A species depth study

Introduction

Dragons are the descendants of dinosaurs (see History of the Dragons), but have gained magical powers and abilities far beyond what the original dinosaurs were capable of. They can fly or swim, shapeshift and even teleport!


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Appearance

Dragons are shape-shifters. They can take any form they wish, including switching genders. The lupi are believed to be their part-human descendants. Each dragon has three “true” or central forms, that they can take from birth: a male humanoid, a female humanoid, and their original “dragon” form which is either an air or water dragon.
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Killian, an air dragon prince, in his three central forms

Dragons in their reptilian form are much larger than humans - the largest are capable of carrying three or four riders comfortably. Their colours and types are inherited, and their size indicates their magical power – the largest are the strongest magically as well as physically. Air dragons can be any colour at all. The royal [[#|family]] tend to be gold, bronze or copper. Water dragons are usually watery colours such as green or blue, and their royal family are silver.

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History

History of the Dragons

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Hoarding

Dragons are natural collectors. They are traditionally portrayed as sitting on a heap of gold and jewels, but actually dragons collect all sorts of things. Some collect statues or paintings, others collect dresses and boots, while some do prefer gold, silver and other shiny objects. This collection is known as a hoard. Every dragon has one, although for a child it may be no more than a few storybooks and their toys!

Dragons protect their hoards very fiercely, and will only show them to someone they trust. To be given, or even loaned, something from a dragon's hoard is a mark of absolute trust and respect. A notable example is that traditionally, dragons give each other gifts from their hoards when they mate. They also give gifts to their children when they reach maturity, to help them [[#|start]] their own hoard.

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Life Cycle

Birth

Dragons lay eggs, like birds and reptiles, but they also produce milk like mammals. A dragon is born in reptile form, from an egg, and can take either of its two human forms within a few hours. A baby dragon needs to drink milk, but also needs raw meat. They have huge appetites, probably because they grow very fast at first.
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Artist's impression of a dragon hatching


Childhood

Young dragons are kept in their parents' lairs until they are old enough to defend themselves. They are not taken into human lands until they are at least 25 years old. By this point their human form is the equivalent of a human 5-year-old (see Growth below). Dragons are extremely protective of their young, especially the babies, and will also band together to protect a nesting trio (see Mating below) and their eggs.

Growth

Young dragons age at 1/5 human speed - a dragon that is 50 years old will look like a human 10-year-old. In dragon form, they start off about the size of a newborn kitten, and at 5 years old are around the size of a [[#|small]] horse or a large dog. Dragons reach maturity at the age of about 80 or 90, by which time they are usually large enough to carry more than one rider easily - i.e. around elephant size, not including wings or tail. Once a dragon reaches the age of 100 (the equivalent of a human 20-year-old), they stop aging physically for the next 100 years, then when they reach 200 they start aging again, but at 1/10 human speed.

Lifespan

The life expectancy of a dragon is about 800. This is the equivalent of a human 80-year-old. However, the dragons have legends of heroes that lived to be much older, including one that escaped death for many years past his allotted time, finally dying on his 1000th birthday, as he witnessed the hatching of his great-great-grandchildren.

Mating

Dragons do not mate in pairs like most other creatures (including humans), but in threes, because they have three sexes. There is no taboo against mating with close relatives, except if they are a different generation – a sibling is fine, but not an aunt or uncle. This lack of a taboo is probably because there is no reason for it – inbreeding doesn’t appear to cause mutation or deformity in dragons. In fact, many families, particularly the more powerful ones, prefer it because it keeps their bloodline strong. There is an element of magic involved in dragons' mating.

Old age

Any dragon in their 600s, 700s or 800s is considered to be old, and the lucky few to survive past 900 are seen as ancient. Old dragons generally retire to their lair in Iboreweth, the dragons' mountainous kingdom, and spend their last century or two reviewing their hoard, deciding what they should leave to their children, and reminiscing about their youth. Once they get too old and weak to hunt for themselves, they are brought food and otherwise cared for by younger members of their family. This is seen as a duty for their children, just as it was the parent's duty to care for the children when they were young. When dragons get very old, they lose their ability to shapeshift. Most of them choose to die in dragon form, but a few bonded dragons choose to live out the end of their lives in human shape.

Death

Dragons prefer to die either in battle, or in their lair. A dragon who dies in battle is seen as a hero - unless they were fighting against other dragons, in which case their death is seen as a tragic loss. Dragons who die in their lairs are protecting their hoard from thieves who might want to come and steal it. If the bonds between a mated trio are particularly strong, the death of one may cause one or both of the others to commit suicide.

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Magic


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