The Year of the Dragons is upon us, and the Forgotten Realms setting has a few things to show us about those majestic and sometimes terrible creatures. In Dragons of Faerun this book, Dungeon Masters are given information on specific dragons of Faerûn and how they may interact with or fight against the players. Avid readers of our website will note that some of the dragons from the Wyrms of the North series written by Ed Greenwood and updated by Eric L. Boyd and Sean K Reynolds are mentioned or further updated in this book. Dungeon Masters also receive information on organizations that players can belong to or work against, like the evil Cult of the Dragon. Also included is information on how to run a campaign that features the Year of Rogue Dragons, the one time every thousand years the dragons of Faerûn rampage across the continent. The excerpts below include short history of dragonkind in the setting, the dragon Tchazzar, a few lair hazards, and two magic items.
Described below are some of the most common hazards encountered in dragon lairs.
Chlorine Haze (CR 8)
Over time, the constant presence of a creature that breathes acid (such as a black or green dragon) eventually causes a buildup of chlorine gas. Only Huge or larger dragons are big enough to suffuse their entire lair with this hazard. The size of the cloud of fumes is directly proportional to the size of the dragon. A Huge dragon produces a cloud of fumes that spreads 100 feet in all directions from its primary sleeping area; a Gargantuan dragon produces a cloud of fumes with a 200-foot radius; and a Colossal dragon produces a cloud of fumes with a 350-foot radius.
Any creatures exposed to the gas must attempt a DC 17 Fortitude save. Characters who succeed on the save are temporarily unaffected; those who fail take 1d4 points of Strength damage and are fatigued. After every additional 10 minutes spent in the area, a character must attempt an additional save. Each additional save attempted, regardless of the outcome of previous saves, has a cumulative +1 to the DC. If a character becomes fatigued and fails a second saving throw, he becomes exhausted instead.
A gust of wind spell is enough to disperse an amount of the gas (equal to the area of the spell) for a number of minutes equal to the caster level of the spell. A wind wall spell disperses a larger area, but the gas still only disperses for a number of minutes equal to the caster level of the spell. A neutralize poison spell disperses an area equal to 1 cubic foot per level for 1 hour. Creatures immune to poison are immune to the effect of the haze.
Dracolich Slough (CR 6)
The magic used to create dracoliches is a powerful and well-controlled secret, but it does result in occasional unforeseen consequences. As a dracolich ages and moves around its lair, it brushes up against its treasure and rock formations; it has occasional fights with dragon slayers, and it almost always wins. This daily wear and tear leads to sloughing of the rotting tissue hanging on a dracolich's massive frame. What few know is that this sloughed carrion often has a life of its own.
Dracolich slough tends to accumulate, and due to the negative energy of the magic infusing the dracolich, it gathers in small piles. The piles crawl to various areas in the lair and wait for something to eat. While unintelligent, the slough craves heat and gravitates toward it -- perhaps feeling the echoes of its former living existence. A single 5-foot square of dracolich slough can move at a speed of 1 foot per round. It climbs onto the ceilings of the dracolich's lair, waiting for a victim. In order to detect a patch, a character must make a successful DC 20 Spot check.
When a target is directly beneath it, the slough drops onto the creature, trying to suck the life energy from it. Each round that the slough remains in contact, the victim takes 2d6 points of cold damage. In addition, the victim must make a successful DC 15 Fortitude save or become paralyzed for 1 round. The victim must attempt a new save each round that the slough remains attached. Creatures that have immunity to cold are not subject to the paralysis or the damage. Any effect that deals fire damage, exposure to sunlight, or a remove disease spell destroys a patch of dracolich slough.
Dragon Mold (CR 5)
Some wyrms sleep for hundreds of years in one spot, ignorant of the outside world and its denizens. Even in their dank lairs, some living things manage to thrive. Dragon mold grows under the bodies of sleeping wyrms of at least Large size, feeding on their heat, moisture, and sloughed scales. When a dragon is sleeping or nearby, the mold is completely innocuous. It can survive by draining heat and eating organic slough. Dragons give off extreme heat and do not care about having their dead scales eaten, so they are ideal targets. It is only when the dragon moves or leaves its lair that the mold becomes dangerous. When there is no dragon around, the mold must feed on something else in order to survive.
Dragon mold typically comes in patches 5 feet in diameter. If a patch is disturbed, it bursts into a cloud of spores. Living creatures within 5 feet take 5d6 points of nonlethal cold damage and must make a successful DC 18 Fortitude save or take 1d4 points of damage to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution. Fire brought within 5 feet of dragon mold causes it to instantly double in size. Cold damage, such as from a cone of cold, instantly destroys it. Creatures that have immunity to cold take no damage from dragon mold attacks.
