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Races - Other Races


Chromatic Dragons

Metallic Dragons

Dragons are one of the most powerful of the non-humanoid races......

Draconic History

One of the key problems for those who are not dragons to understand the history of dragons is that most dragons are not great historians. With the exception of brass dragons, generally the only pieces of information the creatures are really interested in passing from generation to generation are of significance only to dragons. (Brass dragons also have a very dracocentric view of the world, but they do enjoy collecting, disseminating, and retelling bits of gossip.) Even those few dragons who do keep track of what might be called general history are frequently unwilling to pass on the information to nondragons. There are several reasons for this lack of historical knowledge but the main one is that dragon species—with the exception of the golds—do not have a written language. (By assuming human form they can write, but most simply don’t care to.) This means that dragon histories are predominately oral—tales told by one dragon to another, and passed on from generation to generation. For creatures such as dragons, who are more interested in the acquisition of wealth than in the acquisition of knowledge, there is little attraction in spending great amounts of time learning and reciting long oral histories. Draconic oral histories are usually short—particularly when compared to the extensive traditions of human epic poetry—and concentrate on things that matter a great deal to that particular species of dragon. The evil chromatics generally have the shortest oral traditions. There are some religious myths (which will be discussed in a later section), but most histories deal with interesting— and usually unpleasant—ways of dealing with intruders who might want to make off with a dragon’s hoard. The metallics are a little more interested in the preservation of abstract wisdom, but this varies from species to species. The lawful metallic dragons—the golds, silvers, and bronzes—maintain oral traditions that at least partially relate to justice and the preservation of draconic society. (This doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in passing on unique ways of discouraging thieves, of course.) The oral traditions of brass dragons contain much that sounds totally trivial to humans—gossip, pointless anecdotes, and long, rambling reminiscences—while that of copper dragons is rich with wit and sophisticated wordplay (leavened with bawdy humor, atrocious puns, and seemingly endless shaggy-dog stories). The extended clans of gold dragons do sometimes keep written histories, but these generally concentrate on the movements, activities, and acquisitions of individuals.

Social Customs by type

Black Dragons As with most of the chromatic dragons, blacks are solitary creatures. They are highly territorial with regard to other dragons, even those of their own species. Black dragons congregate only to mate and raise offspring, or on those very rare occasions when dire need overcomes their naturally chaotic attitudes and forces them to cooperate to achieve some goal. It is the female dragon that picks a mate and is the dominant member of a mated pair. Females select among prospective mates based on the candidates’ worth as dragons. This is almost always measured by the size of the hoard the male has amassed. For this reason, male black dragons often brag of their wealth to others of their kind—should they encounter them—and even to other creatures, hoping that the word will eventually reach a female seeking a mate. (This behavior has a significant disadvantage, of course: Word of the dragon’s wealth might also eventually reach a powerful adventuring company . . . .) Sometimes two or more females select the same male. In such a case, the females fight for dominance, the winner getting the male. These fights normally take place high in the air over the male’s swamp lair (so the male can watch and admire from the ground). They’re usually nonlethal, with one female conceding and slinking off to seek a mate elsewhere. Black dragons are protective parents, as long as such protective behavior doesn’t threaten their own lives. If the dragons must choose between almost certain death and abandoning their young, the young are simply out of luck. (Black dragons have good memories and a tendency toward vicious revenge, however.) In extremely hostile environments, or when circumstances threaten the entire species, black dragons sometimes gather into clans. These groups are loosely knit and shot through with political maneuvering and out-and-out fights for dominance. In a group situation, black dragons only subordinate themselves to another dragon if they know that dragon can kill them if they don’t obey. (Since most blacks also have a totally overblown view of their own abilities, this doesn’t happen very often.) Even though a clan of black dragons should, by rights, be a very powerful and dangerous entity, this is very rarely the case. The dragons typically spend the majority of their time wrangling over who’s dominant to whom. The only time clans achieve their full potential is when they are led by such powerful individuals that no other dragons in the group want to risk challenging for dominance. Black dragons have no sense of etiquette. They are totally chaotic in every sense of the word. The idea of personal possession and territory is, for black dragons, defined only by an individual’s ability to hold onto such things. A black dragon maxim is, “This is my claw, that is my lair; this is my tooth, that is my food” (translation: “It’s mine, and I’ll rip you up if you try for it”).

