THE SHAPECHANGER DRAGON

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY- HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR
 
DIET - MATING - MYTH/LORE  - FAMOUS SHAPECHANGERS

Shapechanger Dragons are perhaps the most rare of all existing dragons, probably there only exists a handful on the whole plane of Caelereth. These dragons possess the powerful ability to change into the shape of any living form they desire. They are not fire-breathing. Instead they are powerful spell casters said to almost be as strong as the most powerful of the dragons, the Adamant Dragons. If they do journey out into the world it is normally to attain treasure and wisdom or to observe the other races. These dragons prefer to stay away from other dragons, to include their own kind, while in dragon form. They are estimated to have a lifespan of 10 to 11 thousand years, although some of them live much longer and others considerably shorter. Most of these dragons have probably existed since the beginning of time and are considered "immortals". Because of the fact that mating between Shapechangers is very rare (at least this is what is told in the ancient tomes of the Northlanders) the species shrinks more and more. It is supposed that there are only a few dozen left in the whole world. In fact, their very existence is doubted by many people even though there exist reports which seem to prove their existence.

Háli the Black

View picture in full size Image description: The notorious Shapechanger Dragon Háli the Black, seducing and killing men. Drawn by Enayla.

Appearance. Shapechangers can appear as any living creature in the world. However, in dragon-form they often are proud beasts with metallic scales which reflect a prism of color in any light. These scales tend to be shaped like an elongated heptagon however, they have been noted to be elongated hexagons, octagons, and genrally ovaloid shapes as well. Mostly they are colored in varieties of red, black and blue. Adults can reach sizes up to 10 or 11 peds, with average wingspans of 7 to 14 peds. These dragons usually wear two horns that grow back from the crest of their skull and curve up and over to point forward. The eyes are set at the front side of the skull and are covered by thick lids. The eyes often are blue in color and have a slight glow to them in dragon form. Shapeshifted to other forms the eyes will be blue, and while the glow will not be present a strange light will seem to be behind them.

As a dragon thin spines attached to the head just below and behind the eyes extend out and back. These tend to be about a palmspan in length and there are normally four on each side. Stretched across and between these is a thin skin much like that of the wings. This skin is translucent and can be any color known. These spines and skin compose the dragon's ears. The wings are each composed of a great bone attached at the shoulder just above its forelegs. This bone extends up and joins another similiar bone of same length in one joint. The end of the second bone seperates into three seperate bones which curve back torwards the main bone. The skin of the wings is usually the same as the scales and is thicker than that of the ear skin, but still allows light to pass through near the edges.
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Special Abilities. As their name already implies, the Shapechanger Dragon's most important ability is to change shape. A Shapechanger Dragon can choose to take the form of any living thing it wants. Also, while not being of the fire-breathing sort, these dragons possess a huge talent in magic. In fact, they are spell casters on almost the same high level as the most powerful of all dragons, the Adamant Dragon, at least this is what legends tell us. In ancient tomes of people who travelled the Northlands it is written that Shapechanger Dragons are capable of speaking any language. Also, they can learn spell-scrolls by heart written by other Shapechangers. Return to the top

Territory. As most of the information on these dragons comes from ancient tomes of the Northlanders it seems that they still mainly live in the Northlands. However, it also would seem plausible that they could, in fact, live in any region or territory that any of the other living beings live in as they can take the shape of any of those beings. The true territory of the Shapechanger Dragon can only be speculated.
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Habitat/Behaviour. The habitat of the Shapechanger depends of course on its form. The Shapechanger shares the same habitat as the creature it has taken the form of. As a dragon its natural habitat is truly unknown and what legends tell us can often only be classified under the term "rumours".

It is said for example that the Shapechanger Dragon will venture out into the world to accumulate treasure and wisdom. Also, they possibly venture out to observe the other known races of the world. Shapechangers are known to love gems, as they remind them of the stars that these dragons for some strange reason seem to believe in - more at least than in anything else. These dragons tend to oppose evil and corruption, and can therefore be accounted to the good-minded kinds of dragon. Nevertheless, the taming of a Shapechanger Dragon was never accomplished.
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Diet. Shapechanger Dragons eat a wide variety of foods. It depends on what form they are in. In general they take on the eating habits of the form they take. As a dragon they prefer meat. They favor above all else the fresh meat of any animal that gives them the most trouble to catch and kill. Basicly, the harder the hunt the more they enjoy the food.
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Mating. While mating is rare to Shapechangers it is not all together uncommon. Shapechangers prefer to be away from other dragons especially of their own kind. However, their continued existence in this world is more important. Mating will only occur when and if a female feels the need. The exact details on mating is unknown as it doesn't happen often and it would be dangerous to try and get near a mating pair. It is rumored that when a pair mates they unleash magic in such quantities that strong and unnatural storms occur.

