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The Flaming Lord


Drexellian, commonly and dangerously shortened to Drex, is a venerable red dragon and is believed to be nearly 900 years old. He is known to be very intelligent by even dragon standards, and he is so cruel and malicious that in his younger days older reds feared his wrath. The scales of Drex have always been a shade of red so dark that at a distance he is often mistaken for a black dragon. His favorite time of day is early dawn and sunset when he can rest amongst the shadowy crags of the Northern Rossak Mountains and be virtually invisible to anyone on the ground or even in the skies. Many a traveler in the mountains north of Crodges never new what befell them as they walked beneath a ledge upon which Drexellian rested.


Scholars over the years have managed to piece together the history of The Flaming Lord, though there are still gaps. They do know that he was born to a pair of very old dragons who had mated and stayed together, as equals, for nearly 600 years. The scars wrought by the horrible reign of death and destruction of Fellblaze and Arastellna are still visible in the mountains to the East of the Southern Kingdom of Halruaa, and even to this day centuries later mothers tell tales of the Dread Pair to keep their children in line. During their time together the Dread Pair produced 6 known offspring, all of whom survived and prospered. It is suspected, based on the time between births and the steady rate of the first 6 offspring, that they produced 3 other offspring before they gave birth to Drexellian, their last child.


In 496, The Year of Broken Dreams, an army of nearly 100 adventurers sought after and found the Dread Pair while they were pillaging the foothills of The East Wall Mountains. The battle, the ferocity of which has since rarely been seen, lasted for 5 days and ranged over a course of 50 miles as the dragons and adventurers played a deadly game of cat and mouse. Fellblaze fell on the 3rd day, by which time barely 40 adventurers were still alive. Arastellna fell on the 5th day. Only 6 adventurers were left standing. The adventurers had been hoping to find the Dread Pair with their most recent offspring who was thought to only be about a decade old, but there had been no sign of their most recent progeny. Unfortunately, due to their wounds, the remaining adventurers were unable to seek out the lair.


Artwork by Larry Elmore The sudden death of Fellblaze and Arastellna, along with the sudden dearth of so many skilled adventurers in the area, left a vacuum into which many a fell beast and monsters sought to stake a claim to new lands. This influx of new monsters made it impossible for anyone to easily search for the lair of the Dread Pair. Scholars and sages alike all assumed that the very young Drexellian wouldn't survive the coming winter.


When a search was finally launched some 20 years later, the lair of the Dread Pair was found, but it was nearly empty. All that was found was the shattered skeletal remains of young adult blue dragon. It was assumed that the blue dragon killed off Drexellian, but was ultimately slain itself by some unknown group of adventurers or monsters who kept the deed a secret.


Nearly 80 years later a new juvenile dragon appeared in the Gnollwatch Mountains to the east of Halruaa. Within a couple of years, though, this dragon was forced to flee further east to the Trollsquat Mountains. In the year 584, at the age of only 100 years old, this now young adult red dragon fought against Nelthuaris, a very old, nearly venerable gold dragon. The battle was short and fierce, but the red dragon was able to fight off the much older gold dragon and flee with his life. He would, though, forever bear a set of 3 parallel scars across his face. He was defeated, but he was still alive. At the time it was not known where this young dragon had fled to. About a decade later a group of adventurers killed Flametogne, a red wyrm in the Gnollwatch Mountains. Within her lair they discovered items known to have once been in the lair of the Dread Pair. It was then assumed that somehow Drexellian had not only survived on his own as a very young foundling, but had killed the much older blue dragon whose skeleton was found in his parent's lair and that he then fled several hundred miles, with his new hoard, to the Gnollwatch Mountains. It is suspected that while in the Gnollwatch Mountains Drexellian was driven off by Flametongue who added Drex's treasures to her own horde.


