Dakons were an uncommon species of ape, with a level of intelligence comparable to most humanoids.[2][1]

Description[edit | edit source]

These creatures largely resembled gorillas, but had light brown fur and black hands with sharp claws. Their eyes were of a green hue.[2][1]

Males were known to wear anklets, arm bands, bracers, and head pieces. Females preferred to wear earrings, necklaces, and noserings.[3]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Dakon were very proud and protective of their culture. They had a strong love for gold and would spare no expense to adorn themselves in jewelry made from the metal.[4]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

Like many primates, the dakon were skilled climbers. Capable of climbing trees and rough surfaces in even the most tense, combative situations.[4] They uniquely possessed an innate ability similar to the spell animal friendship,[3] which any nonhuman primate was subject to.[4]

Combat[edit | edit source]

Dakons generally never attack unless it was in self-defense.[2][1] And they only used their sharp claws when unarmed. Typical weapons used by them when either hunting or engaging in warfare included blowguns, daggers, javelins, spears, and a type of club known as a knobkerrie. Their weapons were made of either bone, ivory, stone, or wood. Their knobkerrie were sometimes elaborately carved and shaped. And while warriors could be seen carrying all types of weapons, their priests only wielded blowguns and knobkerries.[3]

They refrained from using armor besides helmets, considering it cowardly. They commonly wielded wooden shields covered with colorfully painted leather and helmets made from the skulls of their enemies. They sometimes rode elephants into battle, with a trained rider wielding a club and a warrior wielding one or more ranged weaponry.[3]

Society[edit | edit source]

Dakons were highly social creatures[4] that lived in hunter gatherer societies which actively traded. With men acting as hunters and the armed escorts of female and child foragers. While their foragers combed the jungles in search of food and natural medicines, the escorts would check and maintain traps. All food gathered, just as all property besides gold, was owned by the community at large and equally divided among its members.[3]

They lived in villages of under a hundred individuals, towns ranging from a hundred to five hundred residents, and on rare occasions cities that were home to more than a thousand. The houses of such communities were built in the largest of trees or thatched houses atop stilts, being as dakons were unaccustomed to using stone as a construction material. Their communities were also surrounded by wooden palisades for defense.[4]

Each dakon community had a tower with a signal drum that served a variety of functions. Signal drums would be used to pass news, report disasters, coordinate relief, and make public announcements from the ghana or kaya maghan. During battles they would be used to direct action and make reports.[3]

Communities also tended to have gold mines. These were operated by a community's criminals as well as slaves acquired from other nearby races.[4] Other materials they tended to mine and trade with other creatures included silver, gems, and diamonds.[3]

Criminality was low in their communities, but whenever it did occur there were several swift and harsh punishments for doing so. A dakon might be banished from their community, forced to perform public service, forced to work in a mine, receive a corporal punishment, or be reduced to a slave — there was no death penalty, however. Whatever punishment was received, the convicted would have a hand-wide strip of fur removed from down their back to mark them.[3]

Nearly all dakon communities considered the following to be criminal offenses — adultery, cowardice, destruction of communal property, murder, theft, and failure to obey the regional leader. In addition to those, there were unique offenses decided by a community's leader. A criminal offense that was typically added by a ghana was failure to obey them or a sakir.[3]

Societal Roles[edit | edit source]

