Drakien

Average Lifespan: 230-300 years
Average Height: 6’ to 7’ hands at the shoulder
Average Healthy Weight: 1000 to 1200 stones for females, 1500 – 2000 stones for males
Pregnancy Duration: Drakiens lay eggs three weeks after conception, often in clutches of 3-5. These eggs take six months to hatch.

Pride and greed characterize the typical Drakien, though this is not always a terrible thing. Many of them can make wonderful guards (for the right price), or efficient mercenaries. Above all, Drakiens are known to be pragmatic and are as a whole more concerned with survival than with artistic pursuits. They are not often given over to emotions, but they are known to have rather nasty tempers, and often hold onto a grudge long after most other people would have forgotten about it. Many mistakenly believe the Drakiens to be savages, basing this upon the story of their origin, but it usually only takes one meeting with a Drakien to see how very wrong they are. In sharp contrast to their beginnings, the Drakien people of today hold fast to their beliefs in civility, order and law. As these ideals are important in any military campaign, they have shaped the warring culture of the Drakiens. From a young age they are taught to obey their commanders, ensure the survival of the unit rather than an individual, and that there can be no peaceful existence as long as someone challenges them. These values have made them worthy additions to many an army or mercenary band, earning the Drakiens a grudging respect.

Physical Characteristics

Drakiens tend to be tall and well-muscled, with most standing eight paces tall on the two legs they now walk upon. Though they have lost their tales, wings, and the grand scales of their kindred, they are covered with a much smaller version of scales (similar to snake skin) that does offer some protection. From a distance, many have even mistaken it as strangely colored skin. Each Drakien is metallic in color, and is of the same clan (color) as their ancestors, though the bloodlines may have mingled at some point. They have a feral, human-like appearance, but may be covered by small spikes of boney protrusions along their features. Similar to Humans and Elves, many Drakiens have hair, a feature in which they have taken pride in lieu of their wings. All Drakiens have slitted, cat-like eyes and lengthy claws with equally impressive fangs.

History

The absence of the gods, though desired by most of Valindir, left many races unsure and afraid. Never before had they experienced such freedom, and many feared the staggering choices that lay ahead of them. Some thought that perhaps it would be better to erect new powers which the people could turn to for guidance and dominion…and the Dragons were quick to agree. They declared themselves the new gods of Valindir, stating that no other race came so close to the old gods in power and majesty, and thus they were without question the best suited to lead. Not all wished to place themselves under the yoke of servitude once more, however. Nolan LeDeere, a powerful wizard that had formed the Path of Enlightenment and was himself the former High Priest of Spirit, challenged the Dragons to a duel against himself and his pupils. He would serve no creature, he said, that could not overcome him. On the Sigil Night, the time of the moons’ phase which the Dragons regard as sacred, the two factions joined in battle. Stronger than ever during this time, the Dragons easily overpowered the Enlightened, devouring them like feral beasts. When Nolan lay at the feet of the Dragons, broken and spent, he smiled and uttered his last words, “By debasing yourselves, you have proven yourselves unworthy, and granted me victory.” Only when he too had been devoured were the Dragons made to understand what the mage had done to them.

Each of the Enlightened had coated their skins with a specially prepared oil, and so the Dragons that devoured them took a curse into themselves. A horrible change occurred, with the Dragons’ forms peeling away to reveal pitiful two-legged creatures. Gone were their vanities, to be replaced with much diminished claws, fangs, and scales. Even their tails and wings, their greatest sources of pride, were stripped from them that night. Horrified by what they had become, their unchanged kindred cast them out, and they became the Drakien.

“’Defeated’ is a matter of opinion…you see failure, and I see a prolonged bout of indigestion.”
—Samonsae, Drakien warlord

Culture and Religion

At this time, the Drakiens are a People divided amongst themselves. Some feel that the best course of action would be for their kind to unite under a common leader and attempt to finish building Drothmarra. They argue that survival must come first, and that divided they are too easy to conquer and kill. Others push for their People to throw all of their resources into discovering a way to undo the curse, feeling that a return to their ancient power will ultimately gain them everything they need. They insist that a second concentrated attack on the Enlightened would yield the answers to their search, and struggle to pull their people together to make it happen.

