The World Of Khoras - Fauna and Flora

Dragons

"Be he valiant warrior or great wizard, it matters not... the fool who disrespects a dragon finds an early grave."
- Charoth Skelmor, Dragon Scholar and Elder of the Brotherhood of the Dragon

Introduction

No other creature captures the imagination as does the dragon. And no other creature inspires such fear or is written into historical texts so often. Because dragons are such mighty and long-lived creatures, they have been woven into tales and legends. Their lairs have been marked on maps. Myths and fables are heaped upon their name.

Appearance

Dragons are winged reptiles of fantastic size. Typically, such a behemoth will boast a 45 meter (150 foot) wingspan, though this is known to vary by as much as 15 meters (50 feet). Dragons have lean frames. Dragons are somewhat light for their size, which allows them to get off the ground and fly. A typical dragon weighs between 10 and 15 metric tons. The length of a dragon, from its saurian head to its spiked tail is usually the same as its wingspan. The huge wings of a dragon are made of flexible leathery skins stretched over a spiny frame similar to a bat. Both wings and hind limbs are heavily muscled and very dexterous.

The Dragons of Khoras

The dragons of Khoras are unlike the dragons of other worlds. In other realms across the multiverse, there are tales of dragons that speak eloquently, wield powerful spells like a wizard and even some that can shapeshift into human form. Not so here. The dragons of Khoras are animals. They are immensely huge, powerful, iron-clawed, scale plated beasts... but still, just animals. Khoras dragons do not speak and have no magic about them. They cast no spells and have never been known to shapeshift into the likeness of a human or other race.

Neverless, they are the most dangerous creatures on the planet. Dragon armor is nearly impenetrable. Even magic swords have been known to shatter against their scales. Dragon fire is hot enough to melt plate armor, shatter stones and level forests to ash. They can grind most other creatures into powder with little effort. Taking on a Khorasian dragon is a fool's quest, even for great heroes. Slaying a dragon is a rare event - the kind of once-in-a-generation, kingdom-saving, legendary feat about which bards will write folktales and tavern songs.

Gaming Statistics for a Khoras Dragon

Exact statistics will vary depending on your gaming system of choice. The entire Khoras website is systemless and that goes for this page too. I'm not going to give game stats for a Khorasian dragon. I will only say that dragons should be magnificent, awe-inspiring creatures that ought cause the would-be dragon slayer to tremble in his boots. If your players plan on doing battle with a dragon, it should be the toughest fight of their lives. Do not make it an easy fight. A battle with a dragon should be a fantastic, memorable, near-suicidal mission. Only the toughest heroes, with lots of preparation and luck, should have even a slim chance. Simply put... anyone who fails to respect a dragon deserves to die.

Combat

These flying behemoths can crush armies under foot, strafe villages with fire from the air and raze whole cities without even landing. Dragons prefer to fight from the air when outside. A dragon’s most potent weapon is its fiery breath. A dragon can exhale a stream of fire which will reduce everything before the dragon to ash. Other combat tactics include wing buffets, tail strikes, trampling, goring, ramming large opponents with high speed power dives, picking opponents up and dropping them from high altitudes, scattering sharp rocks or crystal shards about the lair and beating wings to stir up a windstorm of whirling razor edged fragments. No dragon has ever retreated. In fact, dragons apparently have no fear. Either through sheer will or radically different thought patterns, mind affecting magic does not work on them.

Subduing a Dragon

One of the things I always hated about TSR dragons back in the early days was the idea of "subduing" a dragon and also catching a dragon unaware and asleep. So let's be clear on a couple of points. Khorasian dragons can NOT be subdued. If you whack one of these dragons with the flat of your blade, he will eat you. Likewise, dragons do not sleep any more than other animals. Because of their remarkably acute senses (see below), you will likely be facing a fully alert dragon by the time you reach the inner chambers of his lair.

Dragon Senses

Even though dragons have excellent color vision, they don't rely on sight alone. Dragons also have excellent hearing and will pick up the smallest sound from even the most careful intruder. A dragon's sense of smell is so sensitive that the dragon can locate and do battle with an invisible opponent with no penalties. When outdoors, a dragon can often smell prey at a range of several kilometers. 

