Paul & Dan celebrate the Year of the Dragon in New Year’s 2024! In this 50th anniversary year for original D&D, we’ll look back to our best uses for dragons, new discoveries we’ve made, and how best to use unusual dragon types in your fantasy RPG.
The Dragon, also known as Loong, (simplified Chinese: 龙; traditional Chinese: 龍; pinyin: lóng; Jyutping: lung4; Cantonese Yale: lùhng) is the fifth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Dragon is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 辰, pronounced chen.
It has been proposed by one academic researcher that the Earthly Branch character may have been associated with scorpions; it may have symbolized the star Antares. In the Buddhist calendar used in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, the Dragon is replaced by the nāga. In the Gurung zodiac, the Dragon is replaced by the eagle. In Old Turkic calendar it is replaced by the fish or crocodile. Early Persian translations of the medieval period change the dragon to a sea serpent although in current times it is generally referred to as whale.
There are typically marked spikes in the birth rates of countries that use the Chinese zodiac or places with substantial Overseas Chinese populations during the year of the Dragon, because such “Dragon babies” are considered to be lucky and have desirable characteristics that supposedly lead to better life outcomes.
This description uses material from the Wikipedia article “Dragon (zodiac)“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.