[[header:'''Bagon Line''']]

!! Morphs [Oak Catalog #]

* Bagon [371]
* Shelgon [372]
* Salamence [373]

!! Physical Description

The members of the Bagon line are draconic creatures that share little in common beyond a color scheme, the presence of bony growths covered by keratin scales not unlike the shells of chelonid Pokémon such as Squirtle, and a lack of tolerance for cold temperatures.

Bagon are tailless bipedal reptiles with a seemingly unshakable fixation on flight that stand on average 60 centimeters high. Bagon are famous for their incredibly durable grey-scaled bony "helmets" that begin at the intersection of its large round snout with the region in between its eyes and continues until a region located roughly along its shoulders. The rest of a Bagon's body is covered with blue scales, barring a region on the underside of its snout, small regions around its ears, and a region beginning at its abdomen and terminating shortly beyond its posterior that is covered in yellow scales. A Bagon has arms that lack defined digits, but rather end in points that are capable of using claw-based attacks in captivity with great difficulty, and feet with two digits each. A Bagon's teeth are sharp, though small and inconspicuous, with the very visible exception of two large, exposed fangs located along the hinge of its lower jaw.

The first evolution of Bagon, Shelgon, is a tailless, quadrupedal creature standing roughly 110 centimeters tall, whose features, barring four exposed legs, and a semi-enclosed face and posterior, are fully encapsulated in a thick and heavy bony shell with six plates arranged in the rough form of a hexagonal prism of the same color and consistency as a Bagon's "helmet." Shelgon are also distinguished by their gray skin, the presence of red ridges running along the back of its four legs which terminate in sharp, rigid points, and the presence of yellow sclera, unlike the white sclera of both its initial and final form. While not readily visible, the teeth on a Shelgon are larger than those of their younger bretheren.

The final evolution of Bagon, Salamence, is a quadrupedal dragon that stands approximately 150 centimeters in height with two wings and three pairs of spike-like protrusions from the side of its head. Like its younger counterparts, Salamence also have regions of their body covered by bony armor, namely the underside of their jaw and its underbelly, though its armor in markedly thinner than that of its younger counterparts. The rest of a Salamence's body is dominated by blue scales, with red scales present along the the entirety of its wings, the front of its neck, the underside of its tail, two ridges along the top of its head and ridges running along the length of the rear of its upper forelegs and front of its upper rear legs. Each of a Salamence's four legs sports three large and sharp claws, which it uses in battle and in attacking prey. Like Shelgon, Salamence have large, but unexposed fangs with a pair of particularly prominent fangs located on the upper and lower jaw.

Individuals from this line are known to exhibit a small number of phenotype variations beyond the colorations most immediately associated with Bagon in Hoenn and Sinnoh. One such variation causes its bearers' scales to trend lighter and more vivid as Bagon, darker as Shelgon, and muted and more pale as Salamence, which is most commonly documented among individuals hailing from the population near Unova's Route 15. In exceedingly rare circumstances, there have been documented cases of members of the Bagon line having green scales. Due to the rarity of Bagon in general and the immense power of their final form, these individuals are highly sought after and are known to command a hefty premium among black market traffickers.

!! Notable Biology

Like several other Pokémon with a similar physiology, all members of the Bagon line have bladders that capture lighter-than-air and flammable gases produced by bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract, enabling them to use fire-based breath attacks such as Ember. Bagon have by far the smallest and least developed bladder, which contributes to the relative lack of power of their breath attacks and preference for more physically-oriented attacks. Shelgon have two bladders, one specifically to fuel its breath attacks and one to help its legs hold up its weight, not unlike air bladders used for buoyancy among certain marine Pokémon, which transfers excess gases over to the other bladder. Salamence have a more developed version of Shelgon's twin gas bladders, and have a support bladder that is capable of allowing its wings to support its body weight in mid-flight while laying waste to fields and mountainsides with incendiary breath attacks. Damage or tears in the bladder linings are not unheard of, and can cause the breath attacks of members of the Bagon line to become erratic and impair the ability of Shelgon and Salamence to support their own weight while moving until they heal properly.

All stages of the Bagon line have a nigh-fanatical fixation with flying. The youngest stage, Bagon, is infamous for its attempts at flying in the wild by diving off of high ledges near its den, which can result in injury or death if one of the creatures overestimates the strength of its bony "helmet." Wild Shelgon also tend to live close to tall ledges, but seldom dive off of cliffs after their first attempt after evolution due to a risk of rolling over and becoming stranded. Both wild and captive Salamence routinely fly, and enjoy performing complex mid-air aerobatics. Being physically unable to fly, often from a broken wing or damaged gas bladder, is often a traumatizing experience for the dragons, and individuals have been known to sink into deep depressions until they are once again capable of fight.

