INFERNO OF THE STAR MOUNTS
Tales of a red dragon of awesome age, power, fire-magic mastery, and hoard size have long been told and retold across the Heartlands and Sword Coast North. The dragon Inferno is said to lair in the heart of the High Forest, in a cave high on the north face of Angaroth, highest peak of the Star Mounts. Inferno is also said to devour even the mightiest adventurers who come against him.
Despite their wild claims, few Inferno legends are baseless. There really is a reclusive, magic-studying great dragon named Inferno (at least to humans, who have simplified his real name, "Imvaernarhro") in the Star Mounts, and his fire spells are impressive even to archmages of long years and many achievements.
Imvaernarhro is seldom seen by those in surrounding lands because he controls a portal -- possibly of Netherese origin -- that linked its cavern (in a small and nameless side-peak of the Star Mounts) with a wilderland continent on the far face of Faerûn where vast wild herds of beasts graze plains where no humanoid hunts, and where Inferno can sport and feed at will.
Imvaernarhro has never laired in the infamous cave on Angaroth. Before he found it, another dragon (whom he slew) had transformed it into a great death-trap, crammed with harmful spells, covered spiked pits, deadfalls, and collected deadly automatons and constructs. Imvaernarhro maintains it, deriving great entertainment from the sufferings of adventurers who seek him therein.
Imvaernarhro maintains dozens of caverns around the Star Mounts, some as treasure caches and a few sleeping chambers floored in "beds" of (as many as 100,000, each) gold coins. Imvaernarhro's combined wealth in gold coins alone has been estimated at "at least a dozen million" by the mage Elminster. Imvaernarhro has traditionally kept to himself, troubling other dragons and the wider world little (except those who seek to violate his privacy). Aside from the diversions of dealing with intruding adventurers, his time was spent chiefly in sleeping -- for decades at a time -- and in experimenting with fire magics. Curiously, recent "rages" among dragonkind seem to have left him unaffected; he might be magically protected against them.
However, Imvaernarhro's isolationist ways are changing. He now seems to be taking an interest in the expanding Silver Marches, Thay's expanding network of enclaves, and the politics and society of "civilized" Faerûn. He spends much time scrying as well as using spells to send messages or give orders to humans, especially outlaws and adventuring bands. Thus far, most of these communications have either been "Don't do that or I'll do thus to you!" missives, or "You should know X" (where "X" is information that will send the listener rushing to attack a rival, get to a revealed-by-Imvaernarhro treasure first, or meddle in something to further their own long-standing interests).
It's too soon to discern the dragon's motives for such meddling. Does he seek merely to stir things up for his personal entertainment? Set lands to war with each other, to weaken them all so none can threaten him (and he can raid for food at will)? Or, like priesthoods and the Chosen of Mystra and so many others, does he seek to steer and shape realms and their affairs to his own liking?
IMVAERNARHO CR 40
Male red great wyrm, advanced EL
CE Colossal+ dragon (fire)
Init +0; Senses blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., low-light vision, Listen +75, Spot +75
Aura frightful presence 570-ft. radius, HD 60 or less (Will DC 41 negates)
Languages Aragrakh, Auran, Chondathan, Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Ignan, Illuskan, Infernal, Netherese, Orc, Thorass, Tuilvilanuue
AC 67 (-8 size, +60 natural, +5 bracers), touch 2, flatfooted 67
hp 1,433 (HD 61); DR 15/epic
Immune sleep, fire, paralysis; SR 46
Fort +49, Ref +32, Will +43
Weakness cold vulnerability
Speed 40 ft., fly 250 ft. (clumsy); Flyby Attack, Hover
Melee bite +77 (8d6+24) and 2 claws +75 (4d8+12) and 2 wings +75 (4d6+12) and tail slap +75 (4d8+36)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 30 ft. (40 ft. with bite)
Base Atk +61; Grp +101
Atk Options Cleave, Great Cleave, Power Attack
Special Actions breath weapon, crush 8d6+36 (DC 57), tail sweep 4d6+36 (DC 57)
Combat Gear necklace of absorption (functions as rod of absorption), hornring of shielding (functions as brooch of shielding, takes up space as headgear), ring of spell turning, ring of theurgy containing dimensional lock, greater arcane sight, teleport object
