Many centuries ago, there was a great war between the dragons. They were fighting over the control of a powerful artifact. The Chromatics want to use the artifact to further their selfish, evil desires. The Metallics want to keep the artifact out of the hands of those who would use it.
If the war between the dragons took place in the unpopulated mountain ranges or barren deserts, no one would care. Metallics are typically more powerful than the Chromatics, and tend to be better organized. They don’t fight among each other. However, when the war is conducted in and around civilized regions, like the great farm fields, over the cities, towns, and villages, or in the elven forests, collateral damage is a reality most humanoid races would like to avoid.
A group of adventurers accepted a quest to deal with this problem. As the battle raged on, they first tried to defeat selected dragons. Some in their party were killed, but worse, they realized that taking on one at a time was a fool’s errand. Next, they tried going after the artifact – the center of the conflict. It was too well protected, and worse, whoever possessed it became corrupted or cursed. Another, more radical approach was needed.
The answer they developed was a hybridization of imprisonment. This spell is powerful but is limited to one creature at a time. Working with the Wizards Guild, they modified the spell so that they could trap all the major dragons involved in the war at once. It required a large amount of coordination, along with the sacrifice of numerous individuals. For the seventy identified dragons, a special plaque was made with that dragon’s image. Over the course of several years, these cards were inserted into each of their hoards, so that they were in possession of them. When the last of the cards was placed, the spell fired simultaneously. All the dragons were trapped in the cards, in the fashion of Hedged Prison combined with Minimus Containment. The cards were then teleported to one location – a sailing ship in the middle of the centrally-located sea.
Almost everything worked as planned. First problem was that when the trap sprung, seven dragons were already dead, so those seven cards had nothing to trap. The second problem was that the artifact teleported to the ship along with the cards. When the open cards returned to the adventures, each adventurer was pulled in to a card by the spell, trapping them as well.
Crewless, the ship was adrift for many years until a fishing trawler happened to find it. The fisherman investigated, found the cards and the artifact. By now, the war had been over for a few generations and was mostly forgotten. The fisherman took the artifacts home and showed them to his wife. She, a scholar, recognized these things and immediately instructed her husband to take them back out to sea and throw them overboard. Never should these items come into the possession of mankind! He did as he was told, but while at sea, his ship was set upon by a raging storm. The captain went down with his ship, but some of the crew did survive. The cards and the artifact were thrown into the turbulent sea by the storm.
The artifact, being somewhat heavy, sunk to the bottom. Whether it remains there or has washed up upon shore somewhere is unknown. The seventy cards, however, are light enough to float. Between the winds and the currents, they were scattered around the sea. Some washed up on shore somewhere. Some were found by seafaring travelers, be they fishermen, merchants, pirates, or privateers. Some found their way into the lairs of various sea monsters, like sea hags, a dragon turtle, or even a kraken.
The story of the dragon war and its strange ending has been lost to history. Mostly forgotten, a few references to it can be found in historical tomes in libraries around the known world. Even though some dragons weren’t caught in the trap, their population was so decimated that they have not recovered. Dragon appearances are extremely rare, and most of them are young, having been hatched since the end of the war.
There are some rumors of a dragon on a remote volcanic island, and the people living there worship it as a god, but those rumors are unsubstantiated and sketchy.
At some point during in the adventure, an odd artifact is found. It is a plaque measuring about 4 inches by 8 inches by 1/2 inch thick. It appears to be made of a crystalline material, almost like molded amber or topaz, except that it is opaque. One side has the image of a dragon with a number in the corner. The dragon appears to be a young silver, and the number is 2. If they check, it emanates abjuration magic, and either through experimentation or with identify, they will learn that whoever is carrying the card gains advantage when resisting grapple. They’ll give this item to a melee fighter and continue their current quest.
Later, they’ll find another card. This time, it’s an adult green dragon, number 8. Whoever holds this card feels a constant state of nausea, effectively giving them -2 Constitution. However, they are completely immune to poison. At this point, curiosity will be piqued. They’ll start wondering about the cards and start seeking them out.
The Initial Quest
The Volcanic Island
Your adventurers should come across a story or legend of a king who once went to a distant island to defeat a giant and claim its treasure. There are conflicting stories, but the gist is that the king’s entire crew was killed and he was captured and held for five years before being freed. Upon his return, he was magically forced to not reveal what he experienced. He tried to get around his curse by telling riddles like: a giant killed the crew with fire and has gold you’ll never own.
If they go to the island, they will first experience regional effects consistent with a red dragon’s lair. A more perceptive individual might notice regional effects from a gold dragon as well, though to a lesser extent. The most noticeable effect is the sparkling of gems and pearls.
When they arrive on the island and ascend the side of the volcano to a structure built near the top, fissures will open and they’ll have to deal with fire-based elemental creatures attacking at random. When they get to the top, they find a fully functional, active monastery devoted to worshipping a red dragon!
What you do here as a DM is up to you, as there is a lot of leeway in how you want to run your setting. But here’s what’s important: 1. There are two dragons living here: an adult red dragon and an adult gold dragon. 2. They were both freed from their card prisons sometime in the past.
This will lead us to the question: How were they freed? The story is told by the grand-master monk. His ancestor had several of the dragon cards, including Red 12, Gold 11, Black 5, and the Druid. He knew they granted various abilities, but he was frustrated that the red and black cards also had drawbacks. The strange thing was that the property of the gold card was that it was always in proximity to the red card. If they were more than a few hundred feet apart, the gold card would teleport itself next to the red card. The druid card would give a druid an extra low-level spell slot. Nice, but useless to a monk. The black card granted the carrier bonus acid damage with a melee attack, but the drawback was the attacker would also suffer acid damage.
Eventually he became so fed up with the cards he threw them all into the fire pit. Immediately upon doing this, he witnessed the most amazing thing. The gold and red cards appeared to unfold several times until the last unfold, which seemed like a pop-up book, when the dragons appeared. Their size and mass was much greater than the fire pit’s enclosure; the pit was destroyed and the building around it suffered great damage.
Then, as he watched, both dragons polymorphed into human form, embraced each other, and thanked the old monk for releasing them. The man, who was the red dragon, said his name was Longbone, retrieved the two other cards, undamaged, from the fire. The woman, who was the gold dragon, said her name was Zandargun. They were lovers.
It’s possible your adventurers can’t travel to the remote island. If it works better, you might tell the story during a visit to a Wizard’s Guild library, or as told by a bard during a performance.
Dragon Card Mechanics
Freeing the Dragons
Before discussing how to free the dragons, you, must to provide a motivation to free them. In card form, the Metallics give a benefit to the holder and the Chromatics give both a benefit and a corresponding penalty. Your players will need to weigh the card’s benefit against the need for dragons in the world. Since this is presented as a series of mini-quests, there shouldn’t be a requirement to find all the cards. Furthermore, the big-bad-evil in your setting could track down cards and free the dragons to further his or her own ends. Dragons make great allies when fighting wars.
At some point your characters will need to figure out how to release the dragons from the cards. Imprisonment describes how to create the conditions to end the spell. Part of the modification is that since all the dragons were trapped simultaneously, the only way dispel magic would work is if all 70 cards (not counting those that have already been released) are together. Otherwise, the conditions set by the original caster of the spell must be met. The dragon cards must be released in Metallic/Chromatic pairings. Generally, they must be the same energy type: Fire, Ice, Lightning, and Acid. Right away you’ll see there’s a discrepancy: There’s no Metallic dragon for poison. In this case, green dragons are paired with brass dragons. When the characters have a matching pair, the cards must be touching each other and exposed to any source of matching energy type. The red and gold dragons are fire, and when they were thrown into a fireplace and exposed to flame, Red 12 and Gold 10 were released. Black 5 and Druid remained imprisoned. To free a green/brass pair, both cards must be exposed to acid and fire.
For the Dragonlord cards, Bahamut, Tiamat, and Dracolich, the three must be together, exposed to all five dragon damage types and necrotic damage.
