A Note: In certain places, you'll note that there is a metric measurement followed by an Imperial measurement in parentheses. This represents contradictory data from the sourcebooks.
A Survey of Dracoforms by
Paranormal taxonomists have given dracoforms the class of Reptilia, and the sub-class Herpetavia, which in turn is divided into:
• Tetrasauria - This order holds all species of the draco genus, as as Eastern and Western Dragons.
• Alatophidia - This order holds all species of the aleutoserpens genus, such as Feathered Serpents and Wyverns.
• Magnavaranus - This order holds all the neovarranus genus, such as the Firedrake and Icedrake.
A Note: These species were formerly classified under the draco genus.
Exact details to draconic physiology are difficult to pin down, as dragons are such innately magical creatures that they constantly udnergo slight bodily changes-shifting scale patterns and horn angles, brightning of coloration, lengthing and shortening of the tail and spikes; among other things.
Wyverns (Aleutoserpens pili americanus)
Wyverns in North America reach up to 11 meters from head to tail, with a wingspan of up to 24 meters. They are dark brown in color and possess two sets of limbs rather than four: a set of hind limbs with foot-long claws and a pair of wings, not unlike the body of a Feathered Serpent; the wings end in claws that the wyvern uses to climb and to rip at their prey. Their tails end in venomous stingers (they are immune to their own venom, a deadly black liquid which drips from their stingers).
Wyverns tend to hunt in packs, and the carnivores will hunt any prey, even dragons. On the ground, they whip their tails to poison their victims (they refrain from using their tails in the air because it unbalances their flying); when engaged in aerial combat they slam into and latch on to their enemy, wrapping their tail around it and stabbing it repeatedly until they hit the ground (the wyvern will hold on even if it hits the ground too).
The wyvern is highly territorial, attacking invaders with mad bloodlust, but there is little strife between wyverns.
Gene-mapping shows partial similarities between Wyverns, the various Drake species, and Dragons.
Wyverns in North America favor mountains and forested areas, mainly in the central and south regions.
pili melior) Lindwurm
European wyverns are more common and often larger than their North American versions (approximately 30 feet long in body, with another 30 feet of tail). Several have even been said to be magically active, and to resemble the heraldic beasts. They reportedly exist in the Alpine foothills, the Riesengebirge mountain range, the Eifel hill region, the Welsh Dragon land, and the SOX.
Serpent (Pleurocanthus laci)
An aquatic lizard some 18 meters long, with four paddle-like flippers and a broad jaw that sport the flat, grinding teeth of an herbivore. The creature is herbivorous, and is an air-breather able to remain submerged for up to three hours. Normally dark green to muddy brown in color, lighter along the blunt spinal ridge. Freshwater Serpents possess a genetic similarity to other dracoforms. Freshwater serpents are found in bodies of fresh water throughout the world, theough they seem much mroe sluggish in Tir na nOg.
Saltwater Serpent (Pleuracanthus oceani)
Much like it's cousin the Freshwater Serpent, this creature is larger, some 25 meters, with broader flippers and a saw-toothe dorsal ridge. Also, the creature's crested head has a pointed jaw with sharp, tearing teeth. The Saltwater Serpent is carnivorous and predatory; some reports indicate it may even attack sea drakes. Though air breathers, these dracoforms can remain submerged for over two hours, even under heavy exertion, by switchin gto an anaerobic cycle. Saltwater serpents are genteically realted to other dracoforms.
Saltwater serpents inhabit temperate and sub-tropical oceans throughout the world; though they are noticably more sluggish near Tir na nOg.
| The wyvern is
actually probably the adolescent form of the Western Dragon, though Western
Dragons categorically deny this. They are said to revert to a sub-sentient
state during this time period (Their skulls are sharply slanted, indicating
less brain mass), though they are also held to be fiendishly clever when
attacking. The differences between North American and European wyverns
is thought to be a function of age: European wyverns are assumed to be
older, closer to becoming adult dragons.
It has been conjectured that Wyvern and Dragon DNA differs because adolescent dragons undertake a magical ritual of sorts to become adult dragons. It is likely that this magical coccooning which grants dragons their forms alters the Wyverns' DNA.
One theory that has been put forward is that wyverns are adolescent dragons who cannot or have somehow refused to become adult dragons; another states that they are more of a related precursor species, not unlike apes are cousins to humans.
