OSR: Chromatic Dragons

This post is mostly an excuse to use the art of halycon450. There are hundreds of "dragonomicons" out there. This one is mine. You might find some of the content boring but I hope a few lines are useful.

Once, there was one dragon, or one kind of dragon. It's unclear. The stones remember it. They say it lived before the Authority created the moon and thousands of years before mortals were invented. The Sunlight Dragon was immortal, invulnerable, and one of the most terrifying things the Authority had ever created. It devoured primordial trolls. It devoured everything.

The stones aren't sure what happened next. Some of them say that primordial trolls built a giant prism of completely normal, nonmagical matter. Some say that the Authority himself interposed His form (the most perfect conceptual triangle) in the Sunlight Dragon's flightpath.

The Sunlight Dragon (or Dragons) was split into 8 Chromatic Dragons, and ever since their descendants have bounded around Creation, still powerful, still immortal, and still immensely proud, but flawed and incomplete creatures. All dragons love flattery, and all dragons hoard things, but no two dragons are alike, just as no two sunsets are alike. All dragons are intensely magical. They are difficult to kill.

Some dragons have made alliances with the elements. The terms of these alliances are inscrutable. It is unknown if dragons have allied themselves with the winds to allow them to fly, or if they fly under their own power. The winds always change the subject.

Red Dragons

Disposition: Wrathful, Short-Sighted, Impatient, Cruel
Common Hoards: Swords, Shields, Corpses, Coal, Crippled Knights
Elemental Alliance: Fire

Red dragons are warm enough to boil water. They glow like a hot stove. They are the slowest and dimmest of the dragons, but they are also the most ferocious. They delight in combat. Most have scars and embedded weapons. Some bite limbs off knights or particularly interesting warriors and keep them as trophies. Red dragons that are allied with fire elementals have glowing guts and breathe gouts of choking fire. Those that rely on their own power breath rays of pure heat, invisible and utterly deadly. They live in caves, accumulate food and worshipers, and occasional rise to destroy a city and devour the army sent against them. Dragons allied with fire elementals must devour fuel. Coal is the most common, but there are legendary dragons who grew enormously powerful by consuming pure troll oil.

Orange Dragons

Disposition: Lustful, Curious, Vindictive, Ostentatious, Insecure
Common Hoards: Beautiful People, Artwork, Books, Gemstones
Elemental Alliance: None

Orange dragons are beautiful, even in their war-forms. They are natural shapechangers and shift forms as easily as a human putting on clothes or armor. Of all the dragons they love flattery most, and will even reward artists who create works to suit the dragon's whims. Once a work has been admired it is added to the hoard: a vast raft of paintings, a nest of sculptures, a library of poetry, all fixated on one topic; the dragon itself. They build palaces in impossible locations. A bored dragon might change itself into a human, visit a city, and show off its form and skills. They take lovers, become patrons of the arts, live for decades without aging and then, one day, take offense and erupt into their furious war-form and savage an entire district. Orange dragons are not as smart as they think they are. Pointing this out is unwise. They do not breathe any elements or rays but most learn to cast spells.

Yellow Dragons

Disposition: Greedy, Secretive, Manipulative, Obsessive
Common Hoards: Coins, Deeds, Lawyers, Ascetic Monks
Elemental Alliance: Stone

Yellow dragons are Creation's greatest bankers. As immortal beings, they are risk-adverse to the point of mania. If you miss a payment, they'll fly over your city as a gentle reminder. They have vast reserves and minds like machines. No one is sure who first taught yellow dragons the principles of loans and interest rates. It's possible, as they claim, that they invented the idea. They live in great marble and granite halls, hollowing entire mountains to make mazes and vaults. Their ancient alliance with stone elementals lets them fly through stone as if it were water and makes a bare vault a deathtrap for thieves. Some breathe sand or cannonballs of stone. Ancient yellow dragons can reduce a city to rubble in a few hours. They assemble (and pay) legions of accountants and lawyers, and keep property-less monks as curiosities. Creatures who willingly resist temptation amuse them. The greatest Dragon Banks conduct themselves like nation-states and grant knighthoods and honours with solemnity equal to any mortal kingdom.