For nearly two more centuries nothing is known about the life of Drexellian. No one has been able to uncover a single shred of evidence in all of Faerun. Most believe that he found a very secluded spot and dwelt unknown to the world around him. A few scholars believe he may have been on another plane, but this is usually discredited by the fact that a dragon of his young age could not have mastered such a powerful spell. Regardless of the reasons for his 200-year disappearance, it is known that in the year 784, a mature adult red dragon bearing 3 scars across his face suddenly appeared out of thin air above the city of Reth. His appearance caused quite a panic among the general populace, but Drexellian did not attack. He slowly circled the city as if he were studying it. When several mages rose up into the sky to meet the dragon, much to everyone's surprise he simply flew away to the West. Several days later a red dragon was sighted in the distance from the walls of Garamond. It was assumed that this was Drexellian. After that the dragon disappeared yet again.


For the next two decades, though, the eastern end of the Northern Rossak Mountains became more and more safe. It was almost as if the populace of local monsters was in hiding or had been driven off. This led to increased overland travel between the cities of Morde, Kervinno, Jel-a-na'ir, and Persh. There was even an increase in trade with the Turmish Empire to the North. The coffers of merchants grew fat, as did the merchants, with this sudden influx of wealth. This period of calm even led to the first caravan routes heading south to the inlets that would one day form the harbor of Crodges. Initially caravans were run with increased guards because it wasn't known what had driven off the local denizens. Soon, though, as the merchants made more and more money and as the years went by without a single attack against a single caravan, the merchants started to grow complacent and hired fewer and fewer caravan guards. It wasn't long before adventurers in the region were nearly out of work, so most of them went elsewhere in search of treasure and fame. No one, though, noticed that it wasn't just monsters that were in short supply. Bandits all but disappeared, too. Local thief guilds soon learned not to send bandit groups out into the wilderness areas because they never came back.


The year of 808, the Year of the Crescent Moon, was locally known as the Year of Flaming Death. The storm that followed the calm of the previous 24 years was horrible beyond imagination. No one could have suspected that during the calm years that Drexellian was tirelessly prowling the mountains seeking out and destroying any creature that could pose a possible threat to the caravan routes. For over two decades he savagely killed off any draconic competition that appeared within his newly formed domain. For over two decades he worked at lulling merchants into a false sense of calm. For over two decades he hid whenever adventurers scoured the mountains looking to win some treasure. For over two decades he behaved exactly like a red dragon should not have behaved. Then, without warning, he waged a campaign of murder and terror that shocked the region.


In a single week nearly 200 merchant caravans simply disappeared. All that was left behind were blood stains and scorched earth. Within a month all overland trade in the region had come to a complete halt. Soon, though, Drexellian started launching attacks against the local cities. He didn't attack the city itself, but rather sought out the homes of merchants. These he gutted completely with his fiery breath, thus earning him the title of the Flaming Lord. He would then proceed to rip the merchant's treasure vaults out of the ground and fly off with them. His attacks were made all the more easy because a lot of merchants had started building estates outside of the confines and dirt of the cities. They soon abandoned their homes and cowered behind the city walls with the rest of the populace.


Fortunately, this reign of terror only lasted a short time. The cities started organizing better defenses, local mages started joining the city watch, and adventurers started flocking to the area. The following year still saw Drexellian launching raids against merchants, but he was launching them with less frequency. The merchants had learned to hide their treasures elsewhere. They had also started hiring adventurers to seek out the lair of Drexellian. Many adventurers didn't need to be hired by any locals. They sought out the dragon on their own. While many an adventuring party met their fate or suffered serious harm at the claws of Drexellian, many of the former inhabitants in the region started to creep back into their long abandoned lairs. Within a few years a natural equilibrium returned to the region. Trade routes opened back up, and while some came under attack by orcs and ogres and other such creatures, and while some were ravaged by Drexellian, most made it through the mountains with little problem.


For nearly 600 years this balance has been maintained. Sometimes it tilts one way and sometimes it tilts another, but never again has Drexellian been able to gain an upper hand like he did once before. He has occasionally attacked one of the local cities, but they are usually too well prepared for just such an attack. On three different occasions, though, adventurers came close to killing Drexellian. Because of this he took to constantly moving his lair every century or so, or any time he was attacked by adventurers.


