How to Use
The Lost Dragon Temple is located after a network of dangerous underground caves. The heroes can encounter this dungeon while exploring the Underdark or a similar place. This ancient temple belonged to a long lost civilization or kobolds. The heroes can find remnants of the last dwellers of this place to know this, or they might befriend Zven, a kobold who loves history. This is a 4th-level dungeon.
History is written by the victors. Conquerors order their scribes to portray their deeds on paper so their stories can be told forever. Books and words never choose sides. Their lore is there to be believed or burned. Those who destroy history often do so when they mean to rewrite it. Only the gods are the real masters of truth. And even they are wrong sometimes…
But what happens with things that aren’t part of current history? Uncharted territories are the fuel for explorers and brave hearts. There are locations and places forgotten for so long that no records exist about them. These places tend to be dangerous, and plagued with monsters. But the discovery of greater things always goes along with risk. Professional explorers know how perilous their job can be and that is why they often hire groups of heroes or mercenaries to aid them.
However, coincidences do happen. And sometimes mortals are struck with the misfortune of being at the wrong place, at the wrong time. When it happens, death is the usual outcome. Few people are trained to master their fears and fight when facing mortal danger. Those who live to tale the tale become folk heroes. And some strive for greater goals, thus becoming heroes.
The adventurers arrive at the Lost Dragon Temple after a few days under the yoke of darkness in the caves. They can enter the dungeon through the stairs at the entrance (area 1) or from the river (area 9). Either way, the adventurers meet Zven right when they enter the temple.
The Lost Dragon Temple once belonged to a large community of kobolds many centuries ago. The small reptiles built the huge dragon statue and the treasure to honor their master and leader, a dragon named Tadriren, the Dark. The dragon ruled over the kobolds with an iron claw. Any failure or lack of respect was met with instant death. Besides building the statue, the kobolds stole and pillaged to acquire more wealth and richness for their master and leader. Each chamber of the temple was more beautiful than the other. Except for the chamber with the dragon statue, which had no match.
Tadriren often visited the kobolds in disguise. It polymorphed into a beautiful drow woman with swift long limbs and soft silky hair. The kobolds knew the dragon liked to assume that form for practical purposes. However, they were more afraid of the dragon whenever it assumed the humanoid form. Tadriren was crueler as a drow; it used spells and magic to punish the poor kobolds.
The kobolds served the dragon for years and years. But one day, Tadriren met a rival. A behir entered the dragon’s territory and a gruesome fight ensued. Tadriren made the mistake of underestimating its foe and approached it in close combat. It was too late when it realized its mistake and used its last strength to break free of the behir. Tadriren lost a leg, an eye, and two horns in a battle that could have ended its life. Full of shame, anger, and humiliation, the maimed dragon fled the land and never returned. It didn’t want the kobolds to see it scarred and hurt.
Tadriren’s presence in the temple prevented many pests from lingering around. The dragon was always vigilant of this place. The kobolds never knew why their overlord never returned though. In the beginning, they felt free and stronger than ever. But after some time, they realized they didn’t have a purpose anymore. They felt lost and helpless. Indeed, they couldn’t do much when monsters started to claim the area.
The kobolds left the place and made a living somewhere else. Hundreds of years have passed since this happened. Now the place is old, decrepit, and forgotten. An underground river has made its way through the temple and humidity and erosion have damaged everything in its path. Nothing is known of the whereabouts of Tadriren, or if it is still alive. Some kobold grandmothers tell the younglings tales about a popeyed-three-legged dragon that comes haunt them in their sleep if they misbehave.
Small humanoid (kobold), lawful evil (age 102)
Zven has many white hairs coming out of its ears. It has a long bushy beard tied with a bronze ring. Zven’s eyes are the color of amber with some tints of yellow and red, like a reptile’s. It wears a few pieces of leather armor and some tunics on top. It doesn’t look menacing. Zven is frail and old. However, what it lacks in strength and resilience, it makes up in nimbleness and stealth.
The old kobold is just happy to have some company. Even though it doesn’t mean harm to the heroes, the lonely reptile is a chronic mythomaniac and his lies might become inconvenient. If the heroes let the kobold accompany them, it stays out of combat and danger. Zven will always flee first unless cornered.
Personality Trait. “Better hide and live than fight and die.”
Ideal. “I’ll write a book about kobold history. The “real” kobold history and not those human droppings.”
Bond. “My research is my life.”
Flaw. “I might not understand that my age can impede what I do.”