Green Dragons

Disposition: Envious, Melancholic, Decadent, Spiteful
Common Hoards: Animals, Prisoners, Rare Metals
Elemental Alliance: Acid

Green dragons made a poor deal with acid elementals. They can breath horrifying clouds of caustic gas, or spray concentrated streams of acid that melts plate armour in seconds, but the dragon's skin is coated in acid sludge. Their bodies are living toxic waste dumps. Mortal creatures burn near them. Green dragons secretly resent their condition but are too proud to alleviate their misery. Instead, they poison farmland and rivers, watch animals die in their presence, keep prisoners and taunt them, and seek metals able to withstand their caustic effluvia. They live in slick tunnels, often half-filled with sludge or water, and but conduct themselves like kings in exile. You can offer little to a green dragon. Some alchemists have bred slave races for them in exchange for mercenary services.

Blue Dragons

Disposition: Gluttonous, Quick-Witted, Fickle, Wise
Common Hoards: Sunken Ships, Spices, Raw Ingots
Elemental Alliance: Water

Swimming as fast as they can fly, blue dragons are a well-known terror along the coast of some nations. They can grow large enough to swallow whales whole. They sink ships by accident or by design, dragging the wrecks to the bottom and building wooden cities in the cold and sunless depths. No creature is more feared in Creation. From the bottom of the sea to the highest clouds, nothing can escape the predatory gaze of a blue dragon. But for all this, the dragons are not cruel or vicious monsters. They choose their targets with care. They can be reasoned with, and even bribed with herds of cattle or barques of fish. Their alliance with water is not always a calm one. While the dragon might call rainstorms or whirlpools, water elementals sometimes race ahead to warn sailors and fishermen. The can breathe jets of water but prefer to use their teeth and claws.

Indigo Dragons

Disposition: Slothful, Contemplative, Domineering, Distracted
Common Hoards: Music, Furs, Slaves, Magic
Elemental Alliance: Lightning

Rarely encountered in Creation, the indigo dragon is a sticky, indolent creature that dwells in forgotten temples, disused catacombs, and collapsed cities. It seldom attacks outside its den. Indigo dragons are involved in passionate affairs with lighting elementals, and the strain of the relationship distracts them from most concerns. They can charm with a glance and set armies of slaves on half-mentioned tasks. They learn and use magic only to make their lives easier. In battle, they are terrifying foes. They breathe torrents of lighting, a crackling wave that can kill an entire army in one pass. Most consider it a blessing that these dragons rarely find the need to use their arsenal. Above all else, they prefer to be left alone but they will pay to have annoyances, from flies to mountain ranges, removed.

Violet Dragons

Disposition: Proud, Maniacal, Ascetic, Predatory
Common Hoards: Bones, Buildings, Crowns, Historians
Elemental Alliance: None

Of all the chromatic dragons, the violet are the most delighted to merely exist. Other dragons validate themselves with hordes or flattery. A violet dragon knows exactly what it is; perfection. This maniacal self-obsession drives them to live on craggy mountaintops or unadorned caves. Carved stone would only weaken them. They collect buildings of other races to mock, the crowns of deposed kings, books of fallen empires, or the bones of the famous and the powerful. They attack on a whim and retreat beyond retaliation. Their fangs cut soul and flesh alike. They breathe an invisible, deadly light that sets the air on fire and sings like shattering glass.* Those struck by the beam of a violet dragon go blind or develop hideous skin lesions. Violet dragons can fly through the upper air of creation and bask in the light of the sun without ill effect.

*Like the purple beam from Shin Godzilla, but made of ultraviolet light.

Octarine Dragons

Disposition: Unknown
Common Hoards: Unknown
Elemental Alliance: None

Also known as comets. Scrying and interviews with stones that fall from the sky indicate that comets are gigantic dragons the colour of pure magic. No one knows where they go, or why they do not visit Creation's surface. Scholars believe that an octarine dragon's presence would usher an age of madness and death across every land. Their appearance in the sky heralds the death of kings, the fall of empires, an explosion (often literal) of wizards, and strange prodigies in every land.

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