Monday, January 25, 2021

Dragons in Glorantha

An old fragment from a Kachina recitation from the Blue Moon Plateau.

Dragons begin with Dragonewts and Dragonewts begin with the left handed path.  That has several facets.

First, in the passions /traits.  I'm using my chart, not the official one, but here it is:


  1. Chaste.......  /.....Lustful
  2. Energetic.... /.....Lazy
  3. Forgiving.... /.....Vengeful
  4. Generous... /.....Selfish
  5. Honest......  /.....Deceitful
  6. Just.........    /.....Arbitrary
  7. Merciful....   /.....Cruel
  8. Modest....... /.....Proud
  9. Pious........   /.....Worldly
  10. Prudent.....  /.....Reckless
  11. Temperate  /.....Indulgent
  12. Reliable....   /.....Feckless
  13. Trusting....  /.....Suspicious
  14. Valorous...  /.....Cowardly

The number of total traits is 28, or one for each day of a lunar month. Of course others may traits outside the 14 pairs may exist.  Most living creatures have values for their traits that can be expressed as range in a double hand (from 0 to 20 or 1 to 19).

If a human has honesty at the arbitrary point of 12, then they would have deceitful at 8.  The traits remain in a perfect balance.  This is not so for Dragonewts

But for a Dragonewt, the values are independent of each other, and they start at 1.  For the different stages the Dragonewt has to raise at least five pairs of traits (a total of ten traits) to a threshold number.

The threshold appears to be ten traits with 8 points each to become an adult and join the Crested Dragonewts, 12 points to become one of the Beaked Dragonewts (so a Beaked Dragonewt might have Pious and Worldly both at 12), 16 points to join the Tailed Priests and 20 points to join the Full Priests.

For Dragonewts which trait opposes which is not fixed as it is for humans.  A Dragonewt's pairing might be Just with Suspicious or Prudent with Deceitful.   This creates personalities that do not mesh with the way humans and others see the world.

This is also complicated by the fact that Dragonewts can burn off traits to affect the world.  If points are below a threshold and a Dragonewt dies, it may well be reborn at a prior stage until it has restored its traits.

So a Tailed Priest might have Reliable at  17 points and spend 5 points of it in a fight or a heroquest, reducing Reliable to 12 and having to raise it back up again.

The way traits work is a part of the Dragon secret.  Dragons are tapped into the left handed power in the world.  The world's energy, magic, circulates like electrical current.  On the one side is the "normal" path of energy that everyone uses.  On the other hand is the return cycle that the Dragons use, the left handed or contrary cycle.

And, on the one side are traits as all mortals have them, on the other are traits as Dragonewts experience them.  This results in great difficulties in understanding a Dragonewt's personality.

To progress from a Full Priest to a Young Dragon a Dragonewt needs to have five pairs of traits that match to the runic circuit that the Dragonewt is becoming a part of, that tie in properly to the left handed path of that particular rune.

Easily identified are Dragons of Fire, or Dark or Air, who are filled with that rune's power and identity.  But other runic identities exist as well.

It is easy for a Dragonewt to misstep -- that is how many of the dinosaur-like creatures in Dragon's Pass arose -- attempts to ascend to Dragon status that went astray.  Going astray can happen because the rune and traits do not match sufficiently (whatever that means), or because there turns out not to be enough left handed energy in the rune or from some failure of the connection to the rune chosen.  Earlier dinosaurs in the world may (and often do) have a different origin, but those origins are no longer generated since the Dragonewt path became predominant, though slain dinosaurs are often reborn as the children of other dinosaurs.

The failure of the path of ascension due to diversion of the left handed path's energy is what led to the "Dragon Betrayaland the end of the Empire of Wyrm's Friends.

The Empire began, as dragons tutored them, to tap into the power of the left handed path.  It seems like there should be a surplus, the entire world runs on one side of the path, only dragons on the other.  But dragons consume an infinite amount of power (for some identity of the rune) to ascend and to exist, and at some point, others tapping into the left handed power starts to affect true dragons.

The affects seem to consist of causing and issue that causes Full Priests to not ascend from Dragonewt to Dragon, but instead to other things, and an issue that seems to act in threating existing true dragons with regression.  It was an awareness of the developing problem that caused the war/correction/betrayal/restoration, as Dragons restored the natural flow and cut out those who were diverting portions of the left handed path to themselves in an effort to become part of what Dragons are.

Note, while generally the "rule of five" seems to apply to how many traits pairs must be raised to 20/20, it is possible that 28 or more or perhaps all traits must be raised to 20/20 or that some traits must be raised beyond 20/20.  That specific knowledge is not currently known nor is it clear how a Full Priest becomes fully linked to a left handed runic channel.

The EWF approach of using worship to brute force the transition is not used by Dragons (so that other Dragonewts are not a source of worship for the Full Priests), and the number of Dragon Priests known to be attempting or have attempted to make the transition appears to be very low in historical times.  It appears that each Dragonewt worships itself, though that could be an error of observation.

All true Dragons are capable of eating chaos and turning it into left handed energy that is infused into the world.