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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by Malroth View Post
    Very true but the optimizers and the DM should at least speak to them to help them create characters who are as cool in system as they are in the players heads


    I disagree with this one, If a group of 4 uberchargers starts wandering around the countryside sucessfully killing anything it can get in melee and becoming rich and famous for doing so, I'm fairly certian anything with an INT score greater than 6 would do everything within its abilities to make sure that it doesn't engage in melee with them. If the players want to be able to utilize their stregnths as they become increasingly well known they need to become increasingly well prepared against countermeasures or finding locations where those countermeasures are moot.
    I'm looking at the OP, and I'm seeing maybe one actual ubercharger. Maybe.

    'Charging everything they see' doesn't mean that all 4 of them are just one-shotting everything mildly hostile that crosses their path. They don't have any other options besides charging to deal with the distance problems. Considering the DM is saying that this isn't the most optimised bunch, I'm betting that's what we've got here.
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    It doesn't so much as demean the celestial monkey's existence, so much as fulfill it. Without the ability to be summoned to set off traps, retrieve objects from dangerous situations, and all and all be a party's guinea pig, the Celestial Monkey would languish in obscurity in the MM and do nothing more legendary than eat celestial bananas.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by Malroth View Post
    I disagree with this one, If a group of 4 uberchargers starts wandering around the countryside sucessfully killing anything it can get in melee and becoming rich and famous for doing so, I'm fairly certian anything with an INT score greater than 6 would do everything within its abilities to make sure that it doesn't engage in melee with them. If the players want to be able to utilize their stregnths as they become increasingly well known they need to become increasingly well prepared against countermeasures or finding locations where those countermeasures are moot.
    ...Are you aware that not everyone is capable of playing this game at that level? Nor does everyone enjoy playing it at that level. If that's how they want/can play the game, why would you punish them for that? It's childish.
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    That....doesn't address what I said in any way, shape, or form.
    im saying that im most likely not correct in the CR of the kobold.


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  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    im saying that im most likely not correct in the CR of the kobold.
    That does not address what I said. I was telling you that you are, in fact, wrong that the party deserves to be TPKed. See my replies to Malroth.
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  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    RFLS is a man of great wisdom and character. Listen to him.
    "It is the spirit of the game, not the letter of the rules, which is important. NEVER hold to the letter written, nor allow some barracks room lawyer to force quotations from the rule book upon you, IF it goes against the obvious intent of the game. As you hew the line with respect to conformity to major systems and uniformity of play in general, also be certain the game is mastered by you and not by your players..."

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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by LeshLush View Post
    RFLS is a man of great wisdom and character. Listen to him.
    That's a dirty lie! You shut your ---- mouth!

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    [10:47:16 PM] Andrew: hahaha, dude, you're going to get banhammered for that
    [10:47:40 PM] Morpheous: they don't do warnings on this server?
    [10:47:40 PM] Morpheous: lame.
    [10:47:52 PM] Andrew: they do, but I'm pretty sure that one just goes straight to ban xD
    [10:48:00 PM] Morpheous: what 'whore'?
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    [10:48:30 PM] Morpheous: or?
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  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Playing dumb or low-op should only be punished when they players were asked not to, and only as a last resort solution after talking to them IMO.

    If the DM was asking for strong characters and got his current party then maybe he'd be entitled to teach them a lesson, but that doesn't seems to be the case.

    After all, who wouldn't be upset if they showed up with a low tier character to a game where no preferred power level was indicated and then got their characters killed off for not being able to pull off tier 1 tricks?

    IMO, in the current situation the DM has 2 main options:

    -dumb down the dragon. Make a dragon that prefers to melee(even against obvious no-range enemies), be it out of arrogance or sheer stupidity or whatever reason you can come up with.

    -make it obvious(via indirect methods as others suggested above) that fighting a dragon is getting in over their heads, at least unless they get a way to reliably engage a flying creature with ranged attacks.

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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by LeshLush View Post
    RFLS is a man of great wisdom and character. Listen to him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Alokue View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by LeshLush View Post
    RFLS is a man of great wisdom and character. Listen to him.
    That's a dirty lie! You shut your ---- mouth!
    I'm not sure which one I want to sig xD
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by LordBlades View Post
    -dumb down the dragon. Make a dragon that prefers to melee(even against obvious no-range enemies), be it out of arrogance or sheer stupidity or whatever reason you can come up with.

