aristocrats. Hawklords tend to be introspective, attentive, direct, and their sharp eyes pick out any flaw. A Hawklord will watch someone pick an apple, notice the worm growing out of it, observe them eat it, and when asked why they didn't mention the worm, will reply with "You didn't ask."

The House of the Hawk is the one house on Dragaeran that has little interest in sorcery, as a whole; while the House does sport many notable mages, their true focus is in Psionics. Hawk Psychics are often called upon by the Empire to extract information from the minds of traitors, murderers, and other dangerous criminals. It is often said that a Hawk will know what a person is thinking better than the person themselves.

Hawklords tend to be tall and thin with dark hair and blue eyes. Their noses are long and sharp, and their movements quick, like a birds.

The color of House Hawk is pale blue.


Game Rule Information


Stats: Hawklords gain +2 INT, -2 CON, -2 STR. Hawks are very intelligent, but weak and frail.

Feat: Alertness

Bonus Skills: A Hawlord gains Spot and Listen as class skills.

Favored Class: Psion (Telepath)

Favored Prestige Class: ?

Alignment: Hawklords favor a neutral alignment.


Dzur

The Dzur is a house of nobles and heroes. Dzur are noble to a fault, and honorable to the point of stupidity. Dzur are brash, and quick to attack at the drop of a hat, especially if the target is more powerful than they are.

The House is governed by its Hall of Heroes, seventeen of the greatest fighters in the house. Other, lesser heroes assist them.

Most Dzur Heroes (hero is a rank, bestowed by the House) are fighters, sorcerers, or wizards. All of the greater heroes have training in all three disciplines.

Any Dragaraen can join House Dzur if he can defeat seventeen heroes, chosen by the Hall. Easterners are expressly forbidden.

Dzurlords typically have square jaws, pointed ears, and pointed hairlines.

The colors of House Dzur are Red and Black.


Game Rule Information


Stats: +2 CON, -2 WIS

House Feat: Heroic

Bonus Class Skills: Dzurlords gain Knowledge (Arcana), due to their affinity for sorcery, and Sense Motive, the better to determine if someone is insulting them.

Favored Class: Barbarian

Favored Prestige Class: Battle Wizard

Alignment: Dzur are usually chaotic.


Issola

Courtliness and surprise are the hallmark of the Issola.

Tsalmoth

Who knows? I don't think I've seen this House described in even the least of detail.

Vallista

The Vallista are known as the best Builders in the Empire.

Jhereg

The Jhereg runs a vast crime ring, known as the Organization. They deal in illegal drugs, goods, and gambling, offer illegal sorcery, employ assassins, and provide short-term loans at high interest rates. The Jhereg Organization is divided into two parts: the Right Hand of the Jhereg is mostly male, and deals in all manners mundane, from drugs to theft to assassination. The Left Hand of the Jhereg is mostly female, and deals only in the arcane. Illegal spells and arcane supplies are their hand. The Left Hand also has a near monopoly on the sale of Morganti weapons.

Unlike all other houses, a born Jhereg has no defining physical charistics. The Jhereg is a massive melting pot formed from the Houseless and the outcast; the Jhereg are, for the most part, non-descript. Only those who have been cast out of other Houses can be readily identified by their appearance.

The Jhereg is one of two houses that admit Easterners. After all, the Jhereg will provide anything, for a price.

The colors of House Jhereg are black and grey.


Game Rule Information

Stats: Jhereg, if a former member of another House, gains that House's stat adjustments. Otherwise, they have none.

Feat: If a former member of another House, the Jhereg gains that House's feat. If not, the player gains the Stealthy feat.

Bonus Skills: A Jhereg gains the bonus skills associated with his chosen House Feat, or any two from the following list. Bluff, Intimidate, Hide, or Move Silently

Favored Class: Rogue

Favored Prestige Class: Assassin

Alignment: Most Jhereg are Chaotic Neutral. However, House Jhereg boasts more evil members than any other House.


Iorich

Who knows? I don't think I've seen this House described in even the least of detail.

Chreotha

Who knows? I don't think I've seen this House described in even the least of detail.

Yendi

The best compliment you can pay to a Yendi is to call him scheming and ambitious, for a Yendi without a plot is a dead one.

Orca

The Orca have been consummate sailors since before the Empire.

Teckla

The largest, but weakest House is the Teckla. Named after a small field-dwelling rodent, most Teckla are farmers. A smaller number are physickers (doctors), coachmen, messengers, or other similar occupations.

Jhegaala

Who knows? I don't think I've seen this House described in even the least of detail.

Athyra

The mystic Athyra is best known for its powerful sorcerers and amazing feats of thaumaturgy.

Player Classes

Base Classes

Prestige Classes

Magic

Morganti Weapons