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Nissling, Draconian

Red Nissling Warrior by ErinRigh (in HeroForge)

Basic Information


Nisslings are hominids, in that they have an upright two-legged walk, two arms, one head, and opposable thumbs. Like Pangorian nisslings, Draconian nisslings have small crocodilian heads, but unlike their Pangorian ancestors, horns, ridges, and crests vary along the same lines as their draconian ancestors. Draconian nisslings will have similar horns, ridges, and crests as their draconic coloration would indicate.   Draconic blood is very strong in Draconian nisslings. Nisslings are always winged, as that feature is something, they came to Draconia with. Unlike their Pangorian ancestors, Draconian nisslings are not camouflaged for the jungle. Instead, the base coloration of the nissling depends upon their draconic ancestry, though they do have naturally occurring, near-black, splotches for camouflage.   Like dragons, nisslings are warm-blooded, though their choices of climate, and terrain, are highly dependent upon what colour they are.   A nissling’s tail is nearly as long as the nissling is tall, though the exact length, and shape, of the nissling’s tail depends greatly upon their dragon ancestry. Nisslings of all types use their tails for balance when running and flying.

Biological Traits

Essentially, all nisslings are the same species, regardless of the draconic bloodline. However, there are physical differences between nisslings of different draconic ancestry. Nisslings descended from larger dragons are not physically taller than other nisslings, but they are bulkier and heavier (+2 kg (+5 lb)). Imperial nisslings have smaller, almost comically small, wings, but fly just as well, if not better, than other nisslings. Nisslings with bonuses to Strength or Constitution tend to be 10% heavier than other nisslings and those with bonuses to Charisma tend to be 10% taller.

Genetics and Reproduction

Draconian nisslings go into “season” twice a year, once at the beginning of summer for three months, then again at the beginning of winter for another three months. Female nisslings carry their eggs for two months before laying them in the lair they have spent two months preparing, and tend to them for an entire month before they hatch. During pregnancy, and clutching, female nisslings become quite “broody” and ornery, much like female dragons, growling and hissing at anyone who gets too close, including the father. After hatching, female nisslings will allow other members of the tribe to help her with the hatchlings.

Growth Rate & Stages

A nissling hatchling comes into the world with a fully developed digestive system, and can easily eat the same omnivorous diet as their parents, provided that the harder roots and meats are chewed for them first. Hatchlings walk within about a month, and begin to fly a month after that.   Once the hatchling can fly, they join the tribe and the hatchling will continue to grow up raised by the entire tribe. Like their Pangorian ancestors, a nissling grows from hatchling to adult in about 10 years, but unlike Pangorian nisslings, Draconian nisslings live to be about 300 to 400 years old, gradually increasing in size and power, as their draconic ancestors do.

Ecology and Habitats

Unlike Pangorian nisslings, Draconian nisslings do not necessarily favour jungles or forests, though some of them certainly do, and they can be found in underground lairs anywhere that their draconic ancestors can be found. Gold nisslings can be found almost anywhere; silvers and whites prefer high mountain tops and arctic tundras; bronzes are fond of sea coasts; brasses and blues prefer deserts; and coppers dwell in steppelands and hills. Red nisslings can be found in volcanic regions; greens in forests; and blacks in swamps. Other variations of nisslings exist, such as those related to the gem dragons, and those related to the lung, but they are more rare.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Unlike their Pangorian ancestors, Draconian nisslings are true omnivores, and though they do eat a principally carnivorous diet, what passes for “good food” varies as widely as there are different types of nisslings and different types of dragons, and often includes a mineral (gold, onyx, amethyst, et al.) content in their diet. Nisslings on Draconia share dietary habits with their draconic counterparts, so where a red nissling probably prefers his food spicy, a black nissling probably prefers her food, whether spicy or not, to be well aged.   The one exception to this is liver. The liver of any animal, or indeed, any creature, is a delicacy that should be appreciated fresh, preferably hot, and definitely raw. This is a holdover from their Pangorian roots, and a great deal of ritual is still placed around the eating of liver. Draconian nisslings still believe that to eat the liver of a fallen comrade, or enemy, is to show them great honour, and a great disservice is done to a fallen comrade of whom you do not eat the liver. In the case of comrades and enemies with two livers (such as gnomes and goblins), both livers must be eaten. The more superstitious among them believe that leaving behind the liver of a fallen comrade is an affront to their soul and terrible curses befall those who do so, and the strength of your comrade or enemy becomes yours when you eat their liver.