Freshwater and Saltwater serpents are a mystery, thought to be either the adolescent form of the Dragons of the Water. like Wyverns, or some related species or offshoot. One theory put forward is that the mana cycle has not yet advanced sufficiently to allow these creatures to manifest sentience.
It should be noted that all adult dragons possess certain common attributes: they are dual-natured (from birth) using non-vocal telepathic communication (Dragonspeech) which cannot be electronically recorded, and possess keen senses, especially a thermographic sense. Dragons flight is accomplished by subconscious use of magic (their wings-those that have them-are insufficient to lift them). Dragons are mainly carnivorous, preferring their prey as freshly killed as possible (especially cave crab) and usually hunt within a 200km range from their lair; they have also been known to imbibe alcohol. Dragons live for an extraordinarily long time, and apparently hibernate during the down-cycle. Dragons do not sleep a great deal, preferring a meditative state called shal-mora, which allows them to rest, think, and be aware of their environemnt at the same time.
Dragons are warm-blooded reptiles, like dinosaurs. They also possess the standard reptilian two-chambered heart, but they have an additional cardiac muscle above it the supplies blood to their wing muscles (those of them that have wing muscles). Their enzymatic processes are also very heat-conservative, and members of the Draco-genus have sufficient muscular control of their scales to raise them slighlty, forming air pockets for insulation. The feathers of Feathered Serpents work in much the same way.
Female dragons can control their reproduction, and usually only select mate every century or so. The eggs are initially a foot in diameter and 30cm long, but grow to a height of over 1.2 meters as they incubate over a century or so. The Great Dragon who is the egg's caregiver communicates witha nd teaches the dragon telepathically withinit's shell, and also imposes it's own form on that of the nascent dragon (that is, if a feathered serpent gave an egg to a Great Eastern Dragon, the egg would hatch an eastern dragon, not a feathered serpent.) Eggs that fail to hatch are consumed by their great dragon caretakers in a special rite.
Dragon hatchlings resemble wyverns, but are no more than twelve feet long at birth. At the age of 200 years, the hatchlings enter a savage adolescent stage, where they stay for 50 to 100 years, before weaving an astral coccoon around themselves for five to ten years, emerging as an adult dragon. Dragons continue to grow throughout their lives, reaching the status of Great Dragon at about the age of two thousand years.
Dragon egg shells are made of keratinoid fiber, the same substance which makes up dragonscale.
Dragons of Fire
Feathered Serpent (Alatuserpens Quetzalcoatlus) Feathered Dragons
Possessing two sets of limbs (a pair of feathered wings and hind legs) on a long sinuous body, Feathered Serpents differ from the standard dracoform. The long body of the Feathered Serpent is some 20 meters (40feet) long from head to tail, an additional 40 feet of tail, a wingspan of 15 meters (60 feet), and weighs 6,000 kilograms. The wings and body of this dragon are covered by feathery scales, the largest and most colorful onthe wings, while those on the body are smaller and more akin to brightly colored scales. The contour feathers, the tuft at the tip of their tales, and the feathered ruff around their heads are usually a dazzling rainbow of colors. Despite their avian appearence, the wigns of the Feathered Serpent are membranes stretched between extended finger bones. The hind limbs possess five digits, one of which is an opposable thumb, allowing the creature to manipulate objects. Feathered Serpents have 60 teeth. Feathered Serpents often possess sacs connected to their fangs or a tail spine (it has yet to be determined if those with venomous fangs or the venomous tail-spike are seperate subspecies or not).
When fighting, the Feathered Serpent often coils around its prey, stabbing or biting to release its venom; or simply crush the victim. They enjoy sunning themselves. The hatchling Feathered Serpents do not possess feathers, but appear much as Western Dragon hatchlings.
Great Feathered Serpents are usually 30 meters long.
Feathered Serpents are native to South and Central America (but may be found in other climes, such as Azania); as they were native to Araucania and Aznan in the Age of Legend, though they also inhabited Indrisia and Fekara in those days; they prefer mountains, open forest and grassland..
