Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mm, Dragons

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.

Can't wait.


Scott Driver said...

The dragon's course sounds reasonable (I'm assuming the 1e MM sort of black dragon that isn't a remotely genius-level sort of opponent).

How do your PCs know the number of times the dragon can use its breath weapon per day? If they're fighting 16 HD monsters, I suspect it's not their first rodeo. In your book, you firmly advocate erring on the side of giving players more out-of-character knowledge, so I'm not sure if this would be knowledge they've acquired through play, through some character's sage-type abilities, or "fuck it, we know this, let's not split hairs." (Or some other alternative.)

(And it seems like the sort of thing you'd think about - what's the your rationale for the limitation? Is it a firm magical "per day," something biologically based, etc.? Again, it's superficially picayune, but I can see it making a difference for you. [No insult meant there.])

connor mckay said...

Sounds like it will be a fun time. Hope the chase the dragon personally.

Anyway, good luck with your new book. I plan on buying it.

Also, I just want to thank you for altering my perceptions on how to run a proper game. I had planned to reply to more articles on my way through, but I usually found my self to engaged to stop and type.

Alexis Smolensk said...

None taken, Scott.

Pretty much, "Fuck it, we know this, let's no split hairs."

There's only so much that can be done vs. genre savviness. And dragons are powerful enough without granting them an unlimited breath weapon. Forcing the dragon to be creative in its attacks/limitations is over-all good for the game.

It's been a long time since I had a player so savvy that they could tell me intricate monster details - but even when this is true, the monsters still hit, they still do damage and the characters are still limited by their abilities/magic. I've never been quite clear why some players (not referring to you here Scott) make such a big deal out of characters being in the blind. Living in a fantasy world, have they never heard a thousand stories about these creatures?

I've never seen a cobra, not in reality, but I'm pretty sure I already know it's poisonous.

Thank you, Connor,

I followed up.