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View Full Version : 3.5 - A DUNGEON, with a DRAGON in it.



heymejack
2010-09-16, 10:18 AM
I've been playing for years, but every member of my group has very little experience. all of them have played before, but they are for all practical purposes, new to the game. we've played several games, including the carnival from my sig, and an bandit bugbear ambush followed by an assualt on the bugbear cave, and they are starting to get the hang of it.

so now i want to do something a little more iconic. a dungeon with a dragon in it. i want it to start out with man-made tunnels, but eventually just turn into a cave that opens up into fighting a large green dragon. i forget what age, but the CR is 8. young adult maybe.

what i want is story ideas. i keep coming back to a dragon-worshipping cult, but it seems a little simplistic. help?

the party consists of a goliath (barbarian/fighter)with a spiked chain at 6th level, a pixie rogue at 1st (plus LA), a human monk (5th), and an elven archer cleric type, also 5th. the story so far is that the party is escorting an elven ambassador from a faraway elven kingdom to the capital city of this big human kingdom, and they've just been getting into stuff on the way, and the REAL story doesn't start till they get to the city. anyway, the point is i can work just about anything in, small town, cave in the woods, whatever I need. i want to work in traps/locks for the pixie's fun, and make sure that there is a fight where the goliath can disarm a lot (he loves disarming), plus another fight where he CANT disarm a lot (don't want his head tooo big). although i suppose it'll be fairly impossible to disarm or trip that dragon, so maybe that'll be fine. it'd be nice to work in something specifically for the monk or the cleric as well, but hell if I know what.

thank you.

Kaww
2010-09-16, 10:32 AM
From what I remember green dragons are forest types. So a cave in the woods is better than any dungeon.

If you want to go cliche have it attack a village and kidnap a maiden. If not be original. Dragon is a tough challenge for your party, if he attacks from air your cleric will shine and the Goliath will cry. The pixie might sneak attack the dragon, or grapple it, if suicidal. Your monk would be there as moral support and a shoulder for the Goliath.

I guess they don't fly, except the pixie, and that you don't want to kill them? Because if you play the dragon remotely intelligent he will dine on your party.

Snake-Aes
2010-09-16, 10:39 AM
20 Reasons Why the Dragon is in the Dungeon (http://greywulf.net/2009/03/20-reasons-why-the-dragon-is-in-the-dungeon/)

Teleportation accident. Somewhere out there is a confused Wizard sat on a horde of gold
Brought in as an egg by worshipping Kobolds. Grew. Ate the Kobolds
Agoraphobia. Fear is a powerful motivator
Itís not in the dungeon. The room ďentranceĒ has teleported the adventurers to his mountaintop lair thousands of miles away. Hereís hoping itís a two-way teleport.
The cultist meant to cast Summon Dagon
Itís not a dragon. Itís a winged Kobold and the adventurers have suddenly got very, very small
The Dragon is an illusion. Maybe
Dragons can shapeshift, right? This one walked in as a humanoid, but bumped his head on the way. Now heís a Dragon with amnesia
It burrowed in but blunted itís claws in a vein of Mithril. Waiting for them to grow back
This is HariHoudíini, the world famous Dragon escapologist
Deposited by Tiamat as punishment for incurring her wrath
It swam in via the Underground River. Did I mention the river?
Itís not a Dragon but a Human Paladin cursed to take Draconic form until it can convince someone it really IS a Human Paladin without eating them first (being a Dragon makes you really, really hungry)
The entire Dungeon was built around the Dragon to the glory of His Name. At least, thatís what he was told by the Dwarves
Trying to find an escape route for his mother Ė sheís stuck on level 40
Because the Gods have a sense of humour
The Dragon is half-troll and regenerated from a Fighterís Dragonscale Shield. It still has the carry straps on itís back
Mad science. A gnome alchemist brought lots of Draconic bodyparts, stitched them together, andÖÖÖ
Dragons are actually invertebrates and can squish themselves through really, really small holes. No, really
Because fighting stonkingly huge Dragons deep underground is lots of fun. What other reason do you need?

hamishspence
2010-09-16, 10:45 AM
From what I remember green dragons are forest types. So a cave in the woods is better than any dungeon.

