Lizards everywhere

Author: Authors of Volume 2
Length: Long
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Quest, Investigation
Setting: Any
Monster: Dragon

The Plot

This plot is good for fantasy RPGs (designed for AD&D, approx. 6 characters of 6th-8th level)

A small farming community several miles from where the characters are based has made an appeal to the mayor of the village to put an end to what are described as "dragon raids". The mayor, who is coming up for re-election, has heard of the fame of the heroes and comes to them for help in slaying the dragon that has terrorized his constituents.

What the heroes are told:

Recently (in the last few weeks), a dragon with green skin has shambled up out of the nearby marsh and carried off livestock in its mouth. The farmers are upset at this loss of their resources. A group of the farmers held a meeting and sent two volunteers out into the swamp, but they have not been heard from since.

What the heroes will find, upon investigation:

Large, muddy footprints on the grounds of the farmers whose livestock have been stolen--mostly those living right next to the marsh to take advantage of the fertile ground--ostensibly "dragon tracks". If they ask questions of the right people, they will find someone who swears he saw the dragon change into a dragon-man and walk off into the swamp. The rest of the town thinks this old guy is nuts. The dragon has not been spotted any farther away from the swamp than about 30 yards. None of the townsfolk remember seeing any wings on the creature.

Some information the heroes might be able to discover:

Green dragons do not, by habit, live in marshland areas. They prefer the serenity and relative abundance of game supplied by verdant forests. Green dragons also delight in deceiving and controlling human operations. A green dragon without wings is an oddity, to be sure.

In fact, the kind of dragons who DO live in the swamp are black dragons.

None of this information should be available without sage consultation.

What is actually going on:

A little ways into the marsh is a small settlement of lizard men. These are not the ordinary warlike race, but rather a pacifistic offshoot... deadly when necessary, but downright friendly otherwise. They are, in fact, farmers themselves, cultivating nutritious plants and fungi, and keeping their own herd animals: giant lizards.

The harvest has been bad this year, and feeding the giant lizards has become second priority. So the lizards, starving, wandered off towards the human village in search of food...and found it.

The human farmers wouldn't know a dragon from an oversized water snake, so they naturally panicked. No farmer in his right mind would go dragon hunting in a swamp, nohow. And the story grew a little more fantastic with each telling....

Once, the lizard men followed one of the lizards toward the human farms. It was near dusk, and visibility was poor, so it was an easy mistake to say that the "dragon" had changed into a "dragon-man". But overall, the lizard men have avoided the humans for fear of prejudice and misunderstanding. If approached peacefully, and the situation is explained, the humanoids will be willing to pay restitution for the animals. They are also willing to open a trade avenue with the humans, if such an idea is acceptable, but that is up to the farmers.

Other goings-on:

Elsewhere, deeper in the swamp, lairs an old black dragon. He sleeps, unaware of the turmoil occurring in the nearby village. In fact, the last time his sleep was disturbed was a couple of weeks back, when two lanky humans intruded rudely upon his nap. Fortunately for the dragon, he happened to be mildly hungry at the time.
[The Net Book of Plots Home Page]
Email: Alexander Forst-Rakoczy