The younger races of the Shards rarely deal with the drakken. They keep their distance from men and dwarves, living out among the shards and keeping to themselves. When provoked, however, the drakken are a terror in combat. They show little in the way of mercy, and always make sure that an enemy can never endanger the drakken again. Their shards are sometimes hard to recognize as being inhabited. The drakken prefer to live in harmony with nature, and most of their habitations are found underground, in expansive communal lairs.
A male drakken is called a drake, a female is called a drakina.
Personality: Drakken are not easy to get along with. Their own society is based upon continual striving for dominance, and a denial of personal weakness. Dominance always boils down to combat in one form or another, fought over differences in opinion or doubt in personal ability; the winner in shown deference by the loser, and is not questioned in future until an upset in the dominance-hierarchy occurs (a previously dominant drakken loses a leg, or an unbeaten warrior loses to a foe previously thought to be inferior). More often than not, a dominance combat will stop before it starts, as one of the parties (usually the under-dragon) involved loses their nerve and backs down; intimidation goes a long way in drakken culture.
As a side effect of this life filled with personal assertion and combat, drakken are very bad at (some might say incapable of, or even opposed to) explaining themselves, whether in matters of commanding others, individual needs, or personal actions. When a dominant drakken speaks, those beneath them must act; explaining oneself is taken as a blow against your authority.
Where a human might say ‘I am changing course for Fioré, so that I might gather some medical supplies.’, a drakken would merely say ‘I am changing course for Fioré.’ Asking a drakken why would provoke a display of hissing, head bobbing, and claw-flexing, in anticipation for a fight to establish dominance. This kind of violent over-reaction leads to all kinds of problems when communicating with drakken. A drake or drakkina who has lived amongst the younger races may, over time, loosen up a bit. Even so, the old habits die hard, and the individual may always have trouble fitting in.
Drakken are also very territorial, both in terms of land and space as well as personal possessions. When a drakken gives another an item, the dragon feels a sense of vulnerability, or that a part of their life is out of their control. Even when the item in question is given to a friend who needs it, the drakken might will keep an eye on it, or ask how the item is performing. It is not unknown for a drakken who has lent a companion a weapon to ask if they can ‘check the balance’ of the weapon for no apparent reason, other than to feel the item in their grip again.
Fighting over possession of an item whose ownership is in question is very common in drakken society. In fact, fighting is the preferred method of solving problems in drakken society. This extends to mating and relationships, where drakken of both sexes fight over eligible mates, and then fight their mates to establish dominance within the relationship and figure out ‘who wears the pants in the family’.
It should be noted that a dominance combat is not always a physical affair; drakken have established dominance through strategy games (like chess and go) when a matter of skill at these games or tactics in general is in question. Some drakken turn away from the martial path, and delve into the magical arts. Many find themselves able to become gifted Sorcerers, in spite of natural handicaps in this area. Those drakken who learn a non-martial profession will likewise seek to resolve conflicts in a non-martial manner. A drakken wizard will seek a ‘wizard’s duel’ for example. These occasions are the exception rather than the rule, however, and the majority of dominance combats are waged with tooth-and-claw.
The various personality quirks aside, the drakken have several good qualities. Once another has earned the trust of a drake, the drake will stand by their friend through anything. Additionally, drakken live by their word. If they give their word on something, they mean to keep it. This even extends to the wildest outcasts of drakken society; they too are loath to break their word and sully their ancient honor. Likewise, one who breaks oath with the drakken will find themselves targeted for an extremely violent vengeance.
Appearance: Drakken stand about 6’ 6" to 7’ 6" tall on average, and weigh from 300 to 700 pounds. Their bodies are thickly muscled and bulky. They are reptilian in appearance, though quite warm-blooded (body temperature 103°). All drakken have tails, claws, fangs, and a tough, scaled, alligator-like hide. The rear legs of a drakken are jointed like those of a horse or goat, though the feet are clawed in the same manner as a drakken’s hands.
Their necks are thick and girded by cords of muscle, while their heads are long and narrow with a fanged snout or muzzle. The head of each drakken is unique in its particular arrangement of natural ornamentation. Many have horns, either long or short, some have webbed cranial fins or bony protective frills, and others have spines. A rare few sport a thick, scaly-haired mane, much like a horses. A drakken’s head may contain some or all of these attributes, but usually a drakken shares certain distinct features with other drakken who live in the same sort of environs. Drakken ears are membraned pits, much like a lizard.
The drakken who live on the cold fringes of shard-space, or close to the Beneath favor white or light blue scale coloration. These arctic drakken are known for their upward-curving tusks and larger, plate-like scales. They are known to be excellent, if remote, smiths and great hunters of various polar beasts.
In the deserts near Ozaan and Tleyzu, sand drakken lurk. These dull orange or tan beings often raid caravans. Their eyes are deep-set and have a secondary lid to keep sand out. Their head and neck sports a spined ridge. They often live in the ruins of ancient cities that lie in the deep sands.
Forest drakken are more often sensed than seen. These elusive folk are scaled in various greens, browns, and yellows. They are fearsome bowmen, having a great rivalry with theælven bowmen and rangers. They live below great trees, and craft wooden items of great beauty and durability. The drakken of the woods sport impressive, curving horns.
