Dragonborn. Half-dragons. Draconians. Cecrops.
This post was inspired by this Facebook thread.
I have long been fascinated by dragons and dragon/human mixes. The image of Cecrops in Mythology by Edith Hamilton has stuck with me from the moment I saw it in Seventh Grade. That image was the basis for “The Overlord,” a conquering despot who ruled over the City of Kardon for his liege, the seven-headed dragon Babylon. Years before my players fought in the Dragon War (Yes, I had a dragon apocalypse, who hasn’t?), other PCs had to deal with Mandragora (pronounced MAN drag ore uh), which I based on an image from the third installment of “Dragonsword”, a secondary story in the back of The Warlord comic issue 54. I crafted those on my own, but soon enough I was to discover other people’s versions of dragonmen.
Draconians are the redeeming feature of Dragonlance, which dropped on us the following evils: tinker gnomes, Raistlin, gully dwarves, the Knights of Solamnia, and kender, in order of greatest to least annoying. I found the draconians fascinating. They had cool powers and special effects when they died. I happily yanked them into Rylmorn and used them as shock troops in the War of the Dragons (AKA the Dragon War). I particularly enjoyed using aurak draconians to torment my players. I was very happy when the Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons updated draconians for 4E . Now, that Prince Vanik is restoring the Fortress State of Arkohsia and it’s already history that some draconians have pledged themselves to the service of Prince Vanik and defense of Arkohsia, I look forward to using them again.
Half-dragons…what can I really say. They first appeared in Council of Wyrms setting for 2nd edition AD&D. I was not impressed with the setting and really didn’t use much, if any, of it. 3E overused the idea of the half-dragon template. I don’t think all dragons are interfertile with other living things. Even if I accepted the idea that all dragons could interbreed with non-dragons, 3E just went too far with the concept. I got really disgusted when I encountered a black dragon/tendriculos. It’s a giant plant, people, a giant plant! Next!
Even though I thought half dragons were overused in 3E, I did not let that stop me from creating a community of half-dragons in the Rilmoré Cluster campaign, my campaign set in a massive archipelago. I got a great deal of personal amusement in crafting a monastery and surrounding community filled with half dragons. One of my biggest personal jokes was a Zen pool that had six amber balls on its sandy bed. If one was perceptive enough, one might notice that the balls had five-pointed stars on them. The stars varied number from one to seven, missing only the four. I’ve talked about running a campaign based around Arkohsia with all the PCs being dragon humanoids. If I do run that campaign, the Monks of the Dragon may be an opposing group.
My wife is running a dragonborn, twin blade ranger in my present campaign. She’s the one who is credited with starting Prince Vanik on his quest to restore the Fortress State. Her character, Surana, traces her ancestry back to the children, guards, and servants of Zoë Dragonmaker and Alexsi Lungtai of Mythgold. Surana’s ancestors were transformed into dragonborn by the use a powerful artifact, the Chalice of Dragons. Surana’s mate, Kharus, is a blue dragonborn, whose ancestors born from the Black Egg. There are small enclaves of chromatic dragonbborn in Sigil and Kharus is from the blue enclave. The PCs have met the following dragonborn in the course of my 4E game: Sargon – black dragonborn dragon killer with a huge chip on his shoulder; Kitiara – blue dragonborn, owner of the tavern Wyrm’s Lair in Sigil and Kharus’ grandmother; Kharus – blue dragonborn, Surana’s mate and son of Sargon and the late Kahladnay; Prince Vanik – brown dragonborn from an unspecified and unnamed kingdom; Kuryon – blue dragonborn poet and Lawgiver of Ancient Arkhosia; and a couple unnamed red dragonborn purists who attacked Surana and Kharus because they were “mixing the colors.” I’ve enjoyed the drgonborn in 4E.
If my plan for an Arkohsia campaign goes through, I look forward to the interactions between the half-dragon monks, the True Dragons of Dragon Isle, and the Scions of Arkohsia. Will they find the Black Egg and the Chalice of Dragons? Will they have to defend themselves against attacks by the True Dragons? What will they learn from the Monks of the Dragon? Until then, I shall Game On!