Svernignargix, a Wyrm of the South
Dragon Magazine #356
By Brian Cortijo
An exceptionally gregarious brass dragon, even compared to others of his kind, Svernvignarngix (NG old brass dragon) makes his home in the salt flats of the Calim Desert. Always hungry for news about the human settlements of Calimshan, and often disappointed at what he hears, he spends much of his time seeking ways to influence the future of the country he calls his home without resorting to violence or direct confrontation with the syl-pasha and his agents.
Svernvignarngix's need for attention and conversation is nearly constant, and he goes to great lengths to find excuses for discussion and haggling when dealing with the rare adventurer or trader who comes across his path. The notoriously close-lipped nomads of the desert find his hospitality and good-natured story-seeking somewhat charming - if a bit childish - and indulge him insofar as time allows.
In the Year of the Misguided Archer (1080 DR), Svernvignarngix's patience with the Calishite practice of slavery and the coin-driven nature of its civilization reached an end. At first, he resorted to attacks on slaving caravans and traveling traders along the Trade Way. While the attacks sated a certain draconic bloodlust and relieved his frustration for a short time, Svernvignarngix soon realized that there were surer ways to influence societies, and that his random attacks amounted to little more than wholesale slaughter and abandonment of onetime friends.
To that end, the dragon began observing human relationships to determine the means of their success and development. Despite the Calishites' utter lack of compassion, charity, and common sacrifice, he concluded that family - specifically, the use of offspring to achieve results and leave a lasting legacy - was the greatest means to affect lasting change.
Oasis of Brass
This small, moving camp of tents is home to the youngest and oldest of Svernvignarngix's clan as well as a stopping point for many of his most powerful offspring, who come to seek guidance, direction, or magical aid. While the dragon does not receive all visitors personally, he does provide what assistance he can to those who seem good-hearted, if they are willing to work toward a better Calimshan.
The camp itself is ruled over by Joth (NG female half-brass dragon janni cleric 8 of Tyr), a tall, copper-skinned woman of exceeding beauty, kind manners. and impeccable dress. Outside her own tent, Joth wears long flowing robes that conceal all but her hands and face. Inside her tent, she removes her head covering but retains the long-sleeved protective outer robe she normally wears. Viewers are normally struck by her long dexterous fingers and the slitted, brass-hued eyes they encounter on first meeting her, until she explains that she is the daughter of the dragon.
In nearly all cases, Joth speaks on behalf of her father, offering healing, minor potions, and hints at ruins or lost magic in the Calim Desert. Although it is often stumbled on by wandering adventurers, the first sight most have of the Oasis of Brass is from the inside of one of its tents, after being rescued by one of the camp's inhabitants from thirst and heat stroke.
For greater aid that mere lifesaving, Joth demands deeds - gold or promises of magic do not suffice. This normally involves the liberation of slaves or the recovery of a specific item of magic from one of the ruins across the desert.
After accomplishing at least one assignment for the Oasis of Brass, adventurers are introduced to Svernignarngix, who usually dwells down a tunnel concealed by one of the camp's many tents. There, he engages visitors in conversation, offers them fresh drinks (filling their bottles from his decanter of endless water), and asks to know more of their doings than most are willing to share. Adventurers who offend Svernvignarngix's clan or his hospitality often find themselves transformed (through the use of baleful polymorph) into lautum (a small, hamsterlike rodent found in the Calim Desert) and stranded in one of the dragon's caves for a time - although never permanently.
In those rare occasions when the dragon or his clan come under attack, his rage is extreme and unrestrained. After using control winds to kick up sands and obscure the tents, he begins attacking with claw and flame, employing his cone of sleep gas only when he believes that information is more important than the elimination of the threat.