Author's Note: I'd like to thank Ralph Pierre Lamourt for his invaluable aid in constructing maps for Dragons of Faerun. Beyond providing masterful aid with specific maps, he also showed me how to make them myself, so for that I am tremendously grateful.
When books are written at Wizards of the Coast, there is usually material left "on the cutting room floor," so to speak. Dragons of Faerun was a massive undertaking last summer, and there was plenty of extra material. This enhancement introduces you to two new monsters: The first is a new spawn of Tiamat; the second is a new template that can be applied to any dragon to make it even more dangerous in its own lair (and harmless elsewhere)--the hoarder dragon. Introduce these to your players right away, and watch them freak as the next dragon hoard attacks them.
This creature looks like a black-scaled old crone with a pronounced dragon-like snout. Her long limp hair reeks of sulfur and rot.
Blackspawn Corruptor CR 6
Corruptive Splash (Su): As a full round action, the corruptor can splash all those within 10 feet of her pool with toxic water. All creatures take 1d6 acid damage, and must make a Reflex save (DC 15) or be blinded for 1d6 rounds. Those immune to poison are immune to this attack. The save is Constitution-based.
Watery Death Urge (Sp): Three times per day, a blackspawn corruptor can implant a suggestion in the mind of a creature within 30 feet. It the victim fails a Fortitude save (DC 15), it feels an urge to leap into the pool. This is a mind-affecting effect, and the save is Charisma-based. Creatures in the pool suffer 1d6 points of acid damage each round and are blinded. Each round they must make a Fortitude save as if they had drunk the water.
Poison (Ex): Bite, Fortitude (DC 15), initial and secondary damage 1d6 Str. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Aquatic Ambush: A blackspawn corruptor can take a standard action at any point during a move, as long it begins and ends completely submerged in water.
Tiamat's Blessing (Su): Blackspawn corruptors can grant poison and acid immunity to all spawn of Tiamat within 60 ft. They can choose to lower this at any point.
Skills: A blackspawn corruptor has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.
Blackspawn corruptors are hybrids between wyrmling black dragons and green hags. They are crafty tacticians who guard hidden places for Tiamat. They are the most reclusive of the spawn.
STRATEGIES AND TACTICS
A blackspawn corruptor rarely engages a foe in full-on melee. It waits in its corrupt pool, jumping out at foes and attacking, only to submerge itself again in the water. It likes to vary the order of its attacks. One moment she jumps out and bites; the next, it splashes enemies with putrid water. It patiently whittles away the defenses of its opponents. When it has softened its prey enough, it converges for an all-out assault.
A blackspawn corruptor is never found with others of its kind, but will occasionally work with other spawns of Tiamat. It lords its blessing of Tiamat over spawn allies, knowing that with but a whim, she could lower the resistance, and assault these pawns with her deadly attacks. Other spawn of Tiamat, or young and juvenile black dragons, sometimes guard blackspawn corruptors.
Blackspawn corruptors are usually encountered alone. Despite this, the lairs they select often contain natural and unnatural hazards.
Brackish Pit (EL 8): This large pit in the Vast Swamp contains a pool of water corrupted by a blackspawn corruptor named Aagreech. Her father was Irexanitar (Female Adult Black Dragon Sorcerer 10), a black dragon that occasionally made forays into the Vast Swamp. Irexanitar was contacted by Faerlaur Onthim, High Dragonservant of the Sembian cell of the Cult of the Dragon. The cultists promised her riches beyond compare if she would agree to their experiments. They performed their experiments, but the cell was destroyed before the results were discovered. Irex gave birth to Aagreech, a noxious creature who she promptly dropped into the swamp. Aagreech has recruited a group of lizardfolk to guard her. She sits on a throne made of bone that she dug up from a previous civilization.
Hag Feud (EL 8): In the Lizard Swamp, a feud occurs between a blackspawn corruptor and a green hag. The green hag wishes to stake claim to a section of the swamp, but the blackspawn corruptor is putrefying the area, making it uninhabitable.
