Dinosaurs on the Battlefield

Friday, May 18, 2018

Victor Milán’s new novel in The Dinosaur Lords series, set in a primordial world with every species of dinosaur, large and small. The books are bloodsoaked—the basic elevator pitch is “Jurassic Park meets Game of Thrones”—specifically because the saurians aren’t around to be pets, attractions, or build a Dinotopia.

Milán employs them as scaly war engines which brings up a question pondered by generations of kids as they’ve assembled plastic dinosaur toys in their sandboxes—which are the best dinosaurs to wage war?

An enormous, excessively-fanged theropod would be the obvious choice. We’ve all daydreamed about clambering atop a Tyrannosaurus to vanquish our enemies. (Right?) But there are two problems with this plan. The first is that the carnivore might be just as likely to eat you as your enemy. A morsel is a morsel to a hungry carnivore. That, among other reasons, is probably why there haven’t been war tigers or battle wolves outside the annals of fantasy. And despite the psychological terror an armored, snarling tyrannosaur might inspire on the battlefield, it’d actually be terrible in an all-out fight. Tyrannosaurs, like all giant carnivorous dinosaurs, were bipeds. Break one of their legs, and they topple over useless and defeated.

Milán gets it. In his fantasy world, most of the war dinosaurs are herbivores that stomp around on all fours—crested hadrosaurs, horned dinosaurs, and the armored ankylosaurs. They seem like suitable stand-ins for dragons. Many had the spikes, horns, and crests to make them look intimidating enough. Despite their appearances, though, most of these dinosaurs wouldn’t have been as useful as you might expect.



Carnosaurs are large apex predators that have terrorized the darkness of the primordial jungles since the dawn of this world's existence. Considered by many as the ultimate jungle hunter, with some growing nearly two stories tall, these massive reptilian beasts are powerfully built and highly aggressive creatures, with long, muscular hind limbs and a heavy tail that is used to balance its enlarged and powerful skull. Only the Dread Saurian are above even these mighty predators. Upon scenting prey, or catching sight of even the slightest amount of movement, the Carnosaur propels itself with enormous strides, moving with a surprising speed for such a large beast.

Bastiladon, sometimes known as Living Bastions, are a mighty and hulking species of armored reptiles whose heavily armoured shell is perhaps one of the strongest within the continent of Lustria. It is a walking fortress, a living bastion covered in a rock-hard bony skin, and then further protected by massive iron-like plates — a natural armour so dense that it can, sometimes, thwart the bite of the mighty Carnosaur. Even those blows that crack the outermost armour plates cannot penetrate deeply into the beast due to the Bastiladon’s alternating layers of thick leathery skin and additional scales.

Stegadons are mighty horned reptilian beasts that have dwelt within the primeval jungles of Lustria since long before the coming of the Old Ones. They are bulky creatures whose heads are covered by armoured crests, out of which project massive horns. With bony scales and spikes shielding their bodies, there are few predators that dare challenge them. Territorial and highly aggressive, Stegadons will charge any creature that intrudes upon their habitat. Other creatures stay well clear of these herds, for fear of being trampled or gored.

Seraphon Army

Older than memory, existing for aeons unrecorded, the seraphon have ever waged an unending, savage war against Chaos. Summoned by the incredible power of the Slann Starmasters, they materialise from the energy of the stars themselves - nimble skinks, predatory saurus and hulking kroxigor, each intent on destroying the forces that have corrupted and darkened the realms almost beyond repair.


Book[s] The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán

A world made by the Eight Creators on which to play out their games of passion and power, Paradise is a sprawling, diverse, often brutal place. Men and women live on Paradise as do dogs, cats, ferrets, goats, and horses. But dinosaurs predominate: wildlife, monsters, beasts of burden—and of war. Colossal plant-eaters like Brachiosaurus; terrifying meat-eaters like Allosaurus, and the most feared of all, Tyrannosaurus rex. Giant lizards swim warm seas. Birds (some with teeth) share the sky with flying reptiles that range in size from bat-sized insectivores to majestic and deadly Dragons.

