Although their abilities defy classification, their forms do not.
Dragons of the Upper Air
Of unknown provenance, perhaps even more powerful than the elder wyrms. Forganthus Valore is the only own that is known. In exchange for the 100 Year Stew, he trades in history and prediction. The Thylakalykon may also be one.
Ancient beasts, that pre-date history and Law. More real than the world they inhabit--a reptilian nail hammered through a paper reality. Their lands are the Desolations.
The offspring of the elder wyrms, created by fertilized eggs. Since Elder Wyrms despise each other, True Dragons are vanishingly rare. Here are some.
- Panthrax, Twice-Dead - enslaved by Asria.
- Trilotectus - killed by the Light Collector.
- Feragon - entombed with Yalys the Enchantress, possibly carrying her child.
- Xanthimander - accessible! A "martial artist" who collects drugs
Drakes and Dragonoid Phenomena
The parthenogenic offspring of elder wyrms and/or true dragons. Unlike the previous varieties, they are generally of animal intelligence, and many are sterile. They range from noble drakes (miniature dragons) to degenerate drakes all the way down to dragonoid phenomena.
Pseudo-draconic creatures that arise spontaneously from draconic tissues and spoor. Explosive.
Typically, a colony of savage humans that serves an elder wyrm or dragon, usually preoccupied with ranching and treasure-seeking. Typically opposed to kobolds.
Elder wyrms cannot be annihilated. When their bodies are destroyed, they will be reborn, either through their direct progeny (a form of generational intrascension). Or, through generations of humans who each hold a fragment of the wyrm, and will be drawn to each other across the continent, adding their pieces to their firstborn, who continue this process of soul-concentration, creating first the abominations known as dragonborn and finally the dragon itself, raw-spun from the blood of its agents.
Dragons of the Upper Air
Forganthus Valore (Dragon of the Upper Air)
Forganthus Valore arrives every century or so, arriving from the upper air at exactly the date that he specified.
He eats the 100 Year Stew, which has been prepared by the Stewer's Guild of Bospero over the last 100-150 years. One of his heads eats, while the other head speaks. In return for the stew, he answers most of the questions put to him, although he does not speak of the workings of the upper air.
When he is done, two women each drink one of his tears. They will give birth to the Gannets, who will direct the next century of stew-making, and eventually become part of it themselves.
When he departs, it is atop a pillar of flame that hangs in the sky for hours, curving like a grass stalk as it traces the path.
Many of Forganthus's stews require multi-generational eugenics programs of culinary species, always at the limits of what is possible, and frequently beyond what is ethical.
The Thylakalykon (Dragon of the Upper Air)
The Thylakalykon is another dragon of the upper air, although Boshmuir the Unshaven believes that 5 dragons have been conflated into one, and the thylakalykon is best described as a species.
It has only been summoned twice. The second time was by King Rondiveo, who sought to capture the dragon.
The Thylakalykon does not breath fire. It's exhalations are instead composed of the Edgeless Sharp, which bisects objects and men down the middle. King Rondiveo and his men had rendered themselves impervious to this great weapon, having altered themselves so as to be without symmetry.
But they were eluded by the dragon of the upper air, who departed not atop the expected pillar of flame, but atop a great explosion of light and fire, leaving behind a crackling flammigenitus cloud that poisoned the land forever. Far removed from the scene, observers witnessed the Thylakalykon emerge from this cloud and continue its ascent.
Before morning, six objects (referred to as meteoric lances by Boshmuir the Unshaven) fell from the upper air, and destroyed Rondo, Shopshire, and Voon.
Elder wyrms are widely considered hermaphroditic, although Makamendo Balette believes that they instead change their gender at will. Boshmuir describes them as sexless.
All elder wyrms have a multitude of names. It is believed that saying the name of an elder wyrm invites disaster, and so pseudonyms are common.
Orcs have an especially large oral culture surrounding the elder wyrms, and possess several names for each one. For reasons not fully understood, orcs interact often with dragons and their drakkencults, typically without violence. (In contrast to human interactions.)
Lagazotz (Elder Wyrm)
Lagazizi, Lantu Lien, the Contempuous Worm, the Infinitely Contemptuous
Legends say that Lagazotz lived atop a mountain once, but after interacting with the denizens of the earth, they grew so contemptuous of them, that they vowed to never touch the earth again. They vowed to fly until the sky fell down, and burned off their own legs as evidence of his own oath. The ashes of Lagazotz's self-mutilation are now known as the Contemptuous Cloud.
Lagazotz travels widely. Sailors in all quarters of the world have sighted their serpentine form with its many pairs of wings. It is said that they feed on the beasts of the upper air, and in this they is most similar to the dragons of the first clade. Their children fly alongside when possible, but they lack their parent's strength.
They visit their desolation only rarely, and shed their eggs into a certain lagoon, to be raised by their drakkencult.
Their breath is the sky itself. They roar, and the whole sky roars. Their fire is a white fire, infused by upper spirits of dislocation. Anything struck by it is transported miles into the sky.
Spirits of lightning are bound to Lagazotz, and obey given commands. It is Lagazotz's alliances with the lightnings that is feared, more than their white flames of translocation.
When the draconauts of Bospero warred against them, Lagazotz cracked the Purple Dome and left their dragons impaled on lightning bolts, which hung in the sky for the days. The pierced dragons writhed upon them and slowly died, and all those who gazed upon the standing lightning went blind or mad or both. The draconauts ended that day.
Dragons only have one weakness, and it is lightning. The fact that Lagazotz has mastered it makes them an incredibly efficient kin-killer, which is perhaps fitting, since they are the oldest and greatest of dragons.
