Lore-Win: Iymrith, Desert Doom
As one-half of the title Dungeons and Dragons, they’re kind of a big deal. In the same way that one might call a hurricane or an erupting volcano kind of a big deal. All are forces wildly beyond the comprehension of most mere mortals.
Of course, there’s more than one kind of dragon about. You have your metallics, those proud children of Bahamut. The chromatics, who call Tiamat their mother. And the crystalline, who are the least common of the kinds.
And shadow dragons.
But today our focus remains solely on the chromatics, and on one of the blue persuasion in particular. For this is the story of a rare dragon. One who has mastered the arcane.
And her name is Iymrith, Desert Doom.
Welcome to Lore-Win, the Dungeons and Dragons lore series. I, as always, am your humble Loremaster, Sokar. Today, we’ll be returning to the desert of Anauroch, the once-verdant homeland of the Netherese, turned barren in their war with the leech-like phaerimm. It is here that Iymrith embarked on her own adventures.
And it is here that our story begins.
Iymrith made an explosive entrance to the Forgotten Realms in the year 570 DR. Immediately, she earned a reputation as an aggressive young dragon.
Her first recorded act was to smash a trading encampment on the border of the Anauroch. The inhabitants of the camp were the Bedine, a group of humans who lived in the desert. She tore apart a trade caravan bound for the Sword Coast and left the ruins of the camp littered with desert-gems.
Filled with confidence, the young drake ventured out from the desert. Out to the moorlands known as the High Moor where she challenged an elder dragon.
This was a mistake.
Despite her power, Iymrith was forced to flee for her life. Gravely wounded, the blue dragon crashed into the Forgotten Forest, and more specifically, into Netherese ruins within the forest. Humbled somewhat by her ill-fated challenge, Iymrith chose to hide in the forest, healing and venturing out only at night for food.
But this time, something unusual occurred. Iymrith gained magical powers that exceeded even the most powerful and oldest of blue dragons. The exact cause behind her newfound abilities are unknown, however, the leading theory is one put forwards by Elminster. Namely, that Iymrith had been captured by an archmage of some skill in the arcane who modified her to be a powerful and intelligent servant.
This theory is only further supported by sightings of a blue dragon, accompanied by a “disintegrating, robed human skeleton”. Such an ostentatious display certainly suggests a wizard. And the skeleton was described as sitting on a saddle on the dragon’s back.
Which isn’t something most self-respecting dragons would allow without being captured or dominated in some manner.
Together, they preyed upon camped trade caravans and settlements along the Sword Coast. Iymrith rained spells down upon their targets with such variety that mages began searching for a rogue wizard hiding in the Greypeak Mountains.
But if she truly came into the service of an archmage—willingly or not—she would eventually escape it.
And she left it for the Anauroth desert, and the knowledge of the arcane within. There, she dug through the Netherese ruins, seeking knowledge. And she found it. A whole trove of arcane texts, spellbooks that would further her power.
She also found a phaerimm.
I sure am getting a lot of mileage out of this picture.
Source: Netheril: Empire of Magic (2e)
Once again, Iymrith barely escaped the encounter with her life.
This encounter with the very creatures that defeated the Netherese Empire left the blue dragon more committed to her mission to find more magic, which she carried off to a mountain top where she made her home.
These repeated trips gained attention, as dragons flying about so often do. Specifically, it gained the attention of some all-too-confident adventurers, who fancied themselves dragonslayers. Their confidence led them to believe they’d end the day rich beyond their wildest dreams.
They ended it dead, instead.
This encounter, along with her earlier tussle with the phaerimm, taught Iymrith another lesson: She needed minions. Loyal minions. Minions who could keep guard for her while she sought out further treasures.
Utilizing her magical prowess, Iymrith crafted gargoyles from the bodies of those adventurers she slew. Her first gargoyles were poor creations, but she worked at her craft and improved.
Finally, when she had enough minions to watch for attacking phaerimm and humans, she returned to the ruins of Netheril.
The Legacy of Netheril
Iymrith set her gargoyle army to digging up the ruins of Netheril while she surveyed the land from above. The blue dragon sought out both food, and ruins that would not be visible from the ground.
