The party is fighting a dragon tonight. A black dragon. Funny how dragon combats remain every bit as remarkable even after decades of play. I am truly looking forward to it.
The party isn't going to win - that is, barring a very lucky hit. Oh, no worries, they're not going to lose either. The party is on the side of a mountain, scrambling up to the dragon's cave, about to be attacked from the air. This is only the opening act, where the dragon breathes at them on the ground while they respond with missile weapons and spells. Without luck, the characters don't have enough power to kill a dragon in the air; the dragon, in turn, doesn't have enough power to kill all the characters on the ground, even if it physically engaging them - but the breath weapon might kill a henchman.
I fully expect that once the dragon has breathed twice, it will flee - injured, frightened - back to its lair. The party will then have to decide - beard the dragon in its den, within the day, when it can only breathe one more time? Or lick wounds and retreat. They had just finished fighting a rather large 16 HD mist giant - some of them are hurting.
Well, it is up to them.