Thus we are plunged into Victor Milán’s splendidly weird world of The Dinosaur Lords, a place that for all purposes mirrors 14th century Europe with its dynastic rivalries, religious wars, and byzantine politics…except the weapons of choice are dinosaurs. Where vast armies of dinosaur-mounted knights engage in battle. During the course of one of these epic battles, the enigmatic mercenary Dinosaur Lord Karyl Bogomirsky is defeated through betrayal and left for dead. He wakes, naked, wounded, partially amnesiac-and hunted. And embarks upon a journey that will shake his world…

Chapter One

The Empire of Nuevaropa, Alemania, County Augenfelsen

They appeared across the river like a range of shadow mountains, resolving to terrible solidity through a gauze of early-morning mist and rain. Great horned heads swung side to side. Strapped to their backs behind shieldlike neck-frills swayed wicker fighting-castles filled with archers.

“That tears it!” Rob Korrigan had to shout to be heard, though his companion stood at arm’s length on high ground behind the Hassling’s south bank. Battle raged east along the river for a full kilometer. “Voyvod Karyl’s brought his pet Triceratops to dance with our master the Count.”

Despite the chill rain that streamed down his face and tickled in his short beard, his heart soared. No dinosaur master could help being stirred by sight of these beasts, unique in the Empire of Nuevaropa: the fifty living fortresses of Karyl Bogomirskiy’s notorious White River Legion.

Even if they fought for the enemy.

“Impressive,” the Princes’ Party axeman who stood beside Rob yelled back. Like Rob he worked for the local Count Augenfelsen—“Eye Cliffs” in a decent tongue—who commanded the army’s right wing. “And so what? Our dinosaur knights will put paid to ’em quick enough.”

“Are you out of your tiny mind ?” Rob said.

He knew his Alemán was beastly, worse even than his Spañol, the Empire’s common speech. As if he cared. He’d had this job but a handful of months, and suspected it wouldn’t last much longer.

“The Princes’ Party had the war all its own way until the Emperor hired in these Slavos and their trikes,” he said. “Three times the Princes have fought Karyl. Three times they’ve lost. Nobody’s defeated the White River Legion. Ever.”

The air was as thick with the screams of men and monsters, and a clangor like the biggest smithy on the world called Paradise, as it was with rain and the stench of spilled blood and bowels. Rob’s own guts still roiled and his nape prickled from the side effects of a distant terremoto: the warhadrosaurs’ terrible, inaudible battle cry, pitched too low for the human ear to hear, but potentially as damaging as a body blow from a battering ram.


