View Full Version : Encounter help needed, Black dragon

2008-03-06, 10:51 PM
Iím DMing a game and to round off a long dungeon crawl Iím considering sending my players against a young adult black dragon (large size CR 9) that had preciously menaced them.

The fight would take place in the dragonís lair when the players discover a back entrance the dragon is not aware of. So with any planning they should be able to attack when the dragon goes to sleeps.

Party consists of 6-7 players, mix of levels 5 and 6 non-optimized

2 barbarians
1 fighter
1 druid
1 cleric
1 paladin
1 wizard

I would like to ask for advice on how I should run the dragon, or any other helpful information concerning an encounter of this type. I want it to be difficult and would be comfortable with killing one of two during the fight (they have access to a resurrection spell back at their home base). On the other hand Iím afraid they might simply overpower the dragon on the first round with appropriate debuffs etc.

2008-03-06, 11:27 PM
In before people insisting that no dragon would ever be unaware of an entrance or exit from its lair..

If you're concerned about the dragon getting dropped by ambush, it'd be pretty easy to make it very hard for the dragon to be ambushed. Listen is a class skill for dragons, and it's only a -10 penalty to hear something while sleeping and wake up in response. Your dragon can get a Listen of +20 (19 ranks, +1 Wisdom); unless your cleric remembers to use Silence, the dragon should be able to hear the heavy-armor wearers coming even while asleep.

Your dragon has a couple of big advantages- it's just old enough to get Spell Resistance and Frightful Presence, and the party's level is still low enough that those have a pretty good chance of working. The spell resistance is good enough to negate around half of SR:Yes spells they might throw at it, and a DC 19 Frightful Presence could easily shake almost all the party. Unless maybe they're clustering around the Paladin to get the bonus from his Aura.. which is a perfect chance to use a breath weapon.

A full attack routine will probably kill the heck out of whoever gets hit with it. If you're planning on killing a character, that's liable to be the simplest way.

Don't forget the dragon is a spellcaster, albeit a minor one. If it gets a chance to cast a spell before the fight proper (like if it hears some clanking armor coming up the passage) it can drop a buff or two on itself just like your party probably will do for themselves. Shield is good for a quick +4 AC. Blood Wind (Spell Compendium, I think it's level 1, allows you to 'throw' a natural weapon attack routine) would be a nasty surprise. Dragons usually aren't hampered by bad lighting and obscurement as much as humanoids, thanks to blindsense and good Listen, so spells like Obscuring Mist or just the dragon's Darkness spell-like ability can also be put to good use.