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Brief Description[]

Songdrakes are a unique species of draconid creatures that are endemic to the Cordonade Mountains and the areas surrounding Cordonis. Unusually for draconids, songdrakes are warm-blooded and extremely social, living in large, hierarchical family groups in the portions of the Cordonades where volcanic activity and hot springs provide relief from the normally harsh, freezing climate. Because of their intelligence and social nature, the Cordonade tribes have over many generations developed a mutually beneficial relationship with the songdrakes, and bonded songdrakes are not an uncommon sight accompanying citizens and members of the military of Cordonis. The ranks of the Watchkeeper regiments garrisoning the Cordonade Watchkeeps are especially known to favour bonded songdrakes as mounts.

Songdrakes take their name from their song-like polyphonic calls, which sound like a cross between a whistle and wordless singing. Wild songdrakes use their songs to communicate with each other, and folk who spend time in close proximity with songdrakes are able to learn to glean meaning from their songs.

Songdrakes grow larger and wiser as they age, with the most ancient matriarchs approaching (although not rivalling) the size and wisdom of dragons. Songdrake society is matriarchal, with each social group (sometimes referred to as a clan) being controlled by the oldest female drakes. Male songdrakes, although larger and no less intelligent than their female counterparts, appear to be considered by songdrake clans to be useful only for fighting, hunting and mating, and to be a drain on the clan's resources otherwise. At any time when resources are scarce (such as particularly harsh winters) male songdrakes are exiled from their home territory by their clans and can sometimes be encountered in the lower reaches of the Cordonades.

Bonding[]

It is these lone drakes and, more frequently, fledgling songdrakes that are bonded by the Cordonade tribes. In especially harsh conditions, clans will also exile fledglings, since they are unable to contribute to feeding and protecting the clan.

However, unlike grown male drakes who can protect and hunt for themselves, fledglings are not simply made to leave their home ranges. Rather, given the centuries of coexistence between the Cordonade tribes and the drakes, and the tribes having learnt the behaviour of the songdrake clans, harsh winters find young warriors waiting at the borders of each songdrake range. It is to these warriors that the songdrake clans entrust the fledglings they can no longer feed, with the understanding that warrior and drake will bond together for life. Where there aren't sufficient warriors to bond all the available fledglings, adult drakes will escort the remaining fledglings to the nearest settlement of the Cordonade tribes and leave them there, to be bonded and looked after by whoever the settlement assigns to that duty. In particularly bad years, drakes have been known to make this journey to the gates of Cordonis itself.

In return, the Cordonade tribes consider the songdrakes something of a totem beast, and fiercely protect their ranges and hunting grounds from outside influence. It is even rumoured that rulers among the Cordonade tribes (and consequently the ruling class of Cordonis) consult with the oldest songdrake matriarchs on matters of mutual concern, although it is questionable how much truth lies in these rumours.

What can be said for certain is that bonding a songdrake is a powerful advantage for a warrior. While they are weak when young, they quickly grow into swift and powerful mounts, able to assist their bonded rider in combat. As they grow in stature and experience they also begin to learn more powerful abilities that mirror some of the characteristics of their draconian cousins.

Fledgling Songdrake (Level 1) Statblock-v2-0.png

Leveling Up (Fledgling)[]

Fledgling Songdrakes are small, delicate creatures and must be protected until they grow larger and more capable. They remain Fledglings until they reach Level 5, at which point they are considered grown Songdrakes. During this period, they cannot be ridden as they are too small. Their bonded character is responsible to feed, train and protect them while they grow and become more capable. This progression through levels can be tracked through one of two ways, at the option of the DM. Levels can either be gained by tracking the Songdrake's kills, or by milestone.

The stats of a Level 1 Songdrake are set out to the right. The languages denote the languages the Songdrake can understand commands in.

Milestone[]

Milestone leveling is purely within the control of the DM. The DM will inform the player when they feel that the Songdrake has gained enough experience and grown enough to increase in level.

Leveling Through Kills[]

To claim a kill, the Songdrake has to strike the killing blow or do the last bit of damage to knock an enemy unconscious. It may therefore be necessary for the party to carefully manage combat encounters to 'give' kills to the Songdrake. The table below sets out the kill requirement for each Level.

Level Kills (Incremental) Kills (Total)
1 0 0
2 5 5
3 10 15
4 15 30
5 20 50

Level Rewards[]

At each Level up between 2 and 5, the player can roll a d6 on the following table to represent what the Songdrake has learnt as it levels up. In the event a level reward has already been used previously, the player may choose any of the other level rewards and mark that off. Note that it is not possible to obtain every possible level reward and therefore different Level 5 Songdrakes will have different stats and abilities.

Dice Roll Level Reward
1 AC +1

HP +8, increase any stat by 1

2 Speed +15ft

HP +8, increase any stat by 1

3 Can Disengage as a Bonus Action

HP +8, increase any stat by 1

4 +1d6 poison damage added to Bite attack

HP +8, increase any stat by 1

5 HP +15, increase any stat by 1
6 HP +8, increase any stat by 2, or any 2 stats by 1 each

Songdrakes in Combat[]

In combat, a Songdrake will act on the same initiative value as its bonded character. The player may choose in each round to have the Songdrake act before or after them. If their bonded character is incapacitated in combat, the Songdrake will return to the bonded character's side and only take actions that will defend or protect them.

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