Dragons of Veerith

dragonhunter01a

Dragons in Unchained Heroes are great and powerful creatures fashioned from the heart and soul of Veerith. They are familiar enough to fall into many fantasy tropes, but differ in some important ways that will affect how you use them in your universe. To begin, it is important that you know that Dragons were created by Veerith, making them a Greater Terrestrial species. Their Lifeforce is vast, can neither be created nor destroyed, and is tied directly to the planet from which they were born. As far as any Planeswalker knows, (and any Titan has told the people of Veerith) the dragons upon it are unique. What we call basilisks in Veerith, are much closer to the traditional high fantasy dragon; the basilisk’s greatest difference is their minimal intelligence, more akin to a dog than the genius we attribute to dragons.

Dragon Forms

All Dragons take the form of a giant winged reptilian creature of legend: as big as a two-story house, covered in armored scales, with teeth as long as daggers, and talons that can slice through metal like paper; but are capable of any form they wish from an ant to their natural Dragon form. All of them are capable of using Arcane and Divine Magic, fly (with or without wings), and use a unique sub-species breath weapon. If you meet a Dragon in dragon form, you are dealing with an Adult or Elder Dragon; no one battles a dragon before they make “The Choice.” The Choice is a moment in a Dragon’s life when they understand their true nature and must make the decision to stay Humanoid or become a Dragon.

There are Chromatic Dragons: Red, Green, Blue, White, and Black; Metallic Dragons: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Copper, and Brass; and Gemstone Dragons: Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, Diamond, and Amber. Their qualities are listed here:

  • Red — Greedy, Proud, Violent
  • Green — Intelligent, Quick-witted, Malicious
  • Blue — Spiteful, Wise, Magical
  • White — Violent, Greedy, Cunning
  • Black — Seductive, Wise, Cunning
  • Gold — Wise, Heroic, Condescending
  • Silver — Kind, Social, Moral
  • Bronze — Violent, Vengeful, Righteous
  • Copper — Playful, Kind, Foolish
  • Brass — Cunning, Seductive, Naive
  • Ruby — Proud, Wise, Seductive
  • Emerald — Playful, Greedy, Malicious
  • Sapphire — Mean, Grumpy, Loner
  • Diamond — Kind, Naive, Heroic
  • Amber — Wise, Social, Magical

These qualities have lead to stereotypes for the each species of dragons, but these stereotypes only fit in about 3 out 4 cases. They are a guideline, not the rule; an individual Dragon has any and all of these traits or qualities in varying degrees. You might find a Wise, Kind, and Social Red Dragon, but it’s a rare occurrence.

The Choice

All dragons are perfect shapeshifters, a key element involved in their procreation. Dragons may have children with any intelligent species, except their own, resulting in an offspring that will be allowed a choice to become a Dragon or stay their birth form, until the time of their Choice, they are known as Dragonborn to the Dragons. To others, a Dragonborn is just like any other person of their birth species. Dragons may have children with many species, but most Dragons have a Humanoid birth form and are distinguished by a high aptitude for magic.

A Dragonborn has no idea that they are true children of a dragon until at some point in their life that information is revealed to them and in some moment in the future, they face “The Choice.” Learning they are Dragonborn is a momentous moment, which usually triggers The Choice, but delays have been known to happen. When The Choice occurs, the Dragonborn will know it; time appears to stop and a flood of information comes to them. Outwardly, it can be a great spectacle with thunder, lightning, and instant transformation or it can be no more than the Dragonborn pausing for a moment as if a thought occurred to them, never even changing their form. No matter how it happens, at that point, their life changes and they must decide to continue life as their birth species or become a Dragon.

The Choice does not always come immediately after they learn they are a Dragonborn, for some it takes months or even years before that decision can be made. A Dragonborn may delay The Choice, but it always catches up to them eventually, when it does, most Dragonborn decide to become Dragons, the few that do not, live out their lives as a member of their birth form’s species.

Finite Lifeforce

Dragons are Greater Terrestrials. Among all the Greater Terrestrials, the Dragons are Gaia’s most favored children. They are part of the Her Lifeforce — the source of all Gaia’s power — in a way that few truly understand. They are granted a finite amount of Her power, but linked to Her; all Greater Terrestrials have this sort of condition, but none so great as the Dragons. This link forms a very unique situation for them. As their numbers grow, their power is diluted, and each generation of Dragons becomes weaker. This is not to say that in times when the world is teeming with Dragons, that they are weak by any means; even when their populations are at their highest levels, one Dragon is a powerful force. However, their numbers rarely reach very high; typically no more than a couple hundred Dragons live on Veerith at any given time. The most Dragons ever in existence was 1440 before the Cullings began; a free-for-all of dragons battling each other for power and dominance, which only ends when their numbers are reduced. They cannot wait for a natural death, because a Dragon does not weaken with age, they only get stronger, and they will live for as long as Gaia lives. A violent death is the only death a Dragon may experience.

