Dragons are ancient beings akin to gods themselves. They are intelligent and massive reptilian creatures, and though they look primitive, they are highly evolved beings with incredible and mysterious powers of their own. Dragons are native to the higher planes, but many exist in the Prime Material Plane to populate Aserra.
The Original Dragons
After Nydoini bore seven children, Umossa laid a clutch of seven eggs, providing a companion for each of the children. Once hatched, the young dragons bonded with the children and were aligned with the same elements they represented. Zelan was given the silver dragon Vorkas who was aligned with the element of Air; Maris was given the sea serpent Asimeth; Brecha was given the wyrm Urobolus; Alaezo was given the mighty red fire dragon Kezho; Entra was given the gentle green dragon Sh’Laife; Idraen was given the white dragon Nyusha; and Ispa was given the black dragon Alaas’th.
The second generation of dragons, much like the second generation of gods, had varied appearances. Asharisan was a large black dragon with a short, thick body, massive wings, a long neck and tail, and was predominantly black with green markings, while Umossa was of a longer and leaner build and colored white and red. Due to the vastness of genetic attributes in the dragon genome, and the intentional manipulation of her offspring’s genes before the eggs were laid, the dragons of the second generation could barely be recognized as siblings. Vorkas was built like Umossa, and of a silvery-blue color, while Asimeth was long, smooth-scaled, blue, and eel-like for an aquatic existence. Urobolus was a short, dark-scaled wingless earth-dwelling dragon build more like a snake, but with short, sturdy legs, and a snub nose. Kezho took after Asharisan in build, but colored with red and orange. Sh’Laife was a long, snake-like dragon with small wings, short and lean legs, and a lean snake-like body scaled in green with a feathery ridge down her back (resembling Eastern dragons). Nyusha resembled Umossa, though with gold instead of red accents and Alaas’th was the spitting image of Asharisan, but with red markings rather than green.
To create further dragons, the second generation had to reproduce within itself. Due to the vast genetic diversity in dragons, inbreeding does very little damage, if any, for many generations. With only two females, Sh’Laife and Nyusha, the work had to be divided between them. Nyusha mated with Alaas’th, laid him a clutch of eggs and allowed him to take them to raise in his own way, then did the same for Kezho. To father her own clutch, she chose Vorkas. Sh’Laife first mated with Asimeth, provided him with his own offspring, then did the same for Urobolus, and Vorkas before choosing Kezho to father her own clutch. Each clutch of eggs took after the parent whom they were raised by due to careful genetic manipulation so that they would be the beginnings of their parent’s race. All together, around one hundred and fifty new dragons were born as the third generation, and it was many of these who crossed into the physical world to establish a population of dragons there.
The rest of this article will deal with the details of dragons residing in the prime material plane.
Magic and Abilities Dragons have powerful and mystical magics at their disposal, but they do not use these powers often. They have both the knowledge of mana, which is used sparingly, and soul energy, which they employ more often. However, the average solitary dragon rarely even acknowledges its magical prowess in its daily life, though those who are worshiped by humans often use magic for blessings and small boons in exchange for continued devotion and offerings.
While dragons may seem like mindless and monstrous beasts to the uninitiated—considering that they do not receive any form of education to use magic, or communicate easily with other races—dragons actually have deep genetic memories and “Akashic Recollection”, which allows them to remember their past lives and experiences in higher planes. These memories aren’t completely recovered until the dragon is at least five-hundred years old. As they reach maturity, the knowledge and memories seep into their minds until they know all there is to know from the memories of their fore-bearers and souls.
Dragons often harbor deep secrets and rarely share them with mortals, often going so far as to seem like the mindless creatures people assume them to be to avoid being troubled by curious people. They can understand many languages, though their physical composition doesn’t allow for speech in human tongues. Instead, dragons have both a written language and spoken tongue of their own with what sounds they can make, and they can communicate telepathically. Many thousands of years ago, dragons who had earned the trust of other races were able to create a language through telepathic connections that could be understood and written by both. The language proliferated through dragon-kind via telepathic links with each other, and was passed down through the genetic memory and Akashic Recollection to younger dragons. Clerics of dragon worshiping cultures and clerics of the elemental races whom keep in contact with dragons are all taught this language, and it can be taught to new followers by the dragons as well. It is a runic language which dragons can draw in the ground or other surfaces with their claws, or interpreted through grunts, growls, and other sounds produced by the dragon by the clerics, and written as runes by the clerics—though since dragons can easily understand the spoken language of their clerics, this step is often unnecessary, but the dragonic runes serve as a secret means of communication for the clerics, and sometimes the entire culture.
