As promised, today we are going to talk about dragon traits, which leads on from P – Physiology, and we are going to look at all the external features of a dragon.

dragontooth1Jaws & Teeth: The jaws of a dragon resemble a reptilian cousin – that of the crocodile – in the respect that the muscles which close the jaw are more powerful than the ones that open it, but it’s still practically impossible to hold a dragon’s jaw closed if it does want to open it. Some dragons have the ability to unhinged their jaw, in the manner of a snake, but this ability is only used when something is too large to bite, which is rare considering the size of their jaws naturally.

The teeth of a dragon include a lot of incisors for the tearing of flesh, since dragons are carnivores. There are some molars at the back, thought to be for crushing anything hard they might accidentally eat with the main meal, like armour for example, but they are not visible when a dragon is talking or eating normally. The teeth are made of a hard substance that resembles the bones of the dragon rather than the enamel which most other creatures use. Dragon tend to have several sets of teeth during their lifetime, which tend to grow in when they greatly increase in size.

Exotic_Dragon_Horns_by_TarjciaClaws, Spines and Horns: All dragons have claws on the end of their feet, and a good number have spines and horns as well. All of these are made from a substance very similar to the teeth, which means they are similar to dragon bone, but definitely not the same substance.

Claws are connected directly into the skeleton, and can fall out and regrow like the teeth do as the dragon increases in size throughout its life. Typically a dragon foot have three forward facing claws and one back facing claw. Whilst this back claw is not as prehensile as a human thumb, it can twist around as something akin to a thumb and the claws are very capable of gripping objects, and can even use tools or write with it, as long as the tool is properly sized and designed for draconic use.

Spines tend to run along the back spine of a dragon, but do not tend to be as rigid as horns or bones. They can be flexed by a dragon in circumstances, such as mating or trying to scare off a rival. Horn are very rigid however, and are very similar to bones in material, whereas spines would be more like human cartilage.

Dragon_Wing_and_Chest_Anatomy_by_AshereWings: We touched on wings back in P – Physiology, since the muscles required to make a dragon fly are very complex. The wing itself is a structure like a bat’s, where a thin hide membrane is stretched across a number of very thin, lightweight bones. This physical structure is augmented by the primal energies that flow through a dragon’s blood, and the membrane carries a large number of small capillaries which supply the wing with blood. A wing is large enough that a small tear in the membrane will not impede flight, but a large number of small tears, or a few big tears will threaten the wing’s integrity. Thankfully for the dragons, wing heal quickly, so they are never earthbound for long should such an event occur.

Tail: A dragons tail is serpent like in construction, with interlocking pieces of spine covered in muscles which thin out towards to tip of the tail. Because of the layers of muscle, the tail is externally strong for it’s thickness, and the back end of the dragon is almost as worrying as the front end, since the tail is capable of meeting out powerful slaps and throwing opponents across rooms. The only salvation of a tail versus teeth is that the tail does crushing damage, rather than ripping. The end of the tail can end in a simple point, like a snake’s tail, or can have a barb on the end. As of yet, not function for a the barbed tails has been found, since they do not use them as a weapon like a scorpion would. It is thought that perhaps it gives some small aid in flight, but it is clearly not a great advantage since not all dragon posses it.

Senses: Dragons are primarily hunters, so they have a very well developed set of senses, although it can vary between dragon species.

greendrago_3kjxknjxA dragon’s vision is particularly good, more than twice as good as a humans with excellent depth perception and peripheral vision. Their pupils are thin and slitted, like a cat’s, and have a similar effect of granting them dark sight, but instead of expanding to let in more light, they instead expand and allow the primal energies in their blood to shin out through their eyes, granting them their night sight.

Like other reptiles, they do not have external ears, but upon closer inspection a tiny hole between scales can be found on the head which leads into the auditory canal. Some species of dragons have frills which help them to channel sound, but this is not essential. Their sense of hearing is about as developed as a human, although they do have an interesting ability to filter what they hear, and listen out for particular sounds.

The sense of smell is derived from both the nostrils and the tongue, which is uses like a snake’s to taste the air. They can taste things from a great distance away using their tongue, but it is less sensitive than their nostrils so they cannot identify it until they get closer to the source. Once they get close their nostrils are great at telling differences between very similar smells and can use it to pinpoint with great accuracy.

Dragon taste is very well refined as well, said to be able to tell every ingredient in a stew after a single mouthful, however dragons are said to not like sweet flavours as much as savoury. No one has ever found out why this may be though.

The weakest sense a dragon has is the sense of touch, due to the hard scales that cover it’s body, hence why they are able to sleep on piles of hard treasure. It is the only sense the decreases instead of increasing with ages, since a dragon never stops growing as it gets older, and the scales grow thicker with age as well.

Dragon_scales_by_sanguisGelidusScales: The texture of scales can vary from dragon to dragon, species to species, from rough to smooth, leathery to snake like. Individual scales on a dragon will be the same as other scales, only the size of the scale on a dragon will vary. The scales on the top and sides of a dragon are larger, with one end attached to the dragon’s skin and the other end overlaps neighbouring scales, which forms the dragon’s hard armour. The smaller scales which cover the underbelly rest side by side, hence why it is though that they are softer. They aren’t actually softer, but it is slightly easier to get a weapon in between the scales, since they do not overlap.

Dragon never shed their skin during their lifetime, as the scale grow with them throughout the course of their life, which is slow, but they never lose their scales all in one go. They may occasionally lose individual scales or small patches due to injury, illness or natural moulting, but the patch only remain bare for a few months until new scales grow into the gap.

Dragon scales do make very good armour, for dragon that is, but the scales do not tend to last once they have been taken off the dragon and away from the primal energy of the dragon’s blood. So whilst people may attempt to claim dragon scales to make a suit of armour, it has never to date worked mundanely. Some magical sets, preserved through the use of long lost rituals, are said to exist, but they may just exist in the stories that they are described in.