What Should a Dragon Hierarchy Look Like?

I’ve been contemplating adding dragons to my world in the form of their own series of stories, but I’m wrestling with establishing a dragon hierarchy.

Why do I need dragons? Well, that’s self explanatory!

Why do I need a dragon hierarchy?

Because I fell like I can’t have every dragon in the world be a supremely powerful being with almost godlike status, though they all may think they have such status. Much like cats.

Yeah, about how my cats see themselves.

Organizing dragon “classes” along the lines of size makes some sense to me, and the larger the dragon, the more powerful it would be.

Depending on the source of your dragon lore, dragons do seem to come in all sizes, from some not much larger than a pixie, to some the size of a castle or small mountain. If a mountain dragon could swallow a pixie dragon without really noticing, well, yeah, it makes more sense that the mountain dragon is more powerful.

Yup, pixie dragon wouldn’t even be a snack.

I’d post some cool pictures of different dragons, but I’m not sure that’s allowed as most aren’t creative commons. So, here’s  link to my dragon page on Pinterest. You’ll quickly get the idea.

There’s a great deal of dragon references in my current series of novels. I try not to do an info dump, but you’ll see that while most people pay homage to Dracor, the god of justice, (who happens to take the form of a great gold dragon), most people also think dragons themselves are extinct.

Dragons of ages past are known to exist, and it’s widely believed they were made in Dracor’s image, but they succumbed to vanity, pride, and greed. Dracor smote the worst offenders, then cursed the remainder with nothing but male offspring, dooming the race to extinction.

Unless the dragons can figure a way around it, but I’ll leave that for the story.

About sums it up.

While the readers may not know it, I know the original dragons, known as the Shard of Dracor, still exist. At least one of them, anyway. Humans have given these original dragons the name Embershard as that’s what the draconic words sound like in the human language.

These original dragons are the size of mountains, supremely powerful, and highly territorial. They hated the humans and elves when the gods made them, seeing them as either rivals or insignificant playthings. As they were the first among dragons, the other races of dragons followed their lead.

I’m not sure my first dragon story should start with an Embershard.  Seems like he should be at the end of the dragon series, otherwise the others might seem less interesting.

And, I have yet to find an antagonist for an Embershard. Andertaemosian, Ander to us mere humans, believes he’s the last of the Embershard. And he may just be right. So what challenges the first creation of a god?

I’ll let that percolate some more, but I have a few ideas.

Thinking I’ll start the dragon saga with a distant cousin of the Embershards. A dragon that’s more the size of a large house than a mountain. Still terrifying. Still frightening. Still powerful. But not quite so over-the-top-powerful.

Kinda like her.

Yes, I know Ander is polishing his scales. Of course he is. Vain dragon.

Not sure if that works. Can you have varying sizes of dragons and make the world feel whole and real? I’m not sure. I’ve seen the color of dragons used a lot to delineate this. Anne McCaffrey did this and so does D&D. But that doesn’t feel right to me. I love the idea of a variety of colors of dragons, perhaps once considered jewels of the sky.

I could go with the dragon vs wyrm vs wyvern. But I sorta want them all to be like the traditional European dragon. Think Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. While I love the grace and beauty of the Chinese dragon, especially in the Zelda Breath of the Wild game, they need a different setting and context to shine.


Know of any good resources for creating dragon hierarchies? Could you believe in size as the determining factor? Or do you think Anne McCaffrey and D&D are on to something with color?

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4 thoughts on “What Should a Dragon Hierarchy Look Like?

  1. The dragons I have usually aren’t much bigger than horses, and are all elemental.
    The biggest one in the village I start in is Equinox, the dragon of the village elder. She’s only so large because she’s always had a life of luxury! Other than Equinox being the most important, I hadn’t thought about hierarchy as my dragons are strongly linked to humans. Something for me to think about! Size is an interesting way to do it 🙂

    1. Size is a possibility. I’m struggling a bit. I have lots of visions, but trying to bring them together into a coherent world is tough.

      My dragons can all take human form if they wish, so there is that.

      1. Nice idea: Dragons that can take human form will be easier to write and fit into scenes. It can be hard to decide what forms and types dragons will take. Mine could originally shape shift into a smaller form, but I set that idea aside for now. I probably need to think about it more!

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