Unlike other spawns of Tiamat, blackspawn corruptors are abandoned by their black dragon parents. They use their powers to stake claim to an area, often surrounding themselves with others they can bully into servitude.
Environment:Blackspawn corruptors live in dank forgotten places - swamps, abandoned wells, and flooded sinkholes. They come in conflict with other denizens because of their putrefying aura.
Typical Physical Characteristics: A blackspawn corruptor appears stunted at about 3 ft., though it is heavily muscled. Its skin is covered in mottled black dragon scales. Its face is a cross between a hideous crone and a wyrmling black dragon, and is framed by lank lusterless black hair. It exudes a stench of rotting eggs and decay.
BLACKSPAWN CORRUPTOR KNOWLEDGE
The following table shows the results of Knowledge (arcana) checks as they relate to blackspawn corruptors. Their heritage as spawns of Tiamat allows Knowledge (religion) to be of some use as well.
You approach the abandoned treasure hoard. As you get close enough to touch the glittering coins, you feel a palpable aura of terror, as the entire massive pile comes to life. Where the monstrosity should have eyes, flesh, claws, and teeth, it has gems, coins, daggers, and swords.
Hoarders are dragons who were so greedy in life that when they died, they could not abandon their treasure. While they hold many similarities to ghosts, these creatures manifest for entirely different reasons. Their unfettered avarice causes them to haunt the site of their hoard, unwilling to give up a single coin. It will do whatever is necessary to prevent other creatures from acquiring any of its treasure. It will use items in its hoard when it feels threatened, but otherwise, it attempts to dispatch foes with its physical attacks and breath weapon.
The most common tactic among hoarders is to wait on the ethereal plane until creatures come to steal its hoard. Most creatures are taken by surprise when the hoard animates and attacks them without warning.
In life, most hoarders worshipped Task, the dragon god of greed. Scholars suggest that he rewards them for their service by transforming them into hoarders when they die. They point out that the creatures usually use gems the color of their scales for eyes.
Sample Hoarder Dragon
Amilektrevitrioelis is one of the greediest dragons in the world. He hoards loot in his lair in the Rathgaunt Hills, filling numerous caverns with treasure from around the world. Amilek collects treasure of all types, ranging from massive mountains of copper pieces to enormous gem stones and powerful magic items. He previously resided in the Anauroch region, but greed and paranoia - along with frequent battles against Iymrith "the Doom of the Desert" - lead him to relocate. His current residence is unusual among his kind - who usually prefer more arid environments - but that suits him fine because he doesn't want anyone to discover his hoard.
As Amilek grew in size and greed, he attracted the attention of Task, the dragon god of greed. Most blues have aspirations of tyranny and domination, but Amilek was an exception. Task loved to watch the avaricious blue writhing in his mountains of coins, spending months cataloging his wealth, down to the last copper piece. Amilek was one of Task's favorite, receiving numerous gifts from The Taker throughout the years.
Amilektrevitrieolis' greatest love is treasure, but his taste for ghostwise halflings is a close second. He relishes the sounds of their voices in his head as he slowly crunches. He spits out their bones, posing their skeletons in macabre scenes.
During the Rage of Dragons, Wayland Haltspear (LN male ghostwise halfling cleric Sheela Peryroyl 5/divine oracle 10) performed constant divinations, seeking advanced warning of dragon flights. Wayland served as the high priest and leader of the Stonevine tribe of the Channathwood. He was especially worried about an attack from Amilek, a frequent foe of his tribe. After weeks of divinations, he finally received a vision from the Watchful Mother. He saw Amilek slaughtering his people, charring some with its electric breath and eating the others. He had no choice but to call on the most powerful warrior of his tribe, an outcast who had been banished from the tribe--his brother.
