bones taken from the body of a dragon. Once a prized and valuable commodity in the days of dragon hunting, dragon bones (and any other parts taken from the body of a dragon without their consent) are illegal to harvest, sell, or use for any purpose in Etherea without a royal sanction. Some collectors possess old bones as trophies or decorations, and such items are required to be registered with the Hall of Records in case the item is ever destroyed or stolen.
PropertiesDragons are among the world's most magical creatures. From the moment they hatch, they are able to wield magic in ways humans will likely never understand. Because of this, their bodies become infused with magic over the course of their very long lives. When a dragon dies, that magic lingers in their body for a time, and if harvested and preserved, dragon body parts will retain that magic for an almost indefinite period. Many dragon parts have volatile side effects when used for spells or alchemy. Because of their structure, however, dragon bones retain the most energy with the least side effects.
Dragon Hunting and Bone HarvestingDue to both the value of their body parts and the prominent public opinion that dragons were nothing but destructive beasts, dragon hunting was once a common vocation for the more foolhardy adventurers. Unlike scales, teeth, claws, and even blood, dragon bones require the dragon's death in order to acquire. And because of their high value as trophies, humans weren't too picky about killing dragons to get them. Thus, any time even a small rumor of a rampaging dragon spread, dragon hunters scoured the area in droves. When harvested from a freshly dead dragon, dragon bones are heavy with leftover moisture and magical saturation. Once cleaned and dried, they become lighter, though most are still too heavy for a human to carry alone. Dragon hunters usually kept at least a few jars of preservation ointment handy to use immediately on the smaller bones. In the mountains, larger bones often had to be left behind in favor of those that were easier to transport. But if hunters managed to kill a dragon in the plains, they often had horses or oxen nearby to cart away the goods. Dragon bone is generally found/used in one of two forms: whole or ground into dust.
Whole BonesLarge intact dragon bones are primarily owned by noblemen or collectors as trophies for display. Broken bones had some value as well for this purpose, but those generally went to alchemists. Small bones like teeth, claws, and knuckle bones were prized by mages who used them as magical foci and enhancers for spells. The most common bones harvested and sold to collectors were teeth, tail bones, horns, and the smaller ribs. Intact skulls were the greatest prize; collectors and nobility would pay exorbitant amounts to have one for display.
Bone DustDragon bone dust was and still is extremely valuable to alchemists. When added to mixtures, it infuses them with magical power, significantly boosting the potion's normal effects. Antidotes that might otherwise be too weak to stop a strong disease or poison can be enhanced to save lives. Bone dust was also said to ward off evil, and it became the fashion to wear small pouches of it around one's neck or attached to one's belt. Spinal vertebrae, ribs, and wing bones were considered the best for alchemical use. These bones were believed to hold most of the dragons' power, though they were often too large and heavy to transport.
Law & RegulationBefore the Dragon War and the following alliance between humans and dragons, there were no laws against killing dragons or selling and using their parts. In fact, dragon hunting was often encouraged by officials if it meant saving towns and herds animals from them. Once the Dragon War ended, there were so few dragons remaining that they demanded dragon hunting come to a stop. With the spreading realization in Etherea that dragons were actually intelligent beings, laws were put into place to do just that. Now, anyone found guilty of knowingly causing a dragon's death is given a choice: life imprisonment or death by dragonfire. Those caught selling or using dragon body parts without a royal sanction have all related items confiscated, their business license revoked (if they have one), and must serve a term of unpaid kingdom service, the length of which is determined by the severity of their offense.
Whole BonesAverage Size: varies based on dragon's size and area of the body where harvested Average Weight: varies based on dragon's size and area of the body where harvested Color: ranges from ash-gray to black, depending on preparation and age of bone Texture: smooth and almost grainy, like petrified wood Taste: unknown (no one wants to lick a dragon bone) Smell: fresh bones oddly smell of earth right after rainfall; old bones smell like ash or smoke
Bone DustWeight: slightly heavier than ash, but lighter than sand Color: usually pale yellow-gray, but can be darker Texture: soft with a slight graininess, like very fine sand Taste: on its own, ash-like; when added to a potion, gives a smokey taste Smell: slight scent of smoke