It is very rare to find a Drakien devoted to any religion, though when they do find that passion in themselves they are normally called to the Path of the Elements. As the Elements created the gods, the Drakiens feel that only these incarnations are (perhaps) above them in power. Some of the most powerful priests in the service of the Elements are Drakiens, earning them respect, however grudging, among the other races. While a Drakien may seem naturally suited to the Path of the Enlightened, given the animosity between them such a thing is laughable. Drakiens are much more likely to attempt to revive a fallen god in a desperate bid to reclaim the power they once had, and use it to crush their hated enemy.

Geography

The first inhabitants of Huldova before the failed coup of the Dragons were the Elves, making the relations between the Drakiens and Elves rather strained. Though the Elven People possess the resources to take back their territory, it is their belief that the land is tainted now, so they wish nothing more to do with it. This suits the Drakiens just fine, with their militaristic view that every scrap of land holds value. Some may even defend the land from any would-be trespassers in the hopes of one day being able to finish their city, and so somehow redeem themselves in the eyes of their departed brethren.

The land of the Drakiens does not hold much appeal for the other Peoples, however, and indeed it was counted as the least of the Elven territories long ago. Full of swamps, dangerous beasts and harsh deserts, few if any of the Peoples could live there comfortably. Perhaps it is a testament to the great strength of the Dragons that they flourished there, or perhaps the Elves are correct in believing the land is tainted now, and once it was much more hospitable. Whatever the case may be, the Drakien refuse to abandon it, clinging to the ruins of their half-finished city and hungering for the return of their birthright.

Relations with other Races

Though many were not present to see the battle, the Enlightened made sure that every race knew what had become of the would-be gods, and these stories have been passed down faithfully. If any were to doubt them, they had only to look to the strange and exotic creatures that now walked among them. Because of their past, the Drakiens know little love from the other races, but receive an especial mark of disdain from those of their Dragon kindred which remained behind, who view them as abominations. They in turn see the unchanged Dragons as traitors, those who would not assist their kindred in their time of need. The power of a Dragon, however, even one greatly diminished, is not something to turn away out of hand. Many lands hire on the Drakiens in positions as warriors or mages, eager to make use of the legendary might and intellect of their kind.

Alubra – Drakiens have a difficult time understanding how a People as apparently fragile and flighty as the Alubra could have survived Al’Drenra, or how they did not prove to be an unending source of irritation to the gods who sheltered them. Many of them feel that the Alubra are too scatter-brained and concerned with trivial things such as art and music, and that their time would be better served focusing on strengthening their defenses or finding a decent set of armor to keep their glass-like bones from shattering at the slightest breath.

Centaurs – Others might not think it, but Drakiens have a strong sense of duty and pride, and with the dismissal of the Centaurs from the lands controlled by the Sapphire Council, the Drakiens feel the Centaurs have lost both. Far from being repelled by this, however, they view it as a common bond, and many Drakiens will go out of their way to offer support to the Centaurs, whom they view as kindred spirits. A few have even offered their aid, should the Centaurs be willing to attempt to retake their place in Danzibar, and it is not unusual to see them stepping in to aid roving war bands of Centaurs out on the plains.

Danava — There is something rather galling to the Drakien People about the idea of submitting to another race. Perhaps this is understandable, as not so long ago they considered themselves the equal of the gods. Were it not for the efforts the Eiltia Empire has made to reverse the curse placed upon them by Nolan LeDeere, the two might even be enemies. The Drakiens are not known for turning away something useful, however, and so for now the two remain cautious allies.