Wayland swallowed his pride and cast a sending to his brother Blaen Haltspear (LG male ghostwise halfling monk 6/fist of Zuoken 10). In 1364, Blaen was cast out of the tribe for bringing his human adventuring companions into the tribe's territory. Since that point, he's wandered the world, exploring and learning esoteric fighting arts. Feeling like a fair-weather friend, but not wishing his tribe to be slaughtered, Blaen came back to his tribe. He returned with his companions, asserting that if the tribe wanted his help, they had to accept his choices and his friends. Blaen and Wayland put their problems aside and led a mixed group of halflings and adventurers in a strike against Amilek.
Protected by the priestly magic of the halflings, as well as the psionics and spellcasting of Blaen and his party, the attack caught Amilek by surprise. The casters pelted him with magic, while the warriors bombarded him with arrows, skiprocks, swords, and spears. Enraged by the impetuousness of the attack, and compounded by the Rage, Amilek retaliated with his most devastating attacks - huge lines of lightning, fireballs, and other magical attacks. This was unusual for Amilek, who never liked to deplete his hoard. The dragon nearly triumphed, but in the end he was destroyed.
The group may have prevailed, but they paid a terrible price. With the exception of Blaen, almost everyone was killed, including several of the halfling warrior's companions and his brother Wayland. The dragon cursed Blaen with Task's most terrible artifact - the Shackles of Amilek. (For more details on the Shackles of Amilek, see the item description below). Blaen was devastated with grief over the loss companions, tribesman, and kin. He felt duty-bound to help the tribe recover, but also wanted to alert the families of his companions about their deaths. He could do neither because of the shackles that caused him to become blind and deaf. What he did not know was that the spirit of Amilek still existed, called back to the treasure hoard by its dark master.
Currently, Amilektrevitrioelis is feeling out the limits of his new form. In most ways, he prefers his new existence. He is better able to defend his treasure and is nearly impossible to destroy. While he has no mobility, being unable to range far from the hoard, he no longer has to worry about being surprised.
Hoard: 30,000 gp, 150,000 sp, 400,000 cp, 2 blue diamonds (10,000 gp each), 17 pink diamonds (2,500 gp each), 30 Sapphires of various colors (750 gp each), 15,000 gp worth of masterwork weapons and armor, platinum and jade replica of an ancient Shoon palace (11,000 gp), iolite and mithril tressym inscribed with the symbol of Bast (10,500 gp), 3 non-functional shield guardians, 5 mithril and blue spinel goblets from Myth Adofhaer (10,000 gp together), 12 petrified mounted Shaaryan hunters, +2 mithril and ruby elven full plate armor with the symbol of House Floshin, +3 heavy steel shield, +2 keen longsword, +3 longsword, 50 +1 daggers, gauntlet of rust, metamagic rod of lesser maximize, the shackles of Amilek, scroll of daylight, scroll of ice storm, scroll of flame strike (CL 15th), scroll of flesh to stone, scroll of invisibility purge, scroll of obscure object, scroll of poison, scroll of power word stun, wand of contagion (42 charges), wand of magic missile (CL 7th, 30 charges), wand of fireball (CL 5th, 28 charges), wand of pebble wind (CL 6th, 39 charges).
Lair: Amilektrevitrioelis lives in a series of caves in one of the higher mountains in the Rathgaunt Hills. Each cave in his lair is dedicated to a type of creature. Separate caves exist for platinum, gold, silver, copper, gems, art, magic, and curiosities such as petrified humanoids, broken constructs, heads of magical beasts, and other strange objects.
Tactics: Like most hoarders, Amilek likes to wait in the ethereal plane, ready to pounce on intruders. He prefers to use his physical attacks, especially his breath weapon and energy draining bite. While extremely capable with scrolls and wands, he hates to do anything that depletes his hoard. He tests his opponents, staying on the defensive long enough to get a sense of the capabilities of his foes. If he feels threatened, he retreats to the ethereal and readies wands and scrolls, waiting for an opportune time to return with the element of surprise. If he feels truly threatened, he attacks in melee and uses wands or scrolls each round.
