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Heriacious, The White Elder Dragon

by Carteeg Struve & Joe Mashuga


Heriacious (Hehr'-ee-ay'-shee-us) is the White Elder Dragon of the Tashramadic faith. Worshiped as a goddess by the top ranking members of the church, she is a constant thorn in the side of the Lord Montegron. Heriacious' lair Breenaak and Montegron's capital Kasuhon are fairly close to each other in the mountains of FyxZharar, however the peaks, chasms, and passageways make the traveling distance hundreds of miles apart.

Even though the white dragons are not known for their intelligence (or more specifically they are known for their lack of intelligence) Heriacious was born with a genius mind compared to those of other races and not just her own kind. Even at a young age, she was one of the first to notice those Adlatum-based dragons touched by the Graygem's power were becoming less and less willing or able to leave their territories. Being a white most of the other dragons ignored her observations, and a majority of the white didn't understand her. When the dragons came to terms with what was happening to them, they launched a war against the smaller bipedal races. Heriacious herself did not participate in much if any of the fighting.

During the Dragon Wars, Takhisis blessed Heriacious with her presence. The Dark Queen desired Heriacious to breed with the other Adlatum Whites in hope her intelligence would better the overall breed. Heriacious' love was more in watching the battles and seeing how different tactics matched up against others. The concept of becoming a mother was not one she truly objected to, but to make it her main focus disgusted her. Takhisis was displeased with the lost possibility, but chose to use the tool she was given. Figuring that if the dragons were to succeed in seizing the humanoid controlled lands, she herself would have control of them through draconic proxies, she gave the white direct leadership over some of the god's own loyal troops. At first it looked as if the forces would be wiped out, but soon Heriacious learned from her own mistakes in gauging both the enemy and her own troops. Victory was followed by victory, but always Heriacious stayed out of the fighting in order to watch how things changed and developed from a distance. Every so often the white tried new techniques. Some worked. Some did not. In the end, the legendary "Arm of Ice" was victorious, but the rest of the army of dragons and dragonkin were failing. Heriacious determined that successful presses into enemy territory would result in them only being surrounded as the other wings nearby collapsed. The "Arm of Ice" retreated quickly, allowing the humanoids to move in swiftly and strike down the other units who chose to fight until the end. Heriacious' forces disappeared as the white was pressed by the chaos-taint to sleep. Deep in the mountains the white slept, and those loyal to her slowly dispersed to commit deeds of their own, for better or ill. As their own generations passed, tales of the white became the root of most of their legends.

Eras passed, and the Dark Queen called. Heriacious awoke and listened to the desire of Takhisis to attempt to seize the world again. The Goddess wanted the dragons to act as regents of a sort until she herself could make manifest on Krynn. Over the centuries, the chaos-taint expanded Heriacious' mind further. Her talents in military and strategic thinking had greatest expanded.

And she did not believe Takhisis could ever win. The world was set by laws of balance. The other gods and even higher unknown forces would never let such a manifestation occur. Heriacious also concluded something she had never thought before. The gods were weak. They could only influence the world through those loyal to them. If those already on Krynn were willing to forsake the Gods, it would be those with the greatest strength and masses of loyal followers would take control. The white accepted Takhisis offer and plotted betrayal.

With great calculation, Heriacious built up her forces. She was pleased to learn many in the area had heard of tales of her great campaigns millennia ago. Numbers slowly flocked to her, and the church of Tashrama is begun anew. The gift of ambient magic she could bestow to those loyal to her in the mountains of the Midlands allowed her to set herself up as a goddess made manifest on the world. The effects of those who became the Scalebound further strengthened her ties to her servants. She did what she could to send out agents to distant parts to extend her influence. When Isyran Premier Eleah Dayne was assassinated, Heriacious was disgusted to learn the new Premier was a true cleric of Paladine. Too quickly were the gods able to return to a position of power, in her mind. She focused more energy in building up her forces in her immediate area in order to launch the inevitable strike against the forces of the distant useless gods.

Hiding deep in her lair when walking as a dragon, Heriacious traveled among the faithful in Breenaak by walking as a human woman. The fact she could not show herself to the lesser of her people frustrated her. She desired open praise and worship, and ironically prayed (albeit to no one) for the day to come.

During the Days of Darkness, Heriacious discovered she could leave her city for the first time in ages. Although the land was on the edge of destruction, Heriacious was too enrapt with being able to fly into the skies to care. Rumor has it she even took another dragon as lover. Only when the sky itself tore open in front of her did she realize the dire situation.

