Of all the Elder Races, the Dragonewts are the least understood even though a fair amount has been written about them.
Dragonewts were first described fully in Wyrms footnotes 14, the best account by far. They were again described in the Glorantha section of the RuneQuest 3 rules and also in the Elder Secrets Pack. Finally Sandy Petersen wrote an article in Codex which overturned many of the things in WF14. For this description, I am using the WF14 article together with extracts from the other sources. This is because Dragonewts are too important to be left in a number of separate, contradictory essays.
When the Deities of the Celestial Court began experimenting with Runes, they created Form Runes and populated the world with many creatures. The first Rune they created was the Dragonewt Rune and they filled the world with reptilian and draconic creatures. Many became extinct, but some survived through the Green Age, the Golden Age, the Storm Age and Chaos Age eventually living during Time. One of these races was that of the Dragonewts, bipedal almost humanoid reptiles, born from the eggs laid by immature True Dragons. The Dragonewts took some part in the myths and actions of GodtTime, for instance one took part in the "I Fought, We Won" Battle, but most of their actions are a mystery. It is known that the Dragons and True Giants fought a War before other things existed, but little is known of this, although presumably the Dragonewts played some part in this. Many of the first Dragonewts matured into True Dragons but their slower brethren remained to see Time appear.
During History, the Dragonewts were involved in the First Council and in the God project when the new God Nysalor was created. Nysalor tried to curse the race when they left the Broken Council, but a Dragon awoke and swallowed the curse whole. Nysalor enslaved the Dragonewts until the Inhuman King sacrificed himself, allowing the Dragonewts to fight for their freedom.
During the Second Age, the Dragonewts taught their secrets to humans and formed the Empire of the Wyrms friends. This political entity was geared up to recreating the Primal Dragons and had some early successes when they awakened some new True Dragons. However, in trying to achieve their aims, they ignored the people who were helping them. As the people became dissatisfied, they turned against the Empire. Some of the Empire's Council made the error of coming down and helping the common people of the Empire, rather than strengthening the Dragon Project. For this reason, the project failed and the Dragonewts allied with the trolls of the Blue Moon and slew all the major humans in the Empire of the Wyrms Friends. The peoples who had been conquered by the Empire then turned against their oppressors and invaded. Especially hostile and strong were the people of Dara Happa, in Peloria, who had been ruled by the Sun Dragon or Emperor Dragon. They sent many thousands of people to Dragon Pass to destroy the remnants of the Empire in an army called the True Golden Horde. This combined with armies from Prax and the South to try and destroy the Dragonewt Nests. As they started to raid the Nests, the Dragonewts called on all the True Dragons and their Kin for help. What followed was the Dragonkill War which described what the Dragons did. Dragons came from all corners of the world, from the HeroPlane and the GodPlane, together with Dream Dragons and dinosaurs and creatures which had not been seen for many Ages and killed and ate the humans. Reports vary, but less than 1 in 20 survived. Many people thought afterwards that the Empire of the Wyrms Friends was a ruse designed to give the Dragons a great feast.
While the Empire of the Wyrms Friends was growing strong, a group of God Learners from Jrustela invaded the Kralorelan Empire and formed the False Dragon Ring. They took the Dragon Magics and used them in their own way, corrupting the magics and abandoning the normal rituals and restrictions applying to them. After many years of abuse, the mages of Kralorela performed many rituals, moved some stars to create a new constellation and to bring about a prophecy and awakened their Dragon Emperor. The Dragon's Awakening Shudder was powerful enough to destroy the False Dragon Ring and to free Kralorela.
Dragonewts now serve in the armies of the Lunar Empire as Mercenary Units. It is not known why they choose to do this, but it could be a reflection of the Nysalor.Dragonewt pattern. Recently, the Dragonewts holed up in their cities and carried out a ritual which resulted in the phenomena known as the Dragonewt Dream. Many ghostly Dragonewts carried out rituals and ceremonies over a number of years, dressed in costumes from the Empire of the Wyrms Friends. Some of these rituals seemed to have no effect, but others had physical effects such as when the ghostly Dragonewts forced open the gates of the Big Rubble in Prax. Nobody knows what the Dream was for or what the results will be.
All Dragonewts were born when they hatched from the eggs laid by immature dragons. Many dragonewts were taught by the dragons and managed to progress until they matured and became True Dragons. The others, far slower than their brethren, remain and try to progress without the aid of the Dragons to move them along.
