Dragons (or wyrms) were very powerful and magical creatures. There were several types of dragons, the most common of which were chromatic and metallic, which were evil and good respectively. They were an ancient race. Few species that still exist can claim longer lineage. Dragons were the bane of the creator races of Toril; their line was so old, they had their own realm during the first recorded exploits of the elves. In recent times, the dragons of Toril were nearly all recluses or at the very least deceptive to their true nature, living amongst other species in polymorphed form.
The draconic family was vast. It consisted of numerous types of dragons, as well as lesser creatures related to dragons or descended from them.
- Chromatic dragons
- Chromatic dragons were inherently evil. With the advent of the Cult of the Dragon many chromatic dragons were tempted to become dracoliches.
- Metallic dragons
- Metallic dragons were inherently good. They often were found helping others.
- Planar dragons
- Sometimes dragons lived and bred in otherworldly environments. Those that remained in another plane long enough were radically altered by its nature or its denizens.
- Gem dragons
- Gem dragons were aloof and self-centered, keeping to themselves and remaining neutral. They spent most of their time on the Inner Planes.
- Lung dragons
- Dragons of the land of Kara-Tur, most of whom were charged with carrying out tasks for the Celestial Bureaucracy.
These dragon types did not fit into a single category.
- Air dragons: extremely rare dragons native to the planet Coliar.
- Brainstealer dragons: underground-dwelling mixes of dragons and mind flayers.
- Cobra dragons: greedy, evil dragons known to live in Kara-Tur.
- Deep dragons: actually purple dragons, a variety of chromatic dragons.
- Dzalmus: three-headed dragons native to the Hordelands.
- Fang dragons: actually gray dragons, a variety of chromatic dragons.
- Force dragons: powerful, aloof, and arrogant transparent dragons.
- Mist dragons
- Moon dragons: evil color-changing dragons that inhabited moons.
- Prismatic dragons: powerful, charismatic and flamboyant multicolored dragons.
- Radiant dragons: large, iridescent dragons capable of flying through wildspace as natural spelljammers.
- Rattelyr dragon: a wingless species of dragon-like creatures native to warm, sandy deserts with snakelike features.
- Song dragons: mysterious dragons who lived throughout the Realms in the guise of humans.
- Sun dragons: Benevolent dragons that lived on the surface of suns.
- Stellar dragons: Enormous intellectual dragons that inhabited the phlogiston.
- Vishaps: cowardly, flightless dragons native to Zakhara.
- Dragon turtles: massive, dangerous creatures that lived in the oceans.
- Drakes: there were actually a number of different subgroups and varieties of drakes.
- Hellfire wyrms: diabolic descendants of dragons who made pacts with devils.
- Pseudodragons: tiny, playful creatures that were highly valued as familiars.
- Sea wyrms: legless, wingless creatures that lived in the seas around Zakhara.
- Scalamagdrions: underground creatures that possessed antimagic properties
- Sunwyrms: large, yellow dragons that lived on plains and could take a form of pure energy.
- Wyverns: large, winged lizards with two legs and a barbed, venomous tail.
- Abishai: draconic devils that served Tiamat.
- Dracosphinx: a sphinx related to red dragons.
- Undead dragons:
- Dracolich: a lich created from a dragon.
- Ghostly dragon: the restless spirit of a slain dragon whose treasure was looted.
- Skeletal dragons: skeletons created by animate dead spells that retained some of their draconic abilities.
- Vampiric dragons: extremely rare dragons turned undead by negative energy.
- Zombie dragons: undead dragons created by vampiric dragons or by necromantic spells.
Dragons were inherently magical beings, and in no case should dragons be considered reptiles, despite obvious similarities such as a scaled epidermis and reproduction by laying eggs. In fact, they were more akin to feline creatures than reptiles, particularly in regards to their posture and movements, as well as being inherently warm-blooded and an eye composition similar to felines, although far more complex. A good example of this was the placement of the legs: dragons also tended to place their rear foot where their front foot was previously, much like most stalking feline predators.
All dragons were omnivorous and could eat almost anything, thanks to their innate elemental nature that allowed them to consume and digest all sorts of food, including substances that wouldn't qualify as food to other living creatures. Most dragons preferred a carnivorous diet, but a few of them had developing unique dietary habits. Metallic dragons, for instance, preferred to eat primarily inorganic fare.
The great "spellwyrm" Helgaldegar believed that each dragon had its own "unique body chemistry" so that their specific, individualized diet would effect their longevity, vigor natural proficiency for casting magic and proclivity for other activities.
