The Verenian Watchers
Dragons are creatures of great vanity. We believe that we are the most important beings in all of creation, and to be fair to us, that claim is not without some evidence to back it up. Never has a dragon existed without having a massive impact on the world around it. Can you fault us then, if we allow ourselves to be a little self-important from time to time?
- Cornelius B. Hedd, Archivist of Elandria
Dragons are imposing scaled reptiles of legend. Wherever a dragon exists, it cannot avoid shaping the world around it in grand and important ways; whether that is for good or for ill depends on the dragon. The winged beasts are most commonly found in the island nation of Verftet, where they live in a constant struggle with the giants, but can be found anywhere in the world to varying degrees.
Dragons are mostly classified by their subspecies, which is visible in the colouring of their scales. There are ten subspecies of dragon, that can be evenly divided into two groups: metallic and chromatic. While no race can be sorted nicely into boxes of entirely good or entirely evil, wheter a dragon is metallic or chromatic is generally a good indicator.
To successfully slay a dragon is considered by many non-dragons as the pinnacle of an adventurer’s achievement. Dragons naturally resent this idea, and certainly don’t make it easy on their would-be slayers. And the inherent difficulty in killing the creatures isn’t all that attracts glory-seekers to the idea of hunting them: dragons are also notoriously greedy, and no dragon worthy of the moniker is without a massive hoard of treasure. The hoards depend on what the dragon values as worth posessing, but it’s very rare that one would find their hoard without items that someone in the world wouldn’t find immensely valuable.
Physiology and Abilities
Dragons range in size from roughly the size of humans near birth, to gargantuan proportions at the end of their lifespan. Their age tends to play a large part in determining how powerful a dragon is: the older the dragon is, the greater its power. Dragons in the age between hatching and five years are considered ‘wyrmlings’, and are essentially the equivalent of human infants. Dragons between six years and a century old are considered to be in adolescence, often called ‘young dragons’. Dragons reach adulthood after their hundredth year, and are considered ‘ancient’ after 800 years.
The abilities a dragon possess vary based on its colour subspecies, but many dragons share a few traits regardless of colour All dragons are born with wings, and innately master the art of flight almost immediately after hatching. All dragons posess the ability to speak, and develop unnatural intelligence very early on in their development; although their colour subspecies tends to determine how intelligent they get. As soon as a dragon is old enough to speak and think rationally, they also develop the ability to change their shape. Many a dragon takes advantage of this power to turn into a humanoid form to interact with the smaller folk, either because they genuinely desire their companionship or because they seek to use more personal approaches to their eventual subjugation. As dragons reach adulthood, they gain the ability to exude an aura of fear into creatures nearby, causing them to be supernaturally afraid of the creature. Additionally, adult dragons also have legendary skill, with much faster reflexes than one could imagine for beasts of their size. They also posess the innate ability to overcome magical effects that would have otherwise harmed them, although to do so is a taxing process.
Arguably, the most iconic trait of a dragon is it’s mastery over a specific form of energy, expressed in a breath attack and natural immunities to said energy. This is the main feature that is distinguished by a dragon’s colour. For instance, brass, gold and red dragons have mastery over the element of fire, allowing them to breath out cones of it and withstand any of the damaging effects of the element. The dragon’s breath attack develops almost immediately, however it grows in potency and scope as the dragon grows and ages.
Many metallic dragons have, in addition to their energy breath attacks, another form of breath weapon that provides another type of magical effect. Silver dragons, for instance, can provide a paralyzing breath weapon that keeps their foes from acting against them.
Another trait many dragons posses is the innate ability to cast spells. While they certainly have the intelligence to try and become wizards, their unique physiology can sometimes produce a font of magic that allows them to cast spells.
Lastly, the coloured subspecies have different adaptations that allow them to adapt to their chosen habitats. Blue dragons, for instance, have the ability to burrow through earth at incredible speeds, while black dragons can breath underwater and swim as fast as they can run.
The most effective strategy for defeating a dragon is to know your quarry. Many dragons have inflated egos that can be exploited against them, for instance. The more you know about the beast, the more you can prepare and leverage in the fight against it. Knowing its colour is key, as it allows you to prepare yourself against the energy the creature is innately blessed with.
Cornelius B. Hedd
Cornelius B. Hedd is the master of the Aurellian Archive in the Great Elandrian Empire. He is currently the main employer of the Stellar Alliance, and is concerned with educating the world and saving it from the next Great Confluence.