Return to The Grace of Dragons
This is the dragons' home plane. It is essentially an oval shape of craggy cliffs with nothing in the middle. The cliffs are riddled with holes and tunnels that the native denizens use for their various non-fighting activities, most notably healing after fights, sleeping, and enjoying intimate company. A typical dragon lair houses three to six of them, and is packed with trophies from their kills. The Abyss is capped at the top by the infernal palace, Mezanne and Tamrin's home. Because of this, the rest of the Abyss is left in complete darkness, which is never relieved. The passage of time is difficult to measure.
The Infernal Palace itself is a decadent structure that once sat on the Material Plane, and is lit by a dark red light that is unchanging and has no apparent source. It has a vast audience chamber, used primarily by Mezanne for organizing her side of the Endless War and bestowing rewards on those who have done well. Tamrin uses it to punish those who have failed them. It is decorated in black velvets, silks, marble, and other opulent materials, and has just one throne that both of them use. Whenever they are both present at once, Mezanne, as the General and more forceful of the two, sits in the throne while Tamrin stands in the shadows behind her. The Infernal Palace has a Court made up of the leaders of many of the Abyssal races, who appear to try to catch Mezanne's or Tamrin's ear with their various nefarious ideas for influencing mortals on the Material Plane. The dragons do not have a representative in the Infernal Court.
The courtyard of the Infernal Palace has the Great Gate, which links the Abyss to Asmordin. This is where armies are assembled and sent off with their orders. The courtyard is a vast expanse of blackened rock with weird, twisted red plants scattered haphazardly around the place. Some of them bite and snap at passersby, some emit noxious fumes, and some make shrill, unpleasant noises. The Great Gate is a glowing red field in a black marble archway, large enough to admit ten dragons shoulder to shoulder at once. It is guarded at all times by a contingent of glabrezu, who treat the duty as a great honor, for they are the first line of defense should any of Havrek's forces manage to breach the Great Gate. On the other side, from Asmordin, this gate is called the Abyssal Gate.
The Plane of Battle, as it is also called, Asmordin is a large place with every imaginable type of terrain. It has tall mountains, low valleys, high cliffs, deep water trenches, freshwater lakes, a saltwater ocean, beaches, and so on. Any type of terrain you can imagine can be found on Asmordin, someplace. The Abyssal Gate is located near the top of a high mountain, and the Celestial Gate is located on a sandy beach.
There are no creatures native to Asmordin, and no creatures live there for an extended period of time. Some Abyssals or Celestials may camp there from time to time, but they always retain a home on their native plane. There are, however, plant species that are native to Asmordin and not found anywhere else, though many can also be found on the Material Plane. None of the plants are intelligent, but some do react to stimulus by snapping, entangling, or releasing spores. None of the plant life is cultivated, and aside from normal, natural cycles, it is only disturbed by the fighting of the Abyssals and Celestials, who often use it for a soft crash landing, something to throw, places to smash enemies into, and so on.
Asmordin has a day/night cycle of 40 hours, and the four standard seasons, each lasting 300 days. The Equinoxes have an even split of day and night hours. The Solstices have a 10/30 split. Daylight is provided by a yellow star that rises and sets, and nighttime is pitch black with no moon or stars.
Dragons only visit the Material Plane when summoned there by mortal spellcasting. Even those who have been many times know little about it. There are five civilized races and numerous uncivilized ones, as well as animals that are entertaining to chase. It is generally known that mixed race groups are uncommon, as most mortals prefer to stay in single race groupings. There is one notable organization that claims to follow Death, called the True Pathfinders, who are almost always found in mixed race groupings. Their primary mission is to destroy the undead.
The five civilized races:
Elegant and graceful, elves are seriously into nature and trees. As a race, they tend towards the veneration of Besille. Like dwarves, they do not often summon dragons. A dragon who wishes to do well on a foray against elves learns quickly to rush in so they cannot launch arrows or use magics. Sheer brute force and overwhelming numbers are best against elves.
Ugly and brutish, orcs are a tribal race. Some of the tribes have taken dragons as their totems, and these are the ones who are most likely to summon them for aid. An orc who summons a dragon usually knows at least a few key words of Abyssal. As a race, they tend towards the veneration of Mezanne, but they are not inherently Evil, they just have little patience for the concepts of true justice and any kind of subtlety. Tribes are ruled by the strongest member of the clan, which is usually the only person the shaman treats with great respect.
Driven and ambitious, humans are too vast and varied to pin down with a blanket statement. When summoned by a human, anything can happen. They most often venerate Havrek and Besille together as a concept of Goodness, but there are plenty of humans who follow the Four Gods individually. Some of them even venerate the demigods as above the Four Gods (crazies).
Sturdy and stout, dwarves are the least likely to actually know Abyssal. As a race, they tend towards the veneration of Havrek, and do not often summon dragons. Therefore, most of what dragons know about dwarves relates to fighting against them. They are best dealt with from a distance, as they can wield mighty axes with great skill, but are less capable with ranged weapons and not so inclined towards magic.
