Dragons

The old tribes of Balmoral had these stories they etched into the caves and rock sides of Mount Eternal. Solitary tyrants that ruled the land and the sky. They were feared, respected, even worshiped. Then... they were gone. Tairos has a way of making ghosts out of everyone, even dragons.
 
Very little is known about dragons. Their kind were long gone before even Melanthris was built. What scholars do know of them comes from tribal lore, apocryphal mentions in the holy books of the gods, and fragments of dragon bone found in abandoned lairs.
 
What is known thanks to the simple knowledge left behind by the old tribes is that the dragons walked Tairos and flew through skies as the absolute apex predator. They had no rival save for the ambitions of their own kind. Their powerful bodies were largely immune to terrestrial disease and the march of time strengthened rather than wither them. Food was plentiful and the lands of Tairos were open and unconquered. Dragons possessed an intellect unlike any that existed at the time; making them brilliant, cunning entities capable of great physical and magical feats. They truly were divine to the tribal people of this halcyon age. And in many cases, they were a terrible curse as well.
 
A rare few of these magnificent creatures treated the fragile races of Tairos with any measure of kindness or even indifference. Those dragons of metallic scales could generally be counted on to leave the young races alone and every so rarely to actually come to their aid. Even then, the labyrinthian intellects and ageless morality of these beasts rarely aligned with those of the early tribes. It was not uncommon for mortals to be wiped out, enslaved or used as pawns in the machinations of supposedly beneficent dragons.
 
Yet true cruelty and despotism came from the chromatic scaled dragons who viewed lesser creatures as property, food, playthings and invading vermin. These dragons would bring extinction to mortals by either "farming" them as a food source that is eventually exhausted or terminating them all in one apocalyptic action. Tairos was once home to tribes of primitive, feline-like people in the western woods of what would later be the Gnome Empire. They were hunted to the last by the dragons that made their lairs there. Similarly, the aquatic Tritons were driven to total extinction by the predation of chromatic dragons. These monsters would venture down to the bottom of Lake Bask and raze their simple communities for food or just for the pleasure these murder sprees provided.
 
Dragons would likely have driven every race aside those that took shelter underground into complete extinction had it not been for several factors all befalling their kind in rapid succession. First, their territorial nature made it very difficult for their birth rates to meaningfully exceed the rates in which they slew each other. Population growth was always positive but barely so. The second factor was magic and its rise to prominence among the simple tribes. While still only a very small number, some dragons were beginning to lose their lives to the lesser races they preyed upon. Finally, while most of the races had only primitive magic at their disposal but the newly formed Empire of Skyrir presented a very real threat that no one dragon could face. The Skyrirans followed the directives of their Golden God and it's said that he gave dragons a choice, abandon their feasting upon his people, flee for foreign shores or die. This god, known also as Azurharus, was the first to grant divine magic to his followers. Any dragon that did not flee the advance of the Skyriran Empire or leave Tairos entire became his enemy. Many dragons went into hiding rather than confront the Golden God or continue to prey upon each other. Its believed those dragons eventually died out as stories about them became more and more rare. The rest abandoned Tairos for whatever lands were beyond the horizon of the endless ocean.
 
Today, dragons are viewed as myth and legend. They are the stuff of travelers' tales, mead-fueled stories at the local tavern and the archetypal villain in children's' fables. Even the long-lived Dwarves and Elves have no recollection of a time of dragons. Yet, in some backwater parts of Farmlands of Ghal Pelor, the communities around Lake Bask and in lawless places like Far Harbor and the ruins of the Gnome Empire there are true believers. Kobolds, dragon cults and Gates worshipers all exist and they share a common belief that the age of dragons is about to dawn upon Tairos once again. They all believe the return of dragons will usher in a new golden era that will see the damage of The Queen's Rebuke undone and magic return to the land. Anyone who knows their history feels much differently however. The return of dragons is more likely to end in subjugation or total extinction than any kind of welcomed peace.

Basic Information

Anatomy

While there is some variance in the physical structure of different dragon breeds they all share a common base shape of four limbs, a long tail, two wings and a head mounted on an elongated neck. All breeds have some kind of horns, spines, frills or other defensive adornments.

Genetics and Reproduction

Dragons produce via sexual reproduction. They are an egg laying species and eggs require long term observation and care. Dragons generally do not mix breeds and the when they do the resulting offspring will be fully of one of the parents breeds or the other.

Growth Rate & Stages

Dragons have exceptionally slow growth rates and experience long periods of adolescence during their first hundred or so years of life. Generally after the century mark dragons begin to leave their adolescent phase and transition into adulthood. From that point on the longer the dragon lives the more refined and potent their abilities become. They also never stop growing assuming their environment will support them and applicable levels of food are present to sustain continued growth.

