Thursday, 18 December 2014

13th Age in Csachticz − Detailed Icons, No.3: The Dracul

The Dracul is the name given to the Diabolist in 13C. The surname 'Dracul' stems from the Order of the Dragon, founded in 1408 by the then-Emperor Sigismund (1368–1437) and his wife of ill-repute, Queen Barbara (1392–1451). The scope of the Order of the Dragon is to defend True Faith against the Empire of the Crescent Moon. However, contrary to other similarly-purposed orders, whose foundation lies in religious vows and selflessness, the Order of the Dragon is firmly based upon personal oaths of loyalty and ruthlessness.

The first Dracul, or head of the Order of the Dragon, was Hermann II of Cilli, the father of Queen Barbara. After his death in 1435, the headship was passed on to Vlad II of Herdsland, henceforth known as Vlad Dracul. There were rumours of Queen Barbara and Vlad Dracul dabbling in forbidden magicks and being lovers. Whatever the truth, she certainly put her immense wealth and her political clout behind Vlad Dracul, who rose from being a secondary baron of the Empire of the One Faith to becoming its foremost champion in the south-east. After the Queen's demise, apparently caused by a necromantic ceremony gone awry — she was reportedly trying to become a lich —, Vlad Dracul resumed her dark experiments. He has seldom since been seen in broad daylight, and has always fought his battles against the Empire of the Crescent Moon during the night. These night attacks have terrified the Sultan's troops, especially since the Dracul is known to impale any prisoners taken during these battles.


The Dracul is seldom to be seen, except when leading his unsavoury host into battle. Rumour has it that he spends the rest of his time in his foreboding fortified tower at Argisch, deep in the most inaccessible part of the Oriental Range.


It is common knowledge that the present Dracul, Vlad Dracul, has been around for... something like 200 years, which is obviously very wrong. Since he's made few public appearances in the last 150 years or so, little is known about the means by which he's managed to extend his lifespan to such an incredible amount of years. Some say he has a huge laboratory where he brews life-extending potions; some others that he's transformed into a lich, using the forbidden necromantic lore accumulated by his erstwhile mentor (and lover) Queen Barbara; some others that he's become a vampire, and that his many war prisoners are his lifeblood.

His fortress~tower at Argisch, in an ever dark and stormy part of the Oriental Range, with barely any access road, certainly doesn't invite enquiries.

The few survivors from the notorious night attacks of the Dracul speak of a huge unholy horde of undead riding skeletal horses into battle, but these reports are dismissed as the ravings of disturbed madmen.


The Dracul is a fanatical opponent of the Empire of the Crescent Moon. For him, the end always justifies the means, so he's always looking for spies, assassins, and like lowlifes to further his diabolical deeds. However, anybody associating with the Dracul may find themselves shunned by normal adventurers should news of such an association leak out.


The Dracul is a villainous icon without any ally. Not that he thinks he needs any.


The Sultan is the Dracul's obsessive enemy, and obviously the Sultan also considers the Dracul as one of his foremost enemies north of the Empire of the Crescent Moon. The Superintendent and the Warlord, who do not agree with the way the Dracul fights against the Empire of the Crescent Moon, are known to have hired holy men and monastic knights to try and root out this evil from the Oriental Range. None of these agents are known to have ever returned.


The Dracul as such is quite a recent Icon compared with the others. However, he draws upon an ancient tradition of necromancy, forbidden lore, and cruelty that has been present in this part of Europe for centuries.


The Dracul is obsessed with defeating the Empire of the Crescent Moon, which keeps him busy. Should he turn his eyes towards his erstwhile co-religionists he might corrupt the Fair Kingdom and, beyond it, the Empire of the One Faith!

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