In flight, urds were fast and maneuverable, and could glide for long distances. They were not quite so graceful on land, having to hunch themselves forward to offset the weight of their relatively large wings. This forced them to partly hop when walking.
Urds rarely wore much clothing, but they would decorate their bodies with natural trinkets—bones or fruit, for example—depending on their gen.
Urds gathered in large groups of extended families called gens. These usually numbered more than 300 adult individuals, with half as many eggs and young, all led by a chieftain. Chieftains could be either female or male, and the position was hereditary. About half of all urd chieftains possessed magical leather armor.
Gen lairs were found in caverns, usually in remote mountainous regions. Each such lair was composed of a main chamber with smaller adjoining chambers for the eggs and young. About seven in ten urd caves included giant bats, who served as guardians for the urds, and at least one urd shaman per lair could communicate with the bats using the speak with animals spell.
Urds worshiped their patron god, Kuraulyek. Some revered the kobold deity Kurtulmak instead, and Kuraulyek's priests made it their primary duty to wipe out incidences of Kurtulmak-worship from their flocks.
Urds were omnivorous, but their actual diets varied wildly depending on where the gen was located and how violent its culture was. Food could thus range from small fruits to small or large game to other humanoids like goblins, humans, or elves.
In combat, urds preferred to attack or to hunt under the cover of darkness by dropping sharp stones (usually weighing between 2 and 3 pounds (0.9 to 1.5 kilograms)) from above and were adept at doing so, using their darkvision to spot their victims. Three-quarters of urds carried such "rock bombs" on their persons. The rest tended to arm themselves with light spears that could also be thrown like javelins.
However, urds, being cowardly and easily startled—especially by bright lights or larger flying creatures— rarely attacked foes unless they overwhelming outnumbered unarmored enemies no larger than a man. On the other hand, they would aggressively attack foes weaker than they, such as kobolds or goblins.
Band of urds of about 20 individuals were led by subchieftains; groups of more than 100 were known as "flocks" and were led by the gen's chieftain. Mercenary urds in fealty to other creatures were sometimes sent as messenger or scouting units but rarely in large battles, where they were too fickle to rely on.
In kobold and goblinoid mythology, the urds were created by their god Kuraulyek, who stole a pair of magical wings from Syranita, goddess of the aarakocra, and used them to form competitors to the kobold race, which was considered an act of betrayal against the kobold god Kurtulmak.
However, a document from Myth Drannor, the Treatise Historical of the Dragon Tyrants, recounted that circa −24,500 DR, chromatic dragons mated with early members of the kobold race to produce the first dragonwrought kobolds. (The dragons wished to better rule the kobolds through their hybrid descendants.) These dragonwrought kobolds came to work in teams known as wings, or urds in the Draconic language. The leader of the urds in those days was a blue dragonwrought kobold named Kuraulyek. Kuraulyek led the urds away from the kobold homeland of Darastrixhurthi to escape the first Rage of Dragons, settling in bat-haunted caverns beneath what were later called the Thunder Peaks. Without the urds to watch over the kobold lands, the dragon Caesinsjach slaughtered most of those kobolds who survived Garl Glittergold's collapse of their caverns. When Kurtulmak became divine, he vowed revenge on the cowardly Kuraulyek for deserting the kobolds in their hour of need, but Asgorath made Kuraulyek divine as well. The new god fled to the Barrens of Doom and Despair, where he remained till as late as the 14th century DR, still fearful of Kurtulmak's retribution.
This tale may be somewhat apocryphal, however, since other sources placed the First Rage of Dragons five hundred years prior to the creation of the urds.
In any case, as late as the 14th and 15th centuries, urds continued to hatch at random to kobold mothers. Kobold mothers considered such hatchings blessings from Tiamat; nevertheless, such offspring were envied for their gift of flight yet shunned by other kobolds, since they saw urds as the betrayer Kuraulyek's chosen. It is not known whether such kobold-hatched urds were capable of producing urd offspring as were the original brood of dragonwrough kobolds supposedly led or created by Kuraulyek.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 195. ISBN 978-0786965614.
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- Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 10. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
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 • Blight • 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 • Ooze • 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 • Zombie