Dragons of the Earth
Western Dragon (Draco occidentalis) Common Dragons
The Western Dragon is 20 meters long, standing 3 meters at shoulder height, with a further 17 meters of tail; an approximate 2,000 kilograms at adult weight. Wingspan is 30 meters. The Western Dragon possesses four limbs and a pair of wings; the hind paws have adapted into feet, while the forepaws display opposable digits. Dorsal spines and/or membranes may be present, while the rest of the body is covered in heavy scales and sometimes bony plates as a form of dermal armor (others have small, non-overlapping scales that lend the appearence of smooth skin); the head is located at the end of the long neck and the ruff surrounding it, and possesses horns; which female dragons find attractive, though they vary from mere nubs to curling ram-like affairs. Few Western Dragons lack horns. Western dragons have 40 teeth. The Western Dragon is commonly a single color, darkeneing at the spine and lightening at the belly. Scales are made of keratinoid fiber.
The leading edges of their wings possess small scales that can be raised or lowered to improve the airflow over their crescent-shaped wings, and the trailing edges of the wings possess muscles that dynamically alter the wing shape. Such adaptions help improve the aerodynamics of the dragon.
Great Western Dragons are 30 meters long, standing 4.5 meters at the shoulder, with a further 25.5 meters of tail.
Western Dragons are native to Europe, especially Wales, as well as some parts of western Asia. During the Age of Legend, they were native to Barsaive. They prefer mountains, fens, bogs, and dense forests in these regions.
Dragons of the Wind
Eastern Dragon (Draco orientalis) Cathay Dragons
The head and body of an eastern dragon is 15 meters long, with a height at the shoulder of 2 meters, and another 15 meters of tail. All told, this dragon weighs in at 7,500 kilograms. The Eastern Dragon's saurian body has a serpentine or lizard-like shape, with scaly armor neck to tail surmounted by a ridge of membrane-connected spines. The head is broad and low; a pronounced nasal region give way to a pair of barbules, and a fringe of whiskers covers the chin. The skull possesses 40 teeth. Whiskers also sport fromt he rear portions of the skull, and pairs of horns rise from behind the eyes. The four-fingered paw of the Eastern Dragon are highly dextrous, and each digit ends in a large claw (able to handle fragile porcelain vases without mishap). The scales of the Eastern Dragon are small, overlapping and iridescent, though coloring varies, but the most common is iridescent green with gold whiskers and belly scales. It should be noted that the Eastern Dragon lacks wings, but still flies, moving through the air in a swimming motion, it's limbs tucked close to it's body. Possessing larger eyes (bigger than dinner plates) and nostrils than other dragons, Eastern Dragons are noted for their keen eyesight and sense of smell. Scales are made of keratinoid fiber.
The Great Dragons of these species are typically 22.5 meters long, with a height at the shoulder of 3 meters, and other 22.5 meters of tail.
Eastern Dragons are native to Asia as they were to Cathay in the Age of Legend, and prefer river valleys, mountains and coastal cliffs.
A metavariant of the Eastern Dragon, the Sirrush is similiar in appearence. However, the Sirrush possesses a shorter tail, and its narrower and deeper head lacks whiskers and barbules. Furthermore, the limbs are longer, with the hind feet forwaard-facing and possessing limited dexterity.
The Sirrush is indigeneous to Asia Minor, and prefer river valleys, mountains and coastal cliffs.
Dragons of the Water
Sea Dragon Leviathan
The Leviathan is a type of dragon adapted to underwater life, specifically deep salt-water bodies. They are approximately 10 meters long (60 feet), with another 8.5 meters of tail. Their serpentine body (they lack wings and can fly only short distances) is covered in small, iridescent, tightly overlapping scales; they also possess four vestigal limbs-short (6 feet long), stubby legs with sharp webbed claws that can tear a ship apart. Their forelimbs possess opposable thumbs, but limited manual dexterity and ability to pick up objects. Leviathans tend toward ocean blue-green hues. It is notable that the Leviathan contains an organ that collects True Water. Leviathans can breath air equally as well as water, but dislike overland travel; as they can move only very slowly over land and fly (using a swimming motion through the air) for no more than a hundred kilometers or so, which is very tiring for them. Leviathans are noted for their large and powerful jaws. Some also possess a wyvern-like stinger on their tails.
The Great Dragons (called Great Leviathans) of this species are approximately 15-25 meters long, with another 12.75 meters of tail.
Leviathans inhabited the seas of the Age of Legend.
| Of all the
species of dragons, the most questions surround the Sirrush, the Feathered
Serpent, and the Leviathan. The Sirrush is most notable as the only
known metavariant of the dragon; while the Feathered Serpent is curious
for its wyvern-esque form, plumage and apparent holdover of Wyvern-tail
spike in some indivduals.
