Out of the Abyss

(Jeff_L) #1


The dragon speaks Dwarvish to its servants as the
characters approach. Read the following:

As the duergar priests lead you to a building carved
from the stone just outside a huge cave entrance, the
ground trembles slightly, and a thunderous voice echoes
against every wall.
"Gartokkar," the voice calls as a reptilian behemoth
comes into view, it scales the color of lava, its bright
yellow eyes glowing in the shadows of the cave before
coming into the light. "You didn't say I was having
surfacers for dinner today."
The dragon chuckles at his own wit. His massive body
g ive s the distinct impression that he is overweight,
indicating eating habits that don't bode well.
" Foreigners," the duergar priest says with great
reverence, "meet the Father of Flame, the Everburning,
and the Foundry's Heart-Themberchaud, the
Wyrmsmith of Gracklstugh."

Like most of his kind, Themberchaud is vain and proud.
He's pampered, but also restless. The adult red dragon
has been aware for several years that hls handlers are
withholding things from him, but rather than demand
disclosure, he has waited and observed. He wants
agents of his own, and sees the interest of the Keepers
in the adventurers as an opportunity.
The dragon demands to speak with the characters in
private, with his nervous duergar handlers having no


choice but to acquiesce. When they escort the characters
into rhe dragon's lair. Tbemberchaud is resting on a
mountain of gold. He rells the keepers to leave him alone
with the ad\·cnrurcrs. hissing that any invisible lurkers
will be turned to ash. Once alone. he asks the characters
their names, backgrounds, how they found themselves
in the Underdark, and the events that led them to
Themberchaud makes the characters an offer: become
his agents in Gracklstugh, and gain his protection. Their
first mission is to do whatever the Keepers of the Flame
ask them to- but ro report to Thembcrchaud before
reporting to them.
The dragon doesn't wait for the characters to respond,
since his ego can't accept the notion that anyone
would refuse him. lle assigns Gartokkar to be their
liaison, orders badges of gold be given to them, and
sends them off.

The characters might be tempted to i nspcct
Themberchaud's hoard from where they stand, as the
dragon doesn't allow them to gel closer than 60 feet in
front of him. The hoard consists of 3,000 pp. 20,000 gp,
45,000 sp, 150,000 cp, six 1,0 00 gp fire opals. ten 500
gp peridots, thirty 100 gp garnets, a gourd containing oil
of sharpness, a potion of flying, a potion of longevity, and
a potion of supreme healing. The magic items are buried
under oeoins and not visible at a glance. One must dig
through the coins to find them.
A character who tries to get closer receives a friendly
warning in the form of a growl. a stare, and claws
clicking on the floor. Themberchaud uses his breath
weapon on any character who tries again, or who
attempts to sneak past him and fails. Then he calmly
carries on as if nothing happened.

When the characters are done with Themberchaud, they
exit the lair to where Gartokkar waits to take them to
the guard house where the Keepers of the Flame keep
watch. He darkly asks what business the dragon had
with them, but what the characters choose to tell him
(and whelher they intend to follow up on the dragon's
orders) is up to them.
The power of the Keepers of the Flame derives
in equal measure from their psionic abil ities, the
leadership of the Deepking, and their influence over
Themberchaud. They lost face when the Gray Ghosts
stole the valuable red dragon egg that would hatch
Themberchaud's replacement, and they have been
waging war on the thieves' guild ever since. But with
the egg still lost and their control over Themberchaud
waning, the Keepers are exploring all options in their
war against the Gray Ghosts.
The psionic Keepers have sensed a great disturbance
in the Undcrdark-a phenomenon that Gartokkar
compares to a hole having been torn through the world.
The Keepers have no idea about the demonic incursion,
however, and even if the characters tell Gartokkar what
they know, he is fixated on the idea that the Gray Ghosts
Free download pdf