Dragons of Tymaera

Overview
Dragons are Tymaera's most ancient and powerful race. In spite of this their numbers are in decline - mainly due to their natural low birthrate coupled with the actions of the 'civilized' races of the world to eradicate them under the mistaken and rather ignorant belief that all dragons are evil bringers of chaos and destruction.

Looking at them very simply, dragons can be classified as 'Lawful'- denoted by metallic skin colouring of gold, silver, bronze, copper and iron and brass; or 'Chaotic' - non-metallic such as black, red, green, blue, grey and white. These terms should not be confused with 'good' and 'evil'. Each of these colour-denoted subspecies tend to have similar personalities and their dragonfire - a natural breath weapon that is part magical and part biological - also relates to their colouring.

A dragon's size is directly related to its age. Since, upon reaching maturity, dragons remain in their prime and can (theoretically) live almost forever any dragon of any colour can grow to be very large indeed! Their growth rate slows as they get older though. As a dragon ages become more powerful and can eventually even gain the ability to influence their very environment - shaping it to meet their needs.

In truth the statements above are more than a little grey about the edges and there are always exceptions to the general rule as any dragon is capable of both chaotic and lawful tendencies, good and evil...it just happens that certain subspecies tend to lean towards a certain end of the balance. Also dragons are not limited to just being of the colour subspecies listed above and can be virtually any colour under the sun and can have parents of mixed colours, inheriting traits from both.


History
Reliable books on Dragon Lore are few and far between. Even so such volumes have been written by scholars belonging to other species and almost all are not wholly accurate. The best source of information on dragons is the creatures themselves as they all know the origins of their kind and of the races related to them. However, as few dragons consider other races to be worthy of being taught their Lore, most details beyond the major happenings in their past are unknown and are the source of speculation.

The First Dragon was Kalganos. His colour was cyan and his scales glimmered with every colour under the suns. He came to be at the very beginning of the Age of Immortals when he broke forth from the Realm of Chaos as the Multiverse was created and came to Tymaera. Attracted to the world by the its position as a central point of the Prime Material Plane and a confluence for the magical energies released during the Creation which were now trapped within this plane of reality. The high concentration of mystic energies sustained his magical essence and he made his home in the huge volcano known as ‘Firetop Mountain’. When the gods ceased to walk the mortal plain, he chose not to ascend and remained as a Demigod, enjoying the freedom this position offered. As time passed Kalganos grew in size and power until eventually he could no longer be sustained by the magic of the Prime Material Plane. So he used his magic to open a gateway at the top of the mountain into a pocket dimension where he still resides to this day.

Seeing the quarrels and battles of the first gods, he chose to be a powerful force of neutrality that would keep the forces of good and evil and of Law and Chaos in balance by siding with either as necessary. To do this, he spawned his ‘children’, the Dragons. To begin with he created 12 different dragons in all; 6 dragons of metallic colouration, and six of chromatic colours...
Gold, Silver, Bronze, Copper, Brass, Iron
Red, Green, Blue, Black, White, Grey

When these dragons reproduced, he produced a thirteenth who would guard the eggs and hatchlings. This dragon could be either chromatic or metallic and have 12 heads, one for the major colours of their kind. However, they could appear with only five to represent the five main varieties of their type (dependent on whether it was chromatic or metallic), and usually this dragon only invokes all six, or even all twelve in times of greatest need for its power. This gave the Guardian dragon more power with which to defend the young. Kalganos also bestowed upon this dragon great magical power, and the ability to use all the types of Elemental (Druidic) magics. This dragon and all its successors would be female, and so the Dragonqueen was created.

To better serve his children who were still few in number, Kalganos also created a second race, the Servitors. Again there were twelve different varieties, each corresponding to a dragon colour and were pure embodiments of the strongest characteristics of each colour. They had no dragonfire, but instead each wielded a magical sword containing their dragon colour’s properties instead.

This was after the initial Creation but before Mortal races had come to be; the Age of Immortals. During this time, gods, demons and other ethereal entities battled for supremacy as the astral hierarchy formed. They also battled for survival as the losers simply ceased to exist. The servitors were the footsoldiers of Kalganos’ armies as he and his dragons fought for survival. The servitors were greatly reduced in number, but as this happened the remaining grew more powerful until finally only one representative for each dragon colour remained and these were immortal. One legend has it that if one of these remaining servitors dies, then all dragons of its colour will also cease to be. This is mostly dismissed as an old wives' tale.

