Dragon Species in The Morning Realm | World Anvil


What came first; the dragon, or the hoard?
  Dragons are intelligent and massive serpentine creatures that emerge when large quantities of wealth are hoarded. Dragons are deeply magical with elemental powers as well as a strong bond with their hoard. Most dragons have a particular affinity for one element.   Dragons have been shrouded in mystery for millenia, with researchers from the Magisterium only recently learning about their life cycle and how their powers relate to their hoards. The biggest discovery is that dragons do not mate as initially believed. Instead they emerge from a hoard of wealth, which they proceed to lay on until their magic is sufficiently dispersed through the hoard. A hoard can only belong to a single dragon, and as the hoard grows, so too does the dragon.   Dragons can asexually reproduce by portioning out a section of their hoard to serve as the hatch for a new dragon, but they rarely choose to split their wealth in such a manner.


  The fundamental features of a dragon are debated, but commonly a creature must have a hoard and the ability to conjure an element with their breath to be considered a dragon.
Why is it that when some creature is created with magic, it's always reptiles? Dragons, obviously, but also salamanders, basilisks, hell, even those damned flying serpents Bertram keeps summoning! What in the world is up with that? Does magic have some kind of serpentine agenda?
  As inately magical beings Dragons do not follow typical biological rules. For example, metallic dragons may appear like massive winged lizards, yet they are all made of pure metal.   Chromatic dragons and most lesser dragons do seem to have more typical anatomy, but despite multiple dissections no Dracologist has never been able to find any biological feature that could be the source of a true dragons breath attack.


  A Hoard can be described as the life blood of the dragon. A dragon only grows as their hoard does, and most guard theirs with zeal. It is important to note that the size of the dragon doesn't directly correlate with the hoard. It seems the value of it does play some role.   That being said, it can sometimes be hard to know the true extent of a draconic hoard. It is likely that some dragons have multiple smaller hoards, squirrelled away in safe locations. The banking dragon Esereum has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that dragons very well can have part of their hoard taken away, and still consider that fundamentally theirs.   Esereum's comfort with allowing his hoard to be taken from him and handled by humanoids realmwide, however, is far from the norm. Most dragons covet and zealously guard their possessions from everyone else, especially other dragons.  


It is the very nature of a dragon to hoard, and once it has that hoard, to lay upon it. As a dragon sleeps upon their newly aquired wealth, their magic infuses into the materials and claims it.   A metal that has become part of a dragons hoard becomes known as Wyrmetal, a coveted material for the most daring artisans. Materials and items from the hoard of a living dragon cannot be easily altered. If someone was to attempt, a battle of wills begins between the artisan and the dragon. Even if the artisan wins, the dragon is now well aware of not just their existence, but their very location at the time of alteration.   It is believed that dragons are also attuned to the direction of their belongings, which aids them in tracking any stolen pieces down.  

Life Cycle

  Dracologists have long underestimated just how important a hoard is to a dragon. Their desire for wealth was seen as just regular greed. Even today, most still believe that dragons grow more powerful with age. Especially prevalent is the belief persists that snakes and serpents grow into dragons if they live for a full century. This is demonstrably false, but does not stop silly rural practices like marking snakes so they can be culled before they get to old.  


When massive amounts of wealth is hoarded there is a chance that a dragon may appear. This has been known among the oldest and wealthiest families of the realm for generations. This knowledge was perhaps kept secret to prevent commoners from blaming the nobility when dragons escaped their treasuries and required the intervention of a hero.  


  Hatchlings, sometimes known as dragonlings or wyrmlings, are the second stage of a dragons development.  
A hatchling usually only claims a small portion of a collection of wealth as their hoard, and are only capable of hoarding one material. Most dracologists believe the nature of a hatchling is based on it's initial hoard. Treasuries of gold, silver, and such certainly do spawn far more metallic dragons.   The origin of chromatic dragons is less certain. Common theories are that they emerge from hoards of gems, but also livestock or even grain.   Hatchlings are roughly the size of a humanoid, and are already capable of breathing their native element to scare off any hostile intruders.
A young dragon hatchling curled around its hoard.
Dragon Hatchling by Annie Stein


  Juvenile dragons are the third stage of a dragons development. At this stage the dragon has begun to hoard more than just one form of wealth, and begins to roam away from their hoard to find more gold. Juvenile dragons are fearsome threats and not to be underestimated.   A juvenile dragon is roughly the size of an owlbear or hippogriff.  


  When a dragon fully matures, their magic begins to leak out from their hoard and affect their surroundings. Mature dragons can usually manipulate their natural element and conjure more than just as simple breath attack. Mature dragons are extremely dangerous.   A mature dragon is usually at least the size of an elephant, if not bigger.  


  Eventually, a dragon may grow a hoard so massive that their magic begins to affect the region surrounding them. It is well known that gems never shine brighter than they do in Storest, often attributed to the presence of the ancient dragon Esereum.   An ancient dragon is gargantuan. There is no known limit to the size of a dragon.  


