Dracon Civilization (4e Other)
From D&D Wiki
- 1 Overview
- 2 Introduction
- 3 History
- 4 Biology
- 5 Basic Elements of Society
- 6 Roles and Expectations of Different Groups
- 7 Clothing and Appearance
- 8 Religion
- 9 Morals and Ethics
- 10 Major Cities
- 11 Economics and Law
- 12 Art, Entertainment and Culture
- 13 Architecture
- 14 Knowledge of the Dracons
- 15 Dracon Adventure Hooks
- 16 Dracon NPCs
- 17 Dracons Abroad
This page is intended to cover what was intended to be a Campaign Setting, but was abandoned. Rather than let all of the material go to waste, this page was created to give the 4e custom race, the Dracons, a place in the 4e world. The Dracon lands are not enough by themselves to constitute a whole setting, but they can make for a significant part of a pre-existing setting.
The Dracon race lives in a desert, worships many deities, and is amoral at best. The majority of the population lives in the countryside as herders, oasis farmers, merchants, adventurers, or warriors. Sometimes, Dracons living in the harsh environment take to more than one vocation, being a herder most of the time, but going off to war when a rival group threatens. A large minority of Dracons live in the cities, which are places of great wealth and poverty alike. In addition, there are also some Dracons who live in fishing villages near lakes and the coast, large mining camps and fortresses in the countryside, sizable isolated religious communities in the desert, and a surprisingly large population of sailors, most of whom hail from coastal cities.
Unlike the Dragonborn, Dracons are an artificial, not natural race, having been created out of a mix of humanoid and dragon blood. The Dracons know this and are not in the least bit lessened by it. A relatively young race, the Dracons only have about 10,000 years of existence, but have made the most of them. While the Dragonborn and Tieflings have lost their empires, the Dracons never built one to begin with, and instead live in the desert as herders, and at oases, along rivers and in fertile plains as farmers, as well as a collection of city-states.
The Dracons were created by a council of Dragon mages who were obsessed with restoring the Dragons' position as the supreme beings in the world. While the Dragons themselves knew that humanity's success was due to human activity, productivity, and a future-focused mindset, the Dragons were themselves loathe to adopt the mindsets of the humans themselves. Unwilling to admit that humankind was, in many respects, superior to them, and unable to match humanity's growth and power with their might alone, a large assembly of Dragons mixed human and dragons genetics (with an 80% draconic, 20% human mix), and placed them on fertile plains, with preset strengths, weaknesses, and a likely path of social development. Male Dracons were given strength and toughness to be hunters, females were given the ability to climb trees well in order to gather the fruit.
As centuries passed, the Dracons came into contact with humanity, and within seven generations, humans had evicted the Dracons from their original homelands, and pushed many of them onto more marginal soil. Humanity had learned to master the art of civilization while the Dracons were still a group of herders and subsistence farmers, and thus, the Dracons seemed to be a failure.
This "failure" became even more apparent when the land the Dracons lived on dried up and desertified, and many Dracons were forced to migrate across the desert to oases. To add insult to injury, the last of the Dracons were evicted from the plains, thus forcing the entire race into the desert. Ironically, this led to their future growth, as it placed them out of the reach of humanity for a while, and gave them time to develop. Further, it gave them the impetus to gather together and form settlements of their own in areas with the resources needed to sustain settled life; fresh water and fertile soil. Eventually, a number of Dracon cities formed, and when humanity was next encountered, the Dracons were far more prepared.
The Dracons were a race that was created, not begotten. In other words, they were created artificially, out of human and dragon blood, but without any direct mixing. Hence, they are neither half-dragons, nor Dragonborn. The race was specifically crafted to be able to mix the best of Dragon power and human adaptability. The differences between the males and females were heightened in order to force a social order that was, in the eyes of the race's creators, more conducive to warfare (the male's side), and multiplication (the female's side.)
Dracons have horns on their head and claws on their fingers and toes. A Dracon's feet have three forward facing, weight-bearing, clawed toes plus a single claw near the rear of the foot. These claws give them good traction and make climbing an easier task than it would be for most humans. The teeth are very sharp by human standards, and the fangs of a Dracon are well-suited for a primarily carnivorous diet. The Dracon's tongue is not forked like that of a snake, but rather, is like that of a Dragon.
