The Basics You Need To Know
PLEASE NOTE:- This is a basic guide of life on Pern.
It's not comprehensive because it's not meant to be. This is so that people who have never read a Pern book in their lives can go play a Pern rpg and have a vague idea what they're doing. Comprehende? And then prolly get corrupted and go buy the whole series... but hey, that's not my fault.
Disclaimer:- Anne McCaffrey owns Pern, not me. Like you didn't guess. I mean c'mon, if I owned Pern, I would have enough money to pay people who had read the books to come play with me!
Okay, so you live on a planet called Pern. You want the history of why it's called that then go look elsewhere. That's not important right now. Basically, techonology wise it's medieval-ish. No machines, no nothing.
You wanna get a message across you go to a Harper and get him to use the drums to pass it - think of that something like morse code. Or you could get a flit to take it for you (you don't know what a flit is? Then read on then silly..)
So... a medieval-ish Earth-like planet. Oh, except for one teeny tiny thing. Every two hundred years or so a cloud passes over it, and from this cloud fall carbon-eating organisms in deadly rainlike showers off and on for about fifty years...
That doesn't bother you? Glad to hear it. Did I mention that humans, and every other living thing I know of are carbon based?
Don't worry.. you aren't going to die quite yet. We have a way of fighting this thing.
Y'see, this organism - called Thread - dies in water, and in fire. Dragons, when they chew firestone... breathe fire!
Yay! So then they can go destroy the Thread.
There are some other very cool features of dragons. The main one... when dragons Hatch they do so in a large circle of young humans - Candidates - who have been gathered from around the planet. Each dragon then picks on of these humans... and their minds bond.
From then on the youngsters are never alone, they feel as their dragon does, and vice versa. Plus they can communicate with their dragon through their minds ((Like this)).
So strong is the bond of love between the two that when it's rider dies a dragon will go *between* and choose death itself... and a man who loses his dragon will very often try to kill himself.
A dragon shows you everything that's wonderful inside you, but it is a double edged sword... because when the dragon is gone you have nothing left but the char and dross of yourself.
Dragons can also fly when they are old enough, and they fight Thread in the air, well away from where they might hurt humans.
Their other wonderful skill is that to be able to go between - if their riders visualize where on Pern they want to be the dragon will go - with their rider on their backs - into a place with no sensation at all, no heat, no light, no sound - for three heartbeats. When they come out... they will be where their rider visualized.
This too has it's dangers. If a rider does not visualize where they want to come out... then they don't. The dragon, rider, and anyone else riding the dragon stay trapped *between* forever....
This can happen if a rider is not used to visualizing if they are very young, or if they are too tired to visualize properly, or if they lose conciousness unexpectedly, or if they are drunk... or if they simply forget.
So... maybe you don't want to be a dragonrider now? Little too dangerous for you? Well you can still experience what it would be like to a degree with flits or firelizards.
These are small cousins of the dragons, with similar traits save two things.
They aren't as intelligent. In them, the empathy and trading thoughts given in a dragon is reduced to a mere sharing of feelings when they wish to.
They don't need their owner's help to visualize - though if you do show them a place by thinking of it, they can be trained to fetch things from there for you.
Flits are about the length of a mans arm, and kept as pets, like a dog. Eggs are either found by accident, or given out by Weyrleaders as rewards after a tame flit has clutched.
What are Weyrleaders? Well... dragons live with their riders in weyrs... a Weyr is many weyrs in one building... the Weyrleaders rule the Weyr.
The Weyrleaders are chosen like so - the Weyrwoman is the rider whose gold dragon (golds are the egg layers) rises to mate first when the position becomes available. She remains Weyrwoman until she dies.
The Weyrleader is the man whose brown or bronze dragon caught hers last.
This is the other thing I should mention. You know I said dragons and their riders share emotions? Well it applies here too... in fact it most definitely applies here. Riders generally pair when their dragons do.
All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyrightę Anne McCaffrey 1967,2005, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.
The Dragonriders of Pern« is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.