According to the Ethereal Player’s Guide, there are three types of dreams that cannot form into Ethereals: Angels, Demons, and Dragons. The exact reasons are left unclear, but the implication is that dreams of Angels become Angels, dreams of Demons become Demons, and Dreams of Dragons die out because Dragons cannot survive since Uriel killed them all.
But there is another possibility, dragons still exist but have found a way to keep themselves hidden or invisible.
According to the Dragons it was they who forged, defined, protected, and became the universe. They who nurtured the world from an eddy of chaos into the wonderful network of interlinking systems we now know, they who awakened the dreams of beasts and man to give them new ideas, new rivals, and a world to retire into once the Corporeal Realm was capable of looking after itself.
And then roughly 6000 years ago there was a fight, one that could not be settled by normal means – and so one of the Long, the greatest (or at least most powerful) of the truthmakers in the Qiuniu sect, redefined the universe. The narrative of the universe changed to from story to song and the dragons who followed the Long became Angels capable of singing the new form of the narrative into the future.
By reshaping the Symphony in its image the Qiuniu Truthmaker became the Symphony. Those with ears to hear could still make out his voice if they listened very carefully, but the Long itself would never again appear as an independent entity in its own right.
Unfortunately, there was a flaw in the Symphony, causing a fight break out among the Truthmaker’s followers. One third of the “Angels” left the main group. The Qiuniu Long’s song prevented them from regaining their Draconic magesty, so they become something new. They became Demons.
Like Angels and Demons, Dragons are Celestial by nature. In theory they could ascend to Heaven or descend to Hell, but most have no desire to go to either location. Instead those that survive travel by book and dream, and live among the wonderful palaces imagined for them in the realm of Tengoku, a Transcendental Domain located out in the Far Marches. Like Heaven and Hell, Tengoku is Celestial in nature – but only those who know the way can ascend to it.
Dissonance and Discord
Although Dragons are technically a part of the Symphony, they also predate it (at least from certain points of view). As a result, it does not protect them in the same way that it protects other Celestials. Dragons cannot gain Dissonance. Instead, they gain Discord as soon as they act against their nature.
The Six Flights of Dragons
In this variation there are six major flights of dragons, one for each of the original Choirs of Angel (and Bands of Demon).
Longs can perceive the truth (like a Seraph) and impose their own (like a Balseraph). They gain Discord should they ever be caught in a lie. In their celestial form Longs look like great serpents with anywhere between 0 and 12 legs.
Wyrms can attune themselves to people, places, objects, or (most often) hordes. They can detect the location and disposition of these items same as a Cherub or Djinn. The death or destruction of something they are attuned to will cause Discord. In celestial form they typically look like winged animals with leathery scales.
Each Ouroborus has a domain in which they are all but omnipresent. They may move their physical manifestation freely throughout that domain (like the Ofanite ability) or cause destruction within it (like the Calabite ability). Leaving its chosen domain causes Discord to an Ouroborus. In celestial form they look like serpents that are eating their own tails.
The size of an Ouroborus’ domain is typically related to its Forces. A newborn who is not even fully fledged might only wrap around a single city block. The eldest of the flight circumscribe the globe.
Boygen can understand the emotions of others (like an Elohite) or broadcast their own emotions (like a Habbilite). They typically pick one or two emotions in which they specialize. Being overcome by emotion (such as experiencing an emotion outside of their specialty) will cause Discord.
In celestial form they look vaguely man-like but their exact form is clouded by a thick emotional miasma. Those familiar with such things can typically tell what emotions a Boyg specializes in based on the color, thickness, and viscosity of their surrounding aura.
Hydra can possess multiple vessels like Kyriotates, but can also access the memories of those they possess like a Shedite. The combined Forces of their hosts cannot exceed their own total Forces and their Celestial Forces sets the maximum number of Hosts they can inhabit at once. It is Discordant for a Hydra to allow one of its current hosts to die.
In celestial form Hydra appear like many headed snakes with a different head reaching into each host. Their “body” consists of those Forces that have not been committed into any host. These “free” Forces can be attacked Celestially even while the other forces are within hosts.
In celestial form Mankin appear like a cross between a lizard and a human. They may use any of the Mercurian or Impudite Resonances, but gain Discord whenever they witness a human death.
There are no Draconic equivalents to the Grigori, Lilim, or Malakim as these Bands and Choirs were all created after the Celestials split apart from Dragonkind.