Known Allies: Amilek has never been interested in making friends. Other blue dragons find him too greedy and paranoid to make a good ally. He is so focused on the acquisition of treasure that he rarely participates in the grand plots and schemes that many dragons enjoy. He spends most of his time attacking local creatures, adventurers, and caravans, slowly building up his hoard.
Known Enemies: Amilek is constantly at odds with the Stonvines of the Channathwood. He likes to snack on the ghostwise halflings of that tribe, making mortal enemies of the small folk. The gnomes of the Shield of the Rathgaunt Hills Abbey, a small cult that worships Gaerdal Ironhand, have frequently fought against the rampages of the greedy dragon.
Amilek is an enemy of two dragons in or near the Shaar. Moraughaloth (CG Male Young Adult Copper, Council Hills) has taunted the blue mercilessly, though always a safe distance from the powerful butt of his jokes. The copper is mildly amused by the obsessively greedy blue. Nygethrokantos (LN Male Forest Landwyrm Drac Druid 8) has constantly fought with Amilek over the blue's complete disregard for the ecosystems of the region.
Knowledge Checks: Locating Amilek's lair on a map is possible with a DC 25 bardic knowledge, Knowledge (geography), or Knowledge (local) (The Shaar) check. Gather Information (DC 30) can be used among the ghostwise halflings, assuming that those inquiring can get close enough to speak with the reclusive and xenophobic tribe. The gnomes in the Abbey in the hills are more willing to talk (DC 22).
Adventure Hooks: Following Amilek's transformation, a flight of dragonnes began to roost in his caverns. The hoarder destroyed half of the dragonnes, adding their treasure to his hoard. Normally, these creatures act as a balancing force, keeping the manticore and peryton populations at bay. When the dragonnes left, a major hole opened up in the ecology of the region. The manticores now hunt in the territories normally used by the dragonnes, throwing the entire ecology into chaos. The perytons deplete the land of game, making it harder for other species to survive. The local druids are frantic, seeking anyone who can identify the cause of the problem and fix it. The halflings and gnomes need help defending themselves against the aggressive hunting of these predators. In order to allow the ecosystem to heal, the abomination throwing the region of balance must be destroyed. After that, the dragonnes should come back, allowing the land to come back into balance. Nygethrokantos might prove to be a helpful ally in this endeavor. He is an expert on the nature and geography of this region.
An oracle of the church of Savras in the Border Kingdoms named Phrilda (LN Female Shaaryan Cleric of Savras 14) has a vision of evil rising in the caves of the Rathgaunt Hills. Throughout the dreams, a single image of five coins keeps recording. Unsure of what it means, but certain that Savras wants her to investigate, the oracle sends out a call for able-bodied adventurers to escort her to the hills where they can investigate these visions.
Amilektrevitrioelis, "Amilek" CR 18
Breath Weapon (Su): 100-ft. line of electrified coins, damage 7d8 electricity plus 7d8 bludgeoning, Reflex DC 24 half.
Create/Destroy Water (Sp): Amilektrevitrioelis can use this ability three times per day. It work like the create water spell, except that the dragon can decide to destroy water instead of creating it, which automatically spoils unattended liquids containing water. Magic items (such as potions), and items in a creature's possession, must succeed on Will saves (DC 29) or be ruined. This ability is the equivalent of a 1st-level spell.
Crush (Ex): Area 15 ft. by 15 ft.; Small or smaller opponents take 2d8+11 points of bludgeoning damage, and must succeed on a DC 24 Reflex save or be pinned.
