Dawn Watch Wher

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General

Large carnivorous dragonkin, Whers are often described as the ugly cousins of the graceful Pernese dragons. In truth, they are not so much ugly as they simply are different, being heavily built land-based predators. Just as the dragons have no equal in the skies, so do the whers have no equal on the land.

Biology

Appearance - Whers have the six limbs typical of a native creature, with same basic build as as any dragonkin, have four vertically oriented legs and a pair of flexible wings. Unlike most dragonkin, a whers wings are not large enough to carry them in flight, instead being used for stabilisation when running and in some breeds to glide for short distances.

Proportions - Proportionally, whers are shorter and broader than dragons, with shorter but thicker necks and tails. Their legs are longer and even in length, giving them an easy loping run. A wher's head is proportionally larger than that of a dragon, a broad wedge with proportionally larger eyes and shorter headknobs. Ideal wingspan varies between the breeds, though in general a span approximately two thirds of total length is considered to be good conformation. Whers are traditionally measured by height, which is taken from ground to shoulder. Length should be height x3.

Habitat - Whers will live anywhere humans do, but generally prefer tropical to temperate areas

Diet - Obligate carnivores, Whers will hunt anything they think they stand a chance of taking down, though generally a single plains wherry is food enough for even the larger colours.

Aging - Extremely long lived, a well cared for wher can easily reach 250 turns of age, with reports that some may live to be 300. Like dragons, their aging process is influenced by their bonds. Those bonded to longer lived races will find themselves correspondingly longer lived as well.

Mating - Whers typically breed at dusk and dawn.

Subspecies

Guard - Bred to work alongside the guards and soldiers of Pern, Guard whers are the biggest and most physically powerful of all whers. They tend to have a heavy felid build, like the great cats which inhabit the southern continent. Their wings are generally broad in shape and have a span of around three quarters total length.

Mine - Specially bred to work alongside the people of the Mine Craft, these whers are the smallest of all the wher breeds, but also the stockiest, with a broad tank of a build that provides them massive strength and stamina despite their size. There is very little variation in size among the colour-ranks of mine whers. They also have one of the smallest wingspans, closer to half total length, narrow in shape with rounded ends.

Scout - Developed to assist in the exploration of the Southern Continent, Scout whers are the hardiest of all the wher breeds, able to survive on poor feed and little water. They are also considered the most independent of the wher breeds. They also have the largest wingspan, being almost equal to total length.

Watch - The original domestic wher, Watch type Whers are little altered from their original selves, having been allowed to breed with little interference from humans. They tend to be lean to rangy in build with a wingspan of slightly less than their length. Their wings tend to be narrow and slender in form, and around two thirds of total length in span.

Polar - An extremely new addition of the breeds of Wher, Polar Whers have been genetically engineers for life in cold and frozen climate and represent the most radical departure from the standard wher form. They have a bulky build with thick coats of medium length fur and feathered wings, as well as a layer of protective fat which makes them among the heaviest of whers despite being of average size.

Jobs

Guard - Bonded to humans who have trained as guardsman, Whers who work as guards are training in combat, tracking, search and rescue. They patrol with squads of human guards and work to solve issues within their territory.

Bodyguard - Whers are often favoured as partners to those who act as personal or body guards. Some people in important positions choose to skip the middle man and simply bond to a wher themselves to provide the protection they need.

Caravan Guard - A subset of guard and scout training, Caravan guards help to protect the trader caravans as they go from place to place.

Miner - Mining is considered the oldest wher profession

Scout - Whers who work as scouts specialise in tracking, search and resuce and exploration.

Watch - The term Watch-wher is used to mean those who work as night guards, particularly those in smaller holdings which often don't have their own guard force. Most Whers working in this capacity are not bonded to a single person, but instead consider the land of the holding to be their territory, and all its rightful inhabitants their pack. They work together with their human pack mates to protect their land, and in exchange are cared for as a member of the family.

Abilities

Telepathy - Unlike dragons, translating their thoughts into words which humans can understand is not a skill which comes naturally to Whers, and like human youngsters they will learn language as they grow. Though they will know some words right from hatching and have the ability to send images and emotions. Some whers will learn to speak as well as any human or dragon, while others will never get past simple broken sentences.

Telekinesis - Whers have access to a subconscious telekinetic power which allows them to lift and haul loads many times heavier than size suggests. Some may also use this power to increase their gliding distance. Whers are less likely than dragons to have concious telekinesis, but some so display the ability.