Biological Cycle

Draconian nisslings, like the dragons they revere, go through a series of molts as they age, and since there are 12 of them, the nisslings have named them for the draconic age categories. Most of the nisslings encountered by the outside world will be young adult, adult, or mature adult. Nisslings younger or older than that rarely leave the nissling’s communal lair, and though it is possible to see a young or juvenile nissling, or possibly an old or ancient nissling, unless they invite you in, or you are invading, you’ll never see a hatchling, very young, wyrm, or great wyrm nissling.   The following table shows the Age Category of the Nissling, including the title of the age category, the age in standard years that a nissling achieves each category, and the average height and weight of male and female nisslings:  
  Nissling Attribute Adjustments & Flight Ability by Age - PF1, AD&D, D&D 3.5 Stats
  [spoiler] |  

Additional Information

Social Structure

Nisslings form individual tribes within the draconic clans. For example, the servants of Clan Cloudwalker (a silver clan) may include the Snow Eagle tribe (a tribe of Silver Metallic Nisslings), the Blizzard Tribe (White Chromatic Nisslings) and The Tome Raiders tribe (of Occult Esoteric Nisslings).   There are numerous tribe-specific superstitions that affect many aspects of life and social structure, and new superstitions are added almost weekly. Examples:
  1. Bookworms are a sign of impending disaster among the Tome Raiders, and allowing harm to come to a piece of writing is to invite poverty upon yourself.
  2. Among the Blizzard Tribe, there are spirits of the snow and ice, hundreds of them, and they must all be appeased when moving through the snow and ice, or else the tribe will suffer from the hazards of the tundra.
  3. Members of the Snow Eagle tribe are all mildly claustrophobic, so their halls are wide open places, with openings to the sky.
  The Boss still run the tribes with his Barkers enforcing his will, but the Moodoo no longer directly worship MoorDoon.   Nisslings still revere the Hoopla who give magic to the tribe. Among Draconian Nisslings, formal magic and alchemy are more common, though each tribe has requirements for the title of Hoopla.   Also of extreme importance to Draconian Nisslings are Elders. The Yippers tell of a time when nisslings died in but 40 Draconian years, but now they live five times that and continue to gain in power and size as they age. So, when the first Nissling on Draconia lived until her 80's, the nisslings named her Elder, and gave her great respect, for the fact was, she was now larger and tougher than the Boss. She enforced that the Boss listen to her advice (not necessarily follow it), and she became stewardess over many aspects of nissling life, such as education of the young. Deemed too valuable to risk on anything petty, the Elders are almost confined to the lairs, and by tradition do not leave it except under dire circumstances.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

In reality, nisslings are seen more like valuable and useful pets than real dragons, by the dragons the so revere. They are exploited for their labour, their arms, their magic, their art, by the dragons who think nothing of telling their nisslings to undertake valuable tasks with no thought of compensating them.
On the other hand, nisslings know they are protected by the dragons of their Clan, and have no issues pushing that weight around, especially with lesser dragons, such as allyri, and humanoids.

Facial characteristics

Nisslings have quite expressive faces, and indeed a nissling often wears his feelings plainly on his face.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Nissling can be found on Draconia and surrounding space, anywhere dragons can be found. As naturally timid creatures, they do not stray far from the safety of their lairs and the dragons who protect them.

Average Intelligence

Nisslings are, on the average, as smart as humans, though Green, Etheric, Brass and Void are slightly more intelligent than average.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Like the dragons they now draw their ancestry from, Draconian nisslings have incredible sensory abilities. They can see in both the ultraviolet and infrared spectrum, and have a sense of smell 10 times more acute than a bloodhound. Due to these keen senses, Draconian nisslings have Blindsense out to 15 feet (5 m), an ability they will not hesitate to use, by putting the lights out, should they feel threatened.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

The nissling language is a sibilant one with many hisses and clicks. The nisslings names are usually a string of pleasant sounding syllables with no actual meaning in their language, but that sound like words. When the hatchling reaches adulthood and becomes a Mugger or Gimik then they seek a meeting with the Moodoo who divines the meaning of the name

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

According to the nisslings, MoorDoon the Creator, is a God among Gods, he created all, including the mighty dragons, the only beings superior to the Nisslings. The dragons call him Aureldelock, but it is obviously MoorDoon by another name. And the dragons worship him and have Moodoo of their own that they call Oracles and Clerics, so the Nisslings feel more comfortable worshiping the Gods that serve him.