Blue Dragons

Like blacks, blue dragons are by nature solitary creatures. Unlike their black cousins, however, blues do form into social organizations on a regular basis. The oldest and most powerful blue dragon in a particular geographical region is known as the suzerain, and all blues within that region pay it official homage. The size of the region ruled by a suzerain varies, depending on the dragon population of the region and on the power of the suzerain. (Obviously, a millennia-old suzerain (a wyrm) can enforce fealty over a larger area and greater number of dragons than could a younger individual.)

While still evil and rapacious, blue dragons are highly lawful, particularly in dealings with the suzerain. All blue dragons within the territory claimed by a suzerain have three choices. They can submit themselves to the suzerain’s will and command, which is the most usual case. Or they can simply leave the suzerain’s territory, either moving into the sphere of influence of another suzerain— hopefully one more acceptable to them—or finding an area that has been claimed by no suzerain. The third option is to challenge the suzerain to a death-duel, hoping to become suzerain themselves. Death-duels are highly structured things. Official challenge must be given and accepted. (The acceptance is compulsory, however. A suzerain refusing to accept a challenge is considered by all other blue dragons to have conceded his authority.) The date and place of the duel are then set and communicated to all other blues in the territory—and sometimes beyond it. In the case of suzerains with high profiles, the duel site is often chosen to be a central location, even outside the suzerain’s official territory (the High Moor region is often selected). Dragons from all over the Realms may attend a duel like this. A duel is a red-letter day for the dragons; and few nearby blues fail to attend for the spectacle. (A duel day is not a good time to stumble into the blue dragons’ territory. Such close proximity with others of their kind isn’t an easy thing for soli tary dragons to bear, and tempers often reach a hair-trigger state.) The position of suzerain is largely ceremonial. While the suzerain officially has the authority of life and death over the dragons within its territory, this authority is almost never used. About the only official duty that a suzerain has to perform is to authorize or deny petitions from dragons who wish to mate. (Should the entire territory be threatened, the suzerain could become the commander-in-chief of a horde of blue dragons who would follow his orders without question. Theoretically.) For blue dragons, mating is an important matter, constrained by social norms. As well as officially asking the suzerain for permission, the prospective mates must also swear an oath to remain together until the offspring of the union reach the age of 26 (juvenile).

Brass Dragons

Brass dragons are highly social creatures, enjoying contact and conversation both within their species and outside it. Like other dragons, however, they prefer to live alone, within a territory defined by their personal ambitions. The territory of one brass dragon often borders on the territory of another, however, and these neigh- bors are almost always on good terms. In fact, the contiguous boundaries of their terrain are predominately determined through discussion rather than through the active rivalry common to other draconic species. Such neighbors frequently visit each other, to bask in the sun and indulge in long, drawn-out conversations. (These visits are frequent only in draconic terms, however. Years often pass between visits.) Brass dragons are Chaotic in alignment, in that their goals and ambitions are their own, and not determined by any other source of authority. This doesn’t mean that they’re uncooperative, however. Neighbors usually go to each other’s aid, which is just as well, since brass dragons share much the same environment as the more powerful blue dragons. Sometimes rivalries develop between brass dragons, usually when they can’t agree on where each other’s territory ends. These rivalries almost never become violent, however, as other brass dragons in the same region usually act as willing arbitrators, helping the rivals to talk out their differences. Mating is much more of a freewheeling thing among brasses than is typical for other dragons. They frequently mate simply for the pleasure of it, with no concern over long-term relationships or commitments—unless offspring result. In this case, the parents remain together until the offspring are old enough to fend for themselves. Brass dragons are dedicated parents. Mates often remain together until their young reach young adulthood. Sometimes parents arrange for other brasses to foster their children. These foster parents take responsibility for the offspring for sometimes up to a decade at a time. The parents see this as a good way of making sure that their young have the widest possible experience of the world in which they live, and the best possible training for survival in a sometimes-hostile world. The dragons who take on the foster duties do so because such a duty raises their status among their own kind. (It also means that they’ll always have someone to talk to.) Both true parents and foster parents make sure that they pass on to the young their oral historical tradition. Brasses often develop networks of informants and confidants—often with sphinxes and similar creatures, and sometimes even with humans and demihumans— that are elaborate enough to shame the human gossip-mongers who do a lucrative business in the larger cities of the Realms. Dragons with such extensive sources of information gain great status among their kind, and they frequently receive visitors from far away who wish to hear the gossip and legends so collected. One of the most telling compliments among brass dragons is, “He (or she) has an ear to the wind.” Mutual defense is usually on an informal basis, usually when one brass has learned the whereabouts of a blue and wants help in bashing it. Groups of brass dragons sometimes congregate with the intention of cooperating for some greater, more far-reaching goal. Usually nothing comes of these meetings, however, since they usually degenerate into pointless gab-fests. (As Aurus, the rogue gold dragon, once put it, “With brasses, when all’s said and done, more’s said than done.“)