All Dracons have excellent eyesight and an exception sense of smell. Their hearing is roughly on par with that of humanity, and their sense of taste is about the same. Male Dracons are made to be tough and warlike, and have considerably more strength and durability than the females. By contrast, the females themselves have very soft skin and significantly weaker bones, but have a much stronger sense of tactile feeling than the males, as well as greater flexibility and better balance. Such differences did not evolve naturally, but were engineered that way.
Dracons lay eggs, and the females nurse the children for the first years of the hatchlings' life. Usually, no more than a single egg is laid at any one time, but exceptions have been known to exist. Twins are quite rare, and triplets are almost unheard of; if more than one egg is laid at a time, it is unlikely that all of them will hatch.
Basic Elements of Society
The Dracons are not so much an immoral race as they are amoral. While many Dracons are definitely immoral (almost certainly outnumbering the good Dracons by a great margin in most settlements), the society is not set up around evil ideas as its primary focus. Dracons are more inclined to chaos and are not known for keeping their word. While strength and skill is respected, it is valued less than result. Most Dracons are consequentialists; they care about the ends, not the means.
This has created a power-based society which very few of its members question. The setup is relatively simple; he who has the most power makes the rules. This crude idea is the basis for the Dracon kings and chiefs. Below him are those with less power, but still enough to be a force in their own right. These include warlords in the countryside, landowners in the cities, and religious and magical institutions and entities all around. Still lower are those the ruler must take care of for his own sake; the soldiers. Any prudent monarch knows that without military force to back up his rule, he will soon fall. One more level down are the merchants, artisans, craftsmen, scribes and other subjects who possess useful (and taxable) skills and knowledge. It is in this class that the most positive things about the Dracons can be found; their fine goods. Dracon scroll-makers often have access to knowledge normally only available to dragons, Dracon smiths have experience working with a wide variety of rare and exotic materials, and Dracon alchemists have knowledge stretching back to the beginning of their race (which is young, but having 10,000 years of alchemical history is more than many nations), which is fitting, as the Dracons were, in a sense, the product of alchemy.
Below the skilled workers are the masses of unskilled laborers, farmers, herders, fishers, sailors, and peddlers which make up the largest class. This group is large and unruly, and often has to be paid off with food and entertainment. The next class down are the poor and destitute, which make up a frighteningly large percentage of the population. The lowest class includes slaves, prisoners, and others who are forced to work against their will for no payment, often in mines and quarries out in the desert, or else in the cities, sometimes as gladiators.
The family structure of the Dracons is difficult to grasp; a huge variety of families exist, ranging from the nuclear family (which is a minority, but not at all uncommon), the extended family (common in the countryside), a single parent (usually a single mother who was either never married to the father, or the father died in a war), or adoptions (quite rare.) The few generalities which can be made are that when the father is present, he is always the head of the family, and that sons are considered an asset, daughters are considered a burden.
Dracons mate for a wide variety of purposes, but they generally marry for love. While the law provides advantages for the male in any such relationship, he is expected to provide for the female(s) he marries. Polygamy, while rampant among the rich, is rare for the middle class and very rare for the poor. Some Dracon cities and regions prevent a male who cannot prove he can support a family with more than one wife from being polygamous. Dracons have a very sensual culture, and making his wife(s) feel physically good is an expectation in marriage for the husband, although by no means a legal requirement.
Roles and Expectations of Different Groups
The Dracons who set up the class system were the strongest, most influential males on the top of society. Much of what Dracon culture has become is due to the fact that it was crafted in their mold. As such, the culture tends to be elitist, harsh, and favorable to the rich and powerful.
While the Dracons are not set in their classes as if it were caste system, there is relatively little social mobility for most; the poor tend to stay poor, and the rich usually die before they can fall from their positions of wealth, in the event that they would fall at all. Usually, the only group that has any chance of rising are young males entering the military, who can always hope for a successful campaign and plentiful spoils. The old, the sick, females, and those who did not enjoy a great amount of success in war are generally left in a bad position. The poor are expected to simply survive, and will do so by any means.
Above them, the unskilled workers know they have a similar situation, but are not as poor and since they are more numerous, know that they have a considerable amount of influence based on the fact of what they can do if angered. This class generally enjoys an occasional feeding during a game, as well as the chance that there will be a lot of work, should the city require a large amount of workers for construction projects.
The artisans and merchants know that they can do well if there is much traffic coming into their city, or else can be part of that traffic. The upper ranks of the military (officers, elite soldiers, etc) know that they have power, and the king or leader of their city or tribe will respect that and make sure to pay them well; lower ranking soldiers are not so fortunate.