    -make it obvious(via indirect methods as others suggested above) that fighting a dragon is getting in over their heads, at least unless they get a way to reliably engage a flying creature with ranged attacks.
    I would agree that these are your two best options; as mentioned previously, the Xorvintaal template from MMV is a great way to tone down a dragon. Alternatively, you can take the stats of a Wyvern or similar critter and refluff it to be an actual dragon.

    If you go the other way, and the group is not known for tactical decisions, they may take your hints as a challenge, which would...not end well.
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  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by Biotroll View Post
    So, what to do, to make the combat a bit challenging for party that usualy charges everything it sees, but still give them some fair chance of surviving the encounter?
    *emphasis added

    Note the OP's request was not to be told whether to kill off the party or not. He clearly wants the party to have a fair chance of surviving the encounter. So it is not entirely productive to respond by telling him "that the party deserves to be TPKed." Let's please stay on-topic here and help the OP, not chide him for having a different DM style than another of us might prefer.

    I stand by my original idea of putting the encounter in terrain where the dragon cannot use his flight to full advantage and the party has more melee options. I also think that it is important to make sure that the dragon has a reason to stay and fight them there rather than hang back and wait for more favorable circumstances.

    If the DM wants to help the party set up more appropriately beforehand, maybe a few encounters with low-CR flying creatures in the days beforehand might encourage them to invest in ranged weapons or flying options without specifically having to tell them.
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by LeshLush View Post
    RFLS is a man of great wisdom and character. Listen to him.
    Oh goodness I never thought I'd hear that about him. Thank you for making my night

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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Some people are complaining are making the claim that the dragon will curbstomp the party "if it is played at all intelligently." I think it's important to remember the skill level of a monster never exists in a vacuum. It is always relative to the skill level of the players. So maybe you don't play it with as much intelligence as you would against a team of seasoned optimizers. Just use tactics that make it seem smart compared to other fights that have occurred in your campaign.

    CR is also relative. If an "appropriately CRed" dragon is too powerful for the party to face, than its CR isn't really appropriate. Look over the statblocks of weaker dragons and find one of lower CR that seems about right for the way your party fights. That way, you can trick your players into bunch together, punish them with a breath weapon that doesn't kill them, and watch them get scared and adjust on the fly. They'll feel like they fought somebody really tough even if the dragon supposedly isn't by some nonexistent objective standard.
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by LeshLush View Post
    CR is also relative. If an "appropriately CRed" [monster] is too powerful for the party to face, than its CR isn't really appropriate.
    This is also wisdom, and quite generally applicable.
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    The idea that a CR 2 dragon could wipe the party is potentially misguided, but it does bring up an interesting idea. Why not present the party with very, very under-CR'd opponents who nonetheless create a significant challenge due to the group's lack of tactics + the enemy's special abilities which happen to be shared by dragons? The worst case scenario is that they can brute force it (or run) anyway since the enemy's damage output likely isn't very big; the best case is that they learn how to counter some basic tactics and abilities in a safe setting. And if you really want to "punish" your players for playing a super-simple style, all you have to do is follow the XP and loot guidelines in the DMG for such a "weak" encounter.
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodbyeSoberDay View Post
    The idea that a CR 2 dragon could wipe the party is potentially misguided, but it does bring up an interesting idea. Why not present the party with very, very under-CR'd opponents who nonetheless create a significant challenge due to the group's lack of tactics + the enemy's special abilities which happen to be shared by dragons? The worst case scenario is that they can brute force it (or run) anyway since the enemy's damage output likely isn't very big; the best case is that they learn how to counter some basic tactics and abilities in a safe setting. And if you really want to "punish" your players for playing a super-simple style, all you have to do is follow the XP and loot guidelines in the DMG for such a "weak" encounter.
    ... Tucker's Dragons?
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    You could also, this once, flat out tell the party: "Hey, if you want to fight the dragon, it WILL be difficult, because he can easily defeat you if you play the way you're usually playing. Why not try out some tactics and spells and see if you can defeat it? Because otherwise, encounters at higher levels could be either boring "full-attack-routines" or TPKs"

    Make it clear that they're not to blame, and their way of playing is fine (if you don't like it, you could drop some hints that maybe they should try out new things to be competitive) but tell them that, if they want to have a chance against higher level monsters (let alone casters, but the inherent disadvantage of melee isn't their fault entirely) they have to use all their ressources, especially the cleric's spells.
    Maybe even give them some pointers, like what spells to use and what tactics could be fun. You could even present them in form of an ingame story, like a group of dragon hunters telling their tales. "And then the dragon let lose his mighty fire-breath, but thanks to my friend Bragan here's spell, I merely felt a tingle! Then we brought out our nets here..."
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    1. Lose the wings. Use one of the many wingless dragons, give the dragon an old debilitating injury that prevents flight, or just leave the wings off of a standard dragon.