Bronze Dragons

Although not quite as social as brasses, bronzes enjoy the company of their own kind. They can sometimes be seen swimming and playing together in oceans or lakes, and occasionally gather for pirate-hunting expeditions or shark-feasts. Usually, however, bronzes congregate in human or demihuman form. Most human and demihuman cultures have a legend similar to the following: A traveler, shipwrecked on a deserted coastline, comes upon a small group of beachcombers, or perhaps fishermen, who dwell in the isolated region. These beachcombers help the shipwrecked soul, nursing him back to health, all the while asking him incisive questions about his background and world-view. Eventually, they agree to help him find his way home. In most versions of the story, at about this time a group of pirates arrives on the scene with the intention of setting up a base on the coastline. The beachcombers claim to be totally unarmed and incapable of defending themselves, asking the sailor what he intends to do to protect them from the not-so-tender mercies of the pirates. Although vastly outnumbered, the sailor realizes that he must do something to save his pacific benefactors. He plans a heroic single-handed attack against the pirates, knowing full-well that he’s going to die in the attempt. As he throws himself into battle, committing his soul to his god, the sky is suddenly full of bronze dragons who fall upon the pirates and destroy them. One of the dragons—whom the sailor now realizes are the true forms of his benefactors—ferries the sailor home on his back. This is a sign of significant respect to one who subordinated his own survival to doing what he thought was right. (No sage knows for sure whether this legend sprung from a true occurrence or not.) Bronzes enjoy the company of humans and demihumans, and— unlike the vast majority of dragons—consider the “small races” to be as deserving of survival and happiness as themselves. They often work behind the scenes to promote the causes of Lawful Good societies. Bronze dragons are less territorial among themselves than virtually any other species of dragon. Although they’ll never share their hoard with another—or even divulge its hiding place—they frequently live together in fairly close proximity. Bronzes sometimes go on treasure-hunting expeditions together, sometimes in groups as large as six individuals. Most of these expeditions are submarine raids against outposts of sahuagin. At the end of the adventure, the dragons divide the wealth according to the age of the participants: The older—and more powerful— the dragon, the larger its share. Bronzes also occasionally join human or demihuman expeditions—always in human or demihuman form. At the end of such an expedition, they usually reveal their true nature, and claim the lion’s share of the treasure. (Since they’ll only go on such an expedition with Lawful Good creatures, the division of treasure rarely becomes nasty.) Bronze dragons have great respect for the power and knowledge of the elders among them. Younger dragons often go on pilgrimages to visit the homes of wyrms or great wyrms, to benefit from the experience of these worthies. Bronzes have a very straightforward attitude toward personal conduct that reflects the human Golden Rule:“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Although this may seem simplistic when compared with the bodies of law promulgated by other creatures, it seems to serve the bronzes more than adequately. If a bronze is seen to have transgressed this principle, his or her neighbors take evidence of this wrongdoing to the nearest wyrm or great wyrm for judgment. After weighing the evidence, the elder dragon decides on a punishment, which usually takes the form of “proscription”— no other bronze can talk to or have any dealings with the transgressor. The length of this proscription can range from months to centuries, but can be for life, in cases of serious transgressions. Bronzes take proscription very seriously— on both sides of the issue. They never talk with a proscribed dragon, and individuals rarely do anything to warrant such a bleak and unpleasant punishment. (There are some rogue bronzes in the world, but these are rare and unhappy creatures.) Bronzes show a high degree of parental respect. They visit their parents on a fairly regular basis— perhaps every 50 years or so—and listen to their advice or wisdom. Bronzes do not mate for life—such would probably be foolishness for creatures living a millennia or more—but partnerships do frequently last several centuries. No bronze would enter into such a partnership without first consulting its parents and obtaining their blessing.

