The Abyss has no fury like a Dragon Scorned!

The next bit of fun comes from the mad mind of BDC.

In our big campaign pitch, this month, we layed out a great frame work for a great game or series of games. It is simply Xorvindaal, the game that dragons play in order to outsmart their peers and take their hoards. Sounds like a great game, until you find that you are one of the pieces on the playing field!

This brought us to several character builds like the Warlock with the Dragon Patron. That’s the obvious one. But the character reference we offer today is just as deep and full of great flavor options.

One of the prerequisites for playing Xorvindaal is participating in THE RITUAL.

THE RITUAL is an almost sacred event that prepares the dragon participant for the ‘games’. First of all, it guarantees that the dragon CANNOT cheat. Secondly, it takes power from the dragon creating a reservoir in order to offer that power to certain underlings you trust to help you win the contest. These EXARCHS are also bound to the dragon and rules of the game.

The last little bit of info found in the Monster Manual 2 from 4E claims that the ritual effects the dragons differently. A participants experience varies from dragon to dragon. There’s not a lot of background about where this game/ritual came from. Nor does it give a source of those who enforce the rules. But, in order to referee the most powerful, sly and dangerous beings on the plane, those who reside over this should have access to great power to keep the rules and the players intact.

So, in this character reference, the participating dragon steps from the ritual changed. Having a great bit of its power taken from it, it also finds itself in a lesser form. Now, the obvious choice would be Dragonborn, but you could absolutely choose any of the playable species. Whatever form you take, in the end, the dragon has been diminished in form and power humbling it to the status of a level one adventurer!

above artwork by Jon Hodgson

The major question is why?

Your first option is that it is a strange bit of humor or outright irony delved out by whatever forces keep the game honest and controlled. Maybe, the ‘ritual’ decided to humble the dragon to a greater extent that most in order to teach the dragon a valuable lesson. To have to, not only, give up its power (whether in part or whole) but to walk the dirt as one of the ‘lesser creatures’ would be not only humbling but humiliating. The powers behind the ritual may have decided that, in order to make the dragon ‘greater’, they would have to make him ‘lesser’ first!

Your other option would be an accident or tampering!

Although the ritual is supposedly controlled, there’s always a chance for an accident. A monstrous storm descends upon the place where the ritual is being conducted. It may be a rupture of eldritch power from underneath. Possibly, it is an attack of a powerful elemental. There is a long list of possibilities.


  • 1: The storm of the century descends upon the ritual site unexpectedly.
  • 2: There is an explosive rupture of eldritch power from somewhere below!
  • 3: A powerful creature (Fiend, Fey or elemental) suddenly attacks.
  • 4: A powerful node of power makes contact from deep in the earth!
  • 5: A god wishing to prove a point or humble the dragon, intervenes.
  • 6: A fey rift interrupts it either by accident or design. Something in the Feywild has issue!

OR, for even more intrigue and drama, you could have a competitor find a way to tamper with the ritual without being found out. Possibly, it used influence with one of those conducting the ritual to manipulate the process; leaving their competitor devastated. There is always the possibility that someone within the mechanics of THE RITUAL has issue with the dragon or an enemy NOT competing has inserted agents to demean the dragon and take his hoard outside the game.

Whichever way you go with it, we have a former dragon diminished to a low level adventurer with the mystery as to who did it and why it was done. On top of that, those conducting said ritual may not even acknowledge there WAS tampering. The arrogance of such a body may not allow them to believe that outside forces could do such a thing. Better yet, they would rather keep a blind eye to it rather to deal with their vulnerability and weakness.


The set up opens up a great chance to tell an amazing story. The dragon, broken and reduced, now has to trust his Exarch who, in ways is more able than it. It has surrounded itself with what it deems to be a capable party to compete in the great game of hoards.

How you handle their relationship is, as always, up to you. Are they privy to the fate of their patron dragon? You could always have one, probably the Exarch, know and protect the dragon while keeping the others in dark. The slow revelation of their condition brings a lot of great moments of story-telling, character development and drama.

art by Hinchel Or

Imagine, as is the possibility, the dragon dies during the adventure (the dragon should NOT have plot armor). The revelation must happen then and there. The party has pledged their lives in service to the dragon and its death does not change this. The party goes on until the dragon’s hoards are gone. Possibly, that makes part of the game bringing back the dragon; a task, as DM, I would not make as easy as a spell one of the PCs could take. Still being a dragon in nature, the resurrection of such a creature is complicated and demands great magic. So part of the quest dictates gathering the implements of the dragon’s return.

Quite possibly, the ability to bring the dragon back may be connected to items in said dragon’s hoard. This makes it important that you protect the hoards from the competitor(s) and makes sure the game of Xorvindaal goes on. The end result being the defeat of the dragon’s enemies and a gathering of the things needed to secure the revival of the dragon.

However the story unfolds, it guarantees an amazing journey. What are your thoughts? How would you play it out? Maybe you’ve done something like this in YOUR games. Let us know in the comments below or on our social media about the whole experience.

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