When a Dragonewt dies, its soul moves back to the egg that it was born from. A new body is hatched after a certain number of days, enabling the Dragonewt to be reborn. The number of days taken to be reborn depends on the spiritual purity of the Dragonewt. Impure Dragonewts may take several days to be reborn, Pure Dragonewts will be reborn in a single day.
Dragonewts can only be reborn when they have an Inhuman King or Dragonet in existence from their nest or group of nests. If the Inhuman King is dead and has not been replaced, Dragonewts who die will not be reborn - they are out of the Draconic Lifecycle. Such a thing happened during the Gbaji Wars. Some Dragonewts live in colonies which have no Inhuman King or have voluntarily distanced themselves from the Draconic Way, these are called Outlaw Dragonewts and will not be reborn - when they die, they die. Occasionally, a Dragonewt will join a cult and be removed from the Cycle. Such a Dragonewt can be subject to Resurrection as any other person, but cannot be reborn. If a Dragonewt becomes so Impure as to be dominated by one of his emotions, it will mutate into a Dinosaur and will be removed from the Dragonewt Cycle.
Dragonewts are first born weak and immature. As they progress in life they mature, slowly changing form and gaining powers and abilities, progressing until they mature as True Dragons. This process may take millennia to complete. As many Dragonewts are still in the first stage, they will take a long time to mature. When a Dragonewt has become mature enough to progress to the next form it will change form gradually and will slowly take on the attributes of its new form. Crested Dragonewts do not suddenly grow larger and stronger when they become Beaked, but grow slowly. Rulers are reborn with their wings but these are quite small, even though they are functional, and Rulers will grow in size and might as they grow older.
All Dragonewts are left handed by birth.
A Crested Dragonewt is small, has a short tail, is vegetarian, has drab colour markings and has a crest on its head. It is a follower and has very little mind of its own, being spiritually weak. It is normally trained to be a slinger and is taught to be a scout and a skirmisher, but generally to serve other Dragonewts.
Scouts cannot learn Dragon Magics and may learn conventional magic. Before it becomes a Beaked Dragonewt, a scout must forget all its non-Dragon Magic.
As a scout progresses, it becomes larger and stronger, its tail lengthens and its head changes. It gains a pronounced crest, its jaw lengthens and becomes stronger with larger teeth able to strip bark. Eventually, once it has gained the necessary skills and spiritual maturity it will become a Beaked Dragonewt.
A Beaked Dragonewt is larger than a human, with a long tail, reaching to the ground. Its skin is scaly and thick, acting as armour and often having spikes, knobs or horns, becoming more extravagant as the Dragonewt progresses. It is carnivorous and is a fearsome warrior.
Beaked Dragonewts often ride reptilian creatures called Demi Birds. They are beaked, feathered and lay eggs but are not true birds, being more reptilian. They are fierce creatures, fearless and carnivorous and are fearsome partners to the Dragonewts.
A Beaked Dragonewt uses Dragon Magic and so cannot use normal magic. It has special weapons peculiar to dragonewts, namely the Klanth, an obsidian-edged club sword, used mainly as a ceremonial weapon, the Korff a curved dragonbone sword doing the same damage as a Bastard Sword, a Gami which is a parrying weapon with sword-breaking capabilities and an Utuma or short sword, used mainly in ceremonial suicides but also used for combat. Beaked Dragonewts also use the Samarin and Chokin, thrown weapons similar to throwing stars and a Longbow with greater range and damage than a standard composite bow.
As a Beaked Dragonewt progresses, its ornamentation becomes more elaborate until it becomes purely decorative and ornamental. It becomes slightly smaller as it progresses to the next stage. When it has progressed enough both spiritually and physically, it is reborn as a Noble Dragonewt.
A Noble Dragonewt is roughly the same size as a human, smaller than Beaked but larger than Crested Dragonewts. Their skin is decorative with frills, spines and pouches with enhanced scent glands and vivid skin colours and patterns. They are omnivorous and sometimes gain a reputation as gourmands.
Noble Dragonewts are leaders and communicators - they often interact with members of other races and often have reputations of being friendly and peaceful.
Once a Noble Dragonewt has mastered certain physical skills and has progressed enough spiritually, it will be reborn as a Ruler Dragonewt.
These are far larger than humans, being similar in size to Great Trolls. They have scales and are as ornamented and decorative as Noble Dragonewts, however they have wings which are capable of flight. As they progress, their wings grow larger and stronger. Nobody knows much else about them, but they are probably omnivores, if they need to eat at all.
A Ruler can use all the weapons of earlier Dragonewts but can also use a Great Axe. All their weapons will be of Dragonbone and will be magical in nature.