The situation today is no different than it has been for over the last half millennium. Drexellian still launches the occasional raid against caravans, and the occasional adventuring group falls prey to his deadly skills.


Except for short periods over the centuries Drexellian has always been a reclusive dragon. Except for when he is attacking, he chooses to have virtually nothing to do with human society. Some scholars feel that his seemingly lack of understanding of humans is a weakness that can be exploited, but very few adventurers who decide to go and seek out Drexellian's treasure have more than a few tidbits of information to aid in the downfall of their foe. The only known vices of Drexellian are sculptures, books and fine ale. Because of this, ale is one of the few commodities that are very seldom sent overland through the region. Some intrepid adventurers have tried to lure Drexellian out into the open with rare tomes as bait, but he has never bit. This particular dragon has an extremely uncanny ability to smell out traps, which as led some scholars to speculate that the dragon often travels into the cities in human form to seek out books and information. This is pure guesswork, though, without a single shred of evidence to support the claim.


The last few years have been unusually calm ones. It is known that recently Drexellian has had to defend his kingdom from the incursions of several dragons, but he always triumphs over these upstarts. While fewer and fewer caravans have been attacked, and fewer adventuring groups have come up against the Flaming Lord, no one has dropped their guard even the least bit.


Drexellian's Lair

The location of Drexellian's most recent lair is unknown. Based on his earlier lairs, though, a lot can be guessed at. Drexellian prefers to lair in natural caves that were formed by volcanic activity. Those who have ever made it into his lair and survived to tell the tale report that they saw very little in the way of treasure. They only saw a thin layer of gold used as a bed, a few bookcases filled with books, and many marble statues. It is suspected that the hoard of Drexellian is vast. Very few dragons live over 8 centuries without accumulating a sizeable fortune. Many a scholar suspects that the hoard has been broken down into small caches that are hidden through out his realm. A few suspect that he melts the bulk of his hoard down into one large clump which he then buries beneath a old lava flow and that he then re-melts the stone over the top so that it blends in with the old flow.


Artwork by Solipsism Earlier lairs often had an entrance low on a mountain side and were surrounded by warrens of orc or kobold caves, humanoids that Drexellian often uses as guards for his doorstep. All of those orc warrens had human mages as their leaders. While any individual orc or kobold is no challenge for any adventurer seasoned enough to battle The Flaming Lord, hundreds and hundreds of orcs or kobolds defending a lair full of traps and backed by a powerful wizard of the purest evil can weaken even the toughest of foes.


Once past the outer series of caves the main passage wound steeply upwards into the mountain. This central passage was coated with a thick layer of dirt and debris that was fanned by a strong wind from up above and large boulders were thrown down amidst the debris. Given the amount of dirt and debris within this main tunnel a few lucky survivors suspect that there might be secret passages off to the side or a possible second entrance and that the main passage wasn't used by Drexellilan, that it was merely a trap. No one alive who ever scouted one of Drex's lairs and lived to tell about it ever reported a secondary entrance.


At the top of the main passage it opens up onto a large central shaft of the volcano, with the top sealed shut, often by Drex himself. This central shaft is usually quite wide and provides ample space for Drex to fight from the air against foes that have been battered and bruised by their long struggle up the main passageway. In this central shaft Drex has carved out numerous caves large enough to be lairs for the largest of dragons, and a lot of these are hidden behind secret walls with warded entrances. Given the number of caves to be explored, and given the time that would be spent searching for hidden caves, Drex has more than enough time to prepare spells and ambush adventurers while their attention is focused elsewhere. The only times that Drex's inner den was discovered was by survivors who admitted that they stumbled upon it by blind luck, having picked a cave at random and they found it on the first or second try.