The Cullings

Cullings, as the Dragons call them, are a regular occurrence in the lives of the immortal dragons, but to outsiders, it would seem infrequent. It usually occurs once every 1000 years. Some say Gaia Herself places the urge to perform a Culling in the Dragons, but that theory has not been fully explored and the Dragons do not bother with trying to figure it out.

The Culling is a dangerous time for anyone around the Dragons, death and destruction can come at any time in the form of a two Dragons unleashing their might on each other. During a Culling, no Dragon can be trusted, even those traditionally peaceful, their personalities change and the urge to fight is too great to resist. They will do whatever they can to stay alive. When the Culling occurs, it is a worldwide event, the world shakes with the forces unleashed and there is no question of the source.

During the Culling, the Lifeforce of the Dragons is lost by the deceased and gained by the victors. The transfer of the Lifeforce is violent, but not deadly to the victor; each time a Dragon kills another Dragon, they gain the powers of the one they killed. A Dragon that has died at the hands of anything besides another Dragon, has its Lifeforce returned in equal measure to all other Dragons in the world.

The Culling will eventually end, but there is no official method for it to do so. At some point, the primal drive to fight and kill each other disappears in the same way that it came, suddenly and without warning. That does not mean that all the battles stop, but there is no longer a driving force outside of a Dragon’s control forcing them to do so. Those that wish to leave peacefully, may do so.

Continuing their Line

Dragonborn are either raised by their non-dragon parent, or placed in a foster family rather than be raised by their Dragon parent. Dragons do not raise their children; they are not parents in any humanoid sense; they leave that for other species to do for them. Contrary to popular belief, dragons don’t lay eggs, that is their lesser born cousins, the basilisks. They either impregnate an intelligent species or if they become pregnant, they gestate for a lunar cycle or until 2 full moons have passed (whichever is shorter) from the time they became pregnant. At that time, they produce a child of the siring species known as a Dragonborn.

Any Dragon may become pregnant, they are not tied to one sex–they are perfect shapeshifters after all–but pregnancy is more common among those that identify with feminine gender and the Earthmother. Dragons are not asexual, as with most creatures in nature, they require a partner to become pregnant, a process that encourages genetic diversity and randomizes their traits. No Dragonborn is guaranteed to be the color of their parent; most of that is determined by the temperament of the partner species in a strange symbiosis of the Mind and Body. A particular Dragon parent typically chooses the same sort of partner however, and for that reason has a tendency to create progeny of a similar Dragon color to their own.

There is no visible evidence to anyone besides a Dragon to mark that a child is Dragonborn. Dragonborn are so rare that people have not been able to notice a pattern to indicate their status, but to another dragon, the Dragonborn are obvious. If the Dragonborn were observed, their most remarkable distinction is the ability to use both Arcane and Divine magic from a very young age.

The Link

A Dragon in the Unchained Heroes universe is something very extraordinary. They understand the world, and all that is within it, because they may speak to their Mother (Veerith/Gaia/Terra) and know Her will at any time. Through their Link to Her, they have a link to everything She knows. This does not make them any more benevolent or courageous or good than any other person on the planet. What it does make them is well-informed. When they wish to do so, they can learn a lot about the world around them. The process is similar to searching for information about a topic in a library: you can find a lot of information if you look for it, but you must still go through the effort of reading and understanding it. It’s not like going to a Sage and getting a question answered instantly. This is why some dragons can seem cunning but not very smart, while others are brilliant; it all depends on the effort they take to understand the information given to them.

The most powerful Dragons are powerful because they use the Link often, becoming knowledgeable and intelligent. They spend a great deal of time using the Link to understand their territory, learn of any threats that might be directed toward them, and observe what is happening in the world around them. Whenever a Dragon slumbers, they subconsciously tap into the Link instead of dreaming. People mistake a sleeping Dragon as lazy or slothful, but nothing can be further from the truth. Sleep is one of the best ways for them to explore the Link, so those that do it often are quite wise.

Not all Dragons use the Link and the frequency of using it changes often throughout a Dragon’s life. The younger Dragons prefer to experience the world through their own eyes, while the older Dragons are known to explore the world through the Link and can get lost in it for eons.

Fitting into your Campaign

We’ve discussed Dragons because they are extremely powerful creatures. If you decide your players should encounter them during their travels, have a good reason. They make great NPCs as Allies or Villains. With the knowledge you now have, you can make the right decisions for your campaign.

If you choose for them to fight the PCs, determine if a Dragon will fight or flee (yes, Dragons will run to fight another day) ahead of time. Most Dragons can crush a party of adventurers quickly by Talon or Sorcery. They are some of the strongest creatures in the world and cannot be hurt without magic or magical weapons, so your players will face a great challenge.

If they engage in combat, they will begin by using their Arcane and Divine magic. Mechanically, they have access to any ability of any time. Realistically, their knowledge of such Divine and Arcane magic is limited by their power and their desire to learn them. When Sorcery is not sufficient, they will use teeth, talons, and their dreaded breath weapons. They are smart, powerful, and deadly. Don’t let them go down without a fight.