One Ruler will be present in each small nest and maybe a few in large clusters of nests. Rulers prepare themselves for the day when they mature as a Dragon or Dragonet and often go on Draconic HeroQuests to gain the abilities which they will lead. A Ruler will be adept in the use of Dragon Magics and have been known to transform themselves into Dragons in defence of the nests. A Ruler is a fearsome foe but can be hospitable and friendly.
When a Ruler Dragonewt progresses fully, it will be reborn as a True Dragon and will be taken out of the Dragonewt Cycle. Sometimes, a Ruler will be reborn as a Dragonet, or neo-Dragon. This form is intermediate between Dragonewt and True Dragon.
There is only one Dragonet in a traditional Dragonewt society. While the Dragonet is alive, Dragonewts will be reborn as normal. However, if the Dragonet dies then there will be no rebirth until a new one is created. In this case, a Ruler which has progressed far enough to become a Dragon but has not chosen to will ceremonially kill itself and be reborn as a Dragonet, thus allowing the cycle to be restored. Although there is only one Dragonet in any society, there may be more than one alive throughout Glorantha. The Dragonewts of Dragon Pass have a Dragonet at Dragons Eye, but the Dragonewts of Kralorela have their own Dragonet. The Dragonewts of Ralios do not have a Dragonet, but if one were to be manifested, they could rejoin the Cycle.
Nobody knows the powers or abilities of a Dragonet. It is rumoured that one has all the powers of a True Dragon, able to think others to death and to shape the land with but a thought.
When a Dragonewt is first born it has a normal personality and is ruled by instinct. As it progresses, it tries to master the personality it has so that it can act through choice not through instinct. Once it has mastered all it has to at a particular stage it will progress to the next stage.
Dragonewts have a sense of Honour which is unique to them. Dragonewt Honour is Right Living, the way of living correctly according to the dragonewt's level of understanding of the world. As the Dragonewt progresses, it gains more and more knowledge of the world and must live responsibly according to the new responsibilities it has.
If a Dragonewt act dishonourably, it is tarnished and will be reborn late. For each day spent in the egg, the Dragonewt loses skills as laid down in Cults of Prax, the more dishonour, the longer the time spent in the egg and the greater the skill loss. It is possible for a Dragonewt to lose status in this way, being reborn in a lesser stage of development.
If a Dragonewt acts through choice then it has reacted honourably. If it reacts through instinct it has reacted dishonourably, even if it does the right thing afterwards. The more dishonourable acts it performs, the greater the time spent in the egg on rebirth.
Dragonewts have several duties according to their Honour. These include Duty to The Ancestors, Duty to One's Lord and Duty to Repay Favours. As Dragonewts, they have to act according to the teachings passed down from the Dragons, their Ancestors. As Servants of their Lords and Masters, they must obey those who are farther advanced in development. As creatures removed from the world, they believe that any favours owed to others must be repaid otherwise they will become entangled with the world.
Each Dragonewt has a personality described in terms of Personality Traits, much the same as anyone else. However, they have certain peculiarities which set them aside from other people. A Dragonewt's Personality Traits are split into three sections, rather than the normal two. When a Dragonewt is first born, it has each personality pair with the following values: 1-49 First Trait, 50-51 Right Action , 52-100 Second Trait. When a Dragonewt is put into a situation where it must act in one of two ways, the player rolls against the personality pair, if the roll falls within the first or third ranges the Dragonewt act dishonourably, following the rolled character trait, if the roll falls within the Right Action section the Dragonewt can choose which course of action to take, acting honourably.
For instance, Skin of Green is a Beaked Dragonewt guarding a watchpost when he is confronted by a human who gives the correct passwords to pass. Skin of Green must roll against his Suspicious-Trusting traits to see if it will let the person past, his scores are Suspicious 1-30, Right Action 31-55, Trusting 56-100 and it rolls 54 and acts honourably. It decides to be Suspicious and demands more proof, when the human tries to push past, it rolls on his Agressive-Passive (Aggressive 1-3, Right Action 4-99, Passive 100) and rolls 45, acting honourably it decides to be aggressive and kills the human. Afterwards it finds out that the human was a friend and should have been let through, however it behaved honourably and it development will not be affected.
A Dragonewt may only learn through failure. In the above example, Skin of Green will not learn from his actions. Had it rolled 60 on the first roll, it would have been forced to behave in a trusting way, letting the human through, but acting dishonourably. It would also gain a Trait Check and would qualify for rolling for experience . To roll for experience in a Character Trait, a Dragonewt must die and be reborn. It rolls once per character trait failed in that life, if it rolls within the particular character trait then it reduces that trait score by 1D6. As a rough guide, a dragonewt stays in its egg for 1 day for every 3 traits it has to roll for.