Katla rose and blocked each and every sun. I clung to my fathers leg, staring up at a sky that was nothing but dragon. Her wingspan stretched across the Boiling Mountains, from the Throne of the Gods to the Peaks of Store. We were enveloped in her terrible shadow. It was as dark as blackest night. I do not think I could ever forget.
  The first dragons came from deep within the Boiling Mountains. These dragons were described as wyrms; serpentlike and massive, much like the Lindwyrms of Viliers.   They would travel deep underground by slithering through natural caverns. Some miners even theorized that the dragons themselves had burrowed out these caves.
According to old dwarven myths, gems and particularly fruitful veins are scales left behind by Dragons. This leads most linguists to believe the word Gem derives from 'Gemb' an archaic word in the Alltongue meaning scale, nail or tooth.
The first mention of a winged dragon comes from the early Written Era. These accounts describe a terrible storm in the Autre region of modern day Courdonne, and the winged beast seen in between flashes of lightning. These storms were caused by Hala, described as a great lizard with the wings of a bat who could control the weather.   Today the most infamous dragon is Esereum of the Gilded Hoard. Esereum is the owner of the hoard and the provider of the magic that makes the currency popular realmwide. Esereum was revealed to the the world in 398 WE.


SubspeciesMetallic Dragons
  • Gold Dragon
  • Silver Dragon
  • Bronze Dragon
  • Copper Dragon
  • Brass Dragon
  • Chromatic Dragons
  • Black Dragon
  • Red Dragon
  • Blue Dragon
  • Green Dragon
  • White Dragon
  • Lesser Dragons
  • Faerie Dragons
  • Lindwyrms
  • Sea Serpent
  • Dragon Turtle

  • Notable Dragons


    Esereum is an ancient gold dragon, best known for being the owner of the Gilded Hoard. Esereum presumably emerged sometime in 650 WE, though no certain date is given.   Startlingly, the dragon agreed to collaborate with the Medivetti family and allowed them to mint and distribute his hoard around the world.   Many fear the power granted to this one dragon, but it is hard to deny just how convenient the use of the bank is.


    Hala is the earliest known winged dragon. She was able to summon storms, and lived in Autre. There are countless myths about how exactly Hala met her end.   In a Castellan myth, High King Caspian prays to the other gods and banishes the Hala forever, in another they fight for seven days and seven nights. Her death is also attributed to other heroes, not all whom were yet alive at the time.   Most historians today agree Hala met her end in a fight with a Roc.


    Vritra was a great dragon who threatened an eternal drought in the Argosian desert when she emerged from one of the basins of Iteru. She was eventually defeated by the combined effort of several Philosopher Kings.   Modern antiquarians believe that Vritra's hoard may have been the water of Iteru.

    Articles under Dragon


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    Dec 7, 2021 21:38 by Imoen Kim

    I LOVE your idea of hoards birthing dragos, but you already know that :D It's a really unique concept, especially if other "hoards" like waters or grain can also spawn dragons. The superstitions surrounding old snakes were also a great touch and make the world feel more real to me.   I would love to know more about how a dragon's magic affects the hoard. You say Esereums magic is part of the reason why his hoard is popular as a currency, but what does it do? Does it make the pieces magical/useful for magic?   The quotes are a nice touch too. I personally like it if there's an author listed, it makes the quote more relatable and can anchor it in a culture or a time of your world.   What happens when a dragon grows too large for the space the hoard is in? Does it move its hoard to a llocation more suited to its size? I imagine that to be a noticeable thing, since I would expect there to not be an exit suited to their size.   Do they need to feed? Or is just being in the presence of their enough to sustain them? And have dracologists tried to interview Esereum? How did that go?   So many questions, I know, but you really got me excited with this concept!

    Dec 7, 2021 22:01 by Annie Stein

    I'm absolutely thrilled it has you asking so many questions! It's given me loads to expand upon later. The superstitions about old snakes is actually from slavic folklore! It was such a huge help to read through all the different cultural perceptions of dragons.   I can't believe I forgot to write about how wealth being part of a dragons hoard affects things! I'll have to edit that it once my brain is working again. So basically, when something becomes part of a dragons hoard and the dragon now considers it theirs, it changes in some ways. For one, it cannot easily be altered against the will of dragon, so unless you get their approval to melt their iron into armour, attempting to do so will be a battle of wills. The dragon can also magically sense the direction of their belongings, which makes it easier to track things down when they're stolen.   For the gold pieces, this means that they can't easily be shaved down for gold, which was a big concern with coins historically. This new magical nature also is the basis on which the Gilded Hoard has made many of its spells, like summon and banish currency, and the cantrip that makes it glow if it's a real gilded hoard coin. I'll embed a link to that article here, if you want to check it out!

    Gold Pieces
    Item | Dec 21, 2021

    Gold Pieces (symbol: ℜ; abbreviated gp), also known as drakes, are the most common currency in the realm. The coins are minted by the Gilded Hoard, who issues three coins; the Gold Drake, the Silver Sun, and the Copper Cent.

