The Secret Lives of Heroes
The Dragons and The Doomguard
There are heroes, and then there are the Dragons. Dragons are champions of creation itself, living thousands of lives, and setting themselves apart from their contemporaries with their ability to draw upon past memories, abilities, and an unexplainable energy known as Bliss that makes them capable of impossible deeds in the face of overwhelming odds.
In spite of this, Dragons are still people, and they feel love and joy, passion and rage, sadness and despair, just like everyone else. Dragons that give into their darkest fears embrace something incredibly dark inside of them, and become guardians of Entropy, seeking to sow sorrow, pain, and misery wherever they go, speeding up the destruction and obliteration of creation itself. While these dragons gone rouge go by many titles, they are collectively known as the Doomguard.
Most Dragons live their lives never knowing what they truly are, only drawing upon their extraordinary gifts in truly desperate moments. But some awaken to their true nature, gaining an understanding of the universe past normal comprehension, and unlock their true potential. This is known as the ascension.
When a Dragon unlocks their power, it is done so in the form of what is known as a ‘Seed’. Seeds are small, palm-sized black pouches with horns on both ends, that glow with an inner light in their center. Each Seed contains the memories, experiences, and powers of one of the Dragon’s previous lives, and accepting the Seed as theirs places the Dragon on a path to power. This ‘Path’ is much like gaining an additional class. It is rare that a Dragon gets to select their Seed, and the subsequent Path that they access; however, for the purposes of this game, you the player will select the Seed and Path that your character receives.
Paths determines the majority of your new Dragon abilities. But instead of gaining Path ‘levels’, you gain tiers that grant additional abilities and bonuses. Gaining a tier in a path doesn’t replace gaining levels in your class. You gain additional tiers by achieving Milestones after the Ascension; see Gaining Tiers for more information.
As soon as your character achieves a new tier, you must select all of the new powers that come with that tier.
Every Dragon with a Seed belongs to a path. Each path represents a journey into legend, and each tier in that path grants abilities and features related to that pursuit.
Upon achieving his 1st tier, a character must choose one path to follow. Characters can choose from the following paths.
A master of arcane magic, the archmage casts powerful spells with great skill and ease, and shapes reality at whim. The powers of the archmage allow her to alter her spells, penetrate foes’ defenses, and master nearly any subject. While many of the archmage’s abilities are most valuable to a character with a high Intelligence score, those with high Charisma scores will also find a wide variety of powerful options. The path of the archmage is suitable for arcane spellcasters.
Path of the Archmage
Unparalleled in combat, the champion stands triumphant on the battlefield, surrounded by bruised and broken foes. The abilities of the champion allow him to deliver strikes more accurately, perform astounding combat maneuvers, and move effortlessly around the battlefield. Characters with a high Strength score will find this path extremely useful, as will those with a high Constitution score. The path of the champion is suitable for characters who rely on martial arms and combat maneuvers.
Path of the Champion
A genius is a figure of soaring intellect and astonishing accomplishments. From child prodigies in the arts and sciences to aged sages prowling the dusty shelves of ancient archives and unfurling the elder scrolls of forgotten lore, a genius lives a life in quest of knowledge, but that mission is never satisfied with uncovering the knowledge developed by others. A genius has an unquenchable thirst to discover and devise new knowledge, taking theory and inspiration and blending it with relentless experimentation and rigorous retesting. Obsessive focus is a hallmark of most geniuses, and perhaps it is the heart of their success, in that they do not give up in the face of disappointing failures. Some call them fools, dreamers, or even madmen, but none can deny that a genius intellect is truly dizzying.
Path of the Genius
Foes of the divine and opportunists of the overages of the faithful, these predators claim the power of the Gods for themselves. The result of stories of tragedy that would shatter lesser beings, Godhunters instead learn to shatter and break the divine powers that oppose them. They have a specialty in opposing and drawing strength from divinely empowered enemies, and use the spoils of their conflicts to fulfill their many worldly needs.
Path of the Godhunter
None can get past the impervious guardian—those who threaten this devout hero’s charges are doomed to fail. The powers of the guardian allow her to hold her ground, protect her allies, prevent enemies from moving past her, and survive hits that would defeat lesser heroes. Characters that have a high Constitution score and frequently find themselves in the middle of combat gain valuable powers by becoming a guardian. The path of the guardian is suitable for those who routinely sustain massive amounts of damage.
Path of the Guardian
Drawing on power that goes beyond the gods, the hierophant is an inviolate vessel for the divine. The abilities of the hierophant allow him to enhance the power of his spells, heal others with greater potency, and commune with the gods. Most characters that become hierophants have a high Wisdom score, although many also have an above-average Charisma score. The path of the hierophant is suitable for divine spellcasters.
Path of the Hierophant
A living saint devotes herself, body mind and soul, to a belief, and her commitment never wavers. Blessed with nascent powers and cursed with temptations and difficulties, a living saint is a mortal whom fate has destined for legendary deeds. Serendipitous events and formative figures enter her life for a reason, and the fates watch her every step.
Path of the Living Saint
Inspiration and courage make the marshal the greatest leader, capable of leading troops to victory over any challenge. The powers of the marshal allow her to inspire others, which grants bonuses and additional opportunities to all of her comrades. Characters with a high Charisma score and an above-average Intelligence score will gain a variety of useful abilities by becoming marshals. The path of the marshal is suitable for those who continually aid others.
Path of the Marshall
The Overmind is a Psionic-based path, and as no character in the game is Psionic, I won’t be detailing it.
Skill, training, and savvy make the trickster the master of the impossible—defying unbeatable obstacles and traps, tricking the wise, and hitting otherwise unattainable targets. The trickster’s abilities allow him to change his appearance, manipulate others, and strike with deadly accuracy. Characters with high Dexterity and Charisma scores have a lot to gain from becoming tricksters. The path of the trickster is suitable for those who rely on subterfuge and cunning.
Path of the Trickster
When a Dragon gives into and acts in accordance to their darkest fears, they begin to embrace a hidden darkness deep within themselves. This unlocks a dark Seed kept within all Dragons, one that doesn’t glow with an inner light, but one that contains a deep and unrelenting darkness, and The Path of the Doomguard. When Dragons who have had their Ascension hit enough Breaking Points, they begin what is known as the Descent, and begin to advance along the Path of the Doomguard. Advancing along the path is identical to advancing along your Dragon Path, except that you gain additional tiers by hitting Breaking Points instead of Achieving Milestones; see Gaining Tiers for more information.
All Doomguard have certain abilities in common, see Doomguard Powers for more information. Additionally, Doomguard also have an additional energy pool to draw upon when using their abilities: see Despair for more information.
A lone Doomguard prowls the fringes of society, an anathema against Creation and all of its many gifts, a seeker of dark, abominable secrets, and a keeper of the same. A member of the Doomgaurd may be a scorned lover, a fallen hero, an insane seeker of the obscure and forbidden, a violent despot, a forgotten legend, or any other kind of downtrodden champion of righteousness who failed to save the day and lost their reason to keep fighting. In the eyes of others, each is a mysterious stranger whose only companion is silence and despair, who seems to appear out of nowhere with their fist step into a dusty street or a shadowed alley. Unheralded and unremarkable but carrying a hint of coiled menace with every movement, the Doomguard draws the wordless gaze of onlookers who scurry for a place to hide but cannot tear their eyes away from whatever is about to go down. Conversation dies and windows are shuttered as all eyes follow their steps. Their words are few though their deeds are many, but when calm and normalcy returns in their wake, few have marked their passage or can quite recall their name and face.
The Path of the Doomguard