GameMastery Module J2: Guardians of Dragonfall (OGL)

3.50/5 (based on 6 ratings)
GameMastery Module J2: Guardians of Dragonfall (OGL)
Show Description For:

Add PDF $19.99

Print Edition Unavailable

Non-Mint Unavailable

Facebook Twitter Email

A journey adventure for 11th-level characters.

Auranorex, the greatest gold dragon in the world, is dead and his kin are looking for answers. To uncover the mystery of his demise, the heroes must travel to the one place forbidden to all mortals: the dragon graveyard.

Guardians of Dragonfall is a mid-level adventure written by Anson Caralya that has the players investigating the untimely death of a dragon. Violating the dragon graveyard is a death sentence and the heroes must risk their very life if they are to uncover the secret behind Auranorex’s fate.

GameMastery Modules are 32-page, high-quality, full-color, OGL-compatible adventures for use with the world's most popular fantasy RPG. All GameMastery Modules include four pre-made characters so players can jump right into the action, and full-color maps to enhance play.

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Archives of Nethys

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Subscription.

Product Availability


Fulfilled immediately.

Print Edition:




This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at


See Also:

1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

3.50/5 (based on 6 ratings)

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

Canon to Me!



Guardians of Dragonfall is a really interesting, memorable, and lore-heavy module that deserves better recognition. I ran it in my "Roots of Golarion" campaign of 3.5-era Pathfinder material and found it was a rich and densely-packed adventure. It's certainly not one to try and run on the fly, but instead rewards careful GM preparation (and some patience for 3D map visualisation). For reasons that are inexplicable to me, the setting material in the module has been labelled "non-canon" (an issue I'll take up in the section below). Despite that, I think this is an adventure well worth revisiting.

I'll get to the adventure itself in a moment, but first I'll briefly cover general design and back matter. This is a 32-page, full-colour module. The cover is great (undead dragons should be scary!), and the interior artwork is solid. The cartography is excellent, though they're trying to convey some challenging 3D relationships which isn't easy for Pathfinder tactical combat to encompass. I love the "Designer Notes" sidebars in these early modules, and still can't fathom why they were done away with in later products. Backmatter consists of five short appendices: "Dragonfall and Draconic Belief" (a brief summary of lore covered extensively in the adventure), "New Feats" (two new feats only for true dragons, with "slow exhalation" being a particularly nasty combination of bite and breath attack), "New Magic Items" (featuring a major artifact called a bellwether brooch and a CL 15 wondrous item called a hand of the theurge--it fires wands for you!), "New Monsters" (includes cool raw magic elementals called arcanatons and flying snakelike constructs called tongues of rebuke and wings of protection), and "New Spell" (featuring apparent master which is essentially a charm spell for constructs). Level 11 Iconics (Valeros, Seoni, Merisiel, and Kyra) round out the collection.


Apart from a brief opening, almost the entirety of the module takes place in the eponymous Dragonfall. Dragonfall is the fabled graveyard of the dragons, a remote mountain in the highest range of peaks in Golarion, and the place that dragons who are reaching the end of their normal lifespan fly to in order to be entombed with their ancestors. To dragonkind, it is the most sacred place in existence, and outsiders are never welcomed. The module provides extensive background and detail on Dragonfall and the history of dragons in general, and I imagine some readers will eat it up with a spoon! I might be one of those readers who isn't particularly fussed about dragons, but even I can admire the effort and thought that went into constructing an original and unique contribution to the campaign setting like this. It was also integrated into the first deep treatment of dragons in Golarion (in Pathfinder AP # 4). It's excellent, well-written material, and thus I'm baffled that Paizo declared it non-canon as if it were a passing throwaway reference in a product as opposed to a deeply thought-out and integrated aspect of the setting. I guess that's my mini-rant, and I'll let dragon aficionados hash it out from there.

