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Grafadreka or drakes are a species of large carnivorous quadrupedal reptile native to Sif.
The average adult drake is five to six feet long and three to four feet at the shoulder. They have stocky, elongated bodies, and are usually blue, green or brown, with the occasional wild colour variation observed.
Drakes are endemic to the forests, grasslands and tundral regions of Sif, occupying a similar ecological niche to the wolves of old Earth. They hunt siffets, shantak and (more recently) giant spiders, using their toxic spittle to stun their prey before closing in to savage them with their teeth and claws. A bite from a drake will become infected very quickly due to the high amount of bacteria in their body. They are obligate carnivores, but can survive as scavengers, eating plant matter, insects and carrion thanks to the Sivian bacteria in their microbiome.
The symbiosis between drakes and Sif is strong enough that removing a drake from the planet is a death sentence within days or hours. Consistent exposure to various pollens, spores and organic particulate in the Sivian air refreshes and replenishes the drake's microbiome and keeps their strange metabolism running.
Drakes live for fifteen to twenty years in the wild, and pair-bond for life. They will lay one to three eggs per clutch, with two clutches per year. Hatchlings will emerge after a month of incubation, and reach independence from their parents at six months. Their preferred dens are caves and burrows, which earned them their name, grafadreka being Icelandic for 'digging dragon'. They are legendarily awful parents, with many hatchlings being abandoned shortly after emerging, or wandering off and becoming lost themselves.
Drakes are generally cautious, passive and reclusive, preferring to avoid humans when they are not either threatened or starving. They move in small groups led by a single pack leader, usually the oldest or most assertive member.
Some drakes are 'trained' to an extent, usually by a Survivalist capturing or adopting a hatchling and hand-raising them as a working or hunting animal. These drakes often understand Sivian Creole or Galactic Common enough to respond to verbal commands, and will usually be fiercely loyal to their trainer.
Interacting with drakes
- Drakes are not able to speak any language understood by non-drake mobs. Drakes can understand other drakes, and when joining as a drake, you will carry over your language preferences, allowing your drake to understand anything you chose in your character settings.
- Drakes can be healed using normal medical items like bandages and ointment, or the more advanced versions. They can also be injected with or dosed with bicaridine to heal any accumulated scarring.
- A wild drake falls under the same heading as any other wild Sivian creature, like siffets or spiders. If they are on the station, Security or the crew are within their rights to remove them by force, as they are unpredictable and potentially dangerous.
- A drake with a harness may or may not fall under some legal protection, depending on their behavior, the presence of an owner, and the specific nature of their presence.
- An expeditionary drake is the responsibility of Xenobiology specifically and Research more broadly, and has legal protections both as a piece of Science equipment, and to some extent a member of the crew.
- A survivalist-aligned drake may have some legal standing as the property of whoever trained it, but if they are not present, or are not cooperative, that protection may mean very little.
- All non-hostile drakes are protected against the crime of animal cruelty, regardless of their allegiance and state of training. This includes imprisoning, torturing or killing them in an unnecessarily drawn out or cruel manner.
A drake player is expected to follow the rules about acceptable behavior when playing as one. All the usual rules about self-antagging apply when playing as a drake, even a wild one. If a drake is deliberately causing havoc beyond a reasonable scenario, they should be adminhelped so that they can be corrected or removed.
Conversely, a drake player can expect to be treated with the respect due to another player. They shouldn't be killed or harassed unreasonably unless doing something to warrant that response.
Abilities and drawbacks
Drakes have two main abilities, both fueled by sifsap, which can be seen on the Status tab.
- The first ability is spitting at an enemy, which is performed by clicking at range while on harm intent. Drake spit will stun simple mobs like spiders, and will confuse and disorient humans. Be careful, as some mobs like mercenaries are completely immune to your spit.
- The second ability is healing yourself or someone else by licking their wounds. This will actively regenerate health for Sivian animals like drakes and siffets, but will only close bleeding wounds for humans (while also mildly poisoning them due to the sifsap).
Attacking a prone, confused or stunned enemy will maul them with your teeth rather than your claws, which deals significantly more damage, as well as toxin damage if your sap reserves are high enough.
You will regenerate sap up to 10 units passively, and can store up to 60 by foraging for sifpods and glowing fruit from the glowing blue trees around the wilderness. Foraging is done by clicking on a tree or bush while on help intent.
Trained drakes have the additional ability to interact with some buttons and devices, such as airlock buttons, allowing them to enter and leave Cynosure Station. They can also use grab intent to pick up small items and place them inside their harness storage, as well as remove them the same way by clicking on themselves.
Joining as a drake
Drakes will inherit some aspects of character customization set in your preferences, including selected languages, name and flavor text. You can also customize your eye color with the eye color selector per normal, your body coloration with the hair color selector, and your spines coloration with the facial hair selector.
To join as a drake, select the Trained Drake job in the job selection. The alt title chosen will determine your position and loyalties.
- The default, Trained Drake, will make you a drake aligned to Survivalists. You are partially trained, and are likely a hunting or tracking animal. You will spawn with a home-made leather harness.
- The second, Expedition Drake, is an officially registered working animal owned and cared for by Research, specifically Xenobiology. You will spawn with an expedition harness and a Research access card, and will be expected to work with the Science team.
- The third and fourth alt titles, Wild Drake and Wild Hatchling, will spawn you as a wild, untrained drake with no loyalty to any human. Hatchling in particular is a very challenging role, as you are small and functionally useless.
Roleplaying as a drake
As a player, it is important to keep in mind that you are playing either a wild animal, or a working animal, not a pet. You are not obligated to be hostile or aggressive to humans, but you should also not force yourself into people's business or make an overt nuisance of yourself any more than you would when playing a crew role.
Some degree of escalation is permitted for drakes that would normally not be, due to the context of being an easily spooked, wild or semi-wild animal, but you should restrain yourself from actively looking for ways to make a ruckus. Your spit will stun/confuse people without permanent harm, but escalating from that to biting or slashing should be done carefully.
Similar to the above note, you are an animal. If you make too much trouble, the crew will be well within their rights to evict you from the station or shoot you, without the same standards of justice that a human visitor would expect.
Expedition drakes should listen to the station's crew, as they would have been trained to do so. Explorers and Xenofauna Technicians are the ones you would be working with the most.
It is also important to keep in mind that drakes are not intended to be an excuse for 'cute' roleplay, or playing as a station mascot like Ian; playing the role specifically to badger people to pet you is not a good idea.