Our Dragons Are Different

Monday, August 28, 2017

"Gronckle, Zippleback, the Skrill... Boneknapper... Whispering Death... Burns its victims, buries its victims, chokes its victims, turns its victims inside-out... Extremely dangerous, extremely dangerous... kill on sight, kill on sight, kill on sight..."
Hiccup (flipping through the Dragon Manual), How to Train Your Dragon
Nearly every culture has myths about something called a 'dragon', despite the fact none of them can agree on exactly what dragons are. How big are they? What do they look like? How many heads do they have? Do they breathe fire? Or ice? Do they fly (and if so, with or without wings)? How many legs do they have? Are they dumb as planks, or superintelligent? Are they low scaly pests, or ultra-rare Uber-serpents ancient and powerful as the Earth itself? The answers to these questions generally fall within two traditions, "Western" and "Eastern". Even then, in addition to cultural differences, dragons fall into a very wide range of types even in one local mythology. Eastern dragons, such as in the Eastern Zodiac, come from different traditions and as such aren't technically the same dragon as their Western counterparts; Westerners who encountered stories and images of Chinese lóng and Japanese tatsu/ryuu sprung on the similarities to the European dragon and couldn't think of anything better to call them. Even within these traditions, however, there is much variability. This has increased in modern times, as Western and Eastern authors have blurred the traditions by mixing and matching attributes from both (benign Western dragons are quite popular these days, for instance). Some authors invent completely new attributes to set their dragons apart from the crowd or just make them cooler. And some authors put dragons in their stories just for the sole reason of making a story look cool.
A quick rundown of the Western and Eastern schools of dragon is as follows:
Western Dragons Eastern Dragons
Are scaly and reptilian (outwardly, anyway), and usually serpentine. Are Mix-and-Match Critters, though the exact components vary (generally, they can best be described as "lion-snakes"). They sometimes evolve out of Seahorses or Legendary Carp.
Normally associated with fire, which they often breathe as an attack. Normally associated with water (and the sky, which was considered an ocean in classical Chinese thought), and are often considered bringers of rain. In various fiction, some Chinese dragons are capable of breathing fire.
Have around the same size range as houses, at least when fully grown. Can be as small as a grasshopper or large enough to fill the space between heaven and earth.
Are usually antagonistic towards humans, if not an outright Satanic Archetype. More intelligent versions are often manipulative, or, at the very least, love to screw with people; less intelligent versions are beasts and act the part. Are benign, but capable of destructive force when provoked. They may be rivals with tigers, and/or a male counterpart to the female fenghuang.
Kidnap damsels (preferably princesses) and/or hoard treasure. Often greedy and/or insatiable, especially in the latter regard. Instead of hoarding magical treasures, they make them. The other thing they hoard is wisdom, which they rarely share with mortals.
Have a variable number of heads and legs, though one head and six limbs (four legs, and a pair of wings) and a tail is the most common configuration. More divergent types (no legs, multiple heads, etc) seem more likely to be brainless bestial monsters than the "basic" form. Most often have one head and four legs. The longer a dragon, the more pairs of legs he has.
Either fly with bat-like wings, or they lack wings and don't fly. Can fly via magic even if they lack wings, which they usually do. When they do have wings, they are often birdlike.
Have varying levels of intelligence. Prior to Tolkien, they rarely spoke. After Tolkien, they are often portrayed as at least as clever as humans, and frequently (much) more. More traditionally bestial examples still usually have a predatory cunning. Not only are they intelligent, they are usually a Mentor Archetype.
Their scales (and armor made thereof) may be impervious to magic. In addition, they often have some form of innate magic if intelligent. Sometimes they may even disguise themselves as humanoid beings of much smaller size and interbreed with said species, creating half-dragons. In addition to assuming human form, they also often have the ability to transform into other animals.
Live for a very long time, if not actually immortal, but typically may be killed. May be an out and out Physical God.
Are incredibly strong and hard to kill but usually have one or two fatal weak spots. This is traditionally under the chin, but post-Tolkien, it's more likely to be on the chest or belly, and the eye is popular too. In relation to the above, pretty much invincible... not that people actively seek them out to kill them anyway. Have a single "reversed scale" under the chin, and go into a blind rage if it is touched/rubbed the wrong way.
