Thursday, April 25, 2024

The Houses of the Dragons

The home provinces of the Draconic Empire are ruled by noble houses with a chromatic dragon progenitor. While not all nobles are sorcerers, few without magical aptitude ascend to real power. Those most often undergo the Ritual of Rebirth to be transformed into Dragonborn, a privilege accorded to the draconic-blooded sorcerers as well. 

The great dragons seldom involve themselves in mere human politics; they are mostly content to rest in their lairs and receive what tribute is brought to them--though occasionally they may roam the countryside and take it from the common folk directly. Only the most senior members of the Houses consult with them, and even for that elite, it is a fearful summons to receive.

These are the eleven Great Houses currently. Two houses are in immediate contention for the throne as they are descended from the Empress herself:
  • House Argaman: A conservative house in control of the much of the Spine mountains. They field an elite corps of Dragonborn trooped who where a personal guard to the Empress Pyrekhis.
  • House Vyssinis: Less martial than many others, Vyssinis controls the fertile lands of the central islands. The wine of their vineyards is prized.  They are stereotyped as politicians, sometimes schemers, rather than fighters.
A third red House is descended from the Empress' slain consort, Angrazar:
  • House Porphyrion: Nakedly ambitious, this House both plays to the people and touts its accomplishments on the field of battle. Its formal connections with the other houses are fewer than its Red rivals and it is seen as an upstart.

The other houses, descended from other chromatic dragons, are not directly in contention for the throne, but may support or hinder the three that are:

  • The Houses whose progenitor is the green dragon, Esmaragd
    •     House Harilak: Mystics known for their might at magic and divination. They seek stability within the Empire.
    •     House Gwyrth: Holders of rich timberlands and farms. They are ever on the lookout for an opening to advance their own fortunes.
  • The House whose progenitor is the black dragon, Mordax,
    •     House Melacanthus: Genteel schemers whose swamplands provide the ingredients for the infamous black lotus poisons employed by their assassins.
    •     House Karas: Merchants and smugglers, certainly, pirates, possibly, their lands are in the eastern marshes. They care little for who sits on the throne, so long as their operations are not disrupted.
  • The houses whose progenitor is the white dragon, Isaz,
    •     House Valko: Known for its remote holdings in the northern forests and its powerful sisterhood of sorceresses known as the Snow Witches.
    •     House Brimir: Descendants of a tribe of barbarian reavers that worshipped the white wyrm, they hold fortresses along the Northern coast.
  • The Houses whose progenitor is the blue dragon, Azarakh,
    •     House Lazuran: A House in the arid southern regions with a strong martial heritage. They are scrupulous to appearances and fastidious about honor. They have no favorite among the Red Houses.
    •     House Takilt: Strong in the magical arts. They are inclined to house Argaman because of a fondness of tradition.
There are persistent rumors of a hidden twelfth house, Typhon, who are adherents and priests of the Cult of Tiamat and work for her return. If such a group exists, its members live in secret among the other nobles and even common folk.

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