For the seven adventurer cards, there are two options: First, they are automatically released when all sixty-three other cards are released. Second, their fate is tied to the artifact, so if it is destroyed, they are immediately released. These cards do not have to be in proximity.
A couple important notes about freeing the dragons: 1. While they were in a sort of suspended animation during their imprisonment, they are aware they were imprisoned. Evil dragons will likely be vengeful for this, while good dragons would be grateful. 2. Since they are released in pairs, you must deal with a Metallic and a Chromatic near each other. They will experience momentary disorientation, no more than one combat round, and they are likely to fight each other. The Chromatic dragon will probably attack first, especially those that are considered savage. 3. Since the dragons have been out of circulation for fifteen hundred years or so, they will not have any knowledge of current events. 3. There’s no restriction on numeric rank of the dragon. A high number and be released with a low number. Speaking of that, in my setting, the lower 3 dragons are young and the higher 3 are adult. You can adjust this so that the lowest is wyrmling and the highest is ancient, or make them all adult. It’s up to you.
A prepared group can create an environment where they may be able to parlay. Each dragon will behave individually. You should use the Monster Manual for guidance on how to run the dragons as NPCs. Some will have enough sense to realize they are overwhelmed and look for an escape. Others may be more savage and fight to the death. Consider this if you have off-screen NPCs releasing dragons. Your big-bad-evil NPC may opt to ambush the good dragon and kill it right away with the hope of recruiting the evil dragon for his or her crusade.
Collecting the Dragon Cards
Before releasing the cards, your adventurers must collect them. They are scattered all around your world. Some cards should be easy to obtain while others more difficult. When I set this up initially in my setting, I started with a semi-random disbursement based upon where they were lost at sea and where they’d likely be found. Spread out over the course of about one thousand years, it’s conceivable the cards have moved long distances, either on their own or because someone found it and took it with them. Since I don’t know your setting, it’s up to you to figure out where in your world the cards are. Because of magic items and spells, I recommend that you decide up front where all the dragon cards are.
The Dragon Cards
The next section describes each of the seventy cards, their properties, who has them, and some other relevant details. If you have a copy of the 3-Dragon Ante deck, you can use it as a prop, but it is not required. Feel free to modify anything you see here to better fit your setting.
- Energy type: Acid
- Paired with: Copper
Black 1: Razib (young, male)
- Rotten odor; -2 Charisma, but gain Advantage on opposed Charisma-related skill checks.
Near a tropical island, there is a native population of merfolk that will willingly trade with the party, offering goods like pearls, clams, fish, and other ocean-based commodities. They complain of an old abandoned pirate hideout near the western shore of the island that emanates a horrible stench. Perhaps if the party were to do something about it, there might be a reward. Upon investigation of the cave, the party discovers the rotten odor, which might translate to disadvantage on certain rolls. When they enter the cave, they are promptly attacked by a Death Slaad and several blobs of Ochre Jelly. Buried in a pile of bones and other debris they will find this dragon card.
Black 2: Capazil (young, female)
- Gain +1 Initiative; All allies within 10’ get -1 Initiative.
When the adventurers show up, the dwarfs in this town tell the tale of how an expedition left a few weeks piror to prospect some caves, but never returned. It’s easy enough to follow their trail; they weren’t hiding their tracks. After a couple days along the foot of the mountains, they come to a cave opening where they find the crushed body of a dwarf. It looks like he had been flattened by a huge, rolling rock, but there are no rocks downhill. When they approach the cave, they’ll see large stones near the entrance. This cave is interesting in that as it goes into the mountain, it goes upward, not downward. When they enter, one of the large rocks that is near the bend in the cave starts rolling toward them! As they jump to avoid, the rock changes trajectory toward one of the adventurers. If they run out of the cave, the two stones near the entrance also start rolling toward them. What we’re dealing with are Galeb Duhr – at least three of them, possibly more. They killed the dwarfs and want to do the same to the adventurers. The card, along with some other treasure, is piled in the back of the cave.
Black 3: Fybourne (young, male)
- At the end of each combat round, re-roll Initiative for the next combat round.
Throughout the barren regions, there are towns, villages, hamlets, and settlements. Most people living there are just scraping by on the meager farm yields and whatever they can get from passing trade caravans. Unfortunately, many of them fall victims to vicious warlords that have visions of world domination. One such warlord is a half-orc named Turg Sukore. His latest conquest is in a village built around a desert oasis. For him, the card is a badge of honor, symbolizing his success. His band is known as the “Black Dragons” and their symbol is fashioned after the image on the card. He carries the card with him always, and the only way to get it from him is from his cold, dead fingers.
Personality of Turg Sukore
- Trait: (My Precious) I talk more to my tools or weapons than I do to people.
- Ideal: (Obedience) I value obedience to authority, not just for me but for everyone else.
- Bond: (Dead) My family is dead, I am the last survivor, and it is up to me to carry on the family name.
- Flaw: (Soft) People who grew up rich are soft, spoiled, and ungrateful. I have no problem reminding them of this.
- Skills: Intimidation, Survival
Black 5: Geilass (Adult, female)
- Gain +1d6 acid damage with melee attacks; each time a melee attack hits, take 1d6 acid damage.
See Longbone’s Island.
Black 7: Teltod (Adult, male)
- As an action, negate the effects of all other dragon cards of power 7 or less within 50’; effect lasts for 1 day. To be affected, the other cards must be within 50’ when this power is used.
The Angel Swan was the fishing ship that was lost at sea all those years ago. Not all the cards were blown off the ship or found their way overboard. As GM, you have some leeway here. While there are several cards to be found on the ship, you can have them all in one place like the captain’s cabin, or they could be scattered about. Also, the ship could be mostly underwater or still floating on the surface. The biggest challenge is finding the ship. Not only would it require a systematic search pattern, but a relatively high roll on perception. Also, the region is hit with constant storms – about 33% of the time during storm season from February through July, or around 10% during the rest of the year.
Black 9: Palecrek (Adult, male)
- All food and water within 10’ are immediately spoiled and fouled. However, card holder can eat and drink spoiled food without harm.
Every D&D fantasy world has Orcs. It’s required. Orcs are a constant thorn in the side of peaceful communities as the orcs send out raiding parties to steal, kill, rape, pillage, burn, and all that. Among what they steal is treasure. One treasure they stole is this strange dragon card that spoils food and water. The current leader of the orcs loves it. It’s how he likes his food anyway.
- Energy Type: Lightning
- Paired with: Bronze
Blue 1: Wyvalas (Young, female)
- Gain +1 To-Hit (ranged) and -1 Armor Class.
The hereditary king of this small country is a five-year-old boy, Tilon Sianardu. The country is ruled, in Tilon’s name, by the regent, Rarigan Not long ago, the boy’s father was on a hunting expedition in the wilds not far from the city when disaster befell him. Only Rarigan witnessed it, and related the story that the king was attacked by a monster, probably an owlbear. The king fought bravely and Rarigan, then the chief steward, stood by his master’s side. However, the beast killed the king and wounded the steward before dying from its wounds. Rarigan returned to the rest of the hunting party with the terrible news, stating that the king’s last words were “Tell Tilon I love him.” Some believe that Rarigan killed the king so that he could rule for at least a decade before Tilon was old enough, and by then, might be wealthy enough to retire a relatively young man and enjoy the rest of his life in luxury. Rarigan keeps the card hidden in the treasury, but made sure the king had it during the hunt.
Personality of Rarigan
- Trait: (Rush) Risk and danger are exhilarating. Nothing beats the rush of a successful scheme.
- Ideal: (Envy) I wish ill fortune on those who have it better than me.
- Bond: (Probation) I should be in prison for my crimes, but I made a deal to be here instead, I can’t screw this up.
- Flaw: (Violent) Violence is my answer to almost any challenge.
- Skills: Deception; Intimidation
Blue 2: Dunondo (Young, female)
- Anyone who touches carrier takes 1 point of lightning damage.
