The Dragons who live on Centuria bear no resemblance to the dragons of Anne McCaffrey's Pern®. So if you are coming to Dragonlords of Dumnonia from Pern® fandom, just forget everything you think you know about dragons <g>. Or, if you are looking for Pern®-type dragons, you need to check out one of the Pern® fan clubs.
Centurian Dragons do have a few things in common with the dragons that are detailed in TSR®'s gaming systems, such as Advanced Dungeons and Dragons®, Dragonlance® and Mystara®. This is because TSR® used folklore and mythology from all over the world when developing its game. L.A. Malcor used those same folklores and mythologies to develop the dragons for the planet of Centuria, so there's bound to be a little overlap. But the Dragons used in Dragonlords of Dumnonia are distinctly different from TSR®'s dragons in a number of ways. If you are coming to Dragonlords of Dumnonia from a TSR® system, be careful! There are details about the Centurian Dragons that simply do not match the dragons with which you are familiar. If you are looking for TSR®-type dragons, however, you can find them through TSR®.
A Brief History of Dragons
Long before anyone started mucking about with the species that were native to Centuria, there lived a creature called a "bronze dragon." These were coastal reptiles who lived in caves along the Dumnonian shore. They had normal, reptilian, bronze- colored hides, hence their name. They survived on the bounty of the sea, and the original Dumnonians worshiped them as gods.
Then the Wizards of Corin got the bright idea to try some experiments on these reptiles. The notion was to provide the revered beasts with armored skin--and a few other enhancements--to help protect them from their enemies. A noble goal, but there were a few problems.
The first type of Dragon created was armored with Galantite metal, the most precious metal on Centuria. The resulting male was named Cheyenne, and he was given two breath weapons: an incredibly bright bolt of magical light and an icy "cloud" that could freeze anything. Highly intelligent, he agreed with his creators that no more of his species should be manufactured: The cost of the amount of Galantite metal required to create even one such Dragon was staggering. Creating an entire race would deplete most of the known ore deposits, not to mention completely bankrupt the Wizards and their supporters. Cheyenne reconciled himself to a life alone and withdrew to the semi-mythical Island of the White Dragon, which is located somewhere between Dumnonia and the Northern Wastes.
The third type of Dragon was armored with silver. This time the Wizards incorporated a bolt of electricity and a "cloud" of chlorine gas into the design. Unfortunately, the noble scholars didn't think that one through well enough. It was impossible to raise the young Silver Dragons anywhere near other living creatures because early attempts to use their breath weapons tended to kill their caretakers. There are several more of these Dragons than there are Golds, but they have withdrawn into their own territory in the Dragon's Back Mountains out of concern for the safety of their allies.
The fourth type of Dragon was armored with iron. A silvery bolt of magical light and a blast of sound served as the breath weapons. The Wizards soon learned, however, that the sound blast caused destruction to the belongings of friend as well as foe, and even short association with the Dragons could render any caretakers deaf. Thus, the Iron Dragons also withdrew to a secluded area of the Dragon's Back Mountains.
The fifth type of Dragon was a modification of the Iron Dragon. Armored with steel, the Dragon sported a magical beam that could magnetize any metal in addition to an acid spray. The nobles of Daethia, irritated by the havoc the magnetic weapon caused among their armored troops, forced the Wizards to send the Steel Dragons into seclusion in the Dragon's Back Mountains as well.
The sixth type of Dragon boasted copper armor. The red bolt of magical light that served as one of its breath weapons proved to be far cooler than the light breathed by the Gold Dragons. The relative ineffectiveness of this weapon and the poisonous nature of the sulfur-scented cloud that formed the second breath weapon soon drove the Wizards to abandon the development of this type. The Copper Dragons, rather than withdrawing the Dragon's Back Mountains, opted instead to carve a home out of the deep deserts of Dumnonia to raise their young. Occasionally, an adult Copper Dragon will show up at the King's Camp in Dumnonia and request to become a part of a warband for a dragonless Dumnonian warrior.