Local leaders
Each dakon community was led by a male with the title of ghana, meaning "war chief," the highest rank of warrior. Ghanas ran their community's mines, got first pick of any communal property, led its mature males in its defense, carried out the policies of their regional leader,[4] and acted as both judge and jury.[3] Every five years a male-only competition would be held for the title of ghana — sometimes sooner if a ghana was ousted due to death, cowardice, or failure to carry out their duties. These competitions involved a ritual show of ferocity and toughness by means of visual display — teeth baring, pounding of chests, war cries, and inordinate amounts of arm-flailing were always present. Whenever a competition ended in a tie communities would split up, with the younger ghana leading his followers to settle a new one.[4]
Regional leaders
The collection of communities in a region were led by a male with the title of kaya maghan, meaning "king of gold," so named because they had ownership of all gold mines in their region. They kept whatever amount they wished, then would distribute the rest as gifts to their most loyal retainers, ghanas, and warriors.[4] Failure to obey them was considered a criminal offense.[3] The most powerful ghanas would compete to fill this position whenever it became vacant. Sometimes when such a competition resulted in a tie, there would be a brief period of civil war.[4]
Religious leaders
In addition to those aforementioned leadership roles, each community typically had a shaman known as a sakir, who received powers from their ancestral spirits that they used to perform community service. They also would act as both judge and jury of criminals. Initiates had to survive a year as a hermit, without any shelter but trees, and commune with the spirit world. Those that survived this initiation gained the knowledge of penning spells on parchment-like tree bark with ink made from berries.[3]
Merchantile
Some dakon took up the role as a merchant and frequently traveled, often on elephants, in large armed caravans. The merchandise of these caravans would be carried either on the elephants or the head of caravan members. The trade goods that dakons exported included the aforementioned mine goods, ivory, and slaves. They traded these in exchange for fabrics, jewelry, rugs, metallic mining tools, and any other richly colorful items that dakons considered to be exotic.[3]
Outcast Magic-Users
Sometimes a sakir initiate became tempted by offers of power and arcane knowledge from fiends. Such dakons remained hermits and became a witch doctor, known to the dakon as a zara. They typically retained their alignment, but eventually their quest for power would bring them to become chaotic evil. In some extreme cases, they even became possessed.[3]

Homelands[edit | edit source]

Dakons were typically found in the jungles of tropical regions and seldom seen anywhere else.[4] In the Realms, they could particularly be found in the Marching Mountains of Calimshan.[5]

Religions[edit | edit source]

The belief system of dakon was based on the existence of a Spirit World, that was inhabited by fiends and the spirits of their ancestors'. These spirits were considered to have a lawful neutral disposition and, comparable to a demigod, capable of influencing the material world through possession or magic.[3]

Languages[edit | edit source]

Dakons had their own language and had a reasonable grasp of Common,[2][1] but very few were fluent in speaking it.[3] Their own language was largely based upon body posture, finger and hand gestures, hoots, and grunts. They also were capable of imitating animal noises, howling to communicate at long distances. Most could communicate with apes to a limited degree. Powers from these ancestors would be received by sakirs, who used them to perform community service.[3]

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Dakons were on best terms with other intelligent apes, such as grommams. They tolerated the presence of primate-like or monkey-like beings, such as hadozee and banderlogs, the latter of whom they often fought alongside against their common foes.[3] In addition, through their innate animal friendship ability they kept a variety of primates as pets and guard animals, such as gorillas, monkeys, and even carnivorous apes.[4] The latter of whom would often be used to track down, flush out, and retrieve wild game. Dakons also domesticated elephants as mounts, which would be used while hunting or in trade caravans.[3]

They had neutral relationships with most demihumans, humans, and needlemen. While most humanoids and giants were treated with antipathy. The creatures that they vehemently hated and would attack on sight were the qullan, tasloi, and yuan-ti.[3] Banderlogs, humans, and tasloi in addition to elves, gnolls, kobolds, and orcs were the races that dakons most often took slaves from.[4]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Adventures
Dungeon #34, "On Wings of Darkness"

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Nick Parenti (November 1992). “Ecology of the Dakon”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #187 (TSR, Inc.), p. 25.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Don Turnbull (1981). Fiend Folio. (TSR Hobbies), p. 22. ISBN 0-9356-9621-0.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 Nick Parenti (November 1992). “Ecology of the Dakon”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #187 (TSR, Inc.), p. 27.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 Nick Parenti (November 1992). “Ecology of the Dakon”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #187 (TSR, Inc.), p. 26.
  5. Craig Barrett (March/April 1992). “On Wings of Darkness”. In Barbara G. Young ed. Dungeon #34 (TSR, Inc.), p. 58.
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