View Full Version : Dragons of the Shattered World

2007-07-18, 09:51 PM
Note to the reader: This was pieced together from several posts and responses writen both on this site and others I subscribe to. I hope it doesn't ramble too much. I would be eternally grateful to anyone who wanted to rewrite in a more coherent fashion.

The dragons of Oramis are vastly different from those of other worlds. Loners by nature, dragons often have very little to do with others of their own kind, unless they share a common interest. Many of them enjoy meddling in human affairs and (since all Oramian dragons gain the ability to change shape into human form at will in the mature adult stage) often remain in human form for long periods of time.

Dragons may breed in either form but females must lay eggs in draconic form. A week before her due date, a female will seek out a shard root and build a nest there. A dragon female will give birth to a large clutch of eggs which she then abandons. As the young dragons begin to hatch from their eggs, those which are quicker and stronger begin to break the other eggs and eat their siblings. As the survivors grow, they leave the nest and begin to congregate with other immature grays (so-called because their hide has not yet developed a color and appears as a neutral gray) in flocks. Dragon coloration is much like bird or fish coloring, primarily a mating display, though a dragon who has come into its coloring is fully intelligent and self-aware. However some colors - white, blue, gold and silver in particular - are more rare than others and are highly prized and sought after. Flocks of grays are a common site. At this point they have no more than animal intelligence. Grays also can emit a damaging screech. When they reach adulthood, their hide begins to take on its color, intelligence begins to develop,and they become able to assume human form. Also at this time, the screech ability is lost and a breath weapon develops.

The dragons of Oramis do not follow the same patterns of those of other worlds. Skin color is NOT indicative of alignment or of breath weapon! It is entirely possible to have a chaotic evil gold dragon with a flame breath weapon! Each mature Oramian dragons is unique and, as such, these regal creatures will NEVER be found as random encounters!

One of the greatest secrets of Oramis is that dragons are the primary components used in the manufacture of windskiffs and windriggers - magical conveyances which resemble normal boats and ships but have the ability to fly, making travel from shard to shard possible. Dragons are heavily hunted for this purpose, and living specimens can command high profits on the black market. The Ship Builders’ Guild is the group which is responsible for the control and regulation of the creation and sale of windriggers. To achieve this end, it often employs dragon lancers - special windrigger crews who actively hunt down and capture living dragons to sell to the Ship Builders’ Guild. The Guild keeps this information secret in order to maintain a monopoly on inter-shard travel. They don't want others to know. If the means for creating windriggers was common knowledge, then others might try to devise their own ships. Rumor has it, however, that one of the mages who first learned how to create windriggers has gone rogue, and is helping the Sky Pirates of Gao-Den to create an armada of pirate windriggers. Also if it was common knowledge that these ships were living creatures who had been changed and enslaved to be used in this way, there might be a back-lash from some good-aligned factions. The Guild is rumored to be a branch of RASAMA. The Guild is completely neutral, and will sell windriggers to most anyone who has enough money to buy one.

Dragon lancers bring the captured creatures to the Guild's headquarters where mages magically shape the dragon's body into a ship (an extremely painful process), then capture its mind and shape it into a shipstone - a smaller, much less powerful version of a shard-key. It is this object which somehow provides a windrigger with gravity. The shipstone emits a Navigator illusion to which the ship's captain directs his orders. To the uninformed public, navigators appear as strange and mysterious beings who are present on all windriggers. No one seems to know exactly who or what they are. Rumors persist that navigators are diviners, using their magic to know exactly where any given shard is located at any given time. Navigators appear as faceless humanoids wearing midnight-blue hooded robes and have never been known to speak. The navigator, however, is not really there at all: it is merely an illusion projected by the ship itself. Windriggers are actually living sentient beings - young gray dragons - magically shaped by mages to look like ships. Somehow, possibly through a natural homing instinct or a natural magical ability, they are aware at all times of exactly where each shard is at any given moment and whether or not there are any other shards blocking a given route. Navigators recognize the holder of a shipstone as captain and will obey only the holder’ commands. The "navigator” illusion is used simply so that windrigger captains may have somewhere to direct their orders for destinations.

When a captain purchases a windrigger, the shipstone is magically bonded to him. The death of the captain is the only known way to end this bond. If this happens, however, the ship becomes uncontrolled (a rogue ship) and often rebels against those creatures which are currently inhabiting its body, intentionally trying to kill those aboard. A mage from the SBG will be needed to bring the ship back under control and bond it with a new captain. In order to prevent this, a captain may appoint up to two seconds - persons whom the ship recognizes as “next in command” and whose orders the ship will obey in the case of the captain’s death. Sometimes a ship captain will not appoint seconds - a very effective means of preventing mutiny.

The process that transforms a gray into a windrigger is so horrible that sometimes the gray does not survive the experience. When this happens, the gray’s corpse is used to make a windskiff - a small flying boat designed to accommodate no more than six people. Because it was created from the corpse of a dead dragon, a windskiff has no navigator, and therefore the pilot is on his own when determining direction, routes, etc.