It’s All a Conspiracy!

Friday, February 2, 2024

Hello, hello! Luis Loza here! Last time, we jumped into the Monster Core cover and took a look at the adamantine dragon. This time around, we’re going to be jumping into the Player Core 2 cover to look at the conspirator dragon. Let’s get to it!

Concept art for the occult dragon. This dragon has a lithe, serpentine body and a strange impression of a face on top of its head

Illustration by Kent Hamilton


The conspirator dragon is one of the new occult dragons featured in Monster Core. Occult dragons tap into more mysterious and strange magic, making use of supernatural abilities that sometimes seem alien or off-putting. Most occult dragons have slender bodies. They use their wings as supplementary appendages, somewhat like front legs to keep their proper forward limbs for grasping and other uses.

The conspirator dragon is named such due to their innate desire to see grand plans play out. Conspirator dragons are constantly scheming, either for personal gain or simply because watching a plan come together is exciting. These schemes vary, with some dragons looking toward more benevolent goals, some enacting wicked plans, and others simply scheming for scheming’s sake. Regardless of their goals, conspirator dragons tend to manipulate others, pulling strings from the shadows to get what they want.

A conspirator dragon has a variety of abilities to help them achieve their goals. In addition to using their magic to charm and influence others, these dragons make use of magical disguises. They conjure forth flesh-suit replicas of others and, through the help of magic, squeeze themselves into these suits. This bone-crunching and flesh rending process results in perfect disguises that allow a conspirator dragon to live among populations none the wiser to the dragon’s machinations. If they’re ever found out, the dragon can erupt from the suit in an explosive display that hopefully buys them enough time to flee. If not, they also use their choking breath to create a literal smokescreen for escape.

And that’s our look at the conspirator dragon! Make sure to keep an eye out for this dragon and lots of other new dragons when Monster Core releases in March. Stay tuned for more draconic previews in the coming weeks. Next time, we’ll take a look at greatest treasure hoarders of all, the fortune dragons. See you then!

Luis Loza
Creative Director, Rules & Lore

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Tags: Pathfinder Pathfinder Remaster Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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Adam Daigle wrote:
YlothofMerab wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Awesome.

Something of an OGL Blue Dragon feel but with weird aspects I like.

New is good.

I'm using the multiple blue dragons that live in Thuvia as some big bads in my current game, so I'm glad we have a new version to utilize.
If conspirator dragons were an option when I came up with Deyrubrujan I would have totally made her one rather than the blue I had available at the time.

Is there anything stopping her from having a blue dragon suit?


8 people marked this as a favorite.

The ultimate gambit... a dragon disguised as a dragon disguised as a humanoid. They'll never suspect a thing


These new dragons are very interesting and unique. But I'm curious about one thing: will there be in the new books a generic, traditional option? What should I use if I want just a 'normal' dragon, more or less 'normal' look, color, abilities (fire breath for example) and inclinations (cranky settlement razer and treasure hoarder)? Well, apart from using old chromatic ones. Which is ok, but the aim is to have a new option of the sort.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Errenor wrote:
These new dragons are very interesting and unique. But I'm curious about one thing: will there be in the new books a generic, traditional option? What should I use if I want just a 'normal' dragon, more or less 'normal' look, color, abilities (fire breath for example) and inclinations (cranky settlement razer and treasure hoarder)? Well, apart from using old chromatic ones. Which is ok, but the aim is to have a new option of the sort.

All of the chromatic and metallic dragons already statted up in Bestiaries remain mechanically compatible with the game.

These new dragons are additions as far as home games are concerned. The new dragons are here for Paizo to use and don't have to affect your home game in any way if you don't want them to.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Fortune dragon looks to be very much the treasure hoarder. Adamantine and other primal dragons could very easily be the settlement razer.


The Raven Black wrote:

I feel the main difference is that Spirit tends to polarize according to the Alignment poles of the setting, whereas they just do not affect Matter.

So Matter was likely needed to bring a stable environment where the souls had time to evolve and settle in their proper Alignment before being sent back to the outer planes.

Hm... except that Alignment just isn't a thing, anymore. The closest we have left are Holy and Unholy, which are basically just "which side did you sign up for in the War in Heaven?"

...and while spirit is the attack type most commonly bent to such things, it's by no means unique.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sanityfaerie wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

I feel the main difference is that Spirit tends to polarize according to the Alignment poles of the setting, whereas they just do not affect Matter.