The expectation in society is that the strong will be willing and able to take advantage of the weak. This is seen as natural, and neither the laws nor the traditions of the Dracons oppose this state in any way. The old and sick are often left to die, unless they have relatives who are willing to take care of them, and those who have been crippled in a war or accident have little place to go. Females are weaker and more vulernable than the males in every way, and this fact is easily taken advantage of. A female Dracon's best bet is to be married to a rich, strong male who will treat her well. This way, she will live a life of comfort and not be treated badly by other males. If her husband should die, she will be in serious trouble, as she will need protection from the hostile world of the Dracons.
Dracon relationships inherently favor the males, with a male being able to wed multiple females, but not the other way around. The justification for this is that a single male is the definite father of children from many females, but the father would be unknown if there were several males married to one female, and since everything is patrilineal in Dracon society, knowing who the father is carries heavy weight; of course, with so many Dracons born out of wedlock, the father often is unknown anyway. A wealthy Dracon (all rich, independently wealthy Dracons in their lands are male) will usually have as many wives as he can comfortably support and has the time to find. There is no serious imbalance in the distribution of males to females in the society as a whole because many Dracons never truly marry; they mate unofficially or else reproduce as a result of mating with Hierodules or other females.
If there is a capable father present (who has money and/or power), the child will usually grow up in safe environment, as long as the father is able to protect and provide for the mother and children. If the father is absent, the mother and child may have a hard time surviving. Few males will marry a female who already has children, leaving a divorced/widowed mother and her children with few means of support.
The rich are expected to be above the poor, and the upper classes will only ever aid the poor if they want a mob at their disposal. It isn't uncommon for the richest 5% of the population to control well over half of the wealth in a city. The wealth tends to be somewhat more equally distributed in the countryside, but the landlords which control much of the fertile soil are still far richer than their tenants.
Clothing and Appearance
The main difference between male and female Dracon's clothing is its purpose: for males, it is utilitarian; for females, it is ornamental. Additionally, female Dracon clothing is often minimal in the heat of the desert, and is usually reduced for purposes such as dancing. Neither males nor females use footwear, as their claws would wreck any shoes they put on. Tattoos are common among females who are part of a powerful household or temple, and this marks them as under the protection of that association. Males rarely have tattoos unless they are the head of a powerful organization or house; their mark can be found on the females who are beneath them.
Dracon children are given treatment that is proportional to how likely they are to survive and how much value they have as potential workers. This is reflected in the amount of clothing they are given. When the child can walk, he or she is given some simple loinclothes. Dracon boys who survive to age seven are given a pair of pants, and when the young male turns 14, he is given a shirt and the ability to wear whatever extra clothing he is given or can afford on his own. Young females get a top when their breasts begin to develop.
The Dracons are polytheistic, and although each major settlement has its own patron deity, no one god is truly revered more than others. Craftsmen, warriors, merchants, and others have their own patron deities as well. Dracon temples in the cities are major places of commerce as well as worship. Temples sell religious items and divine magical services (such as healing) for a fee. In addition, every major Dracon temple in a Dracon city (some of which are as large as human cathedrals) employ females in a variety of positions. While each temple is run by males, and most of the important priests are male, priestesses fulfill certain roles on the side by praying to goddesses and performing ritual dances. Every temple charges a small fee from those who enter it (measured in copper coins), as a way of collecting a nominal amount of cash to be symbolically sacrificed to the gods. The income of the temples are taxed by the kings of the cities (no more than a 10% tax on the temple) and make up a fairly important secondary source of revenue.
The use of hierodules prevents the possibility certain crimes from taking place on the city's streets; unlike many other societies, those sort of actions are unheard of, as it is something to be done in a temple in a city or a shrine in smaller settlements; all shrines in small Dracon villages have at least one hierodule working there, and almost all Dracon villages have at least one shrine. While considered immoral by most human standards, use of heirodules is said to be a sacred ritual for the Dracons, and has far more importance to them than its face value would suggest. The females who become heirodules are highly respected, as long as they stay true to their religion. Most of them highly enjoy what they do, and live very comfortably. Being a legal part of the temple itself, the hierodules have no independence, and own no private property nor possess any money. They cannot marry and they are not allowed to leave the temple under almost any circumstances. In spite of this, they are expected to bear many children from the males they meet, in order to help keep the temple staffed, and to keep a minimum amount of population growth going in the Dracon lands. Male priests also serve female parishioners; any of their children who are begat by them are guaranteed a place at the temple, thus ensuring that the female's offspring will have a secure future. Hierodules stay on their duties for 15-20 years, after which they become servants or can train to become priestesses. Priests can stay in their position for life, although their duties change as they age and rise through the ranks.