The Leviathan is most noteworthy for its scarcity within the Sixth World: no one knows what has become of these beings; whether they succumbed to the poisoning of the oceans during their long sleep, lie hibernating still, are merely keeping quietly out of view, or have perhaps mutated into the Gorgon.
It should be noted that there can be no clear and set line of evolution among dragons. That is, one cannot say that the Leviathan gave rise to the Eastern Dragon, which gave rise to the winged Western Dragon, which gave way to the Feathered Serpent, or vice versa. The various species, as should be obvious, represent distinct evolutions from a common stock (Predraco amandae), and are each at the head of their particular evolutionary chain; not distinct steps and holdovers from previous orders of draconic evolution.
This abomination was created when a magician of the Denairastas clan stole seven hatchlings under the care of the Great Dragon Thermail. The seven were grafted together creating the first hydra, a stunted abomination half the size of a Great Dragon and mad. A second hydra was created from the first, and the two bred. The hydra resembles a wingless Western dragon with seven stunted heads on long necks. Hydras never grow longer than fort feet from heads to tail, and are armored with small hard scales.
Hydras spread across Barsaive within a decade after their creation.
Hydra-Wyrm (Pleuracanthus polycaput)
An aquatic dracoform with nine heads on long, sinuous necks, each of which avaerages 4 meters in length. The body averages another 4 meters, and the tail avaerages 5.5 meters. Body weight is about 1.4 metric tons. Skin color varies from green-gray to dirty olive-green with yellow underbelly; chitinous scale-plates usually cover the forelimbs, which are blue-green or dark blue-black in hue. Each head is only .7 meters long, sporting a crested ridge on top and 36 teeth; most backward-directed and 1.8 inches long each. Each skull contains little more than sensory apparatus: the creature's brain rests at the base of its spine, a unique method (as opposed to the Cerebus Hound, the only other multi-headed paracritter.) Male hydra-wyrms have a ridge os spines along the back of the body the same color as the fore-limb chitinous plates. Hind limbs are actually large flippers, while the frontal, armored limbs are lizardlike, with webbed toes and sharp-clawed digits. Land movement is thus similar to that of a really big walrus; though it cannot survive on land for more than a few minutes. Hydra-wyrms typically live for over a century, and mate rarely.
Hydra-wyrms live only in Greece; in deep lakes and the rare deep-water estuary.
| The Hydra is no more in the Sixth
World, undoubtably hunted to extinction by the dragons of the time, apparently
only the Hydra-Wyrm remains in the Sixth World. The Hydra-Wyrm is
a mystery due to it's aquatic nature (which the Hydra lacked), the two
extra heads and because of its common lack of parabiological powers.
It is speculated that the Hydra-Wyrm is either a mutated (possibly inbred) descendent of the Hydra, a magically altered version created by Denairastas or Theran magicians, or even an entirely unrelated species created using the same techniques.
It seems obvious that the beast must have influenced Greek myth...or vice versa.
Gorgon (Draco odiosus fabulosus)
This dracoform reaches approximately 8 meters in length, and 600 kilograms in weight. The Gorgon possesses 72 teeth in serrated rows, between one and four inches in length; the majority of which point backwards. Fleshy appendages ending in spheres form a ring around the Gorgon's head. Most Gorgons have gray to grey-black coloring; sometimes the belly has a blusih mottling. Unusual for a dracoform, the Gorgon possesses well-concealed gills on it's neck which it breathes through, and only vestigial lungs which allow it to come ashore for several hours at a time. The dracoform is genetically related to dragons.
The Gorgon inhabits coastal waters along the Mediterranean and Black Seas; especially the Greek coast and polluted areas.
|There are three theories that leap to mind as
regards the Gorgon:
1) It is a dracoform, perhaps a Leviathan or Western Dragon, mutated by prolonged contact with toxic substances dumped into the seas. Or maybe the magical residue left from Thera, given the location.
2) Gorgons are twisted creatures created through some ancient magical experiment, in the manner of the Hydra, or are an example of those dragons Corrupted by Verjigorm.
3) The Gorgon is a natural, albeit warped, creature. Perhaps the result of the cross-breeding of a Western Dragon and a Leviathan; or the adolescent Leviathan (much as the Wyvern is to other dragons).