Considering their history as spiritual beings, even dragons born in the prime material plane exist as both physical and spiritual creatures. Once they unlock their knowledge, they learn how to transcend their physical body to traverse the higher planes and communicate with their ancestors and the gods. They are also capable of creating temporary bodies in other forms (such as human, Idayn, etc.) to allow them to walk amongst people for a short time. They must do this from the higher planes, and create bodies in the same way that the gods are capable of for brief visits to the physical world in tangible form.
Dragons are often best known for their ability to breathe fire, which is accomplished through a chemical reaction in an organ in their throat. Only a few races are capable of this, however. Red dragons, of course, as well as black dragons (though their flames burn purple-black due a different chemical composition), and white dragons. Wyrms have an acidic compound that they can spit, both used for defense and dissolving rocks for tunneling. Silver dragons have their own chemical compound that results in a cold, freezing blast of wind. Green dragons exhale a cloud of gas that induces sleep. Sea serpents have no “breath” weapon.
Location and Abodes The majority of dragons inhabit high mountains, away from most civilization. Silver or Air dragons live throughout many mountain ranges throughout Thiskel and Kalesten and even Athok, while white or Light dragons stick to mountains of the northern hemisphere, mostly centered around Thiskel’s Ideil range, Athok’s southern mountains, and the Kaius range. Red, or Fire, dragons prefer volcanic mountains, sometimes on the mainlands, but also volcanic island chains in the Tonult. Black dragons are limited to the Forsaken Lands, and perhaps some outlying islands where they haven’t been hunted by Idayn and humans. Sea serpents inhabit the oceans of Aserra, making homes in underwater caves in shallower oceans, often near islands so they can breath air. Wyrms are subterranean, dwelling in deep caves and under the earth. Green dragons prefer forests, often in mountain foothills.
Most dragons prefer to make homes in pre-existing caves. With the exception of wyrms, most dragons have a bit of trouble digging out their own caves due to short legs. Dragons that are intelligent enough may employ magic to assist them. In some cases, other races that revere dragons have built massive temples for the local dragon to reside in and be brought offerings in.
Lifespans and Reproduction Dragons are immortal, and rarely suffer from fatal diseases. Those that do die are often killed by human dragon slayers who, either with good reason, misunderstanding, or desire for glory, hunt and kill dragons.
With their long lifespans, modern dragons now rarely reproduce, but when they do, it is often with their own race. On occasion, there are cases of interracial mating. Typically, the hatchlings take after their mother, but later generations a few such unions have resulted in apparent crossbreeds as the mothers cease to control their offspring’s genetic variations as their fore-mothers did.
As mostly solitary creatures, reproduction does not come by accident very often, only assisted by the fact that female dragons have great control over their own fertility. Generally, when a female dragon wishes to reproduce, she will mark her territory with pheromone-enhanced markings that entice males from hundreds of miles to her territory where they will battle for the right to mate with her. Once a mate is chosen, the female will tolerate his company only as long as necessary to ensure a fertile clutch of eggs, then chase him away.
Dragons lay anywhere from one to five eggs. Umossa originally laid a clutch of seven to match the elemental gods, while her daughters laid clutches of around twenty in their mission to create a sustainable population. As dragon females can control their offsprings’ genetic predispositions, they can also consciously determine how many ovum their body will produce before mating. Without this conscious effort on behalf of the mother, clutches are usually less than five eggs. Most females will only reproduce once or twice in their entire lives. And while many second generation dragons were raised by their fathers, modern dragons are usually raised solely by the mother, unless she insists that her mate care for the young. Some fathers may look on from afar to be certain their offspring survive, and on occasion, have taken over the duty of raising them if the mother is slain. In the case of clutches around three to five eggs, females may also leave one or two eggs with the father for him to raise.
Female dragons raise their young for the first ten years of their life, nurturing them from hatching by feeding them, cleaning them, and providing a basic education. After this first decade, they reach half their adult size and become far too much of a burden on resources to remain in their mother’s territory, at which point she sends them out into the world to find their own territories. Young dragons are not sexually mature until they are around five hundred years old. The first five hundred years of their life are spent growing and unlocking their inherited (Akashic) knowledge. Before unlocking their Akashic recollection, young dragons can be reckless and dangerous to humans, and have been known to attack humans and raid livestock.
