Esereti Dragon Worship

The Dragons are everywhere as spirits. You see them moving across a field in the bending and rippling of the plants. You see them in the clouds. They rage in storms. You can see them dancing in fires. The Ryujin dragons collect stories and the feelings of wonder and bring them to greater dragons to make more wonders. Your Ryujin seeks to help you in tough times, and it makes things a challenge, pushing you to achieve more. Dragon spirits dwell in the land, the water, the sky and even beyond. Dragons are also powerful living beings who speak, reason and possess great knowledge. They do not often use tools, make things nor wear clothes - as Dragons. They have been known to take on the forms of other kinds- as in the Great Dragon that produced the Yellow Dragon King, the founder of the Esereti Kingdoms.  
The Dragons want us mortals to know that we too are part of the cosmos and connected to all else. The cycles of season, life and death. Reincarnation. That for all things there is a time and a season. Dragons, for all their power, are still bound by the spiritual rules of their creation while the lesser races have a greater freedom to build their own stories.
Tzokhan Zaognu, The Book of the Yellow Dragon


Shrines or temples will have leaders, teachers, students and lay persons associated.  The temple/ shrine will have a central fire with open air flow, earth floor in the holy room of the sacred fire and water via a spring, creek or well.

Demography and Population

Dragon worship is a decentralizaed traditional faith of the Esereti. Individual sects may have organized hierarchies. Today the worship in the empire is subordinate to the Holy Church and The Order of Heaven. The primary text is the Book of the Yellow Dragon, believed to have been written by the founding ruler of the Esereti kingdoms, Tzokhan Zaognu. The book explains mortal life as a path of growth and noble purpose within the cycles of the world, and contrasts it to corrupted demons and ascendants who seek to pull down or rise up mortal lives.

A first century priest's book "Way of the Terrestrial Dragon" discussed life and people in terms of the wilds and garden with the exceptional rising out of tangles of weeds and small plants.
"The Invisible Way" Discusses the hidden cycles of death, Bardo and reincarnation and seeking an unburdened life.
"The Book of Ancients" by the Mad Monk Lazra of Uxrighia is not a true text of Dragon worship but claims that Dragons cycle between living forms and spiritual ones. It also explains them as being spirits that chose to accept mortal forms. Much of Lazra's content has been adopted by the Dragon worshipers.
The monk and scholar of the 7th century, Boazi, finds the conventional theology difficult to justify and argued that the goal is a good life and favorable reincarnation. Respect of friends, family and community. Good memories and happy times more than overcome hardships - though these are largely unavoidable. Boazi says the Great Dragons are outside of human measure and had withdrawn from actual rulership of lands. The Ryujin he said,  are the true aspects of worship and veneration as only they really care about the details of human lives.

Mythology & Lore

The first Gods formed the world of pure thought and spirit fired by the elements of fire, water, wind and earth. This was the Second Age of the Cosmos. The material elements of water and earth were the gifts of Gaia and she proposed another element, Wood which manifested the spirit in the material world that was formless and scoured by the elements. 

New spirits were made to represent the material, protecting and guiding material forms of oceans, rivers, mountains and flatlands and places where they mixed. With material forms came time with one thing following another - before and after instead of continual now. Then came living forms  - plants and the first creatures.  Spirits of the higher orders were given oversight and dominion over the new lesser ones. The first were conflicted - some taking material form with the new element of Wood and life. Others rejected it as a corruption of the perfect spiritual order. Some chose to sit aside and watch or promote debate and strife. The God's first mortal beings were more mind than body and were ursurped by later forms that took from the immortal Dragons manifestations. The first wars of the gods erupted between the Corruptors, Malices, Outsiders and the Primal Gods and their creations, like the Dragons.  The world was warped and shifted and Death came as a deathless eternal Primal God was killed and collapsed into itself and fell into the underworld and dwelt in it's endless pit.

The Age of Troubles was succeeded by influx of Outsiders and creations left over from the Third Age that had ended in the God's War. Dragons fought amongst themselves and against the demons and Outsiders for dominions.

The 5th Age- the Demon Age, lasted 10,000 years as the world was dominated by Demon kingdoms, Sidereal fiefs, gods and strange magics and entities from Beyond. In the Demon Age the Ryujin were formed to help mortals against the demons, devils and other things from Beyond.

From the Tumult arose the new 6th Age.  This was an Age for mortals to reign.  The Yellow Dragon was born- a fusion of Dragon and human flesh and a great kingdom was founded. Over thousands of years the kingdom split and fractured with only individual Ryujin involved in the kingdom's affairs. Dragons had mostly removed themselves from ruling mortals as they had in 4th and 5th Ages.  Now Dragons were patrons and ruled their spiritual chiors, maintaining the order and cycles as they had been appointed and dispensing favorable weather and small blessings in the mortal realm.