Copper Dragons

Copper dragons have been described as incorrigible pranksters who love all forms of humor. They also love being the center of attention. Since humor requires company of some kind, they are fairly social creatures. Unfortunately, they’re also prideful, and hate to be the butt of jokes and practical jokes. The upshot of this is that they must find most of their company outside their own species. Coppers sometimes get together for joke sessions, but—since this usually leads to jokes at the expense of others in the group, which is not appreciated by the targets— these sessions usually become nasty. This nastiness usually remains verbal, as jokes become more and more pointed and vicious to salve damaged pride, and leads to a quick break-up of the session. There have been tales of dragons fighting—and even killing—each other at such meetings, so more sensible individuals shun these joke-fests as potentially damaging to their health. A copper dragon will sometimes adopt a group of humans or demihumans, usually in a similar guise. Coppers are almost always fairly tiresome to spend much time with, however. The human or demihuman groups eventually try to expel the prankster, and the dragon usually has to reveal its true nature in order to receive the respect it thinks it deserves. Groups so adopted sometimes make great efforts to keep the friendship—and the help—of the dragon, but almost all such associations eventually break up. There are only two topics about which coppers never joke: mating and child-rearing. Males are very serious in their courtship of eligible females—generally those who have earned status in the loosely knit copper dragon community by amassing large hoards—and anyone, of any species, who ridicules their efforts is in for serious trouble. Coppers are dedicated parents, making sure that their offspring are well provided for and protected. The parents maintain custody of the children, and are responsible for all facets of their rearing and maturation until they reach the legal age of majority at 51 (young adult). The children are then encouraged to go forth and live their lives as they see fit. During the rearing process, the parents make sure that the young are well-versed in the species’ oral tradition. On the 51st anniversary of an offspring’s hatching, the parents throw a celebration to which all copper dragons in the area—and sometimes dragons of other species and even nondragons—are invited. These celebrations take place in out-of-the-way locales—often atop high rocky mesas, well away from interlopers—and are usually riotous affairs. The attendees typically consume huge quantities of a liquor made from a plant called fireweed, which the dragons purchase from humans or demihumans near their homes. Even when the location of such a celebration is known, it isn’t a good idea to drop in unannounced. Interrupting a group of inebriated, prankster dragons is not a recipe for a long and happy life. After the young have reached majority, the parents usually separate, although there have been cases reported where a particularly well-matched pair of dragons has raised many broods together. Long-term relationships, however—those lasting longer than 50 years—are very rare, since coppers find it difficult to remain serious that long. Once mature, copper dragons have no great love for authority of any kind, preferring to be freewheeling individualists. Apparently, no copper dragon has ever tried to set itself up as ruler of a community (probably for the very good reason that doing so would set it up as the target of more practical jokes than it really cared to deal with). Some of the more magically-endowed copper dragons are fascinated with spells that affect rock and stone. There is an unsubstantiated rumor that one great wyrm managed—somehow-to create a stone golem that it used as a guardian for its lair.