The Lost Dragon Temple
The following descriptions of areas 1 through 11 correspond to the underground temple.
Terrain. The place shows signs of water erosion everywhere. Stone floor tiles are cracked and broken. Whole walls disappear and leave room for dark caves.
Doors. All doors are unlocked unless stated otherwise.
Light. All areas are in complete darkness.
Smells and Sounds. The sound of the water falling and the flow of the river mutes almost every other sound. Monsters are aware of this and hide in silence in the dark to ambush their prey.
The Stream. The water is deep and strong enough to make someone drown or be pulled by the current. A capable swimmer (DC 14 Athletics) can beat the current and stay afloat. Any creature that fails to swim in the water is pulled toward area 3 at a speed of 30 feet per round. A creature that falls down a waterfall takes 11 (3d6) bludgeoning damage.
The stairs go up 15 feet and reach the entrance of the temple. It is a 40-feet-long corridor with two 10-feet-wide alcoves on the sides. Each alcove has a small stone pedestal. The pedestals hold a dragon shard the size of a person. Dragon shard is a very valuable material. However, each dragon shard weighs 200 pounds. If the heroes want to take them as treasure, they must find a way to transport the rocks or to cut them into smaller pieces.
The heroes find Zven (kobold) analyzing one of the dragon shards when they arrive. The small reptile greets them and says it doesn’t mean any harm and asks the heroes to please not hurt it. If the heroes are hostile, Zven flees and finds a place to hide and doesn’t talk to the heroes again. However, if the heroes are friendly, or even kind, Zven accompanies them through the temple and tells them what it knows about the place.
Treasure. Each dragon shard can be cut into 10 smaller pieces by a skilled laborer (DC 17 Thieves Tools) without ruining the cut of the stone. Each piece obtained in this way is worth 100 gp. However, failing only once means the wrong cut is made and the whole rock crumbles to dust.
2. Under the Dragon’s Stare
A huge 40-feet-tall statue of a dragon dominates this area. The dragon holds a massive stone chest under its claws and thousands of stone coins lay at its feet between the chest and its belly. A roughly 15-feet-wide river divides this area in two, leaving the dragon statue out of reach. The heroes can try to cross the water to reach the dragon. However, if one of them is observant enough (DC 14 Perception), they notice that the tail of the dragon can be used to climb to the other side.
A large nest of giant spiders lives in the dark ceilings of this area. The spiders attempt to ambush the heroes by descending in silence from their webs. They trap the heroes in their webs and poison them while they’re trapped. Four giant spiders and two spider swarms attack the heroes.
If Zven is with the heroes, it says that the dragon isn’t a statue, but a petrified dragon. It then tells the story of how a dragon in the shape of a human seduced a beautiful woman who turned out to be a medusa. They fought and she turned the dragon to stone. Nothing of this is true. If they don’t believe Zven, it tells them to prove it wrong and dares them to break the petrification spell. If the heroes refuse to do it, Zven calls them cowards. If the heroes try and fail, the kobold tells them they aren’t strong enough to break the medusa’s curse.
Secret Chamber. A good part of the upper section of the dragon is hollow. The mouth of the dragon has a secret passage that takes to a secret chamber. The mouth of the dragon is 40 feet above the ground.
The water goes in this direction and continues flowing through a large network of underground caves which are beyond the scope of this module and left to the DMs discretion.
4. Dragon Statue
The statue of Tadriren is magnificent still after hundreds of years. The amount of detail in the statue is remarkable. The dragon features delicate scales and the massive chest looks like real wood if it weren’t for the greystone color. Analyzing the statue with a detect magic spell reveals that the stone has faint magical properties that protected it from the elements throughout the years.
If Zven is with the heroes, he tells them that the dragon’s chest surely contains massive treasure and wealth. The kobold calls the heroes cowards if they do not attempt to open the chest in any way.
5. Inside the Dragon’s Mouth
The mouth is an irregular curved corridor where only one medium-sized creature can cross at a time. After the curved corridor through the dragon’s neck, a 15-feet-long hallway takes to the secret chamber. This room is built inside the walls of the cavern and it is impossible to access it any other way.
There are three stone chests in this room. They contain Tadriren’s most valuable possessions. If Zven is with the heroes, it tries to convince them to leave the treasure alone. The kobold says that in the remote case that the petrified dragon came back to life, it would be really angry. Zven tells the heroes they don’t understand advanced and complex magic if they refuse to listen to him.
