Angolian the Black, Dread of the Gnatmarsh

There are many dragons in the Flanaess, many of whom have great wealth and power, and fame to match. Angolian the Black, The Dread of the Gnatmarsh. This very old and large dragon has terrorized the marsh and the surrounding lands for more than 200 years. He is 317 years old, hatched in the depths of the marsh in the year 260 CY. He dwells in a series of caves in the hills along the Nesser River, and has an entire tribe of lizard men as his vassals, along with a scattering of other, more powerful, creatures. His major domo is an ogre mage named Bright Tooth.

Angolian the Black: AC 3; MV 12″ (no flying speed – see below); 8 HD; 56 h.p.; #AT 6; DAM 1-4/1-4/1-4/1-4/3-18/1-6; SA acid breath, magic; SD none; INT 15; AL NE; Size L (34′ long). Angolian attacks with his front and rear claws, bite, and tail lash; the rear claws and tail can only attack those creatures on his flanks and at his rear. He is a 7th level magic-user, but does not require a spellbook (as per ordinary dragons). He has the following spells memorized:

First Level: charm person, magic missile, sleep, unseen servant

Second Level: darkness 15′ radius, invisibility, ray of enfeeblement

Third Level: dispel magic, fly

Fourth Level: wall of ice

In addition, he knows the following spells and can memorize them in place of any of those listed above, at the start of any day: detect magic, precipitation, ventriloquism, ESP, stinking cloud, phantasmal force, fumble.

In CY 357, sensing weakness in the newly-established Kingdom of Nyrond (which had just declared its independence from Aerdy two years before), Angolian declared himself Lord of the Gnatmarsh and sent lizard-man heralds to Urnst, Nyrond , and the Celadon Forest to declare such. Although a full military response was out of the question, given the need to secure the new border, a junior member of the new royal house, Sir Malliard, set forth with his retainers to “put the upstart beast in its place”.

The cavalier was more enthusiastic than lucky, unfortunately; the expedition was hunted down for three days by the dragon, who toyed with them as a cat does with mice. When the knight’s retainers were all slain, and Sir Malliard himself gravely wounded and staggering through the seemingly-endless marshland, Angolian struck again. This time, however, the knight was expecting the sneak attack and managed to score a mighty blow before he was himself slain by the acid breath of the beast. One of Angolian’s wings was shattered and made useless. To this day, the dragon holds it tucked in against his side, and on cold mornings it aches like a sore tooth.

Because of the loss of his wing, he has an undying hatred for all things Nyrondish, especially its ruling family. As a result of his injury, he took up the art of magic, being taught by the witches and hags of the Celadon Forest. He has been the author of, or participated in, several plots against the throne of Nyrond. The agents of the Overking of Aerdy are aware of this burning enmity, and since the founding of the Iron League in CY 447 occasionally send gifts as demonstrations of friendship. Angolian is wary of these overtures, but sees the value in befriending the enemy of his enemy. For the right offer, he could become an active ally of Rauxes, but he also knows this might prompt a full-fledged assault.

Angolian maintains a network of spies and informants throughout the Gnatmarsh, Celadon Forest, the Duchy of Urnst, and southwestern Nyrond. He remains on good terms with the witches and hags of the Celadon, but the druids of that woodland have an annoying habit of thwarting his plans and will. It is rumored that he has access to some great unknown treasure in the hills east of the Bright Desert, and no other explanation for his immense (and seemingly ever-refreshed) wealth has yet been forthcoming.

Angolian’s treasure hoard currently consists of the following: 4,375 c.p.; 20,200 s.p.; 10,000 e.p.; 21,250 g.p.; 4,188 p.p.; 45 gems of various values; 31 pieces of jewelry; 5 potions; a robe of useful items; an axe +1; a sun blade (taken from Sir Malliard and the crowning jewel of the hoard); and a bag of holding. All are protected by various traps and guards, of course.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

4 thoughts on “Angolian the Black, Dread of the Gnatmarsh

  1. That is a really cool write-up, with lots of adventure opportunity, especially in a campaign, with the dragon being a long standing adversary.

  2. Love it! As mentioned above, lots of cool possible storylines and plot hooks for adventuring hero’s.

  3. Good stuff.
    1E dragons get short shrift as they are not as godlike as they became in all subsequent editions, but this demonstrates amazingly well how intelligent creatures are more than just the sum of their stats, dragons not least!

  4. Completely agree with the concept of a black dragon in the Gnatmarsh. The LGG suggestion of a green dragon there never made as much sense to me. In the Celadon Forest maybe …

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