Here's a start to me writing on Crux in this new year: dragons or the Behemat'Lang. How they change themselves and how very different each is from the other.
The Behemat'Lang claim to be monarchs in exile. To listen to one of the dragons, they are wise, ancient beings whose presence is akin to angelic or divine. Their stories say they came from the plane of Rexus. That ancient universe's death occurred a million years ago. It forced them to journey to other planes and worlds.
They've never had the same numbers that other species have had. But the Behemat'Lang differ in form, even between siblings or parents and children. The plane of Rexus shared connections with the Aether plane. The innate magic Dragons evolved ties to their great variability. It isn't uncommon for some of them to have many heads. Red, winged Dragons with fire magick have spawned silvery, wingless children with icy breath.
The common trait they share is their immortality as well. Their immortal lifespans attracted them worshippers in Ancient Salira. The Ancient Salish worshiped a brood of dragons as Gods for millennia.
Power of the Metaphor.The other component of the Behemat'Lang is how they are drawn to abstractions. Many others can draw on the metaphysics of the universe for power in the form of Class. Their manifestations affect Dragons in a physical manner.
Dragons don't take on classes. They can alter their flesh and become physical manifestations of abstractions. The stereotype is that of the greedy dragon. Those who hoard countless riches for themselves.
For Dragons, they can't take on Classes. They become Manifestations.
This proved helpful to them. In Ancient Salira, they took on different manifestations. This created the Draconic Pantheons that ruled Salira until the Dragonslayers arose. Other dragons became massive monsters. These represented the dark evil Manifestations that ruled over Ancient Othebea. For centuries, their draconic forms became the centers of power all over Orphos.
Some ruled as overt, direct monarchs. Others manipulated their subjects from behind the scenes. And there were always those who kept to themselves.
The Disapora.Dragons never united as a people in the ancient days. The Ursyklon bested them during their invasion of Orphos ten-thousands years ago. In Ainesia and Ith, Ursyklon conquests stopped Draconic ambitions.
The Tengu took a different tact around the same time. They respected their draconic neighbors. Thus, they created alliances. These altered the manifestations of the dragons that lived near them. This attracted dragons that lived in remote mountains. Allies to the Jade Emperor who arose to rule a part of the Jade Lands.
The Behemat'Lang just continued to do what they always did before the Ursyklon invasions. They were long lived. They knew their private lairs and hoards will always outlive whatever arose near them.
The Dragons of Today.The Revolution Wars shocked most Behemat'Lang. More than a few Ainesian Kingdoms had centered themselves around Dragons. Others had rulers who shared bloodlines with them. Events changed Ainesia during the Revolution Wars.
The brutal execution of hundreds of aristocratic dragonblooded. The slaying of over thirty dragons. The invention of gunpowder and the mass acquisition of Classes by the masses. These signaled the start of extinction of the Behemat'Lang. At least those who tried to rule over other species.
Dragons, once natives to Ainesia and other places, started to migrate to other lands. In Ith, the door opened for Dragons to become respected citizens. Southern Ith especially became a new sort of haven for their kind. A new generation of Behemat'Lang have made strides to change draconic culture in Ith. A community between them has arisen in Ith. One where their long lives and amassed wealth can afford them some protections.
Ithic Standard and Loan stands as the uniting body for Ithic Dragons. In Northern Ith, Dragons have started their own individual banks. Drawing on their own personal wealth to spread connections. In Southern Ith, Dragons own their own massive plantations. IS&L also binds them to other old, immortal citizens of the nation. Liches and other immortal members of the Sorcerous Republic have become their allies.
Naming Conventions.Dragons tend to have several different names. These change over eras or centuries. They don't regard that much importance with their own names. As such, Dragons will give themselves a name. Between dragons, these chosen names also explain what their manifestation is. Dragons will refer to one another by this manifestation. Confusingly, it's hard to understand what a name is referring to. Does it represent a manifestation, or some random name a dragon picked up earlier in its life?
Worse, gender is fluid among the Behemat'Lang. A dragon maybe male in one instance, female in another, or neither at a later moment. They aren't beyond gender. If anything, dragons are more sexist than any mortal could be. You are what you are, and dragons find mortals that break from their assigned role to be silly fools. A dragon can be a mother or a father, but a human male should be happy to remain that.
Dragons don't think of this as condescension. They are the natural superior. They feel no need to have to explain that to the lessers around them.
Example Dragon Names.
The Banker, Kalim Venomfire, Ro'altira the Virgin Mother, Lavadrinker, Yom'Lang, Molkaris, The River.
Opinions of OthersThe River grants a few insights from a superior on how her kind view lesser creatures:
Vampyres and Cursefolk: Curiosities. They think of themselves as superior to their fellows. Which is absurd. For each superior trait such tiny parasites gain, they obtain a new weakness. Pretenders. Give them enough praise and they think of themselves... well, what they already thought of themselves. It's cute, really.
Humans: Brief little destroyers. We blink or look away, and they've come up with some method to kill us. Or ruin a good venture by inventing something superior to it. They excel at destroying, including themselves. It will be interesting to see if this world lasts as long as the last few they've ruined.
Ursyklons: Rabid little things. They're just tiny humans with animal fixation. But unlike humans they don't invent. They fight with fey. They war. They learn to alter nature itself. But Ursyklons don't like to invent new things. Curious little flaw, isn't it?
The Void: We know about the things that walk between the stars. Humans would call them alien and horrible. To your people, they seem like they aren't part of this universe. In truth, the part your kind can't accept is that the void and all those alien things own the universe. Mayhaps yours is the oddity?
Fey and Angels: These are the true danger. These are the peers my kind fear. We've done our part to keep their agendas from ruining another fine world. Fey and Angels wish to make the universe their mirror. We dragons just wish to rule it. Perhaps you see how ours is better? We don't want to change you. We just want to tell you what to do. Fey and Angels? They think the world should be like them. Think on that.
Dragon ManifestationsGreed: Dragons of Greed grow hardy, reddish scales. Often called red, Greed makes them able to breath fire. Their flesh hardens against most blows. Greed imparts abilities and defenses to protect their own from outsiders. What's more, Greed often helps the Dragon obtain more of what it wants. Gold and gems seem to appear more often in their presence. Theirs a way of making wealth come to them, not the other way around.
Manifest Aspect: Flame of Greed.
Stunt: Gold That Grows: Behemat'Lang of Greed have wealth come to them. Once a day, they can make a Sorcery roll to increase their wealth. On a roll of Good or higher, they unmark all their Wealth stress boxes.
Pride: Sometimes called the Wise. They have no singular known color. These dragons tend to be long and serpentine in body. Their flesh becomes lighter than air. Which is helpful, as most Pride become gigantic. They don't mind isolation. A few become mistaken for clouds in the sky, as they fly so high and remote none can see what is and isn't a cloud.
Manifest Aspect: Prideful High Flight.
Stunt: Long As The Sky: The Behemat'Lang is gigantic. They have a +2 on rolls to defend against physical attacks of those smaller than them.
Sloth: The Sleepers. The Sloth tend to have no wings. They slumber for eons at a time. In Salira, more than a few settlements exist atop such slumbering Sloth. The benefit of such arrangements is that the villagers do anything to keep the Sloth asleep. Their own dreams often acting as a source of power or magic for those of the village atop them.
Manifest Aspect: Slumber of the Sloth.
Stunt: Slumber-Dreams: Sloth-Manifest Dragons can grant magical power to others through their dreams. So long as the dragon slumbers, they can grant others the ability to cast spells that have the flavor of the Dragon's choice. This flavor has to suit an aspect the dragon has.