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I admit to wanting a world full of dragons XD

 

But to do so, I have gone with the idea that dragons take a long time to mature and few ever reach full ancient size, with only a few actual old dragons living. On top of that, the various breeds are also varying in size

 

For instance, jungle dragons hardly get bigger than a school bus. Just doesn't make a lot of sense to have a gigantic dragon navigating thick foilage.

 

Arctic, sea, desert and mountain dragons grow the biggest where they have the space to grow. The bigger dragons tolerate younger individuals in their territory, and often serve as a sort of control on the wilder youths

 

My largest dragon is a senile, ancient red in the mountains. He is gigantic, but spends an immense amount of time sleeping.

 

So most dragons in my world are what you'd consider huge in D&D, very few of them attain the size of Deathsleet or Cinder vs sir for scale. That is the size of an adult, and while they grow throughout their lives, it takes a long time for them to reach the colossal levels that'd pose a strain on the environment to support them

Edited by Sirithiliel
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I'm setting up a new game now, and I hadn't thought through the dragons yet... The world I'm building is basically a brand-new world, in that the gods created it only a couple thousand years before, at most. A lot of things that seem stable later on are still fluid and undefined - so you can have elves that look exactly like what people think of as dwarves, gnomes with basically human children, etc. A lot of the world is still in constant flux, and civilisation clusters around the places where some powerful figure is able to impose order on the fabric of reality.

 

Given that background (and I hope you folks don't mind me working this out as I'm typing)... I think my dragons are birthed from scattered shards of Creation itself. Each dragon contains a spark of that initial world-building event within themselves still, and as such their forms are extra unstable. The most clever have worked out how to use it to their advantage, hence the shapeshifting dragons who walk civilised areas (although their presence often disrupts the efforts to stabilise Creation within those zones). Others, unable to control the changes, are driven mad and turn bestial. Most dragons fall in between - powerful, intelligent, but without conscious control over their shapes. The Creation fragment within them slowly changes those dragons' bodies, adapting them to whatever conditions they find themselves in, so a dragon that spends a lot of time in the water will take on a blue/green colour over time even if it was born in a volcanic zone with red scales.

 

The greatest of the dragons, seeing the pain all this Creation chaos is causing the races of the world, has found a way to extract the Creation spark from dragons. They don't actually need it at this point - draconic metamorphosis over time is now a well-established pattern in the world, and that was the only advantage the Creation sparks gave dragons anyway - and the presence of all those sparks is disrupting efforts to keep the world stable. The earliest experiments were performed on fallen, bestial dragons driven mad by the spark within them, beasts whose pain had driven them to attack their fellow sapients, and so were sentenced to death anyway. As hoped, the process of removing the Creation spark quelled the worst of their madness and rage, allowing some of those dragons to return to the wild.

 

The flaw with this process is that Creation sparks don't just go away, they have to be put somewhere. And without a living host to contain them, they'll certainly wreak havoc upon the world. So the greatest of all dragons, the first and wisest of his kind, believed to be the first sapient creature ever to exist in this world, has been holding those sparks within himself while they try to sort out some other plan. The work has been put on hold until a solution can be found, on the (sadly, very true) belief that there are limits to what even this dragon can handle. Unfortunately, his continuing selfless service to all sapients, and the widespread knowledge of his great wisdom and intelligence, is preventing his helpers from recognising the toll all those Creation sparks are taking on Ma'aldrakar's mind and body...

 

(And boom, I just figured out how Ma'aldrakar fits into the campaign. I'll probably refine the details later.)

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The dragons that rule a planet in my campaign have a fairly complex political structure. (or at least they will, I haven't written that up yet since I have yet to run a campaign there and the big long campaign I ran years ago petered out before the gold dragon army invaded.) All mortal races live underground since the surface is ruled by dragons and other massive creatures.

 

On a side note: In my spelljammer campaign the Players had to stop the Cult of the Dragon from turning a hibernating Steller dragon (Space dragon roughly 500 miles long) into a dracolich under their control.

Edited by EvilJames
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In my world, the dragons are the domesticated livestock of the world-spanning Kobophile Empire.  There are many different subspecies ranging from pets about the size of dogs and roughly half as self-composed, through cattle & the like which are slaughtered for food, forge dragons used to fire furnaces, right through to the war-dragons.  They've been bred for certain characteristics, but they're derived from the same common ancestor and they have certain traits in common:

  • They're brightly colored and respond to visual stimulae strongly in a similar fashion to jackdaws:  they'll horde anything shiny.  Many a wild dragon has a resplendent horde of glass shards.
  • Breath weapons tend to be part of their mating rituals.  Green dragons for example:  while their breath is toxic to most other life forms, to a mate it actually triggers a mating reflex.  So, when that fireball is singing your extremities, rest assured that you're mere moments away from metaphorically having your leg humped by a horny lizard.
  • They're not subtle, or cunning, or particularly smart especially the larger they get.  The smaller breeds tend to be the more intelligent, but even then they'd be outsmarted by a particularly dim cat.