Instead of faith, the Dracons believe that worshiping idols, burning incense, dancing for the gods, and conducting animal sacrifices correctly will grant them favor in the eyes of the divine. Worship is highly ritualized, and it is believed that the gods care more about exactly how one performs an action for them rather than what real intentions lie within oneself. Statues, ornaments, and lights (generated by candles and by magical sources) adorn the interior of the temples, as the appearance is considered to be more important than any other element of the structure.
Morals and Ethics
The idea of an abstract good is unknown to the Dracons. The Dracons revere power, and have a constant desire for it. In Dracon lands, there are few prohibitions on magic, and their cities are known for having extreme magical diversity. Sadly, this means that Dracon cities are home to demon and necromantic cults as well as standard forms of magic; Dracon magic is known for having a heavy elemental factor to it, and is weakest when it comes to highly sophisticated spells which manipulate pure arcane forces (such as astral and ethereal magic.)
The idea of rights is unknown, and the pursuit of moral improvement is perplexing to the Dracons. For them, concepts and objects worth pursuing include power, wealth, gratification (in all senses of the term), revenge, security, and health. Religion among the Dracons has nothing to do with love, and is simply seen as a way to appease the deities of the universe, and use their power to further the causes that the Dracons pursue. In addition, there are a few cults (popular among females and the poor) which exist solely as an opiate to numb them from the harshness of their society; these cults espouse odd, weird, or unusual things, most of which are centered around a niche item, often from nature, which becomes the main focus of their worship.
Dracons tend to be present-focused, that is, they tend to think about what is in their immediate surroundings and what affects them today, and don't care too much for the past or the future. While this makes for excellent parties and wild celebrations, this lack of caring for tomorrow and "living for today" has made them unmindful of the harmful consequences of their actions, and their disregard for yesterday ensures that they are sorely lacking on time-tested moral principles. Regardless of their focus on the present, the Dracons do have some conception of an ideal state of being. These ideals are based on Dracon culture and traditions.
For the males, the ideal state is to be able to control others, to take from them what they cannot keep for themselves, and to be able to have what you want. For the females, the best thing is to be protected from the harsh world, and to live a life of comfort, pleasure, and ease. In other words, the male Dracon's dream is to be a powerful ruler, and it is the female's dream to be associated with that powerful ruler. While the idea of being a warlord is the most obvious, some Dracon males are intelligent enough to recognize that there are different kinds of power; a rich merchant, an archmage, or the leader of a powerful guild can have just as much power as a mighty warlord, albeit a different kind of power.
There is a fairly sharp division between the public and private spheres in the Dracon lands; males take the public sphere, females take the private one. Females rarely do well in the public sphere without protection from males; females are weaker, slower, softer, tire more easily, and generally have less logical and inferior spatial reasoning and the males do. Furthermore, the females lack the competitive drive that the males do, and are often unable to defend themselves if confronted by a physical attack. The males rarely feel guilty if a lone female who attempts to be a merchant is attacked by a male and has her wares stolen from her, as she was not strong enough to defend herself. The city guards will almost never attempt to defend a female who is attacked for defying the social order, and may, in fact, be the ones who are attacking her. Married Dracons often go into a business together, with the male owning the operation, but the labor being shared between both husband and wife.
There is also another ethical division between the genders, that of risk vs rewards. The Dracon males will take great risks for gold, as long as the ratio between risk and reward isn't astronomically high. The females, by contrast, will rarely take such chances, and would prefer to be in poverty than risk being killed. Of course, a few rare Dracon females find this setup to be oppressive and stifling; these females often end up as adventurers, or else as criminals in the slums of Dracon cities. Of course, even the most rebellious Dracon female will have at least some desire for a male who can protect her, comfort her, and provide for her, even if she has difficulty admitting it. This sort of desire was made as an instinctual part of the species by the mages who created the Dracons.
