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Dray, 2nd edition

Dray, also known as “dragonborn” among some, are a race of draconic humanoids created by the Dread King Dregoth through extensive arcane experiments. In the mind of the Dread King, his people serve as the next logical step in human evolution, all made in his draconic image – a sign of what is to come for all of humankind. Today, Dregoth rules the dray from his underground realm of New Giustenal, although some have begun venturing beyond the ruins of their ancestral home.


Dray are tall, lean, and muscular draconic creatures, with scaly hide and clawed limbs. They tend to stand between six to eight feet tall, but rarely weigh more than 200 pounds. They have a long, whip-like tail and serpentine necks. Their heads are long and narrow, like that of a dragon, with jaws filled with sharp teeth. All dray are omnivorous, though their diet is mainly made up of meat.

Despite these similarities, it’s important to note that not all dray were created equal – literally. In his attempts to create a superior being, Dregoth developed a process that would turn ordinary humans into his new people. The initial results were effective but disappointing, resulting in the first generation dray, twisted and malformed by the standards of the Dread King. Dregoth redoubled his efforts and managed to perfect the process after rigorous experimentation, ultimately leading to the birth of the second generation dray – the beloved and loyal children that he so desired.

First Generation Dray[]

At a glance, the first generation dray appear similar to their second generation kin, but on closer inspection the inconsistencies begin to mount up. Most first generation dray have jagged claws and mottled scales, and many stand slightly twisted or hunched over. These creatures also all exhibit strange mutations compared to the later dray, with some having limbs or patches of skin that still appear like that of a human, lacking darkvision or a tail, or having scales that are either softer or harder than others of their kind. Some also display signs of severely weakened or enhanced abilities, such as diminished intelligence or increased strength, with these mutations often having an effect on the outward appearance of the dray in question as well. For example, a dray with a reduced Dexterity score might be more bent and misshapen than his fellows.

Second Generation Dray[]

Compared to the first generation dray, the second generation are near replicas of their creator, with proud draconic heads atop long necks, and their long tails sweep out majestically behind them. The jagged teeth and claws of the first generation have been replaced by rows of sharp, ivory teeth within their long jaws and mighty talons on their hands. This generation of dray have armor-like scales of varying shades of red.

Becoming Dray[]

Being exposed to the process of turning oneself into a dray is harrowing, and not all who do survive. Even then, the results aren’t always guaranteed, as there exists a 10% risk of a human being transformed into a first generation dray instead of a perfect second generation specimen. A half-elf who appears human enough, may also be subjected to the transformation, but runs the risk of becoming a first generation dray 25% of the time.


All dray share a natural immunity to heat and fire, and to the effects of magical sleep and paralysis. They are able to see in the dark, which aids them in their subterranean lives, but are also easily dazzled by bright lights. Thanks to their ability to resist the Athasian heat, they also require far less water than many other Athasians, sustaining themselves on as little as a quarter of the water needed by a human.

All second generation dray, as well as a majority of first generation dray, have strong natural defenses thanks to their scaly hide. Their only major weakness is a vulnerability to cold.


The dray are savage fighters, being equipped with natural weapons that rip and tear through their foes easily, and with the ability to make several attacks in quick order. First generation dray use simple, crude weapons such as bone clubs and spears when not opting to fight with their claws and bite, and on occasion clad themselves in armor of leather or hide.

Most second generation dray prefer to use a more calculated approach, as well as manufactured weapons and armor, to further distinguish themselves from their savage kin – that is, if they choose to fight at all. Instead, the dray of New Giustenal prefer to let the templars handle the combat, which they excel at. Dray templars are clad in fine and well-crafter hide armor, and many wield metal weapons bestowed upon them by their sorcerer-king.

If a serious confrontation breaks out, Dregoth’s most elite troops are summoned. These are the Kalin Riders, mounted cavalry seated upon large, ferocious insects called “kalin” – a creature that looks to be an amalgamation of a spider and an ant. Whether these insects are native to the subterranean areas below old Giustenal or brought there by Dregoth after one of his many otherworldly voyages is unknown. Regardless, they have proven a great boon to the Dread King’s templars, who’s currently counting four squadrons of 25 Kalin Riders each, and who have been decided will stand as the vanguard come the Day of Light.


Depending on their personal history, dray may exhibit many different types of personalities.

First generation dray tend to be cautious by nature and suspecting of all they encounter. They are also a fair bit more savage, even primitive, by the standards of New Giustenal. Their primary goal is survival, and they train hard to become the best at what they do. To friends, first generation dray are honorable, and help given is never forgotten.