Fear Moths (CR 4)
These strange creatures are innocuous in and of themselves. They are attracted to areas of tremendous fear -- especially dragon fear. Frequently, an entire flight of fear moths will inhabit a dragon's lair, feeding on the fear that surrounds it.
Fear moths suck all resistance to fear effects away from characters, including a paladin's aura of courage. This means that any immunities to fear or bonuses on saving throws against fear that those characters possess are nullified when within 100 feet of the moths. Whenever great fear is present (whether by spell, aura, or otherwise), the moths flutter around the area, imposing a -2 penalty on attack rolls and on saving throws against fear to everyone within 100 feet of the source of the fear effect, except the originator of the effect. Fear effects include, but are not limited to, any condition that causes creatures to become shaken, frightened, or panicked.
Gem Dragon Dust (CR Varies)
For a mostly psionic party, gem dragon dust has a CR of 5, 7, or 9, depending on the originating dragon's size. For a mostly nonpsionic party, it has a CR of 3, 5, or 7.
Over the course of its life, a gem dragon molts and sloughs off tons of sparkling dust. After hundreds of years, its lair becomes infused with this dust. Only Huge or larger dragons are big enough to suffuse their entire lairs with this dust. The area of the dust is directly proportional to the size of the dragon. A Huge dragon produces an area of dust 100 feet in all directions from its primary sleeping area; a Gargantuan dragon produces an area of dust of 200 feet in all directions; and a Colossal dragon produces an area of dust of 350 feet in all directions.
Gem dragon dust coats everything in its area -- floor, ceiling, items, and creatures. Anyone traveling within an area of the dust is coated within 10 minutes. The dust has only a minor effect on nonpsionic creatures, but it can be debilitating to psionic creatures. Every 10 minutes, nonpsionic characters covered in the dust take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Psionic characters lose 1d4 power points in addition to the nonlethal damage. Affected characters can take half damage by making a successful Will save -- but a psionic character must make two successful saves instead of just one. Creatures immune to mind-affecting spells and abilities are not affected by the dust.
For gem dragons, the dust is not only a defense for their lair but also a power boost. For every power point drained from a psionic creature, the gem dragon gains the same number of points, though it receives no benefit from the nonlethal damage dealt by the dust. If a gem dragon dies, its dust becomes inert.
Magic Shrieker Moss (CR 3)
This odd form of moss is every dragon's best friend. No one knows why the moss gravitates toward valuable objects (especially precious metals and magic), but it often appears near large concentrations of such items. The moss grows wildly and cannot be cultivated, but most dragons are very happy to discover it in their lair.
Magic shrieker moss tends to coat treasure hoards intermittently in 5-foot squares, appearing in patches on valuable objects. When anyone touches or moves a coated object (other than the owner of the object -- an individual the moss recognizes inherently), the moss produces a shrieking sound for 1d3 rounds. The sound is so loud that all creatures in hearing range take 1d8 points of sonic damage each round. In addition, during the first round of shrieking, those within hearing range must also make successful DC 16 Will saves or be stunned for 1 round and deafened for the remainder of the shrieking's duration plus an additional 2d4 rounds. Creatures that cannot hear are unaffected; creatures immune to stunning are still deafened and damaged; creatures immune to sonic damage do not suffer any effects. Dragons and other sleeping creatures within 1,000 feet automatically awaken when the moss shrieks.
Magic shrieker moss is immune to electricity and sonic damage, but a 5-foot square is destroyed by 5 points of fire, cold, or acid damage.
Shadow Slime (CR 7)
Shadow slime is a corrupted version of green slime that grows in and around the lair of shadow dragons (and some other shadow creatures). It drops from walls and ceilings when it detects movement (and possible food). Shadow slime sucks the life energy of living creatures, chilling the air around it and the flesh of its victims. The slime is almost undetectable to normal vision -- it has total concealment, and a character must make a successful DC 30 Spot check to notice it. Illumination such as a light or continual flame spell, does not cancel the concealment, but a daylight spell does.
A 5-foot square of shadow slime deals 2d6 points of cold damage each round as it sucks the moisture out its victim's flesh. In addition, the victim must make a successful DC 17 Fortitude save or gain one negative level. Victims that are immune to cold are not subject to the damage, but are still affected by the negative level. On the first round of contact, the slime can be scraped off a creature (most likely destroying the scraping device), but after that it must be burned, shocked, or cut away (dealing damage to the victim as well). Anything that deals fire, sonic, or electricity damage, sunlight, a remove disease spell, or a deathward spell destroys a patch of shadow slime. The slime has no effect on inorganic substances, though it does deal 2d6 points of damage to objects made of wood, leather, bone, or other natural materials.
Undead creatures heal 5 points of damage for each negative level the slime bestows, though they must actively pursue it, since it does not naturally gravitate toward nonliving targets. Shadow slime also ignores creatures immune to cold, because it cannot suck their heat energy.