Taoulmuansi: (taoil muansi) Draconic for "large city"; Taoulmuansi is the oldest of the Draconic city-states, and the original great settlement of theirs. It is known for being a major port, and is one of the three least-isolated cities in all of the Draconic lands. Products from the city include handicrafts (especially wooden and silver goods), textiles, and grain grown on lands under the city's rule. Major landmarks include a human temple (mainly used by human merchants living in the city) and a newly-built arena.
Hekaga: (heeka goawy) Draconic for "temple place"; Known for its many temples, its great tower, and its great mausoleum, and its legendary founding. Hekaga was founded by a tremendously powerful red dragon, who ruled over the region in which the present city is in and extorted a great amount of cash from its inhabitants. After his death, his many children began fighting each other over control of the city. Each of the potential successors worshiped a different deity, and each one who managed to gain control of the city used his wealth to build an appropriate temple (in hopes of gaining favor with the deity.) Eventually, Only one of the heirs survived the fight, and ruled over the city. After over-taxing the population, he was overthrown and killed in an uprising. The great Dracon hero who led the revolt died, but the Dragon's confiscated wealth was used to construct a grand mausoleum for him. In later years, a tower made of red sandstone was built by the most powerful archmage in the city, who still inhabits his tower today. A neighboring city, Charirinik (Draconic for "red sand") occupies the same general area (the two cities are contingeous except for the fact that Charirinik is outside of the Hekaga city walls and has no walls of its own), and is extremely poor. Major products include textiles, magical and religious items, and various foodstuffs farmed from the surrounding oasis.
Hewaniar: (hewasch niarhaanin) Draconic for "river school"; Founded by a great ruler of a collection of villages and oases, this city was created to be a center of education. Placed along a river and surrounded by relatively well-watered terrain, this is one of the richest areas in all of the Dracon lands. The university in the center makes it the most civilized area as well, to an extent... the poor who live in the city are treated just as badly as anywhere else, and the gap between the rich and the poor in the city is very, very large. It must also be remembered that the city is still in a desert, and ten kilometers from the limits of the city will put one in the uninhabited desert.
Naushindcalgoa: (naushindcal goawy) Draconic for "fruit place"; The richest city in the Draconic lands, Naushindcalgoa leads in export of many items, such as fruit, fish, glass, metals and many other items known for giving the Draconic territories their reputation for exotic goods. It's main temple is the second-largest in the Draconic world, known to have a very tall tower attached to it. It is also the largest port for most goods.
Minbenthac: (minben thaczil) Draconic for "Item land"; the city is named as such because of its gigantic marketplace and the fact that many exotic goods can be found here. Located at the base of a great mountain range, Minbenthac boasts several large palaces belonging to nobles in the city. Each of the nobles controls at least one major resource producer (mines, quarries, fertile land, etc), and is given authority by the king of the city to have independent control over that resource. In exchange, the noble has to pay taxes to the king and base his operations in the city. This creates a flow of goods from the desert into the city. Minbenthac also has a large arena, many temples, and a series of subterranean tombs.
Hurthihes: (hurthi hesjing) Draconic for "Water fortress"; Hurthihes is known for being founded as a fortress by a Dracon warlord who came out of the desert. He built his fort on the site of the convergence of several rivers. In time, the fertile land around the city came under the plow, and today is a major exporter of food in a mostly dry land.
Qumadoras: (qumado rasvim) Draconic for "Sea Treasure"; A major port city. Qumadoras is known for three things; pearls, pirates, and the slave trade. The city is known to send privateers based in its ports to steal from the shipping lines of other races, and to use the stolen treasures and captive crews to enrich the city. The waters off the shore of Qumadoras are known to be rich in fish and pearls, and these also strengthen the economy. The city is well-known for its marble temple.
Perionigo: (persvek rionib goawy) Draconic for "In-Between Place"; The smallest of the major Draconic cities, Perionigo is nevertheless an important port and a major center for the production of carpets. The ruins of an ancient Dracon city are not far away, and adventurers often explore these ruins.
Economics and Law
A majority of the population depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though many of the nomads and many subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recent, recurrent droughts. The coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, but over exploitation threatens this key source of food for the coastal areas. The Dracon lands have extensive deposits of various metal ores, which account for a great deal of their exports.
