The Wheezing Dragon
Jaelric the Black, Shatterer of the Countryside isn't feeling up to par. And he needs a little bit of help.
As they travel across the countryside, the adventuring party is accosted by a small, black Wyvern. He demands that they follow him to see his master, alternately threatening, cajoling, and bribing them with gemstones and minor magic trinkets to do so.
Should they choose to follow the beast, he will lead them through a warren of twisty tunnels to a great cavern, one that opens up over a cliffledge perfect for its inhabitant to take flight from. Ensconced in that great cavern, lying atop a massive pile of gold and assorted artifacts will be Jaelric the Black, an elder black dragon enormously beyond the ability of the party to kill. Jaelric, as he lies there, is wheezing pathetically, though he will attempt to rise as the adventurers enter, at least pushing the front of himself up to look well down at the human creatures. The pile of gold beneath his head will be coated with a rather disgusting mucus, one that few will want to theive from.
What Jaelric wants, you see, is a cure for his illness, which has now plagued his nigh perfect constitution for several days. If asked, he will describe his symptoms in exquisite, stomach churning detail, and even allow the adventurers some limited observation. (In reality, it's nothing more than a very nasty common cold.) The adventurers will have two days to find either a cure for his illness or a remedy for his symptoms, which should come from some folk-tales with some difficult-to-obtain materials. (cue standard spelunking/forest trip).
Should the remedy be effective, the humans will be richly rewarded with gold, though no artifacts will be issuing forth from the horde today. Should the remedy be ineffective, the humans will be treated with contempt. Should the remedy prove harmful from poor mixing / improper ingrediants, Jaelric's wyvern servants will attempt to kill the party. Jaelric himself will have difficulty fighting, due to his shortness of breath, but if attacked, will respond in kind.
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? Responses (12)
A-choooo! ... I guess we need a new party
I bet there is a mage somewhere with a recipe for a spell using dragonsnot
Have you been a kind dragon?
The question remains, is the 'Shatterer of the Countryside' really to be helped?
'Thank you noble heroes, I can return to my former quiet life of pillaging and burning. Mmmm... and I think my taste for human flesh is back.'
The age-old question, to help or not to help someone not nice, or perhaps downright Evil(tm). Of course, if they refuse to help, he will remember, once the cold is over...
'You need a nice cup of Chicken noodle soup!'
'I hear YOU taste like chicken...'
Well, that would be a whole other plotlet thing. Sidequests are diversions from the main plot- this is a post of ONE plot.
It would also be highly unlikely that a black dragon would renounce his ways for some significantly weaker adventurers, but he maight reward them, or atleast give them a nice funeral.
Well... I can tell you what MY players would do in this instance: ignore the plea. My guys are BIG on doing what's right and just, and evil dragons are sort of beyond redemption in their eyes. If they KNEW they couldn't kill the dragon, they would simply let it die on it's own, if they thought that's what would happen. Otherwise they'd probably inform the nearest uber-wizard that there's a weak dragon that needs killing, and they'll tell him where it is for a finders fee of the treasure.
I going to try this, my party would be divided between talking the gold, killing the dragon some combination of the two, but really an open-end conclusion and a classic set up makes for good and unpredictable roleplaying.
If I were running this plot, I'd try to add some extra element of moral ambiguity to the dragon. For example, Jaelric the Black has been around for hundreds of years. Suppose that in that time he had aided the ruling house of the kingdom, giving fealty to them when they went to war in exchange for exclusive hunting rights in a large swath of undesirable fen land and a fair-sized herd of cattle.
Now the dragon may still be evil, and may eagerly devour any poor peat-cutter that trespasses on his swampy demesne, but he is a leigeman of the Crown, and not someone to be lightly slain. Many a medieval noble was quite as rapacious and murderous as a dragon could be.
The easist way to use this plot is to DE-COLOR-CODE dragons. That has to be my least favorite part of D&D.
- steps off soapbox -
A take on the old lion and the mouse story, it is a classic plot. Good job!
I like the simpleness of this plot but personally, I do not like the bit abt the evil black dragon much nor the implied thing abt the PCs have to help out or else.
*Commented on for the Commenting Challenge