Daphinae – It was surprising to the Drakiens just how quickly the Daphinae rushed to aid them in any struggles against the Elves. As far as they’re concerned, both of the Sylvan-descendants look like nasty little knife-ears. Any ally against the lands of Yarola’Sia is welcome, however, and sometimes they even become what passes for fond of the Daphinae, and especially of their wines. Now, if only they wouldn’t be so damned attached to their trees, they might actually make decent pets…

Dwarves – A great favorite of the Dragons, the Drakien have continued to regard the Dwarves as comrades. It is said that in the old days, the Dragons had planned to rule the surface and give the Dwarves full rights over everything below, and certainly the two Peoples still seem to hold this accord. Drakiens tend to prefer to trade in weapons and armors with the Dwarves, and the Dwarves look to the Drakiens to provide them with surface materials that may put up a bit of a struggle against being…harvested. Dwarves also share the Drakiens’ love of honor, tradition, and military excellence, and because of this they are normally staunch allies in the face of all other Peoples.

Elves – Drakiens have never forgotten that they are, at their core, Dragons; and neither have the Elves. Each time the Drakiens have tried to come together and rebuild, the Elves have made it a point to interfere. Assassinations, building collapses, failed crops and poor hunting— the Drakiens are convinced to a one of them that the Elven People are behind it all. Worse, the Elves lie between them and their allies, the Drakiens, and while the Elves would never risk war or a loss of trade relations with the Dwarves by outright refusing the Drakiens passage, they do their best to make it as difficult for the scaled People as possible.

Gryphons – Time and again, it has been the Gryphons that stood in the way of the Drakiens overcoming their hated Elven rivals, and because of this they are the subjects of a fierce hatred. Drakiens will go to great lengths to catch them and torture them, not so much for information as because they know it is the best way to hurt the Elves. The wings are the favorite target for a Drakien to attack, and many will cut them from the Gryphon to claim as prizes. This may be the Drakien’s way of punishing the Gryphons for possessing the very wings they so yearn for, and for using them in the service of their hated enemy.

Humans – Soon after the shame of their creation, a Human that was feeling amorous tried to comfort a Drakien woman by telling her she looked “much prettier”. It is perhaps because of the way she dismembered his body that there has always been a rift between the two Peoples. The Humans tend to view the Drakiens as barbarians and blood-hungry fiends, and the Drakiens believe the Humans to be weak-minded children.

Kithras – Somewhat resentful of how easily they obtain goods, the Drakien view the Kithras with suspicion and irritation. Initially they attempted to learn how it was the Kithras thrived in a region as inhospitable as their own, but when they became the object of several jokes and pranks from the sly People, the Drakiens threw their hands up in disgust and abandoned their attempts.

Melrog – When the Melrog were created, the Drakiens were fascinated. Here was a second race, artificially created and magically at that. The Drakien believe that by studying them, they can perhaps find a key to unlocking their own spell. In studying them they have found the Melrog to be pleasant enough, if unaware of their own potential, and indeed it was the Drakiens, themselves familiar with natural defenses, who first pointed out to the Melrog they could sell their molted skins as armor.

Minotaur – Seen as honorable, yet unforgivably lacking in drive and ambition, the Drakiens delight in seeing what it takes to push each Minotaur to the point of battle. This is not done out of a sense of maliciousness, but rather to impress upon the Minotaur that they were born with a talent (that of war), and that to waste it would be a grave sin against their very nature.

Mithyrn – Usually territorial in the extreme, the Drakiens yet understand that the Mithyrn are a People preferring to dwell underground, and thus pose no direct threat to them. Because of this they will willingly take up trade with them when they are unable to do so with the Dwarves. A few Drakiens have even begun to wonder if there isn’t wisdom in the Mithyrn’s isolationist lifestyle, and have wondered if the Drakiens wouldn’t be better served doing the same in order to focus on their own problems.