There are many traveling circuses that travel the lands in the spring and summer months. One of these groups is led by a tiefling named Zeraxos. His troupe is known for all the exotic animals they have tamed, which dance and perform during their show. Zeraxos carries the Blue 2 card and this is how he keeps the beasts tamed. Taking the card from him would mean ending his business, so it’s not something he’ll willingly part with.
Personality of Zeraxos
- Trait: (Flair) I do everything with flair. I must be beautiful, poetic, and with a flourish.
- Ideal: (Color Blind) I was raised alongside children of many other races. I harbor no racial prejudices at all.
- Bond: (Rumors) Vile rumors destroyed my family name, I seek to correct this.
- Flaw: (Lambent) I may be graceful, seem bright and all that, but that is what I am. I am shallow and superficial.
- Skills: Animal Handling, Performance
Blue 4: Jacxius (Young, male)
- Carrier emits a bluish glow, which is roughly equivalent to a good quality lantern; Disadvantage to Stealth.
The Blue Lighthouse is known across the land as it marks the treacherous waters around a small peninsula. A windmill powers the simple mechanical gears that keep the lighthouse’s beam rotating. The card is the source of the light, set up with several bowl-shaped silver mirrors to refract and intensify the beam so that is visible from the horizon. The peninsula is in a remote area, a few days’ travel from a fishing village. Every month, a crew from the village travel to the light to repair and maintain it. They would be most disappointed if the light quit working because the card was removed, so anyone doing this would have to find a way to replace the light source.
Blue 7: Florskath (Adult, male)
- As an action, gain the ability of one other dragon card of power 7 or less within 50’; effect lasts for 1 day and cannot be changed until after this time.
Off the coast of either a small continent or a large island is a barrier reef. A pirate ship, the Green Doom, recovered three cards. On their way to port near the barrier reef, they were attacked by a great monster – a Dragon Turtle. A dragon turtle is an intelligent creature and now uses the card’s abilities to capture and destroy passing ships. Now, all ships avoid the area. When a ship does come near, the turtle uses the Brass 7 card’s ability then again with Blue 7’s duplication ability. Once the turtle has been defeated, the adventurers will find the three cards along with whatever they can recover from several dozen shipwrecks.
Blue 9: Bilginoth (Adult, male)
- As an action, call a lightning strike targeted on the carrier, all creatures within 10’, including the carrier, take 3d6 lightning damage; power may not be used again until after completing a short rest.
No one knows the fate of The Eagle’s Breath. This was, at the time, the greatest of all military vessels ever built, sporting four masts and a dozen arbalests along each broadside. They were on patrol in the ocean near the norther borderlands when they were attacked by three pirate vessels. The Eagle’s Breath might have won the battle if it weren’t for the Blue 9 card in possession of the pirate captain. As his own ship was burning and sinking, he jumped across to the Eagle and activated the card. He was killed instantly, but the lightning bolt drilled right through the hull of the great military vessel. The crew scrambled to make repairs, but the damage was too great. The took to the longboats and abandoned ship, but they were too far out to sea. There were no survivors. The remains of The Eagle’s Breath were caught in an ocean current and ran ashore near a swampland in a remote area across the ocean. The card is still clutched in the skeletal hand of the pirate captain.
Blue 11: Foolmaker (Adult, female)
- Summon an Air Elemental that attacks the nearest creature and continues fighting until killed; power may not be used until after completing a long rest.
This island is part of a chain of mountains extending from the mainland. This long, narrow island has six great peaks. Atop each peak is the nest of a Roc. Each nest is built from the remains of a house or ship the roc picked up and placed there. In one of them is the Blue 11 card. Each day, at approximately 3:30 pm, an air elemental appears and travels down the mountainside. Unfortunately for that specific roc, it is somewhere in the dwelling it can’t get to. If the party can find a way to communicate with the great beasts, it will allow them to go into the structure and retrieve the card.
- Energy Type: Poison
- Paired with: Brass
Green 1: Ubrect (Young, male)
- Gain +1 Deception and -1 Insight.
Draxan is a dragonborn con-man through and through. Always on the move, he has no problem burning bridges and leaving is allies holding the bag and getting caught by the authorities as he makes his escape. He’s a white dragon with a silver tongue. He’s good at deception, but lately, ever since he acquired this strange artifact, he’s not as good at reading people. It’s gotten him into a bit of trouble and he’s had a string of bad luck lately because of it. Perhaps he’s someone that you might be able to work into a character backstory where the character’s family business was bankrupt by a conman’s phony investment scheme. Work with it as you see fit, but realize that while Draxan has the card, it won’t stay in one place for more than a couple weeks at a time.
Personality of Draxan
- Trait: (Conceit) I only respect others like myself.
- Ideal: (Profiteer) It’s best when I can make a profit from both sides of a conflict.
- Bond: (Protection) I fleeced the wrong person and must work to ensure that this individual never crosses paths with me again.
- Flaw: (Experience) My desire to experience new things causes me to make unsafe choices.
- Skills: Deception, Survival
Green 2: Brotamas (Young, female)
- Gain +1d4 poison damage with melee attacks; gain disadvantage on all Charisma based saves and skills.
Queen Kilesilda is a master of deception and intimidation. Her brother, Prince Ikenare, should have been coronated when their father died, as he is the older sibling. However, she convinced the provincial governors that she was better qualified. He seemed unable to make a valid argument to convince them otherwise. Ikenare possesses the card, unaware of its abilities. He received it as part of his inheritance. However, what he doesn’t know is that his sister knows the card’s powers and arranged to have it included in his share. She is a devious and manipulative ruler, while he lives in the castle secretly plotting to overthrow her. However, he’s unable to convince anyone to help his cause.
Personality of Kilesilda
- Trait: (Delusive) I prefer to mislead and be deceptive.
- Ideal: (Deserved) I got what I deserved.
- Bond: (Demigod) I believe I am the descendant of a god, all others are beneath me.
- Flaw: (Nosey) I want nothing more than to learn your secrets and to be in your business.
- Skills: Deception; Survival
Pesonality of Ikenare
- Trait: (Misunderstood) My family never understood me.
- Ideal: (Return) I’ll be back.
- Bond: (Prophesy) I believe my life path was predicted long ago and I’m destined for great things.
- Flaw: (Selective) I only deal with smart people.
- Skills: Intimidation; Deception
Green 4: Vanart (Young, male)
- Gain resistance to poison; gain disadvantage on all Strength based saves and skills.
This card is part of a pirate’s buried treasure under a sand dune along a remote coastline. The pirate captain who buried this treasure never made a map and died shortly after burying this cache. The only way this card will be found is if someone is lucky enough to be going by the area and happens to sense a faint magical aura.
Green 6: Terremarde (Adult, female)
- Gain Advantage with Constitution saves; gain disadvantage on all Wisdom based saves and skills.
Talonjack is a rare breed of pipeweed that only grows in the foothills of the platinum-rich southern mountain ranges. However, the people living in this area are too nomadic to set up agriculture and dig mines. Talonjack grows wild, but sparsely, forcing those that harvest it to travel constantly to find it. After it’s been dried, they take it to one of the settlements along the border to trade for provisions. The largest of these settlements is home to about fifteen hundred, most of which are gnomes. Miridor Leveza lives in this town and owns a shop where he deals with Talonjack and other varieties of pipeweed, including a variety of flavored blends. In the back of his shop, hidden behind piles of boxes, sacks, and barrels, is an old bookcase. This bookcase has only a few books, one of which is a tome about gnomish magic, written in the ancient gnome language. Tucked in this book is the Green 6 card. How it got there, no one knows. Miridor isn’t even aware it’s there.
Personality of Miridor Leveza
- Trait: (Admiration) I’ve never had or made time to read and study. I admire those who have.
- Ideal: (Wonder) We exist to bring happiness into the world by making it a wonder-inspiring place.