Common Taboos

Nisslings are loathe to leave a killed being with it's liver. They hold the liver as the giver of life and power, and believe that eating the liver of a fallen comrade bestows their power on you and honours them, by making them part of you. Nisslings do not believe in an afterlife, except as vengeful spirits who were left "tainted" with their livers when they died who return to haunt those who commited that wrong against them. To eat the liver of an enemy is to give him honour, as well as take his power for yourself, as they will haunt you forever and ever if you don't at least remove his liver and feed it to a wolf. Nisslings believe all sins end with death and to not carry tribal grudges or feuds. If you are killed by a nissling, they forgive anything you had done, and honour you by taking your power for their tribe and the memory of you for themselves.


Most have no idea exactly when the Nisslings arrived on Draconia, or why, or how? Oolong Tesseract-Troi remembers the day clearly, though he couldn't give you an exact date it was a thousand odd years ago.
It was a beautiful day! Thick clouds hung black in the sky, and the rain poured out like a flood. Oolong loved days like this and he could often be found up to his nostrils in some mud bog or another around Darkeast. The lightning was crackling overhead and occasional bolts hit the trees of the Jungle leaving an ozone smell on the air as the wind whipped in all directions. That's when his draconic nose picked up a strange scent. A huge bolt of lightning struck the trees not far away, less than 10 kilometers, and as the wind shifted to blow from that direction, he expected the accompanying ozone smell and perhaps fire. It was for that reason that Oolong paid attention to these strikes as a forest fire could quickly threaten everything he held dear. As the scents of the lightning brushed his nose, there was another scent mixed in, faint, but there. The smell was reptilian; dragon? No, not exactly, but definitely related somehow. Half-dragon perhaps? He doubted it, too many different scents, and there were other smells too, oil and fire, hanging meat, strange wood.
He rose from the mire and snapped air beneath his wings and took to the sky with a grace that could only be dragon. Eight or 10 wing beats and he was circling a village in the trees that he had never smelled before, in trees that did not grow here. He uttered some magic and his gargantuan frame shrunk down to a more reasonable elephantine size and he dropped through the trees to the forest floor. As he landed his eyes caught sight of hundreds of little camoflaged, dragon-like humanoids watching his descent. As he lit upon the ground, a small figure tumbled from the bushes near his feet, an obvious child.
"It's ok, child," he said, soothingly reaching to help her to her feet. She smelled female.
She looked up at him in awe for several seconds, before light came to her eyes and she clutched his huge draconic hand. "MoorDoon!" She called, "tisa MoorDoon!"
Before he knew it, hundreds of the little creatures came pouring out of the woods to touch him reverently and whisper "MoorDoon". It took Oolong about 2 seconds to realize that these primitive little creatures, who were obviously related to dragons, thought he was their God, and he quickly incanted a spell that would make them comprehensible to him and he to them.
As he finished the spell, he caught the end of the the little girl's babble at him which had begun incomprehensibly, as soon as she had identified him, "...tu tok iban vorosk grrll durba, and we are all too scared to go against him."
"Go against who, child?" he asked.
She sighed in exasperation and said, "Weren't you listening, Moordoon? The shaman!" The word in their language was Moodoo, and he suspected it had something to do with their god.
"Listen to me, nisslings, " he said, figuring out that was what they called themselves, "I am not MoorDoon. My name is Oolong"

Common Myths and Legends

The nisslings believe in the Draconian Gods
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Black Nissling Alchemist by ErinRigh (in HeroForge)
Scientific Name
Draco Hominus Nissus

400 years
Conservation Status
As far as dragons are concerned, there are not enough nisslings on Draconia. When the nisslings came to Draconia, no one can remember, why they came, no one knows. All that is known about the nisslings is that the dragons protect them. As a matter of fact, dragons view nisslings as their protectorate, and treat them like little dragons. So, while nisslings are fairly new to Draconia, they are rapidly spreading, with no natural predators.

Average Height
Male 92 cm (3 ft)
Female 84 cm (2 ft 9 in)
Average Weight
Male 15.5 kg (35 lb)
Female 13.5 kg (30 lb)
Average Physique
On the average, nisslings are small, winged and tailed, thin humanoids, with crocodilian heads, and scaly outer hides.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Nisslings vary in colour as wide as there are colours, and nisslings of almost any shade or hue or tone of colour may be found and a Green nissling lair will have nissling varying from almost black they are so green to almost blue or yellow or brown, though still recognisebly green (at least by green nissling eyes).
Geographic Distribution
Discovered by
Related Materials
Forest Nissling Ninja by ErinRigh (in HeroForge)

Related Article

Species | Jan 1, 2022

Credits and Thanks

Our deepest thanks to Dazzlinkat, who is the original creator of the Nisslings, which come from her amazing world of Pangorio. All adaptations and changes were approved by her, and they have been incorporated into the Toy Soldier Saga with her permission.  

Cover image: Demon by Verti


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