The adventure is premised on the idea that a tiefling sorcerer named Tornulis (amusingly christened "Tortilla Chip" by my son) learned of the existence of Dragonfall and, with the help of a pair of renegade dragons (a mother-undead son duo) breached the mountain's defenses and has taken over its magical guardian constructs. Tornulis' motivations are admittedly pretty cheesy--she literally wants to rule the world! (The artwork for her is also unfortunately top-heavy) The GM may want to adjust her motivation and perhaps even add some backstory to better fit the plot.

Part 1, "The Herbalist's Home", gets the ball rolling. The way the PCs get involved isn't necessarily great as an adventure hook--they receive a letter delivered by a young boy named Curthew from a herbalist named Aroon who wishes to hire them. When the PCs show up at Aroon's residence, another (very long!) letter reveals that he is actually a gold dragon named Auronorex! The letter indicates Auronorex learned of the intrusion at Dragonfall and has gone to investigate, but, fearing the worst, he is willing to do the unthinkable and invite a band of mortals he trusts to follow in his footsteps, promising them great treasures if they succeed. Hidden in his basement is a magic teleportation circle that will take everyone to an outlying area of Dragonfall called the Bone Field. It's a hook that is premised on the notion that Auronorex has been watching the PCs and entrusts them with a mission of the utmost sacred responsibility which, frankly, doesn't seem realistic for most tables of "kill-the-bad-guys&take-their-stuff" adventurers. Ideally, a GM who is able to plan ahead could have the PCs interact with Aroon earlier and thus provide retroactive justification for his trust in them. (When I ran it, I came up with the idea that Curthew was Aroon's nephew, and the boy had no idea he was actually a dragon too! Perhaps also cheesy and implausible, but it made for a fun NPC to accompany the group on the adventure)

Part 2, "The Bone Field", has the PCs arriving in a vast field of draconic skeletons--the bones of those dragons who were deemed unworthy to enter the sacred mountain. Not every dragon gets to enter the crypts, as they must first present the Dragonfall Seneschal with an offering worthy of their power. Normally the construct guardians quickly destroy any undead who arise in the Bone Field, but as Tornulis has seized on the guardians for her own ends, the PCs will have to fight some young adult red skeletons and potentially other undead. (I like the random encounter table with entries like "avalanche [of bones]" and "bone storm", though the PCs probably won't linger in the Bone Field long enough for the GM to roll very often on it) Assuming they head toward the mountain in the center of the Bone Field, the PCs will encounter the ghostly spirit of Auronorex, and probably have their first (and potentially only) major role-playing opportunity in the module. It's revealed that each type of dragon has its own entrance to the sacred mountain, and Auronorex suggests the group try the portal to the Emerald Shrine as the closest. They need to fight their way through some "half-dragon satyr" barbarians called the Winterhorns who (through some contrivances) have taken up residence near the entrance.

Part 3, "Shearphorus," is the middle sequence of the adventure and the longest. Shearphorus is the name of the tower of rock that contains the crypts in Dragonfall. The PCs most likely enter inside the mountain through a magic portal to the Emerald Shrine, arriving on the other side in total darkness to plunge into a roiling and corrosive lake of bone shards! Called the Maelstrom, this led to one of the most exciting (to me!) or scary (to the PCs!) sequence in the adventure, as some of the PCs were still fighting the Winterhorns on one side of the portal while those on the other side were fighting for their lives against some particularly nasty environmental hazards. PCs who can't fly or climb well are in big trouble if they don't escape the acid pool quickly. Further travel through the Emerald Shrine involves encounters with mohrgs, Winterhorn zombies, and an undead green dragon named Lephrelourge who enjoys participating in ritual magic that will not be convenient for the safety of intruders!

A long spiral passageway leads up from the Emerald Shrine into the hollow span of Shearphorus above. Here, the PCs will have multiple encounters with Dragonfall's construct guardians: tongues of rebuke and wings of protection. They do different types of elemental damage and explode when destroyed. It's a great opportunity for me to pull out the flying rules, much to the consternation of my son. Tornulis' half-fiend ogre wizard apprentice, Trauzek, is also encountered here. Last up is Tornulis herself. A level 11 wizard with the disintegrate spell should never be taken for granted, but with just 40 hp (D&D 3.5 rules), she probably won't put up much of a fight. After capturing her, my PCs made an incredible Bluff check to persuade her they were divine emissaries and she should assist them!

