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Darius West

The Material Culture of Dragonewts

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We know a few things about the artifacts of the Dragonewts.  We have a good idea about their weapons and armor.  We know that their buildings seem to shift without notice as though they are more than half illusionary.  We know that they use dinosaurs and demi-birds as beasts of burden, and have used three wheeled carts akin to their Dragonewt Rune to haul important dragonewts about on ceremonial occasions.  What about their tools though?

Clearly dragonewts have scales and thus don't need clothes, and so their clothing is primarily armor or decoration.  That is a lot of human material culture rendered irrelevant right there, as think of all the effort that goes into clothing people.

We also know that some dragonewts don't eat, as whatever they eat might be construed as an attachment, whether plant or animal, and so starvation for the sake of purity can be important.  On the other hand, hunting and gathering is undoubtedly something that dragonewts, especially crested dragonewts are commonly encountered doing.  So do they store their production?  If so, do they know about making clay pots and working in ceramics?  Do they keep water in urns?  Humans drink for pleasure, do dragonewts?  If so, what drinks do they make?  Do they use water skins? Do the dragonewts use leather at all?   I seem to recall that they have an interesting crop that they grow that is unlike those of the Earth Goddesses, but I can't recall its name.

The fact that the dragonewts have buildings implies that they have an understanding of working in stone and wood.  I also believe that I have seen illustrations of Dragonewt ships in Heroes magazine years ago.  Their unusual mystical roads are also interesting.

On the other hand, dragonewts don't use metal.  This is not due to a lack of understanding of fire however.  This does beg the question of where they find all the dragon bone that they craft with, and what its material properties might be.  We also know that they make extensive use of obsidian, and likely use plenty of flint too, which is sensible as they can create impressively sharp cutting edges.

I am putting this up, because we know that dragonewts are said to be the most advanced culture on Glorantha, and clearly their advancement is not so much in the area of technology, but in their attaining of dragonhood.  On the other hand, every urban civilization is dependent on material culture, so how far along have the dragonewts gone in what areas?  I am looking forwards to your responses.

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Most dragonewts eat regularly, like normal people, and many tailed priests have developed a reputation as gormets. I seem to remember an example of them using human skin leather, but most of their leatherwork is made from dinosaurs iirc (maybe dead dragonewt bodies too?). They likely make much of their material goods via singing or dreaming it into the proper shape, like they do with dragonbone, however they also probably have advanced knowledge of stone and wood working which lets them build some of the impossible architecture they're famous for. I think I may recall something on them using dragon eggshells for some buildings, but I can't remember a source so it's probably just something I made up. On the topic of dragonbone, I believe that dragonewt bone serves the purpose just as well so most dragonbone weapons are actually made of that. The high quality stuff, though, is real dragon bones mined or recovered from dead dragons.

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IMO, the dragonewt buildings in their cities aren't constructed, but dreamed up by their guardian dragon or dragonet, and maintained through the meditations of the ruler 'newts. They do resemble adobe constructions, but they aren't really, unless they fall out of the dream.

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23 minutes ago, Joerg said:

IMO, the dragonewt buildings in their cities aren't constructed, but dreamed up by their guardian dragon or dragonet, and maintained through the meditations of the ruler 'newts. They do resemble adobe constructions, but they aren't really, unless they fall out of the dream.

That makes sense, though I wonder how that works out for barbarian nests whose rulers are mostly dead/trapped in the egg dream. That would also mean that all the nests except for Dragon's Eye probably disappeared after the Golden Horde was through with them, which could have some interesting implications.

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

IMO, the dragonewt buildings in their cities aren't constructed, but dreamed up by their guardian dragon or dragonet, and maintained through the meditations of the ruler 'newts. They do resemble adobe constructions, but they aren't really, unless they fall out of the dream.

I was onto the same thing - if they can dream up dragons, why not houses?

But as mentioned, we do have "feralized" populations of Dragonewts around... Do the settlements of these have the same dream-like, otherworldly effect as the ones with priests and Inhuman Kings?

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9 hours ago, Richard S. said:

That makes sense, though I wonder how that works out for barbarian nests whose rulers are mostly dead/trapped in the egg dream. That would also mean that all the nests except for Dragon's Eye probably disappeared after the Golden Horde was through with them, which could have some interesting implications.

Barbarian nests are certainly lacking some qualities that are present in the full nests of Kralorela, Dragon Pass and Ryzel. The Ralian ones probably were once supported by the expanded dream that the EWF provided, and nowadays their rulers just manage to keep them from falling apart.

The absence of a constant source of dream support might make these nests even more otherworldy, though - less stable, more prone to sudden shifts of perceived reality.

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On 2/1/2019 at 4:41 AM, Joerg said:

IMO, the dragonewt buildings in their cities aren't constructed, but dreamed up by their guardian dragon or dragonet, and maintained through the meditations of the ruler 'newts. They do resemble adobe constructions, but they aren't really, unless they fall out of the dream.