- Bond: (Giants) I stand on the shoulders of giants, but I always have more to learn.
- Flaw: (Flamboyant) Here I am!
- Skills: Nature; Survival
Green 8: Megai (Adult, female)
- Gain immunity to poison damage; gain disadvantage on all Constitution and Dexterity saves due to feeling nauseated.
This is the second card the party finds, either as loot in a monster’s treasure or in an oddity shop in a city market.
Green 10: Irethorn (Adult, male)
- As an action, cause all plants within 20’ to grow grasping vines and thorns. All non-flying creatures in the area, including the holder, require a DC 15 grapple check to break free; on a fail, creatures take 1d6 piercing and 1d6 poison damage. If creature loses at least half of their hit points from this, it must make a DC 15 Constitution save. On fail, the creature panics, acting uncontrollably (see confusion) until healed or rendered unconscious. The tangling vines effect lasts for 1 minute. The action cannot be used again until after finishing a long rest.
When the adventuring party shows up in this small, walled city, they are met with beggars who are physically disfigured and mentally deranged. Their bodies are covered with scars that trace random patterns, like deep scratches made from rolling naked in a thorn bush. When they talk, they cry out, “The vines! The vines! Beware the vines!” The party will also learn, rather quickly, that this city has very harsh laws about the use of magic and magic items within their walls. Every magic user, be they an arcane caster or even a druid with nature spells or a paladin’s healing powers, must register with the city. If they are caught using magic of any kind, they are captured and jailed. This applies to the normal slate of crimes, as well, such as pickpocketing, breaking and entering, murder, defecating on the street, etc. Those who are the most egregious offenders are sentenced to “The Garden.” A small courtyard inside the castle with a single fountain in the center measures about 15’ diameter. The walls are 20’ high, and the ground and walls are covered with ivy and other common vines. The convicted individual is stripped naked and thrown into the garden. A (registered) caster remotely activates the Green 10 card, which is in the top tier of the fountain using mage hand. Most lowlifes don’t survive. Those that do are likely scarred for life.
- Energy Type: Fire
- Paired with: Gold
Red 2: Faug (Young, male)
- Touching the card causes 1 point of fire damage per combat turn. Useful for lighting candles and torches, but continuous contact can be a problem.
One of the problems with the great underground citadels the dwarfs build is keeping it sufficiently lit. Hundreds of thousands of torches, candles, and lanterns evenly spaced through the miles of tunnels barely do the job. However, until someone invents electricity and fluorescent lightbulbs, this is what they get to work with. In one such dwarven city, they came up with a rather clever solution. The Red 2 card is affixed to a steel pole, and a crew carrying this contraption goes through and relights any light that has gone out. They drag along a cart with replacement torches, candles, and flasks of lantern oil. On average, it takes them about a week to make the entire circuit. If you want the card, however, you’ll need to come up with some sort of replacement solution.
Red 3: Creddorin (Young, female)
- Take 1 less point of fire damage from any source; carrier is unable to start fires or use magic that does fire damage.
Trade caravans are very careful about their routes and when they travel. They try to avoid regions where bandits are prevalent, as well as areas where weather can turn severe. Not all of them are so lucky. One caravan was making its way through a mountain pass when an early season snow storm rolled through. An avalanche buried them, and there were no survivors. Since then, caravans no longer use that route. Bandits and scavengers have picked over the remains, though they’ve missed one thing. In one of the wagons is a small lockbox hidden inside a sack of flour. In this lockbox is the Red 3 card and a valuable jeweled item.
Red 5: Tracorn (Young, female)
- All magical attacks do fire damage, no matter what damage type they normally do. Anyone within 15’ of the card has a feeling of warmth.
The Ascendant Prestige was a privateer that was defeated by a pirate ship about 150 years ago. It lies at the bottom of the ocean a few hundred miles off the coast of one of the major continents. The water around the ship is unusually warm, which would be easily detectable with an infrared satellite camera, but since such technology doesn’t exist, it would be hard to find this ship and the treasure it holds. Perhaps someone might notice an unusual trend in weather patterns, as the warmed waters might influence things during the colder months. The card is in the ship’s hold, along with several chests of treasure it had taken from pirates before it was sunk.
Red 8: Graysmoke (Adult, male)
- Gain +1d10 fire damage with melee attacks; carrier also takes 1d10 fire damage.
The ancient capital city of the gnomes is a vibrant, colorful, and bustling place, full of great markets, universities and colleges, and inventive crafts. Built on a rocky shoreline and into the mountainside, it is said that there are underground tunnels that stretch hundreds of miles to nearby cities and towns, including those across the straights on the other continent. Above ground, great trees tower where causeways and catwalks have been built, rivaling the architecture of the elven cities, while below ground, networks of tunnels rival the majesty and reverence of dwarven fame. Long ago, Delagardenia Nfewny built a vast network of puzzle rooms, populated with mechanical contrivances. Originally, this was for entertainment, but after her death, this became more of a place to send the condemned, as no one who entered ever returned. The rooms are built on great scaffolds so that they re-arrange themselves periodically. Each room presents a challenge of some sort, some more deadly than others, and always more so as one gets closer to the center room, and thus, the key to unlock the entire puzzle and escape. The key, of course, is the Red 8 card, though, technically, any of the dragon cards will work. The card is part of a trap in the third circle out from the center, but the lock itself is in the center.
Red 10: Rydgrine (Adult, female)
- As an action, open a fissure within 20’ of the card holder, which is a portal to the Elemental Plane of Fire; One random creature from this elemental plane emerges and attacks the closest creature, and continues to attack until it is killed. Fissure closes immediately. This power cannot be used again until after completing a long rest.
See Black 7.
Red 12: Longbone (Adult, male)
- As an action, carrier can polymorph into a human version of itself and back to its normal self at will. Carrier cannot carry anything made of gold.
See Longbone’s Island.
- Energy Type: Cold
- Paired with: Silver
White 1: Amonon (Young, male)
- Gain -2 initiative; reduce all non-magical damage against carrier by 1d4.
Gladiatorial entertainment is a great diversion to keep the masses satisfied, especially in large cities. Dominating the city, the arena is a marvel of architecture and the games are attended by tourists and travelers from all around the world. Each season, a champion captures the imaginations of spectators and wows the crowd with his cunning, prowess, or strength. This year, the current champion is a half-giant named Bornin. Standing 10 feet tall, he has the strength of an ox as he wields two halberds like they are hand-axes. Almost always, his opponent gets the first shot, but he doesn’t seem to care. To win his card, you must beat him in the arena and claim it as your loot. It’s a tough choice, because his halberds are enchanted granting him +1 Attack and Damage, with an additional bonus of 1d6 force damage against anyone who has cast a spell on him. Should you meet Bornin outside of the arena, perhaps in one of the area taverns, his favorite is The Cooperative Monk Ale House, he’s typically personable and holds no grudges from the field of battle. In fact, he’d be downright cheerful around someone who can beat him.
Personality of Bornin
- Trait: (First In) I am the first to go into danger.
- Ideal: (Inclusion) Pull up a chair and join the game, my friend.
- Bond: (Pilgrim) I’ve been searching my whole life for the answer to a certain question.
- Flaw: (Theatrical) I love to take center stage and do things in a big way. Maybe I just over dramatize things.
- Skills: Athletics, Survival
White 2: Bosperos (Young, male)
- Gain +2 initiative; gain disadvantage on saves versus spells.
Lord Zenodoros Torande lives in a region that is full of small duchies and fiefdoms. These lords and dukes are constantly bickering with each other over the most trivial issues, always on the brink of war. However, an ancient prophecy states that whoever fires the first shot in war will invariably suffer the most horrific fate. No one wants to test the veracity of the prophecy so they all push the envelope as far as possible. Lord Zenodoros Torande bought the card from a travelling merchant and had it with him when challenged to a dagger duel. Zenodoros got the first strike and pressed his advantage effectively. He decided that the card was a good-luck charm and has kept it in his pocket ever since.
