DragonStorm is a roleplaying system and campaign setting created by artist Sue van Camp and her late husband Mark Harmon.
The system is based on cards and 2d6 dice rolling. Each card describes a character and what abilities and powers they possess and can use, including racial abilities, magic spells, etc. Other cards are items a character can possess and wear and use. (It should not then come as a surprise that Sue van Camp was one of the first artists for the Magic: the Gathering cards.) The game master also has cards that detail the setting and situation and all allies and opponents, giving them a ready-made set of opposing, customizable characters.
Conflict resolution is by each side rolling 2d6 and adding various modifiers based on character stats and secondary bonuses such as weapon adds, etc. The higher roll wins the conflict, ties are re-rolled. Combat is only rolled by the attacker, and damage is subtracted by defense totals before being applied to the character’s health.
Experience comes from overcoming opponents, including but not solely limited to game master cast members: experience can also be gained from the lands and scenes used in the scenario. Said experience can then be spent to add more cards to the characters for advancement.
The campaign setting is a fantasy world where the heroic characters are hunted and mistrusted by the common people. In the past, they and their magical ancestors of dragons, unicorns, werewolves and the like ruled the land and protected the people, albeit absently. The common, unmagical folk were protected but were never really conscious of what they were being protected from. That all changed when the extra-dimensional Pylos Lords taught human wizards the power of necromancy and the power of the blood of magical beings. In what only could be called a coup, the necromancers and other disaffected people rebelled and slew many of the dragons and their allies in one night of blood and power.
And set off a cataclysm they never imagined.
The magic released through the mass sacrifice unleashed a world-wide disaster that the world is still recovering from centuries later. The world changed, physically and magically. Mountains rose and fell, lands and rivers changed, cities and towns were thrown into chaos. The magic grew warped and polluted, distorting not only the land but the beings that lived there. The most dangerous of this were the dragonstorms, massive storms of warped magic that further defile the land yet also cause the inherent magical heritage of certain people to emerge, transforming them into shapeshifters.
And the necromancers blamed the dragons and their allies for it, preying the common peoples’ distrust of the dragons and their allies. Which is why the average people coöperate with the necromancers in hunting shapeshifters. These shapeshifters and their allies know the truth about the world and the damage the necromancers did and continue to do, as they continue to sacrifice shapeshifters to drain their magic to enhance their power and extend their lives, which causes more dragonstorms.
Within those dragonstorms lies the seed of the necromancers’ eventual victory or defeat: the dragonstorms can awaken the latent shapeshifter blood in anyone with the least amount of that magickal blood within them. It is a race to see who finds such victims first, the necromancers or the Valarians.
There is a support movement, however: when the necromancers murdered the dragons, a shaman named Valaria had a vision about what would happen, and so she and her followers created the Valarians, an order devoted to protecting shapeshifters, opposing the necromancers and their allies and restoring the land to its original purity. That order has lasted over 200 years and most characters become members of it as soon as they are able, as being a member does give a number of useful disciplines and abilities not otherwise available.
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