Perilous Gateways

The Dragons' Claw Portals

By Robert Wiese

The Great Swamp Portals

Deep within the heart of Rethild, the Great Swamp, nestles an abandoned city. Some believe it to be the home of a long-forgotten race. Swampy dangers such as shambling mounds, tendriculoses, and lizardfolk keep the casual and unprepared visitor far from this site, and few have ever returned from it. None of them have returned with wealth.

Valraxaxath discovered the swamp in his travels, and he felt it was a perfect site for an unreachable lair, so when he began creating his portal network, he chose the city as his base. His lair sits deep within a ruined temple or government building (it is impossible to tell which anymore); part of it is submerged. He sleeps in a flooded section and uses the ancient buildings and streets as waterways. His main hoard is stored here, but it represents only about 60% of the wealth that Valraxaxath has acquired in his life.

Valraxaxath has two portals here. The first connects to the rest of the Dragons' Claw portal network. This is a triple-sized, variable portal with keys required for all destinations. Each key is simple because Valraxaxath assumes that only he will ever use this portal, so he set the key to be himself. The user names the location desired (Small Teeth, Forest of Wyrms, Dragonspine Mountains, Dragonjaw Mountains) in Draconic, and the portal sets to that destination. The portal here is constantly active. Since all of the portals at these locations require Valraxaxath as the key to reach this site, the black dragon feels pretty secure.

The second portal is a two-way continuously active portal with its destination in a cave deep within the Wyrmbones. Valraxaxath keeps his secondary hoard in this cave, and he adds to his hoard by sending them here first (either by one of the other portals or by use of magic). No key is required for this portal. Ancient archways that once formed bridges over the streets of the abandoned city mark both this and the network portal.

Valraxaxath loves the solitude and the swampy environment, and he has assumed some control over the swamp near the city itself. He does not have any guards in the swamp because the natural dangers are enough to keep most away. Some of the lizardfolk that live in the swamp give him information about travelers and the activities just outside the swamp, and Valraxaxath uses his scrying ability to keep an eye on his home even when away.

How to Incorporate the Great Swamp Portals Into Your Campaign

Since these portals are at Valraxaxath's lair, it is unlikely that the characters would find these first. These come into play at the end of the campaign against Valraxaxath. See the rest of the portals for campaign implementation suggestions.

The Dragons' Claw Portals