Personality of Zenodoros Torande
- Trait: (Practical) I place no stock in wealthy or well-mannered folk. Money and manners won’t save you from a hungry owlbear.
- Ideal: (Stability) Change is chaos and chaos is destruction. Life is bearable when life is predictable.
- Bond: (Vanished) My mentor disappeared, and I must find him.
- Flaw: (Worth) Survival is worth more than friendship.
- Skills: Survival; Investigation
White 3: Dednesh (Young, female)
- As an action, all creatures within 10’ of carrier take 3d6 cold damage with a failed Constitution save, or half with a successful save. Carrier automatically gets disadvantage with this save. This ability may not be used gain until after completing a long rest.
When traversing the desert, there’s an oasis that caravans always stop at. The area is so remote that bandits and marauders rarely visit, and if they do, the caravans who take this route are usually well defended anyway. The reason for this oasis is because its most unusual feature: in the middle of the pond is a patch of ice. The pond is big enough and deep enough that most don’t bother swimming out to the ice patch, which only measures a few feet in diameter. Even on the hottest summer days, when the sun beats down its unrelenting heat, this patch remains. It seems it is the top of a narrow column of ice that extends all the way to the bottom of the pond. Should anyone dig through the ice, they’ll find the dragon card.
White 4: Averthamar (Adult, male)
- Carrier always feels cold; +1d4 cold damage with melee attacks, take 1d4 cold damage as well.
This card in kept by a shaman in a barbarian tribe. He doesn’t want it, but knows that it might be valuable to someone. Beat their champion in a fair, non-lethal fight, and the card is yours.
White 6: Kylib (Adult, female)
- As a reaction, gain advantage with melee attacks until the beginning of your next turn. However, all other creatures gain advantage with all attacks against you during this time.
Vanita Golden is a half-elf wanderer who makes her fame and fortune gambling. She won the card when someone she beat in a card game (Three Dragon Ante, of course) and the man couldn’t pay his debt. She prefers more populated areas, but doesn’t stay in one place for too long. Beat her and she’ll give you the card instead of her gold.
Personality of Vanita Golden
- Trait: (Get Real) I have no patience for superstitions and superstitious people.
- Ideal: (Witty) Brains are better than brawn. I rely on my wits and I respect those who do the same.
- Bond: (Mundane) I believe that using magic is the easy way out, and that there are much better ways to do things.
- Flaw: (Spineless) When dealing with authority, I have no backbone, regardless how stupid or heinous their ideas are.
- Skills: Deception, Insight
White 8: Heszak (Adult, male)
- As an action, generate a freezing fog with a 20’ radius centered on the carrier; all within this area, including the carrier, must make a DC 10 Constitution save or take 3d6 cold damage, or 1/2 on a successful save.
See Black 7.
- Energy Type: Fire
- Paired with: Green
Brass 1: Ottronius (Young, male)
- When hitting with a melee attack, deal 1 point fire damage.
This card is in the possession of the elven queen, Anatalle Xenlea. She will gladly trade the card if the adventurers complete some sort of task for her.
Personality of Anatalle Xenlea
- Trait: (Savvy) I catch on quickly, despite how I present myself.
- Ideal: (Self-Knowledge) If you know yourself, there’s nothing left to know.
- Bond: (Giants) I stand on the shoulders of giants, but I always have more to learn.
- Flaw: (Indeciveness) I have absolutely no patience for slowpokes and those who prove indecisive.
- Skills: Insight, History
Brass 2: Ragrika (Young, female)
- As an action, all water within 5’ of holder is purified. Ability may not be used again until after completing a short rest.
There are two neighboring islands. On the first island, a small human settlement has been maintained ever since the dragon wars. The settlement was founded by refugees from a town that was destroyed by the war, Willowglen. One of the seven adventurers, the Princess, came from Willowglen, and her memory is honored with a 20’ tall statue in the town square. In the statue’s hand is the Princess card. On the other island is a tall mountain upon which a natural spring produces very pure water – water said to be the purest in the world. However, spring is protected by a flock of perytons. These vicious creatures raid the town for food periodically. In the pond at the top of the mountain is the Brass 2 card, along with some other treasure. If the party agrees to kill the Perytons, the townsfolk will give them the Princess card. What they won’t know, of course, is that the water’s purity is enhanced by the Brass 2 card.
Brass 4: Bartamas (Young, male)
- Holder is resistant to poison damage.
There is an underwater citadel in a large lake in the middle of a forest. Living in this citadel is a Marid (genie) and the minions it commands. The marid keeps the card as part of its treasure.
Brass 5: Ronuron (Adult, male)
- As an action, generate a blast of wind in a 30’ cone; targets that fail DC 15 Strength or Dexterity are knocked away 10’. This ability may be used up to three times between a short or long rest.
The card is in the possession of Analota Genchi, the half-elf captain of the merchant vessel, the Poetic Tide. She uses the card’s ability to speed the ship along its route, making it known as the fastest merchant vessel in the land. She will not give up the card easily, but might consider it if the price is right.
Personality of Anatola Genchi
- Trait: (Proverbist) I’m full of witty aphorisms and have a proverb for every occasion.
- Ideal: (Discovery) The next discovery is just around the corner or up ahead. We must make haste in finding it.
- Bond: (Fantasy) I long for a place that never existed.
- Flaw: (Untested) I have no problem using my new ideas without testing them beforehand.
- Skills: Insight, Persuasion
Brass 7: Maceclaw (Adult, female)
- As an action, cause all creatures within 60’ to fall asleep if they fail a DC 18 Constitution save. Effect lasts for ten minutes, or if the creature is disturbed by being shaken or taking damage. Ability may not be used again until after completing a long rest.
See Blue 7.
Brass 9: Basborn (Adult, male)
- As an action, generate illusionary monsters within 30’. Illusions are revealed with a DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check or by physical contact. Once a creature has revealed illusions from this source, they cannot be fooled again.
Grizel Nelchi is a witch who lives in a remote tower in the middle of a forest. She delights in luring innocent victims into her lair so that she can use their blood, brains, and other body parts in her dark experiments. She has many tricks to fool people – everything from a house made of candy to piles of treasure. All illusions. But don’t discount the ability of the card she uses, she’s no slouch when it comes to her own powers.
Personality of Grizel Nelchi
- Trait: (Tough) I always act tough, regardless how I really feel.
- Ideal: (Injury) What people don’t know will hurt them. I have no problem with this.
- Bond: (Hiding) I entered seclusion to hide from the ones who might still be hunting me. I must someday confront them.
- Flaw: (Remorseless) I have no remorse, mercy, or pity. Deal with it.
- Skills: Intimidation, Arcana
- Energy Type: Lightning
- Paired with: Blue
Bronze 1: Cysard (Young, female)
- Holder gains advantage on Charisma (Performance) checks.
See Black 7.
Bronze 3: Daggarjack (Young, male)
- Holder gains 1 spell slot of level 2 or lower, however, this spell slot cannot be used for an offensive spell.
This card is in the possession of Alamosa Tumblewatch, a temple cleric in a Halfling village. The card has been passed down for several generations and is used as a symbol of leadership in the temple’s leadership. Over the years, the sentimental value of the card far outweighs its practical value.
Personality of Alamosa Tumblewatch
- Trait: (Reliable) My friends know they can rely on me, no matter what.
- Ideal: (Benevolent) My gifts are meant to be shared with all, not used for my own benefit.
- Bond: (Scars) I am searching for a way to heal the scars of my past, both physical and emotional.
- Flaw: (Rube Goldberg) I overlook obvious solutions in favor of complicated ones.
- Skills: Medicine; Investigation
Bronze 6: Altedar (Young, male)
- Holder is resistant to lightning damage.
See Black 7.
Bronze 7: Pargut (Adult, male)
- Generate fog (as fog cloud), which lasts until initiative count 20 on the next combat round.