Gold Dragons

Gold dragons are the most lawful of dragon species, and they form the most orderly societies. Unlike all other dragon races, golds select one of their number as overall ruler for their species. This dragon—His (or Her) Resplendence, the King (or Queen) of Justice—is assisted by a number of Lords, also selected from the gold dragon population. The King of Justice for western Faerun is currently (1357 DR) a great wyrm named Lareth. Nobody knows for sure where His Resplendence lives, although there are almost as many tales as tellers. His home is a castle deep in the Elven Woods near Myth Drannor, some say; or a citadel in the midst of Anauroch; or a huge cave complex on a magically-concealed island in the midst of the Dragon Sea (how appropriate); or even a floating cloud city that drifts wherever His Resplendence wishes. The gold dragons themselves know where His Resplendence Lareth dwells, or at least how to contact him, but they’re not telling. The King of Justice is usually the oldest and most powerful gold dragon in the region. Although the dragons hold official elections when the position must be filled, these are almost always by acclamation. Only once has it been recorded that two equally qualified candidates were proposed for the position, one male and one female. Showing the wisdom that always characterizes a (potential) King of Justice, the two candidates settled the potentially divisive matter by swearing an Oath of Concord (the dragon equivalent of marriage) and sharing the responsibilities and authorities equally. Kings retain their position until their deaths, or—more likely—until they decide to step down in favor of one whom they think will serve the race well. There are reputed to be several retired Kings living in remote parts of Faerun. Unlike most human kings, His Resplendence (or Their Resplendences, in the case mentioned above) never finds it necessary to actively rule. The position of King could just as easily be described as “Elder Advisor.” The other dragons turn to the King for advice and guidance when they must make decisions that could affect the species as a whole or the flow of history in Toril. These policy decisions often refer to the self-appointed quests that golds often go on. Although the result of a particular quest— say, to eradicate certain evil monsters that are threatening a human settlement—may appear obvious and highly desirable, dragons often consult with the King before undertaking the quest, just to make sure that there are no hidden consequences that the dragon has missed. Are the monsters necessary in the ecosystem, for example, to keep under control creatures that would, if allowed to multiply freely, pose an even greater threat to the human settlement further down the line? If the proposed quest is one that involves political matters, or the relationships between two or more human states, the dragon will certainly request advice from the King. His Resplendence will think long and hard before giving it. As his title implies, the King is also the dispenser of justice in the golds’ society. Unlike the bronzes, golds have a fairly elaborate system of laws (which will be discussed in Chapter 3, “Dragon Psychology”). Like the bronzes, they have only one commonlyused punishment: proscription. Gold dragons take proscription extremely seriously. Golds are social among their own kind—although much more dignified and reserved about it than brasses or even bronzes—and enjoy the company and conversation of the short-lived races (humans and demihumans). (Contacts with these races are usually conducted while polymorphed into a less daunting form.) Of all the demihuman races, golds enjoy the company of elves above all. Even though elves are usually much more chaotic and unpredictable than the dragons, their long life span gives them an almost draconic appreciation for the sweep of history. Golds are unique among dragonkind in that they have a written language of their own. (They can only write this language when polymorphed into human or other suitable form, since their large claws—although dexterous—are inappropriate for holding a writing implement.) They keep extensive written histories that, although detailed, tend to view everything from the draconic point of view, which diminishes their value to human historians. Many gold dragons are fascinated by magic; they love to add magical items to their hoards. These they investigate and examine and sometimes even find uses for. Most of the super-mage dragons, wielding almost god-like powers, that are frequently mentioned in legend are golds. Another way in which golds are unique is that they sometimes mate for life. There is a draconic tradition called the Oath of Concord, which is binding for the life of both participants. Two dragons bound by the Oath are considered “one flesh, one breath, one life.” Lifetime unions are rare, but all golds respect those who enter into them. Gold dragons are devoted parents, nurturing and protecting their young until the offspring choose to leave. This is occasionally not until the younger dragon reaches full adulthood (101 years). By tradition, the first act that a gold must perform on leaving its parents is to visit the King of Justice and offer its obedience. To dragons, this is more a joyous occasion than an onerous task.

Green Dragons

Although generally classified as Lawful in alignment, greens rarely show this trait to any creature not in their immediate family grouping. Green dragons are masters of intrigue, politics, and back-biting, both within their own species and outside it. They will do anything to further their own ambitions: manipulate other dragons or similarly powerful creatures, intimidate humans and demihumans, maim and kill anyone opposed to them, lie shamelessly, promise anything (since they have no intention of ever fulfilling those promises), and generally use every nasty trick in the book. Making this whole situation more fraught with danger, the goals of green dragons aren’t particularly straightforward. Although they love wealth for the status it gives them with other dragons, that isn’t the extent of their ambitions. More so than just about any other draconic species, greens are out for power. Not just power over other greens, but power over any other creatures that happen to live anywhere near their territory. Even though they aren’t overly intelligent as dragons go, they have a seemingly innate talent for coming up with nasty schemes that will gain them power—and earn them treasure—without their having to do any work. (This is another way in which greens are unique: no other species of dragon has much interest in setting up business concerns.) The classical example of a green dragon’s double-ended business deal happened in a remote and wooded part of the Realms (the exact locale varies from telling to telling of the tale). The dragon brought in a large number of arcs—under promises of protection from the elves that dwelt in the woods—who immediately started chopping down the trees and selling the lumber. (The dragon, of course, took a large cut of all profits.) When the elves tried to expel the orcs, the dragon protected her workers. After several profitable months of this, the green dragon sent a human agent—under the power of a suggestion spell—into the elven community to offer the help of a (nonexistent) powerful brass dragon in getting rid of the orcs. The brass dragon would expect some kind of repayment, of course. The elves jumped at the opportunity. Under the effect of a change self spell—which was just the ticket for making a green dragon look like a brass—the green drove off the orcs, and then it gladly accepted the elves’ gold for the services rendered. The green was satisfied since both the short-term lumber business and the payment from the elves had nicely expanded its hoard. Although greens find it much easier to cheat and manipulate nondragons, they certainly aren’t above putting one over on members of their own species. (Humans have a saying that goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” The green dragon equivalent is, “Fool you once, tough.”) Greens will on rare occasions work together to pull off a particularly nasty score. When dealing with dragons who know them and who have equally crooked outlooks, greens (usually) keep promises that they make, if only out of self-protection. Among their own kind, green dragons are rude, crass, and loud, the females even more so than the males. There are certain roots that have a mildly mind-altering effect on greens (these are usually poisonous to nondragons). Under their influence, the greens’ social behavior is even worse than usual. The courtship of green dragons—which is initiated by the female—is as coarse and boorish as might be expected. Once two dragons have paired, however, and the female is impregnated, their nature changes. There is strong loyalty between members of a mated pair—a radical departure from normal green behavior—and an immense dedication to the offspring when they hatch. Parents take great pains to inculcate their offspring with the survival skills of manipulation and double-dealing. Green parents will give their lives for their offspring, if necessary, making them unique among the evil dragons. The parents usually continue this level of protection until the offspring achieve young adulthood at 51 years of age. Once the offspring have left their parents, the paired dragons almost always separate, to find new mates later. No loyalty or responsibility is felt by any member of the family group to any other, once the young have left. (There is a tradition, however, that greens shouldn’t double-deal on their parents or offspring . . . unless the opportunity is just too good to pass up.)

