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.
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; ancient dragonlore states to begin with these dragons were of no colour and eventually 'earned their colours through certain deeds, such as in the tale of Dawnbringer. And so there came to be 6 dragons of metallic colouration, and six of prismatic colours...
When these dragons reproduced, Kalganos produced a thirteenth who would guard the eggs and hatchlings of the others. This dragon could be either chromatic or metallic and have 12 heads, one for the major colours of their kind and a thirteenth head to 'lead' the others. 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 for the nature of dragons is to guard - individually they might each guard their territory, hoard or knowledge but as a whole species, even though individual dragons may not be aware of it, they maintain the Balance. The remaining 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.
But there is something wrong in the dragon species, possibly because magic is not what is used to be compared to the Age of Immortals: there has been a steady decline amongst their kind since the Age of Dust. A decadence, even. As the generations go, dragons fail to grow as large as fast as they used to and their magical powers are limited. Most elder dragons doubt that their younger kin will ever even reach the staggering vastness of an Ancient or Primeval (see 'ages' below) and it is completely unbelievable to them that any more dragons will ever reach the venerable 'Orphic-Exalted' age, considered the pinnacle of dragonhood where a beast is nigh upon becoming a demigod (or a full god, if you count the accursed godslayer Winterheart).
Also, since the events leading up to the Dragon Wars (mass culling of dragons), their numbers have not fully recovered and do not show signs that they ever will. In recent millennia there have been a few 'throwbacks', such as Syrax Bloodbane, whose parents were both incredibly ancient dragons so his blood seems less tainted than those whose parents are of more recent generations.
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 red-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.
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.
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!
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.
Grey : typically 'neutral'. They like to be left alone. Extremely territorial. Like to study and are good with magic.
Bronze - Fascinated by society. Gregarious. Often disguise themselves as human or half-beast and walk amongst 'society', enjoying partaking of it.
Amongst dragons, bloodlines are also referred to as 'Tor' - the dragonic word for 'House'.
Little is known of the exact lore of the dragon bloodlines, but it is thought that back when the beasts filled the skies dragons had more of a clan like society (that's a rather loose term since most were never that closely tied together), with these 'clans' being composed of dragons of a certain bloodline. Whilst inbreeding is a big 'no-no' (in fact, to accuse a dragon of being inbred is one of their worst insults), many dragons chose their mates from other families of the same bloodline, carrying their traits like a badge of honour.
As the population waned this selectivity was diminished so very few dragons can now claim to be purely of one bloodline. Most dragons now have mixed heritage and take their bloodline name according to which of their parents' lines they inherited the most characteristics.
Major Bloodlines and their typical characteristics.
Ss'isthar - typically green dragons. Short, rather snake-like face, frequently with large fangs, retractable like a snake's. Tongue is long and forked. Horns tend to curl back and forwards, rather like a ram's. Body shape is long and sinuous.
Gatha - mainly a red dragon trait. These dragons have a brutish appearance to match their temperament. Heavily built. They have short heads often with an underbite, tusks and heavy, strong features. Their heads are crowned with an enormous pair of orns that curve first back, then forward and up. Males have bearded lower jaws and both sexes have tufts of mane running down the underside of their neck.
Maloch - black dragons.
Jakara - Silvers.
Senpa - gold. Tor Senpa have heads shaped rather like an arrowhead with eye ridges and cheekbones that conjoin toward the back of the head to form a pair of backward-sweeping horns. They have long, elegant necks and bodies. Their skin is smooth but very tough despite the lack of any large armoured scales or boney plates. Tors Senpa and Maloch seem to share a very specific animosity toward one another and will willingly fight to the death.
(more to come)
Friends and Foe
Dragonfriend : A title given to those who freely seek to serve or aid dragons (e.g. provide them with food, information, protection, spying services etc) be their alignment good or evil. Usually Lawful dragons are more likely to be served by Dragonfriends as people are less afraid (but no less awed) by them. Often people become dragonfriends because they are eager to have dragons as allies, but there are those who do this simply because they feel an affinity for them and feel more comfortable aroudn dragons than their own kind (e.g. half-dragons). In society, dragonfriends usually keep their alignment secret as they are more than likely to suffer great distrust at the very least.
The Order of the Radiant Flame: they who serve good, lawful dragons and would seek to further their goals.
