Cliffhangers Adventures

Over the Edge
Episode Five: Kardrako's Lair
By Will McDermott

Over the Edge is a short adventure for four 9th-level characters set in a mountain pass known for manticore raids on merchant caravans. At this point in the adventure, the characters have fought off bandits, faced two hill giant bridge guards, defeated a pride of manticores, and encountered a deadly pit trap. Now they are about to meet the mastermind behind the raids -- Kardrako, the red dragon.

Encounter 5: The Dragon Attacks

Kardrako has been waiting for Finglos to return and report on the fracas at the bridge. (In fact, if Finglos is still charmed, he will have returned and told Kardrako that the characters are coming.) So the dragon lurks about 100 feet from the pit, watching the passage. Once the heroes reach the far side of the pit (or if one character -- even Finglos -- jumps across and attempts to disarm the trap), Kardrako flies out of his lair to attack.

Kardrako: Red dragon juvenile; CR 9; 159 hp; See the Monster Manual, pages 67-68.

Skills and Feats: Bluff +18, Diplomacy +18, Intimidate +18, Jump +25, Knowledge (arcana) +18, Listen +18, Search +18, Sense Motive +18, Spellcraft +18, Spot +18; Flyby Attack, Multiattack, Power Attack, Spell Focus (enchantment/charm), Wingover.

Spells Known (cast 6/5; base DC = 12 + spell level): 0 -- arcane mark, dancing lights, detect magic, mage hand, mending; 1st -- charm person, doom, shield.

Tactics: Kardrako attempts a Flyby Attack to bull rush any characters on his side of the pit into the trap, then uses a Wingover to turn around and prepare for another Flyby. He breathes on any characters still in the passage before going into melee.

If Finglos is still charmed, he remains hidden during this battle (either behind the treasure trove or in one of the manticore caverns, depending on where he ended up after the pit trap encounter).

Kardrako's Treasure

Kardrako has amassed a sizeable treasure by forcing the manticores, hill giants, and even Finglos to waylay merchant caravans for him. Much of the treasure is too bulky for the characters to remove from the caves (large bolts of rough cloth, caskets of salt, and crates and crates of pottery). However, the merchants of Tringlee may pay a reward for learning the whereabouts of all of their goods. If the heroes defeat Kardrako and Search (DC 20 for each category) through all of the cargo in the back of his chamber, they can find:

Coins: Three chests each containing 6,000 sp, 2,400 gp, and 150 pp.

Gems: Four silk purses each containing 3 gems (3 tiger eyes worth 10 gp each; 3 moonstones, 50 gp each; 2 white pearls, 100 gp each; 2 black pearls, 500 gp each; 1 emerald worth 1,000 gp, 1 diamond worth 2,000 gp).

Trade goods: Scattered amongst the goods are a small bolt of silk worth 105 gp, a crate of unrefined mithril worth 550 gp, and a small wooden box containing a set of silver combs inset with sapphires worth 1,050 gp.

Magic items: In addition to the regular merchant wares, coins, and gems, characters might find a +1 cloak of resistance, dust of disappearance, figurine of wondrous power (serpentine owl), glove of storing, ioun stone (dull gray), and a necklace of fireballs (type I).

Finglos's items: Lastly, Kardrako kept all of Finglos's items stored in a chest, allowing the rogue only a few items (armor and weapon) when needed (and only when charmed). The rest of Finglos's items still lie in the chest. They are: 280 gp, a +1 mighty composite shortbow (+2 Str), a ring of feather fall, and 3 potions (1 cure moderate wounds, 2 spider climb).

Continuing the Adventure

Characters can continue the adventure in several ways after they meet Kardrako. If they defeat the dragon, the passage down in the pit trap could lead to further adventures in the Lortmil Mountains. Should the heroes find Kardrako too tough to handle, the red dragon could become a recurring enemy who hounds them whenever they journey through the region. When the characters return to Tringlee, the merchants could have a new and bigger problem on their hands. A devious DM could even have Finglos turn on the party sometime after the battle and attempt to steal the treasure.

About the Author

Before moving to the Online Media department at Wizards of the Coast, Will McDermott was editor in chief of TopDeck magazine and, before that, The Duelist. Will has written strategy guides for both Magic: The Gathering and the Pokémon TCGs, and is currently writing a Magic: The Gathering novel.


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