Habitat

Dragons have no society. They only encounter each other when mating and this is rare. Each dragon claims its own territory which may be in any climate and may be as large as forty thousand square kilometers. Within its territory, a dragon may hunt anything it considers edible. Dragons often hoard anything with sparkling beauty. This includes reflective or brightly shiny metals, gems and jewelry, magic items that glow or items that light up in some way. Such items are often gathered and placed or hung about the innermost part of the lair, the sleeping chamber.

Dragon Flight

Dragons have a number of biological characteristics that allow them to achieve true sustained flight. First of all, their bones are honeycombed, making them light, yet strong. Their wings are batlike with thin membranes stretched over a bony frame. The wings of a dragon are very strong. A dragon also has a very large heart and a tremendous set of lungs in order to pump oxygen and blood to the enormous wings.

Finally, the digestive system of the dragon produces hydrogen and methane in large quantities. These two gases are transfered into four huge internal bladders in the body of the dragon. These bladders give the dragon some buoyancy since both gases are lighter than air and the internal bladders are several hundred cubic meters. The buoyancy provided is very small compared to the total weight of the dragon (the bladders provide only a few hundred kilograms of lift), but the buoyancy does contribute to reduce the weight of the dragon.

Fiery Breath

The hydrogen/methane bladders of a dragon are primarily a fuel source for the dragon's legendary breath weapon. In combat, the dragon exhales forcefully and injects this flammable concoction into the air stream. A split second before this concoction is released, it is ignited by a spark generated when the dragon scrapes its horny tongue along a groove in the mouth. The stream ignites at a point just within the mouth.

A dragon exhales a stream of fire which spreads out into an elongated cloud. The range of this breath weapon is typically 50-75 meters depending on the size of the dragon. The fire will shape itself to the area it encounters, flowing along the ground, between stone walls and so forth. Dragon fire burns at 2000 degrees Celsius at the point of origin and decreases with distance. The flames at the far end are typically between 800 and 1200 Celsius. This is enough to melt iron at close range. The force of exhalation is usually enough to blow a wooden building to pieces. Even stone buildings tend to crack and break apart under repeated fiery blasts.

The fiery blast of dragon breath consumes most of the oxygen in the area and fills the air with acrid smoke and ash. Even those who manage to somehow escape the fire usually find themselves blinded, choking and gasping for air. In combat, these side effects should not be overlooked. Adventurers can pass out from lack of oxygen or find themselves lost in clouds of smoke and ash that obscure the battle.

A dragon has a limited supply of hydrogen and methane. Typically, a dragon can breath 7-10 times (this varies with each dragon) before completely exhausting its fuel supply. A dragon must eat to replenish its internal gases and this takes time. A dragon can fully reinflate its fuel bladders in one to two days. The loss of buoyancy also means that the dragon will tire slightly more quickly from flight, but this effect is very minor.

Dragon Scales

Dragon scales are likewise impressive. Each dragon has a unique set of scales. Like a fingerprint, no two dragons have identical scales. So, a scale can be used to identify a specific dragon. Dragon colors vary from dragon to dragon. Different body areas will also exhibit variations in coloring. Dragon scales found near lairs show that grey, black, green and red are the most common colors. White and blue scales have been found but are less common. Scale sizes vary depending on what part of the body they cover. The largest scales cover the breast and back. The smallest scales cover the head around the eyes and mouth. The former may reach 50 cm in length while the latter are about 10 cm long.

Dragon scales are somewhat rare and valued as relics and curios. Individual scales can vary anywhere from 5 to 50 gp depending on circumstances. The distance to the lair and the nature of the buyer can both influence the price a great deal. Dragon scales usually have a trace of odor from dragon slime residue (see below).

Dragon Slime

Dragon skin has thousands of tiny glands beneath the scales that secrete a viscous slime which coats the scales. This slime is highly resistant to flame and heat and it is this biological substance that gives dragons their total immunity to fire. The substance, simply called "dragon slime", often scrapes off onto the rocks around the mouth of the lair whenever the dragon enters or exits. Dragon slime might also be found on any surface where the dragon might make bodily contact - tree trunks, boulders, logs, etc. Dragon slime is dull green in color and thick, but only slightly sticky.

