Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Races: Half-Dragons

“No, I’m not going to eat you. I may rake my claws across your hamstring, bring my knee into your stomach, introduce the knife of my hand to the back of your neck and tear your throat out with my fangs, but I’m not going to *eat* you. That’s just barbaric.”

Ventorix, a monk and prince-in-exile, putting a new acquaintance ill-at-ease

Arcane might. Unmatched strength. Half dragons are born to these things, and they often get the chance to flaunt both. Of all of the Third Races- and some would even go so far to say all the peoples of Wune- half dragons have the most formidable natural gifts, but this power comes at a price. The vast majority of half dragons are brought into this world in the harems of cruel dragon monarchs who mate with any number of women (and men), willing and unwilling, First, Second and even Third Races, to bring a loyal warrior-whelp into the world. Raised in luxury and isolation, they are trained in combat both magical and mundane at their leisure. While the lack of true friends and a loving family often hardens them and turns them into a living extension of their draconic parent’s cruel will, there are times when their lives can take a different path. Perhaps they grew too strong-willed to listen to a distant, domineering mother. Maybe in their isolation, an insurrection that slew their father overlooked them. Still maybe they were on the wrong end of succession, and found themselves discarded in favor of siblings that were more potent. Whatever the reason, there are a few half dragons that have more control over their life than most.

Still, even the most unfettered half dragon has no control over how others view them. They are hated outright- even more so than the most stereotypically savage elf, thieving halfling, or brutal half-orc. One need only point to their origins to find a reason to distrust them, and their alien appearance strikes fear into the bravest souls. Unlike with other members of the Third Races, half dragons trust each other least of all. After all, they are one of the few creatures on Wune that are a match for them, and the draconic side of their psyche gnaws at them to establish dominance before exchanging pleasantries. In social situations with other peoples, they usually attempt the reverse, being civil at the very least. Only the most compassionate or sensitive worry after the disdain of their lessers- the rude are painfully reminded of their place, those who become hostile rarely get the chance to learn from their mistake.

One of the reasons why half dragons are so feared due to the astonishing variety of forms they can take. Few half dragons look alike, but they are all combinations of reptile and humanoid, with the humanoid features coming from the non-draconic side of the union. The aesthetic result of this combination runs the gamut from sensuous to grotesque.

Half dragons lack appreciable social skills due to the nature of their upbringing. Those that provide services that half dragons cannot provide themselves are appreciated, but are little more than servants in their eyes. They save their respect for those whose ability eclipses their own and their admiration for those who are willing to share the fruits of their knowledge with them. The concepts of love, family and friendship are known in theory, not practice. This can result in an innocent, child-like view of the world outside magic and combat, or a dangerously naïve individual who views others as little more than test subjects for novel spells and insidious weapons.

Naming Conventions:
Half-dragons generally prefer Draconic names to those of lesser creatures, although they may go by a nickname or alias when traveling or striking out on their own, particularly one that is popular the non-draconic side of family.

No matter what race has had a hand in their conception, the blood of dragons runs thick through their veins. They always share one aspect of their alignment with their draconic parent, and may emulate their alignment completely in an attempt to garner attention or affection.

While the preferred class of half dragons is sorcerer, they almost never remain in this class. The discipline of fighters and monks is available to them from before they can walk, and they usually gain levels in both of these classes before puberty. Half dragon clerics are disturbing in both concept and frequency, as they eagerly proclaim the divinity of their parent and of their own as well, if they are paladins. Among half dragons that seek to survive on their own, the ways of the barbarian and reaver are natural choices, especially if they would prefer to avoid the ‘civilization’ of the weaker races. Rogues apply the arrogance of the previous within the city walls, and make a bloody climb to the heads of thieves’ guilds. Wizardry is uncommon, as a half dragon would rather rely on internal magic than external. Half dragon druids, rangers, and bards are rare.


As presented in the Monster Manual I.

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