Habitat/Society: Green dragons are found in sub-tropical and temperate forests, the older the forest and bigger the trees, the better. The sights and smells of the woods are pleasing to the dragon, and it considers the entire forest or woods its territory. Sometimes the dragon will enter into a relationship with other evil forest-dwelling creatures, which keep the dragon informed about what is going on in the forest and surrounding area in exchange for their lives. If a green dragon lives in a forest on a hillside, it will seek to enslave hill giants, which the dragon considers its greatest enemy. A green dragon makes its lair in underground chambers far beneath its forest. The majority of green dragons encountered will be alone. However, when a mated pair of dragons and their young are encountered, the female will leap to the attack. The male will take the young to a place of safety before joining the fight. The parents are extremely protective of their young, despite their evil nature, and will sacrifice their own lives to save their offspring.

Ecology: Although green dragons have been known to eat practically anything, including shrubs and small trees when they are hungry enough, they especially prize elves. If the forest is on a hillside, hill giants will hunt the younger dragons, which they consider a delicacy.

Red Dragons

Reds are the archetypical evil dragons: rapacious, ferocious, vengeful, and avaricious. Red dragons recognize these traits in themselves, and they are proud of them. They believe that they, above all other species, are closest to the ideal of draconic nature and behavior, and that every other dragon race has slipped from this purity. Although red dragons are not social creatures, preferring their own company, they do go out of their way to gain news about the activities and achievements of other reds in their corner of the world. If they judge that their own achievements and wealth exceed those that they hear about, they feel smug and self-satisfied, knowing that they hold status in the estimation of others. Should they hear of achievements and acquisitions greater than theirs, however, their jealousy knows no bounds, as they feel they have lost status. Reds who learn such unwelcome news will frequently fly into a rage, going forth from their lairs to ravage the countryside, loot, pillage, and burn until they feel that their own achievements have overtaken those of the dragon that they recently learned about. During these jealous rages, no one in the vicinity is safe (least of all the messenger who brought the unwelcome news). The bright side is that dragons in such a mood are less cautious than usual, sometimes taking foolish risks or underestimating the abilities of foes they encounter. The converse of this interest in news is also true—reds often go to great lengths so that word of their power and wealth reaches others of their kind. These lengths include such stratagems as burning only half of a village, or releasing one survivor of an adventuring party to spread the dragon’s fame far and wide. The downside of this is that a widespread reputation of wealth is like a personal invitation to dragon and treasurehunters. Reds are highly territorial. Although they will on rare occasions adopt a patronizing and protective attitude toward creatures that they consider very much weaker than themselves, entering a red dragon’s territory is most frequently and invitation to -attack. This is certainly true if the intruder is another dragon, even another red. (In fact, the worst territorial battles are between reds, since both combatants are too proud to back down and show weakness before the other. Other species are more likely to recognize a losing position and escape with their lives.) Reds feel great rivalry with silver and copper dragons, but they save their most vociferous hatred for golds. The word vociferous is appropriate because, while reds will loudly proclaim their eagerness to immediately dispatch any gold they encounter, they often find some important reason why they shouldn’t engage a gold in combat. The reason for this is that although they are overbearingly arrogant, reds aren’t stupid. They know, deep down, that golds are more powerful than they—even though they won’t admit it—and so are less than eager to start a battle they could well lose. (The gods help anyone who points this out to a red dragon, of course.) Pride and their unwillingness to back down sometimes make reds attack wandering golds even when they know that they are outmatched Reds despise weakness in their own kind above all. If the word gets around that a particular red has “lost it” for some reason—has been badly wounded, for example, or is becoming senile and infirm—other reds descend on the hapless dragon’s lair and strip it clean, probably killing the owner in the process. The reds’ rationale is summed up in their saying, “To have is nothing, to keep is all.” In other words, if you can’t protect what you have, you didn’t deserve to have it in the first place (this applies to life as well as to physical wealth). Courtship among red dragons is initiated by the female. When a female feels the urge to have offspring—which happens perhaps every century or so—she seeks a prospective mate (the selection criteria are, of course, wealth and power). Male reds never turn down the courtship advances of a female, since they gain status in the eyes of other males from such advances. Once the female is impregnated, the male leaves her and returns to his own life. The female raises her hatchlings alone—or with the help of another female who is either infertile or too old to reproduce—and protects them ferociously against threats. (This protection only rarely extends to the mother sacrificing her life for her young, however.) By the time the young have reached the young adult stage—or perhaps even earlier—the mother’s solitary and jealous nature overcomes her maternal instincts, and she orders her offspring from the lair and from her territory. Needless to say, there is no loyalty felt between generations of reds. Reds hate any form of authority. They do not ask their elders for advice or knowledge—even if such would save their lives—since they consider admitting that the elders have something they need is the same as putting themselves under the authority of another.