She was rewarded with the top of a sorcerer’s tower. Eagerly, the dragon swooped upon it, tearing the spire open and finding a rich cache of lost magical knowledge.
Iymrith made the spire her new lair, and studied the wealth of magical knowledge for centuries. Her ambition knew no bounds, and Elminster himself described her as, “the least lazy and sleepy wyrm I have ever known.”
Her presence drew attention over the hundreds of years she lived there, though. Soon she would find herself face to face with an old enemy.
But this time, it was they who would flee for their lives.
Iymrith’s centuries of study had granted her even greater magical abilities than before. When the leech-like creatures emerged, she unleashed all the magic at her disposal upon them, including a particularly powerful spell known as force burn.
This spell opened the weave and unleashed beams of raw magical energy upon the phaerimm. By the time the battle had ended, Iymrith had earned her title.
Doom of the Desert.
Or, Desert Doom if you prefer.
Meanwhile, the sands of the Anauroch had shifted and revealed an abandoned city to the north, its only inhabitants the animated skeletons of long-dead Bedine.
Iymrith transferred her treasures there, making the forgotten city her new lair. The city’s name has been lost to the ages, but then on it would be known as Iymrith’s home, her lair.
She viewed this region and all the tunnels beneath as her territory. Her exclusive domain. With an army of gargoyles, and possibly the most powerful magics available to mortals, she turned her attention to ensuring her own survival. Adventurers who encroached upon the region have reported being fired upon by gargoyle-manned siege weapons.
Not all are scared away though. Around 1360 DR, one particular adventuring company—the Company of the Flame Spider—found themselves in reach of Iymrith’s lair. Instead of killing them though, the blue wyrm captured the adventurers and kept them as pets, teleporting them back within her domain should they ever attempt to escape, and teleporting them away from each other should tempers flare and violence seem probable. Her army of gargoyles plants treasures and food for them to find, and so long as they stay within her domain they are free to do as they will.
However, sometimes she calls them to action. While she placed no compulsions upon them, she does conveniently whisk them into combat against other intruders, like the Bedine who roam through the region.
Other threats know better than to trespass on her territory though. Some Bedine tribes have taken to worshiping Iymrith as a god, and the phaerimm who fought the Netherese so viciously fear Iymrith enough to avoid her territory.
Into The Storm
As peaceful as Iymrith’s life may have been, such things often do not last.
And honestly, the longer you live the less likely peace will last. While Iymrith was content to discover and hoard more arcane knowledge, the very world itself seemed to have other ideas for her. Her, and all other dragon-kind, that is.
Throughout time, the appearance of a celestial body known as the King-Killer Star caused dragons to enter into a murderous rage in an event called the Rage of Dragons. Normally this could last a whole ten days, and caused the destruction of cities. In 1373 DR, however, a particularly long and violent such event took place.
The King-Killer Star appeared and caused a Rage of Dragons which lasted for a full year. Not even Iymrith with her arcane power was immune to this madness, and she flew north, into the mountains, and singlehandedly killed three clans of giants dwelling there.
This would not be her final encounter with giants.
Indeed, she seems to have taken the guise of a storm giant, and may even now be playing a part in the events of Storm King’s Thunder, but that is a tale that I will let you live, should you wish.
Iymrith as a Storm Giant.
Source: Storm King's Thunder
As a dragon, Iymrith hoarded knowledge in addition to gems. She has filled a great hall in her nameless city with them and resting on them. Yet she also hoards knowledge, a chamber of magic containing her collected magic that she has studied over the centuries.
To those adventurers who may think that her lair makes a tempting target: beware. Not only will you have to contend with an army of gargoyles outside the city, but there are plenty of dangers within as well. Pit traps, spell-flinging-gargoyles, and the dragon herself await you.
That is, of course, assuming she doesn’t decide to make you her pets.
But like the skeletal archmage before, you too can have Iymrith’s power at your disposal. Pick up your copy of Iymrith, Desert Doom at the Wizard’s Tower today, and add her power to your deck.
Or, if you’d rather expose the Doom of the Desert’s schemes, you can pick up a copy of Storm King’s Thunder for your adventuring party.
Until next time, may fortune favour you.