Seals of Command - Can you please expand on how these function in practice?
As a rule the dragon and the rider are partners - details on their bond to come soon - not masters & servants. That partnership need not always be... mutually agreeable. The dragons have their own thoughts, feelings, and what not so it stands to reason that in virtually all cases the dragon will act in a way that the rider is not fond of or goes against their wishes. However the bond does, slightly, favor the rider in that they are allowed these Seals of Command; while a seal could be used for "Sit!" or "Roll over!" that would be a particularly ineffective use of an extremely potent magic. The seals allow to the rider to issue a command that the dragon must obey - sweeping commands "Always obey!" aren't effective, they're more like momentary overrides of the dragons self control.
Example: Dragon is anti-killing unless it's the only option. Rider and dragon are fighting an enemy and have them backed into the corner, the rider is busy dealing with something while the dragon has the foe pinned down. Rider: "Kill him!", Dragon: "We don't need to. We can end this another way.", Rider: "I didn't ask to debate, I said kill him. It's for the good of everyone!", Dragon: "Let me handle this, trust me.", Rider: "No. We're done talking about this. By our bond, I command you to kill him!", Dragon: "What have you done..." <bites off foes head>.
Using the Seal of Command forces the dragon to comply with your wishes - this is a genie wish, we're not talking act in the way that screws the commander over - they bend and have the will of their rider imposed upon them. However it is very important to note that the dragons themselves are not mindless when this happens, they are aware of what they are doing; they don't even have to accept it, but they do have to execute it. Understandably using the Seals of Command is a two sided coin; it allows the rider to ensure an action, but forcing a dragon to do something - particularly if its something against their nature - can do lasting damage to a relationship. How each dragon handles a seal being used on them is really up for debate. The dragons are aware of this part of their bond (even if they've never actually experienced it) and are probably pretty leery about the idea. It's probably not uncommon for dragons and riders to have had conversations about the Seals of Command - and it also is plausible that particularly cunning dragons may attempt to trick their riders into using all of their seals early to ensure it never happens again.
If the spell that turned dragons to stone could be broken by being in contact with their bonded, how was it at all effective?
First and most importantly not all dragons were bonded; in fact the vast majority were not. At their peak there were hundreds (perhaps low thousands if we're talking globally), but certainly not a rider for every dragon. The dragons were their own thing - and while at any time they could end up bonded, they were largely a free creature that did their own sets of things.
Now as far as dragons and riders that already existed and how did that work; in short their bond was broken by the spell. So riders who were already there, had already found their dragon and their bond had already 'bloomed' - to to speak - had their bond shattered when the spell hit. This didn't kill the riders (well, it actually probably did kill most of them, but not out right - more details when the bond section is brought in) but it did ruin their bond and prevent them from undoing it. Very simple terms there are - in theory - no dragon riders left from pre-stone spell. While people who were riders might (big might) still be alive, their bond to their dragon was broken and now they are just tormented people.
With that said, it is possible to play a character older then the stone spell, so long as their bond with the dragon happened after it.
If some dragons could free themselves, and other dragons have been freed, is it possible for their to be new born (or relatively young) dragons at this point?
Short answer: yes.
Long answer: We're mostly looking for dragons that were alive pre-stone spell, who have all endured the stoning process. Yes, because some dragons have been freed - by themselves and others - there are dragons in current day who have been born that were not alive when the stoning happened, and thus never subject to it. However they are few and are fairly rare. We will approve such dragons on a very selective case by case basis but its unlikely that we'd allow more then one into the game over all.
Is there a timeline that talks about the major events, the ages, and the distance between all of everything?
Yes. We'll be sharing that in the near future.
Can I create a dragon that was on Atlan Moore's side?
Technically yes, realistically no. You could have a dragon that agreed with what was happening, but because of reasons stated above it's not feasible to play a dragon that was bonded during the Dragonsong Covenant's civil war, thus they could not have officially been on his side of things.
Technology and stuff, how far along is it?
Think pretty typical high fantasy stuff. Ballista's are used with catapults for siege warfare; black powder is rare (and probably a Dwarven secret at this point). No explosives (or 'natural' ones anyway), no steam power. If there's something in specfic you're looking for, ask.
What do the Dragons get out of the deal?
Hopefully this is cleared up in the section about the bond itself. For the dragons it's a path to something more - they are immortal beings, but to become greater then they are, to unlock the true secrets of themselves is something only attainable by having the Inner Flame. This is, actually, a subject I hope to touch on during game play itself.
How does the dynamic really play out?
This is largely something that is unique to each rider pair. How one Dragon Rider and their companion handle and work together is usually going to be very different then how another set does it. Typically - though it has been known to take years to work out - they come to some sort of agreement, since they are more or less stuck with one another, about how to handle their situation. While it's possible in some cases this is out right domination - one way or the other - it is far more typical for some sort of partnership to be formed.
No one wants to say this will happen, but what happens if during game play a player leaves. What happens to the bonded person?
This is, unfortunately, a reality of group games. It's particularly difficult given the nature of this game and how important pairs are. However we are prepared to handle this. In such cases there is an in character precident for new bonds being formed between one half of a previously bonded pair and someone new who does not yet have a bond. Unfortunately there's no good way to get around the traumatic experience for the character left... But in such a case we will address it then and handle it in a way that is most appropriate at the time. Suffice to say we have methods of making sure someone is not left behind, and if it does come up there are a number of options we're prepared to offer to ensure the remaining player isn't just out right shafted.