Many races have unique rites of passage. The dragons are the most obvious, literally requiring the ritual to advance in age. However, other istarian races have important rites of passage with less physical effects.
The Satyr, Dryad, and Sslik have no real rite of adulthood to speak of, and
The Humans, Fiends, Elves, Half Giants, Saris and Dwarves have fairly simple rites of adulthood, consisting of single or multiple rituals, and are thus not included here.
this article covers the more complicated and requirement-riddled rites of the Dragons (both Helian and Lunus)for both their maturity(adulthood) rite and their Ancient rite, the Nissians with their bi-dimensional rituals, and the Gnomes with their complex culture of coming of age. The Vielo are also known to have complex rituals, but little is known…
Dragons in General:
For a long time now, the dragons have had some problems. Their growth has become reliant on magical rituals, formerly simple traditions and now very very important indeed. They cannot grow to adulthood until they have undergone the necessary quests.
Basically, the requirements are that the dragon has to be old enough to have become an adult, at about 50 years of age (lets say Class Level 5/DM’s Discretion for the purposes of the game?),
have enough hoard to be considered reasonable or respectable for an adult (45,000 gp worth set aside)
and must also meet additional requirements from the faction they are from/entering.
Helians must have interned or apprenticed with an acclaimed researcher or professor and must have completed their general education before undertaking the quest
Lunus must have served in the military continuously and be skilled enough to be considered for promotion to a higher rank than private, or already be a higher rank.
Once they meet the requirements, they are given leave to speak with the elders in charge and undertake the quest. Its slightly different for each hatchling, but some things are the same. They must find elemental aspects representing their physical and mental self, usually contained in a phylactery that they build themselves.
The details vary, but the concept is the same: building a representation of their adult self to jumpstart their growth to adulthood with. This representation is brought to the peak of storms where the dragon is guided through the process that will cause them to suddenly become an adult and continue to age properly.
While the adult rite is a growth jumpstarting process with sacred insinuations, the Rite of Ancienthood is more like an ascension, though the effects can be considered similar. It results in a dragon being able to become huge and majestic, great in respect and deed. Its basic premise is to travel to the Rift and the Realm of fire to speak with the Sleeper and Drulkar himself. There are many trials between the dragon and this great goal, including the rituals that allow the spirit to travel without the body in the Rift, the unlocking of the gate of Embers, and the learning of great dragon history. Its intentionally complicated, and carrys a great deal of weight and respect, as well as power and wisdom.
Must be at least 300+ years old.
Must have done great deeds for dragonkind or Istaria (necessary for Drulkar’s approval as well as the approval of the council of elders)
have to be very powerful (At least lvl 15)
Must hear the call of Drulkar- they know it when they hear it. Its the direct approval of the dragon god himself.
Have to have a hoarde that could rightly be called “Awesome” (250000 gp worth set aside)
Helians must be renouned for their deeds, ability, and/or talent. This can be renoun from projects they have headed and been recognised for by their college or the imperial college, their deeds in defence, their diplomatic feats, or generally something of great renown. The helians are more flexible than the Lunus about these things.
Must be heavily decorated militarily and be of a rank that is reasonable for the kind of meta-military rank that ancienthood grants, at least Colonel or of an equivalent specialist rank.
Many find Gnommish adulthood incomprehensible, particularly due to their size and their overall childish attitudes towards… everything.
They consider one of their members as an adult after years of internship and further apprenticeship with at least one acclaimed researcher, not any lab worker, someone who is really doing something. They must also run their own experiments, and eventually enter the Annual Fair run by Scientific Council of Interdiciplinary Research, Forethought, Progress, and Upliftment, which has an acronym of SCIRFPU, usually referred to as “Scarfpoo” to the amusment of all, who also handles all scientific articles except for those sent to the helian and kirasanct colleges. At this fair, they get to showcase their experiments and inventions ideas and improvements and recieve grants and partnerships and such… or ridicule.
The nissians are strange. Their rituals have only recently changed.
Previously, they would be considered children until they managed to determine some sort of burning question that they felt they must answer, and then they would travel the spirit realm, or, sometimes, into other realms to find that answer. Or, alternatively they could meditate to find that answer or reach enlightenment.
However with their recent reintroduction to the prime, they have added several steps.
First, at around early adolecence, they send their chicks out into the living world to live there. There, they must find their question and their answer, or return to the spirit world to travel there, or meditate upon the question in one of the quiet monastaries in their home.
technically, they are considered adults when they find their Question, but this is only made official when they find their answer. Of course, many do not find their answer but some do.
This question can be about anything, simple or complex, but it must be a question that burns in their soul and invades their every thought and dream. And the answer must answer it completely and fully, resonating in their soul as CORRECT and TRUE, whatever that may mean or however many ways that can be interpreted. Its more metaphysical awareness than anything.
This means that a takai/nissian on their quest for their answer is likely to be driven, focused, obsessed, and enthusiastic.
Though some questions have many ‘True’ answers, so long as they find an answer that they achknowledge with all of their soul it is the same thing. Even so, many manage to accomplish this task and become great teachers and philosophers.