The Celestial Dragon Suit was crafted millennia past, from a gift of silk presented to an ancient emperor by a grateful Dragon.
Many legends abound about the feats that led to the Dragon’s gratitude, but none seem to wholly explain it. The suit is amazingly durable, its silk and wood cannot be damaged by mortal force. When worn normally, the suit provides up to 50% cover for all dancers against any source. Dancers can assume a fetal position and gain 100% cover, but obviously no movement beyond crawling is possible. In addition, taking such an undignified position will bring bad luck to the dancers.
The suit’s principle power is the abilty to perform powerful magic Dragon Dances. Some of the dances used are the Luck dance, Rain dance, War Dance and the Dragon Dance.
The luck dance will grant enhanced luck to the hosting province, such as through singular lucky event (birth of a great person, a bumper harvest, end of a war) , stopping a singularly unlucky event from occurring (Typhoon, Plague, etc) or through a multitude of smaller interventions. Such a dance may only be made once per year, and failure of the dance could incur bad luck of equal measure to the good. As such, only the most skilled performers would be allowed to attempt this dance. Critical success and Critical failure will increase the intensity of the effect, perhaps by widening the area of effect to the entire empire as opposed to a province.
This Dance is used to bring favourable weather to the province and may be attempted once per season. Normally the plea is for rain, though it is possible to plea for other weather events. A Critical success provides what is being asked for in the current season, and provides beneficial weather in the next one following. Critical failure will still bring what is asked, but in strength and quantity sufficient to bring disaster - typically flooding for rain, drought for Sun, etc.
On the field of war, the War dance serves mainly to inspire allied troops and to dismay the enemy. It may be used once per month and the effects extend only to the horizon. On critical success, allied troops are filled with élan while enemy troops become routed and attempt to flee.
On failure - normal or critical - the effects are reversed.
This dance may only be fully attempted on special years according to the alignment of the heavenly bodies, though it can be performed ceremonially on other years. If completed with a critical success, the dancers and the suit become melded into a true dragon who will serve the province faithfully as a guardian and mentor for a period of eight months. The Dancers are then released, though all are touched by the Dragon and blessed with good luck for many years thereafter.
Conducting the Dance
The suit requires seven dancers and all must succeed in their skill/ability checks for performing the work -The difficulty and mechanics need to be set by the GM. GMs may also choose if a critical success/failure is needed by the leader or from any of the dancers in order for a critical effect to occur. For those game systems without a critical success mechanic, assign a 5% chance for critical success and 5% for failure per member.
Intended for worlds with Chinese culture, this item can greatly impact an ongoing campaign, if only by driving major events. The PCs could become directly involved with it in a few ways:
An old trope, but a good one. The Suit has been stolen very close to the yearly Luck dance by persons unknown. They have been called on to find and return it, or prevent an enemy empire from using it.
The Forbidden Dance
The list above is not exhaustive, there are dances which call upon the terrible side of the Dragons. And the secret behind one of these has become known. The PCs become aware of a plot within the empire to make use of it, risking death and destruction to the empire.
The empires are long gone, destroyed by some great cataclysm ages past. In an ornate tomb guarded by jade and terra-cotta golems they find this ancient artifact. What do they do with it? Can they find through ancient scrolls and tables the Dances so critical to the suit?
Additional Ideas (2)
Lost to history, there are many myths surrounding it. The truth is if this forgotten dance is found it could have a profound effect on the provinces war capabilities. The Dance causes the closest major river to reverse course, enabling warships to very rapidly go up river.It was also once used to evacuate a port city from a supernatural event. The river will turn to sea water for 3 days, the length of the reversal.
7 young virgins are gathered every third spring to learn the Dragon Dances. Onlookers are amazed at how well the untrained dancers perform.They are kept secluded and pampered but are paraded around on public holidays, but they are never dancing out of costume. A smell of opium surrounds the girls and they often don't seem aware of their surroundins,yet in costume they are supurb.
The Jade is a front. The true dancers are well paid and live around the city. They are mostly 35-50 year old men. The troup is so no one can kill or bribe the true dancers. It is a closely held secret