Dragons look something like very large, winged lizards. They have a long, sinewy body which they sometimes coil up in the manner of a snake.
A dragon's stature varies not only with its age, but also with its power, and in particular, the size of its hoard. The most powerful dragons have grown to heights of more than 25 feet, and lengths of more than 100 feet, from head to tail.
Dragons are covered in scales, generally of green and red hue. The scales of a fully-grown dragon are very difficult to pierce, and can withstand extreme temperatures and strong magical forces. They are often sought by enchanters as a powerful source of enchantment.
Dragons are capable of projecting terror and confusion, and generally clouding the minds of any lesser creatures who approach them. This clouding is probably responsible for the fact that the same dragon is often reported to be different sizes and genders by each human who encounters him or her.
Fiery breath is the most celebrated and most feared ability of dragonkind. Few creatures can survive the flames.
Dragons have a natural ability to manipulate the forces of magic. Although they can master arts such as spell casting, their most powerful magic is innate, and cannot be taught. Such dragon magic is usually put to more subtle ends than humanoid magery, ends fitting the introverted nature of the dragon. For example, the magics that alter the dragon's form, nourish it on a diet not at all proportional to its size, and protect its hoard are all inherent to its race.
Behavior and Personality
Despite their tremendous size and their many predatorial advantages, dragons are not active predators. Indeed, they usually prefer to avoid the lesser races altogether. Though they will sometimes keep fire lizards or other reptiles as pets, most reside far afield from the troublesome clamor of other talking creatures.
By nature, dragons are strong-minded recluses. Perhaps because of this introversion, neither heredity nor upbringing shapes a dragon's personality the way it does for many sentient creatures, and even dragons from the same brood may have little in common. Some seek power, while others seek wisdom or simple peace. Some befriend humans, while others see them as prey, or as creatures to be exploited.
All dragons, however, are proud. They are not stupid, and few will allow pride to compromise their continued existence. But they are champion grudge-holders. A dragon who has been wronged will find a way to take revenge. And with such a long life, he can afford to be very patient.
Dragons were once spread across the surface of Ermarian. However, when the Empire began exterminating magical creatures, dragons quickly became one of their most important targets, due to their power and the impossibility of controlling them. Because dragons mate infrequently, the campaign literally decimated their population. It is estimated that fewer than 20 dragons survived it, using their magic to conceal themselves underground.
Dragons of Exile
There were five dragons, all from the same brood, who dwelt in Exile and nearby caverns for many centuries. The dragons had been around since before the last Resting of the Vahnatai, though how much earlier is unclear. The five dragons were Motrax the kindly, Sulfras the strong, Pyrog the cruel, Khoth the wise, and Athron the reclusive.
Though all dragons distrust humans and hate the Empire for its crusades against them, these siblings experienced protracted persecution. Pyrog was slain and Motrax mortally wounded in human attacks, while Sulfras and Khoth were tricked and enslaved by archmage and commander Garzahd.
During the first century after humans began to live in the caves, each of the surviving dragons fled the area. Athron gave birth to a new brood, while Sulfras and Khoth plotted revenge against the Empire.