The Rage is nearly upon us.


All the portents say so. Those of us with the proper gifts can see it in the shape of the clouds, or hear it in the murmurs of the rivers. Every divination points to it. Many of you can feel it in your restlessness and ill temper, in the vile pictures that rise unbidden in your mind. I witness it in my dreams, whenever I can bear to sleep.

A Rage is surely coming, the greatest ever, a madness that will overwhelm every one of us as completely as it will our evil kindred.

We must protect the small folk from our fury!
 
  I. Introduction

How to use this adventure

The Dracorage adventure covers a full D&D 3.5 campaign. Compiled inside are enough encounters to take 3rd-level D&D characters all the way to 20th level, as well as plenty of raw material you can use for further exploration.

What you need to play

For use with the three Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 core rule books -
Player's Handbook (PH), Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG), Monster Manual (MM) - plus the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (FRCS), Draconomicon (Dra), Forgotten Realms: Dragons of Faerun and Dragon Magazine #346. There are several other books referenced herein. Throughout this book, an asterix (*) denotes a spell, feat, monster, or magic item described in the appendix in either the Player's or Campaign guide.

This campaign is, by nature, very dragocentric. Dragons play a pivotal role in this adventure series. The player characters should not be descended from dragons (such as taking certain draconic races, playing half-dragons, or even having draconic bloodlines). They can however pledge alliance to a metallic dragon by playing on of the various prestige classes found e.g. in the Draconomicon, join a dragon-ruled organization or even serve one particular dragon.

This adventure is based on the Year of the Rogue Dragons trilogy by RIchard Lee Byers as well as the two Realms of the Dragons anthologies. The story tells the tale of an epic peril to all living creatures of Faerun, a tale rooted deep in the arcance mysteries of the past. As a DM you should have read those books but obviously you should restrain your players from doing so.

Dracorage
© Klaus Scherwinski

Lyrabar, 16 Hammer, the Year of Rogue Dragons (1373 DR) -

II. Player's Guide

III. Campaign Guide

Plot Summary (CONTAINS SPOILERS!)