When a mine is depleted, dwarves typically don’t stick around. They move on to more lucrative locations. At one point, this mine was rich with high-quality quartz (read: Amethyst.) However, after the mountain was nearly completely hollowed out, the dwarves left. Since then, this place has been a veritable ghost town. Strange how one of the mine’s tunnels is always shrouded in fog. Not so strange is how various other creatures have moved in and taken residence. The card is buried under the debris of a collapsed mine shaft. Deal with the denizens and dig your way to the center of the fog and you’ll find the card.
Bronze 9: Shecatar (Adult, male)
- Holder is immune to lightning damage.
Not far off the coast from one of the smaller port cities is an area avoided by experienced seamen. It’s easy enough to spot at a distance because there’s an old ship that has run aground on some rocks. However, those new to the area and, for whatever reason, don’t heed the warnings of the locals, will see the damaged ship and investigate. Taking up residence here is a Sea Hag and her minions, which includes several Merrows, Giant Octopi, Killer Whales, and a Giant Shark. Being immune to lightning damage certainly gives the hag an additional advantage against certain spell casters. Killing her is the only way to obtain the card. Be aware, however, that she is particularly good at using her special ability on the ship’s crew while the adventurers deal with her minions. They may win the battle, but if the crew is dead, they might have a difficult time getting back to port.
Bronze 11: Zanton (Adult, female)
- As an action, generate a thunderclap at a visible location within 120’. Any creature within 20’ radius of the target point that fails a DC 15 Constitution save takes 1d10 thunder damage and is deaf until the end of their next turn. Ability can be used four times between short rests, but may not be used on consecutive rounds.
Many generations ago, the elf, Monrasya, was burned at the stake for crimes of witchcraft and necromancy. Her body was buried in the same cemetery where the Dracolich card is now buried. However, after the Dracolich card raised her spirit in the form of a Banshee, she traveled to the wooded cove where she died. During the migration, she found the Bronze 11 card and keeps it with her, and uses it to augment her haunting ways. Since this is near the shore, sailors of passing ships report that they can hear thunder even on clear, sunny days.
- Energy type: Acid
- Paired with: Black
Copper 1: Aubion (Young, male)
- Holder gains +1 to Wisdom (Insight) and Charisma (Performance) checks.
Xanti Freesteel is a Halfling bard that travels along with caravans and merchant ships sharing her version of stories in the form of song. She doesn’t need the benefit the card gives here, but it doesn’t hurt, either. She has no problem jumping up on a table, striking a chord or two on her lute, and belting out an epic story. Give her enough time, she’ll compose an epic tale about the adventurers, though she’s sure to exaggerate a few details here and there. Bring her along on your adventures for a while, if they aren’t too terribly dangerous, and she might let go of her prized possession.
Personality of Xanti Freesteel
- Trait: (Respectful) I am polite and respectful to everyone.
- Ideal: (Truth) Shine the light of truth and the darkness shall be swept away.
- Bond: (Rescued) I was once rescued, but I don’t know by whom, I’d like to thank them.
- Flaw: (Distracted) I am easily distracted by things that are trivial… Shiny!
- Skills: Performance, Perception
Copper 3: Axrondur (Young, male)
- Holder gets +1 Armor Class, which does not stack with other magical Armor Class increases.
See Black 7.
Copper 4: Mithbrook (Young, female)
- Holder is resistant to acid damage.
A small city along the coast of this country serves as a trading port. Nomadic communities travel the barren lands foraging for food, water, and whatever else they can find, and come to this city to trade goods, songs, and, occasionally, women. On the outskirts of the city is a grave yard with several mausoleums that were constructed for wealthier patrons. Most have worn down through the years from weather. One, however, stands as though it is as if it was built yesterday, even though it is at least two hundred years old. That’s because buried with one of the people in it is this card. An interesting note that I have in my setting is that the barren lands are very fertile. However, no one has bothered to construct windbreaks and irrigation, so these flatlands are almost desert-like in this dry, windswept state.
Copper 7: Khrystheof (Adult, female)
- Holder may speak and understand Draconic; As an action, holder may touch another creature who will gain this ability for one day. This ability may not be used again until after a short rest is completed.
Halvor Calitz is the chief historian of the Wizard’s Guild in its home city. If anyone knows the history of the dragons, it would be him. This card has aided him in his research and, with its help, has translated most of the old books that told the tales of the dragons. While he’d be reluctant to give up the card because of its usefulness, he would recognize the importance of a greater cause. Perhaps if the party were to track down some old books or, if nothing else, show him the cards they’ve already found, he’ll be willing to part with his prized possession.
Personality of Halvor Calitz
- Trait: (Alert) I am always alert, noticing every detail.
- Ideal: (Obedience) I value obedience to authority, not just for me but for everyone else.
- Bond: (Library) This library, where I learned my trade, is the most important place in the world to me.
- Flaw: (Insulting) I tend to insult people without realizing it.
- Skills: Intimidation; History
Copper 8: Calidor (Adult, female)
- Holder is immune to acid damage.
On the outskirts of a major, capital city, lives an alchemist named Belahad. In my setting, Belehad is Kenku, but you are free to change this to fit your setting. Belahad is known for crafting all kinds of dangerous brews, potions, and concoctions. He’s had to rebuild his lab numerous times, but amazingly, he’s rarely harmed by his own mistakes. That’s because he has the Copper 8 card.
Personality of Belahad:
- Trait: (Fire) I’m fascinated by fire in all its forms. I can sit and watch a single candle burning for hours.
- Ideal: (Patience) Everything will come in its time. I do not demand for it now and I am content to wait.
- Bond: (Relic) I have a relic that I will not part with, but I don’t know why.
- Flaw: (Whispers) Why does everyone talk about me behind my back?
- Skills: Arcana, Nature
Copper 10: Samsachar (Adult, male)
- As an action, holder may change its shape. Clothing and equipment change shape along with the creature. The new shape lasts for one hour or until its hit points are reduced to zero, at which point it returns to its original shape. The new shape must be the same size (large, medium, small, etc.), and its CR must be equal to or less than creature’s level or CR. The form shaped into must be familiar to the creature. Creature does not gain any new magical abilities, and its Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma are unchanged. This ability may not be used again until after a short rest is completed.
Unrelated to the dragon wars, another war swept the world where the leader of hell brought forth demons in the hopes of ruling the material plane as well. In my setting, this happened more recently than the dragon wars, closer to about 600-700 years prior. The leadership of hell changed hands when the existing leader was defeated and killed. Most of his minions returned, but a few managed to remain. This not only led to the birth of the Tiefling race, but some, more powerful demons, are still around and potentially causing havoc. One such case is a Rakshasa name Kzanseyr, who, in the form of a dwarf, is the current king of one of the remote dwarf countries. The Copper 10 card allows him to shape change into his adopted form without using his own magic, thus protecting himself from prying eyes and scryes. Since he’s established himself as king, he has kept his people battle ready for generations, but has never had a war to fight. Not only will you have to get past his personal guard, taking down a Rakshasa is no easy task. While negotiation ultimately won’t work, it may be necessary to some extant just to get close.
Personality of Kzanseyr
- Trait: (Military) If you’re not military, you’re nothing, get out of my way.
- Ideal: (Offense) Who needs defense when if you can get your enemy down on the ground first?
- Bond: (Egotism) I am proud of the blood the runs through my veins.
- Flaw: (Justified) It’s not stealing if I need it more than someone else.
- Skills: Per Monster Manual
- Energy Type: Fire
- Paired with: Red
Gold 2: Ozenwood (Young, male)
- Holder gains +1 initiative.
Geriza Barvin’s trade is death. She’s an active member of the Steelman Assassin Guild, and travels throughout the region carrying out contracts. It would be best that you don’t get on her bad side, because no-one lives to tell about it. Finding her is difficult. Killing her, more so. It’s the only way anyone will get her card, though.
Personality of Geriza Barvin
- Trait: (Predator) I am predatory, regardless if I’m hunting a beast or a mark.
