Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Results 1 to 26 of 26
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Out in The Sticks
    Gender
    Male

    Default I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    greetings playgrounders, I'm crafting an adventure for my groups immenient return to college.

    the boss encounter is a young blue dragon

    the party consists of (all level 3)
    a Human Paladin
    a Dwarf Fighter
    a Elf Druid
    a Half-elf Ranger
    a Human Ranger
    a 2nd human Ranger
    a human barbarian

    now, by my calculations...
    7 3 level characters gives us a ECL of 5.25

    a young dragon has a CR of 6

    so it should be a "challenging" encounter
    but I don't want to accidentally cause..... multiple casulties


    so is my math right? would dialing it down to "very young" be safer?

    I'm not afraid to kill characters, I am afraid of killing them all
    or most of them
    or half
    because that would sort of derail the party for a few sessions (especially if the paladin bought it, he's half the driving force for the campaign at this point)


    soooo

    tl;dr
    is a young dragon to difficult a challenge for 7 3rd level characters?

    thanks in advance

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Woodland, California
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Most of the difficulty of dragons depends on how you play them and what, if any, usable loot (I.E. Magic items) they have on them. Have the dragon move around a bit, don't have it stand it one spot (Because a kid, no matter what species, isn't going to want to stick around and get hit) and use the breath weapon sparingly if you don't want to really stick it to your group.

    One important thing: Fly-by breath attacks destroy groups at this level. A dragon 20' up and throwing lightning around out of reach of the party could spell disaster. Try not to do it.
    Last edited by Ashram; 2010-12-30 at 04:58 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Banned
     
    Dr.Epic's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    I don't think it should be all that difficult so long as they know it's coming and can plan something. You don't just go "Ambush! There's a dragon right in front of you."

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    LansXero's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Lima, Peru
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Yeah, the hardest part about it will be its spellcasting, the breath weapon alone can leave level 3 characters very hurt on a good roll. Give the dragon some reason to flee and the means to do so, and it should be ok. Fighting it to fight to the end though . . . you'd have to use its sorcery or it wouldn''t be believable, and then you could easily wreck most of the party.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    NJ
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    It is the true sign of a rookie DM that DOESN'T want to kill his players. In time, you will learn.

    In the mean time, make sure that the dragon starts fleeing once it gets below half HP. Probably covering its escape with a breath weapon.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Out in The Sticks
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Epic View Post
    I don't think it should be all that difficult so long as they know it's coming and can plan something. You don't just go "Ambush! There's a dragon right in front of you."
    well, they know it's coming,

    they're hunting it.


    so obviously a young dragon is way to tough for this largely melee focused party

    how young does the blue dragon (yes it needs to be blue) have to be for it to be a challenging (but not super lethal) encounter?

    wyrmling? very young?

    wait a few levels and then let them face it? (I can stretch the hunt for maybe 2 levels. making the party 7 level 5s )

    thoughts?

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    I think you're wasting your worry on the wrong target. With your 7 PCs that dragon is doomed unless the dice decide to intervene on its behalf or the party uses abysmal tactics. The only question is how quickly it's going to go down. I wouldn't be surprised if your dragon took less than two rounds to kill. However, if you're still worried you can always do a practice solo run-through of the fight before the game. Just have mockups of the PCs use some likely tactics against the dragon and see how they do. That may give you a better sense for how fragile the dragon may be.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    molten_dragon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    The State of Denial
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by LansXero View Post
    Yeah, the hardest part about it will be its spellcasting, the breath weapon alone can leave level 3 characters very hurt on a good roll. Give the dragon some reason to flee and the means to do so, and it should be ok. Fighting it to fight to the end though . . . you'd have to use its sorcery or it wouldn''t be believable, and then you could easily wreck most of the party.
    A young blue dragon doesn't have any spellcasting.

    As to the OPs question, it really depends on how you run it. You mentioned that you have a melee-centric party. If you have the dragon stay in the air the whole time and use its breath weapon, the party is going to be in a lot of trouble. If you have it stand in one spot on the ground, the party will beat it to death post-haste. Do a combination of the two, and you have a fun and engaging fight.
    If build a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.