Second generation dray have the prejudices of Dregoth ingrained into their personalities. They are all intolerant of outsiders as well as mistakes, well-educated by Athasian norms, and obnoxious and arrogant, believing themselves to be the pinnacle of all creation. However, a few dray has seen Dregoth for what he really is and has attempted to set this hatred aside.


Despite the dray having existed for centuries beneath the ruins of their ancestral home, they are a relatively new sight in the city-states and no one has been able to establish any lasting contact with the dray of Kragmorta or New Giustenal. All dray share a distrust of surface dwellers, with second generation dray also having to learned to despise them. Dregoth has proclaimed that all non-humans are to be scorned and killed, while humans are to be pitied until they also can be transformed into perfect dray. This is a leftover from the teachings of Rajaat, and once Dregoth ascends he will bring forth another series of Cleansing Wars with Dregoth’s army acting as his weapons against the rest of the world.

Kragmortan dray are less inclined to enact violence against outsiders should they come across them, but they are still cautious and distant. These dray know little of the outside world, even believing that only Dregoth can take them there, but if the outsiders prove to be good people the Kragmortans would gladly hear tales of this strange land above. To be proven as someone to be trusted, the Kragmortan dray will force outsiders to complete the same initiations that they put against their own young when entering adulthood. This calls for tough but fair tests, suited to the talents of those undertaking them. Failure to accept or complete a task is seen as a sign of weakness, and to refuse or fail is to be marked as a child among the Kragmortans.

In addition to these normal tests of passage, surface dwellers can distinguish themselves by performing some act of extreme bravery in the eyes of the dray. These acts include defeating a fire giant, slaying a dark naga, or killing a fire drake. Performing one of these actions gains the outsider immediate status as adult dray.

Should outsiders ever encounter the dray of New Giustenal, they will be met with hatred and scorn. Non-humans will be tortured for information and killed – only to then be raised as a new soldier in Dregoth’s undead army. Humans, on the other hand, will be viewed with awe and pity. Awe, because humans have not walked the streets of New Giustenal in centuries, and pity, because they have not yet reached the state of grace that is the dray existence. Humans will be offered the opportunity to voluntarily become dray, or be forcefully be put through it – as is the will of the godking. and the destiny of all humans.

Tensions Between the Dray[]

Because of the nature of their existence, there exists tremendous tensions between the two groups of dray. The first generation dray do not hate their kin, but do consider themselves superior by virtue of them being Dregoth’s first children. Still, they fail to understand why their master ever rejected them in favor of the usurpers – with some assuming it to be some sort of divine test. In their hearts, they long for the day when Dregoth will forgive them for their imperfect existence and welcome them back into the fold. The Kragmortan dray are constantly on the lookout for outside dray, because Dregoth’s templars sometimes invade Kragmorta with hostile intent.

Second generation dray, on the other hand, have nothing but hatred and contempt for their predecessors. They know themselves to be Dregoth’s chosen people, the ones allowed to bask in his presence – they are the beloeved, the others were merely the first. Many of the Giustenal dray also fear their Kragortan relatives, viewing them almost as demons or nightmares given physical form. There is a common belief that the first generation must be wiped out before whatever caused them to mutate into such hideous creatures is passed on to the perfect dray of New Giustenal. Others fear that if they somehow displease their god, Dregoth will see fit to banish them too – believing the mutations to be the results of banishment or simply a mark of shame.

Absalom, Dregoth’s high priest, secretly aids the first generation dray as he feels an affinity towards them, and attempts to keep them as active members of the faith. Someday Absalom hopes to reconcile the rift between the exiles and their god, for the Day of Light should be shared by all Dregoth’s children.


It’s close to impossible to separate dray society from the worship of Dregoth as a supreme being, even among those rejected by their creator, the belief in him as something greater than a mere mortal creature permeates the culture. Even before his death, Dregoth was heralded as a divine being, but with his resurrection, this belief only grew stronger. Following this, when he began turning the people of Giustenal into dray, mimicking his own ascension, the dray became his “chosen people”. To this day, the confidence in Dregoth’s divine nature has only increased.

Dray society as a whole is centered around the prophecy of Coruscation, the foretold “Day of Light”. This is the time when Dregoth will ascend to true godhood, and then, as Godking of all of Athas, he will lead the dray to the surface. Under the Godking’s leadership, the dray will swarm over a place of evil known as Raam, killing all who dwell there in a great sacrifice to Dregoth. On that day, when the blood of thousands of unbelievers run in rivers at the feet of Dregoth, the crimson sun will burst with bright light and the Day of Light will begin.


