Tamriel : The Fourth Era
The Dragons of Tamriel
The immortal children of Akatosh.
The Dragons (drah-gkon and dov-rha to the ancient Nords, or dov in their native language) are a rarely-seen race of large reptilian beasts. They are rumored to be from Akavir (which literally means “Dragon Land”), though there are ancient tales of dragons also coming from Atmora. They are large, scaled creatures, easily several times larger than a human or elf. They have long, slender extremities, with thin bat-like wings and ridges of spikes along their back. Dragons have three sharp talons and one vestigial digit known as a dewclaw on each of their legs, as evidenced by their alphabet.
Dragons are well-known for their affinity for magic which, among other things, grants them the abilities to speak and fly despite their lack of lips or aerodynamic frame. There are several varieties of dragon that come in a range of colors. Blessed with remarkable intelligence, they are nonetheless susceptible to feelings of pride and melancholy. They are distrustful creatures, even of each other. Despite this, they are also somewhat social, and can be driven mad by captivity and isolation. As the immortal children of Akatosh, they are specially attuned to the flow of time, and they feel an innate urge to dominate others that is difficult to overcome. In the mind of a dragon, being powerful and being right are the same, thus they make no distinction between speaking and fighting; battles between them are actually deadly verbal debates.
Temples dedicated to dragon worship were built across the province of Skyrim, but now only a few artifacts relating to the Dragon Cult remain, such as dragon claws and Dragon Priest Masks.
Dragons are fearsome opponents in combat and are some of the most dangerous creatures in all of Tamriel.Encounters with dragons in the wild are heralded by a loud roar; the dragon will often fly very close to you if it has spotted you, causing a palpable rush of air, almost as if the dragon is deliberately trying to provoke you. Not all dragons are automatically hostile to you, however. Some will simply circle overhead for a while without engaging in combat; if you ignore it long enough, the event will end and the dragon will fly off.
Dragons are highly intelligent and can use the power of the Thu’um (also known as “The Voice” or Dragon Shouts) to attack their enemies, using short phrases of words of power to cause a variety of effects. It is said that combat with dragons is actually a debate; as the dragon Paarthurnax explains, "There is no distinction between debate and combat to a dragon. Tinvaak los grah. For us it is one and the same.
All dragons have either frost- or fire-based breath attacks and will use them while airborne and while on the ground. The damage inflicted by this attack can be decreased with the appropriate elemental resistance, magic resistance, and wards. During combat, dragons will occasionally land on the ground to briefly engage in melee before taking flight again. Dragons may also perch on rooftops or other features, such as word walls, attacking creatures below them while keeping out of reach of melee attacks.