Given the amount of artwork and literature that Drex has in his lair, and what has been seen is often suspected to be just the tip of the iceberg, it is strongly believed that there are more, smaller caves off of his primary cave and that there are a lot of magical guards in place to protect his fragile treasures from damage. A few scholars suspect that he has more than one lair and that his lesser valued items of art and knowledge are stored there. One sage in particular, Farth Connellen of Arrafel, claims that Drexellian actually owns numerous houses in various cities of the Regions of Rossak, and others in such far away places like Hillsfar, Raven's Bluff, Waterdeep, and Baluder's Gate, and that he visits them in human guise and has human servants and guards protecting his homes, and that this is where Drex keeps the bulk of his treasures, "hidden" amongst the humans from whom he has stolen his treasures. Farth is often labeled a lunatic.


Current rumor claims that Drex's present lair is located about a day's march in from the coast, roughly halfway between Crodges and Persh.


Drexellian's Domain

The eastern half of the Northern Rossak Mountains is the undisputed domain of Drexellian. He knows that if he is too zealous in his attacks on the humanoid populations that merchant travel will cease and the humans and their allies will withdraw to their cities and those will be too tough a nut to crack. So, he only casually attacks humans and such within his realm. Well, most of the time he only casually attacks. He also leaves the larger cities alone simply because they normally contain too many wizards and adventurers of sufficient power to make them not worth the effort. Dwarven forts and such are also usually left alone as those hearty folk are very adept at fighting in the mountains and their homes are too small for Drex to enter.


But, he lets everyone in his domain know, sooner or later, that The Flaming Lord rules these lands and that anyone who lives there does so at his suffrage. This includes several smaller dragons who think that they have successfully taken a small chunk of Drex's territory. These interlopers live only because they amuse Drexellian, and he can kill them anytime that he pleases. He often flies by their lairs just to scare them, and once they show the slightest sign of losing that fear, he kills them off and adds their treasures to his own.


The Deeds of Drexellian

The early deeds of Drexellian in his youth are told far and wide, often of how he outfought and outsmarted dragons with decades or centuries of experience on him. As he grew older, though, he realized that too much of infamy could be a bad thing. Therefore, where he used to hire bards to write songs about him in his early days, he now keeps his deeds hidden as much as possible. There have been numerous deeds that have been attributed to The Flaming Lord in later years, but very few of them have been proven. In fact, there have been a number of confirmed cases where adventurers or bards were spreading tales of deeds attributed Drex that they had personally witnessed, and those people suddenly ceased to exist. In one such case, about 60 years ago, the famed bard Outherias Silvertongue of Crodges was suddenly immolated while strolling along the upper rim of the city singing of how Drexellian the Flaming Lord had slain Daravanda Cobolttongue, a venerable blue dragon who lived in territory near Drex's, territory now with Drex's domain. Very few people doubt who it was who turned this famous bard into a cinder, but even fewer people are willing to speak of the murder in public for fear of meeting a similar fate. Enough people over the years have died under mysterious circumstances while talking of Drexellian to make this a wise course of action to heed.


The exception to this is often in the tale of adventurers who have been slain by Drex as they tried to hunt him down. Many adventuring parties, like the fabled Mithril Maces and The Gray Questors, have gone off in search of The Flaming Lord and were simply never heard from again. Some, though, have suddenly returned from their quest on the outskirts of one city or another. Of course, they are always dead and impaled on stakes within sight of the city walls, but they did return. A few of these victims of Drex's wrath have been raised, but nearly all of them have been too horrified by their ordeal to talk about it, and more than a few killed themselves in a matter of days just so as not to have to live with the memories of what had been done to them. Those who were brought back and able to live with their nightmares universally fled from the heart of society and are often suspected to be living in seclusion as hermits or in monasteries trying their best to forget the past. One (in)famous case involves The Dragon Lords, an adventuring group with decades of experience slaying dragons. They had easily brought down dragons far older and superior to Drexellian and many people thought that Drex would soon wind up dead once the adventurers departed from the walls of Persh in search of The Flaming Lord. Thirty days later, when the high tide withdrew further out to sea, there, no more than a stones throw from the city walls, were all ten members of The Dragon Lords, charred to cinders and impaled on stakes that had been driven into solid stone. Most of them were barely recognizable as being humanoids let alone humans. Three of the members were deemed salvageable and were raised from the dead. One of them started screaming at the top of his lungs as soon as he regained consciousness and two weeks later he died from lack of food and water, still screaming. Of the other two, one killed himself as soon as he was left alone and the other, once a famed knight of stout body and mind, simply curled up in the corner of his room, whimpering. He is still there, nearly 50 years later, in a sanatorium in Persh, whimpering away in the corner of his room, a sad shell of his former self.


