|Any space, prairie
|No. of Attacks:
|2 or 1
|1-4/1-4 or by weapon
|L (10-12' long)
The dracons are a sentient race of dragon-centaurs that have recently appeared on the fringe of the Known Spheres. Dracon exploration ships have been spotted in the phlogiston and at the edges of known space. They are just beginning to appear at the smaller communities of space.
A dracon is centaurlike in appearance, with the body of a brontosaur, the torso and arms of a human, and the head of a dragon. Its feet are flat, like those of an elephant, and it has a long, snakelike tail. Its hands have six digits (five fingers and a thumb) and end in claws.
Dracons speak their own language and that of dragons. They speak the common tongue haltingly and with a thick accent. Their speech is often formal and ornately ceremonial.
Combat: Dracons found in space will be found on ships with spelljamming helms. These are usually modified galleons, but there have been cases of hammerships appearing among the dracons.
The dracons consider themselves civilized, and have among themselves a stylized dueling code. Under this code, one challenges another, the challenged getting choice of weapons (swords, bare hands, etc.) The challenger then names the terms of the battle (to the death, to first blood, to half hit points, or to three falls, for example). Finally, the challenged names the place and time (within reason, though a dracon rhyme speaks of the Battle Eternal, in which heroes return each year to fight a single round of combat.)
The dracons use these codes among themselves, but do not offer them to non-dracons. Should an individual outside the race offer such terms, the dracon would be honor-bound to adhere to them, within reason. (A single dracon will not accept a challenge from a mind flayer, unless said mind flayer pledges not to use its psionic blast.)
Dracons usually use thin-bladed long swords in combat, but are just as adept at holds and wrestling. Their long thumb-claws make them particularly dangerous; they use these to inflict 1-4 points of damage in hand-to-hand combat.In addition to their swords, dragons carry large darts (1-6 points of damage. thrown 1/round, range of 20/40/60 yards) and halberds. The last is useful in space as a grappling hook, but is not used in most common combat. It is most often used in formal duels and as a ceremonial tool.
Dracons are adequate metalsmiths, the equal of elves but less skilled than dwarves. They carry armor on board, to be ritualistically donned before entering battle. This improves their Armor Class to AC 3, if they have sufficient time to prepare.
Habitat/Society: The vegetarian dracons follow a strong herd instinct among their people, which carries through into space. A lone dracon is a rarity and a freak among its people, and the dracons prefer to travel in familial units, headed by the eldest dracon, male or female. Dracons separated from their family will take ill unless they find a method of recreating a familial unit, and individuals have been known to adopt non-dracons as psuedofamily members.
Sages assume that the most adventurous of the dracon species have traveled in the newest ships to new planets, but even so the dracons seem stuffy and passive, more content to retreat than fight. There are exceptions, in particular those dracons who have adopted humanoids into their family units.
The leader of a dracon herd is called a kaba. The choosing of a kaba is determined not by the strongest, nor the swiftest, but by means of a system of kinship relations that borders on the mystical. Dracons have a flair for genealogy, and through a long series of questions and answers can trace one dracon to another in a fashion that determines who rules the dracon herd. Cynical nondracons believe that the dracons make up such relationships on the spur of the moment, relating old slights and favors in their attempts to determine precedence. If such is the case, this method of dealing with leadership shows that the quick-thinking and the crafty will tend to survive.
The kaba of the herd is assisted by the shalla, or high priest. Each herd, no matter how small, has a shalla, usually with clerical powers. The shalla is the keeper of ritual, the advisor of the kaba, and the healer of the people, if they have such. The shalla is a cleric of level 3-12, with the more powerful shalla usually found with larger herds. An additional shalla will be present for every 30 dracons. Dracon shalla draw their spells from the following spheres: Animal, Combat, Creation, Divination, Guardian, Healing, Necromantic, Protection, and Sun.
The dracons' faith is a pantheistic religion that worships dracon equivalents of human, dwarven, and elven gods. They have gods of war, fertility, storms, and the sea. Unlike most human gods, the dracon gods are always pictured together in a huge herd, moving together and led by the Ub-Kalla, or Full Leader. The Ub-Kalla is a god of leadership and wisdom, and knows the correct course in every situation. To be called Ub-Kalla by a dracon is considered to be a high honor, for your decision-making is compared favorably with dracon thoughts.
When dracon herds meet, the first order of business is to determine who is the kaba of the entire group, empowered to make decisions. This is done in the odd fashion of relationships and favors exchanged between groups. There is no shame for a deposed kaba taken from his post by a new kaba that outranks him - the position is a duty, and the reward for such duty is that someone more powerful will come along and give you a rest.
Ecology: The familial relationships of dracons suggests that they are all natives of the same planet, and only recently have made the first steps out into the stars. This is confirmed by the fact that most dracon ships resemble old seaborne clunkers favored by groundlings, with higher ceilings to accommodate the taller beings.
According to the dracons, their homeworld is a dry, arid orb with two types of terrain, fast-growing grass and desert. The climate is in continual flux, such that the herds are forced to move and cooperate in order to survive. There seem to be no natural enemies on their homeworld, but there are tales of a spiderlike Dark God that lies beneath the sand and pops up to trap the youngsters that stray too far from their parents. This boogeyman may be a real creature, or the product of the herd mentality. The dracon faith makes heavy use of imagery of the Dark God as an enemy and a tempter. The semblance between this Dark God and the spiderlike neogi may be a coincidence or the result of real encounters with the slaving race. Whatever the cause, the dracons hate spiders in general and the neogi in particular.
The dracon world has large, shallow seas, and at least one large moon. Beyond that, the dracons are reluctant to share more information about their homeworld, perhaps in fear of other races finding them. One suggestion has been made that the dracon ships encountered so far are lost, and do not know how to get back to their home. Another is that the dracons are cautious about strangers. Given a lack of known predators, it may be that there are few other creatures on their planets and they are unwilling to encourage other visitors until they are ready.
Dracon relationships with humans, mind flayers, elves, and dwarves are cordial and curious: all these races are lumped under a word for “the deformed”, and the dracons, usually very good at sorting out their own differences, often ascribe human traits to elves, and elven abilities to dwarves (they can never figure out who operates the big rock-ships). Lizard men get along very well with the dragons, and are often adopted into larger families as disabled smaller relatives. Centaurs and other similar races are considered long-lost allies as well. They hate the neogi, putting dracons in good stead with other races, but consider the beholders comical. Beholder jokes make the rounds among dracons, comparing them to large kickbacks used in ritual games on their home world. How long this situation lasts remains to be seen. The race of dracons holds dragons in awe. The shalla have declared dragons to be messengers of their gods, and their actions are watched carefully for signs of the gods' wants or intentions.