The seventh type of Dragon was a modification of the Copper Dragon. Armored with brass, these Dragons boasted a bolt of magical light--not quite as bright as Cheyenne's--and a powerful scent as breath weapons. The scent unfortunately proved to be poisonous to their caretakers. Like the Copper Dragons, the Brass Dragons withdrew to the Dumnonian desert. Adult Brasses will occasionally offer to join warbands as well.
By this time Corin got tired of his underlings' mistakes and decided to take matters into his own hands. First, he created the eighth type of Dragon by crossing the original bronzes with Coppers and a lot of magic. The result was a bronze-armored reptilian creature that breathed magical light and a stench that sent pretty much everyone within breathing distance running away as fast as their legs could carry them. Not to be discouraged so easily, Corin set out to breed a race of caretakers for his "flying skunks" who would actually like the smell of the magical beasts. Using volunteers from the Half-Elves and the Dumnonian peoples, Corin interbred his prototypes with humanoids. He eventually wound up with a new breed of Dumnonian who could care for the Bronzes. He was about to leave the matter at that, when he got a phenomenal break. An evil god, known as the Dark One, used the forbidden spells of time magic to go into the past to attempt to destroy Corin's Dragons. The god caught one of the Breeding Females and sired a child on her. The offspring of the unholy union was one Tchang, a Dragon beyond Corin's wildest dreams. Tchang proved to have powers of Prophecy and a natural ability to shapeshift, both skills that he was able to pass onto his Hatchlings. Corin bred the new Bronzes back to his original stock, and the next generation became the first true Dumnonian Bronzes. This new breed of Bronzes could be made to link telepathically with certain superior warriors among their caretakers, beginning with Tchang's granddaughter Tkai and the king of the new Dumnonians, Kashara. The result was a fighting force with capabilities far beyond anything Centurians had ever seen. Corin attempted to duplicate the telepathic "Bond" between his earlier Dragons and the Dumnonians, but the magic failed to work for any of the earlier types except in the case of Tchang--a quirk that Corin attributed to that particular Dragon's semi-divine nature. The Wizard also learned that attempting to Bond a Rider to more than one Dragon resulted in the death of the Rider. Corin settled the Bronzes and their caretakers deep in the Dumnonian desert, gave them laws and rituals that would protect their new society, and otherwise pretty much left them to their own devices. Some Dragons chose to follow various professions that aided their society, becoming priests or warriors or guilders or, on rare occasions, even mages. But mostly the Bronzes chose to simply Bond with the Dumnonian warriors, carrying "Eternal Death to the Dark One!"
(For more information on the Dumnonian Bronzes, see Maelor of Corin's Report.
Certain Archdevils and Demonlords, irritated by the effectiveness of Corin's Dragons against their minions, began kidnaping Dragons of all eight types and "experimenting" with magic and breeding programs of their own in the dungeons of Cinnamar. Unable to procure the metals they needed from the Galantites, the evil Wizards in charge of the project settled for creating creatures with reptilian-style hides in an entire spectrum of colors. The double-breath weapons also proved to be beyond the magical skills of these Wizards, so each of the colored dragons wound up with only one type of attack.
The violet dragons would have been the major triumph of the dark Wizards except no female violets ever survived. The violets breathe a black light that inflicts great damage on their opponents. The enormous amount of power required to create these dragons, though, has insured that only a handful of violets exist.
While all of this was going on, Corin noticed something strange about the clutches laid by his Dumnonian Bronzes. No clutch was ever "true." Each one contained at least one egg that would hatch a "mutant" Dragon. The mutants were smaller than the other Dragons, and their hides are a blend of colors rather than a single color. For instance, if you mix yellow and blue, you get green--not something streaked with yellow and blue. One of the colors was always from the eight-types created by the Wizards of Corin and one was always from the eight-types created by the evil Wizards, although up to ten different colors could be combined in the same dragon. The mutants had reptilian-style hides and had all of the breath weapons from their combined heritage. For instance, a red/Bronze/yellow mutant would look a bit like an antiqued-orange dragon and would breathe fire, magical light, the Bronze dragon scent, and a sulfurous cloud. While Corin hypothesized that older mutants could be taught to breathe these weapons independently of each other, early attempts by Hatchlings often resulted in lethal explosions. Because of this and because the mutants proved to be mules, Corin originally ordered that all mutant eggs should be destroyed. Shashtah Dragonheart has recently reversed this law and rendered the mutants relatively safe by Bonding them to Riders. All of the mutants are adept at learning magic, but few have the time to study it in any depth. Some mutants have expressed a desire to follow other professions, but none of them have had a chance to pursue that course yet. A spell cast by the White Wolf enables one Rider to Bond with multiple mutants, but the conflicting breath weapons of the mutants generally wind up killing such Riders.