Dragon slime is a valuable alchemical component in several magical potions and elixirs. It can also be used in its raw state as fire protection. More than one clever dragon slayer has coated himself in scavenged dragon slime and thus survived a blast of the dragon's fire. However, dragon slime dries quickly. If not put into an air tight container, it will dry with 1-4 hours and coagulate into an inert rubbery substance with no fire retardation properties and little alchemical value.

Dragon slime has a distinctive, unpleasant odor which is strongest when first excreted. Dragons have a similar smell, the stench of a living dragon in close proximity can be quite overwhelming.

Dragon slime is mildly poisonous and will cause nausea and retching if consumed. It will cause a severe irritation if it makes contact with an open wound. Saurians, however, are immuned to both of these effects.

Draconians (those saurians who worship dragons) often use dragon slime in various rituals.

Dragon Immune System

Like the shark, the dragon has a remarkable immune system. They are almost immune to disease and infection. Furthermore, dragons are remarkably resistant to toxins and poisons. This is partly because of the dragon's massive size. An average dose of poison is simply lost in the river of blood coursing through the dragon's circulatory system. Beyond this, the dragon has an astonishing fortitude that allows it to shrug off most effects.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Dragons meet only when fighting each other for territory (a rare event) or mating. Female dragons enter heat once every 12 years and only mate if they find a male. Successfully breeding produced one to five eggs (on rare occasions, as many as eight). Only the female raises the young. Hatchling dragons fight each other for the first few months until only a few (usually three or less) are left. The victors eat the losers. This cannibalistic nest war insures that only the strong live to maturity. Young dragons live and hunt with the mother for the first three years (at which time they are typically about twice the size of a large horse) and then leave to fend for themselves.

Dragons mature quickly reaching full size in less than 15 years. It is not known exactly how long dragons live but is suspected to be between 300 and 600 years old.

Dragon Excrement

Like any animal, dragons excrete waste. Dragons are very large creatures and their droppings are equally impressive. A pile of droppings two meters tall and several hundred kilos is not uncommon. It is not unusual  to find things in dragon droppings: weapons, bits of armor, helmets, saddles, horseshoes and the like have all been found, mostly intact, in dragon droppings.

Dragon Behavior

Dragons do everything in a magnified way. When they eat, they consume whole farms. When they sleep, they tend to hibernate for weeks at a time. When they fight, they reduce everything in the area to ash and crush the bones of opponents into powder. When they travel long distances, they fly higher, faster and farther than other creatures dream of.

Dragon Subspecies

There is only one species of dragon. There are no subspecies. Every individual dragon could be considered a variant. The cultured races of the world sometimes label dragons as "swamp dragons" or "desert dragons". This is, in part, due to the environment of the dragon’s chosen home and partly because of slight difference’s in appearance. The truth is that every individual dragon is unique. Dragons vary slightly in size and shape. Some dragons are faster than others, while some have more effective breath weapons. Each dragon has a unique set of scales and has a particular color. Other variations may include horns, fins, bodily ridges and eye color. Dragons tend to chose their lairs in climates and terrain types that they are suited for. They also adopt certain characteristics based on their environment and adapt to their environment.

Dragon Lairs

Most dragons will create a permanent lair (a large cavern or extinct volcano usually). These lairs often have several inner chambers. Most dragons dig through solid rock to create such inner chambers. Each chamber (and the connecting tunnels) are enormous... often larger enough for the dragon to allow him to fly through the tunnerls and into and out of the lair. A dragon's lair typically has more than one entrance. A band of would-be dragon slayers may find it difficult to trap a dragon in his lair. In fact, they may find the dragon double back through the tunnels and surprise them from behind.

A dragon will claim a vast area as its personal hunting ground. The exact size varies depending on the size and habits of the dragon - typically a 100 to 200 kilometer radius around the lair. Within this area, dragons have been known to hunt anything and everything. They have been known to attack caravans and remote villages on occasion, though this is rare and usually provoked. It has long been observed that dragons tend to avoid cities and towns, although it is not known why.

