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This is a setting from the GURPS part of Steve Jackson Games forums and not part of the GURPS canon.


The Coming of Dragons

The signing of the alternate Declaration of Independence awoke "dragons" one for each state that signed the document. In their "natural" form each dragon is 45 feet long (monstrous) but they only assume this form in battle or when insanely angry. The rest of the time they are man sized.

In terms of personality the dragons are fanatical "radicals" and firmly believe in unity and quickly adopt Dickerson's original Articles of Confederations with some alterations making it more like Homeline's Constitution with a Bill of Rights in structure. The States are less then thrilled but note that there is this mixture of Single Transferable Vote and Shortest-Splitline to prevent a "gaming of the system" and don't seem concerned with the clause of 'your State Dragon will either leave or weaken to ineffectiveness.' and so go with the document as is.

Since the 13 dragons can't be everywhere they are assigned to where it is believed they will do the most good...which resulted in all of them getting assigned to the Continental Army under Washington. The dragons would use their powers to feed and clothe the army when needed (they can only create organic materials)...which thanks to the way the Continental Congress was printing money turned out to be nearly all the time preventing them from directly participating in the battle.

Things were so bad at Valley Forge that the Dragons were too exhausted to supply all the army and asked Washington if one of them was killed at full size how long would it feed the troops. Appalled at what they were suggesting he asked the Dragons to come up with another option and gave his reluctant consent for them to "buy" food from the locals "paying" for it with the now effectively worthless Continental Money.

Eventually the war ended as it did on Homeline in 1781 and then came the issue of paying the army. The Dragons suggest an amendment to fix the mess things were in which was quickly passed being the 11th. The creation of the District of Columbia in 1790 saw the "birth" of a dragon for that region and it was noted when a state was added a dragon was "born".

A Time of Dragons

Things progressed as they did on Homeline until the War of 1812 when the US army tried to invade Canada. Thanks to the Dragons of Ohio and New York the army penetrated deep into Canada. The British tried to do multi-pronged attacks but couldn't effectively stop the dragon assisted army. The attempt to invade and burn Washington turned into a rout as the DC dragon demonstrated a previously unseen ability - it breathed fire with which it blasted the ground in front of the British troops. Robert Ross showed what might be called insane bravery as he stood alone as the DC dragon towered over him. He unsheathed his sword and formally surrendered.

Stories of this power quickly spread and it became nearly impossible to find anyone willing to fight "a huge fire breathing lizard" Then the New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio Dragons demonstrated the ability to "breath cold so intense it froze the lakes themselves" allowing their armies to cross the lakes by simply marching across them. At which point Britain lost what control over the war it had with people surrendering just on the story there was an army with a State Dragon on its way.

After the war the Dragons along with the rest of the country got the idea of Manifest destiny in their head with expansion including Mexico in the wake of the Mexican–American War in the 1840s. During this period one important fact about the State Dragons came to light - they could only function in the states and areas within a range of about 50 miles of the boarders of the current United States. The only exception is the DC State Dragon who can go into any US territory under the control of the Federal Government.

Annoyed with Slavery and with the increasing gyrations to keep the balance in the Senate the Dragons announced that they would make as much cotton as fast as possible to encourage the abandonment of slavery by making the slave product effectively worthless.

Their timing was horrid as they announced this on the heels of Lincoln's 1860 election. The South succeeded and quickly saw their dragons take up residence in Washington with the noted exception of the Virginia dragon who went off to the western part of its state. The Virginians quickly found why as that section declared itself independent of Virginia and the CSA and its Dragon promptly renamed herself West Virginia.

Then the Dragon grouped themselves into the Dragon Army and waited hoping that cooler heads would prevail and things could "go back to the way they are supposed to be". The DC Dragon helped funnel supplies to Fort Sumter and was there when the CSA attacked. General P. G. T. Beauregard watched in disbelief as mortar round after mortar round hit a barrier surrounding Fort Sumter never getting to the fort itself. For two days this lasted until having exhausted his ammunition Beauregard was forced to pull back. It quickly became clear what would happen - the dragon army that was was sitting in the North would mobilize and they would not be happy.

Never mind with the announcement the South's main cash crop would be worthless and so the CSA formally surrendered by the end of 1861. Years later it would turn out that the dragons had been bluffing about the amount of cotton they could make though not about their intentions.

Come that reality's version of the Spanish-American war and the Dragons are annoyed that Cuba is too far away though during the Indian war they did found out that an US army base could serve as a focus for any of them...once they were taken to it by normal means. Which still left the matter of establishing a formal army base...the hard way.

The Dragons take their first formal action in politics by begging the Republican Party to nominate Teddy Roosevelt for candidate in the up coming 1912 election by saying they need a strong man for what will come. Concerned that the Dragons would take such an action the GOP follows their wishes resulting in Teddy Roosevelt being the first president to serve three terms and then the Great War begins.

The belief that the Dragons are the living embodiment of the Founding Fathers has resulted in a few hiccups with some Dragons winding up the Governors, Senators, and Representatives of their respective states.

There have been several attempts to put a Dragon in the Supreme Court but the Congress is often told that this is a very bad idea by other Dragons and so the confirmations have failed.

Other "State" Dragons

The countries that formed Simón Bolívar's Gran Colombia got dragons but they were pale versions of those seen in the United States being at best 15 feet long and spending most of their time trying to hold things together. The dragons got notably weaker as things deteriorated until when Gran Colombia fell apart in 1831 they simply disappeared. It is unclear if they dissolved back into what ever dragons come from or if they were waiting to come forth to galvanize the people. Nobody is exactly eager to find out and so would be dictators tend to have "accidents".

Thinking like a United States Dragon

State Dragons are fanatical about the ideals espoused in the Declaration of Independence and those of the Founding Fathers. In their mind there are no superior or inferior races though they do understand that humans don't always live up to the ideals they create and so work behind the scenes slowly to "fix" things. They did show annoyance over the Robber Barons and concern over the treatment of workers but felt that they should lead by example rather then force people. It was various incidents (like the Triangle Fire) that convinced them that "action must be taken to preserve the Republic." As the DC Dragon put it "Did we shake off King George's rule only to allow Kings of Wealth to take his place? I think not."

The Dragons have a somewhat White Man's Burden like mentality toward lands (and people) outside of the United States. The Gran Colombia Dragons prove that one doesn't have to be part of the United States to get a Dragon though the disappearance of those dragons does concern them.

Local Theory on Dragons

Right now the only theory that has been clobbered together that seems to adequately explain the situation is to get a State Dragon requires at least four things:

1) Must be a colony or subject nation.
2) They must rebel based on unfair treatment by their "mother" country
3) They must declare that all intelligent beings are "created equal"
4) The government set up must be a repressive democracy (or at least leading that way)

The China and Wales fail step 1 out of the gate (heck the heir to the English throne is the Prince/Princess of Wales). However London took dragon reports out of Ireland related to the potato famine of 1845 very seriously... enough that food literally pored into the country and a total restructuring of Ireland was done to shift power back to the locals.

The outcome of the very brief American Civil war has made Europe nearly paranoid to the point that any report of a dragon in a colony or subject state results in an immediate reevaluation of how the locals are treated.

However, the non appearance of any dragons during the Opium Wars convinced Europe that as long as the nation involved is not a colony or "subject" nation everything else is on the table.

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