Every race will tell you a different tale about how the old world ended and this new harsh one began. The dragons and dragonborn would have you believe that theirs is the true tale. The size of their empire makes it the most widespread, but truth is a squirmy thing that doesn’t like to be pinned down. They would have you believe that the Draconic empires have always held sway. Their legions conquered all races and brought them to heel under iron-shod talons. The world was created by Io, the great dragon god, for them to rule with impunity. The ‘lesser races’ were theirs to do with as they wished. Their numerous and vast empires conquered all they surveyed and then turned on each other. The slave races rose up in revolt throwing down some of their oppressors and slaughtering true dragons to defend themselves. Io, angered at his ‘perfect’ broods’ hubris and the other races open rebellion, would’ve destroyed us all, but Bahamut stepped in and talked him out of it. There were redeemable qualities about the mortal races. Spare them so they might learn the true way. So instead of obliterating the world, old Io smashed the hell out of it. Of course that wasn’t enough, so breathed upon the world and great storms raged across all of the lands. The world was flooded. Yeah, it’s a good story. Bet some damned Grand Vizier’s patting himself on the back for that one…scaly bastard.
That’s a load of horse shit. The other gods stepped in and smacked ol’ Io’s scaly claws like a bad pup. It was their world too. They’d all fought a long and costly war at the beginning of time to prevent the Primordials from blasting the world to smithereens. Weren’t about to let damn scale backs stamp it out. Other empires had advanced alongside the dragon born. The human empires of Bael Turath and Bael Nerath were among them. The eladrin kingdoms of Cendraine and dwarves Thraneholt of Gar Morra had stood for centuries as well. They sent servants to guild the peoples to safety and helped stabilize what they could. It’d never be the same though. Our world was broken. The other gods took Io and removed themselves from the world. Live or die, it was up to us to decide. We’d no sooner got out feet dry when, here came the damnable dragons again. They laid claim to what land they wanted and we’d have to pay the price if we wanted to ‘share’ it with them. The dragonborn declared Arkhosia reborn and proceeded to conquer islands anew in their draconic patrons names. The Dragovar dynasty was born.
Don’t look at me like that, what in the Nine Hells were we supposed to do? No empires to back us. No armies to speak of and they were DRAGONS! Besides, I think our ancestors were tired of swimming anyway….
Current culture and lore
The Draconic Isles is the singular name given to the thousands of islands that dot the surface of Iomandra. And they are called the Draconic Isles for good reason.
By ancient law, all land belongs to the scions of Io—the true dragons. This was true when Iomandra had vast continents; it is still true now. When a dragon reaches adult age, it is expected to leave its nest and claim an island of its own. A weak dragon might find a small, uncontested island to rule. An elder dragon or ancient wyrm will seek to rule the largest island it can find, preferably one with abundant food supplies. Not every island of Iomandra has a dragon overlord. Some islands are simply too small or wretched. Others are hotly contested. Others still haven’t been claimed because no dragon has found them yet.
When a dragon takes ownership of an island, it expects all of the island’s other inhabitants to pay it tribute. Those who do not comply are devoured or driven off. Most sensible creatures acknowledge the dragon’s status and may even stand to benefit from the dragon’s protection (depending on its disposition). An island always adopts the name of the dragon that lives there; when a dragon overlord changes, so too does the island’s name . . . much to the chagrin of the world’s foremost cartographers.
Nothing is more precious to a dragon than its island dominion. A dragon that cannot find an island to rule will do anything to wrest control of one. Dragons who rule islands must therefore be wary of rivals. Their lairs are often trapped or guarded, and they are smart enough to use minions or adventurers to eliminate likely challengers.
It’s worth noting that over the course of history, many influential dragonborn warlords and emperors have claimed to be scions of Io, but the true dragons of the world have never acknowledged such claims. In one notable case, an ancient gold dragon named Mazuzura openly refuted such a bold claim made by Emperor Azunkhan V of the Dragovar by attacking his palace in broad daylight and devouring him. Today, the Dragovar Dynasty spans dozens of major islands, all with powerful dragon overlords. These mighty dragons horribly tax the coffers of the Dragovar, but they also provide the greatest protection that gold can buy.