Teleportation - Technically whers can go between just like a dragon can. Practically, few ever do, as their lack of flight means having to come out at or close to ground level, greatly increasing the chances of teleporting yourself into something.

Heat Sensing - Whers have the ability to sense heat, using a pair of specialised organs on either side of the muzzle. As Whers often describe this extra sense using the same terms as for sight, this has led to a mistaken belief that Whers ‘see’ heat using their eyes.

Radiation Sensing - An ability only discovered since the apocalypse, Whers have a particular sensitivity to radiation and always know when a place is too radioactive to enter, or when the levels are beginning to climb in prelude to a Ionstorm.

Gliding - Though they are unable to achieve true flight, most whers can use their wings to glide for short distances.

Behaviours

Nocturnal - Whers are naturally nocturnal creatures, awake during the dark hours of the night and sleeping during the day.

Agressive - Whers as a species are given to stronger expressions of emotion than firelizards and dragons, tend towards and are more likely to have an agression response when angry or afraid. They lack the inhibition against harming humans which is seen in their draconic cousins, and a poorly socialised or badly handled wher may be

Whers as a species are significantly more emotional and prone to agressive responses than dragons or firelizards. They lack the inhibition against harming humans that is seen in dragons, and

Colour-Rank - Rank in Whers is not as strong as it is in dragons and fire lizards. Ability and competence are prized over raw strength in both handled Whers and wild packs alike. Thus it is not uncommon to see a particularly skilled or strong-minded lower ranked wher leading a group over a less skilled wher of higher rank. Among handlers is it generally the skills of the human half of the bond which earns a position, rather than the colour of the wher.

Vocabulary - Unlike dragons, whers do not have an innate understanding of how to translate their thoughts into something which other species can understand. They gain some language in the shell from their parents and pack, and those who bond gain a greater understanding from the mind of their handler, but for many it remains a struggle, leading the 'clipped' speech patterns which their kind have become known for.

Naming - Naming among whers is a complicated business. Bonded whers and unbonded Watch whers see their names as a form of laying claim to their handler or chosen territory. They name themselves after that which they claim, using either part of or the whole of the name, and end with a -sk sound. Wild whers do not use the -sk sound and will name themselves after physical atributes or the world around them. Names such as Bright Eyes, Swift Foot, Blaze or Shimmer would not be out of placer among the wild packs. Things get a little more complicated when rebonding occures. Some whers will keep their original name, espeically if they were formerly bonded to someone important to their new bond or were born wild, or they may take on a new name to reflect their new most-important person.

Gender & Sexuality - Gender as a concept in whers is complex, and much more closely related to colour-Rank than it is to whether they rise or chase. The application of particular pronouns dependent on whether an individual rises or chases comes from the non-wher side of the partnership, and while most wher don’t really care enough to protest whatever people want to use for them, some prefer a particular set over the others, which may not necessarily match what was expected, and whites in particular will tend to prefer the neutral they/them. Wild whers tend to simply pick whichever set of pronouns they like the sound of best and go with that.

Bonding

Whers are unusual among dragonkin for being able to bond at any time of life. Like the other forms of dragonkin, Whers can impress at birth, but they are also able to form bonds later on, should they find the right person. They are also unique in their ability to re-bond to another handler should their previous bond be broken for any reason. It is not unknown for a single wher to be passed down through several generations of a single family of handlers.

A wher bond is generally considered to be somewhere between a dragon bond and a lizard bond in strength, though generally closer to the dragon end of the scale. Those who have experienced both describe the difference as a wher being your best friend verses a dragon being your other half. Whers retain a degree of the firelizard 'fair bonding' fuction and wild whers will typically form a pack structure which hatchlings and new whers will link into, although forming bonds between individuals in the wild is not unknown. Handled Whers may also form a pack type bond, with multiple whers bonding to a single handler. Impressing two wherlets from the same hatching is the most common form of handler multibonds, followed by a spectating handler being chosen by a new hatchling.

Impression to a Wher is considered a major bond, and it is generally believed that an active wher bond will prevent impression to a dragon. Introduction to the Nexus has proven this to be false, provided the wher is question is willing to tolerate others being bonded to their handler.

Colour-Ranks

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Gold
Gender: Female
Rank: Queen
Size:
Guard - 6'6 to 7'6| 19'6 to 22'6
Scout - 6 to 7 | 18 to 21
Watch - 5'6 to 6'6 | 16'6 to 19'6
Polar - 5'6 to 6'6 | 16'6 to 19'6
Mine - 4'3 to 4'9 | 13'6 to 14'3
Hide Type: Metallic
Mating: Up to 1/per turn | Lays 5 to 15 eggs
Telekinesis: High strength, Low Dexterity
Largest of all Whers, Golds are named for their metallic yellow hide.