Most dragons usually consumed half their own weight in meat every day. Dragons seldom got fat, as their bodies converted all the eaten food into elemental energy, storing it for later use. Much of this stored energy was expended using their breath weapons and when their bodies changed because of them advancing in age. When eating inorganic materials, dragons needed to eat as much as its own body weight per day to maintain healthy bodies.
In some instances, dragons also ate magic items. These instances were rare however. While dragons could "inherit" the magical properties of some magic items for a day or so, and as such this would had some tactical value, few dragons would resort to do such a thing unless they were starving to the point of death.
The number of eggs a dragon laid each brood depended on its race, but was usually low, between one and ten. Thanks to their shape-shifting, dragons could also cross-breed with virtually any other creature, creating a half-dragon. The most commonly heard of were in the humanoid races, particularly with human and elves. Any combination was possible, however, even with devils or angels.
Most of the time when dragons of different types crossbred it resulted in no offspring. Whenever offspring did occur between different types, the offspring's biology would almost always favor one of the parent's "type" over the other and might display characteristic that varied from its norm. In very rare instances of crossbreeding yielding offspring, the resulting child's biology might favor neither parent. This might result in them being born as a new type or with albinism.
As for their senses, which varied slightly depending on the species, dragons were superior in most ways to other creatures - like any predator, they had exceptionally acute senses, which only increased with age. Dragons had excellent depth perception and comparably good peripheral vision, able to see twice as well as a human in daylight; they had great night vision, and were able to see even when conditions had no light to offer, though not in color. Dragons could also pick up scents very well, utilizing both their sensitive nose and forked tongue, much like a snake. Their hearing was on par with human hearing, although their minds could filter what noise it hears. Dragon taste was also refined, although they did not respond well to sweet flavors, and most dragons didn't discuss why. They were able to eat almost everything, but each race had a preferred diet; some preferred flesh, other to eat precious metals or gems, and so forth. Of all its senses, a dragon's sense of touch is the only one to decrease with age, due mostly to the development of thick, hard scales.
Dragons were capable of blindsense, the sense in which eyes, ears, and other senses were used to detect invisible persons or objects.
Dragons became stronger as they grew older; they also became larger, more resistant to damages and magic, had a more dangerous breath, and a great deal of other enhanced aspects. Older dragons could cast draconic magic, such as spells with just a few words, and oftentimes they didn't need long and complex ritual involving words, gestures and components like other wizards, and they radiated a mystical fear aura around themselves. After a millennium or two, a dragon reached his maximum development.
All dragons had some innate magical abilities, but they varied from race to race. Metallic dragons were often able to shapechange into small animals or human forms, and used this ability to secretly help or watch over humans. Dragons also had some innate powers upon the element they are linked to. For example a red dragon, who breathed fire, had some control over other flame.
Dragons worshiped Astilabor, Bahamut, Garyx, Hlal, Kereska, Lendys, Null, Sardior, Tamara, Task, Tiamat, and Zorquan. The pantheon once included many other deities, forgotten after millennia of time, countless holy wars, and the deaths of all their living worshipers. Some dragons had even taken to worshiping human deities under different aspects.
The term "wyrm" was used to mean "dragon", but might also refer to a dragon within specific age criteria; see dragon aging. "Wyrm" was believed to have originated from Jotun, the ancient language of the giants. The words "wyrm" and "worm" were pronounced similarly. Great care should be taken to avoid this as "worm" was the most insulting thing that one could call a dragon.
- See also: Proto-dragon
It was not clear exactly how dragons came to inhabit Abeir-Toril, but many traditions believed their origin was related to the Tearfall. Some scholars believe this event precipitated a dramatic climatic change, which in turn sparked the rapid evolution of proto-dragons into the varied forms of dragonkind known today, while others claim that the dragon race was born from falling meteors that were actually dragon eggs.
Regardless of their true origins, in the few centuries that followed their arrival to Abeir-Toril, the dragons generally kept aloof of the world's giants and ignored them, maintaining a relative peace with their nation Ostoria. Though they regularly preyed upon the herds of animals the giants founded and tended, such as elk and rothé. This led to many minor conflicts with the giants, as they felt slaying these poachers was not only desirable, but worthy of great honor or "bragging rights." Though such conflicts were always personal, not tribal or regional. With most being settled by contests of might, skill, or wits rather than outright murder.
Circa -26000 DR, tensions between the two reached their peak and would erupt into a war that would last over a thousand years. It was uncertain exactly what finally set off the war between them, but by most accounts it was when the dragon god Garyx sent an avatar to lead a flight of red dragons to attack Ostoria. An assault that led to the burning and destruction of a cloud giant city. According to giants, this occurred because Garyx had inflamed those dragons with thoughts of greed and envy over Ostoria's prosperity.