    If you set a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

    My Homebrew

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Out in The Sticks
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by molten_dragon View Post
    A young blue dragon doesn't have any spellcasting.

    As to the OPs question, it really depends on how you run it. You mentioned that you have a melee-centric party. If you have the dragon stay in the air the whole time and use its breath weapon, the party is going to be in a lot of trouble. If you have it stand in one spot on the ground, the party will beat it to death post-haste. Do a combination of the two, and you have a fun and engaging fight.
    that sounds like an excellent plan, the fight will be taking place underground(ish) so this sort of hop and strike type of combat sounds great.

    thanks a bunch.

    also

    would anyone care to dispute this? or is he right on the money?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grelna the Blue View Post
    I think you're wasting your worry on the wrong target. With your 7 PCs that dragon is doomed unless the dice decide to intervene on its behalf or the party uses abysmal tactics. The only question is how quickly it's going to go down. I wouldn't be surprised if your dragon took less than two rounds to kill. However, if you're still worried you can always do a practice solo run-through of the fight before the game. Just have mockups of the PCs use some likely tactics against the dragon and see how they do. That may give you a better sense for how fragile the dragon may be.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebub1111 View Post
    It is the true sign of a rookie DM that DOESN'T want to kill his players. In time, you will learn.
    It is the true sign of a bad DM that DOES want to kill his players. Sadly, most of the time, there's no turning back.


    On topic; the party will win based on action/turn economics. 7 of them, 1 dragon. Lots of beat sticks hitting the dragon. Let the dragon fly, but give the party the advantage in terrain; be inside a cave, or near a small ledge/cliff (say, 20ft tall? so the PCs can climb it to attack/lure the dragon) Keep tabs on both the PCs and Dragon's health, so you know when to let the dragon kick the bucket... because, remember: the listed HP is the AVERAGE HP for a dragon. Each d12 can just as easily be a 10, 11, or 12 as it can be a 6 or 7.. or a 1 or 2; so your Young Blue 12d12+24hp Dragon can have anywhere from 36hp to 168hp.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Dexam's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Flanhk-Marepork
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by big teej View Post
    would anyone care to dispute this? or is he right on the money?
    I'd say that two rounds is a little optimistic, but it depends on the level of optimisation and tactics of the party. I'd say 3 or 4 rounds is more likely.

    Lets crunch some very basic, average numbers and see what we get:
    Let's assume the average party attack bonus is +8 (+3 BAB, +2 Str, +1 Masterwork or enchanted weapon, +2 for buffs/debuffs, rage, flanking, etc... of course some will be higher, some might be lower).
    A young adult blue has AC 21; with an average party attack bonus of +8, that means that attacks will hit ~35% of the time. With a party of seven, including 3 rangers, a full round of actions will be at least 10 attacks on the dragon. With our 35% hit rate, that's 3.5 successful hits per round.
    Lets assume an average of 9.5 points of damage per hit. Once again highly variable, but assuming an average base weapon of d10 - some will be d6's, d8's, d12's or 2d6's, so d10 is a nice safe average - which does 5.5 points on an average roll, with +4 for strength, misc bonuses, etc. giving our 9.5 average per hit.
    At 3.5 hits per round, that's 33.25 damage per round. Our average young blue has 102 HP, so expect your dragon to drop in the fourth full round of combat.

    Note that these are extremely rough figures dealing with assumed averages and a stand-still knock-down fight. As with any encounter, unlucky rolling or poor tactics could doom the party, but a well prepared or mildly lucky group could drop it faster than what I've suggested. As has already been suggested, the biggest threat is the flight and the breath weapon, but if the group knows they're hunting a blue dragon I would hope they made the effort to obtain some scrolls/potions of Resist Energy or Protection from Energy in advance.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexam View Post
    I'd say that two rounds is a little optimistic, but it depends on the level of optimisation and tactics of the party. I'd say 3 or 4 rounds is more likely.

