Of Dragons and Legends
No real dragon has walked the earth nor flown in the skies for over a thousand years (or, to be more precise, if they have nobody has ever seen one) and they are now thought to be extinct.
This is hardly surprising if the tales are to be believed, for all the legends mark them as the most violent and bloodthirsty creatures ever to have existed.
A dragon, so the legends claim, would kill man and beast alike, merely for the pleasure of watching it die. Even other dragons enjoyed no immunity from their predations, for they were highly territorial, excessively aggressive, and almost certainly cannibalistic.
In truth such a creature should never have existed, and in any rational universe they would certainly never have evolved in the first place. Indeed, this very fact has been used by many a theologian as proof positive of the existence of the gods.
Given their aggressive and predatory nature dragons where almost always in conflict, either with humans or with other dragons, and an awful lot of dragon blood got spelled over the centuries. Of course most of this simply seeped into the earth and decayed away, much like the blood of any other creature.
Dragons however were strange innately magical creatures and, very rarely, if the conditions were precisely right, the blood just might set to form a dragon blood crystal (in much the same fashion that tree sap can set to form amber).
Dragon blood crystal is a quartz-like crystal ranging in colour from deep purple to jet-black. The crystals are always extremely small (rarely more than a 1/4 oz in weight), probably because they are extremely brittle and tend to break at the slightest shock.
Even in their raw state dragon blood crystals are quite pretty, but if cut and set by a skilled jeweller they can become astonishingly beautiful. This combined with their rarity means that gem quality crystals can be at least as expensive as diamonds.
Most crystals however are not suitable for jewellery, but they still have considerable value for their inherent magical properties.
Dragon blood crystals do not actually do anything directly. Instead they act as a kind of magical battery, collecting and storing magic for future use.
To use a crystal the magician must first 'charge' it up from a mana source of some kind. This could be anything (the ambient magical field, some arcane machine, the magicians' life force, whatever) depending on how your preferred magic system works. The crystal is then 'linked to' or incorporated into a magical artefact on order to power the magic.
Without a power source of some kind no magical artefact can work, so these crystals are essential for the creation of 'always on' type items (such as Spirit Beacons). You simply incorporate a crystal into the design, charge it up, and the item will work as long as the crystal has power. Note that you will of course have the recharge the crystal from time to time.
I cannot really claim full credit for this item, since mana storage device are a mainstay of several magic systems. However, I do think it adds an interesting atmosphere to the magical world as well as a kind of internal logic to the magic system. So, for what it's worth, here it is.
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? Responses (13)-13
I like it, it's a great idea to use in my games.
Very interesting solution to a well known basic concept. I like this version far better than simple crystals being used as mana or magic batteries.
I have a similar history regarding dragons in my world. They hybernates for 2000 years and are forgotten in all but folk lore until their return.
I like it and may use something similar to this in the future.
Certainly an intersting alternative.
Indeed, an interesting item, and since I've never heard of the idea befor, I respect your honesty in the mater and give it 4, I'd love to see it being used.
Magic Item Fuel. It is a good concept. In addition to limiting the power of magic items (by limiting use), it creates avenues of adventure:
Questing for most quartz
Questing for a specific kind of quartz needed for this item
Doing someting to get the right kind of quartz
Stopping others from getting their specific quartz needs
Finding a dragon to make more quartz
Discovering that under the castle of this supposedly good magic kingdom, there is a dragon subdued under the castle which is kept weak by continuously torturing and bleeding it to create more crystals.
The Evil Dragon Liche keeps invading this good magic kingdom to conquer/ destroy it and to free this tortured dragon. (Once the dragon beneith the castle revelation, the Evil Dragon Liche becomes the 'good guy' in this odd turn of events.
The Crystal Gatherers/ Magic Guild find out about a new alchemical alternative to dragon quartz...
1) Some try to suppress it
2) Some try to take it for their own, so they can rule the world through their enhanced power.
3) Some are trying to make it 'free'
4) The poor guy who invents the process needs protection because every guild faction and every government wants it for their own.
5) You get hired to get him for a guild faction or government.
6) Nobody realizes the side effects of this stuff untill it is too late and the gates to the other world opens up.
Hmmmm. This stuff could really be a good campaign seed.
Now Moon THIS is a great idea! The side effects of nuclear .. eh, thaumic power.
Nice ideas Moon, although to be honest a had already though of most of them.
As it happens, I am writing a scenario based around searching for some Crystallised Dragon Blood (currently only half completed so I will say no more on the subject now - but watch the Plots section).
The imprisoned dragon scenario is a nice idea but personally I will never use it, mainly because in my worlds dragons are pseudo-mythical creatures that died out aeons ago (if they ever really existed at all) so it doesn't quite fit. So feel free to develop it yourself if you wish.
I must admit that I had not thought of an alchemical alternative although this is certainly possible. I really like the idea of some unforeseen, and possibly detrimental, side effect. Great idea, I just have to do something with it.
Updated: Updated: Re-set the in-text links (I hope)
I honestly like this. Before starting on the development of my setting and its magic system, I didn't have much use or interest in this post, though I did find it to be a creative new way of mana-storage. Now, however, I have a world who's magic system for the most part precludes enchantments or 'always on' magic items. This system gives one the way to explain magical enchantments. 4/5 for uniqueness of approach and creativity.
Hmm, I just really like the concept of crystallized dragon blood. In fact I think I'll use that idea! (minus the mana)
Hey! does this somehow qualify for Dead Dragon Freetext. It does, I think.
Very nice. Ubiquitous enough that they could exist anywhere, basically. A magical crystal like this could cause all kinds of things under numerous circumstances. A pocket (or geode) of dragon's blood crystals for example, breaking down in a marsh spring would be interesting, especially if there were bog iron around it. Add a peat bog around that, which would be harvested and burn exceptionally brightly, used by locals for fires on holy days, lanterns (Jack-o-Lanterns...) and scrying, or as a blacksmith's secret ingredient (along with smelted bog iron) to make hard bitten or enchanted items. Then of course there's bog men, ancient criminals that suddenly come to life from under the peat to plague the living....
It might also be a hallowed place for nearby Iron Age tribes,the bog men being sacrificial victims a shaman or priest could call forth in dire need. They might also be the remnants of pagan chieftains, Sun/Serpent Kings ritually slaughtered after a seven year reign.
I'm giving this one high marks, since it obviously gets my mind plotting immediately. :)
Interesting take on the mana battery idea.
This is a good one! Lots of potential uses with this!