Sometimes have poisonous blood, breath, saliva, or some such. Often, this will kill you after you kill it. If their blood isn't poisonous, it grants special powers such as invincibility. Since they live and breathe essence of life itself, they are the exact opposite of being poisonous.
The original name (drakon) meant Serpent/Snake. The original name (long) is used to describe Saltwater Crocodiles (smaller crocs are named something else) explaining their ties to water.
Recently, western dragons' physical variability has created a number of named sub-species:
  • The most popular variation has been the wyvern, somewhat resembling a bat with the forelimbs being clawed wings and the rear limbs being two legs - this configuration generally being considered more "realistic" as something that could actually evolve. note Despite appearances, wings are actually a type of arm, and not a separate thing. Therefore a dragon with four legs and two "wings" biologically has six limbs - and six-limbed reptiles don't exist in the real world. In some settings, this is the only type and will simply be called "dragons." In other settings, wyverns are not considered "true" dragons at all, but a related, usually less powerful and intelligent species. Wyverns are less likely to breathe fire, and more likely to be venomous (even when dragons in the same setting are not venomous).
    The term "wyvern" is less likely to be used if the creature in question walks quadrupedally (using the wings as forelimbs, like a bat or a pterosaur), such as Smaug from The Hobbit, Vermithrax Pejorative from Dragonslayer and the dragons from Reign of Fire.
  • Rivaling the wyvern is the Hydra from Greek Mythology, which is often depicted as a flightless dragon-like water or swamp beast with one or more heads; for each head you cut off, two rapidly grow to replace it. If they have a Breath Weapon, it's often a different one for each head. The original sprayed poison and had poison for blood.
  • A drake is usually a creature closely related to dragons but smaller and less intelligent, equivalent to the relationship between humans and chimpanzees. More likely than dragons to come in multiple varieties adapted to different environments (e.g. the drakes that live around volcanos may be the only ones able to breathe fire). Unlike wyverns they have the same body type as other dragons in the setting, though with a tendency towards smaller or non-existent wings. Sometimes they're simply young/adolescent dragons rather than a separate species. In other cases "drake" is interchangeable with "dragon", or is a term for male dragons in particular.
  • Very old (Greek and Roman, and some medieval) dragons are presented as more serpentine than the more recent ones — if winged, the wings are usually their only limbs; and some were totally limbless, just very enormous serpents. This type of dragon may be referred to as a wyrm (pronounced just like "worm").
Other reptilian or avian mixed mythological creatures, particularly the Basilisk, Cockatrice and Quetzalcoatl, may be considered types of dragons or similar creatures in some works. Further, it's also become fairly common for dragons to come in different flavors of Elemental Powers, especially in settings where Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors are enforced. This may simply manifest in their Breath Weapon, or it may affect all properties of the dragon. Elemental rainbows of dragons are most common in video games and tabletop games where diversity of creatures and gameplay balance are considerations. One-off dragon variants are most likely to be ice elemental, poisonous, or maybe zombified. As mentioned above, a recent trend has been to try and make dragons that could actually exist in the real world. Naturally, these tend to either use Science Fiction concepts or be very different from traditional dragons. Also common in later works is a tendency for dragons to form a life-long bond with any human or humanoid who is present when they hatch (probably inspired by the 'imprinting' which occurs with most birds in Real Life, which is why birds raised in captivity with the intent to be released must be cared for by puppets). This gives writers a way to give dragons unique psychology without having to come up with unique motivations for them. It also explains why humanoid Dragon Riders can boss them around. Yet another trend appearing here and there is for dragons to be depicted as looking similar to dinosaurs, usually the bigger theropods (like Tyrannosaurus rex), but occasionally sauropods (such as Brachiosaurus) as well. The two are often outright confused with each other. Another common trend in modern fantasy is the miniature pet dragon, suitable for perching on one's shoulder. Compare Giant Flyer, and other Dragon Tropes. Supertrope of Draconic Humanoid, or humanoid dragons and dragonkin. Not to be confused with The Dragon, a position only sometimes held by a real dragon (while dragons themselves can just as easily be Big Bads).


