The Dragon's Levy

Hello folks!

The table I game with are pretty well into the Epic levels, and now we are attempting to solve some of the more complicated problems of the setting. In this case, I am attempting to have my character wrestle with the Dragon’s Levy.

How many people are sacrificed each year? I keep seeing that it is roughly 1,000 people a year. Is that correct?

And -

If your group has had to deal with the situation, what solution, if any, did your group come up with?


I’d recommend looking to the Search function for this one, as there has been a number of very long threads about this subject over recent years that have raised some very interesting arguments about the numbers involved, with a lot of very good discussion then following.

1 Like

1000 per year per city-state.

The only solution is to defeat the dragon either directly or indirectly. As far as I know, the only non paying city-state is Eldaarich.


While defeating the Dragon is certainly on the table, it is not the option we are leaning towards because then we have to deal with Rajaat!

Currently, my character hates the general Levy because the lower rungs of society are the ones more likely to be given over. Even giving compensation for a life is just trying to soothe the fact that the nobles are less likely to be handed over. Lots of shenanigans have been pondered, like trying to create sentient Life Shaped to see if they could possess a soul, and then grow sacrifices. (not sure that one would work because they can be raised, not resurrected, but hey)

Its a fun riddle to try and solve at the very least!


I think the Dragon just needs to Dragon-defile a number of HD of animals for the life energy, really, right?

I know he demands humanoids, i just can’t think of why…

1 Like

Dragons need HD for the transformation process, while Borys, having already completed his transformation, requires the humanoid life energy to keep Rajaat sealed in the Hollow. For all we know, he uses the souls as well as regular life energy.

1 Like

Prove it. Got a reference?

I’m away from my books, but I’m aware of nothing that suggests Borys is necessarily doing anything other than recasting/renewing the spells to keep Rajaat imprisoned - which could be done with animal life energy/HD via dragon magic.

I’m aware that he has other sources of life energy available, but without proof (aka, a definitive source), any other explanations are supposition and therefore open to DM interpretation (well, even moreso than the standard “Its your game, do what you want.”)

1 Like

I am speculating, which is why I say “for all we know”.

I’m away from my books, but I’m aware of nothing that suggests Borys is necessarily doing anything other than recasting/renewing the spells to keep Rajaat imprisoned - which could be done with animal life energy/HD via dragon magic.

You are making an inference from the way that the dragon metamorphosis works. Yes, the metamorphosis can be advanced through animal sacrifice (HD of living creatures). As far as keeping Rajaat imprisoned, we know nothing. We know that he specificies humanoids for some reason, which is less efficient than animals, which usually have more HD. So perhaps animal HD isn’t the essential part of the spells that are keeping Rajaat trapped in the Hollow.

You could argue that it is perversity that makes Borys take humanoid life instead of animal life. The point is that you said that Borys could use animal HD to fuel the spells that keep Rajaat in place, but the reality is that we do not know that. The material component could be the souls, the confounding nature of humanoid consciousness, or anything else.

1 Like

No, “requires the humanoid life energy” proceeds the words “For all we know”, and therefore reads as a factual statement followed by an opinion/musing.

I’m inferring nothing.

From Dragon Kings, pg 89:

Psionic Enchantments - Tenth-Level Spells

Many of these spells call for elaborate preparation, rare material components, and conditions that must be met prior to or during casting. Often, meeting these requirements calls for small adventures in and of themselves. The DM’s involvement is critical to the role-playing of these powerful spells. Defilers and 10th-level spells: These defiling spells leech life not only from plants but from living creatures. All living creatures within the radius of effect (which is the same as for 9th-level spells) take 1d6 points of damage per spell level (save for half damage). Some spells call for a number of Hit Dice of living creatures as part of the material components for the spell. These creatures are destroyed with the casting of the spell, just like other spell components—no saving throw is allowed.

Plus, you know, the Athasian Dragon PrC from Legends of Athas, which is obviously 3.5e and therefore a less universally applicable source.

1 Like

1: Borys requires the humanoid life energy.
1A: It might be due to perversity, or -
1B: Humanoid life energy may be a necessity. In this case, life energy is a necessary but not the only component required.

2: Go back and look at those epic psionic enchantments in Dragon Kings. They have other components, usually material or ritual components, required for the successful casting of the spell. Drawing the life energy is not a sufficient condition for success.
2A: What is the material or ritual component for the spell keep Rajaat imprisoned? We don’t know but -
2B: It may very well be intelligent humanoid life and whatever essential nature of being an intelligent humanoid provides over simple animal life. Either that or Borys is perverse.

Summary: Humanoid life is likely a material component for the spell, separate to the requirement to draw energy. Or alternatively, Borys is perverse and likes killing humanoids, or perhaps he enjoys humiliating the Sorcerer Monarchs.

