Monstrous Compendium Ch6 bit – Backstory

“Nine years ago, Aincrad beat the Five Nations back, almost at the cost of our existence. Many youkai clans were obliterated. Some races, like the medusas, are all but extinct. Those of us who lived, despaired.” A sigh. “So when the ancient red dragon Beniryuu approached the Council of Lords… they listened.”

Kirito’s voice, low and determined. “What did he say?”

“I was not there.” If that wasn’t a quietly disgruntled ranger, Klein would eat his bandanna. “Years passed. Strange rumors spread, of some subtle magic the Council of Lords wished to see accomplished.” The claws of a metal gauntlet clicked, curling into a fist. “Then last year, in the Month of the Holly… I was asked to visit a dream.”

Klein held his breath.

“What dream?” Kirito asked, as if he had to drag the words past clenched teeth.

“You already know.”

Klein reached for lemonade, throat dry. If he’s saying what I think he’s saying… oh man. We are so screwed.

“I have aided those I met in this dream,” Vincent went on. “Both those born of Aincrad, and those who might choose to become of Aincrad. And I will continue to do so, while the magic that lets me visit this dream lingers.” A deliberate pause. “But one day we will wake.”

“One day we’ll go home,” Kirito insisted.

“Dragons’ lies are darkest when they lie with truth,” Vincent stated. “Beniryuu’s enchantment brings your mind to this realm. It cannot bring your body… yet.

“Beniryuu’s enchantment?” Kirito pounced. “We were told – the Dark Pack-”

The red dragon has taken human forms in the past,” Vincent growled. “A mage. A merchant. Even a crafter of… games.”


26 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch6 bit – Backstory

      1. That would imply that Jack Ryan hasn’t been written out of the scenario. I support design choices that write Jack Ryan out of the scenario.

        I figure that generic communist ancient red dragon replaced the hull of the boomer with itself at some point during construction, and has suborned the officers via Charm Person. Red Dragon might be a Chinese boomer, I’m not sure. The dragon itself wants to start a nuclear war, and rule the survivors in socialist harmony.

        It’d be something like the final module in a series of modules that assumes the D&D setting is largely a world like our own. (A Prussian occultist got paperclipped to the US, and had been working on opening portals to the mythic underworld. In the fifties, Soviet intelligence penetrated the American project, which led to the Warsaw pact starting their own. Insert three, four, decades of quiet warfare.)

        Or a campaign. The dragon had been one of the soviets’ best magic users before it dropped out of sight, and the players would have wrecked the rest of the soviet program leveling to where they could take out the dragon. If the dragon succeeds, you switch to something like Twilight 2000, if the players succeed, something that has rules for persistent memetic weapons. The guy doing Psi-Wars (GURPS Star Wars) sounds like he might have something for that in Orphans of the Stars (inspired by Dune).

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks. I don’t write long stories yet, but I’ve got some blogging planned that has been on hold for health reasons. I hope you all have fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Yeah, this is the “Kayaba is a dragon” moment. The reactions should be hilarious if that gets out among the playerbase.

    “Dragons’ lies are darkest when they lie with truth,” Vincent stated.

    Combined with the following quote from Chapter 1:
    “Clear all 100 levels, Kayaba had said, defeat the Lord of the Black Iron Castle, and you will be returned to your proper realm.”

    Am i the only one who reads that as “the only ones who even get a choice are those who are still 100% human”? And that’s a best case scenario.

    One could argue (if “one” were, say, a red dragon with a Plan) that every player still alive when the 100th floor is cleared has been altered enough by their experience and the skills they’ve learned that their proper realm is Eberron.
    There’s certainly no mention of going back to Japan.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I’d say that depends. If the entire “not actually a game” thing got out before the players may just react that way, but i don’t know if enough time passes between that and this or if it’s all one conversation, though i’m assuming the latter since it’s all one chapter.

        And since this comes after the Psiwasp nest everyone who was there already knows Kayaba is a first-rate asshole DM, so they might go “It figures” anyway.
        The clearers at least have probably learned to roll with the punches by now, at least to some extent.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Was just about to say. “Proper realm” could mean any number of things – but someone with levels in magic isn’t likely to “belong” in Japan.

