Club Location History - Definition of Various Places of Residence - New(ish) Book Releases - New/Updated Canon - Dragon Riders - Firelizard communications - Crafts/Occupation-Related - Pern Economics and the Value of a Mark - Miscellaneous - Addition Suggestions

Club Location History

Some club location stats:

Location Founded
Thread's End Weyr Turn 13, Ninth Pass
Thread's End Hold Turn 13, Ninth Pass
(Note: Peninsula Runner Station, located at Thread's End Hold, wasn't established until Turn 24.)
Sonnette's Dawn Hold Turn 20, Ninth Pass
DolphinCraft Hall Month 1, Turn 34, Ninth Pass
Thread's End HarperCraft Hall Month 11, Turn 34, Ninth Pass
Green Ridge Hold Month 6, Turn 35, Ninth Pass
Ierne Island Weyr Month 6, Turn 35, Ninth Pass

Definition of Various Places of Residence

New(ish) Pern Book Release Tidbits

What's the deal when new Pern books are released? Does this club have any rules on that?

We sure do! We ask that, out of courtesy, you use SPOILER in the subject field when entioning a new book until one month after the book's release in the last one of the three major markets for books published in English, ie US, Europe (England), Australia. Additionally, we delay adopting newly revealed canon or canon that has been revised in the new book until after the SPOILER is lifted so you'd want to keep that in mind when posting in the club.

Do hurricanes happen on Pern?

Sure they do. Anne has said they aren't common on Pern, but they do occur. How devastating they are depends, as on Earth, on many things, including atmospheric conditions. A storyline of this nature would require Council approval and be a club-wide storyline.

Canon and New(ish) Pern Releases

I've got a weyrmate now. Can I talk with my weyrmate's dragon and it with me like in The Skies of Pern?

If the weyrmated pair has a serious bond -- Council decides that -- then yes. See Rules and Regulations, Section 11.1 for more information. Keep in mind, you've got to get Council's approval on this idea first.

Can I have my dragon between without me? Maybe even between times?

In an emergency situation, dragons can go between without their riders, even between times. Council permission is required. See Rules and Regulations, Section 11.1 for more information. Keep in mind, you've got to get Council's approval on this idea first, to determine if the "emergency" warrants the betweening without a rider (whether normal or timing).

In The Skies of Pern, the dragons were found to have telekinetic abilities. Is telekinesis a draconic ability in DragonRiders Club?

No, telekinesis is not a draconic ability in DR. It was AIVAS who pushed the dragons to develop new abilities and skills that would rid Pern of Thread, and also allow dragons and their riders to find a new way of life after the Pass. Since we are a non-AIVAS club, and Thread continues to fall, there would have been no impetus to develop telekinetic skills.

Can Threadfall happen at night?

Thread can fall anytime from an hour before sunrise to two hours past sunset, but not at night. This is because the Red Star's orbit comes between Pern and Rukbat; thus, no nighttime Threadfalls. However, because of the planet's rotation from east to west, it's possible that it can be rotating into a Fall. Also, once Fall has started, it could conceivably take a while to trail off. Thus, it's possible for Thread to start falling an hour before dawn or continue falling (but not start) two hours after sunset.

Can whers fly or go between?

The following is what wher canon Council has been able to piece together from the following sources: Dragon Lover's Guide to Pern, Dragonsdawn, Dragonflight, and Master Harper of Pern. Council has determined that Dragon's Kin is not a source of canon for the DragonRiders Club; thus, no information from that book has been included here.


An adult wher is roughly the size of a small horse, with dragon-like wings, and weighs between six and eight hundred pounds. A wher has two claws per foot, and rests its weight on a thick pad on the underside of the foot. They do have wings, usually clipped; however, the wings are non-functional, meaning that whers cannot fly, even if their wings are unclipped.

Their skin is similar to dragons' skin, in that it is smooth, not scaly, and male whers are either blue, brown or bronze, and female whers are either green or gold. A wher's eyes lack the visible faceting that is so obvious in dragon and firelizard eyes, but the eye colours do still shift in accordance with mood.

While dragons are noted as having a slight spicy scent, some references show whers as being rather more pungent - downright odorous, in fact. This may be somewhat alleviated by watching the wher's diet, regular bathing, and care of the wher's living quarters.


