The Age of Ash
Most Dragonborn refer to the events of the world’s apocalypse as “The Sundering.”
This is a reference to the splitting of Io into Bahamut and Tiamat at the height of that devastating night, when Arkhosia (indeed, the entire world) was shattered forever by unknown forces. Some Dragonborn maintain that these two demigods yet survive (and this forms the belief system of religious dragonborn in the Ash Wastes), but nothing has been heard of the Dragonborn god(s) for many generations and many have lost faith.
The ancient Arkhosian Clan Empire was the last great civilization prior to the apocalypse. It was a theocracy with an unusual hierarchy: the god Io was manifest on earth, and his lineage of mighty Avatar Elder Dragons formed the heads of the various Clans. According to legends, fierce competition amongst his children was a source of pleasure to Io, who instilled the old Arkhosians with a measure of his own Prideful and headstrong streak. For these reasons, Dragonborn clans of old would strive to differentiate themselves greatly from their brethren, each seeking out widely divergent fields of study in Arcane, Divine, Military, Political, and Social fields all the better to spread their own glory. Dragonborn Clans of old were formed of warrior societies like the Iron Brotherhood, religious orders such as the Frozen Suns, or even scholarly societies such as the Golden Wyvern Order. Many clans were monochromatic, but others included a mix of multiple colors, multiple metals, or even a mix between the two. The mighty Dragonborn of old were of the same color as their clan allegiance, and their breath weapons matched that of their brother Dragons. The “Trueborn” of the Age of Ash today still embody these characteristics to a lesser degree.
Nowadays however, approximately 90% (or higher) of all Dragonborn have lost the strength of their bloodline… some say that this is the clearest evidence that the god Io does not live on, not even as two split halves. These weakened Dragonborn can no longer breathe the powers of the ancestors, and are generally of a weak dull brass luster in their scales rather than the proud, bright heritage of the ‘Trueborn.’
Legend tells us that the Dragonborn of the bygone era were a terror to behold. They typically wore shining plate mail from head to toe and carried massive shields and bastard swords that by today’s standards would be difficult for some warriors to lift. The career paths which they followed have been lost, but it is fair to say that their abilities were comparable to both a dedicated mage and mighty warrior combined into one figure. Furthermore, their larger size (some say in excess of nine feet) dramatically increased their strength, while their great wings gave them incredible maneuverability. The ancients were said to be so pious that their inexhaustible faith even allowed them to radiate white light from their armor, literally making them knights in shinning armor, although this legend is even more dubious than the others. They were also able to focus their breath into a thrown orb that could reach much farther then the modern day Trueborn’s localized spewing.
These legends, of course, are just that. Even if Dragonborn once were the proud warrior mages that Frozen Sun and Talon lore make them out to be, that dominance has all but died. Now most Dragonborn have lost their ability to channel their inner elemental energy, are barely larger then the average man, and bear scales which no longer sparkle with metallic luster. In the modern world Dragonborn are just one more race amongst many. They are scattered across several regions and follow many different lifestyles. Still, most Dragonborn retain some loyalty to their lineage, as is evident by the existence of organizations such as the Frozen Suns and the social movement personified by the Talons of Arkhosia.