by Carteeg Struve & Joe Mashuga
Traxus (Traks’-us) is the Red Elder Dragon of the Tashramadic faith. Residing in his lair Brimstone in southern Solishairon, the dragon desired nothing less than total domination of Adlatum under his iron grip, although currently his attentions are being diverted by the capture of an intriguing prisoner.
From his younger days Traxus was considered a rash and violent dragon, even by red standards. The drive to beat opponents into submission to show his dominance was strong in him and continues to be so even to this day. Growing older he began to learn how to channel his rage against a focused target and pound it into submission or death. He became so enthralled with the different styles of combat he took to various humanoid forms in order to learn how to fight as one of them. His own tastes bent him towards the barbaric rage-driven styles of many of the Oguna tribes, but he made it a point to at least learn a variety of skills and tactics from other races. He educated himself on not only their fighting styles but also their overall strengths and weaknesses. He lived as them, and even took lovers. Traxus began to learn how each race thought, and he began to dream of their domination.
Taking what knowledge he gained, the red dragon bolstered forces loyal to him, and launched assaults against many of the nearby cities. By shear force of numbers and strength, lands fell to him. He allowed generations to pass to allow the captured territories to give rise to men willing to follow him as their master before launching new assaults. Lost battles did happen, but in the end where Traxus lost territory he would gain it back ten-fold.
The Dragon War
When the Graygem began to bind the dragons to territories centuries later, Traxus was enraged. He was certain the lesser beings were somehow responsible, possibly using the legendary Volumes of the Prophet to remove the rightful rulers of the land, the dragons, away from their cities and villages. The idea that a simple gem floating in the air was doing this to them he found ridiculous. He was also convinced that the disappearance of the ancient green dragon Glastious was the work of the bipeds and not the stone the green went to investigate.
Traxus himself demanded that the dragons and their dragon-kin join together to bring the entire continent under their control. If they could recover the Volumes, they may find a way to break the binding spell within their pages. With no other options presented, most of the dragons agreed.
In the war, Traxus was able to bolster his followers, driving them faster and stronger than during any war he had launched before. Only Heriacious lost fewer battles, but she also won less due to her slow progression using strategic strikes. Traxus rose to be one of the strongest forces in the lands, using his knowledge of the races and how they thought before overpowering them. With the exception of the blue dragon Almissaive, Traxus was undeniably the most dangerous enemy of the humanoid races.
As the war continued, Traxus noticed that Almissaive’s forces were beginning to show more success than his own. The red began to hate Almissaive for his success and viewed him as an opponent rather than an ally. Only when Almissaive turned what should had been great losses into moderate and massive victories did Traxus come to respect the “Blue General.” He respected him, but hoped to someday defeat the blue in one-on-one combat in order to finally prove his right to rule the land himself. He even dreamed of seducing the Dark Queen into being his servant and consort.
At the end of the war Traxus’ armies started to lose ground, as most of the other units did. Pushed too hard and too fast, they began to exhaust supplies and numbers. Where Almissaive began to conserve his forces, Traxus tried to push forward. But the human armies devised new and more effective tactics since his training with them long ago. He never considered they had the ability to change their own styles so quickly, and what he had learned of the humans was rendered worse than useless. With Traxus’ armies destroyed, the other dragonkin were put under greater pressure. The offensive collapsed, and the war was in time finished. Before falling asleep for ages, Traxus swore to try and keep a closer eye on the quickly changing humans. He swore he would not fail twice.
New Era, New Faith
Traxus was the first to hear the call of the Queen, waking him from eternal sleep. He came to consciousness in a world vastly changed. The lair around him was now drastically different, and so was he. Rents in the land emitted smoke and black flames out of the ground everywhere. The smell of sulfur was strong in the air. The rocks themselves were scalding hot to the touch. The land was covered in darkness not even magic sight could see through, but Traxus could see everything clearly.
His own body was changed as well. The blood within his veins burned with the intensity of the summer sun, but instead of pain he felt it strengthen him. His scales had darkened almost to pitch black, but to his eyes the softest glow of unearthly red came from within them. As the land was rent with flames, so were his scales. Trenches of burning dark fire licked the outside of his form, coming from the burning blood within. The heat from his own body was enough to keep most predators away, and the fire from the vein-like fissures over him was hot enough to melt any weapon. His wings were a combination of the black smoke and flames coming from the hell around him, but they allowed him to move with greater maneuverability, if not speed.
