Wyrms of the North Munwithurix

Dragon Magazine #296
By Skip Williams and Andy Collins

Bloodthirsty, ill-humored, and rapacious, Munwithurix proves as treacherous and unforgiving as the fens she calls home. She has long since established herself as the most fearsome creature in the swamp; she has utterly cowed several gangs of scrags, who live in terror of her. They fear her claws, teeth, and especially her acidic breath weapon because it can counter their regeneration. Munwithurix has become increasingly dissatisfied with her position at the top of the local pecking order and now delights in the sparkle of gold, which does not tarnish even in the silty waters of her lair. She has also begun thinking about finding a mate.

Munwithurix: female young adult black dragon; CR 8; Large dragon (Water); HD 16d12+48, hp 152; Init +0; Spd 60 ft., swim 60 ft., fly 150 ft. (poor); AC 24 (touch 9, flat-footed 24); Atk +19 melee (2d6+4, bite), +17 melee (1d8+2, 2 claws), +17 melee (1d6+2, 2 wings), +17 melee (18+6, tail slap); Face/Reach 5 ft. x 10 ft/10 ft.; SA Breath weapon, darkness, frightful presence, rend, snatch; SQ Water breathing, immune to acid, DR 5/+1, SR 17, dragon traits; AL CE; SV Fort +13, Ref +10, Will +11; Str 19, Dex 10, Con 17, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 12.

Skills and Feats: Bluff +6, Climb +17, Diplomacy +3, Hide +12, Intimidate +17, Listen +17, Move Silently +16, Search +17, Speak Language +16, Spot +17; Multiattack, Power Attack, Rend, Snatch, Wingover

Breath Weapon (Su): 80-foot line, 10d4 acid, Reflex save DC 22.

Darkness (Sp): Radius 50 feet, otherwise as the spell 3/day as a 5th-level caster.

Frightful Presence (Ex): 150-foot radius, HD 15 or less, Will save (DC 19) negates.

Rend (Ex): If the dragon strikes the same opponent with two claw attacks, it automatically inflicts an extra 2d8+6 points of damage.

Snatch (Ex): Grapple bonus +24; claw against creature of Diminutive size or smaller for 1d8+2/round, bite against Tiny or smaller creature for 2d6+4/round, or 4d6+8 if the dragon does not move; snatched creature can be flung 50 feet for 5d6 points of damage.

Water Breathing (Ex): The dragon can breathe underwater indefinitely and can freely use its breath weapon, spells, and other abilities while submerged.

Dragon Traits: Immune to sleep and paralysis effects, darkvision 500 feet, low-light vision, blindsight 150 feet.

Sorcerer Spells Known: (5/4; base DC = 11 + spell level): 0 - daze, detect magic, ray of frost, resistance; 1st - grease, protection from good.

Tactics: Though she seldom meets foes small enough to be vulnerable to her snatch ability, Munwithurix has a taste for close combat; rending foes gives her great delight. Still, Munwithurix is no fool. She usually observes foes for a few minutes, either by hiding and watching them approach or by stalking them for a time. Despite her size, she proves adept at remaining unseen. She prefers to swim when shadowing prey, but she sometimes flies, skimming over the treetops. As she sizes up the opposition, she casts protection from good, followed by resistance just before attacking.

Once finished with her preparatory spells, Munwithurix rushes in and delivers her breath weapon. She usually selects an armored foe as the main target, along with any other foes she can catch in the effect, and she tries to be about 40 feet from the nearest enemy when breathing. After she breathes, Munwithurix casts darkness on a gem embedded in her belly, then closes with the foe. She worms her way into the group's center, where the darkness will cause the most disruption. Thereafter she directs her bite and claw attacks at a single target (usually the same unfortunate she selected for her breath weapon) and uses her wings and tail on anyone else within reach.

When dealing with prey in boats, Munwithurix sometimes casts several grease spells from hiding, making the boat and its paddles, oars, or rudder slippery.

Lair/Encounters: Munwithurix makes her lair under a dismal island in the fens. The whole place is surrounded by dense mats of floating vegetation, which make the place seem three times bigger than it is. Too thick to allow the passage of boats, the mats sag and flood when anyone walks on them, and one must wade several hundred yards from the lair before reaching solid ground. The lair's two entrances are both submerged, as is most of the lair. There is a central chamber, however, where sunlight penetrates through a hollow tree. Here Munwithurix keeps her hoarded gold, where it can gleam in the light.

Munwithurix has taken to dispatching groups of scrags to go collect gold for her. They infiltrate the rivers and streams surrounding the fens and waylay travelers. From time to time, Munwithurix accompanies these raiders, using the scrags as advance scouts. She is growing increasingly frustrated with the paltry amount of gold these forays have produced, and she has begun seeking out river pirates, dishonest merchants, and bandits in an effort to locate a really big cache of gold to raid. She uses a combination of intimidation and bribery to get the information she wants.

Upon meeting a group of PCs, Munwithurix might attack just for the fun of it, and if she gets the upper hand, she might attempt to force the group to surrender so she can hold part of the group for ransom. Should the group contain a creature small enough for her to snatch (such as a familiar), Munwithurix might snatch the creature and hold it for ransom. Instead of attacking, she might attempt to wheedle or extort information from the PCs, asking about towns they have visited, any wealth that might be found there, and any defenses. A clever party might be able to lure Munwithurix away from her lair to someplace where they can fight the dragon on their own terms.

Power up

Thanks to her resistance spell, Munwithurix's saving throw bonuses improve to: Fort +14, Ref +11, Will +12 against foes of good alignment; her protection from good spell makes Munwithurix's saving throw bonuses: Fort +15, Ref +12, Will +13. The protection from good also gives her a +2 deflection bonus to Armor Class against attacks by good creatures: AC 26 (touch 11, flat-footed 26). The protection from good spell also prevents anyone from establishing mental control over her.

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