Because of Wind Blossom's attempt to smooth out the faceting of dragon eyes, whers are photophobic; sunlight, or even bright glow light, causes them great pain. They are nocturnal as a result, and see extremely well in low-level light. They can also see in spectra other than visible light, which means they can still 'see' in even total darkness. In addition, whers possess acute senses of smell and hearing. These factors have made them extremely valuable to Pern's miners, as the beasts can sense dangers and bad air that humans cannot detect.

They have strong territorial instinct which humans harness; whers are extremely effective watch animals, though they must be chained more or less constantly to prevent attacks on people the wher doesn't know. That territorial instinct extends into protecting a human to whom they feel a degree of attachment, and attacks may well come on the wher's own initiative, ie without a specific order being given.

Whers are also very strong, able to carry at least their own body weight.

They are omnivorous and, by some accounts, are not too cautious about the freshness of what they eat. This may lead to health (and odour) problems for them if they're allowed to eat rotting food.

Whers do have the ability to make Impression, as do their fire lizard and dragon relatives; however, like fire lizards, Impression is not vital for a wher's survival. An unImpressed wher will survive, and can form attachments later in life, even to one not of the Bloodline of the Hold it watches. This attachment is nowhere near as permanent as a dragon-human bond, and is non-exclusive; should it lapse the wher will survive, and can go on to form working relationships with other humans. There is no mention of any particular ritual attached to taking over working with a watchwher; one is simply introduced to it, and it becomes accustomed to working with you and taking orders from you.

While people other than Hold Blood can easily work with whers, the bond with Blood is stronger; while Telgar, Ozzie and Cobber can take over working with the original whers when Wind Blossom abandons them, F'lar notes that 'tampering with' a watchwher (giving it orders to keep secrets from dragons, for example), takes great control from someone of the Blood.

Whers are 'mortal' - that is, unlike fire lizards who do not seem to age, and dragons who may show signs of growing older but don't seem to die of old age, whers both show signs of ageing (including both physical and mental deterioration), and die of old age.

Intelligence and communication

Whers are not as intelligent as dragons. However, they are intelligent enough to parse reasonably complex commands. As an example, Lessa commands the Ruathan wher to be as fierce to her as to anyone else - as long as anyone else is looking. That's a reasonably complex order for an animal to obey, and calls on the wher to display some judgment of its own.

Whers also do not communicate in the same fashion as dragons - they don't construct sentences, talk back and forth as dragons do with their riders. However, they are capable of communication on several levels. First, they can communicate mentally with their handlers/owners/Blood, receiving instructions or orders, and communicating their reactions to them, in much the same way and to the same level that fire lizards communicate with their Impressed owners - emotions and sensations, not words. Second, they can communicate mentally with dragons. Thirdly, they can communicate out loud, in groans and cries, and by body language.

Whers do not inform their human partners of their names; wher names do not necessarily end in 'sk'; whers do not 'speak' in words and sentences. Wher communication in posts is punctuated by // and \\.

Humans and whers

There are three ways for a human to interact with or relate to a wher. First is to be born of the Bloodline to which the wher is 'attached' - as Lessa was of the Ruathan line. Second is to Impress a wher or formulate a non-Impression working relationship with a wher, either at hatching or later in its life. Being of the relevant Bloodline will not necessarily convey any particular interest in or attachment to the wher of one's Hold, though; to be a wher owner or handler means that your character has taken the step of becoming interested in whers, enough to work with one. Note that 'wher owner' and 'wher handler' are jobs, not ranks.

Unlike their dragon and fire lizard cousins, whers in Ninth Pass Pern are viewed more as low-status working animals; working 'watchdogs', and not pets. They're objects of teasing from ill-disciplined hold children or hall apprentices; F'lar is 'appalled' that anyone would sink low enough to claim a wher as a friend.

Wild whers

Wild whers are rare, since only a few eggs of each clutch will actually hatch. Those whers hatched in the wild are territorial, and will attack humans if provoked. The likelihood of a character 'taming' an already-hatched wher is extremely low to zero; there may be a slim chance of a character finding a clutch, killing the female wher (which would, given territoriality and protective instincts, certainly savagely attack an intruder with every intention of killing him/her/them), and taking the clutch away, hoping to Impress or at least establish a working bond with one of the offspring. However, few of the eggs will hatch, and the hatchlings will not necessarily Impress, though being hatched and raised around humans will prevent them from reverting to the wild, and they may be able to form a working relationship later in life.

Craft affiliation

There is no independent 'craft' for whers or people who work with them. The Beastcraft has nothing to do with breeding, training, supplying or treating whers; instead, if a wher needs medical attention, a dragonhealer may be summoned to provide what aid he or she can.

