Dragon Characters for Eberron - silver
Background Concept – Secrets known only to the wise (and not known to most PCs)
Most species age with the passing of years, whether they gain in experience and wisdom or not. Dragons are not one of them. A Dragon’s size and power is a direct reflection of its experience and understanding of the world around them.
At any given size, there is only so much that the Dragon can learn. When its storehouse of experience grows full, they can no longer add to that storehouse. When this occurs, the dragon needs to enter a state of deep meditation for several days, to spend time integrating all that they have learned since their last such meditation, and clearing out that storehouse. It is only during such periods that a Dragon will physically grow. Dragons refer to this process as “returning to the egg”.
A dragon will generally be aware of when this need is approaching, and one older than a hatchling will understand enough about themselves to know that they are acutely vulnerable at such times. As they age, many dragons will seek to avoid adding to their wealth of experience out of a sense of self-preservation. Thus a dragon may spend centuries as a young adult by simply becoming a recluse.
Only in the respect of scale size is a dragon’s true age discernible; over time, their skin becomes composed of more and more scales, each finer in texture than those which proceeded them. These changes tend to be less noticeable when a dragon grows, because the dragon needs more scales to cover the larger hide; it is only when a dragon stops growing for a long period of time that the difference becomes more apparent. The subdivision of scales starts around the eyes and makes its way along the length of the body: first the back, then the underbelly, and lastly the wings.
2. All the Colours of the rainbow
Dragons in general possess a vast number of warring personality traits. As hatchlings, they are virtually indistinguishable, and all colours of the draconic rainbow are potentially theirs. As a dragon learns, some personality traits will emerge as dominant over the others and the dragon’s scales will change hue to reflect these dominant personality traits. Any given hatchling has the potential to be Gold, Silver, Brass, Red, or Black. Humans and other civilized peoples generally associate the dominant personality traits with the color, and think that the latter is the cause of the former; in reality, it’s the other way around.
Of course, a dragon’s early experiences are generally dictated by their parents. The more noble draconic subtypes have a greater sense of responsibility in general, and this is just as strongly reflected in their child rearing as it is in any other aspect of their lives. The metallic dragons therefore tend to breed “true”. Those who are more self-absorbed in nature, more prone to neglect their young, do nothing to curb the satisfaction of petty desires in those young, which permits those antisocial tendencies to become dominant in the children – and hence a chromatic dragon’s eggs will tend to hatch more chromatic dragons. In other words, they will also tend to breed true. This masks a fundamental truth of the species, one that holds the key to relationships between dragons of different colours. Every Chromatic Dragon is the product of a broken nest. Every metallic dragon had a fulfilling home life.
3. Population Growth – Chromatic Dragons
These facts have a strong impact on the population sizes and growth patterns of the different groups. Chromatic Dragons mate out of lust, forming brief and frequently catastrophic personal relationships, which inevitably give rise to a new generation of neglected hatchlings. They therefore exhibit the population growth patterns of animals, cycling from generations of but a few to generations in which they swarm like locusts. Most of the time, they are relatively few in number, but every now and then they emerge as a plague.
The world would obviously be completely overrun with chromatic dragons were they not their own worst enemies (as a species) much of the time. When not in heat, which is most of the time, they are incapable of cooperation for any length of time, each convinced that the satisfaction of its own desires are paramount. What’s more, during a swarming season, the odds are that a female in heat will encounter a chromatic dragon who is not – making the fertile female an easy target. Dragon swarms are naturally self-correcting.
4. Population Growth – Metallic Dragons
Metallic Dragons are far more socially responsible. They tend to mate less frequently, ignoring their lusts when engaged in some other activity. It is only when they expect to have a period of leisure that they can maintain for at least a year, and they encounter a dragon of the opposite sex with whom they have a suitable personal relationship who is also free for a suitable period of time, that they will mate. They will remain together until the young are past the hatchling phase, and both will ensure that they are available for some time afterwards should the young have need of guidance or advice. As a result, a far greater percentage of the young metallics achieve maturity. Population growth is slower, but steadier.
Given time, the Metallic Dragons would surely achieve population numbers that eclipse the chromatic dragons. This is the population-growth strategy employed by most of the humanoid population, after all, and dragons are far bigger, meaner, and tougher than most humanoids. Keeping their numbers in check, and enabling humanoids to dominate, is a natural predator – the chromatic dragon swarms. At such times, four dead chromatic dragons for every dead metallic dragon is a victory for the chromatic dragons. This is the ecological basis for the social responsibility of the metallic dragons – more of their subspecies survives the onslaught of the dragon hordes if they cooperate in defense.
5. Draconic Personality Traits
Every dragon, regardless of hue, possess the personality traits of ALL dragons. In addition, there are a number of traits that all dragons share. Many of these traits conflict with each other, and it is how dragons deal with these conflicts that defines an individual’s personality.
Gregarious: All dragons enjoy the company and conversation of other sentients.
Insecure: However, they are all insecure to a greater or lesser extent, leading them to hoard what wealth they acquire. This mandates that dragons partake of such company and conversations on their own terms, in their own comfort zone – usually a long way away from their hoards.
Paranoid: What’s more, they automatically assume that everyone else is after their accumulated hoards until proven otherwise. For this reason, few dragons are willing to discuss the draconic lifestyle, why they do what they do, or otherwise give out information that could fall into the hands of those who plot against them.
Judgmental: A dragon rarely changes its mind, though it may seem to. They are quick to make snap judgments about others, though often slow to act on those judgments.