Rogue Dragon

The exception to this pattern is the rogue dragon. A rogue dragon is one that does not claim a hunting area or establish a permanent lair. Instead, a rogue dragon roams frequently traveling the world and changing lairs every few weeks. There have been only four known rogue dragons in all of recorded history. Rogue dragons hunt anything in their flight path, including caravans, ships, villages and even cities. It is not known how far a rogue dragon travels, but it is undoubtedly farther than any of the cultured races have sailed.

Dragons of the World

The map below shows the locations and approximate territories of all known dragons. Click a number of details on that specific dragon. Click elsewhere on the map for a larger version.

Detailed Descriptions

The following list describes those dragons that are known and well documented. This list is by no means complete. In fact, it is widely believed by dragon scholars that there may be one to two undocumented dragons for each dragon which is known. Many dragons may simply be dwelling in more desolate regions and have not been encountered by scouts or travelers yet.

Name Description
Krax Krax is a brown dragon with a torn wing. A weak flyer, but a powerful fighter. Lives in the Thunder Peaks.
Cyclops A large and very old female dragon with only one good eye.  Inhabits the snowy peaks of the Dragonclaws.
Hellspit

A reddish brown dragon with a particularly powerful breath weapon. Dwells in the  southern Sentinel mountains.

Trokus A small green dragon the dwells in the depths of the Dark Wood.
Frostdoom Frostdoom is smaller bluish white dragon that dwells in a network of caves high in the side of the Skylance Mountain.
Spittle Spittle is a small, black dragon that inhabits the western Shattered Mountains. Known for a variant breath weapon that more closely resembles flaming acid that fire.
Ygrax
The Flameless
A very large dragon that has lost its breath weapon due to a wound. Ygrax is worshiped by saurians in the Barakose swamp.
Melikran A black scaled dragon of average size that lives in the Stench Bog. Docile and approachable, Melikran is worshiped by saurians.
Dakoracs
The Twiceborn
A two headed dragon that lives in the Sentinel Mountains.
Stormwing A large female dragon that lives in the remote Shard Wastelands.
Kworg
The War Drake
Kworg is a large aggressive male with dark grey and black scales whose lair is in the Ice Rock Mountains north of Duthelm.
Syrce
the Lurker
Syrce is a small dragon in the Mist Forest with an uncanny ability to see through the mist.
Kasimuth Kasimuth is a small brown male dragon that inhabits the Baen Desert.
Sedrak Sedrak is a deep blue adragon that lives among the islands of the Pirate Isles.
Tarhauxibane

Tarhauxibane is a great copper colored dragon that lives in the south stretch of the Rahjan Mountains.

Aramathea
The Tattooed Dragon
A lone female dragon that lairs in a ruined castle that lies in the eastern Tanlur Mountains. Notable for a series of glyphs tattooed on her hide.
Belskanar Belskanor is the name of a medium sized female dragon that lives in the Gynfeld Forest on the border of the Kingdom of Anquar in Qeshir.
Mumratusk Mumratusk is a large male dragon that dwells in the Darijun Jungle in western Qeshir.
Allarixar Allarixar is a small male dragon that lives in the deep rolling hills of the Broadlands in Qeshir.
Radergrim Radergrim is a massive steel grey dragon that lives in a large cave in the side of Mount Durrodis.
Varullimal Varullimal is a large, brown scaled dragon that lives in the Wild Wood in Aggradar. Known for breathing an acrid, ashen smoke instead of fire. 
Chardumort Chardumort is a rather fat male dragon that lives in the Gulhunag Mountains.
Thrallanxith
The Snow Dragon
A female dragon living in the icy northern wastes somewhere in the Shard Mountains.
Wardurusk A very old male dragon living in the Helgar Mountains.
Verraximaul

Verraximaul is a large green female dragon in the Gyrtara Mountains. Lives beneath a ruined castle and is worshiped by saurians.

Shadowrot Shadowrought is a black dragon that lives in the heart of the Greenwood.
Eldworrath Eldworrath is a male dragon of dark green color that lives in the Daemyr Mountains.

This website was last updated March 1, 2014. Copyright 1990-2014 David M. Roomes.

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