Lake Drakes (Drakes)
The spawn of Lagazotz, they can swim through water as easily as air. They prize fish, but fear storms. Also called silver drakes, their bones can be made into magic flutes.
Beyoc (Elder Wyrm)
The Girded Wyrm, The Blunted Wyrm, Old Slug, Red Wroyth
In their Desolation, it is always summer, and their salamandrakes thump through the steep ravines and war over mud wallows. Plants and insects thrive in their swelter.
Of all the dragons, they are the largest, being 600’ long and with a similar circumference. They crawl and thrash, but mostly they wallow. They are attended by the drakkencult, and by thousands of birds that clean the great wyrm of parasites. When pressed, they are capable of swimming through the earth, and at great speed.
Their treasure is stonework, and so their Desolation is filled with the spires and balconies that have been built by the drakkencult to please them. In their joys, Old Slug will stare up unblinking at the faux architectures. In their melancholies, Old Slug will destroy them.
Their breath is lava. In fact, Beyoc seems to be the only dragon who is actually fire-proof, with all other dragons suffering from their own fires, to some degree. In combat, Beyoc is prone to falling asleep, although that is hardly an disadvantage--they are as durable as stone. Although they can burrow as well as any worm, they are loathed by the earth, and their intrusions are often met by earthquakes and landslides.
Beyoc is the elder wyrm who is most known to suffer entreaties from humans (although it would be a stretch to call them conversant). Beyoc is best appeased with a gift of spice-drenched elephants, lightly oiled.
The Blunted Wyrm has a unique power: anything they swallows is undone. If they swallow an architect, that architect's buildings will fall over. An author's books will become unreadable. And a human's children will die, swallowed by the earth they stand on.
(Reinaday of Armenjero avoided this fate for years by living in trees, until a passing smirch caused her to slip.)
Beyoc once devoured an cemetery, and in doing so, murdered an entire town. The only survivors were immigrants, who did not have any ancestors buried there.
It is a dreadful power, to be sure. But what less could be expected from Red Wroyth, the oldest and most powerful of dragons?
The spawn of Beyoc. Fat and belligerent. Trees grow on their backs, from which salamizar can be extracted. Their shouts shatter metal.
Salamizar has several potent alchemical purposes, including prophesy, madness, anti-poisons, and several poisons. However, its most famous property is the ability to allow procreation when it would normally be impossible.
Drakes are Lvl 8. Dragons are Lvl 10. Elder wyrms aren't really something you fight in regular combat, but if the players insist, they are Lvl 10, have double HP, damage reduction 5, and will probably require siege weapons.
This is the template for a dragonoid phenomenon. They will of course vary by brood.
They are squat, malformed things. Most are bipedal, and drag their asses on the ground as they walk.
Lvl 8 Def plate Bite 1d12+1d6 (fire)
Move slow Int stupid dog Dis rabid dog
Boss Saves - If a boss would fail a save, they can choose instead to suffer a partial effect (e.g. semi-petrified for 1 round instead of permanent petrification) and take 7 damage. If that's not possible, they instead suffer no effect and take 14 damage.
Grab Tongue - 30’ range, can pull people into mouth for a bite attack.
At the end of each of its turns, the next wind-up attack is randomly chosen, and the boss monster will cue it's next attack (e.g. lowering its head and windmilling its arms in preparation for a charge). At the beginning of its next turn, it executes the queued attack as a free action (and then takes a normal turn).
- Barf - 60’ line, poison(1d6/rnd) + coated in flammable oil
- Charge - trample attack, 3d6 damage, knock prone, Dex avoids (if you didn't already take cover), destroys objects.
- I Am Error - wastes next turn, attacking a random object, falling prone, or seizing up and drooling blood. It gets -4 to all rolls next turn and can only make a single Bite attack (no tongue).
A dragonoid phenomenon is a boss monster, which is why it has Wind-Up Attacks and Boss Saves.
Wind-Up Attacks create dynamism. They force the players to change tactics each turn. (A big risk with multi-round boss fights is that the players will just use standard tactics each round.) It's similar to watching a boss wind-up in Elden Ring and then calculating your next 6 seconds.
Similarly, Boss Saves exist to prevent a fight from ending prematurely due to a save-or-die effect. Legendary Resistance (boss monsters can automatically succeed on saves 3/day) are worse because they essentially create a second healthbar (the 3/day auto-success saves) that competes with the first healthbar (HP), since that forces parties to attack 1 health bar at a time to be effective. (This means that parties that want to be effective will have to focus on either attacking HP or attacking saves, reducing the potential schemes they can hatch, and locking them out of part of their toolset.)
Anyway, I think I need to do at least 2 more dragon posts to cover all the dragon lore.
couple subject verb agreements you might want to address in the gender-neutral dragon section of this great postReplyDelete
omg so manyDelete
The children of a senile dragonhunter, mighty in his prime, have hired you to prevent him from challenging the Blunted WyrmReplyDelete
Just paint googly eyes on a boulder and let him whack at it.Delete
Lo, his mighty these have split the boulder and now granddad's boasts have roused the ire of an errant drakkencult. Worse yet is the victory's commemoration in a shrine built of the "slain" stone. Wroyth's latest melancholy has left them hankering for fresh masonry.Delete
I do so hope you cover Tar Lath Lien, the oldest and awesome of all dragons. Also, Callistrix.ReplyDelete
Tar Lath Lien is planned!Delete
Callistrix is not. . .
Can't help but notice that both the ancient dragons here are the oldest and most powerful dragons...ReplyDelete
I'm pretty sure any ancient dragon you meet is going to tell you it's the oldest and most powerful of dragonsDelete