  Basically, they're dangerous as hell but only because kobolds are holding the reigns.

Edited by Laoke
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Fun!

My dragons are all uniformly evil.  They are the spirits of dead fallen angels trapped in a spirit plane, and corrupted by an ancient darkness.  Each is colored based upon the type of power it once had in life.  They hunt any wandering souls, and can consume them, expanding their own strength.  They often sleep beneath the surface, and all are creatures of the earth rather than sky.  They swim through the ground instead of flying.  The oldest forget the sense they once used in life, covering their eyes or ears with scales to better scent their prey.  The change from a human-type form to dragon is a slow one, with many souls required to build the new form.  They do have wings, and can fly, but they are always drawn back to the earth and can never rise far above it.

 

I use them mainly as a plot device to keep my characters edgy when wandering the spirit plane. :devil:

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My dragons are these massive, legendary creatures. Only a few of any given type exist at a time, their territories are so vast. They are insanely powerful, and do not deign to involve themselves in the affairs of the lesser races. When the dragons come out to play, history trembles at their approach.

 

But, yes, I tie alignment to color in DnD. Not so much in other systems, though.

To expand on this a little, dragons ARE powerful enough to challenge, and kill, gods. But that would take effort, and dragons are inherently lazy. (Good-aligned dragons less so, but still lazy.)

 

How vast is vast? Let's just say that on a continent the size of Australia, there MIGHT be two dragons. MIGHT.

I'd also like to mention the non-dragon "dragons," the dragonettes. Pseudo-dragons (magical beasts, not dragons), faerie dragons (fey, not dragons), and the various elemental drakes (outdsiders, not dragons) all fall into this category.

 

Felldrakes (including rage drakes) are also magical beasts, not true dragons. Smarter than most animals, other than primates and cetaceans, they are easily trained by use of positive reinforcement (also known as bribery).

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My dragons are pretty standard D&D, as I'm a huge fan of Bahamut and Tiamat, but there are a few glaring differences. To explain several of their abilities, dragons are living alchemical furnaces. They have bodies capable of performing mass-energy conversion, as well as both nuclear fission and fusion. This allows them to quite literally create anything through biological processes. (However, they have one breath weapon, largely because a white dragon creating fire would KILL it). The chromatic dragons, however, lack the ability to create metals, and as such guard them jealously. Culturally, well, dragons don't really have a culture of their own, on account of being antisocial. They sometimes choose to play king with mortals, often giving themselves self indulgent titles like "God Emperor" and "Rightful Lord of All Who Live". Dragons are extremely intelligent creatures - any sentient being so unfathomably old would be. What keeps them in line? Well, my setting is also a chain of floating islands in the middle of the Astral Plane. Dragons have to deal with things like Lovecraftian horrors and giant airships just to carve out a home for themselves. While the greatest of them make gods tremble in their boots (Though gods in my setting are kind of lame, really), very few dragons get there. So, in short, dragons are a race of extremely powerful monsters, but they've fallen from their past glory. Not because of mortals, but because bigger monsters roam the skies as well.

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THese are fun to read  ^_^

 

So politics and social structure in my world:

It greatly depends on the species in question.

Jungle dragons are social and on decent terms with each other, but there are fewer of them to compete for food and territory.

Mountain dragons live in a hierarchy where the oldest and wealthiest are often at the top of the pyramid, taking the best territories. THey could be useful and helpful to the lesser races (humans, etc) and other dragons in their territory, or they could be a ruthless tyrant. This leads to dragon feuds where a tyrant might be near one of the more friendly dragons, resulting in harassment and fighting.

 

When lairing near dragons of other species, again it depends on the personality of the dragon. Some are territorial, some are friendly and willing to be nice. 

 

There are a couple of dragons that have mastered shape-shifting spells and roam around with lesser races, either admitting they are dragons or hiding it.

One particular young red mountain dragon is well established in a noble court, hiding her real self and getting amusement from causing arguments and other trouble in the court politics

Edited by Sirithiliel
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so a basic summary of each of the common species:

Sea: Relatively solitary, but maintain a loose society of other sea dragons. The ocean is huge, and so they don't really have any reason to quarrel with each other. Like whales, they can communicate over the vast waves, and so despite the distance between territories they are usually up to date on the gossip of sea dragon politics. There is no real ruler of them, rather a mutual agreement to try and settle problems in a civil manner

 

Mountain: Hierarchy with the oldest usually taking the best places and calling themselves rulers, and either helping or bullying those beneath them, depending on the dragon in question. They are the most varying, with a potential for great good or great evil, to help human settlements or extort them.