Part 4, "The Gauntlet of Challenge-Cry" has the PCs traversing a series of chambers meant to test the worthiness of dragons who seek to be interred in Dragonfall. They're doing this, despite having killed or captured Tornulis, because they need to recover the bellwether brooch, the artifact that controls Dragonfall's construct guardians. Tornulis had given it to her green dragon ally Culpangia (mother of Lephrelourge) for safekeeping. It's a lot of names, but it all fits together, I think. Obstacles here include a great wyrm bronze dragon suffering from delirium (diplomatic and compassionate PCs may be able to avoid a fight), more constructs, and the raw magic elementals (arcanatons) that I think are a clever addition to the game and should appear more. Assuming the PCs can defeat Culpangia, they'll be able to retrieve the Bellwether Brooch and set things right in Dragonfall, and bear witness to the spirit of Auronorex becoming the new location's new seneschal.

Guardians of Dragonfall certainly isn't perfect--there are some character motivations and plot points that could have used a second pass--but as an adventure, it's solid and makes use of a great location. I think I'll integrate Dragonfall into my Golarion, no matter what Paizo says!

Great concept, fascinating atmosphere...needs a little extra tweaking...


Very colorful and imaginative...loved being immersed in this story! From a DMs standpoint I can say you would have some frustrated players if they didn't know they would find flying/levitating almost mandatory and some serious elemental resistance at their disposal of some sort. Some real gems of creatures, personalities, unique treasure and such, and the story makes it easy to add some info up front to make things flow better than just a stand around and scratch your head over that impossible to bash door, etc....DMs will get a chuckle over the ways dragons revel in their final moments of typically ego packed glory (in this case by blasting humanoids to bits in various ways) but it will all be lost on players unless you somehow have some avatar-ish guide or tome given to characters-deity voice over lending some flavor at get the idea...and had a LOT of room to flesh out the main setting however you would like as far as additional areas, creatures...this is just a glimpse at this interesting aspect of dragon culture, and one I recommend!

Too straight-foward


This adventure is the first of the Pathfinder and GameMastery adventures that has not met my fancy.

The adventure was too linear and mundane and deserved to be either much higher level or have a less epic storyline.

The free PDF is great, but in this case, it is of little value to me as I will not be spending time running this adventure.

Great Encounters, Uninspiring Story, Wrong Level


This story is littered with some unique, engaging encounters
(particularly encounter areas) and some interesting monsters. For
that, I appreciated.

However, there were two things about it that bothered me:

1. Cliches. The idea of a sacred dragon's graveyard is overtired and
has not been dealt any new twists here. But it's a cool cliche so
I can forgive that. Unfortunately, the accompanying "wise old man
needs you to save the world in secret" premise is even more
ancient than said wise old man. It has been delivered in this mod
in a manner that I found completely flavorless.

2. Wrong party level. I had a really hard time getting past the idea
that a sacred, uber-secret dragon's graveyard is accessible to
11th level PCs. It may seem like a simple thing but it really
sabotaged the story for me. It not only tarnishes dragonkind but
also insults the players. This story would 100% better if it was
targetted at near-Epic level characters with the challenges
augmented to boot. The author clearly has a good grasp of how to
make things interesting at high APLs, why clamp it so low?

Still I'm starting to sound really negative. There are some great
ideas in this mod. It's just the composition that ruins it. If you
buy this, do it for the cool encounters (many of which can be pillaged
and put into other contexts). It's worth your money just for that.

Good but not epic.


Good but not epic is the most condensed review I can give of the module. While the module is a good read (I must confess I haven’t run it) it just lacked the epic feel I was expecting. The Dragonfall in the title is a dragon graveyard, but not just a dragon graveyard, THE dragon graveyard. Somehow I just didn’t get that epic feel from it.

