Like all dragons throughout mythology and legend, the Aereth’s dragons are magical creatures. Therefore, not everything can be scientifically explained and categorized. Where gaps exist, fill it in with the Laws of Magic instead of the Laws of Physics.
Dragons! Enough said…
Dragons are fierce warriors and dangerous enemies. Once they have committed themselves to battle, they are not easily dissuaded from totally destroying their enemy. Although a dragon can use their natural abilities quite effectively, they are most effective when paired with a Morrighan. Their natural sense of tactics and battle instincts enhance a dragon’s natural abilities.
A dragon’s scales are almost as impenetrable as Kevlar. However, this does not make a dragon invincible. There are areas such as the joints between their legs and body that have very fine, soft scales. Another dragon’s fire or the lightning-like pulses from a drahmar will destroy the scales. They can be penetrated by another dragon’s claws and the felldrake weapons. Dragons can also ruffle their scales and activate the chromatophores to color-flash which can serve to confuse enemies.
Technically, a dragon exhales fire, it does not breathe fire. Exhaling fire is part of their magic. Please make allowances for the fact that this is a sword and sorcery roleplay.
Temperature: A dragon can adjust the temperature of their fire by controlling the mixture of gases released.
Short burst temperature: 1600º F – 1800º F (can reduce bone to ash)
Long-burst temperature: 2700º F (can melt stone)
A mixture of hydrogen and methane generated as a byproduct from gastric bacteria that aid in digestion, is siphoned from the gizzard and gut into various small gastric sacs where it is held in reserve. When the gas is needed, a dragon can inflate its third lung (aka flight or fire bladder) for use in exhaling fire and/or to assist with flight.
Lying to either side of the esophagus are two flexible tubes, lined with glands that secrete a substance that protects them against the gases. These tubes open into the buccal cavity and have valves that can be opened and closed as needed. At the rear of the mouth, just in front of the gas tubules are the fire molars. These are large, hollow tooth-like structures that collect the black powder platinum as it is masticated by the hardened, ridged surface of the dragon’s mouth and grinding molars.
To create fire, a dragon actually inhales oxygen as it pumps the gas out of the fire tubes. The gas combines with oxygen and is ignited by the black powder platinum extracted from chewing flamestone. The strength of their exhalation controls the intensity of the flame and its distance.
A structure called the false palette prevents a backdraft, and sucking the fire down the esophagus or trachea.
Flamestone – A Source of Contention
Flamestone is a rock-like mineral that forms deep inside of Aereth. It is found in small amounts all over the world with the largest deposits being in and around extinct volcanoes. Lava tubes are a major source of flamestone.
This mineral contains a form of black platinum unique to Aereth. When ground into a powder and combined with certain other elements, it becomes an ignition catalyst. Dragons chew this rock to extract the black powder and then masticate it into its powder form where it is stored in the cavities in the fire molars.
Fangs and Teeth
A dragon’s fangs and teeth are large and numerous. Like sharks, if they lose one, another takes its place. In size, the teeth rival that of a megalodon or tyrannosaurus rex. Fangs are long and razor-sharp, designed for ripping and tearing while serrated teeth are designed for shearing meat from the bone. The dragon also has bone, and rock, crushing molars.
Portals and Teleporting
The dragons can open portals, arcane structures that allow for the near instantaneous travel from one point on Aereth to another. They can also sense the opening of Dark Portals which they can close with their fire. A dragons cannot pinpoint a travel location via the portal. They need a Morrighan or other biped to read a map and transmit the coordinates to them. They can open a random portal for escaping an enemy. However, they can only return to a place they have been to previously.
Note: This is pure magic. Do not try applying logic to it.
Dragons can shapeshift into a human form. However, it has to be one they have imprinted (wingbonded) with at some point in time. A dragon that has never served with the Morrighan will not be able to shapeshift to a human form. Technically, this is mimicry not truly putting on the shape of a biped. Not all dragons take advantage of this ability. It does not manifest until they are old enough for imprinting (2,000 years of age). Most Empresses will never shapeshift although she may be imprinted. Her rex usually does to facilitate communications with foreigners.