Orcs – There is a certain grudging respect that is given to the Orcs, a People able to put aside their differences and unite against the hostilities of outside forces. If there are any People the Drakiens are said to attempt to emulate, it would be them, although pride keeps them from admitting it. A few would-be leaders have even gone so far as to seek to train under Orc military leaders, in order to better understand the mindset and tactical advantages of working as part of a unit. This is always done under the pretense of seeking diplomatic relations, though this is a thin cover, as most Peoples are aware there is no Drakien government to be diplomatic with.

Sidhe – It is perhaps unfair that so much of the dislike the Drakiens feel towards the Sidhe is based upon a children’s story their People grow up with. According to this story, the great Red Dragon, Samonsae, was in the days prior to the Massacre of Sigil Night attended to by a Sidhe warrior. This warrior, Eloris, swore himself as a guardian and adviser to the Dragon, but on the Sigil Night was nowhere to be found. It is said that because of this desertion Samonsae lost control of his reason and devoured Nolan LeDeere, starting his People down the path they are on now. No one knows what happened to Eloris or why he wasn’t at the battle, but the Drakiens have reportedly borne a grudge against the Sidhe ever since.

Senai – When they first met the Senai, the Drakiens were surprised at finding another People so ready to forgive them for the Massacre of Sigil Night, and so ready to accept them. A decent trade relationship has sprung up between the two, and though it irritates the Eiltia Empire greatly, the Drakiens often employ the Senai to take stock of the few water supplies their land possesses and make suggestions as to how it could be bettered. Coming from such a harsh and inhospitable land as they do, the Drakiens have learned to value their water resources, and have found the Senai to be excellent and amicable help in its care.

Talmori – Widely regarded as savage and tribal (two things which Drakiens are desperate to convince themselves they are not), it is a rare Drakien that is given an opportunity to interact with the Talmori and learn any differently. When this occurs, however, Drakiens have often reported feeling calmer, more at ease with the world and their place in it. It is possible that this is a reaction being in the company of another “feral” People, though likely it is as simple as the Drakiens reacting to a People who are themselves calm and at peace for the most part.

Language

Drakiens have not lost the use of Draconian, their ancestral tongue, though Dragons insist that their usage of it is a blasphemy. Even still, Drakiens insist on speaking this tongue, as it is their last controllable link to their heritage. The speaking of it has become of great importance because of this, and it is considered terribly embarrassing, even rude, to mispronounce the language in front of a Drakien. Oftentimes intentional insults are worked in this way, with the word being slurred so that it resembles a word in another language that might otherwise have been a compliment.

Names

Because female Dragons are larger than males, it is the female that takes dominance in a relationship, and it is through her that a lineage is traced. This has carried over to the Drakien people, which claim their mother’s last name as their own. Only a token nod is given to the sire at the beginning of each name.
Family Names: Kel’Daragul, In’Ailiron, Des’Carikayil, Fin’Husuin

Male Names: Dairuin, Jinesis, Karsha, Barcon

Female Names: Murcalia, Tiafan, Sarcossil, Pashae

Player Difficulty Level

Challenging – Because of the actions of their ancestors and the great influence of the Path of the Enlightened, Drakiens face great amounts of racism and disgust in most civilized areas. There are quite a few People that think them no better than beasts, on the same level as goblins and trolls. Only the inner strength and intense loyalty of the Drakiens to one another has ensured their continued survival throughout the years. Even with this, only the recognition of the Drakiens as a People by the Eiltia Empire prompts other Peoples to grudgingly acknowledge them and grant them a place among them.

Note on Role-playing this Race
At this point in time, Drakiens lead a very harsh existence. Because of this, physical weaknesses are aggressively bred out, and children with flaws are often killed at birth. The Drakien culture can be said to be similar to a fallen Rome, with great emphasis placed upon reclaiming their former glory at any cost. A Drakien’s first loyalty is to their People, and a typical mindset among their kind is glory for the many over the few. This is not to suggest Drakiens do not value their own lives, only that many Drakiens are so caught up in their visions of racial glory that they are willing to risk just about anything to see their former power restored.

Posted July 5, 2011 by Evoru

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