- Ideal: (Need) I use any means to get information I need; I have been well trained.
- Bond: (Calling Card) I leave behind my own personal calling cards when I do a job.
- Flaw: (Dedicated) There is only the mission, quest, or goal, nothing else.
- Skills: Intimidation; Stealth
Gold 4: Adonate (Young, female)
- Holder is resistant to fire damage.
In one of the smaller branches of the Wizard’s Guild, Dovan Talrythin is one of the instructors. A wizened old gnome, his classes are entertaining and lively. He has a special love for fire-based magic, and quite often, students leave his classroom with singed eyebrows and smoke in their lungs. If you want his card, you’ll need do some work for him – stuff he’s just too lazy to do on his own.
Personality of Dovan Talrythin
- Trait: (Craft) I prefer to practice my craft than do anything productive.
- Ideal: (Optimism) Keep a smile on your face and nothing can go wrong.
- Bond: (Impoverished) I was once wealthy, but lost it all, let me tell you about it.
- Flaw: (Slothful) I’ll say anything to avoid having to do extra work.
- Skills: History, Arcana
Gold 6: Vontar (Young, male)
- Holder gains advantage with initiative rolls.
The last island in a chain, extending from a mountain chain on the mainland, is uninhabited – at least by civilization. Not far from this island is where the fishing ship was lost, and the primary inhabitant of this area is part of the reason. Near the south end is the lair of a Kraken. Should the adventurers defeat the kraken in its lair, they’ll likely find its treasure hoard. In it is this card.
Gold 9: Karikos (Adult, female)
- Holder is immune to fire damage. All gems within 10’ of holder glow with a faint radiance.
Princess Kianetra Staventar is considered one of the most beautiful young, eligible women in the region. Her father will gladly offer her hand in marriage to the right suitor, especially when it comes with a deal most advantageous to him. She, on the other hand, has her own plans, and wants nothing to do with royal this and etiquette that. The card she carries makes her jewelry glow and sparkle, enhancing her beauty. It would be a shame to take the card from her.
Personality of Kianetra Staventar
- Trait: (Moment) I live in the moment, knowing my life could be turned upside down any day.
- Ideal: (World) The world has much to discover. Let’s get to it.
- Bond: (Wondrous) To observe wonder, one must be wondrous.
- Flaw: (Risk Taker) I’d risk too much to uncover a lost bit of knowledge.
- Skills: History; Insight
Gold 11: Zandargun (Adult, female)
- If card is more than 50’ away from Red 12, it teleports itself next to Red 12.
See Longbone’s Island.
Gold 13: Cineven (Adult, male)
- Holder always goes first in initiative order. Holder may telepathically communicate with any one creature that it can see. This ability is limited to one creature per turn.
The king and queen of this small nation are an interesting pair. One might wonder why the two got married in the first place, but it was probably due to an arrangement. The king, Mandel Casdewyn, is wholly unqualified to rule so he relies on his wife, Darmendra. She uses the Gold 13 card’s telepathic ability to tell him what to say. Who knows what might happen if she were to lose the card!
Personality of Darmendra Casdewyn
- Trait: (Pairing) Every meal has the right wine or ale to go with it, and I won’t partake otherwise.
- Ideal: (Fidelity) I remain true to my oaths, and I expect others to do the same.
- Bond: (Swine) Why must I always deal with uncultured swine?
- Flaw: (Conscientious) I check everything two or three times before starting something.
- Skills: Intimidation, Insight
Personality of Mandel Casdewyn
- Trait: (Negotiator) I love making deals and negotiating agreements.
- Ideal: (Code) It is our code of honor that separates us from monsters, beasts, and animals.
- Bond: (Approval) I will face any challenge to win the approval of my family.
- Flaw: (Truth) I couldn’t tell a lie to save my life.
- Skills: Performance, History
- Energy Type: Cold
- Paired with: White
Silver 2: Radshur (Young, male)
- Holder gains advantage when resisting grapple.
This is the first dragon card the adventurers find.
Silver 3: Kematz (Young, female)
- Holder gains +2 initiative.
This card is buried in a swamp ruled by a Green Hag and her minions, which include Poisonous Snakes, Stirges, Insect Swarms, Giant Crocodiles, Giant Constrictor Snakes, and maybe even a Shambling Mound. She uses the card’s ability, and will only give it up when she’s dead.
Silver 6: Thrasachar (Young, male)
- Holder gains resistance to cold damage.
See Blue 7.
Silver 8: Dyarden (Adult, female)
- Holder is immune to cold damage.
On a far, distant, remote island is sphinx lair. Maxmassan is an Androsphinx and Vythgaza is his mate, a Gynosphinx. Finding them, once you get to the island is easy enough. Solving their riddle, on the other hand, isn’t. The reward for solving the riddle is the Silver 8 card. The riddle should have something to do with your setting and the campaign you are running. Of course, attacking the creatures is an option, but they will use every ability within their power to destroy an evil party.
Silver 10: Zepnai (Adult, female)
- As a bonus action, holder may touch someone wounded and heal 1d8 hit points. This ability may only be used ten times between short rests.
Cargan Vagros is a human cleric that lives in one of the border cities. Despite its walls, the city is constantly under attack from its warring neighbor – be they a rival country, a large community of bandits, or orc tribes. Soldiers and guardsmen are constantly returning from the battlefield wounded. Cargan uses the card’s ability to enhance his own spells to aid the wounded. The only way he’d willingly part with his dragon card is if the enemy threat was neutralized for good.
Personality of Cargan Vagros
- Trait: (Proverbist) I’m full of witty aphorisms and have a proverb for every occasion.
- Ideal: (Purity) I must rid the world of the evil that corrupts our world.
- Bond: (Sacrifice) My family made a great sacrifice to get me here, I will not forget that.
- Flaw: (Analytical) I analyze everything. Everything.
- Skills: Religion; Medicine
Silver 12: Takenas (Adult, male)
- At the beginning of combat, holder may choose what its initiative score is. The chosen value must be within the range of what it can normally achieve. This ability may not be used again until after completing a long rest.
This card can be found in a dried creek bed in a forested area. At some point, it was picked up by a scavenger bird and subsequently dropped, because it was useless. It’s possible a few wild animals found and moved it as well. The only way it will be found is if the adventurers have a way to locate it, because the chance of stumbling across it randomly is infinitesimal.
In my setting, this is the first card the villain finds. It’s also part of the first pair of dragons released and this one is immediately killed, while the white dragon becomes allied with the villain.
- Energy Type: All + Necrotic
Dracolich: Skullbane (Undead, male)
- As an action, gain control on an undead creature within 50’. If target creature is controlled by another, make an opposed Charisma test with that creature’s controller. Holder may control up to its Charisma score number of creatures in this manner. Control is continuous until the undead is either destroyed or controller chooses to release it.
The people living in a remote small town, built around a monastery, built stone walls for protection against constant intrusion by undead spirits that come in the form of Zombies, Ghosts, Ghouls, and Ghasts. These uncontrolled creatures wander aimlessly and attack whomever or whatever gets too close – including each other. This is all because the Dracolich card was buried in a grave with the man who found it. It’s power triggers periodically on its own, but with no conscious force, its minions are without direction. The people in the town are unaware of the presence of the card, and attribute the wanderings to some other supernatural curse. They would be very appreciative if someone came along and rid them of this nuisance.
- The Tiamat card vibrates if it is within 50’ of another dragon card. The vibration is noticeably different for Chromatic and Metallic dragons, and the vibration level is more intense with more cards. Holder of card automatically fails any test to resist remote or similar effect.
This is the only card that is not on the material plane. It is in the possession of the current ruler of the underworld, who will gladly offer this card in trade for a special favor. Come up with whatever is appropriate in your setting. Once traded, however, the underworld ruler will monitor the party using scrying or similar spells. (Note that Tiamat’s ability allows scrying between planes, even though the scrying spell doesn’t normally permit this.)