Maybe combine the two- the dungeon builder has built (dug) sideways under the woodland, until the passages have intersected one of the tunnels of the dragon's woodland lair.

dsmiles
2010-09-16, 10:45 AM
Or perhaps the dungeon is a ruined castle/temple/whatever. The original occupants are long gone/destroyed, and the young dragon moved in and had had kobolds dig out the additional tunnels that it uses for its home and the kobolds infest both the ruins and the tunnels. Put this in the middle of a primeval forest, and voila! Green dragon territory.

Shenanigans
2010-09-16, 10:46 AM
One of my favorite ways to run dragons (and have dragons run against me) is to have the dragon put itself in a lair/situation that takes advantage of it's natural abilities.

For example, our party had to seek out and slay a black dragon (I remember it was Huge , but that's about it.) It had a cave lair that was accessible through a secret-ish underground river and through a cave entrance. It had bullied some goblins into trapping the cave path. The dragon, with a swim speed and the ability to breathe water, always used the river entrance. When we did finally make it through the cave path (which was alarmed also) we were well-bloodied by the various traps and monsters. The dragon lurked in the water, and when one of us (cleric, I think) investigated the edge, it popped out like a Nile Crocodile and dragged him under. The only way we drew it out was by threatening its hoard. We fought it, but the cleric was already incapacitated, and my monk got grabbed in its mouth and was about to be breathed upon when another character who had been spider-climbing fell on it, breaking its back.

We also had a similar encounter with a sand-swimming blue dragon once, one which kept a pit of shocker lizards which we kept getting thrown into. The one thing I try to remember when running dragons is how intelligent and cunning they are. They fight in environments where they have an advantage, use minions to soften up enemies, and use magic so they're not taken off guard.

Violet Octopus
2010-09-16, 10:47 AM
Perhaps start with the personality of the dragon and build from there?

Idea: The dragon is young, impatient and impetuous. He wants to grow in power rapidly and become some awesome great wyrm without living for centuries first. Hence he is researching ageing and longevity of various races. After experimenting with fast-breeding kobolds and orcs (maybe?), he concludes he needs specimens of a slow-developing race. He sees a band of travellers with two elves and decides to kidnap them.

Tools at his disposal: Kobolds and magical beasts, many with wacky templates on them. A lair filled with apparatus that can rapidly be converted into traps if invaded (e.g. magical irradiation room, stationary vivisection constructs...). Perhaps the vivisection constructs have lots of delicate instruments which can be easily disarmed. Some of the chambers he doesn't want his minions to access have vertical drops that require flight or slow falling (trying to fit the monk in :-/ ). His spellcasting is entirely transmutation.

If the kidnapping attempts succeed, the party needs to escape, if not, then they need to find the lair and destroy him (the elven ambassador points out that if they just flee the dragon will just kidnap other elves).

lsfreak
2010-09-16, 10:49 AM
Dragons are actually invertebrates giant reptilian cats with too much curiosity and can squish themselves through really, really small holes. No, really


FTFY :smallwink:

Snake-Aes
2010-09-16, 10:50 AM
FTFY :smallwink:

Tell that to the author of the article.

Tiki Snakes
2010-09-16, 10:53 AM
Dragons as Cats? Yes. I approve all over the place.

Malbordeus
2010-09-16, 10:55 AM
you could have the tunnels leading Up inside the mountain instead of down, ending with the dragons nest sat on somewhere normally inaccessable up the mountain.

dragons without the space to use their flight are a little lame, and grean dragons are one of the ones that loves flying.

you'll want to build the dragon very carefully so it doesnt autokill the party, maximise breath is a good way of setting the tone of combat, or rapid breath (or both) probably wingover for some extra manauverability, snatch and overwhelming blow are also popular feats for end of dungeon bosses.

also dont forget its Spellike abilities... i dont know if young adults have theirs yet, but the green ones are fun (suggestion I think? or is it dominate?) they are easily capable of identifying the meatshield and making him useless or turning him back on the party...

have fun spanking your players ;)

Thrawn183
2010-09-16, 11:15 AM
I'd try and pick a dragon with a line shaped breath weapon rather than a cone shaped one. Unless I'm wrong, the breath weapon will be nuking the rogue out of existence if he/she's unlucky (and with blindsense the dragon will know where the pixie is).