The dragons remaining after these wars flourished in numbers and settled all across the world. They became the undisputed lords of Tymaera’s skies. But they were neither ‘good’ nor ‘evil’ and instead upheld the Balance of the Multiverse. The servitors became unnecessary. And so they went into ‘hibernation’, scattered throughout Tymaera. Legend has it that when their swords are gathered together in a special chamber deep within Firetop Mountain, the Servitors will awaken once again and the race of Dragons will be restored to its former glory.

Then came the fall of Ultharis and the bleak time of the Age of Dust. The dragon population was decimated.

After the Age of Dust the new Pantheons of Gods created the first mortals. Kalganos has the status of a Demigod (and could probably join the Pantheon if he was worshipped). Although he is not omnipotent he is always following the actions of his children from his dimension and occasionally manifests himself on the Prime Material Plane to speak to or help dragons and those he considers to be allies of dragonkind, even though this is against the Rules.


Breath.
A dragon’s breath weapon is innate, and is only partly a physiological ability as it stems mainly from the magical essence of these magnificent creatures. However, this power is not inexhaustible, and a dragon can become tired from prolonged use of their breath weapon, and may need time to recover the 'charge' to use it again.

Normally a dragon’s breath weapon will relate to its colour but there is so much variety in each colour (eg. A red dragon can be anything from a reddy-brown/rust, through ‘classic’ blood red to blazing oranges and yellows. And then things become complicated as green dragons can also be yellowish in hue) breath weapons will vary and the same weapon may well be shared by more than one dragon colour. A good example of this is the ability to breathe acidfire:

Rather than their typical poison gas or choking black fumes, green and black dragons (respectively) may possess the ability to breathe an acidic, highly corrosive green fire instead. Also, but very rarely, a dragon may have more than one type of breath weapon. This is highly unusual and, besides the five-headed Tiamat, scholars have only learned of one recorded case of this.

Breath weapons:
(typical breath of the main draconic colours)
Black - choking black fumes / acid
Red - fire (occasionally molten lava)
Blue - lightning
White - ice / liquid gas
Green - poison gas / acid
Grey - narcotic gas - usually inducingsleep, despair or temporary insanity
Bronze - similar to tear gas
Gold - liquid potassium (reacts violently - i.e. ignites on contact with air)
Silver - mercury
Iron - gas which corrodes anything metal, usually called ‘rustfire’
Copper - mind control gas
Brass - shards of metal (‘shardstorm’) or lethal bromide

Sea dragons: no matter what colour - although all are related to blue dragons, sea dragons have no breath weapon (not much use underwater!). Instead they can generate an electric charge from their bodies - much like an electric eel. Some of the largest sea dragons can build up a charge that releases enough energy to boil the water around them.

For example, one famous tale tells how the dreaded sea dragon Nar Yan Mai, the Maelstrom, reputedly Tymaera's most ancient living dragon (and most certainly the largest), almost destroyed the underwater civilisation of the evil elver race: The elver Queen decreed that he be destroyed so they could take his territory and in retaliation against an attempt on his life, the beast released a charge so powerful the water for leagues around his three mile-long body boiled, killing everything beneath the surface. Surviving sailors reported how the sea lit up from below, brightening the night sky into unholy daylight and that lightning had danced across the sea making ships catch fire.



Magic.
Being creatures of the Age of Immortals, magic is an inherent part of a dragon's nature. Besides dragonfire, there are several other abilities dragons develop naturally as they grow older:

Animal Tongues: The natural tongue of dragons is Ancient Draconic but this is a sacred language to the race, so they speak in a second language, simply called Draconic. These languages seem to be 'in the blood' and dragons, even without contact with other members of their race, can speak fluently in both within the first decade of their lives. One of the first abilities a dragon develops is the power to communicate with different species, provided they take the time to study and interact with said species (rather than eat them!). This ability can tie in later in life with the shape-shifting power some dragons gain.

Size Shifting: being a 7000 year old, 650ft long dragon can sometimes prove a little inconvenient, especially when it comes down to feeding. Once they reach about 1000years, most dragons find they are able to alter their size. Although unable to exceed their true size (so they cannot make themselves grow), they are able to decrease their size a little. As they get older and more powerful, they can decrease their size more and more down to less than 5% of their full size. However, they cannot stay at this size indefinitely, and the further away from their true size they are, the shorter the length of time they can remain like this.

Shape-Shifting: Usually at around 1000years of age, dragons, provided they have studied a species enough, gain the power to transform themselves into a member of that species. So, a bronze dragon that maintains a keen interest in studying humans will eventually be able to transform into one. The older a dragon is, the longer it can remain in this new form. For some dragons, the change can never be complete and their likeness is imperfect, meanwhile in others they can take on a new form perfectly, and then go on to learn new ones!
Many dragons have a favourite species, which they may keep members of around them. For example, the black dragon Hraefen, better known as Raven, kept ravens around him, and his favourite form to adopt was that of a raven.