|Dragon Color||Dragon Color|
|Brass||Magical Light and Poisonous Scent|
|Bronze||Magical Light and Scent repulsive to non-Dumnonians|
|Copper||Magical Red Light and Poisonous Scent|
|Iron||Magical Silvery Light and Blast of Sound|
|Gold||Magical Purple Light and Sickeningly Sweet Scent|
|Silver||Electricity and Chlorine Gas|
|Steel||Magnetic Beam and Acid|
No mutant has ever shared the Galantite Dragon's breath weapon nor has any combination of mutants ever produced another weapon like the liquid light/napalm that is breathed by Quatar's mutant, Peri.
Unlike the Dumnonian Bronzes, the mutants--with the exception of Peri, who is a demigod--cannot shapeshift. This may be normal for them, or they may be suffering aftereffects of Cobal's shielding spells. Also, it is not known what the normal mutant aging cycle will be like. The current mutants all hatched during an explosion that involved time magic. These dragons are aging at an alarming rate, approximately twenty-five times faster than a Dumnonian Bronze.
Dumnonian Bronzes have three natural forms:
|Trueform||This is their shape as a Bronze Dragon. In a non-magic zone, this is the form to which a Bronze will revert.|
|Half-dragonform||This is a shape halfway between dragonform and humanform. The head is draconic and the body humanoid. It may or may not have a tail. Breath weapons are available to the character in this form.|
|Humanform||This is the natural, instinctive form to which the Dragon shifts when first learning to appear as a human. The form is always Dumnonian. The sex of the natural humanform matches the biological sex of the dragonform.|
The basic dragonform for the Dumnonian bronze consists of a metal hide of pure bronze, a wedge-shaped head, a serpentine neck, a powerful body, four muscular legs and a whip-like tail. Tough, translucent leather wings sprout from the Dragon's sides. Wicked metal thorns run along the spine, but the spiked ridge flattens out briefly where the Dragon's neck joins the shoulders, providing the place where the Rider sits. Glistening, faceted amber eyes sparkle like jewels on the sides of the Dragon's armored head beneath transparent protective lids that can be lowered against the desert glare. The Dragon has pointed ears that swivel, not unlike those of a horse. Flaps protect the nostrils in the Dragon's squared off muzzle opened. Bronzes also have a forked tongue that can be used to clean Riders as well as to catch the scent of prey.
Beyond the three basic forms the Bronzes can shapeshift fairly much without restraint--other than they have to have observed the form to which they are shifting in some detail at some point in their past. The longer a shapeshifter stays in a borrowed shape, the more he or she becomes like that form. For instance, a Dragon who becomes a tree may think at the speed of a tree, taking years and years to remember to revert his or her natural form. The same is true for a Dragon who becomes a rat or a wolf or anything else. Also, something that wouldn't bother a Dragon much, say an arrow, can skewer a rat quite handily. Because of these inherent dangers, most Dragons avoid taking anything other than their humanform, half-dragonform or trueform except in extreme emergencies.
Most Bronzes, like most Dumnonians, have been rendered infertile by the
interbreeding between the races. Therefore a designation as a Breeding Female or
Breeding Male makes an individual extremely valuable to Dumnonian society.
Because so few of these fertile Dragons and Dumnonians are left, the monarch has
the power to order forced breedings to ensure the survival of the races. The current
Dragonking, Shashtah Dragonheart, prefers not to do so since he finds such matings
distasteful (a prejudice leftover from his largely Daethian upbringing) and since he
trusts that the individual Breeder's sense of duty will lead them to mate as often as
possible without his direct intervention.
