—Tiki on degenerating
A Degenerated Dragon (退化竜, Taikaryū) are non sentient dragons that have gone insane and lost all reasoning capabilities.
Thousands of years before the events of Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, the society of dragons in Archanea began to collapse. Fertility in dragons mysteriously died out, and soon after the dragons began to go insane. The elders of the dragon tribes, realizing that the end of the Dragonkin species was at hand, advised their people to seal their true form in a stone and assume a humanoid form instead.
However, most dragons were skeptical of this warning, and pridefully refused to give up their form. As such, these dragons eventually and irreversibly degenerated into madness and ferality. These insane dragons lost their sentience, becoming extremely violent without reason or cause, and were a danger to the entire continent.
The most dangerous of the degenerated dragons, the Earth Dragons, were battled by Naga and the Divine Dragons at great cost. Eventually, they were sealed in the Dragon's Table, with the Binding Shield securing the seal. In the remake of Mystery of the Emblem, a great deal of other feral dragons are also shown to be sealed with them.
In the setting of Fates, it is shown that the First Dragons also started degenerating seemingly a result of their great age, leading them to seal their powers in the dragonstones or even take spirit form. In the present, very few dragons are left in the world as a result.
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- Earth Dragons - Only the Earth Dragon Prince, Medeus, is known to have lived through degeneration. Due to the tribe's great power, Naga sealed them in the Dragon's Table to protect humanity from the now mindlessly destructive beasts.
- Fire Dragons - Many Fire Dragons fell to madness, with Bantu being among the known survivors. Mad Fire Dragons go to the Flame Barrel, also known as the Graveyard of Fire Dragons, to await their demise. They are known to eat humans according to Xane. New Mystery of the Emblem shows some Fire Dragons sealed alongside the Earth Dragons in the Dragon's Table.
- Mage Dragons - Insane Mage Dragons are only known to be found at the Dragon's Table's interior, as well as sealed with the Earth Dragons in New Mystery of the Emblem.
- Ice Dragons - No Ice Dragons are known to have escaped degeneration. In Mystery of the Emblem, they are found only at the Ice Dragon Temple, which they still mindlessly guard from intruders, and sealed in the Dragon's table in New Mystery of the Emblem.
- Wyverns - It is implied in the original that Wyverns were once a Dragon tribe, and like the Ice Dragons have no members known to have survived with their mind intact. Wyverns are most commonly found at the Wyvern's Dale, and within the Table's seal in New Mystery of the Emblem.
- Divine Dragons - The Divine Dragons were the only Dragon tribe with no members known to have fully degenerated. However, Naga suspected that Tiki's power imbalance would lead to her going mad, creating an unstoppable enemy for mankind, and thus put her to sleep for a millennium. In Echoes, Duma and Mila are known to be Divine Dragons who are exiled by Naga before the events of the game. During the events of the game, it is shown that Duma and Mila are slowly descending into madness, making them the only Divine Dragons who got close to degeneration. Duma's degeneration was by far the most unique, as not only was he growing mad, but his body had begun to rot as well, a trait that is not shared by any other degenerated dragons.
- First Dragons - Anankos and the Rainbow Sage are the only First Dragons to have lived during the events of Fates, however, according to Azura and the Rainbow Sage himself, it seems that the Rainbow Sage and Anankos have also gone mad, like the other dragons, and dying during the events of the game.
In the original Mystery of the Emblem, degenerated dragons act similarly to transformed Manaketes, but do not start combat in human form (and thus have an unlimited amount of time in dragon form as well). In the remake, New Mystery of the Emblem, degenerated dragons hold entirely different classes from Manaketes. Degenerated dragons use their species unbreakable breath weapon to attack, unlike Manaketes, who rely on their breakable Dragonstones. On harder difficulties, degenerated dragons use 1-2 range breath as opposed to 1 range.
In New Mystery of the Emblem, degenerated dragons generally have higher caps than their Manakete counterparts. A Firestone-using Manakete with max stats has 28 Strength, 24 Skill, 24 Speed, 29 Defense, and 24 Resistance, while a degenerated Fire Dragon caps the same stats at 30 each.
- As Degenerated Dragons are non-sentient, none of them have dialogue or names.
- Currently, Duma is the only degenerated dragon that showed a case of having his body rot.
- According to the Valentian Accordion, age seems to play a factor in degeneration, and Mila retained most of her sanity and remained beautiful due to being younger than Duma. Whether this is something pertaining to all dragons or just Duma and Mila is unknown, as lore in Mystery of the Emblem said that all dragons, regardless of age, were degenerating due to their power.
- The case of Loptous seems to indicate blood pacts and conserving power in the form of a possessed mark holder can also stave off degeneration.