That is certainly a possibility.  I am pursuing a different tack with that.  I think that dragonewts actually operate with an extra spacial plane where their emergent dragon bodies manifest.   The first hint is the dragonewt rune itself, which is a triangle, indicating three dimensions (and the arrow of time, as triangles are a bit like the FF button on remotes), but with another dimension superimposed across them, interacting and yet separate, creating a fresh triangle above and a 4 sided rhombus below, and essentially being half of the completed full dragon rune.  This would fit in perfectly with how walls and structures vanish and appear within dragonewt cities.  Of course this sets a difficult tone in terms of how to interact with such an environment.  Thankfully there is a game that helps us envisage how it would work called Miegakure:

 

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2 hours ago, Darius West said:

That is certainly a possibility.  I am pursuing a different tack with that.  I think that dragonewts actually operate with an extra spacial plane where their emergent dragon bodies manifest.   The first hint is the dragonewt rune itself, which is a triangle, indicating three dimensions (and the arrow of time, as triangles are a bit like the FF button on remotes), but with another dimension superimposed across them, interacting and yet separate, creating a fresh triangle above and a 4 sided rhombus below, and essentially being half of the completed full dragon rune.  This would fit in perfectly with how walls and structures vanish and appear within dragonewt cities.  Of course this sets a difficult tone in terms of how to interact with such an environment.  

If you don't want to use Time as the extra dimension, you could use "Stepping" as in Sir Terry Pratchett's cooperation with Stephen Baxter to move to another, similar plane.

There are a number of downsides for applying this to Glorantha. If the newts have this ability, the trigger for the Dragonkill would have been a non-event - just grab your eggs and go sideways.

(You might come and argue that the eggs are rooted in this place only. Why would that be so? Ion storms and magnetic interference whenever the story demands that the Enterprise crew cannot beam directly?)

Dragonewts do use roads that allow translocation along the dragonewt rune vectors. Apparently they are also able to used Godunya's bridges this way. I don't claim to know the mechanics for this kind of transfer, but the easiest way to explain permeable walls that don't just change their substance or substantiality would be a short range road effect like this. Possibly explicable by weird topological effects.

Edited by Joerg

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23 hours ago, Joerg said:

There are a number of downsides for applying this to Glorantha. If the newts have this ability, the trigger for the Dragonkill would have been a non-event - just grab your eggs and go sideways.

The way I see it, the eggs are multi-dimensional in themselves, and smashing them in one or more dimensions will potentially screw with a dragonewt's development, and potentially their rebirth.  The way I view it, a crested dragonewt is busily building the karma for a beaked body, and if you smash its egg in these 4 dimensions, it loses its progress.  The utuma dismemberment is a way of "trimming away" the useless material attachments from the new body prior to rebirth, in such a way that they can't further impede the rebirth.  One might view the utuma being the tool that ends one life, while it is also the egg tooth that frees the newborn into the next life.  Destroying the egg, is like destroying potential, and the problem is that it is a powerful symbol that needs to exist in all the dimensions simultaneously, so you can't simply "slide" it as it is "already there".  

23 hours ago, Joerg said:

Dragonewts do use roads that allow translocation along the dragonewt rune vectors. Apparently they are also able to used Godunya's bridges this way. I don't claim to know the mechanics for this kind of transfer, but the easiest way to explain permeable walls that don't just change their substance or substantiality would be a short range road effect like this. Possibly explicable by weird topological effects.

The point is, we have the means to map this now.  We can simulate an extra spacial dimension on a computer, and it behaves in next to identical ways to descriptions of dragonewt material culture and its effects.  Note also, that dragonewt roads don't teleport anyone, they simply behave as if they are a high quality normal road, that is separated from normal space until it is interfered with by people standing in the way.  Clearly humans do interfere with the dragonewt dimension without quite understanding what is going on as they can't perceive it.  It clearly isn't a spirit realm, or human shamans would be all over it, but they are as mystified as everyone else.

Now I agree that dragonewts have dream magic, and they obviously possess the ability to move things from dreams to reality and back again, but mainly only their physical bodies, and perhaps things that have a connection to that realm, such as dragon parts (from which they make their weapons) and their egg shells (which they probably crush up and  mix into their adobe to give their cities their unusual transdimensional properties).  There is no reason why the dragonewts can't be treating the human dream dimension as a spacial dimension, in fact it explains a lot.  For example, how human waking consciousness interferes with their roads, as every human mind is always slightly unconscious, even when wide awake, but that simply narrows the dream and drags it into the 4 familiar dimensions, as the 5th is too small to pass when humans are affecting it.  I would guess that a developed mystic could probably contemplate dragonewt roads and work them out given time, and the same goes for dragonewt architecture, but you probably need the split brain surgery to get better than 25% at it, much like Auld Wyrmish.

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EWF tried to manifest a dragon from the land, geography was important to their great dragon project. Perhaps the EWF effort was an imperfect attempt to replicate what Dragonewts do instinctively. This could mean the location of the nests critically important, shifting the nest would potentially undo centuries of painstaking magical effort.  