      Though that being said: Plane Shift is a thing. So is Gate.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. >This could get much more interesting than Beniryuu ever anticipated.>
        It will get particularly interesting for the dragon if and when Kirito’s family gets tangled up in this and he finds out.

        -Listens to some of Kirito’s plans for Beniryuu-

        I’m fairly certain that isn’t physically possible, Kirito. Even if you polymorphed away the target’s skeletal structure beforehand.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It’s not quite that simple re: Plane Shift/Gate.
        For those unfamiliar with D&D cosmology it’s basically a matter of planar alignment, and Eberron and RL Earth are never in a position relative to one another for normal plane shifting or gating to work.

        The one that does work by D&D canon is travel through the Shadow plane.
        But that requires high level magic, the proper spell and months of travel time. It’s also hideously dangerous even for high level characters.

        Not to mention that all Beniryuu has to do is deny the players the spells in question and they’ll be stuck until they’ll clear Dream-Aincrad at least.

        I’d be surprised if he hasn’t calculated for that in his plans anyway, seeing how ancient red dragons are superhumanly intelligent (base Int 24 vs a maximum of 18 for a human. Human average is 10) and also natural spellcasters (equivalent to a level 15 sorcerer, without any further effort).

        D&D dragons are about as far from dumb beasts as you can get, and a BBEG like Beniryuu is incredibly like to have PC stats instead of monster baseline and class levels on top of that.

        Ancient dragons are a threat for epic level parties straight out of the book – no mooks, no lair or other preparations, just a straight-up fight – and dragons are notoriously powerful for their supposed challenge rating in D&D too, so any plan that includes “fight Beniryuu” is going to have to be long term.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. … Something tells me that Vincent didn’t approve of this plan, hasn’t​ from the start, and when Vincent admits to not being there when Beniryuu first proposed the plan he’s not saying ‘If they’d asked me I would’ve​ suggested adding Red Dragon armors and weapons to the national armory first.’

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, I think – since my post was written while I was rushing – maybe I wasn’t very clear in the first bit? I didn’t mean Vincent would advise on anti-dragon equipment (though they better be stocking up on it at this point); I meant that Vincent would’ve advised making equipment out of the Bastard Dragon.

        As for what’s effective anti-dragon equipment he might suggest at this point? Hmm… I’m not Vincent, but drawing on my own DnD experiences: Rings of Evasion are Always worth it. Every time. And with a tricksy Bastard like this… Get yourself some Protection from Evil gear and access via spell or equipment to True Seeing. The Pro. from Evil should negate most of Beniryuu’s more direct mental dominations and charm magics, and True Seeing No Sells a lot of illusion magics. After that you still have to deal with the whole Dragon aspect though.

        If fighting a dragon in a contained area, spread out around it. Much like the common house cat dragons have six sides, five of which are pointy, and can bend their necks to bite from angles they really shouldn’t be able to while also possessing spines. So you can’t attack from an angle it can’t hit you from, but if you’re not all grouped up it can’t easily hit the entire party assault force with a single tail swipe (or crush. Or breathe weapon).

        If fighting in an open area invest in long-range attacks. A dragon can fly-by breathe and be out of range before the survivors can begin to counter attack. So have those longbows (and ballistae) ready to start with.

        Either way, you don’t gain much by sneaking. Dragons have Blindsense and Blindsight, so you need unique and special training to actually be able to sneak up on them. And even then you’ll be fighting their Flat-Footed AC, which is their higher AC.

        If attacking with magic, use Conjuration. Evocation and Necromancy are the other ‘direct attack’ schools and they allow Spell Resistance, which most dragons have. Conjuration usually does not. Just be careful to have a variety of damage types, direct attack Conjuration spells that target Touch AC – the worse AC on a dragon – usually just do Acid, and about 1/4 True Dragons are naturally immune to Acid, while the rest can probably pick up Energy Resistance rings or spell easily enough if they think that’s all they’ve got to worry about. If you’re a dedicated caster, consider the Spell Penetration​ or Energy Admixture Feats to overcome this.


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