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Silver
Gender: Male | Female
Rank: High | Queen
Size:
Guard - 6 to 7 | 18 to 21
Scout - 5'6 to 6'6 | 16'6 to 19'6
Watch - 5 to 6 | 15 to 18
Polar - 5 to 6 | 15 to 18
Mine - 4 to 4'6 | 12 to 13'6
Hide Type: Metallic
Mating: Up to 1/per turn | Lays 5 to 15 eggs
Telekinesis: High Strength, Low Dexterity

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Bronze
Gender: Male
Rank: High
Size:
Guard - 6 to 7 | 18 to 21
Scout - 5'6 to 6'6 | 16'6 to 19'6
Watch - 5 to 6 | 15 to 18
Polar - 5 to 6 | 15 to 18
Mine - 4 to 4'6 | 12 to 13'6
Hide Type: Metallic
Telekinesis: High Strength, low Dexterity

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Brown
Gender: Male
Rank: Mid
Size:
Guard - 5'6 to 6'6 | 16'6 to 19'6
Scout - 5 to 6 | 15 to 18
Watch - 4'6 to 5'6 | 13'6 to 16'6
Polar - 4'6 to 5'6 | 13'6 to 16'6
Mine - 3'9 to 4'3 | 11'3 to 12'9
Hide Type: Chromatic
Telekinesis: Mid Strength, Mid Dexterity

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Copper
Gender: Female
Rank: Mid
Size:
Guard - 5'6 to 6'6 | 16'6 to 19'6
Scout - 5 to 6 | 15 to 18
Watch - 4'6 to 5'6 | 13'6 to 16'6
Polar - 4'6 to 5'6 | 13'6 to 16'6
Mine - 3'9 to 4'3 | 11'3 to 12'9
Hide Type: Metallic
Mating: Up to 2/per turn | Lays 3 to 8 eggs
Telekinesis: Mid Strength, Mid Dexterity

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Pearl
Gender: Female | Male
Rank: Mid
Size:
Guard - 5'6 to 6'6 | 16'6 to 19'6
Scout - 5 to 6 | 15 to 18
Watch - 4'6 to 5'6 | 13'6 to 16'6
Polar - 4'6 to 5'6 | 13'6 to 16'6
Mine - 3'9 to 4'3 | 11'3 to 12'9
Hide Type: Iridescent
Mating: Up to 2/per turn | lays 3 to 8 eggs
Telekinesis: Mid Strength, Mid Dexterity

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Blue
Gender: Male
Rank: Low
Size:
Guard - 5 to 6 | 15 to 18
Scout - 4'6 to 5'6 | 13'6 to 16'6
Watch - 4 to 5 | 12 to 15
Polar - 4 to 5 | 12 to 15
Mine - 3'9 to 4'3 | 11'3 to 12'9
Hide Type: Chromatic
Telekinesis: Low Strength, High Dexterity

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Purple
Gender Male | Female
Rank: Low
Size:
Guard - 4'9 to 5'9 | 14'3 to 17'3
Scout - 4'3 to 5'3 | 12'6 to 15'6
Watch - 3'9 to 4'9 | 12'3 to 14'3
Polar - 3'9 to 4'9 | 12'3 to 14'3
Mine - 3'6 to 4'6 | 10'6 to 13'6
Hide Type: Chromatic
Telekinesis: Low Strength, High Dexterity

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Green
Gender: Female
Rank: Low
Size:
Guard - 4'6 to 5'6 | 13'6 to 16'6
Scout - 4 to 5 | 12 to 15
Watch - 3'6 to 4'6 | 10'6 to 13'6
Polar - 3'6 to 4'6 | 10'6 to 13'6
Mine - 3'3 to 3'6 | 9'9 to 10'6
Hide Type: Chromatic
Mating: up to 1/per season | Lays 0 to 4 eggs
Telekinesis: Low Strength, High Dexterity

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White
Gender: Male | Female | Neither
Rank: Special
Size:
Guard - 4 to 5 | 12 to 15
Scout - 3'6 to 4'6 | 10'6 to 13'6
Watch - 3 to 4 | 9 to 12
Polar - 3 to 4 | 9 to 12
Mine - 3'0 to 3'6 | 9 to 10'6
Hide Type: Speical
Mating: Up to 2/per turn | Lays 0 to 2 eggs
Telekinesis: High Strength, High Dexterity

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