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  • Two oil paintings (1470, c. 1460) of St. George's fight with the Dragon by the Italian painter Paolo Uccello (1397—1475) depict a dragon with two legs and wings with eye spots, as are found on the wings of butterflies in real life.
    Comic Strips 
  • The fen dragons in early Prince Valiant strips were basically gigantic crocodiles who dwelt in the swamps. A much more recent story arc pitted Val against a truly titanic lizard from a Lost World, which attacked Camelot seeking its stolen egg.
  • Todd the Candy Dragon from Phoebe and Her Unicorn is a tiny dragon who says nothing but "Rar" and, true to his name, produces candy and ice cream from his mouth.
    Fan Works 
  • Earth and Sky: Due to dragons being magic creatures, their physical forms change based on their desires. For instance, a dragon that lived by himself in the middle of nowhere grew a second head just so he'd have someone to talk to. This is also apparently why Spike has wings now when he didn't during his greed-induced growth spurt; he didn't want them back then, but has since learned to enjoy the concept of personal flight.
  • Hope for the Heartless: According to the Horned King, despite resembling them, gwythaints such as the two he kept aren't dragons. He did once encounter a true dragon, which was built like a gwythaint but had four legs and bronze-colored scales, and was as large as two peasant houses put together. It didn't breathe fire (but he has heard tales from people who have actually seen firebreathers), but spat lava instead, something some dragon types can do by eating rocks and digesting them into a lava-like substance.
  • It's a Dangerous Business, Going Out Your Door:
    • Dragons come from the nation of Carcosa and have their own language, Draketongue, a tonal tongue (meaning that tone and pitch are as important as, if not more important than, the actual sound of words in conveying meaning) noted to be highly melodic and sung more than spoken.
    • The komagas, large reptilian creatures that rampage across Gildedale for a month every year, destroying anything in their way (they only do this in one direction and return the next year from the same way as before; no one knows where they go the rest of the time), were, according to Gildedale tradition, dragons who long ago committed some unknown sin and were punished by their gods with the loss of their wings and fire and being cursed to eternally roam the earth, and who over the aeons have degraded into mindless beasts.
    • Longs are also mentioned, and apparently live in the nation of Salamar. They are not true dragons, however, and apparently dislike being mistaken for such.
  • The Last Draconequus: According to Discord's inner monologue, eastern dragons exist alongside the western kind, and are capable of interbreeding with ponies to create a chimeric species called the long-ma. The draconequi were long-ma who migrated west. The original long-ma followed a different evolutionary path and are still around today, and deny being draconequui at all, but Discord still considers them basically the same species. Western dragons are stated to be an inherently chaotic species, and as such, like the draconequi, can potentially produce an Avatar of Chaos.
  • The Palaververse: They used to rule most of the world in the past, but their power began to slip as civilization grew, and was lost in a series of disastrous wars against the Diamond Dogs, the Capric Empire and Equestria, forcing most of them out of Ungula and to the archipelago of the Burning Mountains. They also have their own unique but poorly understood form of magic, hoard treasure as both a way to store food and as a mating display of sorts, and though mostly loners they have a loose society, ruled by the Fire Queen through Dragon Lords acting as intermediaries and viceroys.
    • An interesting note is that, although most dragons dismiss religion as something for more mortal beings to bother with, particularly old and powerful dragons almost invariably develop beliefs centering on the size of one’s hoard determining the value and “brightness” of one’s soul, and of a "Last Dark" to be met with as bright a soul as possible, refusing to elaborate on this even to their younger kin.
    • The caverns of the underworld are known to be home to blind, flightless dragons that breathe mind-clouding fumes and poison instead of fire.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: The dragons are the same as in the base canon (i.e., they're of the Western type, have nigh-invulnerable scaly hides, fire breath and six limbs (counting the wings), eat gemstones, and collect a Dragon Hoard because they grow larger the more stuff they possess). However, this is heavily Deconstructed. Because dragons are so individually powerful, and can find their food so easily, they never developed a civilization beyond the crudest level of "might makes right". Very few dragons can even read and write, and the handful of more civilized dragons have to learn other languages just because Draconic lacks the vocabulary to express many of the things they want to say. In addition, since the greatest threat to a mature dragon is another dragon, they never work together, and though they may spawn whelps, they would never take them into their own lairs, for they might steal something. As a result, there are only a few thousand dragons on the planet. As one abnormally wise dragon puts it:
    We are dragons. We are mighty. We are the strongest of the mortal races. We have no equals. And because of that... we are dying.
  • Gloryhammer: The song "Magic Dragon" from the first album, Tales From The Kingdom of Fife is about a magic dragon who becomes Angus McFife's ally after a magic spell is cast.
    Demon attacked me but then it was slain
    The dragon appeared and a battle was fight
    I spoke from the words of a powerful scroll
    And magical dragon became now allied.
  • The protagonist of the "Dragonland Chronicles" album trilogy of the Swedish Heavy Metal band Dragonland is said to descend from dragons. In addition to that to cite an example "Dragondawn", the first song of their first album is accompanied (it's instrumental) by these verses:
    As the dragons of the dawn spread their wings
    And in the first blazing rays of the flowing morninglight
    Set flight over oceans of radiant azure blissfull tides
    Over majestic mountains of old, mountains of gold (...)
    Pro Wrestling 
  • Chikara has Dragon Dragon, a giant stuffed animal who came to life. He was modeled after a dragon (obviously) but doesn't have many of the abilities associated with. His plushy nature allows him to survive things most other wrestlers cannot however, including decapitation.
  • Throughout the years, The LEGO Group has produced a number of dragons:
    • In the 1990s, the Castle theme introduced 'big-fig' dragons figures built with only a handful of bricks; bright green bodies, frills, a head-piece shared with alligators, a separate wing pieces. The 2013 revival featured a significantly larger big-fig dragon.
    • In the Ninjago theme, the ninjas occasionally use dragons as transport and to assist in combat. They have wildly varying appearances, wyverns, quadrupedal dragons and drakes, and Chinese Lung dragons. Unlike Castle, the dragons are fully brick-built (like a vehicle), and are very posable thanks to ball-and-socket joints. In The LEGO Ninjago Movie, Llyod Garmadon uses a bright green dragon mech based on the Chinese lung dragons.
    • In the Elves theme derived from the girl-centered Friends, the elves ride magical winged two or four-legged dragons in all sorts of flashy colors that behave like giant overgrown dogs. As with Ninjago, they are brick-built, albeit with custom head pieces allowing for more expression.
    • The Creator theme has had a number of dragons that are 100% brick built and like Ninjago encompass all sorts of body types.