Hoard Possession: As a free action, Amilektrevitrioelis can possess its treasure hoard, animating the coins, weapons, gems, and other items into a draconic shape similar to its form in life. In this form, it can make all of its normal and special attacks. All items absorbed into the body strike as magic weapons. In addition, it can use magic items that are part of its hoard. Once per round, as a free action, it can activate a magic item (including spell-completion items). It automatically succeeds in the use of spell-completion items, without the need for a Use Magic Device check.
Hoard Sense: A hoarder has the ability to sense when any creature approaches within 100 feet of its hoard.
Frightful Presence (Ex): 210-ft. radius, HD 23 or less, Will DC 29 negates.
Rejuvenation: When Amilektrevitrioelis would otherwise be destroyed, it returns to its hoard in 2d4 daysssful level check (1d20 + 24) against DC 16. If it is reduced to 0 hit points, and the treasure hoard is removed from its location and broken up using a successful break enchantment spell, greater dispel magic, limited wish, miracle, or wish spell vs. 11 + the hoarder's hit dice (35), it is destroyed forever.
Sound Imitation (Ex): Amilektrevitrioelis can mimic any voice or sound it has heard, anytime it likes. Listeners must succeed on a Will save (DC 29) to detect the ruse.
Creating a Hoarder
"Hoarder" is a template that can be added to any nongood dragon (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A hoarder uses all of the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Size and Type: The creature's type changes to undead. Do not recalculate the creature's base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. It gains the incorporeal subtype. Size is unchanged.
Hit Dice: All current and future Hit Dice become d12s.
Speed: The hoarder keeps the base creature's fly speed (if any), but has perfect maneuverability. If the hoarder's original form did not have a fly speed, it gains a fly speed of 30 (perfect maneuverability). The hoarder keeps the base creature's land speed when it has manifested, but if that form had the ability to burrow or climb, those forms of movement are lost.
Armor Class: Natural armor is 5 less than the base creature's while possessing its hoard. When on the ethereal plane, its natural armor is the same as the base creature. When possessing its hoard, it gains a deflection bonus equal to its Charisma modifier or +1, whichever is higher.
Attacks: A hoarder retains all the attacks of the base creature. When possessing its hoard, it cannot affect creatures on the ethereal plane. Likewise, when on the ethereal plane, it cannot attack creatures on the material plane.
Damage: A hoarder uses the base creature's damage values, though all damage rolls suffer a -2 penalty. This penalty is subtracted from the total, after any other modifiers. On the ethereal plane, it does not suffer a damage penalty.
Special Attacks: A hoarder retains all the special attacks of the base creature, except as noted. The hoarder also gains a number of special attacks. The save DC against a special attack is equal to 10 + ½ base creature's HD + hoarder's Cha modifier unless otherwise noted.
Avaricious bite: A hoarder can steal its victim's life force with a bite. Creatures hit by its bite attack suffer one negative level. For each negative level bestowed, the hoarder gains 5 temporary hit points. The hoarder retains the hit points for one hour.
Breath Weapon: A hoarder can breathe a spray of coins mixed with the normal energy of its breath weapon. Half the damage is bludgeoning, the other half energy. In all other ways, it functions as the base creature's breath weapon. If the base creature's breath weapon does not do damage, such as that of a shadow dragon, its effects are unchanged, though it appears to be suffused with coins.
Special Qualities: A hoarder has all the special qualities of the base creature as well as those described below.
Hoard Possession: As a free action, the hoarder can possess its treasure hoard, animating the coins, weapons, gems, and other items into a draconic shape similar to its form in life. Weapons become its claws and bite, coins its body, and gems its eyes. In this form, it can make all of its normal and special attacks. All items absorbed into the body strike as magic weapons. In addition, it can use magic items that are part of its hoard. Once per round, as a free action, it can activate a magic item (including spell-completion items). It automatically succeeds in the use of spell-completion items, without the need for a Use Magic Device check.
