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D&D 3E
The Orbs of Dragonkind... 
7th-Jan-2007 12:59 am
snarl, smartass
(Cross posted to dungeon_masters for more input.)

So, after quite sometime I have finally found my major plot device. I will be using the major artifact The Orbs of Dragonkind as the primary focus for my campaign.

My players will be starting as level six gestalt characters and will also be using templates or monster classes (factored into the gestalt class level, of course).

I'm wondering if I should wait to introduce the actual Orbs until they are higher level. I'm having trouble making a good decision as to what character level the Orbs are good for.

For those who don't know or are just not able to read it up in the DMG (p. 281): There are ten different Orbs of Dragonkind for each of the metallic and chromatic dragons. Each Orb grant an individual power as well as the breath weapon, immunity to the specific breath weapon attack, AC bonus, saving throw bonuses, and ability to dominate dragons of the specific Orb. The also grant the ability to sense other dragons within 10 miles, 100 miles for the specific dragon, and ability to locate the specific type within 1 mile as well as it's age. Not only that, but the holders of the Orbs are able to communicate with each other verbally and visually.

One thing to note, they won't be dominating any dragons. At least not more than maybe once or twice to make them feel good. That's way too powerful in and of itself. Then again, maybe I shouldn't even consider it.

Thanks for any and all help. It's greatly appreciated! :D

It's a gotta-collect-them-all type deal. So, what level would you suggest to start introducing them?

Also, while I'm here. There is no mention of what level to base the bonuses off of. Considering it's a major artifact it might be of a Great Wyrm, but that's pushing it and I won't be doing that.

And it might be good to note, I've already ruled out that only one Orb may be in effect at a time (rather, no one can gain the benefits of two or more Orbs and there's a penalty for attempting to. Nothing huge but enough to keep anyone from being able to do it as well as keeping them from wanting to in the future).

The idea is that the PCs are collecting the Orbs to effectively destroy them and keep anyone from abusing their powers. They won't actually be destroyed, but for all intents and purposes they will be - at least until I decide I want to bring them back like some cliché cartoon show.
7th-Jan-2007 08:56 am (UTC)
ok, first, wait until they are HIGH levels....the Orbs are too powerful to risk letting loose (even one) in a game world if the ones possessing any of them aren't powerful enopugh to keep someone from taking them...

second....no matter how careful they are, take into account that eventually, someone will get wind that a party is trying to find them...and people WILL come after them....bard's songs, tavern rumors, even agents of dragons who got wind of what they might be doing...be prepared to have a large stack of NPCs to throw at them...

third....if you play the Orbs as stated in the DMG, if they EVEN ONCE attempt to Dominate a Dragon with an Orb, even if it means death if they don't, they are SCREWED

as a DM, I'd suggest considering tossing them in a situation where using an Orb will significantly increase their odds of survival...especially if they have to choose between possibly dying or pissing every dragon in the world off...

but then again, I'm just evil that way.....
7th-Jan-2007 09:49 am (UTC)
Someone else has suggested leveling up the Orbs compared to the PCs level. I can see it as over time and training with the Orbs, the PCs unlock new potential and abilities from the Orb.

The idea is that a few high levels, and some low, already know. It's essentially a race. I plan on others knowing about the Orbs, especially the BBEG.

As a second note, there will be strong animosity towards the PCs by the dragons just for having the Orbs. Should they succeed at explaining they're trying to rid the world of them (which is their quest) then the dragon(s) that do believe them will appreciate their efforts. At that point, they just need a miracle.. or a zone of truth.

I'm not planning on having dragons showing up often. They're extremely rare and, based on history, won't be looking to pick a fight with just anyone. They will be there, and there will be conflicts - however unless the plot goes down hill, they'll be ok with dragonkind in the end. However, it'll be interesting should they fail.

Should they actually attempt to dominate a dragon, there will most certainly be heavy consequences. If anything, I expect NPCs to attempt it anyways.. if just to make an example. But I like the idea of putting them in that kind of situation.

Thanks for that. :D
8th-Jan-2007 08:26 am (UTC)
ok... leveling the Orbs...... if you wanna try that, you will need (or at least should consider getting if you don't have) Weapons of Legacy....what is suggested sounds like an attempt to turn the Orbs into Legacy Items...it could work, but trying to level up all of them? as a DM, I would suggest only allowing one to level at a time per player...making each player, essentially, the sole possessor of that particular Orb...

second....the only way described in the DMG that the Dragons could find out about them having the orbs is if they use one to Dominate a Dragon...(unless its written somewhere else that I've either overlooked, or don't have access to)

so, I'd say that that telepathic link that allows a possessor to sense a Dragon should be two-way...maybe giving the dragon a Spot check...I have no idea what the DC of that should be....to notice the link...