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5 hours ago, EricW said:

EWF tried to manifest a dragon from the land, geography was important to their great dragon project. Perhaps the EWF effort was an imperfect attempt to replicate what Dragonewts do instinctively. This could mean the location of the nests critically important, shifting the nest would potentially undo centuries of painstaking magical effort.  

There is certainly a good deal of truth in what you're saying. The Dragon Pass nests are all on the magical road system of Dragonewt Plinths that form a dragonewt rune.  I get the feeling that might be more than just grafitti.  I also get the feeling that the Rockwoods megadragon has all the hallmarks of human over-reach.  Dragonewts are really mainly concerned with their own dragonhood, but humans have that whole infrastructure project way of looking at the world.  It was pointed out to me recently that the dragonewts that are still on Glorantha and haven't transformed into dragons are essentially the special ed class of the dragon world, and it's a bit of a wonder they haven't all fallen off and become dinosaurs by now.

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

It was pointed out to me recently that the dragonewts that are still on Glorantha and haven't transformed into dragons are essentially the special ed class of the dragon world, and it's a bit of a wonder they haven't all fallen off and become dinosaurs by now.

While this has never been confirmed, there is the possibility that some are the results of newer clutches laid during time, possibly even around the time of the EWF. The Mongoose book interestingly mentioned the Dragonewt/IK being able to produce eggs by virtue of being a True Dragon in a lesser body, but I doubt this as it has no mate and no real reason.

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18 hours ago, Richard S. said:

While this has never been confirmed, there is the possibility that some are the results of newer clutches laid during time, possibly even around the time of the EWF. The Mongoose book interestingly mentioned the Dragonewt/IK being able to produce eggs by virtue of being a True Dragon in a lesser body, but I doubt this as it has no mate and no real reason.

Sandy used to theorize that dragonewts could create new eggs by involvement of all the stages. Which does provide sort of a mate for the IK.

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On 2/7/2019 at 12:57 PM, EricW said:

EWF tried to manifest a dragon from the land, geography was important to their great dragon project. Perhaps the EWF effort was an imperfect attempt to replicate what Dragonewts do instinctively. This could mean the location of the nests critically important, shifting the nest would potentially undo centuries of painstaking magical effort.  

My personal opinion is that the Dragonewt Cities were the equivalent of the Great Dragon's Chakras.

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On 2/8/2019 at 7:09 AM, Richard S. said:

While this has never been confirmed, there is the possibility that some are the results of newer clutches laid during time, possibly even around the time of the EWF. The Mongoose book interestingly mentioned the Dragonewt/IK being able to produce eggs by virtue of being a True Dragon in a lesser body, but I doubt this as it has no mate and no real reason.

This highlights the fact that we know little about Dragonewt reproduction except that it involves eggs, as eggs were smashed by the True Golden Horde and invoked the Dragonkill.  The notion that the Inhuman King lays eggs is absurd, as that would make "him" the Inhuman Queen.  Clearly Dragonewts are not sexually mature, and the eggs must be laid by true dragons.

I have heard a couple of theories on this.  Firstly that each Dragonewt has a single egg that reforms after it is hatched from, and that needed to be laid only once.  Second that egg shipments are made regularly via the Dragonewt roads from the Dragon's Eye, where there is a laying dragon hidden away.  Third, that every Inhuman King transforms into the laying dragon as their final duty upon becoming a True Dragon, and they are only released from the duty upon the successful ascension of the present Inhuman King.

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

The notion that the Inhuman King lays eggs is absurd, as that would make "him" the Inhuman Queen.  Clearly Dragonewts are not sexually mature, and the eggs must be laid by true dragons.

As with Hykim/Mikhy, I always thought the True Dragons were hermaphrodites.

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Whilst we're digressing, what's the Dragonewt outlook on displays of martial prowess? Would they be likely to watch feats of arms as entertainment? I'm thinking of putting an ancient, eerie amphitheatre up in a small hollow in the mountains and thought I might make it part of a Dragonewt ruin.

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4 hours ago, Sumath said:

Whilst we're digressing, what's the Dragonewt outlook on displays of martial prowess? Would they be likely to watch feats of arms as entertainment? I'm thinking of putting an ancient, eerie amphitheatre up in a small hollow in the mountains and thought I might make it part of a Dragonewt ruin.

They probably would, but not for entertainment, or rather not finding the combat entertaining. They would find beauty in the forms and moves, treating it like a Dragonewt dance, exploring the subtleties and inner meanings of the various moves.

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

They would find beauty in the forms and moves, treating it like a Dragonewt dance, exploring the subtleties and inner meanings of the various moves.

I like that. It gives a rationale for them to build a small amphitheatre that would be more theatre than arena.

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3 hours ago, Sumath said:

I like that. It gives a rationale for them to build a small amphitheatre that would be more theatre than arena.

There could be a /LOT/ of reasons for an amphitheatre-like structure.  Some might have close cognates for human uses (and note that humans too have many uses for such a place), but others might have no discernable "purpose."

Edited by g33k
clarity

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