Honest: A dragon’s word is his bond. The Metallic dragons make promises freely, and keep them. The Chromatic Dragons have to be forced to give their word, and even then will adhere only to the letter of the promise and not any intent that have been assumed by the other party, no matter how reasonable that assumption might be. Wish spells are not as dogmatic.
Scheming: Dragons are natural schemers and plotters. The Metallics describe their plans as “subtle”, the Chromatics as “devious”, but they both mean the same thing. Plots within plots within plots.
Greedy: All dragons are naturally greedy and grasping. A metallic dragon may invest, but will expect a suitable return – paid promptly, or else, and let me introduce my army of accountants, and the accountants who watchdog the accountants. A chromatic dragon will simply use extortion, or outright robbery and raiding.
Generous: When approached the right way – with respect – all dragons are capable of astonishing acts of generosity. A chromatic dragon will simply steal the money back when he feels like it. It’s nothing for a dragon to bargain for hours to save a copper piece and then give 1000 gold to a local charity. Assuming they have the gold to start with. They tend to live hand to mouth, rarely putting their finances to work for them, spending what they have to and stacking the rest.
Noble: Likewise, all dragons have a streak of nobility. Being noble comes naturally to Gold dragons, the other metallics do it for the various side benefits they get – gratitude, polite company, or whatever, and the chromatics do it to prove their superiority, and so that they can gloat.
Malicious: All dragons can be petty about the smallest details, and they bear grudges longer than mountaintops bear snow. A dragon will wait 500 years for revenge if he has to – though he would rather force it to happen sooner. Plus ten per cent extra for their trouble.
Overconfident: All dragons are somewhat overconfident, even boastful at times. If a task is too big for them at the moment, they have complete faith that they will have what they need at some future time – but if that is going to be too late, they have complete and utter faith that they can find someone else who has the required skills or abilities.
Superior: All dragons have big egos. Each considers himself the pinnacle of existence in at least one respect, no matter how obscure it has to be. Metallic dragons will concede that others are equally superior in other fields, Chromatic dragons don’t care because they are superior in the one area that really matters. This means that they react very strongly to impertinence.
Smug: The combination of overconfidence and superiority makes all dragons somewhat smug, especially when they have the upper hand (or think they do).
In general, as dragons age and their hoards grow, so does their greed, insecurity, and paranoia. They will slowly withdraw from all society as these factors overwhelm their gregariousness, becoming reclusive. The exact point in time when this takes place varies from individual to individual. Once it happens, dragons no longer grow or age, or mature further – they are frozen at that point in their development. Clearly, the later in life this point is reached, the larger and stronger the dragon, the larger the hoard, and the more opportunities the dragon has to father young. The evolutionary trend is therefore for dragons to resist the lure of their hoard for longer and longer periods, and therefore to become bigger, stronger, and smarter over many generations. The dragon’s greed and tendency to hoard therefore becomes an evolutionary tool to weed out the weak.
6. Speculations – not even dragons know for sure
Dragons speculate that as they age and mature, they develop towards a perfect form that embodies and contains ALL draconic abilities and characteristics. The longer they can resist the lures of their hoard and the insecurities it engenders in them, the closer to perfection they become. They speculate that once, there was just one dragon – and it gave birth to three offspring, each of which embodied one aspect of the draconic personality. These in turn became the fathers of their respective groups – the Chromatic and the Metallic. The fact that there is therefore a missing group argues against the theory but does not disprove it. The chromatics embody the need for constant and immediate gratification and the satisfaction of their desires, while the metallics embody the more long-term aspects of dragons.
7. Off-colour behaviour
Because all dragons contain all the personality traits of all the other dragons, regardless of hue, from time to time a dragon will engage in behavior more characteristic of another subspecies. If they persist in this behavior long enough, it will be reflected in their scale hues. A Gold dragon who overindulges in hedonism may eventually become a black dragon of equivalent age. The younger a dragon is, the less “fixed” their color is, and the more easily swayed to another path of dragonkind. It is therefore actually incorrect to describe them as subspecies; rather, they are philosophical embodiments.
Silver is a Silver dragon of indeterminate age who has amnesia. Since this is a completely unnatural event in the life of a Dragon, he is completely unsure of how to react – but he’s sure that it’s the result of some plot directed at him. Most distressing, he has forgotten the location of his hoard! He no longer knows his name, his age, and has forgotten much of what he had learned about the world around him, which he now views with new eyes. From time to time, he may have a flash of insight, as some lost memory floats to the surface. (NB: This is a mechanism for the GM to give the players information he wants them to have that they can’t get otherwise). Silver DOES remember all of the above info on Dragons, but is disinclined to share it. He is particularly paranoid about and therefore hostile towards, psionic creatures of all sorts, given his current condition. There were no physical injuries to explain his condition.
Silver is determined to rebuild his hoard and powers, regain his memory, and exact a terrible retribution against whoever or whatever is responsible for his condition, but in the meantime he is starting again from scratch.
There have been sufficient clues since he awoke to suggest to Silver that he was formerly a philosopher; from time to time some suitably deep thought will emerge from his memory in the form of some obscure phrase or concept. Without any context in which to place these, however, they just make him sound all zen and mysterious. Though during inappropriate times, they become a source of great humor to those around him, much to his embarrassment.
To cover his humiliation at such times, Silver is currently indulging in a game of being mysterious for mystery’s sake – a pose that leads many to underestimate him. When the need arises, however, he can drop this pose in a heartbeat. To avoid the complications that his natural form would engender, he usually assumes the form of a Valinor elf, and not even his current companions (the other PCs) know what he truly is. Yet.
Silver has adopted the profession of wizard, but has barely mastered the rudiments of that art at this time. (3 levels of Dragon, 1 level of Wizard).