As the Cult of the Dragon scuttles through the darkened halls of Undermountain and rouses a dragon's legacy toward its own foul ends, PCs may find themselves stumbling into more danger than they have yet faced!
The Rage of Dragons compels many strange events to occur across the breadth of Toril, and it does not spare Waterdeep. Yet while most assume the threat to this jewel of the Sword Coast will come from the sky, evil is instead afoot under the ground. The Cult of the Dragon scuttles through the darkened halls of Undermountain and rouses a dragon's legacy toward its own foul ends.
The Dragon's Legacy is a short D&D adventure for four 13th-level PCs and it is adaptable to levels 11 to 15. It takes place in Undermountain, the grand dungeon beneath Waterdeep. This adventure assumes the PCs enter the first encounter from the west side of the large cavern on level 1 of Undermountain. If they do not, modify the encounters to suit your needs. Level 1 Cavern: Part 1 and Level 1 Cavern: Part 2 describe the rest of this cavern. See those articles and Room 21: Moving Day before running this adventure.
In some respects, this adventure is backward. Instead of slogging through a dragon's guardians to fight the dragon in its lair at the end of the adventure, the PCs battle dragons first and throughout the adventure. The adventure features a dracolich, and that encounter is also in the beginning of the adventure, but another encounter with a dracolich can happen in the middle of the adventure, and one could occur at the end. The adventure derives this structure from the nature of dracoliches and from the Cult of the Dragon's relationship with them. Because a dracolich can arise again from the corpse of another dragon, the Cult of the Dragon has chosen to separate the dracolich and its phylactery, thus preventing both from being destroyed in one attack. The PCs have the choice of struggling through several encounters in one go, making each encounter more deadly as their resources diminish, or of using hit-and-run tactics at the risk of facing more dracoliches and more organized resistance.
In 1373 DR, the Rage of Dragons once again makes its mark upon Faerūn, and as the inhabitants of Waterdeep look to the skies in fear, they blind themselves to a growing threat beneath their feet. For centuries Halaster has used portals and other magic to ensnare creatures and trap them in Undermountain, and long ago, he imprisoned Aragauthos, an old blue dragon, in a cavern on the third level of Undermountain. Aragauthos lived in the dungeon for decades, trapped in a cavern on level three and surviving off the "walking food handouts" brought to her cavern by Halaster's devious teleport rings. During Harvestide four years ago, citizens of Waterdeep watched in awe as Aragauthos burst from the sea caves and flew hurriedly south along the Sword Coast. Halaster's control of Undermountain had been broken while he was held captive elsewhere, and the blue dragon at last escaped. (For more information, download Dungeon Crawl: Undermountain -- Stardock from the Previous Editions Downloads section of this website.
Despite her countless thoughts and threats of revenge against the Mad Mage, Aragauthos has not returned. Yet the old blue left behind a legacy that continues to affect Undermountain. When Halaster captured her, she was on the verge of laying a clutch of eggs. Her children, which numbered an amazing six healthy blue wyrmlings, hatched into a life of imprisonment. Knowing she could not feed so many offspring, but unwilling to harm any of them, she starved herself, killing food only for the hatchlings and eating stones and earth to sate her own hunger. When at last she could no longer stand privation, she forced her young out into Undermountain and advised them to remain together for safety and to better their chances in hunting.
The five dragon siblings did as their mother bid. As they grew older and larger, they would periodically return to their mother's cave, bringing with them gifts of food. Unfortunately, greed eventually overtook awe of their mother, and the blue dragons thought to kill Aragauthos and take her trove of treasure. Aragauthos easily rebuffed their effort, slaying one of her children before forcing them to retreat. As she ranted at their treacherous nature, she warned them never to return lest she kill them all, and her children never did.
For nearly a hundred years, Aragauthos's five remaining children wandered Undermountain together. Although many times tempted to part company, their safety in numbers and an oath to cleave to each other has kept the siblings a tight-knit group. Changing lairs regularly and moving from level to level, the dragons have lived on the run, rarely allowing themselves the pleasures of building a hoard or enjoy long periods of sleep.
Many times they attempted to escape Undermountain, but Halaster's magic hung like a chain about their necks. When Halaster's Harvestide occurred four years ago, they had the opportunity to flee, but by this time, they had accepted that escape was impossible.
Thavok Drusuvious, Wearer of Purple for the Waterdeep cell of the Cult of the Dragon, had come to the city in the hopes of turning Aragauthos into a dracolich, but her flight from the city left him without guidance. Just as 1373 began, Thavok discovered the diary of a long-dead adventurer in a bookshop. It described an encounter with five juvenile blue dragons in the depths of Undermountain. The adventurer and her allies were already beleaguered by a group of trolls when the dragons appeared and attacked. The adventurer alone survived, but for no longer than a day or so, because her diary was discovered and retrieved from Undermountain by other adventurers. The diary's description of the close teamwork of the dragons intrigued Thavok greatly, and finding the book on the eve of the Rage of Dragons, a book that described what could only be the children of Aragauthos, seemed to Thavok a sign from Sammaster himself.
Thavok Drusuvious gathered his forces, and in small groups they entered Undermountain and began the search for Aragauthos's legacy. Spreading out from both Skullport and the entrance beneath the Yawning Portal, the search was remarkably brief and cost the cult only some coin and the lives of a couple dozen cultists. This culled the weak from their ranks, and experiences in Undermountain have made the remaining cultists exceptionally strong?another sign of the providence of their task. Having discovered the dragons, Thavok began wary negotiations, using news of the legendary Rage of Dragons to compel the Aragauthos's children to listen. Thavok told them that becoming a dracolich would free them from both Undermountain and the Rage, and learning of their ignorance of their mother's fate, he claimed that just such a transformation had freed Aragauthos. Thavok brought the dragons back to their mother's cavern and used her absence to support his claims. Pleased to at last have access to their mother's hoard and to have eager humanoid porters for her treasure, the dragons agreed to listen to more of the cultist's claims.
Since then, the Cult of the Dragon has worked its wiles upon the dragons, but it wasn't until recently that they finally achieved success in convincing any of the dragons to become a dracolich. With the Rage of Dragons in full swing on the surface and the siblings feeling its pull upon their souls, the Cult of the Dragon used the danger of the Rage to put doubt and fear in the dragon's minds. Being overtaken by the Rage on the surface would be dangerous enough, but charging off into Undermountain alone is a thought none of them can bear. And so the dragons acquiesced to the Cult.
The Cult and these dragons now occupy a small portion of the first level of Undermountain. Thavok moved their operation there to facilitate contact with other cultists in the city above and to allow the dragons to burst up through the Yawning Portal once all become dracoliches. One dragon has already made the transformation, and Thavok currently prepares the elements necessary to transform another. Thavok isn't certain what exactly he and the dracoliches will do once escaped from Undermountain, but he's confident that providence will reveal the proper path when the time is right.
Check out the Return to Undermountain: An Introduction for more details.
About the AuthorOnce Editor-in-Chief of Dragon magazine and now a game designer at Wizards of the Coast, Matthew Sernett wrote in a Dragon editorial that there's nothing in D&D he likes better than when the adventurers flee through the dungeon, running pell-mell through traps and past monsters because what chases them is worse. When he wrote that, Matthew was thinking about Undermountain.
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