Still bound within his lair, which he now named Brimstone, he heard the plans of the Dark Queen. He would act as her proxy on this realm until she could come to rule the lands herself. The flame within his body intensified. Why would such a powerful creature such as himself serve such a conniving woman? But unfortunately he had no means to escape his lair and gain the forces he needed without her help. The lair was too inhospitable for anything to live nearby. He grudgingly accepted, and the goddess pulled creatures of fire from the black pits. Quietly during the night, in forms of smoke, they ventured out into the land to find those willing to serve. Over time the closest of followers spoke to Traxus through the pit creatures, and as they proved their loyalty to the dragon, they began to change into the Scalebound. Soon, they were able to enter Brimstone as well. In time, lesser followers were amassed, not knowing what true power resided in the black smoke shielded Holy Land.
For a period of time, Traxus continued to serve his goddess, but after some of his followers were killed when attempting to hunt down the insane green dragon Glastious, he began to doubt the queen’s judgment. Through the exchange of words via messengers and the Tashramadic Council, the leaders of the church, Elder Dragons and High Clerics alike, chose to dismiss the demands of the goddess. They even went so far as to communicate with the clerics of the insane Glastious, bringing him into their fold of Elder Dragons. Traxus’ dream of domination began to flourish again, but in a form he didn’t expect. He gained power not through combat, but through faith. As a hidden god of the Tashrama, his power began to amass once again. He knew at some point in the future violent conflict would be required to topple those who chose to refused to accept the faith, and he also dreamed of taking down the Blue Elder Dragon, Almissaive. His goal was now nothing short of becoming the one and only god of Adlatum.
The Days of Darkness
Unlike the other Elder Dragon lairs, Brimstone was not attacked directly by Chaos’ forces. Instead the voice of Chaos itself echoed into Traxus’ mind. It tempted him with dreams of annihilation of all of his enemies, unmaking them whole. Other whispers also promised the red that he would rule everything that was left of Krynn up until its final moment. Traxus knew the voice of deceit in the power’s voice; he had heard it before in his then-Queen. He recognized Chaos was what had changed him during his sleep, what had bound him to the lair that was his prison. But he also felt Chaos already in his body and in his head. The power sung to him, and he did everything he could to fight the Song of Oblivion out of his mind. Meanwhile the surrounding nation of Solishairon was under assault as was the rest of the world. The red branch of the Tashrama did what it could to stop total destruction, but the High Clerics could see their god was distracted, waging a war within his own body and soul. Soon Chaos lost patience and touched Traxus. The blood within him no longer burned; it boiled. Traxus screamed in pain as the Song of Oblivion began to promise peace from the suffering.
After days of struggling, Traxus continued to resist. But the power of Chaos grew greater, and the red dragon could feel the edge of Creation beginning to break. For a single moment Traxus’ will wavered. Chaos used the opportunity and poured its energies into him, beginning the process of unmaking. And then it all stopped. The Starfall had occurred. The war was suddenly over.
Traxus remained still for weeks as his survivors tended to him. The boiling of his blood continued to a weaker extent, but he was able to cope with it. It was another pain he that couldn’t deal with. During the war with the human race eras ago he had been defeated. That he could accept, even with anger and a desire for revenge. But this was the first time the red had ever surrendered. The blow was too much for him, and when his followers left him for a moment, he made to throw himself off of a cliff and into the black flames coming from the depths below. He knew wherever they came from, the heat would have to be enough to end his own existence.
Just before he would leap to his hopeful death, a single Scalebound cleric named Utara arrived with news. The Blue Elder Dragon Almissaive was dead, slain by one of the monstrous minions of Chaos. The news stunned Traxus. He surprised himself by not being angry over the fact that he himself was not the one to end the blue’s life, but he realized one thing. Almissaive fell to a minion of Chaos, whereas he resisted Chaos itself up until the last moment of the war. He fought Chaos itself and lived. Almissaive fought a lesser creature and died.
With a different type of flame within him rekindled, Traxus ordered his forces to be accounted for. No more would a simple church be his plan for the future. He began plans of a massive army. He wanted his wars of old to be launched again.
Rebuilding and Betraying
Over the next decade, Traxus had the followers of the red branch of the Tashrama gather an army together with many of the strongest fighters in Adlatum. Even Oguna from the lands to the north began to travel towards Brimstone, tempted by the words of the priests whose powers were no longer limited to the Holy Land. As his forces gathered, one of the women of his private harem began to catch his interest beyond the usual fashion.