    2. Terrain. As others have said. Create an environment where movement becomes a factor, and cover and even stealth might come into play. A forest with heavy overhead, a cave system with lots of interconnecting tunnels, or whatever. Give the dragon the chance to use hit-and-run tactics, and the players lots of places to take cover from breath weapon. Also, there can be places where the dragon is fighting some of the party, but the terrain leaves it exposed to attack by others that it can't get at unless it moves.

    3. Dragon tactics. Give the dragon a tactic that the party can figure out and respond to. For example, the dragon might spend two rounds in melee, cast a spell, run off into the trees/tunnels, then charge the character who is most isolated from the group, and spend two more rounds in melee. Repeat. This allows the players to adapt, and encourages them to create tactics in response (hopefully). What you would expect to see is the party fighting the two rounds in melee, ducking and covering against the spell, going full attack when it runs, putting the least-injured/best-armored character out as bait, and going full attack when it returns.

  18. - Top - End - #48
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    ... Tucker's Dragons?
    You've just given me an incredibly evil idea for the next game I run.
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    ... Tucker's Dragons?
    the better part?: Tucker was already using dragons


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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Rather than spend time making my own long post, it can be sufficiently summed up as:

    BowStreetRunner nailed this. You should listen to him. Seriously.


    As for BSR's mention of objectives mattering, this is even more important than the terrain aspect...because it will determine the terrain. Simply put, if the PCs need to stop the dragon (from attacking villagers, for instance)...they're boned. Can't draw the dragon to more cramped terrain when they're the reacting side.

    If however the dragon is after them specifically, then fleeing for better position IS totally possible -- if the DM provides a location in close proximity to do so.

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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    If the Dragon is cornered on the ground (or in a cave) then I suspect that this lot will charge in and pagger it. This might be fun since its likely to be the first time.

    Alternatively you could go for a psychological approach.

    Use a youngish Dragon and just have it circle them. This should cause mild panic. After a couple of circuits it should fly over them and breath. Its tactic should be to try and split the group and target anyone who goes off alone. Assuming that they are not totally incompetent: this will result in them loosing their bows in it's general direction. After they have done it a fair amount of damage, it will fly off.

    As they trek on ask for spot rolls occasionally. Tell them that they see the Dragon flying a few miles to the north.

    Later, when they are resting in a town and think that they are safe, have the Dragon attack the town and carry off a couple of its townsfolk.

    The party can try to track down the Dragon's lair if they want, which will give them a chance to kill it, but it's not coming out for a few weeks since it has enough to eat now.
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    I think a generally large factor your not considering is terrain. Fights can get 100 times harder/easier if you put a creature in a favored terrain, but this isn't what you want to do.

    It would be really easy to set it up along the lines of something sort of... Last Colossus on Shadow of the Colossus and have them dodge constant rays of scorching hellfire while they ran toward whichever dragon it is.

    Essentially what I would do is have it fly over, and give them a nice surprise round fire breath, and then have it perch on its little hill, preferably on top of a pile of ruins. At that point, have them go through the ruins, constantly dodgding the every-round fire breaths, and eventually get into melee with them.

    Now when they finally get within melee range, they'll be down a few hit points which will probably make them a little more cautious about just smacking it over and over, especially if someone gets their early and you grapple him, as you should.

    The only way your going to teach someone to think before they act is if you give them a dam good reason to. Near-Death seems to be a pretty good kick start.

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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Why do you want a dragon? Is it part of the plot? Do you just like dragons?

    There are various ways to nerf a dragon, but which is appropriate depends on what else is going on in the campaign.
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Thanks for responses so far.

    First things first, yes the dragon in question is part of plot. He should be trapped somewhere under old old castle, because he once was causing destruction all around. Then he was trapped, because he couldn't be killed at the time (deal with devils). So evil side now tries to release him and good guys (ehm, well at least the neutral guys) are trying to stop them and the dragon. I plan the evil guys to actualy make the ritual to set the dragon free, but at the same time let the party to get their ritual done so they can actualy kill him.