All stages of the Bagon line are ectothermic, which makes them ill-adjusted to cold weather. In cold seasons or sudden cold snaps, it is not unheard of for members of the Bagon line to set fire to plant material in order to attempt to keep warm. In extreme circumstances, there have been reports of large groups of Bagon and its brethren defying conventional behavioral patterns to huddle en masse in an attempt to stay warm.

On occasion, individuals belonging to a rarely-observed submorph of this line are documented. As Bagon, members of this submorph are known to have unusually thin helmets as well as a gas bladder structure that is conducive for more powerful, though shorter breath attacks. Shelgon from this submorph also have thinner keratin plates than their typical counterpart, but appear to be more resistant to abrupt changes in environmental conditions than said counterparts. As Salamence, these creatures possess a less physically imposing appearance, with dramatically smaller fangs and less prominent ridges along its head, though appear to become noticeably more aggressive towards groups of opponents that continue to fight it even after individual members have been subdued in combat.

!! Habitat

While rare, stable populations of Bagon have been recorded living in caves and in mountainous regions, with a handful of known populations residing in alternative habitats, most notably a stable population of Bagon residing in the regions to the immediate east of Unova's Route 15. Some of the most prominent stable populations of Bagon have been documented in Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Kalos with the largest of these located within the Meteor Falls between Routes 114 and 115, in a region to the north of Route 210 to the east of Celestic Town, and the cliffsides of Kalos' Route 8. Although individual Shelgon and Salamence have occasionally been spotted in the wild near areas known to house Bagon, there are no known stable wild populations for either species of Pokémon with the exception of a population of Shelgon introduced to the area around the Johto Safari Zone.

!! Diet

All stages in the Bagon line have predominantly carnivorous diets. Salamence appear to have the most carnivorous diet, with consumption of berries or other forms of plant matter recorded only among individuals in captivity or severely malnourished individuals in the wild. Bagon and Shelgon both also have primarily carnivorous diets, though both have been recorded eating berries and plant matter on a semi-infrequent basis in the wild.

Bagon appear to be highly opportunistic predators, and typically feed on any creature not dramatically larger than themselves that is visibly weak enough to be subdued or otherwise conveniently located below them on a cliff face, and have been recorded scavenging carrion. Shelgon appear to share similar feeding habits as Bagon, though with a much heavier emphasis on scavenging over hunting due to its weighty shell. Salamence are active predators, and have a diet limited only by the thickness of its potential prey's hide and the presence of any toxins. In myths, it is alleged that Salamence cannibalize their fellow brethren, though this behavior has yet to be reliably documented either in the wild or in captivity.

It should be noted that while the first two forms of this line are relatively easy for trainers to feed in captivity, that Salamence will quickly out-eat all but the wealthiest of trainers. Would-be trainers of Salamence may need to consult local game wardens in order to arrange for their Pokémon to hunt wild quarry.

!! Hazards

Bagon and its brethren have long been vilified in mythology and in media as vicious, heartless killing machines. Although such a depiction is undoubtedly rife with hyperbole, saying that members of this line are not to be trifled with would be a gross understatement.

Although Bagon are undoubtedly the least aggressive of the members of its line, they still pose several dangers to Trainers in captivity and in the wild. Although Bagon may look cute, and like most Pokémon tend to shy away from creatures visibly larger than themselves, a frightened or irritated Bagon in the wild or in captivity, like any Pokémon that feels threatened, is prone to lashing out at perceived aggressors. Bagon are known to readily employ moves such as Bite against opponents, which can result in numerous puncture wounds and if bitten with the fangs towards the hinge of a Bagon's jaws, deep gashes requiring medical sutures. Bagon will also attack perceived foes by ramming them with their armored heads. In spite of their small stature, Bagon headbutts are known to be powerful enough to break bones and to knock adult humans off of their feet. In addition, Bagon, especially those nearing the point of their evolution into Shelgon are known to use incendiary breath attacks, which are more than capable of inflicting second or third-degree burns. Wild Bagon pose a unique danger to trainers through their tendency to engage in cliff-dives. Although their intent is typically not malicious, with an average weight of 40 kilograms, encounters with falling Bagon are typically fatal, and in regions where Bagon are known to live, trainers and hikers are urged to keep a healthy distance away from high cliff faces.