Desert Hydra

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

With five huge heads independently biting and spitting acid at its foes, the Desert Hydra is one of the most devastating warbeasts the Skorne Empire has ever captured and conditioned for war. Each head can release a focused spray of highly corrosive acid or snatch up opponents to be devoured by its gaping, hellish jaws. Flesh hooks protruding from beneath armored plates keep the beast maddened with pain, spurring it to further carnage even after suffering multiple decapitations.

Physical Characteristics
Desert hydras have a varying number of heads, and their bodies are layered in scales from soft beige to deep red. Although a desert hydra begins its life with a single head, masses of cells accumulate and divide upon the torso as the creature ages to form additional heads, all fully functional. On average, a hydra grows a head for each decade of its life. The eldest desert hydras can have as many as seven, though few survive to this stage.

A desert hydra's vital organs, including its brain, are protected deep within its torso. The protective plates lining the creature’s multiple necks and back also work to retain body heat; alternately, the spines protruding from these plates can disperse excess heat when necessary. Glands inside a hydra’s mouths discharge a potent acid capable of eating through chitin and steel, and a heat-sensing structure embedded between its eyes and nostrils facilitates highly accurate strikes against warm-blooded prey.

When not engaged in territorial disputes, male hydras often battle one another for the right to mate with a female. Likewise, a female will challenge and fight any males who approach her, refusing to mate with those who back down. Though a single clutch can contain up to a dozen eggs, competition among newborns is fierce, and more than half are killed by their siblings within days of hatching.

A hydra’s wounds are extremely quick to heal. Only deep strikes to the torso are likely to prove fatal, though decapitations prior to such strikes may help lead to a kill. Severed heads can grow back within weeks, and lesser wounds heal at a much faster rate.

Desert hydras spend the daylight hours hunting. Once its target is dead, the hydra unhinges one of its many jaws to swallow the meal whole, its mandibles guiding the carcass down the gullet. With its multiple heads, a hydra can consume prey even as it fends off scavengers and other predators.

At night, when the cold desert air makes the ectothermic hydras sluggish, they retreat to expansive subterranean dens to stay warm. Such dens also serve as nests, and female hydras protect such holdings fiercely. While navigating or constructing these dens, desert hydras propel themselves through the soil with rows of tiny, horned feet that line their bodies.


Capturing a desert hydra is an exceptionally violent undertaking. At night, masses of slaves armed with rudimentary prods descend into a hydra's burrow to lure it to the surface where beast handlers fire upon the beast with harpoons. After several of the creature’s necks have been ensnared, slaves take hold of ropes stemming from each harpoon and pull the snapping heads to the ground long enough to let the beast handlers sedate the hydra. Successful captures often come with high casualties among both slaves and beast handlers. In a step that may seem extreme but is the essence of skorne pragmatism, experienced beast handlers often decapitate all but a single head prior to transporting captured hydras rather than risk further deaths - the hydra's regenerative capabilities ensuring it could not be killed by such tactics.

For every slave killed in capturing a hydra, ten are lost during conditioning and battle preparation. Additionally, inserting flesh hooks beneath the hydras’ natural armor plating is a task from which few beast handlers walk away unscathed, and keeping the beasts fed requires a steady expenditure of resources.

All attempts by the skorne to breed hydras in captivity have failed. Subjugating them for use as warbeasts was not considered to be worth the expense or deaths even for the richest skorne houses, until Supreme Archdomina Makeda unites the empire and makes the acquisition of these beasts a top priority so that she might use their strength in the conquest of the west. Keeping a desert hydra in captivity without breaking it to a warlock's will first is nearly unthinkable, so the creatures are captured wild and tamed in the desert, often by a team of the most skilled paingivers available

Feathered dinosaur tail discovered in lump of amber from a market in Myanmar

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

'It's as close as anyone will get to petting a dinosaur'

Updated December 09, 2016 08:16:43 Exquisitely preserved bones and feathers from the tip of a dinosaur tail have been discovered in a piece of 99-million-year-old amber, found by a palaeontologist hunting for fossils in a Myanmar market.