    Lets crunch some very basic, average numbers and see what we get:
    Let's assume the average party attack bonus is +8 (+3 BAB, +2 Str, +1 Masterwork or enchanted weapon, +2 for buffs/debuffs, rage, flanking, etc... of course some will be higher, some might be lower).
    A young adult blue has AC 21; with an average party attack bonus of +8, that means that attacks will hit ~35% of the time. With a party of seven, including 3 rangers, a full round of actions will be at least 10 attacks on the dragon. With our 35% hit rate, that's 3.5 successful hits per round.
    Lets assume an average of 9.5 points of damage per hit. Once again highly variable, but assuming an average base weapon of d10 - some will be d6's, d8's, d12's or 2d6's, so d10 is a nice safe average - which does 5.5 points on an average roll, with +4 for strength, misc bonuses, etc. giving our 9.5 average per hit.
    At 3.5 hits per round, that's 33.25 damage per round. Our average young blue has 102 HP, so expect your dragon to drop in the fourth full round of combat.

    Note that these are extremely rough figures dealing with assumed averages and a stand-still knock-down fight. As with any encounter, unlucky rolling or poor tactics could doom the party, but a well prepared or mildly lucky group could drop it faster than what I've suggested. As has already been suggested, the biggest threat is the flight and the breath weapon, but if the group knows they're hunting a blue dragon I would hope they made the effort to obtain some scrolls/potions of Resist Energy or Protection from Energy in advance.
    Hm, that sounds about right. Your assumed bonuses look a trifle low to me, but that's one of those things that varies a lot game to game. One can hope that they've at least considered stocking up on potions (True Strike potions for the first round of combat are usually pretty cheap). I think you may have left out the possibility of crits, though.

    My personal guess would be that this dragon will go down somewhere between midway through the 2nd round up to near the end of the 3rd. I have no preference for either extreme. Players often kill monsters faster than the GM expects.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Dexam's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Flanhk-Marepork
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    I deliberately left crits out of the equation, because that falls under the lucky/unlucky rolling IMO - they're too difficult to rely on for any sort of average analysis (i.e. a statistical outlier). There's also the possibility that half the party could drop in the first round of combat - e.g. all the party members are nicely lined up single-file in a tunnel, the dragon breathes, rolls highly and the PCs fail reflex saves.

    Yes, I also made the averages a little on the low side, just to play it safe - I'm trying not to assume a high level of optimisation. Making lots of assumptions here, but I would guess the dragon to drop mid/late in the 3rd round or early 4th round, with probably 2 party members getting knocked into negative HP territory (or with a chance of outright death).

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    NJ
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crossblade View Post
    It is the true sign of a bad DM that DOES want to kill his players. Sadly, most of the time, there's no turning back.
    You must be blessed with good players. After the Umpteeth time that they take months of careful planning and scripting and sculpting choices and advancing character based plots, and just make it all explode in your face in the interest of "STOPIN TEH RAILROADING!" you start to loose that drive to create a world for them and around them and just phone it in week after week giving them what they want. Combat Combat Combat Combat see you next week. Eventually those encounters get harder and harder to the point you just had enough and throw an adult or older dragon their way. You've been holding off until that point, they wouldn't know what they're in for. But you don't care anymore. May as well end it. You Blow 'em appart and call it a night, hit the reset button and try a new setting.
    Last edited by Beelzebub1111; 2010-12-30 at 09:41 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Chimera

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    It's 7-to-1, your party should win. Eventually.

    But you should expect at least 1-2 PCs dying in the process. The dragon's breath already does an average of 27 damage, which I believe is already more than some of your player's hp (assuming they fail their reflex saves). Not to mention if/when the dragon follows up with full-attacks.

    To play safe, you may wish to use 2 very young blue dragons instead, and encourage the players to split up.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Crits can be added into the analysis. They increase the expected damage per round marginally, but not drastically. Flight, on the other hand, decreases the DPR quite a bit, as does the dragon's ability to remove some PCs from the fight (if only temporarily) with its powerful attacks.

    Basically, it's only a cakewalk with proper tactics and a dumb, unlucky, or otherwise limited dragon. I predict a tough but winnable fight. Maybe let them get to 4th level.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant
    I want tools to use in the game, not a blank check to do what I want. I can already do what I want.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Do you play by WBL? If you do, a 3rd level group might have difficulties acquiring all the consumables needed to face the dragon.