The Dracons measure wealth in different ways, depending on their exact setting. Herders usually measure their wealth in terms of animals owned, farmers measure it by the amount of land possessed, and merchants and craftsmen measure it by the amount of money (in gold) they have. Some very powerful Dracons measure wealth by non-conventional means; powerful mages determine their wealth by means of valuable gems and powerful artifacts, for example. The only similarity between all measurements of wealth is that all of them are material. Standard wealth is usually reflected in coinage. Dracon coins are made of gold, silver, and copper, with platinum pieces rarely used. Each coin has a face (usually of the king) on one side and a picture of a city, temple, symbol, or other culturally significant image on the other side.
The legal side of economics reflects the general mindset of the Dracons; the stronger party has the advantage and "justice" is the rule of the stronger. Hence, individuals who control a large amount of large are given the advantage in any case over individuals who don't own as much. Furthermore, property inheritance rights only extend to males; if a male dies with no male relatives, the government gets the land, and will sell it to other males. The vast majority of organizations (most craft guilds, all governments, most mage councils) prohibit females from joining their ranks. One exception to this are temples, but even here, females and males are given vastly different roles. The laws of all Dracon governments enshrine these divisions.
Professions and crafts open to males include, but are not limited to: Warrior, smith, cooper, fletcher, bowyer, construction worker, scribe, potter, carpenter, merchant, miner, herder, farmer, politician, brewer, fisher, bakers, chandler, butcher, tanner, vintner, miller, glass-blower, jeweler, shipwright, cartwright, mason, laborer, alchemist, doctor, hunter, engraver, mage, judges, sailor, bookbinder, architects, and cartographer. Dracon cities which have workers who are known to produce quality goods or provide excellent services typically have a guild representing that particular craft or service. The majority of guilds are run for the mutual benefit of all of the craftsmen involved; all craftsmen pay dues to the guild, and in return, the guild attempts to fix prices in the city, as well as regularly meeting to discuss matters of the quality and quantity of goods produced. Every guild makes sure to hire at least some mercenaries, partly for protection, but also to wreck the competition by removing any member of a certain craft who is NOT part of the guild that the craft represents. So far, there have only been as much as one guild per craft per city at most in the Dracon lands. Dracon kings appreciate the income a guild's goods can bring, and give them freedom to "regulate" competition, as long as it does not prove to be too destructive.
Female Dracons have far more limits on what they are allowed to do. If they possess natural magical skills, they can be sorceresses, but such natural power is quite rare. In the countryside, many female Dracons work beside their husbands on the farm or with the herd, but in these cases, it is still the male who does most of the work, and the male who owns the farm. There is but one major craft dominated by females: weaving. Females also serve as nurses, herbalists, cooks, maids, waitresses, and dancers, among other things, and every major Dracon city is full of the latter two; most Dracon inns employ at least one dancer, and every wealthy Dracon male has at least a small staff of maids. Females are also allowed to serve as Hierodules in temples, and as priestesses in certain religious organizations. Females generally hold jobs in the cities, and it is rare for an urban female of working age to not either have or to seek employment. Several Dracon cities and towns have a weaver's guild, but unlike other guilds, this guild operates for the benefit of cloth merchants, who control the guild. The workers are typically young females, many of whom would be destitute otherwise. The wages are kept very low and the hours are kept very long so as to increase the quantity of goods made and increase the sale of products by means of low prices, and abuse of the workers is very common. If any female complains, she can be beaten or thrown out without question.
Most farming is on the subsistence level, with most of the good land being owned by rich landlords who use serfs, tenant farmers or slaves to do the hard work. Female workers are never independent, and if they are left alone on the farm if their husband or the other male present leaves for an extended period of time, it is possible for the land to be taken away from her due to "lapsed ownership." If she is lucky, she will end up as a menial worker on the estate of a larger farm; if she is unlucky, she will be dispossessed entirely and be dislocated.
Art, Entertainment and Culture
Much of the Dracon's culture revolves around three large pillars; shows, celebrations, and religion. In the city, shows can be anything from street performers to gigantic arena fights. Females have a monopoly and dance, and also make up a majority of musicians. In the countryside, shows can be limited to a traveling group of performers, or can be held on certain holidays. Rich Dracons usually keep at least one dancer around for entertainment purposes, and some may hire musicians as well. Big celebrations are held in major cities, and usually occur if there has been a major victory for the city or if it is a certain holiday.
A major component of all Dracon culture is dance, and it is by far the largest thing that females bring to the Dracon culture. Dancers can be found in great abundance in every sizable Dracon settlement, to the point that these females often outnumber all other working Dracon females combined in that specific town. Females have a penchant for dancing for several reasons; first they are naturally flexible and light on their feet, second, Dracon females are generally emotional and sensual and dance helps them express themselves, and third, Dracon males are willing to hire them for their dancing skills, so they can make at least some money off of it. The only problem is, that with so many dancers, there is fierce competition, and with that, lower wages for each dancer. There are also some female acrobats who perform with some traveling bands.