From various legends we learn details as follow: The hatchlings are abondoned after they hatch to grow and thrive on their own. Only the strong and fitting survive. Hatchlings are rarely seen so the appearance of these dragons describes that of what is normally seen, adults. Hatchling scales have very little shine to them. They are dull and notablly all sighted hatchlings are black. A hatchling's wings are big enough and strong enough to fly shortly after birth, but the skin between the bones that makes the wing is undeveloped. This skin develops in about a thousand years. At the same time its scales grow shiny and change to the color the dragon is as an adult. At the age of a milenium hatchlings learn to fly and thus consider themselves adults.
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Myth/Lore. Although there exists no explanation where Shapechanger Dragons in fact originated (and if they still exist), you can find a little story among the treasured collections of Master Tribells' fairy-tales:

Of Margo, the Pastry-Loving Drake. Once upon a time there was a dragon child named Margo who envied the humans for their strong will and their excellent baking of pastries, and he wanted deeply to be like them. He wished and wished and wished and became sad of his wishing, and when he became sad he wished even more not to be so said, but to be a human baking pastries. One day Seyella, the almighty Goddess of Destiny, heard his begging and instantly changed his shape into human form. Margo got so happy seeing the grace of the Goddess that he almost jumped from a cliff out of sheer happiness, forgetting that he wasn't able to fly anymore.

Margo grew older, spending many years in human shape. He even married and had a lot of children. He also created many excellent pastries and wrote lots of stories about the adventures he had when he still was a small drake. But although he loved his wife and children he somehow began to dream again about being something else. And he begged the Goddess once again to change his form.

Seyella was busy, but she didn't want to deny the cute young dragon's wish (he was still young for his dragon age). And so she finally gave him the ability to change his form, in order not to get disturbed by his prayers. 'Just think that you aren't a human anymore', Seyella said to him. 'And if you strongly believe in it, your wish will be fulfilled.'

Margo tried it. He first thought of changing his form to a lion, then to an ulgaroth, a giant rock snake and finally to gryph. And always his wish was fulfilled instantly. 'Oh, thank you so much, oh great Goddess", Margo said, enjoying his new ability. And from that day on Margo was not baking pastries anymore.  One day he would hunt in the jungle, and another day he would swim the depths of the sea, and another day he was flying high above in the endless skies, just like he had done in his good old dragon time.

One day Margo decided to change his shape into something smaller. He already had changed to all gigantic and proud beasts he could think of and supposed that it would be a good idea for a change how it would be to discover being not so big, mighty and strong.

Well, the rest is quickly told: On the second day after Margo had changed to a mouse he fell prey to an owl...

And thus ends the story of Margo the pastry-loving Drake. Some also say that Seyella from this incident on is wearing her typical blindfold - in order not to see what the creatures of Aér'aí'chán do with her gifts.


-- "Master Tribell's Miraculous Narrations": Of Margo the Pastry-Loving Drake, p. 68 f.

After hearing this fairy-tale the children often ask the story-teller: "But such dragons don't live, or do they?" And the story-teller answer either: "Of course not!" or "Only the Gods know"... Return to the top

Famous Shapechangers. One of the most famous Shapechanger Dragons of children stories is Jág'ím'efrá, who prefered to watch the passing of time in the shape of a rat. In one of the goblin Gnufruk Gruknag Groku's later adventures his companion and friend Gufrur Mancrusher is said to have caught this Shapechanged Dragon and kept it as a pet. From Gufur's backpack he saw many places and met many persons from a completely different perspective.

Another legendary Shapechanger Dragon is seduceress Háli the Black, though this story doesn't sound that funny. Háli ventured around in Northern Sarvonia in the shape of a beautiful human female and seduced many young men, and is reported to have eaten them when she took them out on a seemingly romantic trip into the wilderness. Return to the top

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