While he was with her in his large human form, she began to suggest new ways of training his men, ways which force the strong to be stronger and the weak to either become strong or die off faster. The woman, Sianntica, also suggested putting his own priests in to learn similar combative training. Enchanted by the alluring woman’s words, he tried out her new techniques. Sure enough the death rate among his own men increased, but those who remained soon seemed to become unbeatable except by possibly others of their own numbers. To make a full sized army ready to take over the Midlands would take longer, but the quality of that army would be greater than any who they would come across.
Sianntica’s position changed as well, even though Traxus continued his relations with both her and his other women. She became an official advisor and began using her access to sorcery to give the men newer and harder challenges. Never did her magic directly aid their combat. Only would she use her magic to act as deterrents, forcing them to find new ways to overcome them.
For Traxus, she gave additional boons. In 406 AD Sianntica appeared to grow powerful enough to transfer the mind of Traxus into other bodies for short durations. During this period, the army had completed its training and was ready to launch a full assault into the Midlands and the growing yet still unstable power of the Great Sovereign Lord Montegron. Traxus was thrilled. Not only would his armies begin their conquest, but also in a host’s body he would be able to lead them. Selecting carefully, Traxus chose the body of a young black dragon that had retreated from the conflict to the east in Etlarn. The black was captured and brought to Brimstone for the spell casting on the night before the army would begin the invasion into the rest of Solishairon. Ready for the greatest success of his life, Traxus stood tall as his lover cast her spell.
He opened his eyes to find himself within the black dragon’s body, but he was no longer in Brimstone. The freezing air in combination of no longer feeling the fire within his body resulted in his almost immediate collapse in the Frozen Mountains. Smelling deceit once again, he let out a roar and raced southeast back to Brimstone. It would be several days before he would return.
Lord Montegron had received warning of the coming attack. A familiar voice had whispered it in his ears for several nights. He quietly had the Midland Guard organize forces from Solishairon, Isryan, and Guiteger and had them converge on Brimstone by both land and sea. As soon as the armies began to march away from Brimstone, the highest-ranking priests not only noticed that their god was missing, but their enemy had been alerted to their plans. They began to use the tactics Sianntica convinced them would be perfect against the unknowing Midlanders. However their plans seemed to be known by the enemy, and Montegron was prepared for them. What was to be a massive war turned into the smashing of a sizable uprising. Within weeks Traxus’ forces were destroyed. Only a handful was left to return to the protected areas around Brimstone. This conflict only proved to many other nations within the Midlands that the protection of the Great Sovereign Lord was an asset well worth its cost.
Traxus returned to Solishairon to see the devastation, but being in a simple black dragon body he knew he could not fight off the forces covering the territories. Feeling nothing but rage, he flew back to Brimstone to find Sianntica and murder her. Upon entering Brimstone, the spell ended and his soul returned to his body. The black dragon was once again in control of his own mind and fled immediately. Traxus could not find the traitor. No one had seen her depart. Many claimed not to even remember her, and many of the Red Elder Dragon’s most faithful died under the raging fury of his own claws and breath.
Those Scalebound who succeeded the priests and faithful slain by Traxus during his tirade, were slow to visit the dragon directly. Lead by Pharon Blayda, the highest ranking members of the red branch chose to decide on many matters themselves and represent their decisions to the rest of the Tashramadic Council as Traxus’ himself. It would not be until 414 AD they would risk sending anyone into Brimstone to confer with the red.
Rebuilding Again, and Vengeance
Although Blayda had been doing what he could to rebuild the destroyed forces and re-gather those who had escaped the 406 AD campaign, Traxus had other plans. He would not focus on capturing the Midlands until he could exact revenge upon the woman who destroyed his most current chances at Adlatum’s domination. Blayda elected to assign a number of clerics to help Traxus in his plan, but he also continued to build his own power and influence in the church. He purposefully misrepresented his discussions with the dragon in order to manipulate the decisions of the Council. As time passed, the red branch was able to rebuild its defense outside of Brimstone. However in the end the army was truly under Blayda’s control and not the Elder Dragon’s.