- Holder of card cannot be scryed. The Bahamut card and any other dragon card within 20’ of it cannot be detected by the Tiamat card.
Brothels are part of the culture in many great cities. They go by many names. Some are obvious and ostentatious while others are disguised and hidden. One such establishment has a benefit that none others can claim – true privacy. One room in is called The Dragon Room. The bed frame is ornate brass, the tapestries on the walls depict great battles with and between dragons, and the bed itself is… well, just use your imagination. Of course, use of this room is limited to the wealthiest clients only because it costs at least 1,000 gp. Then there’s the price of the lady. What makes this room so valuable is that the Bahamut card is affixed prominently on the bed frame, which protects all activity, be it secret conversations of state, special deals related to trade and commerce, and, of course, the obvious. No seer, caster, psychic, or whatever has the power to scry into this room.
Fool: Roskim Darkshire (Human male)
- Holder gets disadvantage with Dexterity saves.
This is the only card that only has a negative ability. All other cards are either positive, neutral, or have both positive and negative effects. Consequently, this card gets passed around more than any other card. When someone acquires it, they quickly learn its curse, and do their best to get rid of it any way they can. Since it isn’t cursed in the classic sense, that is, bonding or auto-attuning, getting rid of it is easy enough. Someone else finds it, thinking it an interesting novelty, and immediately they start having problems – stumbling over their shoes, missing targets when tossing or throwing, or any other Dexterity-related activities. When it becomes known that a party of adventurers is looking for dragon cards, whoever has this card at the time will actively seek out the party to give them this card. FREE OF CHARGE.
Princess: Rylora of Willowglen (Human female)
- Holder gets advantage with Charisma saves.
See Brass 2.
Priest: Gurion Nebrine (Half orc male)
- Holder gets advantage with Wisdom saves.
This island is an active pirate enclave. It is far enough from the coast not to be in the jurisdiction of the nearby nation or country, but it is within the boundaries of most privateer patrols. This said, the community that lives here takes great pains to hide their true identities. There are typically thirty to fifty people living here permanently, but this community welcomes everyone. The leader of the town is a retired pirate who went by the name Greycrusher. His real name is Mizbaro Tatorna. The card is part of his treasure, and he keeps it with him always.
Personality of Mizbaro Tatorna:
- Trait: (Bloodline) I’m sure I have noble blood somewhere in my family tree.
- Ideal: (Liberated) I am a free spirit. No one tells me what to do.
- Bond: (Tainted) There are those who believe I am tainted, and they seek to neutralize me as a threat.
- Flaw: (Death Wish) I do not fear death, in fact, I welcome its sweet embrace.
- Skills: Survival, Intimidation
Druid: Rockford Sithrigold (Elf male)
- Holder gains 1 druid spell slot of 2nd level or less.
See Longbone’s Island.
Thief: Arundur Heartwood (Half elf male)
- Holder gets advantage with Dexterity saves.
This card is carried by the leader of a nomadic Thri-Kreen desert tribe. While quite capable of defending themselves, they would be willing to trade the card if the party agrees to two things: Go into the desert and wipe out some bandits and help them negotiate trade agreements with some settlements in the area. Not mentioned in the Monster Manual, Thri-Kreen are very talented at crafting glass.
Dragonslayer: Silenox Lyseth (Human male)
- Holder gets +1 Attack and Damage against Dragons.
This mountainous island is part of a chain of islands extending from a mountain chain on the mainland. A small community of dwarves immigrated here to get away from religious persecution. They are atheist, believing that no gods exist and that each man’s fortune is their own, and there’s no such thing as divine destiny. Shortly after founding their god-free community, one of them found a strange rock at the base of the mountain. Upon investigation, it turned out the rock contains trace amounts of Adamantium, considered the most rare and precious of all work-able metals. Quickly they built mines, smelters, and forges to collect and process this material and within a generation, became the wealthiest community in the entire known world. Because of the scarcity and the difficulty in processing, they only produce about 1.5 pounds of usable adamantium each year. They have backorders for at least twenty years out, so don’t get any ideas. Note that only an ounce of adamantium is required, when properly smelt with high-grade steel, to give an average-sized weapons its properties. A direct descendant of one of the original refugees is a shrewd businessman named Balan Summergarth. His father collected rare artifacts and novelties, and bought the Dragonslayer card from a passing merchant about 75 years prior. He will sell the card if an appropriate offer is made.
Personality of Balan Summergarth:
- Trait: (Onion) I’m like an onion, I have layers.
- Ideal: (Institutional) I will uphold the traditions of my profession, as they were taught to me.
- Bond: (Reminders) I have a childhood memory that I am reminded of all the time.
- Flaw: (Coward) If I’m outnumbered, I always run away from a fight.
- Skills: Persuasion, History
Archmage: Hermanus Zircon (Human, male)
- Holder’s spell modifier and save DC are increased by 1.
The north end of this island has a tall hill surrounded by a swamp. At the top of the hill is a modest tower, which is the home of Tamon Savhaun. He was the founder and headmaster of a Wizards Guild branch in a distant city and chose to retire here. He spent most of his adult life dealing with politics and bureaucracy rather than doing that which he loved: teach. When he found the card on the shore of this island, he understood immediately its power and chose to build his retirement home here. He will freely give the card to an adventuring party, but only if they can convince him that their cause is worthy. He may also reveal the location of at least one other card.
Personality of Tamon Savhaun:
- Trait: (Question) I start every conversation with a question, and often end them with one as well.
- Ideal: (Tradition) The ancient traditions of worship and sacrifice must be preserved and upheld.
- Bond: (Friends) Anyone who has knowledge of my trade is a friend.
- Flaw: (Problems) I see problems everywhere, real and imagined.
- Skills: Arcana, History
There is a lot of content here, but your primary takeaway, as GM, shouldn’t be to build your adventure around the Dragon Cards, but to work these mini-quests and adventures into your setting as a supplement to your main storyline. Hopefully, there’s enough detail and variety that you can work it in to your world seamlessly. There’s nothing wrong with adjustments, however. When you do this, keep this in mind:
- Ensure that none of the cards are over-powered. You’ll notice that the lower-numbered cards are weaker than the higher-numbered cards, and this is not related to the difficulty to obtain them. However, even the higher-numbered cards have limitations.
- The challenges written above are meant to provide ideas. I have purposely left many things vague so that you can be creative. From a meta-game perspective, very few of the cards should require more than a single session to obtain by an appropriate level adventuring party.
- This mini-quest series can only work when you have decent-sized world. If your campaign is limited to a single area, like Ravenloft Castle, this wouldn’t work. However, if the party finds their first card in the castle, you can use this as a bridge to open your world and continue your characters beyond the scope of the smaller adventure.
In my world setting, I have two adventuring parties working simultaneously. Both are collecting cards with the hope of freeing certain dragons to help them in their primary quests. One group is preparing to take down a powerful warlord who magically enslaves those he captures. The other group is working toward challenging a powerful sorceress who is also collecting and freeing dragons for her own, selfish ends. The two villains are not allied, and are not likely to interact. All of this takes place in the world where an ancient cursed artifact has influenced events for over two thousand years. Both parties seek to find a way to destroy the artifact, even though doing so may cause more problems than leaving it alone.
At one point, the two parties met and traded a few cards. It wouldn’t surprise me if they do it again some time.
What the Dragon Cards do for me is it gives both parties adventuring opportunities so they can gain experience and tools on their way to facing their primary targets. Right now, both parties wouldn’t stand a chance against the villains – they are simply too powerful. In D&D, a fighter can’t stand next to a respawn point and kill the monster when it magically appears over and over, nor can they stand over an alchemy station and mix hundreds of random potions. The characters require a motivation and the players need agency. The motivation is taking down the villains before they complete their plans. The agency, or choice, is how they prepare for the eventual confrontation. In an open world, I can’t predict what the players will do, but I can, in the format presented here, be prepared for most of what they might decide to do.