1 Like

Exactly, Dragons can/do pull animal life energy for spells. Any motivation for Borys demanding humanoids for the levy is simply speculation - I think I’ve seen some official sources that suggest he’s taking the still-living levy back to Ur Draxa and not directly (or at least immediately) using their life forces/energy to maintain Rajaat’s prison, either way, it’s speculation.

But, I’ve allowed myself to derail this post more than enough. :grin:

1 Like

@Jadenfayle If you do happen to dig up a bunch of threads, feel dfree to drop a list of links here.

It is going to be a fun experiment to see if my character can find a work around for the Levy! If animals work, it’d be a lot easier to get a bunch of aprig’s than a bunch of people! If its just something alive, making life shaped creatures would be slow doing, but possible!

Since our party is now exploring the Crimson Sphere and eventually trying to leave, I think one item on my bucket list is going to be to learn how warforged are made in the Eberron setting. Retrofitting that to work with lifeshaping sounds like a horror show!

It is going to be an interesting problem to solve, that’s for sure.


So I decided to study this a bit and I’m interested to know who all had been paying the 1000 slave levy. I thought it was each of the seven current sorcerer-kings. So 7,000 slaves for the levy.

Most of the sources I find refer to them as slaves being taken to meet the requirements. There are some insights in Ivory Triangle.

For Gulg:

Dragon’s Levy
The single cultural ritual that cuts across the societies of all
the city-states is the Dragon’s Levy. Although it is explained
and implemented in different ways throughout the Tablelands,
it is practiced in every sorcerer-king’s empire. In Gulg, the people believe the Dragon is the one force that can endanger their
home while the oba rules. Every year 1,000 people are led into
the salt flats by the oba’s templars to serve as sacrifices for the
Dragon. Sacrifices are usually comprised of prisoners of war,
criminals and captive slaves, though a few zealous citizens
always join the group in a display of religious or patriotic frenzy.
There are conflicting cosmologies that explain the role of
the Dragon and his levy in Gulg society. The most common
belief is that the Dragon serves to cleanse the city of those who
would diminish Gulg’s supremacy by accepting its undesirables. Military campaigns are often undertaken to raise the
numbers necessary to appease the Dragon.

For Nibenay:

The Dragon’s Levy

Every year, 1,000 captives and slaves are taken into the salt flats
by the king’s templars to be offered in service to the Dragon of
Tyr. The legends of the region suggest that a time will come when
the city will not be able to provide servants to the Dragon. At
that time, the springs will boil dry. the fields will turn to dust, the
forest will wither and the walls of the city will crumble.

So if this is what is currently going on I assume each other city-state has their take on it as well.

What was interesting to also find was this gem from the Valley of Dust and Fire page 51.

“Unto the Dragon was rendered the tribute of
600 erdlus, 170 kanks, 30 mekillots, and 400 slaves.
One hundred pounds of iron, 60 pounds of copper,
and 20 pounds of gold were given unto the Dragon
at that time as well. It is recorded that the beast was
well pleased with the levy of Yaramuke and spared
the city, in the sixth recorded Year of King’s Contemplation.
The Scroll of Eibok,
recovered from the ruins of Yaramuke

I am not totally up to speed on the history of Y. But a few questions arise.

Was Y providing a levy at the same time as the other SMs?
Why was Y providing a levy other than slaves?
Did something about Borys keeping Rajaat’s prison sealed change?
Who else who have been paying the levy in the past?
When did the 7000 slaves for the levy get established?

I guess it’s possible the scroll was in error and that the slaves went for the levy and the other stuff was sold or exchanged by Sielba to get gain. So she could hide what was going on with these goods.
The other things I saw but am like looking for the actual source (possibly in Black Flames) is that Hamanu paid this levy to the Dragon from Y’s treasury to appease Borys because Hamanu killed Sielba.


From the Prism Pentad, we know that the dragon requires 1000 humanoid slaves from each city state. What we don’t know is following:

  1. Whether all the slaves are consumed by the Dragon, or whether some of them are transported to Ur-Draxa to serve the citizens of the city. I find that highly likely based on what we know of Ur-Draxa.
  2. Whether other forms of tribute are given to the Dragon. I find this to be likely also.
  3. There is a clash of canon in relation to the tribute given the Dragon. In the Prism Pentad, the tribute is kept a secret. In certain Dark Sun publications, it is commonly known.
1 Like

There’s a passage in Valley of Dust and Fire that refers to someone being brought to Ur Draxa as part of the levy and living there now. So it’s official that he doesn’t kill all of them on the spot and at least some people are brought back to Ur Draxa to live there.


Oof. That is going to be fun to deal with.
Of course, defeating and replacing the Dragon may be an option, but that would require the rest of the Sorcerer Monarchs to be okay with the levy, provided the party could even perform the ritual to keep Rajaat underwraps! Although… I might be able to work a way around that…