Forest Dragons of Warhammer

Friday, December 2, 2016

Forest Dragons are an ancient breed of Dragon that seems to only dwell within the ancient woodlands of the Old World. At first thought, it seems incredible that a creature as vast as a Dragon could make its home in the dense forests of Athel Loren. Yet, in the deepest recesses of the Chasm Glades, there lurks a distinct race of great sky wyrms who long ago adapted to life within the greenwood. Protected by the forest canopy and shielded from the attentions of young heroes seeking to make names for themselves by the sheer rock faces of the chasms, these Forest Dragons thrived and multiplied.

Such providence has proven itself a stark contrast to other places in the Old World, where Dragons and their kin have long since been either slain or driven into the mountains. Nothing dwells for long in Athel Loren without being changed, and the Forest Dragons are no exception. Like certain groups of Wood Elves, the Dragons have slowly become an extension of the forest’s will to survive and prosper. Though still voracious predators, the Dragons hunt only when the forest has need of them, resting in a state of hibernation for the remainder of the time. Should there be an intrusion by creatures too mighty for Athel Loren’s spirits, the forest will occasionally goad one or more Forest Dragons to wakefulness in order to counter the threat. More often, the Elves will themselves petition the aid of a Dragon to serve as a steed for a Glade Lord — a request to which the beast cedes with reasonable grace, provided it wasn’t disturbed from a particularly fascinating dream. Over time, a Glade Lord might form a strong bond with a particular Forest Dragon, the two becoming friends, more than mere allies at need.

Regardless of the reason for its waking, a Forest Dragon is a ferocious foe and one not easily matched. Few can stand firm against its wrath unless they can master the primal fear its countenance provokes. This fear only grows when the beast descends, arrows and bullets scattering off its scaly hide, to eviscerate and devour all who oppose it. Even those enemies fortunate enough to find themselves beyond the crippling sweep of the Forest Dragon’s talons inevitably succumb to its soporific breath. Those who breathe this cloying emerald vapour collapse into a stupefied daze, their will to fight or flee utterly spent.

Despite their monstrous appearance, Forest Dragons are actually highly intelligent, and maintain a keen interest in events that occur far beyond the boundaries of Athel Loren. They are particularly voracious for tidings that relate to their long months of slumber. In part, this hunger is fed by the Elves who petition them for aid, but the Dragons do not necessarily consider the Elves to be wholly unbiased observers and often seek out others to provide counterpoint. Indeed, it is not unknown for a Dragon to spare a suitably intriguing opponent, providing that it has the potential to expand the Dragon’s knowledge. If the captive’s news is sufficiently valuable or intriguing, the Dragon feels duty-bound to spare his life in exchange for the information; if not, the captive is invariably devoured on the spot for unknowingly having squandered the Dragon’s precious time.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Once noble rulers of the skies, now corrupt with change, the two-headed Dragons of Chaos are malevolent predators. Each is a nemesis of order and sanity that can break armies. Their twin maws breathe death upon their foes; one exhaling dark flame, as the other emits corrosive gas. Only the most powerful can ride such a monster, and even then, it is more an unholy alliance than a matter of master and servant.

The third challenge Archaon faced was retrieving the Eye of Sheerian from the lair of the three-headed Chaos Dragon Flamefang. Archaon awoke Flamefang by smashing his axe into the slumbering Dragon’s forehead. For many hours, the two battled amongst the bones of legendary creatures at the base of the Cliff of Beasts. The Dragon breathed searing flames over Archaon and even swallowed him whole, but the Armour of Morkar proved inviolable, and the Chaos Lord fought his way out of the Dragon’s gullet with the ferocity of a maddened Warhound. With its insides shredded, the great drake eventually collapsed and died. Archaon plucked the Eye of Sheerian from the gems encrusting the Dragon’s belly, and hung the artefact around his neck as a trophy.