The Opal Empire
In most fantasy settings, dragons are enormous, treacherous, dangerous monsters. In the Opal Empire, dragons are adorable.
Sure, in ages past, the legends talk of giant flying dragons that leveled cities and demanded sacrificial virgins. Scholars debate the veracity of those stories. In any case, no such beasts exist. There are no draconic races here.
Dragons in this world are like dogs. They’re domesticated. They’re trainable. They’re man’s best friend. Dragons range in size from something that you could hide in your palm to rideable beasts slightly larger than horses. None of the big ones fly. None of them are intelligent; the smartest are about as bright as a dog.
They’re intrinsically elemental creatures, tied by species to one or more of earth, air, fire, or water. Rare dragons (usually the smaller ones) have magical abilities tied to their elements.
The biggest dragons are called overland dragons. They’re all large enough to be ridden or used as beasts of burden.
The largest flying dragons are about the same size as an eagle. They are solitary creatures and don’t get along with other dragons. People train them to hunt the way one might train a falcon.
Some hunting dragons are wingless. They grow about as big as a large dog but are far more vicious. Like their winged cousins, wingless hunting dragons hate other dragons. Forget about the idea of a pack of hunting dragons. They’d turn on each other in a second.
Bred for their loyalty and calm temperament, guard dragons are wingless and as large as hunting dragons. They’re content to lay around and do nothing, but they’re extremely protective of their keepers. They can be trained to guard a place rather than a person, too, letting people past only when given a command by people they know well. They attach themselves to families.
The Supernal Empress is said to have a brood of four faithful steamdrakes, wingless guard dragons that are 4-5 feet long and are able to belch a fiery liquid that sticks to an intruder’s skin. They’re also trained to spurt a stream of water that can extinguish fires before they overtake the palace.
Smaller dragons are bred as companions, like pet dogs or cats. They come in many varieties. Size ranges from medium-sized dog down to a few inches long. The smaller ones often fly. They’re smarter than other dragons, but they’re usually very docile. Their talons and teeth have been bred away, mostly, so they’re not that dangerous to people (but they’re plenty dangerous to small mammals and insects). Many small companions are omnivorous, happily dining on leaves and roots. They’re easy to train with some effort.