The Dragons' Claw Portals
By Robert Wiese
The Forest of Wyrms Portal
Deep within the Forest of Wyrms live green dragons. Lots of green dragons. Not so many that they are a real threat to the Western Heartlands, but nevertheless there are a lot of them. These dragons rule the forest, and intruders find themselves breathing noxious gases if they are unwelcome or are carrying a lot of valuables.
The forest is very close to the Trade Way, the main trade route from Waterdeep to the Inner Sea. It is also within a day's dragon flight from the Serpent Hills and the High Moor. For all these reasons, the location was practically irresistible to Valraxaxath. The portal here is deep within the forest itself, marked by two large trees and set high in the branches so that flying dragons can use it easily. As a consequence, one has to fly to use the portal. It is double-sized, but it can accommodate most dragons. Like the Small Teeth portal, it is a variable portal that requires keys. It can be used four times per day.
The default destination for the portal is deep within the Mortick Swamp in Luiren, where aquatic ogres and scrags await. Anyone who survives while trying to leave the swamp is indeed heroic, because the portal transports the creatures to this swampy death while their equipment goes to Valraxaxath's secondary hoard in the Wyrmbones.
Activating the portal for the other destinations requires a specific key for each destination:
- The portal to the Small Teeth Mountains requires blood from a freshly killed (within the last 8 hours) humanoid or animal.
- The portal to the Dragonspine Mountains requires a spell cast at the gate to activate it. Any spell will do.
- The portal to the Dragonjaw Mountains requires the user to speak the word "gem" in Draconic.
- The portal to Rethild requires Valraxaxath himself as the key; unless he uses one of the other keys, Valraxaxath always goes to Rethild when using this portal.
Would-be dragon slayers have perished when encountering a blue or red dragon when they were prepared for greens, and occasionally chromatic dragons of other colors will help the greens if a lot of "heroes" invade the forest. After all, the greens are very useful in helping them with their own problems. The other denizens of the forest have become worried that reds, blues, blacks, and the occasional white have taken up residence, but when one is used to having green dragons around all the time, a dragon of a different color does not phase one that much, and the other dragons leave the forest alone. The people who use the Trade Way, on the other hand, are very disturbed by the rise in frequency and boldness of dragon strikes.
How to Incorporate the Forest of Wyrms Portal Into Your Campaign
- If the party contains would-be dragon slayers, they enter the forest to hunt a green and claim its treasure, but run into a blue or black dragon instead. The dragon, not used to fighting in the forest, retreats to the portal and disappears through it. The characters can try to follow and probably end up naked in Mortick Swamp the first time through.
- Local city or town governments become increasingly concerned about the activity of dragons in and around the forest. Divinations reveal that the dragons are coming from elsewhere, and the governments or their representatives hire or ask the player characters to find and investigate this source of dragons so that something can be done.
- The characters investigate the tracks of some troll bandits and follow them deep into the forest. While on this quest, they see a white dragon appear out of thin air at the portal (from the Dragonspine Mountains) and fly away over the trees. The trolls think the portal is a holy site of some kind and give it wide berth. They can, if captured, tell of dragon traffic through the strange place.