Cosmological Views

Dragons exist at the highest levels of terrestrial, celestial and elemental spirits, with dominant position and command of lessers. Their purpose was to maintain the cycles between the elements and the structure of the God's domain. When the Primordial Gods created form it was offered to the first order spirits. One group rejected physical form and sees it as a blight upon the cosmos. These are Corruptors that will infect and use mortals as tools of destruction and mayhem. Dragons accepted the new forms and assumed direction of the terrestrial cycles as mortal Gods. They learned compassion by experiencing the cycles of life and death, hunger and wants of physical form, and struggles of life. Another group refused mortal form, but some later repented and seek to experience and grow via mortal cycles, these are the Ascendant. Ryujin dragon spirits specifically follow sophont races - the ones capable of reason and language. They are intermediaries, helpers and task masters. What is the purpose of mortal life and physical form? It is about experience and sensation and personal growth to create a story, a mythic narrative which are pleasing stories to the Gods and greater dragons.
As Dragons are high order spirits, dragon worship seeks aid and assistance with weather, crops, health and safety from the spirits via worship and offerings to the Dragons. Ryujin are more localized in helping the family, group, organiztion or community - or giving them challenges to overcome. Some are more generous. Some thrive on conflict.

"The gifts of the Ryujin are at cost. Always be careful about what you ask of them. Their desire is to make things interesting, dramatic and a grand story. What they give may be very different from what you want." -

Tenets of Faith

The plants and animals are ruled by the directives of their spirit choirs and exist in harmony with the world. The dragons are terrestrial and celestial beings invested with elemental powers. The elements are pure forms. Followers are expected to respect fire, keep air, earth and water clean and respect the cycles of life in wood. Worship includes prayer, songs, chants and sacred meals, with remains and offerings given to sacred fire. Sacred fire is also given fragrant spices and wood to make the air pleasant and to drive away bad smells and bad air. The ashes are spread over the earth, or mixed in sacred water and spread. Decay, rot and miasma are vehicles of evil and should be prevented, removed or treated to stop spread.


The Tzokhan sect say that the Great Yellow Dragon was actually born of human and Riujin rather than a true dragon.
Not everyone has a Ryujin. They will take watch over a group, organization or community - they are both a blessing and a curse. To gain one, a priest must invoke it for your group or community. Then it must be maintained with devotional prayer and offerings. The more it is given, the stronger it becomes. Ryujin spirits watch over their domain, guiding, helping and instigating challenges. Mostly it wants your life to be interesting. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it makes things harder or throws challenges at you. The powers of the Ryujin are it's choice to award, but prayers may ask for assistance. The powers:

  Shapechange: The Ryujin is typically invisible but may manifest as a vaporous dragon shaped spirit (immaterial and subject to fire or magical attacks). It may also fully reveal itself as a Dragon approximately 10 m in length. It may assume a humanoid form or one other form of it's choice - but that extra form is locked in. These extra forms may be used once a day. Agil 8, smarts 8, spirit 10, str 8, vigor 8. Pace 8, parry 8, toughness 10(3) armor 3 Claws/ bite str+d8, ap 1

  An artifact: The spirit may lend an artifact temporarily ( one session). The artifacts are known to provide some pivotal advantage to turn events good or bad.
  • A crystal that keeps someone alive.
  • A chalice that kills an NPC.
  • A weapon that one-shots an opponent.
  • A ring of healing.
  • Dancing shoes that add +1 parry.
  • A flower that adds to persuasion while worn.

Revealed powers: The Ryujin must manifest in Dragon form to perform these. The assumption of Dragon form is very draining for them, causing immediate 24 hr slumber and any one may only be used once per week. They may also be harmed or killed. Killed Ryujin reform slowly taking months or years and requiring prayers and offerings on a regular basis ( more is better)
  • Breath weapon: Makes an attack of fire, ice, acid, lightning, or poison in a target area cone 1 area by 3 by 4 long. This is a 4d6 attack. It may be evaded.
  • Aura: the radiant energy of the Ryujin is revitalizing - restoring health and energy to full.
  • Bounty: restores used supply of one normal nonmagical item type - arrows, food, water/ drink, etc
  • Roar: The immediate area and all within it jump forward in time or back. The backward move is limited to one scene to restart or do over. The forward jump might skip travel time, training or between events and bypasses everything that might have happened during the jump. Memory is not changed.
  • Claw: The Ryujin instantly changes from spirit to dragon form killing one NPC with a claw piercing them.
  • Boon: The dragon may lift/ transport/ block with it's body or perform any other physical service in material Dragon form.

: Typically 1/ session per rank of Ryujin.
  • Benefit: The Ryujin awards a benny for stories of revenge, kindness or love, or cooperation to overcome a challenge.
  • One success: may make one roll a success or add one.
  • Failure: makes one roll a failure or subtracts one ( negative becomes critical failure)
  • Tougher: causes an opponent to lose any status penalty and recover one wound.
  • Back Again: causes a supposedly dead enemy or rival to return.
  • Escape: allows an Npc or player to successfully run and escape.
  • Surprise: gives an enemy/ opponent a surprise advantage.
  • Positive reaction: on reaction rolls shift to positive +2.
  • Resist Fear: gives +2 vs fear rolls.

Cover image: by mutterwolf
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