The Cult of the Dragon
The Cult of the Dragon has existed for centuries. During most of that time, its members have focused on the creation and worship of dracoliches, based on a prophecy translated by the cult's founder, Sammaster. However, those goals changed with the rise of a young cultist named Severin.
Inspired by Tiamat, Severin reexamined the texts translated by Sammaster and discovered a different interpretation, believing that "naught will be left save shattered thrones, with no rulers but the dead. Dragons shall rule the world entire..." Severin's quest to reshape the cult led him to the dragon Hoondarrh, "the Red Rage of Mintarn." The fact that Severin not only survived this encounter but befriended the dragon impressed Tiamat in her exile in the Nine Hells. As a reward and further test, she allowed Severin a scrap of knowledge regarding the existence of the five dragon masks. Severin took that bit of information and did what few others could have accomplished, searching for and finding all five masks. The task took years to complete, and it led directly to the crisis that Faerun now faces.
Severin kept the red mask for himself. As other masks were found, he presented them to his closest allies in the Cult of the Dragon, granting each the power of a wyrmspeaker. Using the magic of the dragon masks, this Inner Circle of Wyrmspeakers helps Severin prepare the way for Tiamat's return.
The plots of the Cult of the Dragon are secret, but its existence is not. Most folk of the Sword Coast have heard of the cult, but know only that its members revere evil dragons. The cult recruits new members in major cities, and word quickly gets around. Moreover, many cultists engage in legitimate business or are assigned to ordinary academic research. Only a relative few serve as thieves, assassins, and spies.
Dragon-themed symbolism and iconography pervade the cult's official regalia-black clothing that features a cape or cloak cut to resemble dragon wings, and festooned with jewelry and draconic imagery reflecting the wearer's favorite type of dragon. Masks are common at cult gatherings.
Cultists avoid this regalia in public, but a character who knows what to look for can often pick an incognito dragon cultist out of a crowd. Cultists sometimes greet one another with the sign of Tiamat: right hand extended, palm forward, with all five fingers spread in imitation of Tiamat's five heads. Characters trying to pass as cultists might find this sign useful if they don't overdo it.
Cult members venerate dragons as powerful icons and masters, but their worship is reserved for Tiamat. They look forward to the Dragon Queen's return, believing that she will destroy mortal civilization and usher in a glorious reign of dragons-and of those who helped bring about draconic rule. The complex plot dedicated to bring Tiamat to Faerun has so far seen the cult recover the five dragon masks and collect an immense treasure worthy of the Dragon Queen. All that now remains is to raise her temple in the Well of Dragons, sacrifice hundreds of victims whose souls will power an ancient ritual, and then use that ritual to open a portal through which Tiamat will emerge from the Nine Hells.
The cult has a simple hierarchical structure, consisting of initiates on the bottom, four ranks for cultists, and one highest rank for "Wearers of Purple"-the lords, leaders, and cult masters of particular locales. The cult is ruled by a secretive inner group led by Severin and four other wyrmspeakers-a term of respect given to those whose bond with dragons is supernaturally strong.
Rank in the cult is based on merit and fanaticism. As raw recruits, initiates (represented by cultists and cult fanatics) have no rank and follow the orders of their superiors. Only initiates that prove their worth are allowed to advance. A Wearer of Purple can promote an initiate along the track of dragonclaw (first rank), dragonwing (second rank), dragonfang (third rank), and dragonsoul (fourth rank). Statistics for those four ranking cultists are found in appendix A.
Cult operation groups are assembled to match their assigned tasks. They vary in size, from a few lowranking cultists operating on their own to hundreds of cultists of various ranks under the control of multiple Wearers of Purple.
Wearers of Purple
The Wearers of Purple stand at the top of the cult's humanoid hierarchy, and their word is law for the cultists in the cities, strongholds, and lairs they command. They are the only members of the cult to wear purple, and most are proud enough to flaunt the color. The Wearers of Purple have an affinity for talking to and negotiating with dragons-the gift of wyrmspeaking. Dozens of Wearers of Purple are spread throughout the Cult of the Dragon, and all are able to marshal the cult's resources.
Only Severin's inner circle can promote a dragonsoul to a Wearer of Purple, granting that character a base of operations and funds. Most new Wearers of Purple have already developed a working relationship with a dragon as part of their power and authority. Those who do not cultivate and expand this relationship are sometimes demoted. A number of priests of Tiamat have recently been made Wearers of Purple, and have been charged with establishing temples for her open worship in Faerun. This aspect of the cult's plans is still in the early stages, and the inner circle remains divided on how the Cult of the Dragon should interact with the faithful of Tiamat.
The Inner Circle
These four Wearers of Purple are the keepers of the dragon masks and Severin's most devoted servants in the effort to summon Tiamat. Each of these wyrmspeakers bears one of the dragon masks, which they never part with except under the direst circumstances-and then only at the request of Severin or a draconic ally. The members of the inner circle each have an affinity for a particular color of chromatic dragon. They treat with dragons of those colors to recruit more dragons to the cause, and plan cult missions that advance Severin's plots.
In addition to Severin, the Red Wyrmspeaker, the members of the inner circle are: Galvan (male human), the Blue Wyrmspeaker; Neronvain (male moon elf), the Green Wyrmspeaker and son of Melandrach, King of the Misty Forest; Rezmir (female half-black dragon), the Black Wyrmspeaker; and Varram (male dwarf), the White Wyrmspeaker.
If any wyrmspeakers are killed or captured in your campaign-including Rezmir, who the characters might have defeated in Hoard of the Dragon Queen-Severin appoints new followers to his inner council.
Dissent in the Ranks
Under Severin's leadership, most cultists are devoted to Tiamat-but not all. Some of the old guard dislike the cult's new direction, and long for the established traditions and the rise of the dracoliches. A common thought among the dracolich loyalists is that Severin is being played by the fiendish Tiamat. Notable among these members of the old guard are Naergoth Bladelord, the former commander of the stronghold at the Well of Dragons, and Jorgen Pawl and Iskander, two highranking cultists in command of Xonthal's Tower.