Please note that the bipedal form is not natural for dragons. No dragons will choose to remain in this form for long periods of time. In fact, it can become painful after extended periods of time because of the need to refill the 3rd lung as gasses build up in their gut.
Dragons can also shift to a smaller form of themselves. This is their preferred method for gaining entry into enclosed areas that are too small to fit their normal bulk. They cannot shift smaller than that of a hatchling dragon. All of their abilities are equally reduced in size or effect.
Their tails are long and most notably act as a rudder and balancing device when in flight. In fact, when in flight, the tail flattens out. It also has air sacs that can be inflated and deflated as needed to help maintain height and speed.
Over and above that, the tails are also defensive weapons. Some come armed with armor and long sharp spikes, others are simply long and flexible and can be used as a whip. More than one enemy combatant has been beheaded by the whip-like tail of a dragons.
Dragons are equipped with long curving talons on their front feet and shorter, curved claws on their back feet. Both sets of claws are semi-retractable. Their front paws are quite dexterous, much like a parrot’s feet, allowing them to grip and hold prey. They can also use both sets of claws defensively.
Wings and Flight
Flight can be used offensively and defensively. When in flight, dragons are very hard to hurt or kill. They are more vulnerable when grounded. Even then, a dragon can flex its wings forward and backward generating a strong enough gust of air to knock a person to the ground. Usually, a dragon will not risk its wings and folds them tight to its body during ground combat.
Dragons can raise their wings and fan the feathers to show brilliantly colored eyespots. This serves to fool some predators into believing they are, in fact, eyes and confuses them. They will also stretch their wings high and wide, then fan and shake them, making the dragon appear larger and more intimidating. This behavior is more common in juveniles, but never disappears entirely.
Fire & Flight
The dragons’s ability to fly and to exhale (breathe) fire is inextricably linked. Both abilities can be used defensively and offensively.
The gastric bladder is a large organ that is located between the heart and diaphragm. Because it also inflates and deflates and is located between the lungs, it is commonly referred to as the dragon’s third lung. The gastric bladder serves two main purposes. It aids in flight by storing hydrogen and methane extracted from the gut during digestion and this same gas is used in the exhalation of fire. In an adult dragon, the gastric bladder expands and contracts as needed to maintain altitude when flying. Expelling gas to breathe fire can deplete the reserves to a point where they cannot maintain altitude. Generally, dragons will avoid depleting their gas reserves to the point that they cannot fly.
Dragons have two additional organs that assist them in flight and in the ability to exhale fire – the gastric bladder and the third lung.
Some nations have developed a sort of napalm by combining the dragon gas and the sap of a certain tree within thin glass bulbs that explode into a sticky fireball. This substance is known as warfire (i.e. Greek Fire). It cannot be extinguished with water. The only thing that will put it out is a solution of brine or vinegar.
Despite their magnificence, dragons have limitations. They are not invincible. Few diseases affect them, but they can be injured and even killed. Please use some common sense when creating a dragon character. Whether you include it in their bio or not, Admin will ask you to rewrite posts that go too far in making your character invincible.
A felldrake is a massive mounted long-range crossbow that has only one purpose – to kill dragons or drakhmar. No one is sure who first designed this weapon. It was like a race of Murians or Travelers that feared dragons. Over the years, it has been adapted into many forms, including a lighter but just as lethal variation carried by groups of dragonslayers.
Yes, many cultures have adapted the Morrighan’s stingers (repeating crossbows) to be used against the dragons. Since they were designed to bring down very hard to kill Shadowborn, including drakhmar, they can be used quite effectively against dragons. They have reverse engineered their weapons from captured stingers. However, since stingers use the same gas that dragons manufacture naturally, it is hard to keep them operational.
Standard weapons can be used against dragons if they are strong enough, magical enough, or the user is skilled enough. However, when going against someone only armed with regular weapons, the dragon has the advantage.
A major weapon in the dragon-slaying arsenal is a narcotic made from the merasha plant. Dragons are highly susceptible to the hallucinogenic, magic inhibiting, and toxic effects of the drug made from the plant’s oil. If so much as nicked by a crossbow dart or a blade that has been dipped in the oil, it will immobilize the dragon. For this reason, dragoneye hunters often use it since they need to keep the dragon alive while extracting its eyes.
More will be added as needed.