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Pyrosaurolophus- The Scalding Swampmaster

World: Any

Diet: Freshwater plants

Height: 49’11”

Lifespan: 500 years

Habitat: Marsh

Activity Cycle: Diurnal

Turning even the coldest marsh into a steaming cauldron, few dragons represent the corruptive influence of their kind on their environment more than a pyrosaurolophus. Colloquially called fire dragons, these creatures bring an unnatural heat to their homes, often bringing the lakes they den in nearly to a boil. Native wildlife dies for miles around, and even the plants they feed upon are often unable to handle the heat. On the other hand, their presence can turn a patch of tundra into a thriving wetland, and many of the “oases” of the far north that travelers there use as resting points are centered on a fire dragon’s domain.

As fully sapient beings, as smart as if not smarter than humans, pyrosaurolophus often take an interest in the affairs of smaller beings living in their domains, with mixed results. Some of them use their long lifespans to become advisors, bringing wisdom to those who seek it. Others become tyrants, demanding tribute and micromanaging communities like they are playing with dolls. Still more become merchants, controlling vast fleets from comfortable dens upgraded into gorgeous townhouses. No matter the case, they tend towards incredible arrogance due to their immense power, although if they live in an area with actual rivals to their power, this is likely to be lessened. The only absolute when dealing with a fire dragon is that their favorite treasure is always gold, since it never corrodes in the damp environments they prefer.

On the rare occasions that they actually must fight, fire dragons are, as expected, masters of fire. They can spit a ball of fire that explodes, concentrate it into thin streams from their nose, or just breathe out an all-consuming wave of fire. For threats who hang out under the water line, grown individuals can intensify the heat they automatically add to the water, briefly raising a small portion far above boiling. When all else fails, they can kill most opponents simply with their sheer strength. Few things are too big to be crushed by an enraged dragon.

Pyrosaurolophus mate for life, although all members of the species are hermaphrodites. A mated pair will each keep their own lair and meet up regularly to socialize and mate. Children resemble tadpoles and can only survive in the hot waters of their parent’s home. Unlike their parents, juveniles are carnivorous, and usually out of a batch of dozens, only one or two will live long enough to become an amphibious adult, largely due to rampant cannibalism. Only once they leave this state and can climb out of the water are they acknowledged and raised by their parents, usually living on the border between their territories until large enough to stake out their own.

Lair:

Although they can breathe underwater, pyrosaurolophus prefer their lairs to be on land. A favorite location for many is a small island in the middle of a lake, defended by the scalding water around them. Failing that level of defense, they may dig their own den with an underwater entrance. Those more integrated into civilization may defend their belongings with armed guards rather than their natural powers, dwelling in castles with turrets to perch on (yes, fire dragons can fly, although they are slow and awkward in the air) and an entrance straight into the water.

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