The Dracons tend to extremes in many things; this attitude extends to their buildings. Most often, their architecture is shoddy and substandard, but in a few cases (temples, palaces, etc) it is among the most elaborate and intricate in the entire world. Dracon palaces are especially complex, as they are designed to be self-contained, and thus have all of the amenities that one would normally expect to find in a whole town. A (possibly ruined) Dracon palace makes for an excellent dungeon, as a powerful nobles or ruler is likely to have, or have had hundreds of rooms for himself and his retinue, a sanctum for his court mage, a shrine, storerooms, long hallways, a library, craft shops, a throne room, a kitchen and feast hall, a network of pipes/plumbing, a treasury, tunnels connecting parts of the palace complex, and possibly a series of tombs for himself and his ancestors.
On the other hands, most Dracons live in structures of no more than three rooms, often built out of cheap materials in a simple, rectangular shape. The few buildings which fall in between either extremes of construction generally belong to merchants or skilled craftsmen.
Knowledge of the Dracons
To summarize Dracons in a nutshell, DC checks for knowledge of the following can be made. Below, the minimum a character will likely need to know can be found.
DC 15: Dracons are an artificial race, created by means of mixing human and draconic elements. This was done in order to capture the essence of human adaptability and merge it with draconic power.
DC 20: The exact mix of Dragon and human blood is 80% draconic, 20% human. In spite of this, the Dracons are still human-sized, bipedal creatures; it is what the magic created on the inside which counts. It is also fair to say that the 20% is "humanoid" rather than "human", as the traits that humans and dracons share are also shared with other humanoids, such as elves and dwarves.
DC 25+: Information on how the Dracons were created, and by which magical process can one mix the blood of humans and dragons.
DC 15: Powerful Dracon kings like to build monuments, more often for egotism than necessity. Some of these structures have multiple uses, despite being publicly intended for only one function.
DC 20: Dracon cities are often filled with secret passages, sewers, caches, and hidden chambers. While these are generally inaccessible from the street, they can be found if one looks hard enough in certain temples, fortresses, and palaces. Expect these dungeons to be heavily trapped and well guarded, or, at the very least, to be hard to find, enter, and leave.
DC 25+: Detailed information about specific Dracon fortresses, temples, palaces, and other structures.
DC 15: The Dracons possess several major cities and control over a vast desert, but have no unified empire to speak of, and never had one to begin with. Instead, a variety of kings and chiefs control their civilization instead of a single emperor.
DC 20: Unlike the Dragonborn's past empire of Arkhosia, the Dracons rule themselves, and are independent of dragons. While many Dragons live in their lands, no Dracon city is currently under the rule of one.
DC 25+: Fine details about Dracon history.
DC 15: Dracons are egg-laying creatures with reptilian and mammalian characteristics. While the Dracons have scales and horns, they are not truly reptiles, and while the females nurse their young, they are not really mammals.
DC 20: Dracons are a mix of humanoid and dragon blood, with select qualities from each side being hand-picked to make what their creators thought was a "superior being" in relation to humanity.
DC 25+: Specific knowledge of Dracons and their anatomy and biology.
DC 15: The Dracons have ties to Draconic deities, but are willing to worship other divinities as well. The Dracons make extensive use of lavish ritual and exotic ceremony in their temples.
DC 20: The Dracons consider their religion to be a way of maintaining good relations with the gods in order to reap physical benefits; they don't worship out of love or piety.
DC 25+: Creation myths, specific ceremonial procedures, and other fine details.
Nobility and royalty
DC 15: Nobility depends on more than land ownership; rich merchants, mages, and generals can derive their wealth from sources other than estates, although all wealthy Dracons are part of a household which owns some land.
DC 20: Dracon kings possess despotic power in the cities that they rule in. In the countryside, chiefs and warlords have varying degrees of control over their people. Queens are kept as consorts and are used to produce heirs; they never wield power.
DC 25+: Specific knowledge of lineages, royal families, and minor rulers.
DC 15: The Dracon lands lie in the middle of a vast desert. Some cities are near the coast, others are near a river or an oasis. Water is a precious resource for most Dracons.
