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Dragon Magic

Dragons have a wide variety of magical powers. The following are possessed by every dragon:

  • Shapeshifting. All dragons can take several forms beyond their natural ones, beginning at approximately age 20. They are restricted to non-crossbreeds (e.g. no halfbloods) and can only take the forms of animal species (i.e. not plants). They assume these forms instantaneously and can shift from any one to any other, appearing in any location and position that shares at least some overlap with their immediately prior location and position. (Traversing distances rapidly in this way is possible, and called "shiftslipping".) Assumed forms retain some of the dragon's natural coloration; where it appears varies from species to species, and in sexually dimorphic species the color will appear in a different place between males and females. In most humanoid species, females have colored hair and males have colored eyes.

    Dragons can "tuck" inanimate objects on their person with unused forms (so, for instance, if one is wearing a saddle in its natural form when it turns into a squirrel, then when it goes back to its natural form it will still be wearing it, while the squirrel form would presumably wear nothing.) If an assumed form is killed, this forces the dragon back into its natural form; it cannot re-assume the dead form. A dragon killed in his or her natural form, or who dies in any form of starvation, of channeling sting, or from being subjected to a spell which causes instant death, remains dead in the form in which they were killed. Dragons only need to eat and drink enough to sustain whatever form they choose to eat and drink in. They can speak fluently in any form that is capable of producing sound of some kind. If a dragon shifts into something that can itself shift, such as vampires, they do not appropriate that ability (they would have to learn both vampire shapes separately to use both).

    Dragons have no control over their precise apperances in any given form. However, a dragon and his or her same-gender parent will always look alike in the form of any given species; for instance, Keo and her mother Tsuan both have human forms, which (now that Keo is an adult) look like identical twins. Immature dragons which take the forms of sapients appear to be their equivalent ages (for instance, a 30-year-old dragon in human form looks 3), but this stops at age 200 (20-equivalent) even though their natural forms continue growing. Dragons in the forms of nonsapients look like young adults regardless of their ages. Dragons are generally good-looking in any assumed form, for three reasons. First, their adopted forms are in excellent health. Second, they are invariably symmetrical (assuming the species they are imitating is itself symmetrical, either bilaterally or radially). And third, within whatever species they choose and whatever specific ethnic appearance they emulate, they have commonplace features (nothing abnormally shaped or sized).

  • Tongues. Dragons can speak any language with native fluency, beginning in earliest infancy, and literacy follows shortly afterwards. This includes sign languages (comprehension always, signing only if their bodies accommodate the motions), pidgins and creoles, slang, and regional accents/dialects, but not codes/ciphers, wolfrider backchannel, or words referring to concepts or objects with which the individual dragon has no familiarity whatever.
  • Dragonsong. All dragons with names of at least four syllables are aware of a unique melody (which continues indefinitely regardless of the length of the name). If their full name is sung to the tune of that melody, the dragon is aware of this, of who is singing it, and of where they are located. (This awareness is subject to the dragon's knowledge. A dragon whose song is sung by a total stranger in another world of which the dragon has never heard will know only that they don't know the singer and that the singer is not in Elcenia. If the same stranger repeats the song more than once, the dragon will be able to tell that it is the same person.)
  • Firebreathing. All dragons can breathe fire whilst in their natural forms. The fire is the same color as the dragon (e.g. a jade dragon will breathe jade-green fire) and retains that coloring if it catches on something. By a similar token, dragons in their natural forms can resist relatively cool nonmagical fire.
  • Other. Dragons can choose whether or not to conceive for any given instance of copulation, and may also select the gender of the offspring (although not number; nor, in cases of half-dragons, whether they are parunias or thudias). If both parties are dragons, both must be trying to conceive for that to be the result; if they disagree about gender, the father's choice dominates. Dragons are crossfertile with all species that have been tried, and a pregnant dragon can extend her shapeshifting ability to her baby well enough that she can shift safely to any form during the pregnancy without adversely affecting the offspring. All dragons have additional abilities according to their color group; not included in the above ability descriptions are the enhanced aerial agility and speed of white-groups, the superior sensory acuity of black-groups, or the water-breathing and water-pressure-tolerance abilities of violet-groups.

Beyond the above, each color group has its own extra or enhanced powers. Further, some dragons are "unusual" or "unique" (the latter being a misnomer; there can be more than one "unique" dragon alive at the same time, although they are uncommon enough that there is not often more than one from the same color group). These have even better group abilities; but, except for blue-group unusuals and uniques, they have reduced shapeshifting options (see blue-group section chart).

  • Red: Improved firebreathing and fire resistance.
  • Green: Empathy (projective and receptive). Unusuals also have verbal telepathy and can optionally read surface thoughts. Uniques are capable of arbitrary feats of mental magic on themselves and others.
  • Blue: Blues can learn up to 10 forms instead of the standard five, and can become half-and-half crossbreeds. Unusual blues can learn an arbitrary number of forms, and divide the apparent ancestry of their forms as finely as quarters. Unique blues do not need to learn forms; they can turn into anything, including crossbreeds as complex as those calling for divisions of eighths, and can control the detailed appearances of these forms (although they must keep their natural coloring in its designated place for the species).

    Blue Group?Unusual?Unique?Forms Available

  • Violet: Can breathe underwater. Unusuals can swim more quickly and at arbitrary water pressure. Uniques swim even faster and have some magelike control over water.
  • Black: Improved senses (vision, hearing, smell, tactile sense, taste).
  • White: Improved flight speed and maneuverability.