A Breeding Female may mate with a Breeding Male as often as she likes after her twenty-sixth birthnight. She is fertile from the time she turns sixteen onward, but she risks dying from the strain of carrying and laying eggs if she breeds while she is too young. One of the primary duties of Dragonriders with Striplings is to ensure that Breeding Females do not come into contact with a Breeding Male too soon. If the Breeding Female has recently lain a clutch, she may see a Healer prior to the mating to ensure that she is "recovered" sufficiently to become pregnant. Most Breeding Females, though, prefer to wait the two rotations (forty days) it takes for their bodies to recover naturally after laying a clutch.
The Dragons breed on the ground during something that looks far more like a fight than a lovemaking session. One such encounter is sufficient to fertilize the Breeding Female's eggs.
WARNING: If a Breeding Female mates with a non-Dragon, fertile male while in her humanform, she will become pregnant and will be stuck in her humanform, unable to shapeshift for twenty-five years. If a Breeding Male mates with a non-Dragon fertile female while in his humanform, the non-Dragon will become pregnant, and the Breeding Male will be stuck in his humanform, unable to shapeshift for twenty-five years. We are playing real time here, so all such encounters require BOD approval (to make sure that you really understand the consequences <g>). The only exception to this is that if a Breeding Female is carrying fertilized eggs or if the non-Dragon female is already pregnant, then the magic will not trap the draconic member of the mating pair.
The Breeding Female carries her eggs for 20 days, then lays them in a nest, which she carves out of the whaleback dunes at the entrance to the Valley of Ancients. After laying one (which would be a mutant) to five eggs, the Breeding Female reports back for duty. All eggs have a leathery shell that hardens in the heat of the desert sun. Pure bronze eggs are light bronze in color. Mutant eggs are speckled with the colors of the various types of dragons that the mutant will combine. For more details, see the Dragon Breeding Manual.
The Dumnonian Ruler cares for the eggs during the next month. When the youngsters Hatch, they pass into the Ruler's care until they complete their fifth year. The "Hatchlings" are then assigned to Dragonlords who care for them until they complete their fifteenth year. These "Fledglings" are then assigned to Dragonriders, who work with the "Striplings" to complete their training, a process that usually takes until the Dragon is twenty-six.
Upon turning twenty-six, the young adults are turned out of the base camps and may either Bond, find a way to make themselves useful to the Dumnonians (such as studying a profession), or withdraw to the deep desert to meditate or do whatever else they feel like doing. Most Dragons choose to Bond.
The ages of the lifecycle, then, look like this:
Most Dragons have a profession of Warrior in their humanforms. That's because
fighting is the easiest skill to pick up in a Dragonlord's base camp.
A Dragon with a particular religious bent might be able to become a Priest or Priestess, although they don't usually complete such training until they are well into their thirties.
A Dragon who manages to have a Trainer or Bond with a Rider who is a mage or who spends a lot of leave time in the Elven Kingdom could possibly pick up some skill at magic. But this is very unusual and requires BOD approval.
While Dragon Prophets and Dragon Bards exist, these characters are specialty types and are reserved for L.A. Malcor.
In addition to the breath weapons and shapeshifting abilities, Dumnonian Bronzes
have a few other special characteristics.
The Bronzes have excellent night vision. They can see the lifeforce of living organisms even in total darkness. And they can reportedly see invisible objects and creatures as well.
Food consumed in their humanform and sufficient to sustain a Dumnonian is also sufficient to sustain the Dragon. The Bronzes usually eat in their dragonforms, however, finding that sort of sustenance more satisfying. They do not require anywhere near the amount of food you would expect for a creature their size, a quirk that is probably a function of the same magic that enables them to fly and do all the other wondrous things that they can do. Still, they do need to eat and drink regualrly to remain healthy.
A Bronze Dragon can speak telepathically with all other Bronze Dragons. A Bonded Dragon can speak telepathically with his or her Rider. All Bronzes can speak telepathically with the Dumnonian Ruler as well.