For instance, Skin of Green dies and is reborn. During its time in the egg, it must roll against Leader, Nervous and Calm - the relevant traits are Leader 1-40, Right Action 41-70, Follower 71-100 Nervous 1-45, Right Action 46-80, Calm 81-100, it rolls as follows: Leader 28, Nervous 60 and Calm 20, so it only increases the Leader Trait by 1D6, having failed to roll within the correct areas for the others, and rolls 3 on 1D6, reducing its Leader Trait to 37, having a new trait of Leader 1-37, Right Action 38-70, Follower 71-100.
When a Dragonewt has a Personality Pair where each trait has a score of 5% or less, in other words when the scores are 1-5, 6-95, 96-100 or better, it is considered to have mastered the trait. If any trait is reduced to 0, it is considered to have conquered the trait, so if the scores were Brave 0, Right Action 1-98, Cowardly 99-100, the Dragonewt would be considered to have conquered its Brave trait.
Each Stage of Development of a Dragonewt has certain skills and traits which must be mastered in order for the Dragonewt to advance to the next stage. A Dragonewt must master all the relevant skills, have the required POW requirements and also have mastered the relevant personality pairs.
The requirements for advancement are as follows:
At least 50% in one of its weapons, POW of 13 or more and mastery of Agressive-Passive, Brave-Cowardly, Energetic-Lazy, Stubborn-Docile and Unreliable-Dependable Personality Traits.
POW of 18 or greater, 50% in all weapons used, mastery of the Curious-Apathetic, Leader-Follower, Impulsive-Cautious, Nervous-Calm and Suspicious-Trusting traits.
POW of 20, mastery (90%) of all weapons and mastery of the Honourable-Dishonourable, Greedy-Generous, Impatient-Patient and Extrovert-Introvert traits.
Mastery of the Clever-Dull, Innovative-Conservative, Optimist-Pessimist and Constuctive-Destructive traits and other requirements involving HeroQuest activities which are beyond the scope of normal play.
As a Dragonewt progresses, it will be called upon to challenge the appropriate character traits - a Crested Dragonewt will not be put into a position to challenge its Honourable-Dishonourable traits, for instance.
Some Dragonewts will regress to an earlier form through dishonour. Others simply mutate and leave the Dragonewt Cycle. This often happens when a Personality Trait becomes so pronounced as to be have a range of 1-100, obliterating the other trait in the pair. It may also happen when a Personality Pair has no Right Action, so the Dragonewt acts by instinct alone in that trait.
Some Dragonewts will mutate and become stunted forms, newtlings or lizard men. Others become Dinosaurs. When a Dragonewt mutates into a Dinosaur, the new form is carnivorous and intelligent, no matter what the normal types are, so a mutated Brontosaur will eat flesh and be intelligent, although its normal kin are herbivorous and not sentient. Such a mutation may take several years to complete - a Dragonewt will not suddenly change overnight., However, some physical changes will manifest fairly quickly. It can be quite funny for a GM to have the party meet an apparently herbivorous dinosaur only to have it turn out to be a mutated Dragonewt with an attitude who forces them to perform a task for it - have you ever tried to fight an intelligent Brontosaur with spells?
Some Dinosaurs are formed by the embracing of emotions as described earlier. Thus, Stegosaurs are created through Lust, Magisaurs through Greed, Allosaurs through Aggression and so on. As there are many more types of dinosaur, it is often worth jotting down what each emotion will create if overused.
Some Dragonewts will mutate into other forms - Wyrms, Wyverns and even Stoorworms, but such mutations are rare. If a Ruler Dragonewt mutates, an almost unheard of concept, it will change into a powerful creature such as those described. Dragonewts will never mutate into other Dragonewts, save by regression, or Dragons, save by ultimate progression.
Each Stage of Dragonewts, with the exception of the Crested Dragonewts, has access to certain Dragon Magics. Once at a certain stage, a Dragonewt can access any magic available to that stage and lesser stages, so a Noble Dragonewt can access Beaked Dragonewt Magics as well as Noble Magics.
Spells available are:
Dragon Armour, Dragon Claw, Dragon Strength, Firebreath, Growth, Scorn Wound, Sprout Wings, Sustain Life, Tattoo Matrix, Utuma.
Attune Landscape, Don Armour, First Strike, Heroic Leap, Soul Blast.
Energy Deflection, Summon Dream Dragon.