Although their lethargic movements would suggest otherwise, Shelgon also pose threats to imprudent trainers in captivity and in the wild. Wild Shelgon are typically malnourished, due in no small part to their hefty and cumbersome shell, which makes them more readily irritable than their younger counterparts. Like Bagon, Shelgon also utilize headbutts as a major attack strategy, and are more than capable of sudden lunges towards a target. While the effects of a Bagon's headbutt can be quite serious, Shelgon headbutts tend to be far more damaging. With an average individual topping the scales at over 110 kilograms, a Shelgon's headbutt is more than capable of breaking numerous bones at once and causing massive internal bleeding, often requiring the prompt hospitalization of the unlucky trainer at the receiving end. Shelgon also employ both biting and clawing attacks against their foes. If bitten or clawed by a Shelgon, deep gashes are almost a given, and it is not unheard of for some injuries to be serious enough to cause heavy blood loss. Shelgon also more readily employ incendiary breath attacks than their younger brethren and are capable of inflicting second and third degree burns over larger areas of the body with their attacks. Although wild encounters with Shelgon are almost unheard of, the recent introduction of a stable population of Shelgon into Southwestern Johto has prompted officials in that region to begin putting up notices encouraging trainers to keep their distance from wild Shelgon.

Although they have been known to exhibit immense loyalty to their trainers, Salamence are by far the most dangerous members of the Bagon line. As creatures, Salamence are effectively living weapons, with sharp claws on each limb, a mouthful of razor-like teeth, and breath attacks with a destructive potential in the top percentage of those utilized by other Pokémon. Unlike both of its younger brethren, Salamence is not only capable of killing and devouring an unwary trainer without great effort, but has been recorded as doing so on occasion. In spite of Salamence's reputation as a man-eater, it appears that the vast majority of fatal encounters between humans and Salamence stem from the latter's notorious temperament rather than any true hunger. Salamence by and large are fairly ill-tempered, and typically suffer unwelcome entities on their territory of any sort and perceived threats to themselves or to any offspring or companions exceedingly poorly. Researchers are presently at a loss to account for the degree of aggression exhibited by Salamence, though observations of captive individuals suggest a connection between individual Salamence's experiences as a Shelgon and its temperament after evolution. An enraged Salamence is often also a public safety hazard, as incensed Salamence have been noted to enter mindless rampages that end only after the individual is too physically exhausted to continue. Due to their incredible strength and their often vicious temperament, it is not unheard of for a captive Salamence's opponent in a battle to be seriously injured or killed. For this reason, a number of minor leagues and tournaments have opted or otherwise have for times in the past opted to ban the creatures entirely from their matches, and a handful of larger leagues have received petitions from concerned trainers and public safety officials to follow suit, though they presently remain legal in the Indigo, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova Leagues.

!! Courting

All stages of the Bagon line are capable of breeding, Bagon being the most commonly observed specimen by nature of its relative abundance in the wild in comparison to its elder brethren. The known mating season for wild members of the Bagon line appears to be early spring, though wild individuals living in cave systems and captive individuals are known to mate at times long after the conventional mating season. Both male Bagon and Shelgon appear to spar with each other to woo mates by what appears to be ritualized headbutting, not wholly unlike behavior exhibited by such Pokémon as Stantler. Although these matches typically end with little harm to their participants, it is not unheard of for the matches to devolve into brutal and protracted brawls. Courtship among Salamence is still poorly understood, due to the species' immense rarity in the wild and great dangers inherent to approaching wild Salamence. According to myth, Salamence courtship involves males attempting to woo a potential mate through aerial battles often causing great harm to those involved. However, given the less than flattering tone many myths take towards Salamence, it is unknown how much, or for that matter, if any portion of these accounts are reliable. In all observed cases, the victor of these sparring matches will mate with the female in her den and will remain with her until she lays her eggs before leaving. Despite this, accounts of mating pairs lasting for extended periods of time after the female lays her eggs are not unheard of, and are an anomaly of interest to researchers. Members of the Bagon line have been recorded courting and mating with species within their egg group outside of their immediate line such as members of the Charmander line, though occurrences outside of captivity are very uncommon.