Thousands of years ago, before the Reign of Giants and
Elven Crown Wars, Faerûn lived in the Time of the Dragons,
an age when dragons ruled with impunity over all the lesser
races (“meat”). The elves in particular chafed under the yoke
of the dragons and sought a way to free themselves from their
oppression. After years of secret research in the frozen north of
Faerûn and extensive debate about the costs and risks, the elves
weaved the Dracorage mythal*, a permanent crafting of elven
high magic and one of the most powerful spells ever woven into
the Weave. This epic spell made it impossible for dragonkind
to continue its collective dominion of Faerûn. The Dracorage
mythal caused all dragons (including those of type dragon and
creatures with the dragonblood subtype) to become reckless and
run amok across their lands, slaughtering their young and vassals,
and destroying all in their wake, but it also gave the Fair
Folk the opportunity to break free of dragon rule, marking the
denouement of the Reign of Dragons.
As a result of this ancient curse, dragons have periodically gone
berserk, rampaging across the Realms. Like some sort of disease,
the so-called Dracorage (sometimes known as the Dragon Rage
or simply the Rage) lays dormant, erupting forth every several
decades or even few centuries—an event seemingly associated
with the reappearance of the King-Killer Star (actually a bright
red comet that winks like a baleful eye)—to infect dragons for
several tendays at a time.
The intensity, breadth, and duration of a Dracorage has historically
depended on the astrological position of the King-Killer
Star. As a result, sometimes the effects of the Dracorage have
been localized, leading to a so-called “fl ight of dragons.” The
most recent Flight of Dragons occurred in the Year of the Worm
(1356 DR) and resulted in the destruction of cities and deaths of
thousands across the Moonsea, Dalelands, Cormyr, and beyond.
At other times (approximately every 300 years, but recorded
intervals have ranged from 100 to 700 years), the Dracorage has
affected all Faerûn, precipitating a full-blown Rage of Dragons.
The last true Rage of Dragons precipitated by the King-Killer
Star occurred in the Year of the Dracorage (1018 DR).
The Dracorage Campaign
The most recent Rage of Dragons occurred prematurely in the
Year of Rogue Dragons (1373 DR) as a result of the manipulations
of the mighty lich and leader of the Cult of the Dragon,
Sammaster, and not the wanderings of the King-Killer Star
across the heavens.
The premature eruption of the Dracorage allows DMs to introduce
this continent-spanning event into a campaign set roughly
in the current timeframe. (Other than a less appropriate year
name, there is little reason why Sammaster’s Dracorage could not
have unfolded the year before or the year after the Year of Rogue
Dragons, if that works better for your campaign.) A Dracorage
campaign revolves around a period of aberrant behavior by
Faerûn’s great wyrms. Like all periods of transition, a dramatic
change in the status quo unleashes a period of change that can
in turn precipitate all manner of adventures. For example, the
PCs might be directly involved in unraveling the secrets behind
Sammaster’s Dracorage, as the heroes do in the Year of Rogue
Dragons trilogy, or they might focus more on the consequences of
a particular dragon awakening from a long sleep or abandoning its
responsibilities
as it succumbs
to the
Dracorage. The novel
Q ueen of the Depths
by Richard Lee Byers
gives a good example
of what this type of
Dracorage campaign
might look like.
Turning
of the Great
Cycle
As discussed in Chapter 1, the
Year of Rogue Dragons culminates in
the unraveling of the Dracorage mythal
and marks the turning of the Great
Cycle. In the wake of Sammaster’s
Dracorage (presumably in the Year
of Lightning Storms [1374 DR], but
again the exact year can be varied
as appropriate for the individual
campaign), no barrier remains
to the great
wyrms of Faerûn reestablishing the
Reign of Dragons over the Realms. A
post-Dracorage dracocentric campaign is
focused on what comes next. The PCs
might get swept up in the resumption
of the Dragonfall War between the followers
of Bahamut and the servitors of Tiamat, or they might
get involved in the machinations of a great wyrm such as
Alasklerbanbastos or Tchazzar who seeks to carve out
a new kingdom before rivals claim the territory
for themselves. Regardless
of their patron or
motivation, the PCs
might become
skilled dragonhunters,
tracking
down rival wyrms
and eliminating them
and the threat they pose.
Under the King-Killer Star
In the twenty-fi ve millennia that followed, the collective power
of Faerûn’s wyrms waxed and waned, but dragonkind never
reclaimed its absolute rule over Faerûn. Every time individual
wyrms or dragon clans sought to reestablish their dominance
over large swaths of Faerûn, either the lesser humanoid races
united to bring them down (see the Dragonmoots sidebar) or,
failing that, the King-Killer Star returned to drive them into
madness, destroy what they had wrought, and turn them against
their own offspring. Only once did an allied group of dragons
come close to unraveling the Dracorage mythal, but the longforgotten
wyrms of that day were turned aside by the sacrifi ce
of nearly the entire subrace of avariels, who mustered a great
crusade to fl y north and defend the ancient citadel that housed
the Dracorage mythal capstone.
Although exceptions are recorded throughout history, in time
the majority of Faerûn’s dragons came to occupy the niche of
top predator, not king. Notable exceptions include Anaglathos,
who ruled over Turmish for six years; Kisonraathiisar, who
ruled over Westgate until the Year of Bold Poachers (–349 DR);
Tchazzar, who ruled over Chessenta for nearly a century (and
has now returned); and Ylveraasahlisar the Rose Dragon, who
ruled over Calimport for a century.
The last Rage of Dragons unleashed by the King-Killer Star
unfolded in the Year of the Dracorage (1018 DR). The last Flight
of Dragons occurred over the Dalelands and the Moonsea in the
Year of the Worm (1356 DR).
Year of Rogue Dragons
In the Year of Rogue Dragons (1373 DR), Sammaster fi nally