Diet Dragons are exclusively carnivores, preferring large game and occasionally humanoids. They tend to eat their meals in one bite, or by tearing their prey apart bite by bite if it is too large to be swallowed whole. In cultures that revere dragons, their patron dragon is often presented with livestock, but some cultures provide human sacrifice (typically, Forsaken Landers and their black dragons, but sometimes red dragons as well). While most dragons respect the elemental races and even humans, they consider other races like Kuzo, Iengi, and Samiss to be fair game. Silver and White dragons typically consider eating humans to be completely abhorrent, but won’t hesitate to snack on less intelligent Kuzo and Iengi. Sea serpents will not harm Mariel or Marfod, but they will make meals of sailors. Red dragons, often united with Asath cultures, may eat Asath as sacrifices if it is part of the culture. Young red dragons may hunt Asath only to be appeased with a bargain of sacrifices, but elders would not hunt them. Depending on their relations with humans, they may or may not eat humans or other races. Wyrms do no harm to Brech’mar, but may eat Kuzo and Iengi, and humans that venture too close to their lair if they feel they are a threat. Green dragons are almost reluctant carnivores and will not eat anything with a semblance of sentience. Black dragons may terrorize human settlements in the Forsaken Land, but will not harm Danaij, with the exception of sacrifices (usually individuals of the lower caste or criminals). The Samiss often worship dragons (typically silver, green, or red dragons), but silver or red dragons won’t hesitate to eat a wayward Samiss that isn’t affiliated with them.
Personality and Relations While the personality types of dragons are all rather different depending on race, they do share a common trait of a desire for solitude and isolation from other dragon kind and mortals. Their solitary nature is mostly a product of the fact that having more than one adult dragon in a region is a serious strain on resources, so it is best for them to live separately. Dragons that are worshiped and honored keep their servants at arm’s length, only allowing them around for specific ceremonies.
Each dragon race is aligned with the elemental race of the same element. Silver dragons are aligned with Zaedyn, and the Aeul’Idayn in Athok; Sea serpents are aligned with the Mariel and Marfod; Wyrms are aligned with the Brech’mar; red dragons are aligned with the Asath; green dragons with the Ochae’nafod, Dra’nafod, and Fayl’Idayn; white dragons with the Idayn; and black dragons with the Danaij and Danaij’vai. They do not necessarily always co-exist, but when one culture shares a region with a dragon of a similarly aligned dragon, they often offer it tribute and respect.
When it comes to other races, humans especially, dragons are often wary of them. In general, humans are often scared of dragons considering their size and fearsome appearance, as well as being aware of frightening tales of rampaging dragons (often the result of young dragons causing havoc in establishing their territory and finding an easy meal of livestock). For this reason, dragons prefer to keep their distance from humans, but a gesture of good will can open relations between a dragon and local human populations. This can lead to a culture that worships the dragon for its knowledge and magical powers, offering tribute in the form of food and riches and sometimes sacrifices in exchange for blessings and boons from the dragon. Several human cultures across Aserra are dragon worshiping (the Kaius barbarians, for one, follow the silver dragon Kaius). Kuzo can occasionally parlay favor with wyrms or green dragons, and Samiss often feel akin to dragons as both are reptilian.
Silver and white dragons are quite noble and virtuous, though silver dragons are markedly more “free-spirited”. Sea serpents are usually very calm and placid creatures, but humans are more familiar with their more fearsome side as the majority of human interactions with them are sea serpents attacking sailing vessels. Most people don’t realize that attacking sea serpents are usually on the defensive; either protecting Mariel habitats or protecting their territory from damage or overfishing. Wyrms are practical and deliberate. Red dragons are fierce and aggressive, but can be bargained with. Green dragons are patient, spiritual, and peaceable. Black dragons are often malicious and cunning, only finding common ground amongst the equally cunning and malicious Danaij.
In-Game Dragons are not a playable race in general, but can be NPCs. Very small dragon hatchlings could be made into familiars or pets on rare occasion, but there are many complications that must be considered.
There are to be no “dragon-kin”, as in individuals who are part dragon and part human (or of another race). Even disregarding the difference in structure, dragons are far too genetically complex for even the gods to reproduce with.