There are also various suborders but these still mostly fall within the two major divisions noted above. These Orders fight their own underground battles as rivalry between the clans is rife and those of evil alignment would see the good fall and vice versa.
Dragonthrall : The name for those enslaved by a dragon. Be it through magical means, coercion, as part of a pact or out of sheer terror that the beast would destroy them, their loved ones and all that they own otherwise. For fairly obvious reasons Dragonthralls are usually only employed by dragons of evil or at least chaotic alignment.
Enemies of Dragons.
Dragonsbane : the proper title for would-be dragon slayers and all who would do harm to dragons. Especially within the Empire and the Northern Lands anyone bearing this title is made very welcome.
Dragonslayer : an individual may only call themselves ‘Dragonslayer’ once they have actually slain a dragon. They usually carry some trophy from their kill such as a necklace made from dragon teeth (or a tooth dagger if the dragon was big enough) as proof of their victory. Such people are treated as heroes in lands where dragons are feared but anyone falsely claiming this title is likely to get in a lot of trouble.
Tymaeran dragons never grow old... they reach their prime and continue thusly unless they a. are killed or b. succumb to disease or starvation. Tymaera's a tough place and most dragons fail to survive beyond juvenility (before their full powers develop). However if they do survive they continue to grow in both size and power as they age. Due to their nature being part magical, they can reach gargantuan proportions and possess unimaginable amounts of magical power if they get old enough and study to enhance their natural abilities.
As it ages a dragon's appearance will change. This process is slow but the effects overall can leave an adult vastly removed from its original appearance as a wyrmling. Initially, they tend to look more 'complicated', usually growing extra sets of horns, some sets of scales growing larger to form plate armour, spines etc. Further on in life the dragon's magical nature may guide these changes so that as well as extra spikes, horns etc more drastic changes occur, as can be seen in Windrider shown here, a beast that has reached 'Primeval' status.
Bronze - often disguised and live amongst civilisation / coasts
Although they acknowledge the existance of the Tymaeran gods, many dragons choose to worship none so that their souls are held in sway to no one but themselves. This does not mean that all dragons do not worship deities and some choose to align themselves with a particular god in the same way that other mortals can.
Often following a deity’s religion can have great benefits for that dragon. Gods are only too happy to have so powerful a pawn as a dragon upon the mortal plain and frequently bestow gifts upon them, such as enhanced magical powers etc. e.g. The Chaos Dragon Gorgaroth is a champion of the evil deity Sheekra, god of anarchy. As a gift for swinging the battle of Markiny in the dark elves’ favour the deity altered Gorgaroth’s physical form, giving him three heads (tripling his firepower!).
Another example would be that of the platinum dragon Lockheer the Shadow Vanquisher. By spreading his mighty wings and calling upon the name of Galenor goddess of Dawn, he can call upon a radiant light more pure than that of the heart of the sun. Nothing with evil in its heart can look upon this burning radiance and beings of pure evil are completely destroyed by the light: burned away like ashes in the wind by it.
Half-dragons / Drakes
Half dragons can vary hugely in appearance perhaps more so even than true dragons themselves. Some may show no outward sign of their mixed heritage but may be blessed by enhanced intelligence, longevity, heightened senses, or enhanced magical prowess. Others might have tough, scaly patches on their skin or possibly even be covered with scales. They may have wings, claws or some other physical expression of their magical blood. At the extreme end, half-dragons look like humanoid dragons! Half-dragons usually inherit some of the metal characteristics of their dragon parent, so e.g. a half-dragon with a red dragon parent would be a short-tempered, arrogant warrior-like figure whilst a silver half-dragon might be a scholar of great knowledge.
Particularly in the case of half-dragons that appear outwardly ‘normal’, they may not even realise their heritage. And as the dragon parent will never usually seek out their mixed race offspring some half-dragons never learn the truth about themselves. Invariably all half-dragons do not feel ‘at home’ in society. Some find themselves drawn to places dragons go and may offer their services to a true dragon if they find one. Others just wander the world as nomads, seeking a place they feel they might belong.
Dragons can recognise descendants of a half-dragon’s bloodline and are often more likely to forge a trust with them (even if the descendent is unaware of their own heritage) than with other non-dragon beings. However, this can also work the other way as there are some dragon-purists who believe no creature other than dragons themselves should be blessed with their blood. These dragons hunt down and kill half-dragons and their descendants.
Dragons of Note and Legend