Despite giantkind's best efforts during this war, dragonkind ultimately drove them out of the southern portion of Ostoria. The war eventually concluded with a truce, though accounts of the event and its nature differed among the races. According to the giants, this occurred because of a game of wah-ree between Garyx and the giant god Annam All-Father, a game whose stalemate result granted the dragons continued ownership of the territories they had won in the war.
However, according to the dwarves, the dragons ceased the war due to their own civil war developing between the chromatic and the metallic dragons, known as the Dragonfall War, a conflict between the followers of Bahamut and Tiamat that continued unabated even in more recent times.
Individual dragons and dragon clans came to rule large swaths of territory and battled with their rivals not only for dominion of those lands, but also over matters of religious nature as the dragons of that ancient age were devout followers of their draconic gods. This period of devastating warfare among the dragons led the race to near extinction. Eventually, draconic philosophers came to the conclusion that all of the fighting was wasteful and that gods who allowed such behavior were not worthy of their worship. This started the dragon's apathy toward their gods, which lasted for thousands of years. They also created the xorvintaal to determine supremacy among them.
Draconic rule came to an end when the elves created the Dracorage mythal, a powerful magical effect that incited all dragons across Faerûn to madness and mindless destruction, turning against each other and even against their offspring. This event became known as the Rage of Dragons. Dragons were unable to take control of Faerûn again, their collective power waxing and waning over the following millennia. Although exceptions were recorded throughout history, the majority of Faerûn's dragons came to occupy the niche of top predator, not ruler.
After the last Rage of Dragons, in 1373 DR, the dragon population of Faerûn was greatly reduced in number. That realization sparked the need of dragons to look for the help of their gods, marking the prophesied "turning of the Great Cycle", an ancient myth that foretold the return of draconic religious fervor. The dragon gods who survived the long years without worshipers received a great influx of power from their new draconic followers. In 1374 DR, a new "Tearfall" caused several new dragon eggs to fall from the sky.
The meat of a dragon was said to be similar to white bustard meat but with a much more intense flavor. When news of a fallen dragon got out, it often brought "snatch teams" to the site to carve up and transport the carcass to the nearest big city to be butchered and rendered into saleable parts. These teams were typically well-equipped and well-armed because the potential profit from such a windfall was tremendous. Any offer of meat billed as "dragon tail" (or any other part of the creature) was usually a ruse or a get-rich-quick scheme. The largest and best tasting joints were said to come from the wings. This area of the body also yielded large slices of fat with the consistency of jelly. It was used to make fine stews when harvested in time, or as bait for bears and other large carnivores and scavengers if not.
The inedible parts of a dragon had many uses, both magical and mundane. The tendons from the wings were very strong and flexible, for example. Indeed, there were a few shops that specialized in dragon parts, such as the Wyrmworks in Silverymoon. Some alchemists claimed that properly prepared dragon organs, blood, or other fluids had magical healing or anti-poison properties. The same sort of claims were made for alicorn (the horn of a unicorn) and for wyvern-tail juice so it was often difficult to separate fact from fiction. Many spells could use dragon parts as material components, such as create baneguard, Daltim's proof against fire, dragon scales, dragonbane, time conduit, and weapon bless, for example.
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Chromatic dragons: Red • Black • Blue • Green • White • Brown • Gray • Purple • Yellow
Gem dragons: Amber • Amethyst • Emerald • Sapphire • Topaz • Crystal • Obsidian
Lung dragons: Chiang lung • Li lung • Lung wang • Pan lung • Shen lung • T'ien lung • Tun mi lung • Yu lung
Planar dragons: Astral • Battle • Chaos • Ethereal • Faerie • Howling • Mirage • Oceanus • Pyroclastic • Radiant • Rust • Shadow • Styx • Tarterian
Epic dragons: Force • Prismatic
Catastrophic dragons: Volcanic
Miscellaneous dragons: Dzalmus • Mist • Radiant • Rattelyr • Song • Vishap
Draconic transformations: Air • Ascendant
Linnorms: Corpse tearer • Dread • Stygian
Drakes: Ambush • Black firedrake • Dragonne • Elemental (Fire • Ice • Smoke • Water) • Felldrake (Crested • Spitting) • Greater • Guard • Mind • Portal • Rage • Space • Vulture
Dragonbloods: Draconic creature • Dragonborn of Bahamut • Dragonspawn
Drow-dragon (shadow) • Drow-dragon (deep) • Half-dragon • Kobold (Dragonwrought • Urd) • Weredragon • Zar'ithra • Zekyl
Undead dragons: Dracolich • Dragonwight • Hoarder • Rathrea • Vampiric