Drexellian's Magic

The magic that has been witnessed as being used by Drexellian has many dragon experts worried as it seems to be far more powerful than one would expect from a dragon of Drex's age. Drex is known to be quite fond of magic, often preferring to use it to take out his foes if he can and conserving his draconic strength in case he needs it. Give his seemingly natural aptitude with magic many believe that a fair number of his foes have been slain with magic alone. This leads some to mistakenly think that his fighting abilities are not as good as they could possibly be. While he is known to mostly stick to more common spells, he has been known to use some exceptionally rare spells, two of which at least are thought to be of his own creation, one of which has been successfully copied by humanoid mages.


Suppress Breath

Level 7
Range: 200 yards
Components: V
Duration: 5 rounds and up to 15 minutes
Casting Time: 7
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: Special

When this spell is cast the dragon casting it has 5 rounds in which to use his breath weapon. If he fails to use his breath weapon within this time the spell is lost. However, if he uses his breath weapon up a non-living surface, such as a road or stone wall, the breath weapon seemingly has no effect, appearing to be absorbed into the target area. In reality the breath weapon is suppressed into a very thin film-like material that clings to whatever it touches. This film gives off no discernable heat and if touched just seems like a bit of dampness. Any of the film that is scrapped off fades to dust. The spell is ruined if there is any living material in the area upon which the breath weapon hits.

At any time with fifteen minutes of the breath weapon having been suppressed and so long as the caster is within 200 yards the command word can be spoken and the film erupts into flame just as if it were a regular breath weapon attack, causing the same damage. Those caught in the flames are entitled to a saving throw for half damage. If he spell is not activated in the allotted time frame the film fades to dust and is lost.


Basilisk Runes

Level 6
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M
Duration: Special
Casting Time: 3 rounds
Area of Effect: 20-ft. radius
Saving Throw: Neg.

This spell is very similar to the third level spell Explosive Runes. The creation and chance of detection is the same as per Explosive Runes. The difference, though is revealed when the words are read.

Reading of the Basilisk Runes causes a small puff of dust to be released from the page. This dust turns anyone who fails their saving throw vs. petrification to stone. Everyone within the 20' radius area of effect of the spell must make a successful saving throw or be turned to stone. The information written on the page is not lost, but the spell only functions once.

The caster of the spell, as well as anyone he instructs, can read the protected writing without triggering the runes. Additionally, he can remove the runes whenever he so desires. Unless removed with a dispel magic spell the runes last until the spell is triggered.

When casting this spell the mage must also cast a Flesh to Stone spell that is absorbed by the Basilisk Runes.

The material component of this spell is the dust of someone turned to stone by a basilisk along with a dried basilisk eye. The eye is ground up and with the dust is mixed into the ink used to transcribe the runes.


Drexellian's Fate

Artist Unknown Given the skill with which Drexellian has dispatched so many foes far beyond his ability, most experts on dragons believe that Drexellian will live a long and healthy life, much to the misfortune of everyone in the area where he makes his home. A few sages, who have wisely chosen to remain anonymous, say that Drexellian has been courting members of the Cult of Dragons. This has a lot of humanoids, and a fair number of dragons, worried. A living Drexellian is bad enough. An undead one would be even worse.


Still, as with all dragons, there is never a shortage of rival adult dragons, young draconic upstarts, and countless adventurers looking to match skills with one as famed and skilled as The Flaming Lord. Commoners and nobles alike can only hope that someone brings down this seemingly invincible venerable red dragon, and soon. Drexellian, though, has a different set of hopes and at the moment seems to have very little to fear.




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