The first generation dray were banished from Dregoth’s domain long ago, cast away as failures by their creator. They currently reside within the subterranean ruins of Kragmorta, a remnant of an age before the Cleansing Wars, surrounded by rivers of fire and magma lakes. These dray hunt food among the creatures roaming the caves and ruins of old Giustenal. They supplement this diet by gathering roots and fungi growing along the shores of the lava rivers.

The Kragmortan dray don’t engage in any mercantile activities, instead the settlement provides whatever an individual needs. However, nothing is freely given in Kragmorta – they also do not give or accept gifts, as it’s viewed as a sign of weakness, and young dray who are coming of age are put against a test to prove their value as an adult member of the society. A dray is given two tries in completing the test put before them, but should they fail, they are marked as a child forever. Children are tolerated but ignored, not allowed to partake in adult discussions or to handle matters of consequence. Passing a test bestows all of the rights and responsibilities of adulthood, including hunting and helping the dray community in any way necessary.

The dray of Kragmorta are ruled by Clan Father Mosak Eggstealer, the latest in a long line of Clan Fathers and Clan Mothers, who does his best to keep the clan together. Recent events have seen an increase in unrest among the Kragmortan dray, as they have become aware of the lives the dray in New Giustenal lead. In an attempt to reclaim their birthright, the dray gathered a raiding party of about 300 warriors, without any of them ever returning. Rallying cries have been heard, calling for another raid against the usurpers of New Giustenal, but Mosak has been able to quell these tempers somewhat. And yet, if nothing is to be done, he fears more people will be lost to the cause, and wonders what might happen if another dray challenges him for the role of Clan Father.

Despite them being cast out by Dregoth in ancient times, and hating him for rejecting them, the dray of Kragmorta still revere the Dread King as a god. This undying obedience to Dregoth is stoked by Dregoth’s own high priest, Absalom, who intermittently appears at Kragmorta to preach the word of their god, and, as he hopes, one day bring the lost children home. Absalom also provides a modicum of education to supplement that provided by the clan elders, and with his help some Kragmortan dray have managed to rise above the common proficiencies of thieves, hunters, and warriors to become clerics and even psionicists. However, none of these dray possess an understanding of the concept of arcane magic, and wizards are unheard of amongst the first generation.

New Giustenal[]

About 3,000 second generation dray live contended lives within the boundaries of New Giustenal, the City of Dragon Bones. Here, the dray are under the constant protection of Dregoth’s templars and magic, and are free to work and raise families as they see fit and at varying degrees of comfort. The dray here raise domestic grazing lizards called fanner beasts, cultivate fungi, and draw fish from the Blackjaw River – although they risk the attention of the deadly sharg when doing so.

Many dray long to serve the needs of their king, exploring the limits of the arcane as either defilers or templars under Dregoth’s command, but are free to seek out any vocation they please for the betterment of City of Dragon Bones. Dregoth maintains a force of 338 templars, overseen by high priest Absalom and high templar Mon-Adderath. The templars are easily recognizable thanks to the yellow scales along their spine, a sign of their rank within the hierarchy bestowed upon them by their two commanders upon advancement – from a Templar of the First Scale, to a Templar of the Highest Scale – with only Mon-Adderath having ever attained this impressive title.

All dray living here are members of an expansive militia, expected to battle in Dregoth’s army on the Day of Light that is to come, but until then only the templars work to perfect their military skills. Only the old or the very young are to remain behind on the Day of Light, and then only to continue to produce whatever material the war engine might need. The army is supplemented by scores of undead, some of which are stationed throughout the palace, though most are hidden in the cave along the Blackjaw River.

The Dragonborn Beyond Giustenal[]

The dray are not a numerous people, so it might seem strange for Dregoth to cull his ranks in any way, however, as is evident with the first generation dray, it has happened on at least one occasion. However, there might exist another example of this among the wastes. Some tell tales of another branch of dray, or "dragonborn" as outsiders have taken to calling them, that live far from the city-states, almost as isolated as their kin beneath the ruins of Giustenal. These small tribes of dray are said to have taken up residence in secret citadels and abandoned ruins in the wasteland. From these sanctuaries, members roam far and wide for the betterment and interests of their clan, because they learned long ago that they can only ever rely on each other, and are fiercely loyal to their clans. It has been said that an insult or injury delt to one member of a clan is avenged by the rest, and they won’t relent until the vendetta is settled. The stories would have it that these dray were exiled to the desert wastes of Athas in scorn even before Giustenal fell some 2,000 years ago, disregarded as mistakes by their maker. Even this long after the destruction of Giustenal, the dragoborn seem unaware of the fact that Dregoth still exists in a state of undeath.