Thrawn183
2010-09-16, 11:21 AM
double post? My bad. :smallfrown:

Ignition
2010-09-16, 11:51 AM
I fixed the title, because I think having the dungeon be the inside of a dragon would be fun too :smallwink: If you or your players or both ever played Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I think you'd appreciate having a session going around inside of a great dragon, trying to fix his health by retrieving a dangerous artifact lodged in his heart.

OFF TOPIC: Hey Snake-Aes, is that avatar of yours a fanart of Mink from Darken? If so, that is awesome! :smallbiggrin:

Snake-Aes
2010-09-16, 11:55 AM
Yup. That depiction of mink made me go like ":O THIS IS AMAZING".
The Bear Hickey joke didn't detract the least!

Starbuck_II
2010-09-16, 12:18 PM
I've been playing for years, but every member of my group has very little experience. all of them have played before, but they are for all practical purposes, new to the game. we've played several games, including the carnival from my sig, and an bandit bugbear ambush followed by an assualt on the bugbear cave, and they are starting to get the hang of it.

so now i want to do something a little more iconic. a dungeon with a dragon in it. i want it to start out with man-made tunnels, but eventually just turn into a cave that opens up into fighting a large green dragon. i forget what age, but the CR is 8. young adult maybe.

what i want is story ideas. i keep coming back to a dragon-worshipping cult, but it seems a little simplistic. help?

the party consists of a goliath (barbarian/fighter)with a spiked chain at 6th level, a pixie rogue at 1st (plus LA), a human monk (5th), and an elven archer cleric type, also 5th. the story so far is that the party is escorting an elven ambassador from a faraway elven kingdom to the capital city of this big human kingdom, and they've just been getting into stuff on the way, and the REAL story doesn't start till they get to the city. anyway, the point is i can work just about anything in, small town, cave in the woods, whatever I need. i want to work in traps/locks for the pixie's fun, and make sure that there is a fight where the goliath can disarm a lot (he loves disarming), plus another fight where he CANT disarm a lot (don't want his head tooo big). although i suppose it'll be fairly impossible to disarm or trip that dragon, so maybe that'll be fine. it'd be nice to work in something specifically for the monk or the cleric as well, but hell if I know what.

thank you.

It is a dragon but also a Princess. The Party must save it from the evil knight. The Dragon is single in case that is enough reward otherwise she'll part with some of her hoard of wealth.

Snake-Aes
2010-09-16, 03:41 PM
It is a dragon but also a Princess. The Party must save it from the evil knight. The Dragon is single in case that is enough reward otherwise she'll part with some of her hoard of wealth.

I believe a mini adventure was published that consisted basically of a minor factional grudge

1) Dwarven brewmasters travelled with their beer
2) White dragon stole that beer
3) Dwarven brewmasters put a WANTED post to kill the dragon
4) Your party's favorite tavern's owner is said dragon's wife and asks you to just get the beer back and not kill the dragon

hamishspence
2010-09-16, 03:45 PM
If that tavern is called the The Drunken Dragon, and shows a dragon holding a beer mug on the sign, it might be rather funny.

mobdrazhar
2010-09-16, 05:11 PM
Dragons as Cats? Yes. I approve all over the place.

note to self: never pick a fight with a house cat at lvl 1 anymore. I now fear the cat's wrath more than the druid's

Snake-Aes
2010-09-16, 05:18 PM
note to self: never pick a fight with a house cat at lvl 1 anymore. I now fear the cat's wrath more than the druid's

much of d&d draconic behavior and body stem from cats. It's sort of part of the folklore for a millennium or two now.I think draconomicon even refers to certain details of their physiology as cat-like.

Violet Octopus
2010-09-16, 05:49 PM
also dont forget its Spellike abilities... i dont know if young adults have theirs yet, but the green ones are fun (suggestion I think? or is it dominate?) they are easily capable of identifying the meatshield and making him useless or turning him back on the party...
Greens don't get any spell-likes until Suggestion at Adult category (CR 13) :-/. You could always multiclass it though.


I fixed the title, because I think having the dungeon be the inside of a dragon would be fun too :smallwink: If you or your players or both ever played Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I think you'd appreciate having a session going around inside of a great dragon, trying to fix his health by retrieving a dangerous artifact lodged in his heart.
Haha, awesome. Though I'll never think of Khyber in the same way again...