...or even a Wil save from the possessor...again, no idea what the DC should be, but it should be significantly higher if the Orb used is that Dragon's color......to suppress the link enough so the Dragon doesn't notice....maybe both?

and remember, there is a telepathic link between possessors of the Orbs when they're held....
7th-Jan-2007 11:39 pm (UTC) - the Orbs are too powerful to risk letting loose
you don't have to play them as is. you could alter them and say the breath weapon and immunity to the breath weapon only work if the bearer is within a certain range to the specific dragon type, maybe the 1 mile distance or ten mile distance. you could do a campaign where they start with the orbs and the focus of the campaign is "where have all the dragons gone?". the orbs don't work because they aren't within range of a dragon. why would they care where the dragons went? maybe only the good dragons have left, and the evil ones are having a field day... eating maidens, sleeping on everybody's gold. so the pc's get dragon orbs for the good aligned dragons and have to go find them. or something.
7th-Jan-2007 09:13 am (UTC)
Orb powers only start to trickle out as pcs gain levels... Maybe they need to complete certain quests to unlock various powers... The classic rod of seven parts deal, but it works well...
7th-Jan-2007 09:30 am (UTC)
This won't be the only focus these characters will have. The Orbs will eventually be taken away. I'm not concerned they'll be of less use or powerful, and as someone else suggested they Orbs can (and will) become more powerful as the PCs level to compensate low level to high.

You do have a good point, though. If I don't come up with something than what's already given, these Orbs will eventually mean nothing to them.
7th-Jan-2007 07:42 pm (UTC)
I agree with Gimp, raise them with the PCs. Also, are they aura effects, or user-based effects? If it's aura, and all the party is affected by the orb, then more orbs is more effect. If it's user-based, then perhaps some kind of linking between users and their orbs, and through that, increase each other's powers.

That made more sense in my head.

Make there a point to collecting Dragon Orbs, Like some big doo-dad they need to use the orbs to unlock.
7th-Jan-2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
Ayup. Gonna go with needing to level the Orbs according to the PC that holds it. Legacy of Weapons style. That way should a higher level person hold an Orb, they'll be able to harness more power than a lower level person.

It is no aura based. It'd be pretty sweet and I might incorporate something like that.

Hm.. and the idea of the more the party has the more powerful the Orbs are. Like the Orbs feed off of each other. Which would be awesome for when all the Orbs are together. Muahahaha.

And there is a reason for collecting them. They've been hired to collect the Orbs in order to destroy them. The magic that was used to hide them is fading so the new plan is to send them to another plane (a new plane of existence "no one" will have access to but I might have something happen so I get to bring the Orbs back into play). The PCs and the person that hires them aren't the only people to know about the Orbs - I haven't come up with a perfect plan as to why the BBEG wants the Orbs... but it'll be evil and world effecting.

Thanks for your input. I'm going to start working on these new ideas asap! :D
7th-Jan-2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
I'm not a huge fan of the orbs of dragonkind.

They're overly powerful, and they kind of force you to go into a dragon heavy campaign.

Also to note: the Orbs of Dragonkind are all based around Great Wyrms. Each orb is the imprisoned soul of a Great Wyrm dragon of its kind, as noted in the description (from my memory of it). Possessing the orb, even for a moment, earns you the enmity of all dragonkind, for all eternity. :]
7th-Jan-2007 10:59 pm (UTC)
Nowhere in the description does it say Great Wyrms, at least not the DMG 3.5. =B

I'm planning on treating the Orbs as Legacy Weapons for the ability to slowly give the PCs the powers instead of all at once.

Yes, according to the book all dragons forever will hate those that touch the Orbs but it's my campaign and not the book's. :P

And dragons are rare, as I said above.

Gonna check the ol' 3.0 book to see if there's any other info on the Orbs. Thanks though! :D
8th-Jan-2007 07:49 pm (UTC)
Ah. Sorry. The word it uses is "ancient."

Take that however you will, but to me that implies an Age category of Ancient or older. ;]
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