The dwarves of Moradin’s Jewel are industrious miners, so when one of their ancient mines was rediscovered and reopened is was natural that it would attract the attention of the red dragon Firekraken (in the common tongue).
Allowing the dwarves to do all the hard mining, the dragon waited it’s time to strike and claim the mined gems and gold just as it was being transported back to the dwarves main clan hold.
The encounter scenario begins with the players coming upon the last of the dwarven defenders at the entrance of the mine…
ACT I begins with the players walking up a long winding mountain road that is clearly dwarven in construction- a mixture of both old and recently repaired- cobblestone road, roadside stone benches to rest, brass iron chain guard rails around dangerous turns, etc.
Continuing to travel along the road as the players approach the top of the mountain they see rising smoke in the distance and the smell of oil and burning wood to peak their interest.
At the top they will come to the scene of a dozen or so dead armored dwarves- some mangled and slashed apart, other burnt and charred, while a lone wounded dwarf holds a heavy iron door to the mine entrance shut and barred with his axe.
When he spots the party he quickly yells out for their assistance in helping keep the door shut at all costs. Just behind the door is the dwarfs gold and gems in an armored wagon and Firekraken who has finished killing the last of the dwarves inside. Hearing the adventurers approach the dragon pauses and waits to see what happens…
The dwarf holding the door will tell them briefly that his clan runs the mine, something inside out of the darkness attacked them, cutting his clan mates down, and that it is now just behind the door along with the huge shipment of games and gold that the clan needs. The dwarf will beg for help in keeping the door shut and dealing with the unknown beast inside.
During the attack Firekraken kept his true form hidden- using magical darkness and other appropriate magic to hide so the dwarves wouldn’t know who or what is attacking them. The lone surviving dwarf has no idea, other than the attacker was big and concealed in an unnatural darkness.
For now Firekraken will be testing the resolve of the players by “bumping” the door and trying to break out, knowing that he could with ease, etc.
If the players agree to help the surviving dwarf will ask them to secure the door and keep it shut, while he runs up the mountain to get some help from another clan encampment. He asks the party to keep the monster trapped inside at all costs- both out of fear of it, and to keep the gold/gems secure till he can return with more numbers.
ACT II begins with the dwarf leaving and the players left alone outside the mine with Firekraken inside. The dragon will continue to make a fake play to break out, roaring and moaning, etc. (not in anything draconic) to keep the players busy.
If they start to open the door to enter the mine, Firekraken will slip away- knowing every in and out of the mine, exiting below the mountain just below the party- if they bar the door shut and wait it out, he will also escape out the mine and plan his next move…
Once outside Firekraken will polymorph himself into a dwarf “Emerald Firebeard”, put on some arms and armor from one of the dead dwarves pitched over the side, and then climb back up the mountain to greet the party, passing itself off as a clan member who heard the sound of battle and came to investigate and help. Firekraken should be very convincing since he knows the clan and has been watching them, etc.
He will mislead the party and try to get them to waste their time and spells as he sets up for a final fight with them to kill them and take the dwarf’s gold.
ACT III begins with the polymorphed Firekraken convincing the players that they must open the mine door and launch an assault. He offers to be the first into the mine and will try to navigate one of the players over near the edge of the mountain- a better vantage point to shoot or cast magic.
At the moment the door opens, the player near the side of the mountain (or another for dramatic effect) will notice (spot check that auto passes) that the polymorphed Firekraken looks exactly like one of the dead dwarves on the ground- Firekraken made himself look like that one out of memory.
He will then smile evilly at the party, push the player near the edge off the mountain (keep in mind that he is a dragon in strength even in the polymorph) and then fight the party in dwarf form.
When slightly wounded he will then jump off the cliff himself and while in midair, polymorph back into the dragon and fly into the sky attacking and taunting the party.
Of course the moment the party defeats or drives off the dragon, the wounded dwarf returns with more clan members to secure the mine and will offer a reward of gems and gold appropriate to the players for saving their mine.