Silver Dragons

Silvers are highly social creatures, perhaps even more so than brasses. There is a twist to this, however: They seem to prefer the company of humans and demi humans to that of their own kind. Many silvers feel that dragonkind has a lot to learn from humans, and a few things to learn from demi humans. Millennium long life spans are of great benefit, these silvers believe, because they allow one to take the long view. But they have the disadvantage that it becomes easy to miss opportunities for new experiences because of a feeling that any opportunity you have now will always be available a century or so from now. Short-lived races like humans have so little time that they must seize every opportunity that comes their way, and thus they fill their short lives with a dynamism and drive generally unknown to dragons. Most silvers believe that their kind would benefit if they could learn some of humanity's drive. With a combination of draconic perspective and human initiative, what could they not accomplish? Philosophy aside, many silvers form true and lasting friendships with humans.

Although most such friendships start with the dragons polymorphed into a less daunting form, such deception weighs heavily on the silvers, and they almost inevitably eventually reveal the truth. (Since silvers are good judges of character and maintain only those friendships that are true and deep, this eventual revelation rarely has a detrimental effect on the relationship.) No matter how close such a friendship grows, however, a silver dragon always eventually returns to its own kind for some time. Often, in the cases of really good friends, the silver dragon remains in human society for the entire life of its human associate (which, after all, is rarely more than 70 years;less than one-tenth the life span of a dragon). Silvers form loosely-knit communities based on extended family groups. This doesn't mean that the group or clan lives together; it merely means that members of the group feel a higher loyalty and respect toward members of their group than toward those outside it. The eldest member of the family grouping, referred to as the Senior, is the patriarch or matriarch of the clan. Group members give great credence to the wisdom and opinion of the Senior, and act against the Senior's recommendations only after serious thought. The Senior is also the dispenser of justice for the family group. Silvers have a less formal approach to law than do golds. Like brasses, they have a single major law (although in some groups it is expanded by family regulations and commentary). The silver's central law is: 'Action that causes harm is crime' (with the unstated corollary: 'Action that causes no harm is one's own business'). Silvers are very careful in the application of this law. Dragons are free to do whatever they like, as long as their actions are totally harmless. (As a human legalist once said - 'Your right to throw a punch stops where my nose begins.' Family groups can grow very large, sometimes numbering in the scores of dragons, scattered around the world. Such groups cooperate with other groups only under circumstances dire enough to warrant it. This kind of cooperation is very rare, however, since a single clan of 40 or more silver dragons is enough to deal with most kinds of problems. Silvers hate injustice and cruelty, and they gladly help good aligned creatures in dire need. The difference between silvers and golds is that silvers usually wait for their help to be requested; whether directly or indirectly. They are less likely to go off on self appointed quests than are golds. Silver dragons have a deep taboo against mating with members of the same family group. Thus, when they feel the urge to mate, silvers sometimes have to go far afield to find an acceptable candidate. Either sex can initiate courtship. Silvers are civilized in all things, and their courtship rites are very decorous. When two dragons have agreed to be mates, they must receive the blessings of the Seniors of both family groups. (This is rarely withheld, and never without good cause.) Silvers share the concept of an Oath of Concord with golds, but with a slight difference. A silver's Oath is binding only until all offspring from the union have reached adulthood (at 101 years). Some dragon unions last for centuries, and even for life, as the couple keeps raising broods of offspring.

