Fire, Fury, Pride, and Power! Dragons!
“They reigned terror from the skies. Breath of flame, lightning, poison, and fury. To be their ally is to live. To be their enemy is to greet the afterlife. Only the grandest heroes dare stand against a dragon. Thankfully, not all of them are our enemies.” – Records of Akenthas.
There are few creatures in our world that can claim to contend with dragons. It’s certainly a good thing that dragons keep to themselves for the most part as they could wipe out our civilization if they so chose.
The greatest wizards have overcome dragons, but that is usually with enormous preparation and is a risky venture. And, when I say the greatest wizards, I don’t mean those thought of as prodigies or those respected by their peers.
No. I speak of those whose power shattered the limits of mortality. Those great and terrible wizards who made empires quiver in fear. For only that level of power can hope to contend with a single dragon.
So, what makes dragons so formidable?
It’s a long list.
For starters, they tend to be enormous creatures with scales so tough they can shrug off volleys of arrows. And, though they are often portrayed as sluggish, lazy creatures, they are in fact swift and agile.
There are many types of dragon of course, so I can’t go too heavily into their physical features as that is far too specific a thing for the outline of such a varied race. So, we’ll be dealing in generalities here.
Almost all dragons are capable of flight, and of those most are far faster than gryphons. They have razor-sharp claws that cut through steel like paper. A few casual swipes from a dragon has laid entire armies low.
And, dragons have all kinds of deadly breath attacks. This can usually be determined by the color of their scales, but not always and there is such an impressive variety that the only way to be sure of what kind of breath weapon a dragon has is to see it used.
And, their breath weapons far overpower even chimera. In fact, it’s good to keep in mind that dragons have been recorded killing chimera with casual ease.
Not always, of course. But, that is usually either because the dragon in question is exceedingly young and thus weak, or because the chimera is exceptionally powerful even for one of its kind.
On that note, it’s good to remember that dragons get stronger as they age and there is no known limit to their life-spans. Many think they are, in fact, immortal. I am one of those people.
There may be no limit to how powerful a dragon can be. Ancient dragons were recorded as giving even the greatest gods, demons, and angels significant trouble.
But, in my opinion, none of that is what makes dragons so impossibly powerful.
Oh, if they were mindless beasts, they may well shatter our world if they rampaged, but we’d stand a better chance of winning. But, they are intelligent. Fiercely so!
And, many are capable wizards. Yes. Dragon wizards. Some are even gifted in that regard. Imagine a being of such physical strength with hundreds or even thousands of years of practice?
The greatest weakness for mortal wizards is their body. It’s often what holds them back from attaining greater power. Dragons have no such concern.
And, more than that most dragons have other special gifts. I highly doubt that all of them have been recorded.
But, to mention a few to give you an idea of some additional capabilities: There are dragons who can fortify their already tough scales to make them nigh-indestructible. Ones that can phase through physical objects. Dragons that can transform their physical bodies into lightning for a time and move at blinding speeds. And, so much more…
Keep in mind these gifts are not spells. They are gifts particular to the dragon. Some share the same or similar gifts, but they are still an inherent ability.
Do you begin to see why we should all be thankful they choose to keep to themselves? Apparently, this is because dragons see us as being beneath them. Attacking us would be like a king calling in the army to destroy an anthill.
They are prideful creatures indeed. And, I for one am extremely glad of that.
But, some dragons do attack from time to time, and others take humanoids as slaves. There’s little to be done about it, but given how rare it is I suspect that there is more to the story than simple pride. We know that dragons have their own society, kingdoms, and cities (usually flying ones). So, perhaps they have laws regarding the treatment of lesser races like us?
There are hints of this in ancient texts, but we’d need to find a dragon to ask. Fortunately or unfortunately, they are exceedingly difficult to track down. Some people even believe they are extinct or have moved to another plane.
But, such theories have been largely disproved as dragons are sometimes sighted. Still… it is odd that we don’t see more of them. They’re huge creatures after all.
But, it may be entirely by their own choice. Also, dragons have been said to be able to take humanoid form if they so choose. So, they may be walking among us just for fun. Doing so greatly weakens them, however. But, even in such a weakened state, they could still deflect blows that would rip even an armored man to pieces.
Or so the texts say. I’ve never found a dragon willing to help me test such things.
Dragons’ thoughts, emotions, and motivations vary greatly. Even in the ancient texts, there is enough variety in described behavior to make it difficult to nail down anything they have in common.
However, there are a few things that it seems all or most dragons share.
Dragons love treasure. But, they value far more than gold and ancient texts describe dragon hoards as being a unique depiction of a particular dragon.
Some favor gems and precious metals, others favor magical items, and others prefer art and tapestry. It’s likely that there are many long-lost texts and artwork stuck away in some dragon’s hoard.
They also all seem to be prideful in some way, and they tend to have a strange concept of honor that is more important to them than their own lives in many ways. But, don’t let this make you think that dragons are lovely creatures of righteousness. They have their own ideas of honor, and even an honorable dragon is probably best avoided. And, of course, not all dragons are honorable. Some have sunk into depths of evil that even the darkest of liches never reached.
Dragons have a complex social structure that can differ from kingdom to kingdom. They worship Dracostrazx above all others, but some still worship the dragon titan from ages long past (whose name I shall not mention). It seems that they don’t tolerate such worship though, much as we don’t tolerate the worship of the titans or other beings either.
But, what I found interesting was that as powerful as dragons are, their society isn’t too different from our own. Some are tailors, carpenters, builders, painters, soldiers, or any number of other professions.
For all that they seem to look down upon us, I don’t think we’re all that different.
Now to dispel a few falsehoods surrounding these incredible creatures.
For starters, dragons are not lizards. They are not cold-blooded. There are some who are utterly frigid, but those tend to breathe ice so is it all that surprising? Most dragons are said to be very warm indeed.
They do still like to bask in sources of heat though. But, it seems to be more like how a lazy cat might lie in the sun for a time. A pleasure, not a necessity.
Also, some bathe in volcanoes.
Dragons lay eggs, but it’s a rare thing. It’s likely just as well as their impressive life-span, and enormous size would mean the world would be covered in them very quickly were this not the case.
A dragon’s eggs also take a very long time to hatch. Decades sometimes. But, once hatched, dragons grow fairly quickly until they reach the size of a young adult. After which time, they mature far slower but do still grow. Ancient dragons are massive indeed. Some are said to be the size of mountains.
While as an egg or shortly after hatching, dragons are at their most vulnerable. Their scales are considerably weaker, their breath weapons are underdeveloped, and they have little knowledge or experience.
- Nicholas Wolfram, Professor of Monsterology at Lestria University