!! Social Structure

After laying her eggs, the female will guard her eggs until they hatch and continue to protect her young as long as they remain nearby for 8-12 months. Unlike more mammalian Pokémon, members of the Bagon line tend to afford their young more freedom to roam around. For reasons unknown, unlike many Pokémon that raise their young in a similar fashion, members of this line that raise their offspring in this fashion appear to have a relatively low mortality rate among their offspring. Other methods of childcare are known to be exhibited among members of this line, with one of the most common consisting of the formation of communal crèches of young amongst a small number of females of this line. After the 8-12 month period of protection expires, the mother will drive off the last stragglers from her den to fend for themselves. On their own, Bagon typically organize themselves into small groups of 2-5 individuals for protection and for food, which remain fairly stable until a period shortly before their evolution into Shelgon, where the groups begin to dissolve. In both the Shelgon stage and if attained, the Salamence stage, individuals lead fairly solitary existences, and only allow potential mates, close acquaintances, or creatures that individuals were socialized with from their days as Bagon or Shelgon to remain in their territory without being attacked.

Members of this line that live near other populations of draconic creatures appear to often be more amicable towards such Pokémon than towards more normal creatures. Populations of Bagon and its elder forms that have been recorded living near populations of Dratini or Swablu and its elder counterparts have been recorded tolerating territorial incursions that would merit an assault were they committed by other creatures. One of the most dramatic known examples of this increased amicableness towards other draconic creatures consists of a population of Bagon and its evolutions near an introduced population of Charizard within Hoenn. Individuals from the Bagon line from this population appear to form interspecies crèches with the local Charizard, and have been documented cohabitating with their counterparts from this population of creatures from the Charmander line during the colder months of the year.

!! In Human Society

Historically, members of the Bagon line have been widely reviled within human society, and seldom see depictions outside of folklore and mythology without some level of demonization as monsters that delight in sowing destruction and suffering. Bagon and Salamence in particular receive the brunt of this vilification within historical attitudes, the former being despised as a bane to travelers and livestock in mountainous areas due to its cliff dives, and the latter for its sheer destructive power, which manifests itself in tales of Salamence laying waste to fields and villages without provocation. Curiously, human folklore in regions near populations of Bagon and its evolutions seem to have a begrudging respect for Shelgon, which are occasionally lauded for their tenacity and their canny ability to find navigable routes in mountainous regions. Some settlements appear to have a tradition of righting stranded Shelgon and offering Shelgon passing en route to high ledges along mountain routes food.

Despite its status as a pariah within historical folklore, a number of cultures near populations of Bagon appear to have had traditions of taming Salamence. These creatures typically saw use as aerial weapons within military contexts, typically being raised from a young age, if not from hatching under the intimate care of a handler. Attitudes towards these handlers vary widely depending upon author, with handlers of allied military forces being lauded as restraining savage creatures and channeling their power for the protection of one’s community, while handlers from opposing forces were often described as being “Salamence in human form”.

These impressions of Bagon and its evolutions have manifested themselves in a number of often vitriolic depictions of the creatures from this line. Bagon and its evolutions make numerous appearances as enemies of varying degrees of strength in a number of roleplaying games. The final form, Salamence, regularly assumes the role of a major antagonist in a truly staggering range of works, including within [[Literature/TheHobbit a novel by a celebrated author of fantasy fiction]], as a boss a [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess wildly popular action adventure video game]], [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim as agents of an evil deity in a RPG set in a subarctic land]], and as a form assumed by a evil sorceress [[Disney/SleepingBeauty within an animated film]] based off of [[Literature/SleepingBeauty a fairy tale.]]

In recent years, members of the Bagon line have begun to be portrayed in a more sympathetic light in media, including the presence of a Bagon as a recurring ally within [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros a massive series of platforming games and spin-off media]] [[PowerupMount that helps the player to defeat enemies]], including in a (rarely depicted) state as a Salamence, [[WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon and an animated adaptation]] of [[Literature/HowToTrainYourDragon the first book of a fairly successful series revolving around a teenage trainer and his Salamence,]] as well as a [[Literature/DragonridersOfPern long-lived series of books involving Salamence that were genetically modified by humans on a distant planet]]. Naturally, [[TheRedStapler demand for these creatures has risen]] among trainers, including fairly young trainers, which has been a cause of concern among many health and public safety officials, who are attempting to gauge whether the increased interest in these creatures will taper off quickly or be a longer-term phenomena similar to the interest in members of the Sandshrew line. Law enforcement officials have noted a significant uptick in trafficking of Pokémon in the Bagon line, as well as an uptick in the number of injuries and deaths stemming from bungled attempts to poach these rare creatures.

[-Written by @/TracerBullet.-]