Wednesday, December 1, 2010

XDMC 23 - 8 Golden Guardians Pt. 2

The Truth Behind the Legend of the 8 Golden Guardians

The real story behind the Guardians is a very carefully guarded secret. It requires a significant quest in order to discover, but for those who do learn the truth, what follows is the knowledge that they gain.
The 8 Golden Guardians were actually not made up of men at all and they did not give themselves this name. Each member of the Guardians was originally an Ancient Chromatic Dragon, one of each color known, of incredible power. These 8 Wyrms were all renowned for their murderous tendencies and for generally being a huge threat to the world. They were marked by the church as a grave threat to the people of the world and were targeted to be slain in the name of a (the) god(s).
However, all attempts to conquer these mighty dragons proved in vane. Armies were sent against these dragons, but all of the churches allies fell; all hope to protect the people was quickly vanishing.
Then, one day, a group of mages, travelers from across the planes, contacted the church and approached them with a solution to the problem. They held not the power to slay these dragons outright, but they had crafted a ritual which could permanently lock each dragon into human form and strip them of their magical power. The ritual was extremely powerful, but required parts of each of the dragons in order to be successful. Thus, a quest began to capture a bit of dragon’s blood, or a scale from each of the dragons in order to amass the components to cast the ritual.
The quest was bloody and sordid. Many perished in the process, but eventually, pieces from each of the 8 dragons had been recovered. With all the pieces assembled, it was simply a matter of casting the ritual, consuming all of its components, and trapping the essence of the dragons into a powerful relic: The Tome of Bonds.
The Ritual was a great success. The power of the dragons was sealed into the Tome of Bonds and each of the dragons was trapped into a human shell, totally lacking their magical powers.
However, the disposition of these dragons was not easily changed and after having been so harshly slighted, the dragons were now out for blood and were united; though up to this point each dragon had been operating singularly, they had now all been magically bound together through a powerful ritual which helped not only to draw them together behind a common goal, but also physically. Each of the dragons felt a strong call, a call which brought them together in the world.
The initial union of these 8 Ancient Dragons, bound in human form, would become the starting point for the legend of the 8 Golden Guardians, a massive cover up by the (a) church to hide their mistake.
United, the 8 Dragons quickly went about improving their own power by mastering the martial skills. Without any of the draconic gifts, they would need them in their quest to right the wrongs that had been afflicted against them. They quickly achieved mastery in each of these skills – they had hundreds of years of life as dragons; this kind of experience was put to easy use in mastering things likes sword-play.
In the dragons’ quest for vengeance, thousands were slain. Small villages and townships were left in ruins after their coming. It was a disaster of monstrous proportions. After working their way across the world, slaying the helpless masses, they got wind of who had imprisoned them in their human shells. They learned that the (a) church was to blame. They would be destroyed. The Dragons began working in secret, going underground. They traveled in stealth gradually finding and hunting down any and all religious individuals which could lead them to what they were looking for, the secret to end their magical capture. Many corpses later, they found a cleric, holding the information they needed. They put his head on a steak after he spoke the words they wanted to hear.
The cleric didn’t possess the Tome of the Bond, but he had a vague Idea where it was. After the mages that had imprisoned the dragons disappeared, four kings from around the world were summoned and each was given a Tome; three of these were fakes, one was the real thing. The cleric passed this knowledge onto the dragons; he didn’t know who held the real thing, but one of those four had the book.
The dragons were in no way hindered. They split up and hunted down these kings one at a time throughout the world. Finally, after slaying two of them, it is believed that they found the king they were looking for. He put up a valiant struggle, but up against the dragons, even in human form, he stood no chance.
It is believed that this king gave up the real Tome of the Bond, but what happened afterward remains a mystery. Nobody really knows what happened after the Dragons encountered the third king and reclaimed the Tome. All record of their existence was lost. They may have undone the magic, returned to their draconic form, and retreated individually to their own corners of the world, or something else might have happened; it is very possible that the 8 Golden Guardians still walk the world in human form, but divided following their failure to change back into their glorious Draconic forms.

The Cover Up

The cover up manipulated by the (a) church, was a massive endeavor and in the end was fronted by numerous high ranking members of the clergy. The reason behind the cover up was simple. Were it to be discovered that in their quest to rid the world of the dragons, they in fact turned them into a greater threat and directed that threat towards the church, its followers, and to the kings that supported it, it would become a true disaster of massive proportions. It would cause a massive drop in support of the (a) church by the people. They would no longer be able to muster followers and faith in the god(s) would be lost.
The church decided that the best course of action would be to name the organization a group within the church; a brutal martial unit that was responsible for culling the world of evil. It was decided that all the poor innocent peasants that lost their lives in the path of the dragons, would be deemed as vile cultists, or plagued, cursed individuals. Their slaughter was a grim necessity in order to spare more people from danger and harm.
However, they also made it out to look like any high ranking person of stature that had been killed was also doing something evil: making pacts with unholy powers, using his or her position to commit murders under cover, or other things of this nature. Even the kings which had taken up the task of safeguarding the tome were not safe from the church(s) grasp; their families were also hunted down to make the cover up complete.
Thus, the conspiracy turned into a tale of honor and justice, and the ability of the church to cleanse itself from within, remaining noble. However, over the years, these stories were told and retold so many times that the tale of the 8 Golden Guardians became a legend passing on through the ages.

Magic Item:The Tome of The Bond

The Tome of the Bond is a potent magic item which is closely tied to the legend of the 8 Golden Guardians. It and the fake Tomes are all very similar in construction and are otherwise very plane, except for the 8 vials of dragon blood which are bound to the cover of the book in dark leather. The Wizards selected a simple Wizard’s Tome as a focus for the ritual, and used powerful concealing magic to mage the Magic of the Ritual undetectable. In order that the Dragon’s would not be able to detect which Tome was used for the ritual, each of the fake Tomes also contains some of the dragon’s blood.
If the players ever get a hold of the Tome, simply use any Wizard’s tome of a level appropriate to the players. While in the player’s possession, it functions as this magic Tome, but it has a significantly different appearance as described above; the vials of dragon’s blood cannot be removed from the Tome itself.

In tomorrows post, I will explain I will give tips to DM's for how to incorporate this organization into a campaign.

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