The Wyrmworks was a shop in Silverymoon that specialized in dragon parts and maps related to dragon locations and lairs. It also had a magically animated red dragon head for rent. This shop was established circa the Year of the Unstrung Harp, 1371 DR.
The building was almost four stories tall because the windowless ground-floor shop area had a vaulted dome for a ceiling. Above this were two more stories that had walk-out balconies and bay windows. The exterior was made of stone and had slate roofs. Off to the left side was an attached workshop. A large sign, ornately carved like a coiled dragon, hung out front advertising "The Wyrmworks".[note 1]
Upon entering the shop, there was an aisle that led to a central, ring-shaped counter where a salesperson was on hand to describe the myriad of small dragon parts kept behind glass. Customers could walk completely around this counter or branch off in various directions to other corners of the showroom floor. The place was lit by lamps that hung from the high, vaulted ceiling, interspersed among dragon skulls that were suspended by sturdy ropes. There were three exits from the main shop. To the left was a door to the workshop; directly opposite the main entrance was a door to the back room storage area; and to the right was the staircase down to the cellar and up to the living quarters.
A huge blue dragon wing was fully unfurled and attached to the back wall starting above the door to the stairs and ending above the door to the workshop. Below this leather curtain a dozen maps were mounted on the walls, each one purporting to show the way to a different dragon lair. Landmarks along the way were highlighted by circular vignettes painted directly on the colorful maps. Below each map was small lamp with mirrors to concentrate the light and show off the works of art. The lamps were mounted on racks that held rothé-horn tubes containing smaller and less fancy copies of the big maps for sale.
Prominently displayed (unless it was rented out) to one side of the counter aisle was Old Roaring Rage, an animated young adult red dragon head that could be worn by a strong, medium-sized person. It sat upon a custom-made polished wooden stand and, when activated, appeared to breathe, turn and glance around the room, and occasionally stifle a yawn, or simulate sleep. If Old Roaring Rage was absent, then a beautiful sculpture of a snarling dragon head made of polished electrum and crafted by Uraerik Thaurongol of Everlund sat in its place.
The owners, Roryk and Delgrath, were almost fanatical about dragons and loved to hear any news about sightings, encounters, or all-out campaigns involving dragons, and had their own stories to tell anyone who was interested. They kept track of any reports about lair occupancy or active hunting grounds in the region.
Customers in the shop were never left alone to browse by themselves; there was always at least one staff member present in the showroom. If a request was made for something that was kept in the back room, more staff members were summoned by ringing a handbell and asked to fetch the item.
The Wyrmworks sold dragon fangs, talons, skin, scales, tails, bones, organs, eyes (preserved in jars), wings, blood, and anything else (including victim remains) that could be found in a dragon lair or had been touched by a dragon. Most of the rare and expensive items were kept in the back room and were only brought out upon request. This applied to the more detailed maps and difficult-to-harvest items like blood and organs. Old Roaring Rage and the Thaurongol sculpture were not for sale, but small replicas of them crafted by other local dwarven smiths in various metals could be had for 200 to 400 gold pieces depending on size and appearance. These were also kept in the back room.
There were no price tags on any of the merchandise in the Wyrmworks; all sales were negotiated by haggling. The owners (both grizzled old former adventurers) had no reservations about raising prices on people they didn't like or believed could become a danger to themselves or society, especially Red Wizards or agents of the Arcane Brotherhood, but it was usually supply and demand that guided the haggling.
This shop also purchased dragon bits from adventurers, typically paying sixty percent of what they expected to sell the item for, but the price could vary from fifty to seventy-five percent depending on supply and demand.
— Standard staff response to those seeking trade secrets.
The owners and some of the staff spent a fair amount of time in the workshop cleaning and preserving various parts of dragon corpses. The solvents, cleaning agents, oils, and preservative solutions they used were considered trade secrets and the staff politely refused to sell, allow examination, or talk about them. Overly curious or suspicious characters were marked for surveillance by stepping on a treadle behind the main counter. This rang a small bell near a bench on the other side of the lane that alerted some street-wise adolescents (paid to monitor the alarm) that they were to surreptitiously follow the next person or group to leave the shop, determine where they went and what they did, and report back to the owners.
Most of the staff, except Alrue, were also Roryk and Delgrath's bodyguards. Alrue was given a potion of invisibility with instructions to use it to follow the perpetrators if she ever witnessed a burglary, and report back to the owners as quickly as possible. All the ground-floor doors were equipped with portcullises that could be dropped by activating one of the levers located on the upper floors in the living quarters. These were routinely lowered when the staff was away, during deliveries of valuable goods, or whenever suspicious activity was detected.
Some of the slate tiles on the lowest part of the roofs were deceptively loose and contained noose traps made with sturdy wire. If someone moved a tile and reached or inserted anything into the revealed cavity, it was snared in a wire noose and a bell rang in the second-floor guardroom.
A coin vault was located under the stairs to the cellar. It was accessed by removing a stone in the wall and operating a lever that released one of the steps, allowing it to be lifted up. All doorways that led to the stairs were decorated with what appeared to be dragon talons around the frames. It was hoped that the unusual appearance would discourage thieves or at least distract them into stealing something worthless. The adornments were actually made from rothé horn, reptile hide, and clay.
The Wyrmworks opened sometime around 1371 DR and business was very slow at the beginning—the market for dragon bits having a very limited and specialized consumer base. But just over a year later, word had spread and their services were in such demand that the owners were considering opening another store in Waterdeep.
- Roryk: Co-owner and a veteran human fighter.
- Delgrath: Co-owner and an accomplished human sorcerer.
- Alrue Crownshield: A young, human woman from Calimshan, shop girl, workshop technician, and floor sweeper. Unknown to her employers and people in general, this was her alternate form, as she was actually an adult song dragon.
- ↑ Some descriptions are based on the artist's rendering.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Ed Greenwood (August 2004). “Elminster's Guide to the Realms: The Wyrmworks”. In Matthew Sernett ed. Dragon #322 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 84.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Ed Greenwood (August 2004). “Elminster's Guide to the Realms: The Wyrmworks”. In Matthew Sernett ed. Dragon #322 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 85.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ed Greenwood (August 2004). “Elminster's Guide to the Realms: The Wyrmworks”. In Matthew Sernett ed. Dragon #322 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 87.