Dragonrider Things

Mating flights: How often do green and gold dragons rise?

In our club, gold dragons rise approximately every nine Pernese months. Green dragons normally rise three to four times a Turn, evenly spaced. The firelizards rise about the same frequency as their dragon counterparts.

Note: Anne McCaffrey stipulated that no mating flights would occur at night or during Threadfall with the reasoning that the heat of the sun is often what set dragons to flight and no dragon would ignore her obligation to fight Thread to rise.

Mating flights: Do both greens and golds blood before mating flights?

Anne McCaffrey has said that Queens will blood kills; however, for the purposes of this club, Green dragons may or may not blood a kill before a mating flight as the writer prefers.

How long is it from the time a gold dragon rises to the time it clutches and until the Eggs Hatch?Is this the same for the firelizards?

Based on the teaching ballad in Dragonflight (written by Anne McCaffrey), the timeline for a gold dragon is as follows:

For firelizards, this timeline is a little shorter based on a reply Anne McCaffrey once gave on her message board. For our club, the timeline for gold and green firelizards from Flight to Clutch to Hatching is as follows:

Can my persona hear all dragons like Lessa did?

No, per Anne McCaffrey. However, while your persona may not hear all dragon conversations all the time, he or she may hear an individual dragon when that dragon speaks directly to him or her. It is a rare occurrence, and the person to whom the dragon has spoken usually feels very honored.

Fire Lizard Communications

How do fire lizards communicate?

Q: Do firelizards speak telepathically, in words like a dragon or just empathic images? There were some points in the books where I wasn't sure.

ANNE: Fire-lizards don't have words - they express stronger emotions and can pick up the mood of the people they are beholden to. They can occasionally - the queens and the bronzes - project images or scenes to their people.

Crafts/Occupation-Related This and That

Are there inns on Pern? Can I be an innkeeper?

As far as can be determined from Anne McCaffrey's writing, there aren't inns on Pern nor the occupation of innkeeper. What do people do when travelling, then? Well, Pernese custom demands that no one is denied shelter from Threadfall, except those staked out of course. Threadfall shelters are about the land though this is far from what most would care to be confined to during Fall. Even those a Holder might deny shelter on a Thread free day would be given a square foot or two in a barn.

So what about those Threadfall free days? When asking for permission to stop over at a cothold, etc, custom as well as common courtesy would dictate that the traveller offer some sort of payment such as labor, marks, entertainment, information, bartering, etc. The individuals providing the shelter would be free to refuse the payment if they wanted to do so. Of course, there's no law saying they have to provide the shelter if no Thread is due, but this type of information has a way of spreading so they'd probably at least offer that square foot in the barn. Innkeeper? Nope. Clever or shrewd bartering? Absolutely possible!

Are sexual relationships allowed among apprentices?

While Masters would most likely discourage young apprentices (15 and below) from entering sexual relationships, it wouldn't be a rule that they would be actively trying to enforce.

How do the duties of a Headwoman and a Steward differ?

Holds that are large enough to need both a Steward and a Headwoman/man usually distribute the mundane duties so that the Headwoman/man deals with the things that are needed for everyday life by Hold residents, such as making sure everyone is fed and clothed, living quarters are kept clean, and in general commanding the "household" staff, which includes hiring and firing them as needed. The Steward, on the other hand, deals with things that effect the Hold's future, such as what crops will be raised for the needs of the Hold, making arrangement for export and tithing, seeing that things the Hold needs are imported and hiring and firing staff not working for the Headwoman/man. Both Steward and Headwoman/man report to the Lord or Lady Holder regularly, as well as defer the far-reaching important decisions to him/her.

Pern Economics and the Value of a Mark

What is the value of a Mark?

According to the Dragon Lover's Guide to Pern by Jody Lynn Nye, one mark will buy:

Clothing and Jewelry
Household Items

Further info from the DLG:

Mark pieces are wooden discs stamped with a die stamp and come in values 1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 5, 10, and 100 marks. One side of the mark is stamped with a line and a number. If the number is above the line, it means the value is in whole marks; if the number is below the line, the value is a fraction of a mark. (E.g. 2 above the line means the piece is worth 2 marks, but 2 below the line means the piece is worth 1/2 mark.) The other side of the mark is stamped with the issuing Hold's or Crafthall's badge.

The Craft Corner lists more prices for Smithcraft items.

How does this compare to earth currency?