The Dragonfall just didn’t feel epic. Firstly the construct that guarded it just seemed to weak to me. They are supposed to have kept this legendary dragon graveyard safe for millennia against powerful adventurers, mages etc and they are only challenge rating 8 and 9? Also their look and concept as flying construct snakes really did nothing for me. The art for them did not help. I am aware that this is very subjected but as monsters they left me cold.

The whole adventure lacked this feel of epic-ness. While the villains where cool, the various dragons in particular, I didn’t really believe that they could have infiltrated and overthrown the worlds only dragon graveyard.

The locations in the module were awesome but I didn’t feel they were used well enough. The Paragon Hall has an amazing list of all the most powerful dragons that ever lived and you end up fighting an unrelated dragon.

I also was want desperately wanting to know more about the graveyard rooms. I also had trouble believing that these rooms would be enough to contain all the dragon skeletons from each colour. It was little aspect like this that really brought down my enjoyment of the module.

Having said the negative many of the encounters where individually great. And if I don’t use the entire module I will definitely lift some of the encounters from it.

1 to 5 of 6 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

I have only just glanced through J2 PDF so am not really in a position to make a detailed comment about the module but I am a little disappointed with the concept of the product coming out under the J label. I read under a discussion about J1 that what was meant was not so much 'Journey' as a 'Destination' ie a dungeon far away from where the players start. But when paizo initially put out their labelling the ones that had me most interested were Urban, Event and Journey. Urban and Event have done the trick but I expected the Journey stuff to be more like a road trip. Like that great Dungeon adventure 'Racing the Snake' or maybe that one where the party have to heard a bunch of bugs into the underdark (name escapes me), something where the adventure is to do with travelling from point A to point B, you know a Journey.

I know I am being a bit picky but I guess it was because this stuff inspired me. I thought awesome an adventure about a sailing trip from one great port to another, or a low level adventure about guarding a merchants caravan, perhaps an aerial journey helping protect some magical geese migrating north, escorting a wanted criminal to justice (a la the movies 'Midnight Run' or 'Gauntlet'), a trip to the moon, across the Andes by frog! (Ok now I am getting silly) etc etc.

This is not a critiscism of J1 or J2, and is not a comment at all on the dungeons have been produced in this line - just a comment on the use of the descriptor Journey and the type of adventure I think it should cover. Is this style of adventure contemplated?

Liberty's Edge

I have to agree, though I'm a player in J1 and J2 and we haven't gotten to either yet so I'm not fully aware of what's inside. My impression of the J adventures was that of a long 'journey' such as escorting a caravan or a ship-cruise.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I flipped through in the other day. The maps I saw make this look like a very cool locale.

Anyone give it a good read through?

Lantern Lodge

I received my copy in the mail yesterday, and have given it a cursory read. It does look to be up to Paizo's usual high storytelling standards, and should make for an interesting adventure.

I agree with the above posters regarding J = Destination rather than Journey, and Paizo staff have commented on this in other threads.

For me, it means that I can run this adventure as a side-trek during a Pathfinder Adventure Path if the characters are falling below the required level to run the next adventure, teleport to this new location, without having to be too concerned regarding foreign locations, adventure continuity, conflicting adventure background, or unfamiliar NPCs into the current Adventure Path.

One of the things that make GameMastery and Pathfinder work so well is the flavour and attention to detail. I initially considered incorporating D0 Hollow's Last Hope and D1 Crown of the Kobold King as preludes to Burnt Offerings in Sandpoint, but keeping Sandpoint's infamy for Goblins, and Falcon's Hollow reputation for Kobolds, gives these locations identity. Mixing them up would lessen the impact of both.

So knowing an adventure contains a mechanism for transporting characters to/from their regular location, and can be run without interfering with local affairs, is useful to know.

Though much longer in scope than a single adventure, the Pathfinder series already requires characters to journey over some distance to varied locations.

However, I too would enjoy real Journey adventures such as those you described.

Lantern Lodge

Road-trip adventures are great if played as stand-alone. However, I would imagine GMs desire them to connect different adventures, a bridge for getting their characters from Adventure A to Adventure C.

To appeal to as wide an audience as possible, Road-trip adventures would have to be flexible regarding their departure and destination locations, as well as the terrain of the journey, or otherwise GMs may find them difficult to insert into their chosen adventure path.