So Matter was likely needed to bring a stable environment where the souls had time to evolve and settle in their proper Alignment before being sent back to the outer planes.

Hm... except that Alignment just isn't a thing, anymore. The closest we have left are Holy and Unholy, which are basically just "which side did you sign up for in the War in Heaven?"

...and while spirit is the attack type most commonly bent to such things, it's by no means unique.

The aligned outer planes are very much still there.

PC-facing alignment things like alignment damage or alignment tags are gone in the Remastered rules. But the setting still works the same way, with Pharasma assigning souls to the aligned plane that most resonates with them.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:

The aligned outer planes are very much still there.

PC-facing alignment things like alignment damage or alignment tags are gone in the Remastered rules. But the setting still works the same way, with Pharasma assigning souls to the aligned plane that most resonates with them.

They *are*, and the souls are still assigned... but I suspect that the planes will have strayed a bit from their alignment straightjacket. Like, you might resonate more strongly with Elysium, but it's not going to be because you are both Chaotic and Good. There might well be things that cause you to resonate more with one plane or another that have nothing to do with old-school alignment at all.


Adam Daigle wrote:
If conspirator dragons were an option when I came up with Deyrubrujan I would have totally made her one rather than the blue I had available at the time.

Hi Adam. You are the one who created Deyrubrujan in Dragons Unleashed? If so, I wish to ask this: How should I pronounce Deyrubrujan and Mierusildas?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

In game chaotic and good used to be maintained through a character’s actions. Even if we don’t use those terms anymore we are still judging the actions. The criteria for judgement is different though; now its based on what edicts do the actions most resemble and do they often violate anathema of this of a planes associated diety?
thinking about it i remember reading something saying gods will have to claim the souls petitioning with Pharasma for the claim.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Development

4 people marked this as a favorite.
TheCowardlyLion wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
YlothofMerab wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Awesome.

Something of an OGL Blue Dragon feel but with weird aspects I like.

New is good.

I'm using the multiple blue dragons that live in Thuvia as some big bads in my current game, so I'm glad we have a new version to utilize.
If conspirator dragons were an option when I came up with Deyrubrujan I would have totally made her one rather than the blue I had available at the time.
Is there anything stopping her from having a blue dragon suit?

I wouldn't put anything past her.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Development

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Aenigma wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
If conspirator dragons were an option when I came up with Deyrubrujan I would have totally made her one rather than the blue I had available at the time.
Hi Adam. You are the one who created Deyrubrujan in Dragons Unleashed? If so, I wish to ask this: How should I pronounce Deyrubrujan and Mierusildas?

day-ROO-broo-zjahn

MEE-roo-SIL-das


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adam Daigle wrote:
Aenigma wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
If conspirator dragons were an option when I came up with Deyrubrujan I would have totally made her one rather than the blue I had available at the time.
Hi Adam. You are the one who created Deyrubrujan in Dragons Unleashed? If so, I wish to ask this: How should I pronounce Deyrubrujan and Mierusildas?

day-ROO-broo-zjahn

MEE-roo-SIL-das

LOL! Now, how do I pronounce zjahn?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
Aenigma wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
If conspirator dragons were an option when I came up with Deyrubrujan I would have totally made her one rather than the blue I had available at the time.
Hi Adam. You are the one who created Deyrubrujan in Dragons Unleashed? If so, I wish to ask this: How should I pronounce Deyrubrujan and Mierusildas?

day-ROO-broo-zjahn

MEE-roo-SIL-das
LOL! Now, how do I pronounce zjahn?

The same way a Bostonian would pronounce 'John' but put a little zest in front of it.

Liberty's Edge

Sanityfaerie wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

The aligned outer planes are very much still there.

PC-facing alignment things like alignment damage or alignment tags are gone in the Remastered rules. But the setting still works the same way, with Pharasma assigning souls to the aligned plane that most resonates with them.

They *are*, and the souls are still assigned... but I suspect that the planes will have strayed a bit from their alignment straightjacket. Like, you might resonate more strongly with Elysium, but it's not going to be because you are both Chaotic and Good. There might well be things that cause you to resonate more with one plane or another that have nothing to do with old-school alignment at all.