Environmental Influence: With one or two exceptions, this ability is pretty much exclusive to Elder dragons and above, where the beast has grown so huge that its magical aura is strong enough to alter the very environment in which it lives. eg. Swampland that has been inhabited by the same Ancient black dragon for years and years will grow and spread. Even if the dragon is dormant for centuries and the land is drained, the swamp will return and the land can not be used for anything else. This power only affects the natural environment so buildings and man-made things will not be altered by it. Farmland will still fall to the dragon's influence, though.

Magical Prowess: Dragons have a knack for magic, be it Elemental or High magic. Dragon magic-users fall under the 'sorcerer' class. This is because they do not need words, gestures or reagents to summon magic for their use: they can command it by sheer will alone.
However, not all dragons learn how to use magic. Some do not have the patience for studying, many believe their own abilities are enough, more cannot be bothered or fail to see the point, whilst for others, living out in wild places far away from contact with the 'civilsed' world where magic is used, the thought of magic never even enters their minds. The latter is becoming a very rare reason though as 'civilisation' spreads like a pox across Tymaera.



Other Information:
Sleep:
Dragon's do not need to sleep every night if they do not want to, but they will have to catch up eventually. Many dragons, for one reason or another, choose to hibernate for years, centuries or even aeons on end. In one case, there was a red dragon who slept for a century at a time, appearing for a year to feed and plunder treasure for her hoard, before returning to her hidden lair to sleep. The theory is that there are far more 'dormant' dragons than there are active ones in Tymaera. The older a dragon gets, the more it is likely to sleep. They are vulnerable in this state, and so if a dragon is intending to sleep for a long time, it will find the deepest, safest cave or most inaccessible place it can.

Apperance change:
As it grows older, a dragon's appearance will become more 'complicated'. It will grow new sets of horns, the tiny-scaled, almost leathery hide of wyrmlings will slowly be replaced by larger, harder more protective scales, some of which will eventually fuse to form heavy armour plate scales. Sometimes it will gain new colours, although the dragon's base colour will remain the same. eg. A red dragon could end up with variagated reds, oranges and even yellows as it gets older, but this is not the case for all dragons.

Hoards:
A common cliché though it is, almost all dragons love treasure, the shinier the better. And if they don't like gold (unheard of!) then it is guaranteed that there is something else that they hoard instead. They keep their bounty in their layer with them where it is close by, often even using it as a bed, and guard it jealously, both from would-be treasure-seekers, and from other dragons who are not afraid of stealing from their neighbours.
Usually dragons start seeking treasure once their breath weapon has developed (at about 50-100 yrs old, so still a juvenile) so that they are more able to defend themselves. As they grow older, their fervour for treasure hunting decreases, although they'll still take anything they come across (more Chaotic dragon than Lawful dragon, though)..

Ages:
5-10 years – Hatchling. (very vulnerable to predators/environment. 8% survival rate.)
10-100 years – Wyrmling.(still vulnerable to predators. 20% survival rate)
100-500 years – Young Adult/Juvenile (breath weapon develops. 80% survival rate against larger predators eg. Griffins, manticores etc)
500-5000 years – Dragon.
5000 – 10,000 -
10,000+ - Elder Dragon.
50,000+ - Ancient Dragon
100,000+ - Primordial
? (survivor from the Age of Dust) – Timeless.


Typical Personalities
Red dragons: These are vicious, evil-tempered and brutal. Proud.
Green: Greedy, avaricious and very cruel. Also cowardly.
Black: Selfish and untrustworthy. Manipulative and like control. Highly territorial.
Blue: Ambitious and vain. Good strategists.
White: Cold (har har). Lazy.
Grey : Like to be left alone. Extremely territorial. Like to study.

Bronze - Fascinated by society. Gregarious.
Gold - Proud and aloof. Will have nothing to do with evil. Territorial.
Silver - Studious, esp. magic. Protective. Often serve as guardians.
Iron - Greedy but will not steal. Will fight intruders to its lair.
Copper - Considers other races to be beneath. Gregarious.
Brass - Peaceful. Prefers to be left alone.


Preferred environments:
Black - wetlands (swamps, marshes) / caves / ruins
Red - mountains (esp. volcanic) / deserts / caves
Blue - coastlines / lakes / ruins
White - mountains / glaciers / cold places
Green - forests / plains
Grey - moor lands / desolate places

Bronze - often disguised and live amongst civilisation / coasts
Gold - mountains / forest
Silver - caves / close to civilisation
Iron - caves / deep forest
Copper - watery places / coastline
Brass - desert