Vortex Dragon

Vortex dragons are the undisputed masters of travel across the galaxies, serving as messengers and observers for the greatest outer dragons and godlike entities in the great beyond.

Vortex dragons are such alien creatures that reality warps in their presence. Older vortex dragons can draw creatures in with their breath and swallow them, and can extend their bite through temporary rifts in space. However, they are vulnerable to extreme cold.

Vortex dragons speak at least Abyssal, Celestial, Draconic, and Infernal languages in addition to Taldane, and some also speak Auran, Elven, and Dwarven.

If void dragons were about the horror of empty space (or worse yet, the tainted horror of nonempty space), vortex dragons are about space’s malleability—its behavior at light speeds, around wormholes, of quantum there-and-not-there-ness. The universe has laws, every system of laws has loopholes, and the lawful neutral void dragons exploit these loopholes, simple as that. Heck, they might even be the loopholes—after all, a void dragon’s very presence seems to distort the space around it. It can breathe fire or gulp up a target with the tenacity of a black hole. (Note that the description doesn’t put a size limit on the victim or the dragon’s stomach—and given its nature, I don’t think there should be one.) And range attacks? Forget about it. Once a vortex dragon becomes an adult, it can bite you through a rift in space—anywhere in a 180-foot radius…and that radius only gets bigger as it ages.

And then there’s whom (or what) these dragons serve. After all, if you’re an intergalactic dragon, you’re not going to be an errand boy for just anyone. So they serve greater outer dragons—one can imagine older solar dragon stay-at-homes would use vortex dragons to correspond, and time dragons would recruit them to observe far-off events—and godlike entities (and probably the gods themselves, for that matter).

Many vortex dragon belongs to the Order of the Comet, a guild of draconic couriers dedicated to making sure the message arrives—anywhere in the galaxy, and often across the multiverse as well. The Order instructs member dragons about the celestial byways, teaching them to use solar winds, wormholes, and reliable gates to boost their own galactic emissary talents. Their dedication to their duties is known across the spheres—in fact, the post horn symbol used on so many worlds as a postal service emblem recalls the Order of the Comet’s own spiraling sigil. The Order and the dragons profit as well—reliability has a price, and by the time young comets have aged to mature adults they have padded their hordes enough that they can retire and pass along their routes and contacts to younger kin.

Trapping a devil is no easy feat. When adventurers capture Barnabulus in a warded trap, they unknowingly trigger a magical alert that summons a vortex dragon. Honoring an age-old agreement, the dragon speeds to the devil’s side. The vortex dragon may not be able to spirit the devil away (unless it swallows him, which may be one option), but it can certainly make life difficult for the devil’s would-be captors.

A dimensional mishap deposits adventurers in a desert world where the laws of magic are different, the gods they know are absent, and once-familiar races seem sinister and warped. Almost immediately they are embroiled in a war involving city-states and slave armies—and, without meaning to, turn the tide. Doing so must upset some cosmic balance, because a vision of an aeon-like entity appears and pronounces, “Here+You+Should/Not/Be.” Within days, a vortex dragon homes in on them—but whether to rescue or obliterate them is an open question.

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