The dragon bears black scales, more charred than naturally colored. Cracks between the scales glow a dull red, until the dragon rears its head and roars. Red embers become bright orange flames as the creature lights up from tail to maw.
Flame dragons are capricious creatures, fascinated by dark emotions and destructive passions. The dragons of eternal fire are proud and jealous, quick to anger, and utterly unforgiving.
They bring complete and total ruin to entire civilizations for trivial reasons, but their true motivation is the fun to be had.
These burning serpents treat rage, deceit, and despair as toys for their amusement. “May you be the fire’s plaything” is a curse often used by the foolish.
Taunting Others. The hot-blooded creatures tease their victims like cats, seeing the world and all within it as their rightful prey. Young flame dragons are less subtle than their elders. Wyrmlings may force a woman to watch her family die or ruin a beautiful face for pleasure-direct and evil. As the dragon matures, this natural sadism develops into a desire for more complicated sport. Aging dragons of fire use politics, murder, and magic in elaborate schemes only their ilk can appreciate. Many create plots so intricate and layered that they lack a true resolution, creating only endless manipulation. A hero might foil an assassination only to see the king thus saved become a despot. She might defeat the vizier whispering lies in the ruler’s ear only to discover he was a pawn in a vast conspiracy. Dark ambitions, poisoned daggers, and old vendettas build such momentum that one scheme begins each time another ends. Often, even killing the draconic mastermind cannot extinguish the fires it started.
Malevolent Purpose. The results of these schemes are secondary to the enjoyment they derive from pursuing a nebulous and everchanging goal. Some spend centuries torturing a family line for nothing more than trespassing on the dragon’s land. Others plot eternal curses after twisting poorly chosen words into the most dire of insults. The vengeance itself is not as important as having an excuse to hate, plot, and ruin. Flame dragons relish such opportunities for revenge, seeing each as a delightful hobby. The disruption of a game kindles a true and terrible rage, and in these rare moments of defeat, their anger can be catastrophic. Entire cities burn.
Fond of Souvenirs. Flame dragons are as materialistic and territorial as other true dragons. Each pursues an individual obsession it fixates upon with mad devotion to fill its hoard.
Some corrupt innocence, others push nations to war, but they always collect a memento for each victory, whether petty or grand. One might collect scorched skulls, while another saves the melted treasures of toppled empires. When not out sowing discord, the ancient flame dragons enjoy contemplating their hoards. Every piece reminds them of their own majesty and genius.
Nothing is safe from a flame dragon’s endless scheming and narcissism. They crave absolute attention and constant reassurance. Anyone who humiliates a flame dragon would be wiser to kill it. Its survival ensures the dragon’s undivided attention for generations. It would be wiser still to make certain there is not a trace of involvement in a flame dragon’s death.
All burning serpents see the murder of one of their kin as the gravest insult.
Tome of Beasts. Copyright 2016, Open Design; Authors Chris Harris, Dan Dillon, Rodrigo Garcia Carmona, and Wolfgang Baur.