The technology level of Pern in the Ninth Pass is figured to be approximately late 1700s to early 1800s, so the value of the Mark in this work has been figured on the value of what the dollar was then. Not what the dollar is worth now. The dollar was worth a lot more back then and could buy much more than it can now.

Here are what the different mark denominations are worth, in U.S. money, that have been figured, starting with a one-mark piece.

1 Mark - $20
3/4 Mark - $15
1/2 Mark - $10
1/4 Mark - $5
1/8 Mark - $2.50
1/16 Mark - $1.25
1/32 Mark - $.063
Going up:
2 Mark piece - $40
5 Mark piece - $100
10 Mark piece - $200
50 Mark piece - $1000
100 Mark piece - $2,000
(rare and only for large transactions)

How many marks do people earn on Pern?

Going by what the average teacher in the early 1800s would have made ($15 per month plus room and board), a JM/JW Harper would make around one Mark per month. A Master would make double that, so two Marks. Apprentices make nothing unless their Master gives them some Marks as a reward for doing well or if they can manage to sell some of their apprentice-made wares. Apprentices are provided room, board, clothing and teaching, that is considered enough.

Headmen/women and Stewards have jobs of great responsibility so should probably make around a mark and a half to two marks, respectively.

Skilled laborers are made up of those who do a valuable job but are not formally in a Craft. Head Gardeners, Dock Supervisors, Head Cooks, etc. would fall into this category. A Half-Mark per month plus room, board and access to common stores would be an appropriate salary for these persons.

Unskilled laborers are made up of those who do what is considered "grunt" work. Under Gardeners, Kitchen Workers, Laundry Workers, Dock Workers, Field Laborers, Carters, etc. would fall into this category. A Quarter-Mark plus room, board and access to common stores would be an appropriate salary for these persons.

Drudges are made up of those who lack the initiative and motivation to do anything better. Some might be a little simple-minded but generally they are regular people who just do not want to go into a Craft, have no particular talents, some might be just downright lazy. An Eighth-Mark per month plus room, board and access to common stores would be an appropriate salary for these persons.

What if I don't have any marks?

Of course, if a person does not have any marks to spend, or wants to save what marks he/she has, there is always the barter system which has been in effect on Pern since almost the beginning. Two people, each having something the other wants, bargain/haggle to find out what the final worth of the goods are to be. This can be a very spirited exchange as each person tries to play up their goods and find fault with the other person's goods so as to get the best bargain for themselves. However, there are unspoken rules for these exchanges: They never get personal and each person treats the other with respect. It is not appropriate to lie during bargaining or haggling but bending the truth or leaving information out has been done. (Read about Piemur bargaining for bubbly pies in Dragonsinger.)

The last category in the economy of Pern is what AM has called "credit" in a few instances. Giving someone credit for a transaction, such as the selling of livestock or the making of an expensive craft piece, makes sense in a world where marks do not grow on trees. (Couldn't resist!) So a craftperson or Holder might give a person credit with that Craft or Hold in exchange for goods. This would, of course, be recorded with a Master or Steward so that it would be official.


Why do we have 3 different weathers/climates for our club locations? What are the climates for the club locations?

Pern is a warmer planet than Earth, so Earth climate-latitude relationships do not necessarily hold true for Pern. However, some changes were needed regarding our climates. Council decided the club should have three different climates: tropical for the Thread's End area (such as Costa Rica on Earth), sub-tropical for the Black Rock River area (such as Florida), and temperate for the Dragon's Gate area (such as Pennsylvania). The same Fall schedule, however, covers the Thread's End area and the Black Rock River area so there's no change in that aspect.

Does prostitution exist on Pern?

Prostitution, i.e. sex for marks, does not exist on Pern. However, in certain circumstances, sex might be exchanged for food/shelter (i.e. survival), or for extra perks, especially in the holdless caverns and bandit camps. This is not considered prostitution. Such situations would never happen in the Weyr though, since most Lower Caverns women would only be too happen to have relations with dragonriders and bear them children.

Do martial arts exist on Pern?

Yes, martial arts do exist on Pern. However, there is no formal name (i.e. earth terms such as judo or karate), instead descriptions such as "fighting techniques" or "self-protection" can be used.


I've got a suggestion for something to add to this page. Who should I talk to?

Club members should email Council with the suggestion, and they will make the decision on whether or not to add it to this list.

Last updated on 23-Feb-14.

Dragonriders of Pern: A Fantasy-Fiction Writing Club -

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