DC 20: Dracon city-states make use of local resources, but have to trade for many needed goods; no parts of the desert have all the commodities that a developed city needs.
DC 25+: Specific knowledge of the Dracon lands, such as routes, directions, and obscure areas.
DC 15: Dracon cities have relatively little order and the strong can prey on the weak. The rich can afford to hire private protectors; these hired arms are often as well or better armed than most city patrols.
DC 20: Dracon customs and traditions separate gender roles greatly; males are expected to be workers and fighters, females are valued for appearance and fertility. Additionally, most crafts are controlled by the Dracon males. Females still work in a variety of jobs, however.
DC 25+: Detailed information about Dracon customs, laws, personalities, and traditions.
Dracon Adventure Hooks
- A war between two Dracon city-states has led the kings of both of them to issue a call-to-arms for adventurers to supplement his forces.
- A once-prosperous Dracon city has been taken over by a tyrant with the help of an evil archmage.
- A Dracon village needs help defending itself against deadly nomadic desert raiders.
- Elementals stalk a rich Dracon city.
- A caravan needs guards to escort it through hostile, brigand-infested territory.
- An ancient Draconic temple has been found on the border between the territory of two rival kings and both of them want its secrets.
- One of the daughters of a Dracon chief has been kidnapped by a rival tribe.
- The arena of a major Dracon city is sending out calls for adventurers to capture animals for contests to be held on a major holiday.
- A thief has stolen valuable items from a palace.
- One of the daughters of a Dracon king is trying to escape a forced marriage to the ruthless captain of the king's guards.
- Merchants have begun to disappear at an alarming rate from a major marketplace with no sign of what happened to them.
- The poor are on the verge of rioting in a major Dracon city.
- A Dracon sorcerer is trying to summon and bind a mighty primordial.
- The ruins of an ancient city founded before the Dracon race existed have been discovered.
- Extraplanar creatures threaten valuable trade routes.
Adykon: Hailing from the wilderness, Adykon was raised as a goat herder for most of his youth. When he was old enough to fight, he was conscripted into the army of a local lord and sent to fight against the forces of a neighboring region. Having distinguished himself in war, Adykon quickly rose through the ranks to become an officer, but after the war ended, cutbacks were made to the army, and Adykon found himself having to hire his services out as a mercenary. He is a skilled warlord, and has experience both fighting alone and as part of a unit.
Rhiga: Born in the Dracon city of Hekaga, Rhiga's early life was one of poverty, having been raised by her mother alone, as neither she nor her mother knew who her father was. Her mother was a dancer, and taught this skill to her daughter. Even with steady work, Rhiga was often unable to make both ends meet due to her low wages and the fact that few other occupations are open to females in Dracon lands. Her brother was a thief who taught her how to steal if she needed to get more than she was being paid. For a couple of years, Rhiga was able to steal from rich Dracons who hired her to perform for their feasts. Because many guests arrive at such events, it would be difficult to pin the blame on any one individual if the host discovered that some of his valuables were stolen. Unfortunately, Rhiga's luck ran out when she attempted to steal from the prince of Hekaga. While she managed to escape, she cannot safely return to the city, and is currently on the road. Rhiga is a mid-level rogue who is currently on the run from the law of her home city.
Acerrast: A high-ranking mage with a great tower in the desert, Acerrast is a well-known power to be reckoned with. A powerful wizard, Acerrast hires his services out to the highest-paying lord he can find. He isn't an evil power, but he is unconcerned with morality one way or another. Like all powerful Dracon mages, he has a tendency to fall victim to excess; he and his 27 wives have expensive tastes.
Dracons are frequent travelers as merchants, adventurers, and explorers. On occasion, a neighborhood of Dracons may be set up in a foreign city, especially if trade between that city and Dracon lands is strong. Every "Dracon Quarter" has a significant population of merchants and adventurers, plus several inns and taverns. Additionally, every such district has at least one Dracon temple or shrine.
Dracon shipping and merchants always make sure to provide for their religious considerations on a journey; every merchant expedition, naval vessel, and caravan has at least one priest and at least a couple of hierodules accompanying it.
Mercenaries from the Dracon lands are relatively inexpensive to hire, but provide high-quality military services. If a band of Dracon sell-swords makes even a modest fortune by human standards, the Dracons in that band can expect to be able to live well when they return to their home, due to low prices, which in turn come from the low cost of labor in Dracon lands.