Still not the power they had during the 406 AD battle, Blayda has managed to rebuild the military strength of the army to acceptable levels, enough for a strong defense but not for attack. He was also able to put out a story that the invasion force Montegron defeated was actually a giant Oguna raid which penetrated into southern Solishairon, thereby disconnecting the origins of the invaders from one of the Tashrama Holy Lands. The red branch was gaining more success through the spreading of faith than in gathering an army, even though the military was still gathering steadily.
The situation changed recently when the Sovereign Lord exposed the Elder Dragons. Although the gathering army was still itching to take the wealth of the land away from the weak, many of the faithful in the red wing felt deceived. Having been taught that open raw power was the clearest expression of truth, to learn of this massive deception was a blow the red branch might never recover from. Blayda’s faithful began to depart in droves.
The situation was different for Traxus. No longer paying attention to his own church he was able to gather a collection of mystics willing to help him find his traitor. With the secret exposed, he also allowed a group of sorcerers to come into Brimstone, people he had not let in since the vanishing of Sianntica. As Montegron prepared to launch the Midlands into war against him, the giant dragon bestowed his magic into the spell cast by both arcane and divine practitioners. The spell brought a dull yellow light into Brimstone, illuminating the burning land for the first time in decades.
Sianntica was forcibly summoned into the middle of the spell circle. Appearing in the center of the clerics and sorcerers and dragon, she looked upon them all and began to laugh. As Traxus approached her, she stared at him with eyes that belonged to another. Her voice was also not hers, but it was one Traxus remembered. “You are too late, dear lover,” the Dark Queen said through her lips. “My own armies will soon bring an end to your rebellion and hubris.” At which point the light flashed once, knocking the humanoids back. The Dark Queen’s aspect of Sianntica vanished.
Traxus’ rage was quick, and he grabbed at the spot where she had been. By unknown means he felt her there, and he pulled Sianntica out from nothing. For a moment he felt the greater mind move to crush his soul, but then it was gone. Shaken by the sense of once again almost being completely destroyed, he staggered. It would be moments before he would realize that he held the unconscious form of Sianntica in his claws. Hours later when she came too, he had her questioned and tortured to find out what had happened. The most that he could figure was that the god discarded her own mortal form and left it to fend for itself. When an elderly Utara arrived from outside, he learned that the Starfall had been reversed. The old stars and moons were back, except for two particular constellations of note. Traxus was very very pleased.
With the fate of the Tashrama possibly at a final decisive point, the Red Elder focuses much of his time in tormenting the woman in his lair. He found out that the consciousness within Sianntica is completely separate from the Dark Queen–wherever she was–and had little to no memory of the higher power which once used her body as a mortal puppet. Her personality was also very different from both the woman he loved and the Queen herself. But even so, the enjoyment of exacting revenge on the form has given Traxus much pleasure. As for what goes on elsewhere with the war, he lets Blayda handle that. He sees himself in a period of rest from warfare, for the moment. He will enjoy his time off, even if foreign armies come knocking on his door.
Seresayon, the Elder Blue
Male Elder great wyrm red dragon dragon ravager 3 (Bestiary of Krynn Revised)
CE Colossal dragon (fire)
Init +4; Senses ambient sensitivity, blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., keen senses; Listen +51, Spot +51
Aura frightful presence (360-ft. radius, HD 39 or less, DC 38 Will resists)
AC 41, touch 2, flat-footed 41 (+39 natural, –8 size)
hp 709 (43d12+430)
Fort +35, Ref +27, Will +33
DR 20/lawful or magic; Immune fire, paralysis, sleep; SR 32
Weakness vulnerability to cold and law
Spd 40 ft., fly 200 ft. (clumsy)
Melee bite +52 (4d8+17 plus 1d8 fire) and
2 claws +51 (4d6+8/19-20 plus 1d8 fire) and
2 wings +50 (2d8+8 plus 1d8 fire) and
tail slap +50 (4d6+25 plus 1d8 fire)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 20 ft. (bite 30 ft.)
