Proposition with Dragon Herald

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Proposition with Dragon Herald
« on: March 05, 2014, 11:44:33 AM »
So a Common Topic on this so far is history versus fantasy.  I realized after reading everything that this game could be played on earth as in our earth, in a viking setting, or arthurian setting very easily.  One catch though is the Dragon Herald.  The Troll Killer exists because we always had in our past "giants" David and Goliath, "Cyclops" Odysseus, even witches "Circe and Morigan le Fay".  Monsters could exist they are just our imaginative comprehension of real scary things.  However, the one the doesn't fit much is the Dragon Herald.  It implies that Dragons exist.  Big giant unsustainable magical monsters, and pull us out of the more realistic harshness of the dark ages. 

Historically those times were considered an apocalypse because from the fall of Rome when some people went back and saw aqueducts they had no clue what these things were.  Priests were considered truly godlike because they could actually read.  Diseases were fought with ridiculous magic rituals that might have killed more then helped, and disease and plague were rampant.  Famine was constant, and the threat of the outside was everywhere from the bitter cold, to the lack of food.  In England they fought murderous Man Monsters (Vikings/Celts/Saxons/Picts) that Could attack at any moment.  In Eurasia they fought Centaurs "Mongol and Arabic horsemen".  Our world in the Dark Age was a land of Apocalypse, and I worry that the Dragon Herald removes our world from that and makes it a world of fantasy not darkness.

That said I think the class is cool, and was seeking for advice how to reskin it a little bit so it doesn't have to explicitly involve dragons.  To me the Dragon Herald is like the mad profit, or the witch advisor to a king.  They are the truth seer that nobody wants to like, but has to deal with "Beware the Ides of March, the Furies, Circe, etc.".  I want peoples advice on the following.  So seriously please help me and provide other examples.  My thoughts to make it more realistic is keep it exactly the same, but instead of "Awaken Dragons" as XP moves maybe instead they "Create prophesies" or "Change fate".  Make them more broadly mystical instead of specifically with dragons.  Any other ideas?  I'd love to hear.  These are my thoughts though.  Further if you want more examples of Mad Profits that remind me of a Dragon herald see the following:


-John of Leiden/ Munster Rebellion for mad prophets (listen to this for more http://www.dancarlin.com//disp.php/hharchive/Show-48---Prophets-of-Doom/Luther-Reformation-history)

-This one for good dark age lore ( http://www.dancarlin.com//disp.php/hharchive/Show-41---Thor*s-Angels/Dark%20ages-medieval-antiquity)

-This one for plague and death in the ancient time (http://dancarlin.com/dccart/index.php?main_page=product_music_info&cPath=1&products_id=139)

Though you'd have to buy it.  I'm obsessed with Hardcore History, and I plan on using some of themes in my game of it.

Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 12:01:39 PM »
I am not sure the dragon has to be an actual dragon. It could be largely metaphoric, as implied here: "Clothe it in storms, earthquakes, floods, wild fires, poisoned fields, rotten woods."

Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 12:59:54 PM »
That could work, and is what I'm implying.  I just feel the word dragon is out of place.  If you are going to use metaphorical nature of outside unexplained forces.  Why give it a name that so consistently pops up in the modern culture minds as an actual dragon.

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DWeird

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Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 02:28:15 PM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y_Ddraig_Goch

Or it could be a metaphor for a sort of crypto-nationalism. That's certainly how it's used in, say, GoT. A War Herald is a vassal or a mercenary, fighting out of loyalty or for coin. An Outlaw Heir has no beef with the system, he just want his stuff back. The Dragon Herald is the only playbook right now that comes with a creed, a promise of power and change through a thing that "has always been here, but sleeping."

Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 03:35:49 PM »
That is an accurate description and what I want out of it.  So should dragons still be the name, or should it be something else?

Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 04:13:46 PM »
Dragon has a good and nice ring to it. I like the image it conveys. Dragons are also pretty universal in legends all over the world.

Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 02:16:06 PM »
I think the Dragon is a good name, poetic and exact at the same time.
For the ideas what it could be if not "real dragon"...
-Dragon of [cheap] Steel
-Dragon of Steam Power
-Dragon of sleeping [buried] Plague
-Dragon of normally docile natives, talked into frenzy for Revenge
-etc

Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 02:25:14 PM »
Couldn't it be the word prophecy instead.  A prophecy is always doomed, and it doesn't use a word that has another connotation?

Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2014, 02:28:38 PM »
The dragon isn't the prophecy. The dragon is the thing prophesied. It says the MC can bring in a dragon if he wants, late in the game, even if there isn't a Dragon Herald. I don't really see how the term "Dragon" is any more setting specific than "The Empire of Eagles"?

Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2014, 05:49:10 PM »
I use this thread for another question about the DragonHerald

Inviolate: the dragons in the Earth give you 2 Armor, even when you wear none.

Is it a plain +2 Armor? Does "the dragons in the Earth" means something more?

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DWeird

  • 166
Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2014, 10:07:59 PM »
fealoro:

My familiarity with Apocalypse World tells me that it's 2 armour flat (if you have 0 physical armour, you get 2 armour. If you have 1, you get 2. If you get 3 physical armour, then you keep the 3), not +2. "Dragons in the earth" doesn't mean anything aside from provide a kind of thin layer of fictional plausibility to the move, as far as I can tell. It'd probably still work when all of the dragons are out of the earth.

kkibrick:

As far as I can tell, DA 'herald' playbooks are not about seeing the truth or the terrible future, they're about bringing it about. The War Herald wages war, the Dragon Herald brings forth dragons. So dragons and prophecies call forth two different aesthetic promises:

Dragons: you will be terrible and powerful and terrified of the power that you wield.
Prophecies: you will be terrible and powerless and terrified of the truth that you see.

I would be down for a game with or about prophecies anytime, but I'm not sure an AW-engine game works that well when they're the core focus of the playbook - as far as I can tell, the game is always a little bit of a power fantasy in that you are always the unquestionably cool guys that the story's all about, and all of the non-trivial limits to the things you can do come from having to deal with the other unquestionably cool guys. Which is not nothing, of course - but I can't ever see an AW-engine game being about true things you know but are powerless to stop.

But the terrible consequences of power? Rock right on.

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Scrape

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Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2014, 12:07:25 AM »
When the dragons of the earth give your player 2 armor, that's a great time to ask them what that means. Maybe they're like, "oh, the earth moves to protect me, like walls of stone" or maybe they're like "oh, I'm just lucky, I guess." Then you know what they think is cool and what they're after.

Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2014, 04:48:43 AM »
Dragon Herald is not harmed by dragons. It does not seem obvious to me that he'll be able to 'wield' them, though it is possible for him, given enough work. Dragons have to recognize him as equal - but they do not have to obey to him just because he's DH. Say, Bilbo in Desolation of Smaug is not harmed by dragon. But he does seem quite powerless to stop him from destroying lake town

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DWeird

  • 166
Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2014, 08:38:20 AM »
Sure! I mean, I doubt Bilbo is a Dragon Herald exactly, but my wording isn't that great either. "Unleash" rather than "wield" the power would probably make more sense? I feel like the more general point about dealing with an active force versus dealing with a future event (what does the prophet do when the prophecy comes true, by the way, aside some form of "You should've listened!") fitting in better within an AW framework still stands, though. At least, I think it does?

Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2014, 09:45:32 AM »
...as far as I can tell, the game is always a little bit of a power fantasy in that you are always the unquestionably cool guys that the story's all about, and all of the non-trivial limits to the things you can do come from having to deal with the other unquestionably cool guys.

This is kind of off-topic, but both Murderous Ghosts and Dark World are apocalypse engine games that involve powerless main characters. I think I agree with what you're saying, though, but I'd add the caveat that any apocalypse engine game that uses playbooks is going to be about power fantasy, as one of their purposes is to give the PC cool stuff he can do, that other people can't.

I also agree with you about prophecies, but I think it's not that it's hard to make an AW game in which true prophecies are a large part of the game, but that it's hard to make a Story Now game in which true prophecies are a large part of the game, because choices and uncertain outcomes are important to making Story Now work.