During the conflict, many of those in Breenaak saw her fly from the lair and into the skies. At first they saw it as a blessing from one of the higher powers. Which was debated, but the debate stopped when the sky darkened and the assault began.

Not being a skilled fighter, Heriacious was wise enough to flee back to her own lair to protect herself on her own turf. When the creatures of Chaos vanished, she discovered she could no longer leave her home again. Hatred swelled within her. The only joy she partook in was in learning the true gods were gone. Sorrow and elation blended together into momentary hysteria, but in time she would recover.

As her priests discovered they were able to cast outside of the Holy Lands, Heriacious began to have hope she would be able to venture across the lands again. With the capital of the adjusted nation of FyxZharar physically a short ways away, she aimed to control the government and use their resources to find a method to break her out. However the lands started to be unified under a human named Lord Montegron. The capital Karsuhon was brought under his swift acting hand. The patient and calculated dragon was outpaced.

She sent a private message to Montegron attempting to put him under her own thrawl. The messenger returned to Heriacious as a banshee bound within a protected coffin. The coffin was disguised as a large treasure chest, an offering accompanying a letter of acceptance. Two of Heriacious' elder Scalebound along with several others were killed by the horrid wail. From that point on, Heriacious focused her plots on taking Montegron down and seizing the Midlands for herself and church.

Years later, when Montegron publicly revealed the powers behind the church to be nothing more than the powerful dragons forgotten in time, Heriacious was not angered. She was elated. Her first act was to come out to the courtyard outside the lair and announce her presence to her people. The White Elder Dragon proclaimed her divinity to the populous. Many were disillusioned and tried to flee, but many of the older faithful remembered the dragonform that came to their defense just before the Starfall. The unworthy were weaned away from the world by the armed forces loyal to the church, and those remaining bowed directly to their magnificent and beautiful god.

Heriacious appeared as a young and ordinary white dragon in her younger days, but after the long sleep the chaos-taint had enough time to alter her form. Her body is long and sleek. Instead of two massive wings with one to each side, she has four thin wings, two to either side. Her head is long and almost pointed, shaped like an icicle with a blunt tip. Her ears are similarly long and have multiple ridge points leading up it with small bone protrusions. Her legs are shorter than a standard dragon, but her long tail and longer body are almost one where they join. The slightly bluish gloss of her scales resembles that as ice, and some may mistake her for a silver at great distances. Sometimes, those who travel the mountains of FyxZharar may see her perched up on one of the mountaintops near Breenaak, allowing her to see out over the far distant lands she cannot reach.

She has also developed the ability to take the form of a human woman in order to give herself the illusion that the region she is bound to is larger than it is. Although she has varied the forms, primarily she appears as a tall regal woman. Her hair tends to be blond with a small degree of elderly white although her face resembles that of someone in their young thirties or late twenties. Her preferred eye colors are blue or green. Her long delicate hands and fingers would make any arcane spellcaster envious.

Heriacious has developed a respect for her followers, especially when they show signs of intelligence. Remembering how often she herself was ignored when her was younger, she makes it a priority to always listen to her servants and consider their comments and suggests in full earnest.

For one of the Elder Dragons, she is known for her patience as well her skill in combat tactics. Whether in dragon or human form her voice is naturally soft and thoughtful in tone. However those who listen closely may hear the slight waver of fear steaming from her deep desire to escape her prison. It should always be remembered when dealing with the soft spoken, patient, and polite dragon that she has been known to coldly and thoughtfully make decisions to crush and destroy any opposition in the way of her plans.

Many believe Aynal Teralshall was placed in charge of Heriacious' branch of the church because she believes Aynal's old mentor was in fact the Black Elder Dragon Xyvren. In order for the rumor to be true, it would mean Xyvren found some way to leave his Holy Land. There is nothing to give validity to either the rumor of Aynal's mentor or Aynal's hiring.

It is also believed by many that Heriacious gave birth to a clutch of eggs conceived during her momentary freedom in the Days of Darkness. If this were true, the eggs would be laid by now, likely somewhere in the tunnels or in the lair of Breenaak. There is no consistent rumor as to the identity of the eggs' father.

With the signs of the gods return all about, one rumor has circulated which many in Breenaak and in the Tashramadic church take as direct insult of weakness. Others say it shows the blessed character of the Goddess of White. The rumor is that upon learning of the gods' return, Heriacious wept for both herself and for Krynn.


