Dragons are massive, quadrupedal reptilians that are often found only within the myths and folklore of countless other races across the world. They are seldom seen or spoken of, with many dragons having degenerated into nothing more than simple minded Drakes. Rare, powerful, and carrying a presence that carries both majesty and power, it isn't too uncommon for dragons to garner the attention of worshipers whenever their presence is known. True dragons are very rare, however. Their race is a shadow of its former self, with only a small handful of their kind left through the world. It is rare for a young dragon to come into existence due to the nature of their species' lifespan and reproductive cycle.
While the genuine definition of a 'dragon' is often disputed among common folk, scholars have described Dragons as any four-legged, winged reptilian that carries enough sapience to equal or -- more often surpass, human intellect. They are typically very muscular in terms of build, and vary in size from dragon to dragon. Every dragon is different. Though crowning traits that always appears within a dragon is the appearance of scales, wings, a tail, and four arms. Many also have horns, though this isn't always the case.
Genetics and Reproduction
Though dragons vary from species to species, their parents do not matter, so long as they're both dragons. Dragons are capable of carrying complex emotions and thoughts much like people, and thus regard courtship in a similar manner; though they lay eggs in clutches 1~4.
Growth Rate & Stages
After hatching from their egg, the dragon begins their life as a lowly wyrmling. Dragon whelps are vulnerable, and are thus guarded by parents until they reach the age of 10, where they're old enough to fight off predators and fend for themselves. From here, the dragon enters a period of life often called the 'wyrm' stage. Wyrms lack much in the way of sapience, but make up for it with raw strength that helps them survive out in the wild -- outside of human interference. When a Wyrm reaches 50 years of age, they begin to develop the first signs of sapience. Rationality forms along with their own independent thoughts, and unique mutations that set themselves aside from other dragons. This is when a dragon reaches their equivalent of a 'teenager', with adulthood resting at 100 years of age.
Ecology and Habitats
Dragon habitats vary from creature to creature; their bodies quite literally adapt and take in the features of the environment they're born in, leaving them to be the perfect predator in the sense that they can instantly adapt, change, and mold their growing bodies to help fit the land they're born in. They do not have a fixed habitat or ecology, with wyrms developing their traits over time based upon the home they've been given to adapt into.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Dragons are almost strictly carnivorous; with the only exception being omnivorous dragons that have a preference towards meat. They prefer live, larger prey. During the feudal era, a particularly massive dragon by the name of Cirothyn forced subjects into worship by taking sacrifices of cattle from them. In exchange for this, he protected the small kingdom from danger.
Draconic social structure and hierarchy is based strictly upon two factors. Age: In the sense that elder dragons are often considered greater, stronger, and far wiser than those younger. Age is an important factor to a dragon; as a 20 year increment alone is often enough to dissuade a dragon from attacking another. Power: The more important part of the duo. Age is often seen as a rudimentary way to measure the power of somebody in draconic culture. As a result, they tend to view a lot of things lesser than them in most circumstances, with the exception being other dragons, or particularly powerful creatures with similarly long lifespans. Power is incredibly important to a dragon; as their innate nature drives them to compete and remain stronger than those that would threaten them.
It is impossible to truly domesticate a dragon, due to their sapient nature, however, wyrms and wyrmlings are reported to be capable of being domesticated due to their lack of proper sapience; with one particular report in Mordencrast claiming that the ownership of a wyrm eventually lead to the beast regarding them as a father by the time it reached mental maturity.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Dragons shed scales, and their hide's strength is legendary. A dragon's scale is often comparable to steel in terms of stiffness, making them incredible for armor. Dragon bones are also notably very dense, hard to shape, but incredibly sturdy. While bulky and heavy, armor made from the bones are often said to be impenetrable; though a suit of armor made from such materials are something that's said to be seen only once every century.
Dragons are very often, considered much more intelligent than other sapient creatures due to their incredible lifespans. This allows them to learn, adapt, and accrue wisdom and knowledge across an incredibly long period of time.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
A dragon always has particularly keen eyesight compared to others; so much so that they're often said to be capable of seeing through spells that would normally shroud one's body in invisibility. Dragons often have different capabilities that vary from each creature.
Civilization and Culture
Dragons have their own language, called Draconic. They did not carry last names, but instead preferred titles to serve as mantles of introduction. Male: Zexus, Taydyrn, Ossirot, Cirothyn, Nerson Female: Rashida, Ledei, Methiris, Rymaler, Ovna, Sudral,
Order of the Scales: An organization that's mostly dedicated to preserving the safety and protection of dragonkind. Due to the dwindling of the draconic race, the Order of the Scales was founded for the sole sake of protecting their kind from hunters and poachers. They are also a group that serves as a diplomatic ambassador between common mortal kind, and dragons alike.
Major Language Groups and Dialects
Draconic: The primary language of a dragon. Draconic is often described as somewhat throaty, with sibilant s's. S is a very common letter in draconic names and words.