Draco Neovarus minimalis americanus)
This wingless lizard is up to 1.25 meters long, and resembles a small western dragon. It's coloring varies from red-brown to tan, with red, malevolent eyes. It can rear up on its hind legs, using its tail to balance. Firedrakes live in small family units in mountainous regions, especially volcanic areas. They have been seen in the western part of North America, northern Italy, the Eifel hills of Germany, the western coastal Dragon Land of Wales, and the Balkans.
The firedrake's genetic structure is odd, genetically related to both dragons and lizards. It has been suggested that the firedrake is either very old, dating back to the common ancestor of lizards and dragons, or is a chimeric creation of some sort. The firedrake is related to the Icedrake; they are comparable even on the enzyme level.
Draco Neovarus algoris articus)
This wingless lizard is up to 1.5 meters long, and resembles a small western dragon. It possesses white skin with red, malevolent eyes. It can rear up on its hind legs, using its tail to balance. Icedrakes live in small family units in mountainous and arctic regions. They have been seen in the northern regions of North America, Norway, Sweden, Finland and northeastern regions of Russia. Unreliable reports place them in isolated alpine valleys within Germany.
The icedrake's genetic structure is odd, genetically related to both dragons and lizards. It has been suggested that the firedrake is either very old, dating back to the common ancestor of lizards and dragons, or is a chimeric creation of some sort. The icedrake is related to the Firedrake; they are comparable even on the enzymatic level.
Sea Drake (Neotylosaurus pacificus)
An ocean-adapted reptile with four flippers in place of legs, a short neck and a head resembling that of a western dragon. The Sea Drake can achieve a length of 13.5 meters, and is lead gray in color. Sea drakes are air-breathers, but can switch to an anaerobic metabolism that allows them to remain submerged up to two hours. Sea Drakes can dive to over 6.65 kilometers deep. Sea Drakes dwell in temperate and subarctic oceans throughout the world, especially the Pacific Ocean. They have also been reported in the Irish Sea, off the coast of the Welsh Dragon Land, and two have been reported in Tremadoc Bay, near Harlech Castle in Snowdonia.
While Tir na nOg sports no dracoforms on land, the Sea Drake does appear along the coasts (and possibly in the rivers and lochs). These Sea Drakes are prone to longer periods of inactivity than others in areas of comparable climate, such as Scotland.
The Sea Drake is closely related to the ice drake and firedrake; as well as distantly related to dragons.
during the Age of Legend
The Drake is a magical servant created by dragons during the Age of Legend (and perhaps during the Sixth World to some extant as well), using the Dance of Blue Spirits, created by Doll-Maker/ Icewing/ Ghostwalker.. The Drake is given substance from the dragon's own, and the dragon creating the servitor uses life magic to give it part of their own essence so that it may live. This process is taxing to the dragon, and when coupled to the limitation on the number of drakes a dragon may create according to social status, few drakes were created during the Age of Legend.
In their natural form, the drake appears as a dracofrom some seven to eight feet long, of the same type and similar coloring to it's creator (that is, drakes created by feathered serpents resemble feathered serpents, drakes created by leviathans resemble leviathans, and so on.), as the majority of drakes were created by Western Dragons, the majority of drakes resemble Western Dragons. Drakes posses excellent memories, and can change shape from their natural dracoform to that of an elf, human, dwarf, ork, t'skrang, or troll (their choice; the same drake may change into a dwarf and then change into a troll, they are not locked to a single form.); they may also be able to become Jackalmen, but it is doubtful they could become Ulkmen, Leafers or Jubruqs; just as they cannot become Windlings or Obsidimen. Drakes require food, water and sleep (though less sleep than normal, due to their draconic heritage); but they are sterile and cannot have children. They have highly magical natures and are possessed of several draconic abilities. They may also follow Adept paths to supplement their abilities.
Drakes are long-lived, and can survive for centuries if they do not meet with violence or accident. When their time comes, they return to the base matter from which they came, decaying at a pretanatural rate. Drakes require magic to exist; some dragons thus took them with them in their lairs to hibernate during the down-cycle.
during the Sixth World
First documented during the Year of the Comet (well, barring Ryan Mercury, but those were exceptional circumstances, akin to the early manifestation of a Troll before the Awakening), these are metahumans who exhibit the ability to transform themselves into miniature dracoforms as though they were shapeshifters. This Awakening sends a ripple through the astral, alerting nearby great dragons that a new Drake has become manifest.
In their dracoform, Drakes resemble miniature Western dragons, 2 meters long from head to tail.
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