Among the few people who know of their existence, it's known that they live by brutally pragmatic philosophies. They tend towards the avaricious, sly and amoral, and are known as slavers and mercenaries, and have in some cases also proven themselves to be powerful spellcasters. Many of these dray use the cruelty of their origin as justification for slavery and willfully engage in it, creating networks of mercenaries and raiders to act as slave catchers on their behalf. Among those dray that have gained insight into the arcane, most turn to defiling magic and care little for the preservation of Athas in the pursuit of personal power, carelessly ruining the land. Naturally, members of the Veiled Alliance, and anyone else suspicious of arcane magic, regard the presence of one of these dragonborn with suspicion.

Those dray that oppose trafficking in slaves often earn a living as brokers and moneylenders, going so far as to striking up deals with the rulers of some of the city-states. Despite their violent tendencies and amoralitys, they carefully observe the exact wording of any deal or bargain they strike, since it’s good business to have a reputation for living up to agreements. Nobles, merchants, and templars that have need of mercenaries or a potent spellcaster spend their money well when hiring on a band of dray. Most prominently, a small cadre of dray mercenaries has recently found employ within the city of Nibenay, working alongside the janissaries of the Temple of War to protect the city and keep the order.


The dray speak the ancient language of Giustenal. Second generation dray speak it as it was spoken 2,000 years ago, while first generation dray have developed a cruder, less refined version of it because of their extended exile.

Due to their isolation, the dray have had little contact with other languages, including the Common tongue, but it wouldn’t take too long before a dray would be able to pick it up after being exposed to it.



The history of the dray is intrinsically linked to that of their creator, Dregoth. He, as a Champion of Rajaat, was led to believe that humans were to be the rulers of Athas in the wake of the Cleansing Wars, and while the other sorcerer-monarchs swept these thoughts aside along with their former master, Dregoth kept them alive within his dark heart and cruel mind. However, he merely viewed humans as the penultimate stage of life, having witnessed the ascension of Borys and then having begun the metamorphosis into a dragon himself. To Dregoth, dragons were the pinnacle of existence, and his people would be allowed to ascend alongside him so that they could rightfully serve their draconic overlords.

And then ruin was brought onto Giustenal.

In the Year of Friend’s Fury of the 164th King’s Age, the sorcerer-queen of Raam, Abalach-Re, led an assault on Giustenal in an attempt to stop Dregoth’s ascension to the final stages of dragonhood. This decimated the population of Giustenal, left the city in ruins, and saw Dregoth fall to his former allies. Death would not be the end of Dregoth, though, for he was brought back as a powerful draconic kaisharga with the aid of his high templar, Mon-Adderath. Soon after, what remained of the population was gathered and construction of New Giustenal began, far from the prying eyes of Athas. Each dray living today is the descendant of the survivors of this terrible event.

The Second Rebirth[]

From Rajaat, Dregoth had learned of the role the halflings had played in Athas’ ancient past, being the last remnants of the Blue Age and the instigation of the Rebirth. Spurned on by these revelations, Dregoth sought to improve on what had already been done, because if the halflings managed to create new life, then why wouldn’t a dragon king be able to create something far greater?

The Dread King’s experiments began in earnest long before Giustenal was reduced to rubble, and by the time of his death he believed he was close to perfecting the process that would transform his human followers into what would become the dray. However, despite his nearly unlimited power, Dregoth continued to fail in his efforts. Even though Dregoth was able to create living dray even early on, the process proved unstable and the subjects would die not long after their rebirth as dray. True to his name, the Dread King realized that he needed to find a way to halt the process at a point before the degenerative mutations brought the dray to their demise. It was clear he was lacking the final piece to this puzzle. He knew of the power of the Pristine Tower, but those energies were too volatile and imprecise to serve Dregoth’s needs. It wasn’t long after this revelation that the other sorcerer-monarchs struck, nearly upending Dregoth’s plans.

After returning to unlife, Dregoth realized that his own transformation into a dragon had not caused him to lose his mind as it had Borys before him. He rationalized that this was because he had died before the adverse effects of the metamorphosis could take hold. To test his hypothesis, and to ensure that he would have loyal servants in the many centuries that were to come, he bestowed immortality onto his most trusted templars, Mon-Adderath – who was already imbued with agelessness since Dregoth served as a Champion of Rajaat – and Absalom. Of the two, Absalom would receive the gift in a different form. Dregoth reasoned that Absalom needed to become like his god in order to serve as his high priest, meaning he had to die and be returned to life.

Absalom thusly underwent the process of transformation into a dray, and once Dregoth was content with his creation, killed his High Priest. As Dregoth had predicted, this stopped the continued mutation of Absalom, and with that rose the templar priest as a powerful morg. In truth, despite it all, Absalom became the first dray to ever live beyond its creation.