Departure towns and destination cities need to be easily swapped out with those the GM is using, or sidebars suggesting how to insert key NPCs and necessary plot elements into the locations you're using.

Trek through a forest or across a desert; accompany a merchant caravan; embark on an ocean voyage; navigate a river barge; all good ideas, but there needs to be a forest/desert/route/ocean/river between your departure/destination points for them to work.

Even if departure/journey/destinations were all suitable, the adventure would still have to be of an appropriate level for the players. Perhaps a "random encounters" product might better suit a Road-trip to cater to a wider range of play levels - though some locations/journeys would be more dangerous than others, so specific products could be roughly aimed at low, medium or high level play.

Specific Road-trip adventures could work between already established and popular GameMastery/Pathfinder locations, eg providing a means for transporting characters between Magnimar and Korvosa, or further afield, such as Falcon's Hollow and Sandpoint.

Pathfinder#2 contains an excellent Pathfinder Journal describing Eando Kline's encounters and journey up-river between Magnimar, Wartle and Whistledown, and could easily be converted into an adventure by a GM between Pathfinder#2 and #3.

Optional stand-alone GameMastery Road-trips that provided more detail connecting locations that were only briefly described in Pathfinder might be a way of appealing to both GameMastery and Pathfinder audiences.

I'm sure we'll see Road-trip products published in the future.

I'm looking for a module to slot into my campaign for my 11th-level PCs. Where does this module take place? What kind of terrain is it? Can anyone who has played this or has it on their shelf give me some more information about the plot?

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Joana, I know you've been waiting with bated breath for the past 12 years for someone to answer your questions, but the time has finally come: check out my new review for the answers!

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Why was this declared non canon anyway come to think of it?

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There’s some vague talk here about essentially just wanting to go a different way: raveyard#1

Paizo Employee Creative Director

8 people marked this as a favorite.
CorvusMask wrote:
Why was this declared non canon anyway come to think of it?

Because that was the intent from the start. This one and Crucible of Chaos, the adventure that came out just before this one, were a very short-lived experiment by the standalone adventure team to try doing "world-neutral" adventures that were as self-contained with the lore as possible so as to make it easier for customers to fit into the setting of their choice. The experiment didn't last long, obviously, in no small part due to the fact that for any adventure if you're going to use any proper nouns, it's easier to draw upon a shared world already available rather than to make things up on the spot and then either have to contextualize them (which eats up wordcount) or just leave them unexplained (which confuses people).

While we ended up keeping much of Crucible of Chaos, and indeed that one helped us get things rolling with the Shory, the elements in Dragonfall about a dragon graveyard simply didn't really mesh with what we wanted to do with Golarion. The adventure itself was also a tough one to develop in the first place, in part because of it's attempt to be self-contained, further complicated with some last minute art issues with a mixup between using the Dungeon magazine iconics (which we helped to create but didn't own the rights to) and the Pathfinder iconics requiring some last minute scrambles that made it even more difficult to develop and helped us decide to end the experiment after only two adventures. While the art mixup didn't really have much to directly do with this adventure being set in a generic fantasy world, it did factor into our methods of quality controlling what we publish; something we were still adjusting to and figuring out for ourselves as we built a world from scratch while simultaneously not missing a beat on publishing things to a monthly subscription model.

Publishing adventures on a monthly schedule is really tough, and anything we could do to make things go more smooth is a bonus. Being able to draw upon an ever-growing and established collection of lore and proper nouns and world elements makes that process easier, AND makes it easier for us to creatively direct the setting's vision (even though back in that era we didn't actually have any creative directors) so that it felt more thematically connected and not randomized in how it treats everything from life to death and everything in between.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber


Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If you do drop this into Golarion, I think the Mindspins is a good place to drop a Dragon Graveyard

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Came here out of curiosity to see what caused the necro'd product thread. Left with fun random bits of Paizo history from James Jacobs. Hells yes.

Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / GameMastery Module J2: Guardians of Dragonfall (OGL) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.