The Forgotten Realms has numerous powerful groups that seek out either more power for themselves or the protection of others. In Baldur's Gate II, we met two of these groups: The Harpers and the Shadow Thieves. These two will most likely not be encountered in Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor, but we do know for sure that the Cult of the Dragon will make its appearance in the game. Therefore, GameBanshee has collected a bit of background information on this vile group.
This semireligious organization was founded by Sammaster, a powerful wizard favored by the gods. He possessed great power, in a manner similar to Elminster and Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun. In Sammaster's case however, the additional power brought delusions of godhood and madness, and he came to believe in time that "dead dragons shall rule the world entirely" and began to work toward that goal. While Sammaster has died, risen as a lich, and fallen again, his cult lives on, and continues to threaten the Heartlands.
The Cult of the Dragon venerates dragons, evil dragons in particular, and specifically dead evil dragons. They reanimate the gargantuan corpses as powerful and fell dracoliches. The Cult acts as an information network for its draconian "masters", brings gems and riches as offerings, and encourages evil dragons to become dracoliches.
The Cult is active throughout the Realms, but is specifically powerful in the Cold Lands and the North, where dragons are particularly abundant. Cult member activities include gathering information on particularly rich caravans to be raided, stealing unique items to be offered to their masters, and leading raids against their enemies (who, in their minds, are all those who might oppose the rulership of the dragons).
Senior members of the Cult of the Dragon are known as Keepers of the Secret Hoard, and to them is given the secret of creation of dracoliches. Each senior member is also in possession of a Ring of Dragons. The keepers use these to protect themselves against assailants.