That would be a pretty big change in the canon of the setting IMO.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
That would be a pretty big change in the canon of the setting IMO.

Would it though? Like it's long been canon that your Judgment at the end of the River of Souls assigns your energy to whichever plane it best matches. Sometimes it was ambiguous and requires deliberation, which is unlikely when "Alignment as a thing you can detect with magic" was the case.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
The Raven Black wrote:
That would be a pretty big change in the canon of the setting IMO.

Yes. Specifically, the change in question is "Alignments are no longer inherently a thing, because Remaster." We've got a lot of changes to the way the setting works from that one.


I really love those new dragons and all, that I can't deny... But two things have bothered me since 2E "straight up bestiaries" were settled in three volumes.

The first of them is "outer and esoteric dragons, all forgotten". Are there plans to bring them back? I'm not even talking about Planar Dragons, for they are relatively "new"... But I really miss the "alien" dragons and I was really hoping to see them in 2E (1E Bestiary 4 was my favorite bestiary after all).

The other thing that bothers me is the fact that there are so many dragons in pathfinder, yet there's no dragon ancestry in 2E, net even a versatile heritage. How come?

I dream of a dragon focused book just like Book of the Dead or Rage of Elements, that could bring the remaining 1E true dragons into the hardcovers of 2E, as well as an ancestry or a versatile heritage.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
The Gold Sovereign wrote:

I really love those new dragons and all, that I can't deny... But two things have bothered me since 2E "straight up bestiaries" were settled in three volumes.

The first of them is "outer and esoteric dragons, all forgotten". Are there plans to bring them back? I'm not even talking about Planar Dragons, for they are relatively "new"... But I really miss the "alien" dragons and I was really hoping to see them in 2E (1E Bestiary 4 was my favorite bestiary after all).

This is just speculation, but...

As far as the outer dragons go, we are getting Starfinder 2e pretty soon. I'd expect them to get moved over there where they will get more use, but if you're running a Pathfinder game and want an alien dragon, you'd be able to use the stat block. It'll also let them be more alien.

Esoteric dragons just sound like the occult category of dragons. We're getting a fate dragon already, and I had to look up whether or not it was one of the esoteric dragons.

The Gold Sovereign wrote:
The other thing that bothers me is the fact that there are so many dragons in pathfinder, yet there's no dragon ancestry in 2E, net even a versatile heritage. How come?

- There is a draconic ancestry: kobolds. It might not be what you're looking for, but it's very much a draconic ancestry.

- Paizo has avoided stepping on D&D's toes too much, and one of their distinctions is that they don't throw "& Dragons" everywhere.

But, here's some bigger speculation.
We know that Kobolds are going to stop being a specifically draconic ancestry. They're keeping their current design (which will be further away from the Monster Core dragons than from the Bestiary dragons) and revering various powerful creatures of their respective tradition, which includes dragons. But, draconic kobolds are popular, and a lot of the kobold feats are "dragon lite". We also know that there's a new undisclosed versatile heritage in PC2.

My guess is that the "dragon lite" feats from kobolds are getting pulled out and put into a draconic equivalent of nephilim. Folks who liked draconic kobolds will still be able to build that. Folks who like kobolds more for the trap-setting minion vibe will get a fresh set of feats to round out the ancestry. Folks who want something more imposing will be able to make a draconic lizardfolk or human. And, it all fits Pathfinder's existing lore without a retconning in dragonborn everywhere: we already have draconic sorcerers and dragon-descended elemental scions.

Liberty's Edge

Sanityfaerie wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
That would be a pretty big change in the canon of the setting IMO.

Yes. Specifically, the change in question is "Alignments are no longer inherently a thing, because Remaster." We've got a lot of changes to the way the setting works from that one.

Actually no. Remaster is no more Alignment damage (replaced by Holy/Unholy) and no more Alignment for PCs and NPCs.

The setting does not change one bit. The aligned planes are still there. The deities still adhere to the same values. The soul that was going to the LE place still goes to Hell.

Alignments are still inherently a thing for the setting. It's just that they have zero everyday impact for PCs anymore, unless you sign for the Holy/Unholy war.


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QuidEst wrote:

But, here's some bigger speculation.

We know that Kobolds are going to stop being a specifically draconic ancestry. They're keeping their current design (which will be further away from the Monster Core dragons than from the Bestiary dragons) and revering various powerful creatures of their respective tradition, which includes dragons. But, draconic kobolds are popular, and a lot of the kobold feats are "dragon lite". We also know that there's a new undisclosed versatile heritage in PC2.