White Dragons

Whites are the least intelligent species of western dragon, and their behavior shows it. They have very little in the way of either foresight or planning, and their memory is rudimentary and capable of recalling only physical events, not abstract concepts. There’s one exception to this: They remember offenses against them, and they have a very well-developed sense of vengeance. White dragon vendettas are brutal and violent things that more often than not get the creatures into serious trouble. Whites aren’t given to planning or considering consequences. Their approach is more of a straight-forward attack. Against foes who are capable of planning—and know the whites’ obsession with revenge—this approach puts them at a great disadvantage. Whites are not social creatures. The only contact with their own kind that they pursue is sexual. Whites sometimes work together, but only because their immediate goals coincide. Cooperation of this kind isn’t arranged or planned; it just happens. (Take, for example, the case of two whites who both happen to be settling grudges with the same whaling village on the same day. They’ll work together in razing the village, but then they will probably be at each other’s throats when it comes time to split up any loot.) In general, whites are highly territorial with regard to others of the same species (and sex). Border skirmishes between whites are rarely fatal (although the verbal abuse that accompanies such confrontations is usually stunning in its viciousness.) Unlike other dragon species, whites mate purely for pleasure. If offspring arise from this activity, so be it, but this isn’t the goal of the activity. Should the female become impregnated, the male instinctively stays around to protect her. Once the eggs hatch, however, the two creatures go their separate ways. The hatchling dragons follow one or other of the parents, and the older dragons do not object to the young tagging along. The parents feel no obligation to protect the young, however, and so the offspring must learn to fend for themselves immediately. (The infant mortality rate for white dragons is rather high.) The time at which young dragons leave their parents and strike out on their own varies wildly. Some leave almost immediately, while others remain for a century. In the latter case, the parent usually drives the offspring away, sensing that it may soon become a rival. (And the parent is sometimes right. There have been cases recorded where a young dragon has killed its parent for the older dragon’s hoard.) White dragons have been described—by other dragons—as “the thugs of dragonkind” and as being “about as subtle as volcanoes.” Even those lucky whites that can communicate with an intelligent creature rarely have thoughts worth communicating.

Known dragon families

Arafa Turris Flumen family group

The Flumen family is based in the Undertowers settlement on the border of the Bindbole Wood and the western bank of the Velikaya River.

Smaragus Colles Saltus clan

The Saltus clan controls an area across the Blumm Wood north into the Cordrawn Hills.

Silvarium Opaca Vinun clan

Encountered Dragons

  • Red dragons
  • Black dragons
    • Met one with a priestess. Got priestess but dragon escaped - Home Stories
    • Fought and then bargained with a young dragon guarding a Yuan-Ti treasure vault - Maumee Auglaize - Ophioglossum
    • Part of the group killed a young dragon who had surrendered to Branwyn, despite her throwing herself in front of the wounded creature - Were did she go?
    • Group killed a young black dragon who attacked as they were returning home from delivering Hoffman for mastery axe training - Say It With Flowers
  • Blue dragons
    • Encountered in the river on the way from Jistelle to Rivers Bend extracting tolls - Pirate Queens
  • Green dragons
  • White Dragons
    • Found as a captive in a small city located just outside of the frozen Northern Wastes. Branwyn freed this angry beast much to the chagrin of some of the group. - She Said Yes!
  • Gold Dragons
  • Silver Dragons
    • Branwyn knows the mysterious Mr. Silver who visits Dryads Lair is a silver dragon, but no one has seen him in dragon form.
  • Shadow Dragons

Note much of this information is modified from publication such as the Dragonomicon from TSR and is used for reference purposes only.