By Christopher Perkins, Robert J. Schwalb, and James Wyatt
This adventure is designed for four to six 1st-level characters, and the adventuring party should reach at least 4th level by its conclusion. If the characters don’t have enough XP to advance to 4th level, consider adding a few random encounters between this adventure and the next one, or consider allowing the characters to train with their mentors in Daggerford and advance to the appropriate level.
“Fane of the Sun Swallower” begins in Daggerford, during the public hanging of a Red Wizard, and ends in the Lizard Marsh, with the characters storming the underground lair of a black dragon that thinks it’s the Chosen of Talona (goddess of rot and corruption). Along the way, they match wits with a devious rakshasa, contend with a vile lizard queen and her cursed lizardfolk thralls, and cross swords with an inbred family of swamp-dwelling half-orc bandits who are also meddling in the black dragon’s business.
Setting the Stage
Like most black dragons, Thoss Fyurnen is thoroughly wicked and rapacious. However, he has too many problems in his reptilian life to concern himself with conquering the Lizard Marsh (or Daggerford, for that matter). For one thing, he’s on the “outs” with his black dragon mate, Cheleen. Thoss Fyurnen has taken custody of their unborn brood—four dragon eggs in all—while Cheleen tends to some important business of her own. Should anything happen to the eggs, Thoss Fyurnen would find himself the target of his mate’s unbridled wrath.
Unfortunately, one of the eggs disappeared while “daddy” was out hunting. In his anger, Thoss Fyurnen devoured several of the lizardfolk who worship him as the Chosen of Talona. Eventually, their vile queen persuaded the dragon to consider other possibilities. The dragon had, after all, turned down an alliance with a tattooed man calling himself a Red Wizard of Thay. Eventually, the lizard queen convinced Thoss Fyurnen, the dreaded Sun Swallower, that he was the victim of Red Wizard treachery.
The Red Wizard, Arvik Zaltos, had tried to bribe the dragon into stealing an altar from Cromm’s Hold, a fortified estate on the edge of the Lizard Marsh. When Thoss Fyurnen declined, Arvik sent a team of stealthy half-orc raiders into the dragon’s lair to snatch one of Thoss Fyurnen’s precious eggs. Arvik planned to extort the dragon into stealing the altar. However, not long after the egg was stolen, Arvik was arrested in Daggerford.
After Arvik is hanged in Daggerford’s town square, news arrives that a black dragon has attacked Cromm’s Hold. The characters are among those sent to provide aid and reinforcement to the beleaguered keep. When they arrive, they find a few dead soldiers and several dead lizardfolk, but no signs of the dragon.
The Party’s Goal
The Duke of Daggerford sends soldiers and clerics to fortify Cromm’s Hold, and Sir Isteval makes sure the characters are invited along. Although her keep withstood the lizardfolk attack, Baroness Wynne Cromm wants the dragon hunted down and destroyed. However, Sir Isteval urges restraint and is secretly more concerned about the stolen altar. (He suspects there’s a connection between it and the smashed altar at the Floshin estate.) Keeping his suspicions to himself, he asks the characters to locate the dragon’s lair, but warns them to steer clear of the vile wyrm.
While searching the dragon’s lair, the characters stumble upon the encampment of the half-orc bandits who stole Thoss Fyurnen’s egg (see also “Nadir’s Role” below). The stolen egg is their first real clue as to the dragon’s motive for attacking Cromm’s Hold. Returning the egg to Thoss Fyurnen might go a long way toward making peace with the dragon. However, complications arise when the egg hatches prematurely and the newborn wyrmling bonds with the party.