I don't think that's true, though?

- They're no longer associated with the TSR draconic colors. Instead, they're each going to be associated with one or the traditions of magic to about the same degree. This is known. Given the way that new dragons work, though, it doesn't make them any less draconic.
- They're no longer as focused on serving dragons. They'll serve just about anything that's appropriately large and powerful and whatnot. That's more about behavior than typing, though.

Neither of those make them non-draconic, though, and I'm pretty sure that they will remain draconic in nature. It's just that "draconic in nature" now means something a bit different.

/**************/

Edit to avoid double-posting:

The Raven Black wrote:

Actually no. Remaster is no more Alignment damage (replaced by Holy/Unholy) and no more Alignment for PCs and NPCs.

The setting does not change one bit. The aligned planes are still there. The deities still adhere to the same values. The soul that was going to the LE place still goes to Hell.

Alignments are still inherently a thing for the setting. It's just that they have zero everyday impact for PCs anymore, unless you sign for the Holy/Unholy war.

I had this whole long thing written out, and then lost it in a "you have backtracked too far" and I just don't have what it takes to write it out again.

Given that, I'm simply going to say that I don't believe you are correct about alignment still being a fundamental thing in the same way, and we'll have some pretty clear indicators of which one of us is right in a few months when the book drops regardless.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sanityfaerie wrote:
I had this whole long thing written out, and then lost it in a "you have backtracked too far" and I just don't have what it takes to write it out again.

I know that feeling all too well. These days, I always copy my text before hitting Submit, just in case. 10/10 would recommend.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Alignment is still a fundamental thing, its just not a game mechanic. The concepts of good and evil didn't go away, nor the concepts of law and chaos.


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I feel like the alignment discussion might be getting a little lost in the weeds and may be overlooking some important nuance as it does so. It think it would be more accurate to say Alignment is more or less the same but nevertheless different. Like, of course the concepts of good and evil (and law and chaos) still exist - they're concepts and you couldn't delete them from the setting anymore than you could delete the idea of justice. On the other hand, people of the world no longer have an alignment in the sense of a (detectable) two-letter description of their soul's metaphysical sway.

Souls still have a sway, and that sway is toward good or evil (and law or chaos), but even before when this stamp was supposed to be objective, souls were judged and sorted according to a variety of factors and souls didn't exclusively go to the destination they were stamped with. It might be fair to say the idea of individuals having an 'objective' alignment is gone even though people clearly can still be judged as more good and more lawful etc. (and it might be fair to say alignment was never as objective as it seemed to us operating with only the two letters and some philosophical arguments about the nature of evil)

In the absence of alignment as a game-mechanical term and without the D&D-typical alignment compass to point our way to each plane according to the spectrum, I suspect the Outer Planes--without losing what we think of as their alignment theming--will be described more in terms of what that alignment means. Calling Elysium the CG plane and calling it the Plane of Freedom I think are not incompatible concepts, but that doesn't strictly tell us if the plane's substrate can be taken with a geiger counter that will measure 50 rads of chaos and 50 rads of goodness.

In the past we have understood that quintessence is fundamentally aligned along the familiar two axes, but while the concepts of pure planar law and pure planar chaos still exist and are crucially important for planes like Axis and the Maelstrom, we may find that measuring the midichlorian count of their soil isn't how the metaphysics of the setting will be understood going forward.

After all, we call Druid spells "Primal" rather than "Divine" now. In the fiction, this hasn't changed, but our understanding of how we categorise things has. There's a lot of room for the setting to stay the same while our grasp of it shifts to explore in greater detail what had only been brushed over--or to explore another way of looking at what we thought was a fundamental truth.

Liberty's Edge

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Sanityfaerie wrote:
{. . .} I had this whole long thing written out, and then lost it in a "you have backtracked too far" and I just don't have what it takes to write it out again. {. . .}

I have had this and other data eating things things happen often enough on these Messageboards that I copy what I wrote before pressing either Preview or Submit Post (unless it is a one-liner, but often even for those), and if I REALLY put a lot of work into something, I also save a copy in TextEdit (Mac) or Notepad (Windows) or the most easily accessible other equivalent (Linux).

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