It is a dragon but also a Princess. The Party must save it from the evil knight. The Dragon is single in case that is enough reward otherwise she'll part with some of her hoard of wealth.
A wayward dragon that didn't like flying around eating livestock/commoners, and ran away from her parents to live with the princesses. Got imprisoned by nasty human royalty who 'milk' her for dragon's blood. The dragon parents aren't powerful enough to assault a castle and require adventurers to sneak in and liberate her.

9mm
2010-09-16, 06:07 PM
Entire dungeon, and above terrain, is in fact an illusion on top of the actual peak of the mountain. Dragon gleefully uses it's knowledge of that for tactical advantage.

Salanmander
2010-09-16, 06:15 PM
Maybe combine the two- the dungeon builder has built (dug) sideways under the woodland, until the passages have intersected one of the tunnels of the dragon's woodland lair.

...Are you saying they dug too greedily, and too sideways?

Zhalath
2010-09-16, 08:38 PM
The dragon teleports into his lair. He spreads rumors of treasure hoards in his cave to lure adventurers. When they come, he eats them. Players hear rumors, think "treasure", and head for it.

The dragon should be the right-hand man to a Venerable Dragonwrought Kobold with a certain template from Draconomicon. Why? So the dragon can be The Dragon (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheDragon) to a Draconic Dragon Dragonfire Initiate.

I will now quietly wait for someone to one-up me in # of dragons in one sentence. I will then wait three rounds further.

PretzelKing
2010-09-16, 08:44 PM
want cultist types? maybe a group of swamp-dwelling lizardmen! classic!

AslanCross
2010-09-17, 02:47 AM
Give the dragon enough space to fly inside the cave, maybe including escape holes into the sky above. Trapping oneself in a space to small to fly in is like living inside a piggy bank.

hamishspence
2010-09-17, 02:54 AM
...Are you saying they dug too greedily, and too sideways?

I hadn't thought about that, but the similarities are pretty strong.

In the R. A. Salvatore novel Streams of Silver, we find Mithril Hall suffered a similar fate to Moria- but what iivaded was a Shadow Dragon.

Math_Mage
2010-09-17, 03:20 AM
Somewhat unrelated, but I am definitely making a dragon a cat in my campaign in the near future.

hamishspence
2010-09-17, 03:51 AM
In the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Night Dragon, the talking cat that takes the hero to a man (The Loremaster) who is a source of information and help, turns out at the end of the game to be a dragon god- and in dragon form is an immense gold dragon.

Cats might make for a very typical animal form for those dragons that can transform naturally (generally metallic dragons).

shadowxknight
2010-09-17, 03:59 AM
There are other dragons that are not the standard chromatic and metallic.

From what I recall the deep dragon and shadow dragon are pretty common underground.

hamishspence
2010-09-17, 04:35 AM
True- the "generally metallic dragons" comment applied purely to "dragons that can naturally turn into animals, rather than requiring spells".

Shadow and Deep dragons tend to be found quite deep underground though. I think Deep dragons are actually vulnerable to sunlight- which does damage to them. So finding them in a shallow woodland cave, or roaming the woodlands at night, would be pretty unusual.

Morph Bark
2010-09-17, 04:55 AM
Dragons as Cats? Yes. I approve all over the place.

It explains why cats can kill commoners so easily.

Malbordeus
2010-09-17, 07:04 AM
shadow dragons are pretty small for their age/cr. but something about a breath weapon that deals negative levels might be responsible. also the total concealment in shadow thing (hey look, i'm invisible and breathing on you!)

other funny dragons involve Red (facepalms, these are excessive), gemstone dragons, and some o the planar/elemental ones. (pyroclastic is silly), sand dragons I have a lot of time for (sandstorm).
problem with a dragon in a dungeon is - even if he was teleported in by a malicious wizard, the dragon can get out by breathing on/eating the walls to form escape routes. (sand dragons are usually found in desert environs, but they have brrow... so natural dungeon crazies. especially if said dungeon is deep enough that they can hide their horde with little in the way of interfearance. also... Physical Damage Breath Weapon!!! eat that resist elephants!)