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Dragon (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Origins

Main Article: Dragon Origins (Dungeons & Dragons)

Only the most arrogant enthusiast might claim certain knowledge of dragons’ origins, and such a claim should be taken with a grain of salt. Legends and the knowledge that sages do have, however, stretch back for centuries and hint at what might have been. Sometimes new stories come to light, prompting reassessments of the existing body of knowledge and speculation regarding dragon inception.

Physiology

Main Article: Dragon Physiology (Dungeons & Dragons)

As any would-be dragonslayer should know, dragons— also called wyrms—are far more than merely giant beasts or winged lizards. Chromatic dragons’ abilities set them at the top of the food chain and make them the most potent hunters of the natural world.

Life Cycle

Main Article: Dragon Life Cycle (Dungeons & Dragons)

More so those that of other creatures, a dragon’s life cycle and life span shape its capabilities and even its personality. Barring violence or disease, even the shortest-lived chromatic dragon can expect to see a score of centuries. Members of other dragon families, such as the metallics, might live even longer than chromatic dragons do.

Everyone who makes even a cursory study of dragons knows of their four main stages of life, which sages have dubbed young, adult, elder, and ancient. In truth, dragons must first pass through an earlier stage that few adventurers see: wyrmling. They also pass through a final stage called twilight.

Outlook and Psychology

Main Article: Dragon Psychology (Dungeons & Dragons)

The true secret to understanding dragons is in comprehending their worldview. Mastering knowledge of their physical abilities is a start, but it’s all too easy for a human to assume that because dragons are intelligent mortal creatures, they must think like humans do. Dragons are at least as different from other creatures in their psychology and thought processes as they are physically.

Society

Main Article: Dragon Society (Dungeons & Dragons)

The short view of dragon society is this: by and large, no such thing exists.

Exceptions here and there have turned up throughout history as, on occasion, dragons have sought either to build their own societies or to insinuate themselves into the cultures of others. For the most part, however, dragons’ solitary and territorial nature ensures that they eschew societal bonds.

Under most circumstances, what passes for society among chromatic dragons best falls under the label “infrequent.” So-called dragon society consists of occasional cooperation between a handful of dragons against a larger threat, adherence to occasional common religious practices, and the occasional observance of vague and ineffectual traditions governing interaction between dragons when interests or territories overlap.

Language

Main Article: Draconic

As one of the oldest living races native to the world, dragons speak one of the most ancient mortal languages. When the mortal races beheld the gods, each heard the divine Supernal language in its own unique fashion depending on its shape and demeanor. Thus the foundational languages of the world arose, including Draconic.

Io created the Draconic script, Iokharic, so his mortal children could record their impressions of the world he hoped they would inherit. Both the language and the script survive to the present day.

Dragon-related races, including dragonborn and kobolds, also speak Draconic and use Iokharic. Some individuals among these races take great pride in their use of the same tongue that rumbles from the scaled lips of ancient wyrms, although others curse their lineage. Most, however, rarely give it a thought.

Religion

Main Article: Dragon Religion (Dungeons & Dragons)

All dragons know of Io, who fashioned mortal dragons in his image. They also know that Io died not long afterward. They believe that the other deities, who banded together during the primordial-deity wars that followed the creation of the world, left Io to fight alone except for the aid of his draconic children.

During the wars, Io faced a terrible primordial called Erek-Hus, the King of Terror, on a blasted worldly continent half shattered from a century of conflict. With a primordial-wrought axe of adamantine the size of a mountain, the King of Terror split Io from head to tail, neatly cleaving the deity into two pieces.

What one deity alone could not accomplish, two working together could. Together the two new deities, Bahamut and Tiamat, fought and killed the King of Terror. Bahamut flung the King’s axe into the starry sky.

The infusion of divine power granted more than just divine strength to Bahamut and Tiamat. Io’s character also split. His desire to protect creation and his sense of fairness took root in Bahamut, now worshiped as a deity of justice, honor, and protection. Tiamat embodied Io’s hubris, arrogance, and covetousness and came to be revered as a deity of greed and envy.

The two dragon deities looked at each other across the corpse of the defeated King of Terror. Neither could suffer the other to exist.

They leapt for each other and battled for days. Finally, Tiamat fled, and the two deities returned their attention to the larger war against the primordials.

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