      The hoard doesn't all need to be in one place, so the dragon has some options. It can migrate the hoard, which is a huge risk but means it only has to defend one location, or it can establish multiple smaller hoards. I can absolutely see a scenario where a dragon gets too big for their lair though, I think that could be a fun thing to put in somewhere. Maybe a fountain that had one too many coins dropped into it!   They seemingly do eat, I mean, they at least threaten to! But I don't think they really need it, the magic is what sustains them.   I would also absolutely love to write an Interview with a Dragon one day, where a dracologist interviews Esereum. I think that'd be awesome. Thank you so much for this indepth comment by the way, it was lovely to see. ^^

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    Dec 7, 2021 22:47 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Super interesting idea for those dragons :D I love the details about the biology you've made for them, and that they can even asexually reproduce if they want. Also the detail that magic has a serpentine agenda XD Magi has good taste :p   Do dragon appear when something is hoarded in a significant amount only? Like a big pile of gold or grains. Or does it depends on the worth the owner gives to it? Like painting or personal objects.   Do they only grow when their hoar gets bigger or this also automatically happens when they age? Or, does it only happen when they age or can they cheat and get massive by increasing the size of their hoard?

    Dec 7, 2021 23:41 by Annie Stein

    Thank you so much! They only hatch from a single kind of item, yeah, like gold or grain. It's hard to say exactly what determines if a collection is valuable enough to potentially spawn a dragon. I like to think hoard is somewhat literal, like, when you're not just collecting but hiding it away so noone else can have it. It may be that the thing that makes the dragon is that spark of greed given life. I haven't decided.   They also only grow if their hoard grows. Age is irrelevant once they're juveniles, except for the fact that they can only absorb new wealth into their hoard so fast. They need to lay on it for their magic to soak in properly.

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    Dec 7, 2021 22:57 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

    I really love your interpretation of dragons, and that are still many mysteries surrounding them. I liked reading about notable dragons in the sidebar too.

    Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
    Dec 7, 2021 23:32 by Annie Stein

    Thank you so much!

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    Dec 9, 2021 16:04 by Morgan Biscup

    I am so excited you did the section on notable dragons because I was getting sad Esereum didn't have their own article.   What happens to a dragon's hoard if the dragon dies? Could it spawn another dragon or is it still somehow marked as part of their hoard?

    Lead Author of Vazdimet.
    Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
    Dec 9, 2021 16:59 by Annie Stein

    Thank you so much! I hope to give him an article soon, but there's so much to write!   If a dragon dies, I think it would make sense for the hoard to slowly lose it's magic. Eventually I do think the hoard could spawn another dragon, but since dragons really only die when they're killed, there's typically already someone who wants a slice of that hoard pie.

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    Dec 12, 2021 05:07 by Stormbril

    "Does magic have some kind of serpentine agenda? " omg, what an excellent quote right at the start xD   This has to be one of my favourite renditions of dragons I've seen yet. Everything just sorta makes sense, but yet is surprising and engaging during reading. Excellent work :D I loved the sidebar with the famous dragons, and I'd love to see more!   I had a thought come up while reading -- since dragons emerge from hoards of *wealth*, is it the value of the region that proves this certain pile of coins is enough wealth to have a dragon emerge? What would, say, a huge reservoir of water cause, if it existed in a drought stricken region -- could a dragon emerge from that and claim all of it for itself? :O   Also, I love that drawing of the hatchling <3

    Dec 12, 2021 11:47 by Annie Stein

    Thank you so much!   Well, dragons have, as far as dracologists know, only emerged from water in regions where water is considered extremely valuable and has been hoarded by individuals. That's pretty much what happened with Vritra! But what exactly makes a pile of something capable of spawning a dragon is not something that's very well understood yet, maybe the ambient amount of magic matters, maybe it has to do with a nearby leyline, or a strong enough feeling of greed or envy?

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    Dec 12, 2021 20:44 by Stormbril

    Oh jeeze, did I entirely miss that on the side bar?? Whoops D:   That's really fascinating though, it's so interesting to think of how it all must work!

    Dec 13, 2021 14:52 by TC

    The fact that hoards and dragons have such a weird and mysterious relationship is really one of my favourite things!! Amazing work :D

    Creator of Arda Almayed
    Dec 13, 2021 14:57 by Annie Stein

    Thank you so much!

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    Jan 7, 2022 15:33

    I really like all of this, it's sooo cute. Do Fairy Dragons emerge from the common room of very, very, very happy homes?

    Jan 7, 2022 16:20 by Annie Stein

    Thank you! I think Fairy Dragons are either not dragons at all and just fey copying dragons, or something like that! If anyone would hoard joy, it'd be the fey!

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    Jan 17, 2022 13:42 by Bart Weergang

    I really like how you thought this out! How the hoard creates the dragon, and how they grow with it. You written it out wonderfully.

    Jan 17, 2022 14:31 by Annie Stein

    Thank you so much!

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