A Dragon with ranks of Sublime must select an Archangel. Their Will is reduced by their ranks in Sublime whenever they attempt to resist that archangel (or their agents). Each time the Dragon gains a rank of Sublime they must make a d666 roll. If any die rolls equal to or greater than their level of Sublime they remain a Dragon. If all three dice roll less than their level of Sublime, they will either dissipate into the Symphony ore else become a Servitor of the Archangel they are Sublimated to. This is generally determined by the “acceptance” of the Archangel (who may or may not know the Dragon’s true nature).
Ranks of Sublime can only be gained if the Dragon gains the Discord while assisting their Subliming Archangel (and generally only while gaining the discord by behaving in a manner consistent with that Superior’s teachings).
If a Dragon Sublimes to the side of heaven they immediately become an Angel of the Choir that corresponds to their old Flight.
Taint is the infernal equivalent of Sublimation. A Dragon with ranks in Taint must select a Demon Prince. Their will is reduced when resisting that Prince or their agents. Failing the d666 roll basically functions like falling, but they will fall directly into the service of whichever Prince had tainted them.
Should a Dragon become fully Tainted to the cause of hell, they will either crumble to pieces or else become a Demon of the Band that corresponds to their old Flight. Unlike the Sublimed, Tainted Dragons do not necessarily need to join the Demon Prince who Tainted them (though it is still the most common outcome).
If a Dragon has ranks of both Sublime and Taint, they are less likely to survive the conversion into an Angel or Demon (GM choice). If the character does survive the conversion process, the opposing Discord will rip away a number of Forces equal to its rank. This is very painful but will eliminate the relevant Discord.
(If your GM is feeling especially nice, they may reduce the number of Traits lost and instead convert the Discord into Dissonance).
Nature and Memory
The process of changing from Dragon to Angel or Demon will wipe out all memory of their past existence and replace it with one where they have always been part of the Symphony. Other Dragons generally consider this a horrible fate, though depending on circumstances it may also be viewed as a noble sacrifice.
Very few Dragons bother to become Superiors (or to follow Dragon Superiors). Most consider themselves sufficiently powerful and majestic as it is. Besides, unlike Angels and Demons, the Dragons enjoy serving the various gods dreamed up by man and beast. Then again, this could just be the excuse they throw about because none wishes to admit that they’re all a little afraid of repeating the Qiuniu Truthmaker’s upheaval.
Much like Angels and Demons, Dragons are able to become Wordbound. However, the connection between a Dragon and their word is often much deeper than that of an Angel or Demon. Unlike other Celestials, Dragons tend to become a part of their Word as much as the Word becomes a part of them.
One of Valefor’s Servitors has shared a Word with the Green-Eyed Boyg of Envy for centuries without realizing it. The Demon assumes that the “green-eyed” symbolism is simply a part of his word.
A Story Amid the Song
A dragons on the Corporeal Realm will most likely disguise themselves as either an Outcast Angel or Renegade Demon. So long as they don’t get caught using the “wrong” Resonance, it will be nearly impossible to uncover one for what it really is.
Those who do come to the attention to heaven or hell will usually flee as quick as they can. If this proves impossible, they may try to Sublime or Taint themselves as quickly as possible so that they will join the Symphonic hierarchy before drawing attention to the fact that dragons still exist.
As mentioned previously, no Dragon wants to take this approach – but those who do will earn a bleak form of respect from those that survive them.
I would recommend that your first Dragon be an NPC. However, if you do allow a PC dragon I would decide in advance whether or not the secret is out. If Heaven and Hell already know that Dragons survived, the Dragon can be played like a normal character.
If not, you should probably stat out a powerful Wyrm or Ouroborus who will silence or remove the PC if it looks like they’re going to let the cat out of the bag.
Angels of Death
In my write up of Azrael, I mentioned that his servitors still mourn the passing of the Dragons. If the dragons are not all dead, then they probably know (or at least suspect) the truth – if for no other reason than that new bones will appear in the dragon graveyard from time to time.
It is not a secret they would reveal.
Treat any Angel of Death who knows the truth about Dragons to have the Silent Angel distinction (Superiors I p9).
A Final Word
By introducing Dragons to your world you are going far outside of the In Nomine canon. If Steve Jackson ever does release a Dragons supplement, you will likely need to make some major retcons to your game (perhaps as the result of another rogue Truthmaker). That said, I think that these rules would allow for some nice variety in the mean time.