When a hoarder is not possessing its hoard, it dwells on the ethereal plane and, as an ethereal creature, it cannot affect or be affected by anything in the material world. When a spellcasting hoarder is not possessing its hoard and is on the Ethereal Plane, its spells cannot affect targets on the Material Plane, but they work normally against ethereal targets.
Hoard Sense: A hoarder has the ability to sense when any creature approaches within 100 feet of its hoard.
Rejuvenation: In most cases, it's difficult to destroy a hoarder through simple combat: The "destroyed" spirit will often restore itself in 2d4 days. Even the most powerful spells are usually only temporary solutions. A hoarder that would otherwise be destroyed returns to its hoard with a successful level check (1d20 + hoarder's HD) against DC 16. If the hoarder is reduced to 0 hit points and the treasure hoard is removed from its location and broken up using a successful break enchantment, greater dispel magic, limited wish, miracle, or wish spell vs. 11 + the hoarder's hit dice, the creature is destroyed forever.
Turn Resistance: A hoarder has +4 turn resistance.
Abilities: Same as the base creature, except that the hoarder has no Constitution score, and its Charisma score increases by +4.
Skills: Hoarders have a +8 racial bonus on Knowledge (arcana) and Spellcraft checks.
Challenge Rating Same as base creature +2
Major Artifact: The Shackles of Amilek
Aura: Overpowering; (DC 25) Necromancy, Transmutation
"The halfling stumbles, his arms and legs bound by heavy iron shackles. Upon each shackle is a faded symbol of five piled coins, barely visible on the dull metal surface."
This set of arm and leg shackles was created by Task for his favorite worshipper, the blue dragon Amilektrevitrioelis. It served as a protection for Amilek's hoard, binding the arms and legs of the dragon's slayer, preventing him from claiming the treasure. The set renders its wearer blind and deaf, unable to steal the dragon's treasure. The wearer of the shackles receives nightmares from Task each night (as the nightmare spell). In these dreams, he is floating along in a plane of magma and jagged rocks, surrounded by hundreds of different types of dragons, all of whom are using their breath weapons and magic to harm the dreamer. The wearer feels all the pain of those effects, waking up many mornings with blood leaking from his eyes, nose, and mouth, and feeling completely exhausted.
The hoarder that cursed the wearer can cast greater scrying on the wearer once per day. The hoarder is considered to know the wearer well and the shackles act as a conduit. They count as a personal object that the hoarder can use for his spells.
There are some significant benefits to the shackles. The wearer can reshape the mercurial metal into other metallic forms - any combinations of armor, weapons, and tools. The armor can be made into +1 mithril ghost touch full plate, but has no armor check penalty, no maximum Dexterity, and is nearly weightless. Any weapons created from the shackles are +1 ghost touch weapons of the wearer's choosing and size. Any tool created is magical, imparting a +5 bonus on skill checks requiring that object. The shaping effect only works when the wearer is in combat or using that skill. At other times, the wearer must walk with the shackles at half speed and cannot run.
Scholars believe that there are at least two other sets of these shackles, each dedicated to dragon of legendary greed. They say that the only way to remove the shackles is by destroying the creature that cursed the wearer, followed by receiving a wish spell cast by a good dragon, then convincing a worshipper of Tiamat to accept "Bahamut's blessing," though they are not entirely sure what that means. The only known way to destroy the shackles is by having 20 different species of dragon use their breath weapon on the item. Following that, the shackles must be dropped into an erupting volcano on the Plane of Fire on an anniversary of the day the shackles were created.
About the Author
Eytan Bernstein hails from exotic Long Island and spends his days writing and editing projects for numerous game companies. In addition to his work on Dragons of Faerūn, the Magic Item Compendium, and numerous other projects, Eytan serves as a partner and PR & Marketing Manager for Silven Publishing (www.silven.com). Eytan enjoys hunting for gems and minerals in rock quarries, studying religion and theology, composing music, and playing with his many pets. For more information about Eytan, check out www.eytanbernstein.com. If you have any questions or comments, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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