All Bronze Dragons can teleport at will, but their accuracy is better when they are aided by visualization from their Bonded Rider, provided that the Pair has undergone the Training.
Bronze Dragons speak in their native tongue. They first acquire the ability to speak Clear-Talk, a form of cant used by the Dumnonians with the Dragons, while in their humanform when they are in the care of the Dumnonian Ruler and the Dragonlords. They later learn to speak Clear-Talk in their dragonforms, usually while they are under the care of a Dragonrider. They may learn additional languages from their Riders (aided by the telepathic link), other Bronzes or during their own adventures.
There is absolutely no such thing as an evil Dumnonian Bronze. Every one of them is a draconic version of a saint. They have their foibles, but they are Champions of the Light.
Permanently Shapeshifted Dragons
There's a War going on. A big one. With lots of powerful magic spells
being tossed around. Occasionally someone or something is in the wrong place
at the wrong time and something bad happens. One of the many things
that can go wrong in such a situation is that a Wizard can turn you into something
you aren't. So a Daethian fighter might turn into a pig, or a pocket rat might become a
Bronze Dragon. The Centurian gods seem to have a sense of humor about
the matter (or at least Tobar does) and will occasionally make the transformation
Bronze Dragons who started out as something else in life are almost indistinguishable from True Bronzes. The main difference is that such creatures have not undergone the extensive Training that all Bronze Dragons must complete before being allowed to Bond with a Rider. The Dragonking will allow such Dragons to Bond, either with Dumnonians or with non-Dumnonians--provided the Warrior has completed his or her Dragonquest. The Bond Partners, however, are thought to be a danger to a century because of the Dragon's incomplete training and mindset that corresponds at least in part to its original shape. Most of these Pairs hire on to protect caravans or make their living raiding Mount Cinnamar on their own.
Permanently Shapeshifted Bronzes are infertile and may not Breed.
There is another type of creature similar to a Bronze Dragon only the trueform is Dumnonian instead of Bronze. These beings are called Dragonhearts, and only one-- Shashtha Dragonheart, Dragonking of Dumnonia--is currently alive. This is a specialty type of character reserved for L.A. Malcor, but just so you know what you're up against when you are dealing with the Dumnonian monarch, here is a brief description of the hybrid.
It is said that all of the greatest rulers and heroes of the Dumnonians have been Dragonhearts. A Dragonheart can only be created by the union of an UnBonded Bronze Dragon and an UnBonded Dumnonian. UnBonded Bronzes are most seriously not interested in becoming stuck in their humanforms for twenty-five years, so such matings almost never take place. Even when two UnBonded partners of the correct species do mate, a Dragonheart is not guaranteed. The Dragonblood must run strong for the hybrid to be created.
Initially, the resulting offspring will appear to be a Dumnonian with at most a few draconic quirks. A strong preference for Dragons over non-Dragons as partners in mating, the ability to take ridiculous amounts of physical punishment compared to a normal Dumnonian, fierce protectiveness of anyone who is considered a friend or family, an absurd level of attachment to Hatchlings, and so forth are traits that can and do occur in all Dumnonian's who have a bit more than their fair share of Dragonblood. But in the Dragonheart all these traits--and then some--combine. In Shashtah's case, he happened to be a Prophet as well as a Dragonheart so his special powers began to awaken early. For most Dragonhearts, however, their powers do not awaken until they Bond with a Dumnonian Bronze.
A Dragonheart's powers are essentially those of a Bronze Dragon. He can shapeshift at will. He has a trueform of "Dumnonian", a half-dragonform, and a dragonform. In dragonform he resembles a Bronze in every way. He has their breath weapons and teleporting ability. He maintains his telepathy with all Dragons even in his humanform, a power that is usually reserved for the Dumnonian Ruler. To Bronze Dragon eyes, a Dragonheart appears to have the image of a Dumnonian Bronze superimposed over his or her humanform, so even the youngest Hatchling can readily identify this sort of creature. The Dragonheart's shapeshifting powers and telepathy do not manifest, however, until he Bonds with a Bronze. Also, all Dragonhearts are mules. They can try all they want, but they will never produce offspring of their own.