Culture and Cultural Heritage
Dragons were created with the sole intention of serving as an apex predator. As a result, it isn't too uncommon for a grown dragon to assume themselves higher or better than others. This haughty demeanor can be grating to some, but it is done with the realization that they are creatures carrying age and power far beyond the capabilities of a mere mortal. While there is no real set culture amidst dragonkind due to them being far too scattered to form their own societies, they are often obligated to display, show off, or flaunt their strengths in a variety of different ways. They are very fond of showing predatory advantage over lesser creatures to serve as a means of 'showing them their place'.
Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals
Prostration: When visiting a dragon's lair, it is often expected to prostrate before them. It is a common form of etiquette that even other dragons will perform to others. Prostration is simple; done through bowing, kneeling, and making one look weaker before their host. Their host often expects meaningful gifts to be granted to them as tribute. Hoarding: Dragons have an innate hoarding habit that ties in with their predatory nature. Many dragons hold a sense of pride when it comes to their age, and are often fond of keeping memories in the form of mementos or trinkets. This leads to many dragons preferring to create a hoard, or 'treasure' room to hold the memories of the countless civilizations that rose and fall throughout their lifetime.
Dragons were among the very first sapient creatures to walk on land and fly above it. Their creator is Zzath; an ancient, primordial entity that is often seen as the 'first dragon' to come into existence. Zzath created dragons as his firstborn children, blessing them into becoming the perfect apex predator to walk the planet. These children were later used as figureheads and important figures found amidst his worshipers, viewed as gods in their own right due to their great power, revered and feared alike as dangerous predators that would always stand at the top of the food chain. In time, however, Elven worship of Zzath began to wane. Certain dragons also grew covetous of his power, with a rift growing amidst his children; some wished to claim this power for themselves. Others wished to honor and respect Zzath is both their creator, and the ultimate apex creature that slithered over land. During the War of the Fairies, many dragons chose to side with the Fae rather than their father. The dragons that chose this path, however, were invariably doomed. After all, Zzath was the creature that brought them into existence, and in order to strike back at the children that betrayed him, he forced their kind to degenerate over time. Wyrmlings grew into primal, feral beasts that were far too unruly to call a fellow dragon, taking years at a time to develop into but a shadow of their former greatness. Zzath's worshipers were forced into hiding regardless, and in time, he was hacked to bits by his own children, scattered throughout the world and left broken for eternity. While Zzath's dying breathe cursed their kind to damnation, he did not snuff them out entirely. Wyrms are still capable of adapting and growing, though time often leads to them being mistaken as lowly drakes meant to be hunted.
Cirothyn: Cirothyn was an infamous dragon that lived within central Tregaron. A massive black dragon, he was mostly renown for the bulk of his scales and his prodigious size. Even for a dragon, Cirothyn was massive, with enormous claws tipped with a flaming, hot heat reportedly capable of slicing through metal like butter. His breathe was not a breathe, but a spittle that was akin to molten rock. Thick, dense plates of rock and slag clung to his frame due to his preferred spaces often being volcanos or underground pockets of magma, where he often set his base around to bathe in. Ossirot the Betrayer: Named so for being the sole dragon that's credited with bringing Zzath down, and his later tendencies to hunt and kill other dragons. Ossirot gained notoriety among other dragons due to his wrathful nature towards his own kind, and is most known for the golden scales that mark his sleek, slender body. Four horns, and the ability to breathe stormy clouds that crackle with electricity. Zexus of the Deep: Zexus was among the many other dragons that abandoned Zzath. Zexus is known for his affinity of water, though his friendliness was often seen as a godsend to local fishermen village; even humans, who view dragons with dangerous superstition, venerated Zexus for his kindness. He would frequently swim by cities and capes, accepting offerings of fish in exchange for his watchful protection and company. Altrezzer, the Mirthful: Altrezzer is a well-known copper scaled dragon that's said to contribute vastly in the founding of the Devkarti Empire. He was named such due to his tendency to be oddly boisterous and excitable for a dragon of his age, and was notorious for jokes and pranks that were made at the expense of the soldiers he fought along with. Despite that, Altrezzer was the mount of Nagi Ra-Hesslar, the legendary Khan and founder of Devkarth. Rashida the Savage: Rashida is a dangerous dragon left lost in the far, northern reaches of the world where only a select few creatures know of her existence. Rashida is reclusive, but always wrathful when sighted. She attacks, slaughters, and lays siege to all that happens to be within her sights. This aggressive nature has lead to belief that Rashida is nothing more than a feral beast, but she still maintains enough intelligence to garner the Adlet people's worship.
Interspecies Relations and Assumptions
Dragons often view the very concept of intermingling with 'lesser species' as abhorrent. It has been recorded to happen, however, though it is exceptionally rare. Many elder dragons are capable of shapeshifting to help accomplish these trysts, regardless.
It is rumored that dragons are biologically immortal; the eldest recorded dragon in history reached about 1,200 years old before fading from history.
Dragons are generally considered nearly extinct. As a result, hunting and poaching of dragons in most societies is often seen as distasteful in some societies, especially due to a dragon's innate sapience.
Dragons vary in terms of height; but the average dragon reaches about 40~45 feet tall at the shoulders when reaching adulthood.
I am really fond of the known characters section, as well as the history one. Zzath, creator of Dragons and Vampires, looks like an interesting person too, I'd like to know more about him :3