    Enough rambling though. I think I will send a weak white dragon (without magic) at them first, so they know what they are against (and use the dragon to make winter come faster and whatnot...). This way they should get some hold of tactics. I'm thinking of giving them nets and some NPC party support at this fight, with some time to prepare too. This way they could also get cloaks done from the wings for some flight against the red dragon latter on.

    So, uh, if anyone has any idea it would be nice.
    PS: Wrote the post in hurry, sorry for any mistakes.
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Watch them carefully after the white dragon. If they don't start talking tactics, or luck allows them to crush the encounter, keep the evil in its can. Let the party arive just in time to stop the ritual. Otherwise, the situation should resolve nicely if you just make sure they understand that a red is like a white X3 and on fire.
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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by Biotroll View Post
    Thanks for responses so far.

    First things first, yes the dragon in question is part of plot. He should be trapped somewhere under old old castle, because he once was causing destruction all around. Then he was trapped, because he couldn't be killed at the time (deal with devils). So evil side now tries to release him and good guys (ehm, well at least the neutral guys) are trying to stop them and the dragon. I plan the evil guys to actualy make the ritual to set the dragon free, but at the same time let the party to get their ritual done so they can actualy kill him.

    Enough rambling though. I think I will send a weak white dragon (without magic) at them first, so they know what they are against (and use the dragon to make winter come faster and whatnot...). This way they should get some hold of tactics. I'm thinking of giving them nets and some NPC party support at this fight, with some time to prepare too. This way they could also get cloaks done from the wings for some flight against the red dragon latter on.

    So, uh, if anyone has any idea it would be nice.
    PS: Wrote the post in hurry, sorry for any mistakes.
    A white dragon in the air during a blizzard is a true, honest-to-goodness nightmare. The only thing you could affectively hit one would be spells, because the blizzard would be causing havoc on every bow the party owns.

    Not to mention that in 10 rounds, they'd all be in rough terrain.

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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by Duboris View Post
    A white dragon in the air during a blizzard is a true, honest-to-goodness nightmare. The only thing you could affectively hit one would be spells, because the blizzard would be causing havoc on every bow the party owns.

    Not to mention that in 10 rounds, they'd all be in rough terrain.

    DnD blizzards are cruel.

    I love them.
    That does sound like a nice encounter.

    I have a weakness for throwing white dragons into ice caverns, because whenever I read through the Monster Manual and see their icewalking ability, I always feel like I have to find a way for them to use it.
    "It is the spirit of the game, not the letter of the rules, which is important. NEVER hold to the letter written, nor allow some barracks room lawyer to force quotations from the rule book upon you, IF it goes against the obvious intent of the game. As you hew the line with respect to conformity to major systems and uniformity of play in general, also be certain the game is mastered by you and not by your players..."

    --Gygax

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    eggs's Avatar

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    Feb 2012

    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    The Oriental Adventures Lung Dragons are big and bruiserish with flashy powers, but they lack the spellcasting and many lack the breath weapons that would normally keep the melee characters out of reach. It still wouldn't necessarily be an easy fight (they're still big fast lizards with flashy supernatural abilities), but it should at least be a game the characters are able to play.

    The encounter you have sounds cool, but don't be surprised if you either have to hold back or to let them run away to plan a less direct approach in fighting it.

  29. - Top - End - #59
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Apr 2011

    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    ... Tucker's Dragons?
    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    the better part?: Tucker was already using dragons
    Now add baskets of Kobolds strapped to the backs of said dragons...


  30. - Top - End - #60
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Dragon vs melee party

    Quote Originally Posted by eggs View Post
    The Oriental Adventures Lung Dragons are big and bruiserish with flashy powers, but they lack the spellcasting and many lack the breath weapons that would normally keep the melee characters out of reach. It still wouldn't necessarily be an easy fight (they're still big fast lizards with flashy supernatural abilities), but it should at least be a game the characters are able to play.

    The encounter you have sounds cool, but don't be surprised if you either have to hold back or to let them run away to plan a less direct approach in fighting it.
    I'm going to assume that if they're walking into a White Dragon's territory, the place should, at the very least, be frozen over. It's not natural for a white dragon to live in a place that has the color green, let alone a clear sky. The Icewalk could easily be done just by having a frozen sort of river around the ruins the bad guys are in, and having it engage them there.

    Not only will it have free reign to walk around with no trouble, it could also be punching holes in the terrain, potentially making it even more dangerous.

    The water they could potentially fall in would do 2d6 cold damage every round they were inside it.

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