Upon forbidding peaks and in jagged canyons, the mountain drakken make their homes. Their scales are dark, usually being grey or brown in color. They, more than other drakken, seem to favor the mercenary life. Those that do not choose this path often turn to gemcrafting. More than one legendary piece of enchanted jewelry was originally fashioned by a drakken gemsmith. The necks of the mountain drakken sport one or more rows of tall, thorny spikes down their center.
The jungles of Upper Tleyzu and the High Shoals are the homes of the unusually hostile jungle drakken. They are often brightly colored, like tropical flora and fauna; upon their heads and necks are rows of long, quill-like spines that rise up when aroused. Despite their hatred of outsiders, the jungle drakken are legendary in their command of herbalism and the healing arts.
The lush riverlands of Caerdamon in Fioré as well as the countless tributaries of the Circle Sea are home to the river drakken. Expert fishermen, the river drakken are less martially inclined than their other brethren. They move more easily amongst non-drakken races, and seem to have a gift for picking up new ideas and skills that other drakken lack. River drakken sometimes make their homes on barges or rafts, and it is not unheard of for them to take up a nomadic existence, moving contantly from place to place. Mixed bands of merren and river drakken river bandits and sea pirates occasionally make a name for themselves in the Free Cities, and in areas with river or bodies of water they are more common than mountain drakken as mercenaries, though they fight for money rather than love of combat. River drakken have a bluish-green color, and tend towards a smoother hide than most other kinds of drakken. Their heads are adorned with long catfish-like feelers at the brow ridges, muzzle corners, or below the nostrils. Serrated fins protect their earpits.
Drakken typically live to be about 700 years old.
Relations: Drakken tolerate humans, dwarves, and sirens. They give special respect to dryads, for the dragons revere the nature that dryads represent. The irreverent and playful Felines often annoy drakken. Due to past conflicts, they share a special enmity for the ælven; the two races rarely get along. The drakken extend a portion of this dislike to half-ælven.
As the drakken are a long-lived race that tends towards isolationism, they seldom develop friendships with other races. At times, a drake will find himself bested by a human or some other ‘stripling’ race, and will then look upon their opponent with a measure of respect. Should a drakken ever call another a friend, that drakken will never forsake or doubt their companion.
Alignment: Drakken are most commonly lawful, and tend towards neutral. Often, though, a drakken who feels the call to adventure will be unlike his brethren, and thus favor a different alignment. River drakken are a noticeable exception, and have adopted a more chaotic bent.
On Drakken Life: Drakken live in scattered communes on hard-to-get-to, isolated shards, where other races will avoid the drakken and leave them in peace. Each commune in led by a Lord Drakken or Lady Drakken, who attains this position through continual dominance battles, both physical and occasionally mental. In turn, once every fifty years or so, a meeting of all the Lord and Lady Drakken is held, at which all the assembled drakken leaders face-off, some backing down, others entering combat to decide who will be the next Drakken King (or Drakken Queen), the supreme ruler of all Drakken, to whom all drakken swear their allegiance, recognizing that drake or drakkina as the top of the drakken dominance hierarchy.
Drakken are hatched from hard-shelled eggs, and from the moment they can move they begin finding their place in drakken society through combat, as they will continue to do all the rest of their life.
Drakken strike out on their own as soon as they can, having little regard for familial ties and feeling no obligation to support their parents. Once a drakken has established a home (usually called a ‘lair’), he can start thinking about the mating season that occurs once every third spring in a drakken’s life, and prepare for combat over his chosen mate. Though drakken mate only once every three years, they mate for life, only searching for a new mate if their previous mate dies.
Drakken live for many hundreds of years, but are not a particularly ambitious race. They are content to guard their borders, breed or hunt enough food-animals to eat, and occasionally break their routine by attacking the ælven.
Drakken Shards: Drakken prefer to live on the fringes of civilized nations. Quite often they are on the border of two or more countries. No one tempts their wrath, and the wrath of all drakken by suggesting they resettle.
Drakken shards are left as untouched as possible. It is usually the case that mountains or cliffs are prominent features of the shards drakken live on; it is within these landmarks that drakken make their lairs and subterranean communities.
On those shards settled by drakken that do not feature mountains or similar features, the drakken often make their homes near the edges or along the undersides of the shard. Sculpted reliefs and monolithic statuary decorate the entrances to drakken communities.
Though they enjoy the security of underground homes, the drakken are not subterranean by nature, as are the dwarves. Their homes must have easy access to open spaces, and bodies of water, if possible. Those who trespass upon drakken lands will find the drakken prefer to act against interlopers rather than talk to them.
In human lands, drakken can most often be found serving as bodyguards, mercenaries, or adventurers. Most drakken who live a life outside a drakken shard are unusual specimens, and so may pursue strange ends. A few drakken even find their way to the monasteries of Ozaan. Some drakken who do not fit in with drakken society are cast out, and revert to a primitive, barbaric state.
Religion: Though the drakken revere the many-faced gods, the one divinity that captures their special respect is Thyrang, the Storm Dragon.