Gaming Stats

3.5 Edition


Heriacious, the Elder White

CR 30

Female Elder great wyrm white dragon legendary tactician 8
CE Gargantuan dragon (cold)
Init +4; Senses ambient sensitivity, blindsense 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., keen senses; Listen +46, Spot +46
Aura frightful presence (360-ft. radius, HD 35 or less, DC 36 Will resists)


Defense

AC 41, touch 6, flat-footed 41 (+35 natural, –4 size)
hp 630 (36d12+8d10+352)
Fort +34, Ref +24, Will +29
DR 20/lawful or magic; Immune cold, mind-affecting, paralysis, sleep; SR 27
Weakness vulnerability to fire and law


Offense

Spd 60 ft., burrow 30 ft., fly 250 ft. (clumsy), swim 60 ft.
Melee bite +53 (6d6+13) and
2 claws +51 (2d8+6) and
2 wings +51 (2d6+6) and
tail slap +51 (2d8+19)
Space 20 ft.; Reach 15 ft. (bite 20 ft.)
Special Attacks breath weapon (60-ft. cone, 12d6 cold, DC 36 Reflex half), crush (4d6+19, DC 36 Reflex avoids), direct troops, impede ambient magic, inspire courage (+4, 4/day), tail sweep (30-ft. half-circle, 2d6+19, DC 36 Reflex half)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 13th)
1/day – control weather
3/day – fog cloud, freezing fog (DC 21), gust of wind (DC 18), wall of ice (DC 20)
Spells Known (CL 13th, +53 touch, +40 ranged touch)
6th (5/day)—greater dispel magic, wall of iron
5th (7/day)—cone of cold (DC 21), transmute rock to mud, wall of force
4th (7/day)—black tentacles, mass enlarge person, solid fog, storm wall*
3rd (7/day)—haste, protection from energy, slow (DC 19), stinking cloud (DC 19)
2nd (8/day)—command undead (DC 18), elemental dart* (DC 18), glitterdust (DC 18), see invisibility, web (DC 18)
1st (8/day)—alarm, feather fall, grease (DC 17), obscuring mist, true strike
0 (6/day)—acid splash, arcane mark, dancing lights, detect magic, disrupt undead, ghost sound, read magic, resistance, touch of fatigue (DC 16)
*From the Dragonlance Campaign Setting


Statistics

Str 37, Dex 10, Con 27, Int 22, Wis 24, Cha 23
Base Atk +44; Grp +69
Feats Ability Focus (frightful presence), Blind-Fight, Cleave, Flyby Attack, Flyby Breath*, Hover, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Leadership, Lightning Reflexes, Multiattack, Power Attack, Snatch, Strafing Breath*, Wingover.
* From the Dragonlance Campaign Setting.
Skills Bluff +22, Concentration +43, Diplomacy +49, Escape Artist +20, Gather Information +8, Hide +27, Intimidate +47, Knowledge (arcana) +25, Knowledge (history) +53, Knowledge (local) +45, Knowledge (religion) +26, Listen +46, Move Silently +39, Search +26, Sense Motive +47, Spot +46, Swim +32, Use Magic Device +45
Languages Auran, Common, Draconic, Gnome, Hudieran, Terran, Trejori
SQ alternate form, battle standard, gifted, hard march, icewalking, leadership bonus +4, metabolize ambient magic, rally troops, rout enemies, strategic retreat, tactical mastery


Special

Alternate Form (Su) Unlike other white dragons, Heriacious can assume a single specific humanoid form of Medium size or smaller as a standard action. Her alternate form is a tall, regal human woman in her late twenties or early thirties, with blue-green eyes, delicate hands, and blond hair that has a small white tint.

Ambient Sensitivity (Su) Heriacious senses the presence of all ambient spellcasters within 12 miles. She 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. Heriacious' ambient sensitivity is considered a form of scrying for purposes of determining if a spell or magic item protects an ambient spellcaster from detection.

Gifted (Ex) Heriacious' mental abilities exceed those of other white dragons. Her Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores are higher than other white dragons, and she is also immune to mind-affecting effects.

Impede Ambient Magic (Su) Heriacious 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. Heriacious may raise or lower this ability as a standard action.

Instead of impeding ambient magic, Heriacious may prevent up to six ambient spellcasters (all of whom must be within 1200 ft. of her) from accessing their source of ambient magic. Each ambient spellcaster must make a DC 34 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 Heriacious' spell resistance, she heals a number of hit points equal to twice the spell level. If she is already at maximum hit points, this ability has no effect.

Tactical Mastery (Ex) Heriacious' centuries of tactical studies have increased the area of her battle standard, direct troops, rally troops, rout enemies, and strategic retreat abilities by 100% (already figured into the above descriptions).

Vulnerability to Law Heriacious 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.