Dragon Magic is used at will, it does not cost POW or Magic Points unless that is part of the spell, nor does it have to be learnt or sacrificed for, with the exception of some skills gained on HeroQuests. However, nothing is without a cost and Dragon Magic is no exception. Each spell has an associated Character Trait and use of the spell increases that Character Trait, affecting the Dragonewt's spiritual progression, and normally reducing the chance of Right Action. For instance, a dragonewt with traits of Aggressive 1-20, Right Action 21-60, Passive 61-100 uses Dragon Claw and rolls 3 on 1D6, increasing its Aggressive, so its trait becomes Aggressive 1-23, Right Action 24-60, Passive 61-100. This may even result in the Dragonewt regressing to an earlier stage.
If a Dragonewt has used so much Dragon Magic that it will regress at its next rebirth, it may well continue to use more and more Dragon Magic to prevent its death. Then it may use the Utuma skill to kill itself honourably at a later date. More often, Dragonewts will not use Dragon Magic if they are in danger of regressing next time.
A Dragonewt which has conquered a trait cannot increase that trait through the use of Dragon Magic. The only exception to this is the use of the Scorn Wound spell to bring the Dragonewt back from death. Any other spell can be used without fear of spiritual impurity. In this way, spiritually mature Dragonewts can use some Dragon Magics willy-nilly. As only a few Dragonewts manage to conquer traits, this is very rare, although some Ruler Dragonewts have achieved this in a few traits. The Inhuman King has usually conquered many character traits and can use Dragon Magics without affecting its spirituality.
I have taken the Dragon Magic out to a new web page so that it can be accessed by my article on Kralorelan Magic.
At various times during History, notably during the Empire of the Wyrms Friends and in the False Dragon Ring, humans have gained the ability to use Dragon Magic. When this happened, they also gained the ability to use Right Action as does a Dragonewt, but they began with their own personalities and had to gain the Right Action.
For instance, New Dragon, a human, becomes a devotee of the Dragon Way. His Brave/Cowardly traits are 70/30, so he gains a Brave 1-70, Right Action 0, Cowardly 71-100. When he is next confronted with a Brave/Cowardly choice, he rolls and has to act accordingly. He can gain experience in the trait rolled as normal. This means that a human can improve his Right Action skill far more quickly than Dragonewts. It also means that Draconic Humans are very unpredictable as they can often react impulsively in stressful situations.
Humans also gain the ability to learn more than 25% Speak Auld Wyrmish or Draconic. Normally, such a feat is impossible as the language requires empathic abilities and the ability to read colour signals, scent signals and body language. However, those tied to the Draconic Way can progress to their INTx5% in understanding, but may be limited to 25% Speak Auld Wyrmish, unless they gain the scent and colour-modifying abilities.
As Draconic Humans do not need to improve their personalities in the same way that Dragonewts do, they do not have the same restrictions on using Dragon magic. Thus, they can use it more freely, and often did. However, if their Right Action is removed for a particular trait pair, it cannot be restored. This does not affect the use of Dragon Magic but does have an effect on the personality of the human.
The consequences of having Right Action go further than simply being impulsive under stressful situations. When on HeroQuests, it is occasionally necessary to roll against personality traits. Imagine a HeroQuest with two parts, one involving a roll against Cowardly to run away from a fearsome opponent, the other requiring a roll against Brave to force the person to attack another foe. A character with Brave 1-30, Right Action 31-67, Cowardly 68-100 goes on the Quest and rolls 60 on his Cowardly roll, choosing to act Bravely and not to run, he fights and defeats the opponent. Next, he rolls 32 on his Brave and chooses to act in a Cowardly fashion and does not blindly attack, surviving yet again. He thus has a far greater chance of acting how he wants on a HeroQuest. Those Dragonewts who have mastered Personality Traits are more powerful on certain Quests. This was one of the secrets of the Empire of the Wyrms Friends' and False Dragon Ring's successes - their Questors had a greater control over their actions.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive commentary on Dragonewts, nor is it meant to be unique and original. It is based on the works of others, but with a slant peculiar to myself. I have seen the descriptions of Dragonewts and have distilled those things which I have found interesting or satisfying. Thus, I have taken the Personality Traits from WF14, mixed them with the spell descriptions from Codex and changed the method of using Dragon Magic so that it retains the principle of Free Action, sadly lacking in the Codex article.
As far as I know, nobody has speculated on what happens to humans using Dragon Magics, nor has anyone commented on using Right Action on HeroQuests - something which stands out to me like a beacon. I thought it was about time that these things were put down and quantified.
If anyone has any comments on the article, on Dragonewts in particular or feels that anything here is obviously wrong or incomplete, then please let me know at