Endless Blue – Week 63 – Elqua’s Blue Dragon   1 comment

Zoology

Elqua’s Blue Dragon

NOTE: The blue dragon is based on a real sea creature called the Glaucus atlanticus.  When this animal was brought to my attention, the deep blue coloring and the six appendaged shape instantly exemplified my concept of what native Elquan life would look like.  Its incredibly alien morphology gives it the perfect form for life in the Endless Blue, and I knew immediately I had to adapt it for the campaign setting.  With only slight modifications — and a little stat creation — I’ve adapted for 3E use.  The use of the Wikipedia image falls under the Wikimedia Creative Commons License and it does not qualify as Open Game Content as per the OGC document.  Photo by Taro Taylor from Sydney, Australia.  Used without permission.

Blue Dragon

Fine Vermin (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: ¼d8 +1 (2 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 5 feet (1 cubes)
Buoyancy: Shoals (adjustable)
Armor Class: 0
Base Attack/Grapple: -4/-
Attack: Bite (1d2 points of piercing damage) or poisonous sting (1d6 points of poison damage)
Full Attack: Bite (1d2 points of piercing damage) and poisonous sting (1d12 points of poison damage)
Space/Reach: ½ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Poisonous Sting
Special Qualities: Poison Immunity, Tracescent
Saves: Fort -4, Ref +2, Will -4.
Abilities: Str 1, Dex 12, Con 12, Int -, Wis 1, Cha 8
Skills: Hide +9, Search +10, Spot +7
Feats: Hide in Plain Sight, Weapon Finesse (poisonous sting)
Environment: Temperate, open waters (Shoals)
Organization: Solitary, mating pairs, or feeding swarms (2d20 individuals per square foot).
Challenge Rating: ¼
Treasure: None, other than poison-laden fingers.
Alignment: Always neutral.
Advancement:
Level Adjustment:

A pair of Blue Dragons

By Taro Taylor from Sydney, Australia (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons


There are many dangers in the pelagic (the surface waters where no land borders), from the merely disorienting effect of an endless, featureless horizon to the down right lethal.  The glaucus pelagicus (scientific nomenclature chosen by Resurrectionist anatomists) is one such dire threat.  Colloquially known as the blue dragon, the pelagicus is a form of sea slug that lives in the upper sunlit waters of open ocean.  There it bobs patiently, awaiting the passage of its favorite prey.  Since most pisceans avoid the surface as much as is possible, the blue dragon is a rare hazard to everyday life on Elqua.

Measuring roughly an inch in length, its body is conical with the tell-tale sign of six appendages sprouting out, three along each side.  Those appendages in turn branch into long, thin tendrils called fingers.  The number and length of these fingers vary, but usually increase over time due to age or more quickly in waters where food in plentiful.  These fingers are used not only in the propulsion of the animal, but in the procurement of food as well.

A carnivorous species that sometime even resorts to cannibalism, the blue dragon feeds on the tentacles of jellyfish and other venomous invertebrates, particularly the venomous nematocyst stinging cells, which it then incorporates into its own “finger” appendages, called cerata.  The more a blue dragon gorges, the more nematocysts are added to its fingers and the longer they grow.  Selecting the most poisonous of cysts, the blue dragon concentrates the venom several times more potently than the jellyfish upon which it fed, and has earned itself the reputation of being the most poisonous creature in the sea.  In turn, it is commonly fed upon by filter feeders like baleen cetaceans and  the Barnard’s Swallower, though the resulting effluvium from these larger beasts is as toxic as the blue dragon’s original sting.

The blue dragon’s soft, fleshy body is a translucent silver, with deep blue streaks down its length and along the extremities.  This acts as camouflage along the surface of the water, allowing the creatures blend in passively with the glinting, rolling waves.  The effect is heightened with sharply pulsating cells of bio-luminescence that from above wink like pin points of reflected light and below undulate like refracting waves.  The blue dragon manages its floating capability by inflating small internal bladders along its ventral side with lighter-than-air gasses coupled with surface water tension.  This allows the invertebrate to remain relatively immobile as it bobs on the waves, almost as if invisible.  The location of the gas bladders along its stomach has an interesting side effect, causing blue dragon to float upside down, with what constitutes its “belly” facing the Vastness above.

Blue dragons are hermaphroditic, possessing both male and female reproductive organs, though cannot reproduce alone.  Mating pairs, after successful copulation, each give off a string of eggs that resemble an unfastened string of miniature pearls.  Strangely enough, blue dragons are on of the other few species in the Endless Blue other than pisceans that mate “face-to-face”.

Combat
While a single or pair of blue dragons are a relatively dangerous though easily escaped, it is when the slug is swarming that it proves its most lethal.  As many as forty blue dragons can be placidly hiding along the upper surface of a single cubic foot of ocean.  Through sheer size, every individual blue dragon gains an attack of opportunity on creatures two sizes or more larger (Tiny sized and up).  It simply becomes a case of one or two failed Fortitude saves for their collected venom to render a victim dead, let alone helpless.

Bite:  The bite of the blue dragon’s tiny mouth is nearly insignificant, and consists of little more than a scrape of skin and scale.  The same mucus the blue dragon exudes to protect itself from the nematocysts it ingests protects it from any internal damage from sharp scales or similar threats.

Poisonous Sting (Ex): Sting, Fortitude save (DC varies by diet, ranging from 11 to 16); initial and secondary damage 1d6 temporary Constitution damage for a single attack and 1d12 temporary Constitution damage for a full round attack.

A guild of assassins that employs blue dragon poison also bears its shape as its symbol.  These Blue Dragoneers specialize in murder through venom, usually eschewing physical confrontation unless given no other option.  The organization employs packbreeders to raise and care for swarms of blue dragons in order to refine the creatures’ ability to harvest poison, and thus heighten the potency of that venom.

Creature Lore
Common:  These animals are found out in the open water, and their poison can kill even a hearty Orcan.
Uncommon:  In a packbreeder’s expert hands, a blue dragon can be handled unprotected and usually does not result in poisoning unless it is interrupted while feeding.
Rare:  Blue dragon poison can taint acari fruit, and is nearly undetectable except for a faint taste of calcium that many pisceans cannot discern.  This is one of the reasons culinists prefer to grow their own acari fruit for infusion.
Obscure:  There is a Yaun-Teel by the name of Soonjar that runs an herbalist shop in the infamous Free Market.  She is a contact of a cell of the Blue Dragoneers and routinely supplies them with the creature’s venom.

Waves that glitter needn’t always succor…
— a verse of Orcan poetry

One response to “Endless Blue – Week 63 – Elqua’s Blue Dragon

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  1. Very Nice.

    Christopher Ricks

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