Bonding a Bronze to a Bronze generally kills one or both Partners, which is why the monarchs refuse to let Dragon ride Dragon. With a Dragonheart, it is possible for the creature to Bond with a Bronze, but there are some severe drawbacks. The first Dragon of a Dragonheart either dies at the end of five years or the Pair suffers a Bond Break at that time. Both traumas are usually severe enough that the Dragonheart is not willing to Bond again. If the Dragonheart does Bond again, the creature will become increasingly Dragon-like over the years, slowly going insane as it loses its human side. This usually results in the death of the Dragonheart. Shashtah got lucky on a couple of counts. First, he is a Prophet and protected by the magic of his god, the Lord of Light. Second, his Dragon, Tphah, got stuck in humanform at a critical point in the cycle for him. Third, Shashtah likes Dragons a lot, but he honestly has no racial preference when it comes to his mates. This last point has enabled him to form a very tight relationship with his Camp Commander, Kashon, a full-blooded, extremely male Breeding Dumnonian. Kashon's main function as the Dragonking's secondary mate is to keep Shashtah in touch with his human side, something the Commander has been doing quite admirably so far. The combination of these factors has made Shashtah the longest-lived Dragonheart ever, and the beloved Dumnonian ruler is showing no signs of dying any time soon.
When the existing mutants hatched following the duel between Shane and Miranda, the White Wolf enabled them to Bond with any suitable Rider that they landed near. They cannot currently shapeshift, and it's uncertain whether they will ever be able to do so. Other than that, their abilities are roughly the same as the Dumnonian Bronzes, except the mutants are smaller than the Bronzes and are aging at about twenty-five times the Bronze rate. On the plus side, that means that the mutants are big enough to carry their Bond Partners in about a year after they Hatch. On the minus side, that means the mutants probably only have a lifespan of about 100 years, whereas no one knows exactly how long a Dumnonian Bronze can live (most of them die in battle). The shorter lifespan could be a sever problem, given the Age Magic that is used by some of the Dark One's minions. While most Dumnonians are in their mid- to late-thirties when they Bond with a Bronze, individuals who Bond with mutants may do so as young as their mid- to late-teens if they take a mutant from the Mass Bonding that was engineered by the White Wolf. If they take mutants in the normal order of things, Shashtah insists that they demonstrate a certain level of competency, usually in fighting, which would put the Riders of most mutants at least in their twenties.
The mutants who haven't managed to kill themselves or their Bond Partners in ill-fated explosions caused by the untrained use of conflicting breath weapons have all been sent to Rashtar for Training. Special Dumnonian Dragonteachers are on assignment at makeshift base camps in the region, trying to keep these youngsters from killing themselves before they become old enough to fly in their own centuries. (One of these centuries, Rainier's is open as a Dragonlord club.)
Mutants who hatch in the Valley of Ancients may be subject to different rules. We simply don't know what's going to happen with them yet!
These are either the original reptiles that wizards bred into Dragons or a form created by a wizard for amusment or something else that no one has thought of before. Whatever miniature Dragons really came from, they are quite deffinitely a separate species on the current timeline. They look like tiny Bronzes. At full growth, miniature Dragons are no larger than a small, newly-Hatched Bronze (7' long with a 14' wingspan), though they are frequently smaller. In fact, miniature Dragons can be small enough for a fairy to ride comfortably (One hypothesis is that the miniature Dragons were indeed originally created as mounts for fairies.). The most common size of miniature Dragon for a character to encounter is something that is roughly the size of a large tom-cat (about 3' long with a 6' wingspan). The smallest miniature Dragons (generally newly hatched individuals) are 1' long with a 2' wingspan. Miniature Dragons have a magical light breathweapon, but they do not have the scent attack of a True Bronze. Miniatures speak their own language, but they do not have the jaw and tongue structure to support Clear Talk. They are, however, projecting and receiving empaths, so they usually manage to get their point across.
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