Ecology and Habitats

Different breeds have preferential climates they will inhabit when given the choice but basic dragon biology is the same across all types. Regardless of preferred habitat all dragons can survive in most terrestrial habitats.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Dragons require massive amounts of food to sustain their abilities and growth rates. However, most dragons preferred to gorge themselves in eating frenzies rather than consume smaller amounts daily. Digestion is a particularly satisfying feeling for dragons and the larger the meal the more enjoyable the digestion. Exceptionally large meals will often trigger lethargy and in some cases the desire to hibernate(and also likely leading to another growth spurt)

Biological Cycle

Dragons are prone to long periods of hibernation. These can last years or even decades at a time and it is during these periods that most of the dragon's growth will take place. They generally gorge themselves prior to hibernating and then prepare their lairs to both accommodate their new growth and to ward off invaders. Even though all dragons shared a certain sense of territorial greed they considered it bad form to attack each other during these long sleeps.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Most breeds of dragons are solitary creatures who prefer to be far away from the rest of their kind. They recognize age as the primary deciding factor social hierarchy though some breeds rely more on physical might. This is generally one in the same as dragons become more dangerous as they age but it is not unheard of for a younger, cunning dragon to get the upper hand on an overconfident elder.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Almost all parts of a dragon are thought to be useful in the creation of magic items, potions, armor and weapons. Dragon parts can fetch very high prices in circles that have both wealth and the knowledge to know what to do with these parts.

Average Intelligence

varies though most dragons of adult age or order possess exceptional intelligence and guile

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Dark Vision, keen sense of smell, minor psionic abilities, inherent magical abilities/awarenesses

Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms

Dragon physiology makes them generally immune to many of the parasitic species that would prey on other races. That being said they are the target for giant ticks, giant mosquito and giant leeches while they are hibernating. There are some fungal and verminous parasites that can infest the foods that dragons eat. These are exceptionally potent or magically enhanced in all cases.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Dragon names chosen by the mother in almost all cases. Their names are almost always unique as they do not believe in the importance of lineage or being tied to the past exploits of an ancestor. The name the mother uses will generally come to her in her last hibernation before depositing her egg or eggs. Often times dragons will take on simpler monikers and nicknames to help convey the danger or majesty they represent to the nearby lesser races. Names such as River Lord, Black Tooth, Cinder, Gasp, Savior, Devastator, Seeker and Sage are all common. Often they are paired with their color such as Copper Savior, Silver Sage or Black Gasp.

Major Organizations

Dragons form no organizations. Their hierarchies of age or physical might are perhaps the closest they have to it. Lesser races have formed numerous cults and similar organizations revolving around dragons. Kobolds as a species venerate dragons and their priesthood is an expansive organization devoted to them.

Courtship Ideals

Dragons select mates generally as a biological imperative rather than as a conscious choice. They are typically looking for healthy mates free of parasites and who are not contenders for their territory. Once mating is done both partners will usually go their separate ways though the females certain nefarious chromatic breeds are known to try and kill their partners after mating. This gives them access to more territory and their dead mate would serve as a large satisfying meal that would likely trigger a long and fruitful hibernation. This practice is rare but not unheard of.

Relationship Ideals

Dragons do not generally form long-term bonds with each other. This is rooted in their territorial nature and they typically only view other dragons as a threat to their sovereignty. That being said many metallic dragons have been known to form friendships with other creatures. These friendships are often born of curiosity, a desire to shepherd or guard, or even shared interests. Chromatic dragons are fully capable of similar relationships and some have been recorded but most tend to favor more tyrannical arrangements. Master and minions, epicurean and cattle, god and parishioner.

Average Technological Level

Dragons have little appreciation for any kind of technology or enchanted items. Only the most potent of arcane relic will ever hold their attention

Common Dress Code

Dragons have no interest in clothing and only very rarely will they wear any kind of jewelry

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

Hoarding. Dragons of all breeds are hoarders in some way, shape or form. They crave accumulation though the exact nature of what they collect varies from individual to individual. Gold, wealth and jewels are common obsessions however.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

The state of affairs between dragons and other races were never ideal. Few dragons tolerated the presence of lesser races well and the chromatic breeds took that to especially grim levels.
EXTINCT
Origin/Ancestry
Unknown, believed to be native to lands beyond Tairos' ocean
Lifespan
It's unknown if dragons can die of old age
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Varies by breed though most dragons have either metallic or chromatic coloring


Cover image: Blue Dragon V2 by Sandara

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