The Dragon’s Court is a secret organization committed to protecting the interests of the realm over, a lord or king. They oppose the realms many enemies, foreign and domestic, through a program of infiltration, assassination, and espionage. One of the major goals of the Dragon’s Court is keeping a rein on corruption within Callimhros (aside from corruption that is useful to them); another is keeping any one faction within the continent from becoming powerful enough to upset the status quo and topple the Council of Races. Through its shadow schools, the Dragon’s Court intensively trains new recruits, preparing them for the high level of initiative and latitude with which they will be vested.
Goal: Serving from the Shadows
The Dragon’s Court sees their mission as serving the entire continent of Callimhros, but they don’t want anyone to tell them how to fulfill that mission. The easiest way to avoid criticism and oversight is to not officially exist, so the Court makes secrecy and opacity a priority. At the same time, it is to their advantage if their name strikes fear and encourages compliance. Attaining the status of open secret has allowed the organization to gain the benefits of notoriety without having to deal with its consequences in terms of outside interference.
The Dragon’s Court is devoted to the realm and puts their mission above moral considerations, believing wholeheartedly that the ends justify the means. Most Dragons are individualists, and though they respect and usually obey their superiors for their experience and wisdom, typical Dragon Court members are dismissive of order and rules, often engaging in shortcuts that involve intimidation, fraud, or larceny.
The leader of the Dragon’s Court is Caius Cassidous, the silver eyed Master of the Academy of Secrets (N male human bard 3/rogue 3/Dragon Court Imperator 7). Cassidous’ official duties consist entirely of training new Dragon’s Court recruits, but his control over the curriculum and his charismatic style have won him the personal loyalty of most of the members. Most of the decisions of the faction are made by debate and consensus among several of the most senior members, but Cassidous often gives a completely different set of personal orders to his loyalists.
These orders often go undiscovered by the seven other masters; even when Cassidous is finally called to account; his actions turn out to have benefited the Dragon’s Court in unexpected ways or fixed holes in the plans of the other masters. Cassidous lives a public life as a close advisor to the Council of Races, and he spends some of his time wandering the Capita and in the halls of the bureaucracy. During his frequent and prolonged disappearances, he teaches at the Academies of Secrets. Caius Cassidous seems to believe that the most important thing for the realm is to keep the Council of Races in power, and most of his personal efforts seem to go toward strengthening the Council’s position. Of particular interest are rumors that claim Cassidous was at the founding of the Council and has not aged a day in his years of service.
Good Class Choices
Bard, Rogue, Wizard
Challenging Class Choices
Barbarian, Fighter, Ranger
The Academies of Secrets of the Dragon’s Court are housed all over the Capital. Two rest in forgotten pockets of the ruined city beneath the Capital. There is one beneath the foundations of each of the city’s great districts, and one in an unused crypt beneath the Cathedral of the Fallen Legionnaire. Three more are scattered under various parts of the city. Only the masters know the location of more than one of the schools, and only Caius Cassidous knows the location of all of them.
Though most recruits come from training schools where talented potential members are observed and appraised, the faction allows talented individuals with strong loyalties to the realm and peace to join as well. Because of the organization’s secret nature and headquarters, characters are more likely to be approached by a Dragon Blade member than to find one whom they can ask about joining.
Characters gain prestige with the Lion Blades through heroic or influential actions that preserve or extend the Council of Races power, protect the realm or strike at its enemies. They can also gain prestige by recruiting talented people into the organization.
The Dragon’s Court deal primarily in information, persuasion, and death. Most members of this faction plan to take levels in the Dragon’s Court Imperator prestige class.
5 TPA, 1 CPA: Acquire props and clothing to create an expert disguise that grants the character a +10 bonus on one Disguise check. While the clothing from the disguise may be reusable, other elements (such as a fake beard or a forged invitation to a party) generally have only one use.
5 TPA, 5+ CPA: Gain a contact in a particular city. The character can consult with this contact for local gossip, news, and advice; this action grants the character a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks to gather information and on Knowledge (history), Knowledge (local), Knowledge (nobility), and Knowledge (religion) checks made regarding the contact’s city, but the character must wait 24 hours for the contact to provide the desired information. For an additional 10 CPA, the bonus from the contact increases to +4. A character may have contacts in multiple cities, but multiple contacts in the same city provide no extra benefit. If the contact dies, the character can spend CPA to find a replacement contact.
10 TPA, 3 CPA: Acquire a temporary false identity, such as a foreign merchant or obscure noble scion; this includes clothing, documentation, minions, accent coaching, and up to cantrip-level supplementary magic to bolster the false identity. This identity counts as an expert disguise (+10 to the character’s Disguise check) and provides a +10 bonus on Linguistic checks for the forged documentation and a +10 bonus on relevant information-gathering checks regarding the character (this last element requires a few hours of time to seed people “in the know” with information about the false identity). The identity won’t stand up to intense scrutiny and is best used for no more than an evening’s time.
15 TPA, 10 CPA: Fake a death. Faked deaths are usually done to avoid enemies. The most common form is to dress up an identical (or mangled) corpse as the character and arrange for it to be found; more extravagant deaths involve witnesses, dramatic falls, or public assassinations. Obviously, if the character walks around in public thereafter it ruins the deception, and most recipients leave town or permanently change appearances. This deception also covers situations in which the character wants an assassination (by him or another Court member) to look like an accident.
15 TPA, 10 CPA: Gain the assistance of a master specialist (an NPC whose level equals the PC’s level) for 1 week, so long as the activity benefits the Dragon’s Court, the Council of Races, or the realm. These tasks may include illegal acts such as assassination; in most cases the organization insists that the character take care of this business personally (rather than having the specialist do it for him) but doesn’t object to him getting help with the task from the specialist.
15 TPA, 13 CPA: Undergo a week-long session of mental training that gives the character a +4 bonus on saving throws against detect thoughts, discern lies, and attempts to magically discern his alignment.
15 TPA, 13 CPA: Undergo mental training for 1 week that gives the character a +2 bonus on all Will saving throws.
20 TPA, 10 CPA: Gain unlimited access to one safe house controlled by the Dragon’s Court in a particular city. The safe house normally looks like an innocuous building, such as a warehouse, and the Dragon’s Court bribes local law officials to look the other way. The character may enter and exit the safe house once per day without risk of attracting attention or revealing its location to enemies; some may have a secret exit in addition to the conventional exit. The safe house is stocked with simple food, basic nonmagical weapons, and a selection of mundane equipment. Larger cities may have multiple safe houses; smaller places (especially outside of Callimhros) may have none.