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 40th):
13th (1/day) -- any quickened 9th-level spell
12th (1/day) -- any quickened 8th-level spell
11th (2/day) -- any quickened 7th-level spell
10th (2/day) -- any quickened 6th-level spell
9th (7/day) -- absorption[CAr], meteor swarm (DC 30), wish
8th (7/day) -- etherealness, mass charm monster (DC 29), time stop
7th (8/day) -- delayed blast fireball (DC 28), ghostform, spell turning
6th (8/day) -- disintegrate (DC 27), greater dispel magic, transfix[CAr] (DC 27), true seeing
5th (8/day) -- Daltim's fiery tentacles[SS], firebrand[CAr] (DC 26), greater fireburst[CAr] (DC 26), teleport
4th (8/day) -- blistering radiance[CAr] (DC 25), charm monster (DC 25), dimensional anchor, polymorph
3rd (9/day) -- dispel magic, fireball (DC 24), haste, nondetection, vampiric touch (+77 melee touch)
2nd (9/day) -- detect thoughts (DC 23), fireburst[CAr] (DC 23), flaming sphere (DC 23), invisibility, scorching ray (+53 ranged touch)
1st (9/day) -- burning hands (DC 22), mage armor, ray of enfeeblement (+53 ranged touch), shield, shield of faith
0 (6/day) -- detect magic, ghost sound, mage hand, mending, message, open/clone, prestidigitation, read magic, resistance
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 40th):
19/day -- locate object
3/day -- suggestion (DC 24)
1/day -- find the path, discern location
Abilities Str 59, Dex 10, Con 45, Int 32, Wis 33, Cha 32
Feats Alertness, Automatic Quicken Spell (0-3rd)[EL], Automatic Quicken Spell (4th-6th)[EL], Blind-Fight, Cleave, Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Flyby Attack, Great Cleave, Hover, Improved Spell Capacity (10th)[EL],[B], Improved Spell Capacity (11th)[EL],[B], Improved Spell Capacity (12th)[EL],[B], Improved Spell Capacity (13th)[EL],[B], Mobility, Multiattack, Power Attack, Quicken Spell, Quicken Spell-Like Ability, Snatch, Spell Knowledge[EL], Spell Opportunity[EL], Spellcasting Harrier[EL], Wingover
Skills Bluff +75, Concentration +79 (+83 when casting defensively), Diplomacy +77, Disguise +11 (+13 acting), Intimidate +77, Knowledge (arcana) +37, Knowledge (history) +37, Knowledge (local) +37, Knowledge (nature) +37, Listen +75, Search +75, Sense Motive +75, Spellcraft +45, Spot +75, Survival +11 (+13 in outdoor terrain or following tracks)
Possessions combat gear plus bracers of armor +5, crystal balls (one of each type in Dungeon Master's Guide), other magic items as DM desires.
Breath Weapon (Su) 80-ft. cone, once every 1d4 rounds, 38d10 fire, Reflex DC 57 half.
Behavior and Tactics: Inferno seems smugly amused by unfolding events around him; he seems to view the world as an endless pageant presented for his personal entertainment. His manner is more "lordly whimsical" than proud, sneering, or condescending -- and it's nigh-impossible to know what thoughts lurk behind it.
Inferno likes to know his foes: Before revealing himself in any direct confrontation, he'll want to observe intruders, making sure he's aware of all of them and of their caches, any hiding-places, and any magical concealments or misdirections. He might cast spells to find out as much as he can about who is approaching, and then enjoy trying to correctly anticipate what they're up to and what tactics they'll adopt.
He takes great delight in successfully manipulating humans and other humanoid races into doing things he wants -- and even greater delight in "aiming a weapon" by somehow getting a human to go and do a task or attack a target of Inferno's choosing. After centuries of delighting in magic and largely ignoring other intelligent beings and their societies, Inferno is enjoying honing his manipulative skills. (Turning defiance to fear is enjoyable too.)
Inferno will try to make adventurers who reach him turn aside from trying to attack or rob him, and instead strike against Zhentarim active in Anauroch and across the North, certain wizards and sorcerers in Silverymoon, and members of the Cult of the Dragon (whose identities and whereabouts he seems well-versed in) all across the Heartlands and the North. Imvaernarhro also seems to view Shade as a threat. He wants it explored, and its citizens (if they can be caught alone, in situations where they can't call on aid or communicate what's happening to them to their fellow inhabitants of Shade) covertly destroyed, ideally by adventurers he can nudge (not command directly) into such acts.