Language: Drakken speak draconic, supposedly handed down to them from their ancient cousins. Drakken literature features little embellishment and strives to be objective. Other races call drakken writings ‘dry’. Drakken poetry is written as a meditative exercise, and is extremely succinct. Despite this, drakken have a rich oral tradition and a deep love of song and music.
Names: Drakken have two names. The first name is the drakken’s clutch name, or lineage name. The clutch name refers to the drakken’s descent, as well as the particular drakken shard they were born on. If a drakken community is forced to leave a shard, future clutch names will be noticeably different. A drakken cast out of his line is given the prefix ‘Ul-’ to their name. The second name is a personal name, which usually translates to a drakken virtue. Occasionally a drakken will perform a feat of great bravery or prowess, and will have this worked into their full name as an honorific. Drakken heroes or authority figures are given the honorific ‘Drake’ or ‘Drakkina’ depending on their gender.
To other races, drakken names often sound overly long, but bound up in the drakken’s name is his identity and his heritage, which most drakken take very seriously.
Personal Names: Llaru-Soth, Shul-Akiis, Khath-Sarkis , Tsarusark, Vuulasok, Naugen, Dukaarn, Khaul, Nyatha, Thaarn.
Clutch Names: Vurithaxas, Thosk, Tallandrusk, Gyothang, Tyrokorren, Soth-Tsorreng, Druaghiisk, Rathull, Denaryx, Vath-Thang.
Adventurers: Drakken adventurers could be cast out of their drakken shard, and wandering as part of their new life. They could be on a personal quest, or fulfilling an oath or obligation. Drakken love conflict and action, and often measure their self worth by the conflicts they have won, or the trophies they have claimed.
Drakken Racial Traits
+2 Strength, -2 Charisma, -2 Wisdom: drakken are mighty but not used to dealing with others; they often let emotion and grudges guide their judgment with outsiders.
Drakken base speed is 30 feet.
Drakken have Low-Light Vision, unless otherwise noted.
+2 racial bonus to Saving Throws vs. Fear, coup de grace, and death magic. Drakken are stalwart, tough and hard to kill.
Proficient with choice of Greatclub, Greatsword, Greataxe. Drakken firmly believe that bigger is better. They favor large weapons, as much for the massiveness of the object as for its ability to damage an opponent. To a drakken owning a bigger object effectively means owning more territory.
Drakken physiology is different from that of smaller humanoids. Armor must be of drakken manufacture or custom-made to fit drakken, and costs one-and-a-half times the normal amount.
+2 natural bonus to Base Armor Class. Drakken scales are tough and resilient.
Drakken have claws and fangs, and may use them to do 1d4 non-subdual damage when using an unarmed strike. If a drakken wants to subdue a foe, he may choose to use regular strike subdual damage.
Automatic languages: Common and Draconic. Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Ælven, Auran, Ignan, Sylvan.
Drakken Blood: many of the drakken wizards fashioned items only drakken could wield for use in the Drakken-Ælven Wars of long ago. Only those with drakken blood can use such things.
5/- Damage Reduction from Cold damage.
+3 racial bonus to Fortitude saving throws against exposure to cold weather.
+2 racial bonus to any smithing or metalworking Craft.
Preferred Multiclass: Fighter.
5/- Damage Reduction to Heat Damage.
+2 racial bonus to saving throws dependant on vision (Hypnotic Pattern, Glitterdust, Pyrotechnics, Medusa’s stare, etc.) This ability does not assist them in disbelieving illusions.
+3 racial bonus to Fortitude saving throws against exposure to dehydration or hot weather.
Preferred Multiclass: Fighter.
+2 racial bonus to Move Silently, Climb, and Hide skill checks.
+2 racial bonus to saving throws against fey magic.
Proficient with Short Bow, Long Bow, Composite Short Bow, and Composite Long Bow.
Preferred Multiclass: Ranger. Forest drakken are cunning woodsmen, and often test themselves against their ælven rivals.
+3 racial bonus to Climbing, Balance, and Jumping skill checks.
+2 racial bonus to any Craft: Gemcutting skill check.
One free Exotic Weapon Proficiency.
Preferred Multiclass: Ranger. Mountain drakken are continually beset by other subterranean and mountain humanoids, and hone their skills against such foes as well as Beneath-spawn.
+2 racial bonus to Heal and Profession: Herbalist skill checks.
+2 racial bonus to Fortitude saving throws against poison.
+2 racial bonus to Wilderness Lore, Spot and Listen skill checks.
Preferred Multiclass: Barbarian or Druid. Jungle drakken are less civilized than their other kin, and more prone to reacting to danger with anger and violence. They live in a primal relationship with nature, and some forge a mystical relationship with the flora and fauna of the land.
+10 racial bonus to swimming.
Swim is always a class skill.
River Drakken can hold their breath for 5 times their Con in rounds.
+1 racial bonus to Reflex saves.
River Drakken gain a +10 circumstance bonus to Hide and Move Silently if submerged.
Proficient in halfspear, longspear, trident, ranseur, and siangham.
Preferred Multiclass: Rogue.