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On the Nature of Dragons

There is a theory sometimes touted that dragons exist as they are due to their ability as natural wizards, to the point that in a theoretical magically-poor environment they would be incapable of flight, never mind the other abilities they are commonly assigned.

Bearing this in mind, I have made some investigations of my own, and feel that there is more to it than even the keenest proponent of the above theory may realise.

‘Everyone’ knows that the key features of a dragon can be summarised to:

Now, this list bears a remarkable similarity in capabilities to a Elemental Wizard whose Primary School is Fire, with Earth and Air the Secondary Schools. If this is the case, then it would imply that Wyrms, Wyverns and Cold-Drakes/Sea Serpents are all simply variants on the base ‘Dragon’-type reptile, each exploiting a different Primary School:

A deliberate expedition would need to be sent out to investigate if other ‘Dragon’-type reptiles displayed Secondary School characteristics, albeit care would need to be taken.

There are also stories of older dragons having a natural ability to nullify magic, hence why some legendary dragons have required a particularly blessed or blasphemous weapon in order to be slain; perhaps the General School is also acquired as the dragon ages and gains in power.

The implication is that there may also be ‘Dragons’ of Light and Shadow, and potentially even ones of Spellsword, Necromancy and Demonology – however I would argue that in the case of this last group these are very much man-made structures of magic, and thus it is considerably less likely for any natural creature to develop them.

There is one other group of ‘Dragons’ that should be considered; superficially, the Cathayan Dragon could be thought of as another variant of Air Dragon, but I do not believe this is the case. Given they are reputed to be able to become clouds and bring storms, I would tentatively tout that they have taken a parallel path to the Western Dragons, namely by becoming one with the Path of Nature and all it entails. It may well be that there are variants in Cathay of dragon-types corresponding to the sub-paths of Nature, and it is simply that the only one whose reputation has made it West is the Weather-based variant, or possibly we are only aware of its Weather-based abilities.

Helena Merrick, Pathfinder Overcaptain (retd.)