completed his transformation of the Dracorage mythal, tying
his phylactery to the chamber that served as the capstone of the
ancient Dracorage mythal so that the mythal’s effects were no
longer constrained by the appearance of the King-Killer Star
in the heavens, but linked instead to his own life force. Only
dracoliches would remain unaffected by Sammaster’s endless,
ever-intensifying Dracorage, and wyrms of every species would
have to ally themselves with the Cult and accept transformation
into the form of a Sacred One, or suffer permanent madness.
The lich then set about reasserting his control over individual
Cult of the Dragon cells across Faerûn. From the isle of Tan in
the Pirate Isles to Dragonback Mountain, northernmost peak
of the Riders to the Sky mountains, Cult members transformed
their secret strongholds into laboratories in which dozens if not
hundreds of dragons could be transformed into dracoliches in a
short period of time.
As the Rage of Dragons spread and worsened, chromatic
dragons across Faerûn either succumbed to its effects and turned
on whoever crossed their path or desperately embraced the
Dragon Cult as an alternative. Rampaging wyrms wreaked great
destruction across Faerûn, from As’arem to Calimport and from
Asavir’s Channel to the Tannath Mountains, but Sammaster’s
guiding hand focused their destruction on Damara, Impiltur,
Narfell, Sossal, Vaasa, and the Cold Lands north of the Moonsea.
Communities such as Bloodstone Pass, the Monastery of the
Yellow Rose, Uluvin, and Ylraphon were destroyed or nearly so
by dragons who succumbed to madness, and other groups, such as
the Thousand Fists orc tribe of the Nether Mountains and the
navies of Cimbar and Soorenar, were decimated by the dragons’
wrath.
Lareth, sovereign of the gold dragons, called for a great
council in the Galena Mountains, where he unveiled his plan
for all the metallic dragons to enter a magical slumber until the
Dracorage subsided, as his kind had done time and again. (While
many elder metallic dragons had the magical ability to fl ee to
another plane, due to long-standing draconic traditions regarding
territorial claims, they did not do so, fearing the effect of “abandoning”
territory on the Material Plane to their hated chromatic
cousins.)Although many wyrms agreed with the King of Justice,
a few rebels rejected this approach, maintaining (thanks to subtle
hints from the Lord of the North Wind) that this episode of
Dracorage was like no other and would last forever. Displaying the
fi rst tinges of madness, Lareth threatened to use his minions to
coerce or destroy any dragon who resisted. In time, the great gold
wyrm Tamarand, second only to Lareth, was forced to destroy
the King of Justice, but he refused the mantle of royalty.
Only the gem dragons largely escaped the effects of the
Dracorage, for they had the power (and the willingness) to fl ee
to the Inner Planes for however long it lasted. However, a few
waited too long and succumbed to the effects of the Dracorage
as well.
As Sammaster’s plot unfolded with astonishing swiftness,
a group of heroes led by Dorn Graybrook (CN male half-iron
golemMM2 [augmented Vaasan human] fi ghter 10/ranger 3) and
Karasendrieth (CG female adult song dragon sorcerer 3/bard 2)
worked to unravel the effects of Sammaster’s Art. In locales such
as the Gray Forest, the Monastery of the Yellow Rose, Northkeep,
and Thar, the heroes retraced Sammaster’s path, seeking
the lore fi rst found by the lich that allowed him to manipulate
the Dracorage mythal.
Eventually, the allies discovered how to counter the Dracorage
mythal (using the spell abate Dracorage*) and turned their
efforts toward fi nding the Dracorage mythal’s capstone. Their
search led them to a lost elf city in the Novularond Mountains
in the heart of the Great Glacier and from there, through a
portal, to the ancient citadel in the northernmost reaches of
Faerûn in which the mythal had been raised millennia ago.
After a great battle with Sammaster and his summoned planar
dragon allies, the heroes prevailed, destroying the lich, his
phylactery, and the Dracorage mythal once and for all, thereby
forever ending the magical madness that had long affl icted the
dragons of Faerûn.
Turning of the Great Cycle
In the wake of Sammaster’s Rage of Dragons, Faerûn’s wyrms
returned to their lairs, greatly reduced in number. Many had died
unleashing orgies of destruction on the lesser races of Faerûn.
Others had embraced dracolichdom, and some now found themselves
magically beholden to the Dragon Cult’s Wearers of Purple.
Few among the dragonkind races realized that Tiamat had set in
motion the events that led to the destruction of the Dracorage
mythal, but word quickly spread that Sammaster and the Cult
were behind the most recent rage (thanks to skilled rumormongering
by both the Harpers and the Church of Tiamat). Even
fewer realized the end of the Dracorage marked the Turning of
the Great Cycle, the long-foretold resumption of religious fervor
among dragonkind.
In the Year of Lightning Storms (1374 DR) Faerûn was
beset by great lightning strikes the length and breadth of the
continent. At least some of those lightning strikes marked the
impact points of an unusual year-long rain of meteors. In a
series of visions, Bahamut and Tiamat instructed their respective
followers to seek out such sites, for each contained some
form of draconic egg within. In the months that followed,
the Church of Tiamat recovered more than half of the eggs
of the latest Tearfall and brought them back to the Altar of
Scales in Unthalass in preparation for the looming war. The
rest were lost, hatched on their own, or recovered by followers
of Bahamut.
Now, with Faerûn still reeling from the aftereffects of
Sammaster’s rage, the Dragonfall War threatens to erupt anew,
pitting the followers of Bahamut and Tiamat against each other
in an ancient holy war last fought centuries ago, while the Church
of Tiamat and the Wearers of Purple struggle for control of
Sammaster’s legacy

IV. Adventure Site

V. Encounter Tables

2011 & 2012 © Christian vom Bruck / Martin Beckmann
 
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