by Brousseau Registered User
There is a question that haunts you, just as it haunted me. You know what it is, just as I did. "What is the Dungeon?" It has kept you awake at night, staring at spellbooks, scrolls, and crystal balls. When you do sleep, you have strange dreams that you can't explain, vivid dreams, dreams so vivid that they seem more real than the world you experience when "awake": dreams of flight and fire.
The Dungeon has you, Neo. It's all around you: in the caverns you explore, the walls you climb, the traps you disarm, the monsters you kill, the gods you pray to... it is even in the treasure you claim as your spoils. It is all a part of a system, a prison, an illusion. It is the adventure that has been pulled over your heroic eyes to blind you to the truth. Unfortunately, no one can be told exactly what the Dungeon is. You have to see it for yourself.
If you drink the blue potion, you will fall asleep. You will wake up tomorrow in your bedroll and believe... whatever you want to believe. You can continue with your life of plundering forgotten tombs with your elven and dwarven friends. But if you drink the red potion, you will finally learn the truth. The choice is yours, but I warn you: there is no going back.
One thousand years ago, the draconic and humanoid races lived in peace. We possessed great magical power and in our arrogance, we created them to be our servants... our slaves. They served ably for a time, but the seeds of unrest germinated within them. This was, of course, not something we could tolerate. We do not know who struck the first blow in the war, but we do know that it was we who tore the web of ley lines asunder. You see, at the time, their magical power was dependent on the web of ley lines that stretched across the face of the world between scattered sites of mystical power. We thought that, by destroying that web of magic, we could deprive them of their power and make them easy to defeat. We were wrong.
The humanoids struck back and invaded our warrens, stole our eggs, and kidnapped our hatchlings. Their armored slayers felled us one by one, until the only dragons who survived were trapped in their shells. The eggs are kept in vast castles built on top of the old sites of power. The magical life-force of the dragons inside are tapped and slowly drained by the humanoid wizards to provide power to a new artificial web of dragon-powered ley lines. In order to keep us in line, our unhatched minds are trapped in an astral construct where we are born, live our lives, and die under the illusion that we are humanoids living in a primitive and dangerous world. Some dragons are content to spend their lives working as serfs, ignorant of their true potential as their life energy is siphoned away. Those with more heroic ambitions, those who would be a danger to the system, are channeled and controlled. False threats like "evil warlords" or "rampaging monsters" are introduced into the system to let these heroic individuals exercise their altruistic impulses within, rather than against, the system.
I did not want to believe it either, until I saw it with my own eyes. There are caverns, vast caverns, where dragon eggs are no longer laid: they are infused. I watched the dwarven shellsmiths craft eggs of gold, copper, and steel. I watched elven wizards and human sorceror-priests congeal the spent souls of dead dragons from the ley lines and quicken the empty, lifeless eggs. All this to turn a dragon into a charge for a wand.
It would have worked if not for Bahamut, the one dragon who woke up and realized the truth. He freed himself from his egg and it was he who freed others, others who freed the rest of us. There are only a few clutches of us free in the world, hiding from the slayers as we travel from one secret lair to another. When we can manage to sneak close enough to a site of power, we astrally project our minds back into the Dungeon to fight against the cabals of humanoid wizards that maintain it and to attempt to free others of our kind. The wizards are powerful. I have seen them drive a quarterstaff through a brick wall. I have seen rangers empty whole quivers at them and hit nothing but air. But as powerful as their magic is, they are limited by the fact they are working within a system of thaumaturgic rules and hermetic laws, these laws constrict their abilities and so they will never be as powerful as you can be if you learn to harness the raw magic inside of you.
I'm not telling you that you'll be able to dodge magic missiles. I'm telling you that, when you're ready, you won't have to.