"Come not between the dragon and his wrath." -Norok
More ink has been spilled on describing dragons than on nearly any other creature. These ancient, noble, yet savage beasts are a favorite subject of guidebooks, bards’ tales, and ancient tomes and scrolls. Draconic knowledge is gained at risk of life and limb; dragons are rapacious, jealous of their secrets, and often hungry. Experts describe dragons as the first sentient race to appear in the world, with life spans stretching into millennia. With such a wealth of experience, dragons embody history. The oldest dragons are repositories of vast knowledge and of the deepest ancient secrets. Dragons are more than just a challenge for knights seeking hoards or glory: dragons are sages, oracles, and even prophets. Dragons’ majesty has clothed them in myth. The appearance of a dragon can portend good or ill fortune. Pragmatic sages attempt to classify dragons as merely large lizards that have wings and warm breath, but these efforts fail in the true light of the wonder, magic, and fantastic abilities of dragons. Dragons are, by their nature, epic forces.
Few creatures can match the power and splendor of dragons. Armed with claws and fangs that can rend steel, armored in scales as tough as iron, faster than an eagle in flight, and strong enough to shatter castle gates, a full-grown dragon is an awesome foe. Dragons would be exceedingly dangerous creatures even if they were dumb, ordinary beasts, because of their size and power. But they are also gifted with cold, calculating reason and furnaces of elemental energy that provide them with terrible breath weapons. In some places and times, dragons are scarcely more than legend, creatures so rare and mysterious that centuries pass without a sighting of one. In other times, dragons rule over the world, darkening the skies and destroying or subjugating lesser beings. In the few centers of civilization, dragons are a rare sight. The typical farmer or merchant might see a dragon only once or twice in his life. But in the borderlands or the great wide wildernesses surrounding those domains, dragons are much more common.
Legend claims that Tiamat and Bahamut were among Io’s eldest creations and received their father’s divine spark upon his death. Forced to adapt to a changing world, they chose diverse philosophies and lifestyles to reflect their individual natures. A number of dragons chose to follow Bahamut, called the Platinum Dragon, and they became the first metallic dragons. Over the ages, as Bahamut upheld justice, opposed evil, and liberated the oppressed, creatures other than dragons came to honor him as the deity of justice, protection, nobility, and honor. In the fullness of time, he has become better known for those attributes than for his association with metallic dragons. Today, all metallic dragons revere Bahamut as their originator, but not all of them worship him.
Other dragons that survived Io’s death embraced their physical link to the Elemental Chaos, allowing the power within them to manifest externally. They became disasters incarnate, taking the forms of fantastic catastrophes that shook the world and that continue to wreak havoc millennia later. When a mountain explodes, a catastrophic dragon might erupt from it along with sprays of molten rock. When a cyclone or a hurricane rages, a catastrophic dragon might lurk at the eye of the storm, reveling in the destruction. Catastrophic dragons care little for wealth or power. They seek to make their marks on the world, literally, and to have others fear and propitiate them.
The order of scourge dragons also arose from among the survivors of Io’s death. Similar to the way catastrophic dragons embraced their link to the Elemental Chaos, scourge dragons (also called linnorms) celebrated their connection to brute reality. They learned to visit afflictions upon living creatures. Almost universally evil, scourge dragons enjoy the raw physicality of melee combat.
The remainder of Io’s surviving dragon children threw in their lot with Tiamat, whose hatred of the world that killed her father colored her every deed and attracted dragons given to rapacity and suspicion: the chromatics. Chromatic dragons have become the best-known dragon family thanks to their often antagonistic relationship with humanoids. Like Bahamut, Tiamat matured into a deity appealing to more than just her dragon kin. Today, as the evil deity of wealth, greed, and envy, she urges her followers to take vengeance for every slight. Most chromatic dragons follow this dictate.
Planar dragons are categorized as the fifth family of dragons, but planar dragons did not appear until long after the other dragon classes matured in the aftermath of Io’s dissolution. Dragons that emigrated to offworld planes were affected by their environment, sometimes radically. Chromatic dragons seem most susceptible, and later generations of these planar dragons bear only slight resemblances to their worldly kin.
As any would-be dragonslayer should know, dragons - also called wyrms - are far more than merely giant beasts or winged lizards. Chromatic dragons’ abilities set them at the top of the food chain and make them the most potent hunters of the natural world. What, exactly, makes a dragon? Other magical, reptilian beasts have great power. A few creatures, such as drakes and wyverns, share certain characteristics with dragons. What sets dragons apart from them? All true dragons have distinct age categories and grow in power and strength as they progress through those categories. Every chromatic dragon has both a breath weapon and an array of supernatural abilities, including an aura that induces overwhelming fear. All chromatic dragons also have the same basic body structure.
The Dov are an ancient Athasian race that dominated the mortal realm since time immemorial. Proud and aloof, they regard themselves as the world's first and only immortal race, and think of other races as mere tools meant to serve them. The early history of the Dov is completely unknown, but their origin is traced to Io and Athas, just like the Dray. The Dov developed the ability to communicate with and dominate the Dray to serve their purposes. Eventually, the Dov utilized the Dray to form the Arkhosian Empire in Athas, despite their immense size. Each race they encountered in the west was enthralled to serve them and provide tribute, and in return, the races were cared for and protected. With their dominance assured, Dov considered themselves the mortal realm's immortal race.