Gather seven and make a wish.
A set of mystical balls, usually seven within a set, that when brought together summon the powerful eternal dragon which will grant any wish you may want. Generally the Dragonballs are scattered across the world they are on making gathering them a near impossible task. Even while hidden across the planet the balls will look like stones up to a year after a wish is made.
The capabilities of the eternal dragon and the type of wish he may grant, including the number of wishes granted, depends on the creator of the Dragonballs. If the balls original creator are killed then the balls themselves will permanently turn to stone and a new set will need to be made.
Throughout the Dragon Ball series the Dragonballs appear in different forms and from different planets.
With the eternal dragon Shenron, Earth's Dragonballs were created by Kami originally. Kami is one of a few Nameks on Earth, his evil side turned into King Piccolo at one point, but serves as Earth's guardian as well as the Dragonball's guardian on Earth. Shenron can grant any wish that doesn't kill anyone, force someone to love another, or repeat another wish he has granted in the past. Some other restrictions, like resurrection, can be granted but can only be done once per person or may have further restrictions placed upon them.
Earth's Dragonballs serve as the main plot device throughout most of the first Dragon Ball series with Goku and Bulma hunting them down in order to make a wish. Throughout the series, and into the Dragon Ball Z series, the balls are under constant hunt but usually to counteract a villains doings.
Eventually though a greater threat befalls Earth and the Dragonballs fate become secondary to Earth's own survival. The evil Cell has challenged all of Earth's fighters to a tournament and the Z Fighters, the heroes of the Dragon Ball Z series, are Earth's only true hope to compete. Piccolo and Kami decide it's in Earth's best interest if they fuse into one being further increasing Piccolo's power to be somewhat of an asset. This renders Earth's Dragonballs useless and when Goku has an idea to use the Dragonballs to bring back everyone who is dying at Cell's hand he must search for a new Namekian to create them.
After searching for the Namek's new home Goku brings back a group friend, Dende. Dende takes over for Kami becoming the guardian of Earth and creates a new set of Dragonballs and bringing back Shenron but this time with the ability to grant up to three wishes, with restrictions of course. Shenron can also revive the same person more than once now. The new set were very similar to Kami's, even using the husks of the old balls, since creating a whole new set from scratch might have taken too long.
Earth's Dragonballs also absorb negative energy whenever a wish is made. The balls were designed to absorb the energy and then slowly release it after they were scattered around the planet. Since Bulma has created a Dragonball radar device the balls were being gathered and used far more often than designed causing a build up in energy. Eventually the balls cracked and after one more wish they summoned Black Smoke Shenron who swallowed the balls and turneda into seven shadow Dragons.
Just like Earth, the planet Namek has its own set of seven Dragonballs through which wishes can be granted to whomever brings the set together. Unlike Earth's the balls are much larger and summon a different dragon, Porunga, who grants up to three wishes to the user. Grand Elder Guru is Namek's Dragonball creator and the Dragonballs can be used more often since Namek's year is shorter though Porunga can only resurrect one person at a time and not whole populations like Shenron can. The Namek balls also require a password to be spoken and can revive the same person an unlimited amount of times.
Before Kami was split into himself and Piccolo he was another Namek, much more powerful and with a great deal of evil inside him. While combined he created another set of Dragonballs called the black star balls. Bringing these balls together summoned an ultimate and more powerful version of Shenron, called Ultimate Shenron, who had less restrictions than the original Shenron.
Other differences occur with the black star balls. They are not restricted to being scattered across one planet. After a wish the balls shoot across to different parts of the galaxy. After a wish is granted, Ultimate Shenron will return within a year to destroy which planet the wish was made on to destroy that planet unless they are all brought back together again.
|2011||Dragonball 2: Reborn|
|1996||The Path to Ultimate Strength|
|1995||Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn|
|1995||Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon|
|1994||Dragon Ball Z: Broly – Second Coming|
|1993||Dragonball: The Magic Begins|
|1991||Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug|
|1990||Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might|
|1989||Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone|
|1988||Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure|
|1987||Dragon Ball: The Sleeping Pricess in the Devil's Castle|
|1986||Dragon Ball: The Legend of Shenlong|