A Generation of Failure[]

Following the destruction of Giustenal, some 200 years elapsed, and Dregoth inched ever closer to success. He had discovered ancient texts beneath his ruined city, left there by the halflings long ago, and by studying these he managed to finish what would be the first real attempt at creating dray in centuries. In the Year of Desert’s Fury of the 168th King’s Age, following a promising trial, the Dread King ordered all citizens of New Giustenal to undergo the process. It was only once more than a hundred dray had already been created that the first signs of failure became evident.

The process wasn’t as exact as Dregoth had hoped, and these first generation dray began to mutate, twisting his perfect children into horrid creatures. What was worse, unlike previous failures, these mutants didn’t die out, in fact, they were able to breed, creating even more mockeries of his perfection. Infuriated by this, he ordered everything be stopped, and banished his first children from New Giustenal, barring them from the City of Dragon Bones forever.

The first generation dray, dismayed at their apparent failure in the eyes of their godking, roamed the tunnels of the ancients for a long time before finally settling in the cavern they came to call Kragmorta. To this day, the descendants of these first dray hope to prove their worthiness to their creator so that they may return to live in the paradise they believe New Giustenal to be.

The Process Perfected[]

Dregoth’s experiments continued, undeterred by past failures, and as more years of study and assessment passed, Dregoth saw yet another generation of imperfect humans die out. Spurned on by his lust for godhood and to return Athas to a perfect state, Dregoth attempted the process again, weary of what mistakes he had made, taking careful notice not to repeat them. And so, in the Year of Guthay’s Agitation, the first of the second generation of dray came to stand before the undead dragon-king of New Giustenal.

They were humanoid dragons of great height, and lean, powerful builds. Their proud draconic heads rested atop long necks, and snaking tails stretched out behind them. Talons grew from the ends of long fingers and toes, and armored scales covered their bodies. This was the race Dregoth had dreamed of, and his dream had finally come true.

Following this, all of New Giustenal’s citizens were expected to undergo the process, whether they wanted to participate or not. It was the will of their god, and he would not be denied. Even Mon-Adderath, Dregoth’s most loyal follower, was subjected to the transformation process, but he did not change, however – some side effect of the immortality bestowed upon him earlier apparently made him immune to the change. To this day, Mon-Adderath is the only human still living and serving Dregoth in New Giustenal.

A Bright Future[]

In the Year of Friend’s Agitation of the 190th King’s Age (Free Year 10), following nineteen centuries of near-uninterrupted travels into the Outer Planes, Dregoth finally returns to New Giustenal, and with him he brings the aspirations of becoming a true god. Fueled by this lust for even greater power, Dregoth finally set his grand plan in motion and promised his followers that soon, the Coruscation would begin.

In preparation of this event, Dregoth ordered his templars to the surface to learn of the state of Athas. The news that reached him were dire. Not only did he learn of the disasters that have brought the world to its knees, but he was also dismayed by the fact that several of his fellow Champions, including Borys, had already fallen. Nonetheless, the Godking and his people began preparations.

The dray truly worship Dregoth as their god and king. They believe his doctrine and see themselves as the chosen people of Athas, and while none have ever visited the surface world, all know the stories circulated by Dregoth and his templars. They know of the evil sorcerer-monarchs who betrayed their god in ages passed, and they long to help Dregoth achieve his revenge. And then, during Free Year 12, the prophesized Day of Light finally arrived, and Dregoth led his hordes to the surface. This is the coming of a new age where Dregoth rules supreme, and by his side his dray will stand.


  • The information regarding the dray in the original 2nd edition and the 4th edition source material creates some confusion regarding the origin of the dray. As the 2nd edition makes clear that there's a prominent difference between the generations of dray, and the 4th edition books make no such distinction, instead claiming that the dragonborn of Athas were created even before Giustenal fell.
  • If taken as truth, this means that the 4th edition dray are descendants of some of Dregoth's initial experiments - ones that survived the ordeal of being turned into dray in the first place. Providing thse dray suffered the same extreme mutations of the first generation dray, it could provide an in-lore explanation of the different abilities of the 4th edition dray comapred to their 2nd edition counterparts.
  • In the 5th edition sourcebook Boo's Astral Menagerie, there exists a stat block for creatures labeled as a "ssurran defiler" and "ssurran poisoner". While "ssurran" is a name commonly associated with Athasian lizardfolk, the design of these creatures is clearly inspired by the descriptions of the 2nd edition dray, complete with long tails, slender necks, and elongated snouts.