Treasure. The three chests contain the following items: A sturdy adamantine jewelry box, set with a peridot (550gp), a sturdy ceramic bowl (60gp), an antique gold drinking horn, inlaid with mithril (500gp), an old soapstone vase of shoddy construction (30gp), a durable brass ring, inlaid with mahogany wood (300gp), a silvered flask of venerable elven beer (30gp), and an ancient silk cloak with silver clasps (55gp). The chests also contain a +1 dagger, and a +1 short bow.
6. Remnants of the Temple
This is one of the areas that show more damage due to erosion and humidity. There is a nice wooden door to the south and the wall of the cave opens to the east. The remains of a balcony large enough for two medium creatures. If four or more medium creatures stand on the balcony at the same time, it breaks. The creatures fall 40 feet and into the water unless they are quick enough to react (DC 16 Dexterity save). The water in this area comes from a small waterfall to the northeast of the room. The waterfall is 20 feet high.
A group of eight darkmantles hides in the darkness. They ambush the heroes unless they spot them (DC 13 Perception. The monsters flee if three or more of them are reduced to 0 hit points.
7. The Bored King
This small room was a sort of shrine for Tadriren. The dragon used to have many trinkets and baubles decorating this place. The kobolds left with most of it though. Only one of the several paintings remains. The golden frame surrounds an old oil painting of a king sitting on his throne. The king looks bored, his head on his fist, tilted to the side. There is a small altar in front of the painting. It holds a few burned-out candles and a large book.
There is an opening on the wall a few feet above the painting. The opening takes to an “L” shaped corridor that reaches area 8 after crossing a stone arc. To the east of this area, a small corridor takes to a small storage room. Nothing remains of the things it once guarded.
Tadriren loved the painting because the king had the attitude of a dragon. Even though the man had everything and all the wealth in the world, he remained bored. Tadriren felt that way even when surrounded by its treasure. Perhaps the kobolds left this painting alone because they knew how much the dragon liked it.
Treasure. If any of the characters if well-versed in literature (DC 15 History check) they realize the book on the altar is an ancient collection of poems written in draconic. These poems only exist in this tongue and are so complex that translating them is useless. This book can be sold to the right collector or library for 500 gold pieces. The painting of the Bored King can also be sold for 350 gold pieces.
8. Former Hall
This used to be a hall where Tadriren met with the kobolds to talk to them. There used to be elegant furniture but all is gone. Four pillars are all that remain from the wondrous hall that once was here. The north of this chamber was destroyed by the river and the north wall is no more. The water comes from the waterfall that connects to area 9.
When the heroes approach the water, a fishlike creature shows its head. A kuo-toa stares at the heroes and waits for their reaction. If the kuo-toa senses danger it screams and goes back to the water. A round later, ten more kuo-toa arrive from area 9. However, if the heroes mean no harm, the kuo-toa leaves without alarming the others.
If Zven is present, it tells the heroes that there must be treasure hidden in the water. The kobold says it is obvious. The small reptile refuses to do it, claiming the current would drag it in seconds due to its complexion. It looks at the heroes and tells them they are capable of finding whatever hides in the water. There is nothing in the water to be claimed. If the heroes refuse to do it, Zven calls them conformists and cowards. If they fail to find anything, it says they didn’t look well enough.
The heroes can enter the dungeon from here too. That is left up to the DM’s discretion. The water comes from this direction and continues flowing through the temple and up to area 3.
If the heroes enter from this part of the dungeon, Zven is in area 8 eating beetles and other bugs it hunted a few hours back. Zven’s reaction to the heroes is the same as the one stated in area 1 with the exception that here, the kobold offers some of its food to the heroes too.
The rocks in these areas combined with the stalactites give a spooky aura to this place. There is a hole on the ground to the east of the cave. The hole is 20 feet deep and leads to area 11. A roper hides by the ceiling in the middle of several stalactites. If the adventurers wish to cross this area unnoticed they must be stealthy. (DC 16 Stealth). If the roper is aware of the heroes, it tries to grab them all and eat them.
11. Toward the Dragon
To the southeast of this area, the cave opens in a sort of downward corridor with steps that descend 10 feet. The corridor leads to an opening on the walls of area 2, about 15 feet away from the balcony in area 6.
If the heroes kept the book of poems, they notice that the first page has a small text written with nice calligraphy in draconic. It says: “Property of Tadriren, the Dark”. Some research could teach the heroes about the truth of the place they visited, and the rightful owner of the treasures they stole. If the maimed dragon still roams the land or if it has a way to know that the heroes stole what was left is left up to the DM’s discretion.