Forest: These are a bit strange, in that they actually denote a "king" dragon (though this could be male or female, both are referred to as 'king') this could be the largest dragon, or one that has proven themselves wise. These dragons are fairly social, with the older ones gathering in neutral territories for discussions. If the current 'king' dies, a discussion is held on appointing a new one. The duties of this dragon are to settle arguments between the other dragons. Not all forest dragons adhere to this system though, and a fair few of the more ill tempered ones go rogue and disobey. One memorable century happened when a truly nasty forest dragon forcibly took the role of King and ruled the forest dragons for a time.

 

Arctic: Similar to sea dragons, they maintain a loose social network, but mostly keep close family around and don't bother with the rest of their species unless they happen to meet one of their neighbors at territory borders, in which case polite conversation might happen. The occasional evil ice dragon is possible, in which case they will ruthlessly assault their neighbors if they view it as trespassing.

 

Desert: Similar to mountain dragons, but with such a wide expanse to live in, the social order is a bit looser. The oldest and largest still occupy the best territories, and will either help or bully their smaller neighbors

 

Swamp: Extremely anti-social and territorial. THey will readily attack other swamp dragons or any other dragon they find trespassing on their greedily protected territory

 

Note: all my little snippets about the various dragon species are about the average ones. There are always odd balls...one of my characters, one of my favorites, is a evil Arctic dragon that left the frigid north and took over a mountain home, ruling the villages there and extorting treasure tribute out of them. So the types do expand past their normal habitat at times, it's just the occasional individual

Edited by Sirithiliel
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These are all super interesting! I stick to the D&D colors/alignments myself, as kind of a baseline. That said, dragons in my setting are not simply [insert element here]-breathing brutish creatures, but are all intelligent individuals. Red dragons are chaotic evil, but how that alignment manifests will deffer between each of them.

 

Dragons in my setting are rare. They did not used to be. In fact, at one point in the world's history, they ruled over large swaths of it. Their only real competition came from the giants, whose size and magic rivaled that of the draconic population. They warred over the course of centuries. The giants enslaved the relatively new dwarven peoples, bending them to their will, but also teaching these smaller servants the art of magic. Dragons similarly enslaved and taught the elves and eventually created the dragonborn race as a form of favored servitors. The dragonborn were not taught magic, as they had it awakened in their blood often thanks to their heritage (dragonborn thus in my setting are most often sorcerers, though wizards do exist). Eventually there were a series of particularly bloody, brutal conflicts known as the Draco Wars, which saw the last great Dragonflight surge against the giants in a show of unprecedented force that left both races decimated and reeling badly. That combined with emboldened contingents of elves, dwarves, and dragonborn who were willing to use their magic to fight to be free saw the abrupt near-annihilation of both dragons and giants.

 

Now, draconic numbers are small, but slowly bumping up here and there. Few live to adulthood due to competition for resources, as well as being targeted for destruction by the smaller races when they learn of their existence nearby. This is less common if a dragon clutch is born in an uncivilized region of the world or in a more "frontier" area, but dragons that attempt to lair near established kingdoms will often find themselves in a jam unless they are older. There is one dragon in my setting, a red, who's lair is right next to one of the largest human empires. He couldn't care less. The empire has decided to stop attempting to kill him and simply has a standing bounty on his head. The dragon himself wears "earrings" on its frills that are scorched and scored shields belonging to past "heroes" who have tried to come collect on the bounty.

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  There is one dragon in my setting, a red, who's lair is right next to one of the largest human empires. He couldn't care less. The empire has decided to stop attempting to kill him and simply has a standing bounty on his head. The dragon himself wears "earrings" on its frills that are scorched and scored shields belonging to past "heroes" who have tried to come collect on the bounty.

 

 This reminds me of a red that I used in one of my games... His lair was near a human town in the mountains, and they were so traumatized by his previous raids in generations past that they'd developed sort of a cultural Stockholm Syndrome - they'd actively discourage adventurers from heading into the dragon's territory and even attempt to kill the party if none of their other attempts worked. Sometimes they'd even sacrifice travelers or criminals to the dragon, or leave them staked out inside the border of it's territory.

 

The funny part was that the dragon hadn't attacked the town in over a hundred and fifty years and had no idea the people of the town were doing this... And wouldn't have given a damn about the town if it had even remembered the town was there - he'd only ever attacked the town because he was young and bored and eating all the town's livestock was enough to feed him, and had long since outgrown such juvenile antics...

Edited by Mad Jack
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