Much like elves, the Mezzit are graceful, but they are dark and treacherous. Of all the civilized mortals, Mezzit are the most likely to actually know Abyssal well. They were once elves who took up a cultish allegiance to Mezanne. The twisted magics they pursued in this effort changed their bodies and minds until they were a separate race entirely, one that places Mezanne above all else. As her loyal mortal minions, dragons are supposed to obey the Mezzit without question. Generally, the summoning magics involved ensure this anyway, but a Mezzit summoner can expect complete, unwavering, loyal obedience from a dragon, whether he wants to give it or not.
The Life and Times of Immortal Dragons
Dragons begin life hatching from an egg. They are quite weak and pathetic as young, but very, very cute. They eat the shell of their own egg, which provides them with all the nutrition they will ever need to grow into mature, adult dragons. A typical hatchling is walking within a few minutes, flying within a few days, and ready to learn to fight within a week. By the time it has lived a month, it has grown as much as it ever will, and by the time it reaches its second month of age, it has gained all the abilities it will ever have.
Dragons are always 'in season' starting at three months, and mate on the wing. When such matings result in eggs, which is not guaranteed, they are inert unless Mezanne has bestowed the gift of fertility upon one or the other of the dragons involved. This is done with an orb called the Vranterok, which literally means 'plant the seed in the egg'. Mating is still quite enjoyable, though, and egg laying is not arduous enough for the female to keep them from doing it rather frequently. Most females eat inert eggs to regain what was lost in the laying. After laying viable eggs, a female will often eat portions of her foes in her next fight to replace what was lost in the laying. While dragons do not pay any particular attention to who is related to whom and how, they have a peculiar set of pheromones that drives them away from parents and siblings for mating purposes and draws them to those who they are not directly related to.
Dragons are social creatures who prefer to lair with others, but not too many others. A typical lair houses 3-6 dragons. They may or may not be related, but if a dragon has a steady, monogamous partner, they typically lair together while that relationship remains intact. Most often, a lair has a group of dragons who are wingmates to each other - that is, they fight together as a squad.
Details of dragon reproduction
- Female dragons do not suffer a mechanical penalty for anything that male dragons don't.
- They get a little bigger while the egg is forming, just like a pregnant woman grows a belly. It does not impact their ability to fight
- An egg is laid after approximately 30 days, a viable egg hatches approximately 90 days after that.
- Females ordinarily lay one egg at a time. Once the egg is laid, it requires no tending or incubation. Most dragons place a viable egg into some kind of nest, just to keep it from rolling around, and some females like to sit on their own egg because it's a pleasant sensation and to make sure they're there when it hatches, but none of that is necessary.
- Beyond fertilization, a male dragon's presence is entirely unnecessary for egg laying and hatching. If a male dragon wishes to enjoy the fertilization process again with that particular female dragon, though, he is wise to not just wander off and ignore her.
- Females can enjoy mating flights while with egg. The few days before and after a given laying are generally too uncomfortable for that, but there is no other limitation. This is the origination of the term 'egg-snarl', which is the annoyed hiss a typical female right before laying gives to the male who suggests or otherwise tries to get a mating flight out of her. Usage: "She gave me an egg-snarl."
- Any given mating flight is about 30% likely to result in an egg. If one of the dragons involved has been gifted with fertility, the chance increases to 90%.
Dragons have substandard digestive capabilities. They lack true excretory capabilities, but can handle eating small quantities of foodstuffs. A dragon that eats more than what one might accidentally ingest while fighting is likely to throw up whatever managed to get down its gullet.
Dragons have tear ducts to keep their eyes clean, as well as having an inner eyelid.
Dragons heal at a rate of 1 hit point per ten minutes. Nonlethal damage is healed concurrently with lethal. Once reduced below 0 hit points, a dragon regains consciousness when he heals his first hit point, unless he's still below -10. Any dragon below -10 hit points remains unconscious until he reaches -10.
There are exactly 1114 dragons in the Abyss at this time. Of them, 327 are female, which is just less than 30%. Most wings have one or two females, and most wings are led by a female. Those that are not led by a female typically have a very old male dragon in charge.
The First Dragons
Naturally, as an immortal created race, those dragons who were created first are still around. Originally, Mezanne made twelve dragons, and every other dragon can trace his or her lineage back to at least four of them (not that most care all that much). The First Dragons are all approximately 3000 years old. None of them are entirely certain exactly how long they've been doing this, but all agree it's roughly three thousand years at this point. They are no more or less intelligent than any of the rest of the dragons, and have no greater or lesser abilities. Additionally, they succeed and fail about the same amount of time as any other dragon with some experience under their claws. They are simply much, much older.
When referring to any of the twelve of them respectfully, they are the First Dragons, or The First.
Dragons advance by class level at this time. Use the following information to upgrade them.
- Max hit points for your class.
- Max skill ranks = your character level + 8.
- All skills are considered class skills, except Speak Language.
- Feats are acquired as normal for your character level, disregarding your dragon hit dice.
- Ability score increases: +1 to one ability score of your choice at every other hit die, starting with 6. This means you get a +1 at every odd character level.
- Breath weapon: +1d6 at every level, so the damage is a number of d6s equal to your total hit dice (level + 5). The save DC is 10 + 1/2 total hit dice + Con modifier. Round up.
- Innate dragon spells: +1 caster level at every level, so your caster level is equal to your total hit dice (level + 5).