Special Attacks breath weapon (usable every 1d3 rounds, 70-ft. cone, 26d10 fire, DC 42 Reflex half), crush (4d8+25 plus 1d8 fire, DC 40 Reflex avoids), draconic rage 3/day (16 rounds), fling, impede ambient magic, spell rage, tail sweep (40-ft. half-circle, 2d8+25, DC 40 Reflex half)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 19th)
1/day – discern location, find the path
3/day – suggestion (DC 21)
12/day – locate object
Spells Known (CL 19th, +52 touch, +35 ranged touch)
9th (4/day)—energy drain, mage’s disjunction (DC 27)
8th (7/day)—mind blank, polar ray, summon monster VIII
7th (7/day)—greater scrying (DC 25), prismatic spray (DC 25), spell turning
6th (7/day)—analyze dweomer, blade barrier (DC 24), heal
5th (7/day)—cone of cold (DC 23), magic jar (DC 23), symbol of pain (DC 23), wall of force
4th (8/day)—crushing despair (DC 22), polymorph, restoration, spell immunity
3rd (8/day)—cure serious wounds, dispel magic, haste, protection from energy
2nd (8/day)—cat’s grace, darkness, detect thoughts (DC 20), elemental dart* (DC 20), invisibility
1st (8/day)—alarm, chill touch (DC 19), divine favor, magic missile, shield
0 (6/day)—arcane mark, dancing lights, detect magic, ghost sound, guidance, mage hand, prestidigitation, read magic, resistance
*From the Dragonlance Campaign Setting
Str 45, Dex 10, Con 31, Int 26, Wis 27, Cha 26
Base Atk +43; Grp +76
Feats Ability Focus (breath weapon), Awesome Blow, Cleave, Flyby Attack, Flyby Breath*, Hover, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (claws), Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Multiattack, Power Attack, Snatch, Weapon Focus (claws), Wingover.
*From the Dragonlance Campaign Setting
Skills Appraise +51, Bluff +29, Concentration +53, Diplomacy +35, Escape Artist +43, Gather Information +10, Intimidate +53, Jump +60, Knowledge (arcana) +30, Knowledge (history) +51, Knowledge (local) +29, Knowledge (nature) +32, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +30, Listen +51, Search +51, Sense Motive +51, Spot +51, Survival +50 (+52 aboveground natural environments), Use Magic Device +51
Languages Draconic, Dwarven, Hudieran, Igurni, Ignan, Ogre, Maliaru, Minotaur, Trejori
SQ enhanced breath weapon (already figured above), metabolize ambient magic
Ambient Sensitivity (Su) Traxus senses the presence of all ambient spellcasters within 12 miles. He automatically knows the direction (but not distance) to each spellcaster within range, but does not otherwise know anything about the spellcaster unless further magic is used. Traxus’ ambient sensitivity is considered a form of scrying for purposes of determining if a spell or magic item protects an ambient spellcaster from detection.
Draconic Rage (Ex) Three times per day Traxus may fly into a screaming blood frenzy for up to 16 rounds, gaining +6 Strength, +6 Constitution, and a +2 morale bonus on Will saves, but suffering a –2 penalty to Armor Class. Traxus’ draconic rage otherwise resembles the rage ability of a barbarian.
Fling (Ex) Traxus may use his Awesome Blow to fling creatures 25 feet instead of the usual 10 feet if the opponent fails the required saving throw. A creature flung like this takes an additional 2d6 points of bludgeoning damage, or an additional 4d6 points of bludgeoning damage if striking an obstacle before completion of the move.
Heat (Ex) Unlike other red dragons, Traxus’ very body seethes with intense heat. His natural attacks deal an additional 1d8 points of fire damage. In addition, creatures hitting Traxus with natural weapons or unarmed weapons take this same damage each time one of their attacks hits.
Impede Ambient Magic (Su) Traxus may impede all ambient magic within 1200 ft. To cast an ambient spell in an impeded area, the ambient spellcaster must make a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + spell level) or lose the spell he was trying to cast. Traxus may raise or lower this ability as a standard action.
Instead of impeding ambient magic, Traxus may prevent up to eight ambient spellcasters (all of whom must be within 1200 ft. of him) from accessing their source of ambient magic. Each ambient spellcaster must make a DC 38 Will save or be unable to cast spells for as long as he remains within the area of effect. An ambient spellcaster who remains within the area of effect must make a Will save every round.
Metabolize Ambient Magic (Ex) Whenever an ambient spell fails to penetrate Traxus’ spell resistance, he heals a number of hit points equal to twice the spell level. If he is already at maximum hit points, this ability has no effect.
Spell Rage (Su) As a free action, Traxus may expend one of his daily spell slots to deal +1d6 bonus damage per spell level on a single attack. Traxus must declare his use of this ability before making the attack roll, and a failed attack roll still expends the spell slot. Vulnerability to Law Traxus takes half again as much (+50%) damage from any spell with the lawful subtype, and from the bonus damage dealt by any weapon with the axiomatic property.