    I would advise against the dragon using stupid tactics. It can fly, it has a breath weapon.

    As Ashram said, Fly-by breath attacks destroy groups at this level. A dragon 20' up and throwing lightning around out of reach of the party could spell disaster.

    The group should know this is a possible outcome, and not try to face the dragon unless they are sure they have a counter to this tactic.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Rap.
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebub1111 View Post
    It is the true sign of a rookie DM that DOESN'T want to kill his players. In time, you will learn.
    I don't try to kill my players, I try to challenge them.

    ...That my NPCs are ridiculously haxx is irrelevant.
    My Homebrew
    Sick props to Akrim.elf for the rockin' Chouko-tar!

    BitP: Rebornē characters!
    Madokapunk!

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Ok, lets see here.
    A young blue dragon has on average 102 hp, 21 AC, +10 fort, +8 ref, +8 will.
    On a full attack can deal 1d8+4 bite at +15, 2 1d6+3 claw at +12 and 1 1d4+3 tail at +12. That's an average of 27 damage per round, same as its breath weapon (6d8, dc 18).
    If it starts out with its breath weapon on the whole group, then proceeds to take down the weaker ones one by one (per round probably), the group wouldn't stand a chance.

    So yeah, unless the group is super-optimized and gets the surprise round and a chance to prepare, they're pretty screwed.
    Black text is for sarcasm, also sincerity. You'll just have to read between the lines and infer from context like an animal

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Beholder

    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Depends entirely on the amount of preparation, as has been noted. Hunting a monster as specific as a blue dragon should mean the group is adequately prepared for the event of the beast flying and spraying lightning.

    You have three rangers and a few other full BAB classes who should be able to wield a bow/crossbow fairly easily. Barbarians and fighters should score solid damage before the dragon even takes flight. The druid can cover the two melee with resist energy easily enough. With minimal optimization and a basic, assumed setup, the blue dragon should be severely wounded in the first round.

    Frankly, one more level and the dragon being juvenile would be a fight where preparation and options are much greater both to you and your players. Now the dragon has limited magic but a much more impressive size, while the party has a few additional resist energies around, animal companions, and stat gains to work with. Besides, fighting a medium dragon is fighting a large lizard who spits...at least with a juvenile the beast can be large and the kill feel impressive.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    St. Paul, MN

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    20 posts and no one's made a note about how all of the other posters are wanting to kill the players rather than the characters??

    That's really frightening (mostly from a communication point of view).

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Titan in the Playground
     
    AmberVael's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    When you've got a seven person party, you should not be throwing solo enemies at them. You can't balance this fight if you're doing that.

    With a lower power enemy, the group will tear it to pieces instantly. With a higher power enemy, the enemy will probably kill one or more of them even if they win. That's the big issue here- a creature strong enough to last against that many is also strong enough to kill them individually.

    Instead of throwing a single enemy at them, throw multiple. Individually, each enemy shouldn't be able to kill a single member of the group, but having enough of them would make it a challenging fight.

    I'd say you should always have two creatures against them, minimum, but four or five is probably much better.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vael View Post
    When you've got a seven person party, you should not be throwing solo enemies at them. You can't balance this fight if you're doing that.

    With a lower power enemy, the group will tear it to pieces instantly. With a higher power enemy, the enemy will probably kill one or more of them even if they win. That's the big issue here- a creature strong enough to last against that many is also strong enough to kill them individually.

    Instead of throwing a single enemy at them, throw multiple. Individually, each enemy shouldn't be able to kill a single member of the group, but having enough of them would make it a challenging fight.

    I'd say you should always have two creatures against them, minimum, but four or five is probably much better.
    This is excellent advice. Also, draconic broodmates teaming up at younger ages makes excellent sense from their own point of view, especially for lawful and intelligent blue dragons.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Out in The Sticks
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    good advice all around, and I'll be using alot of it

    in regards to levels

    I'm currently writing the adventure, I think it's a fairly likely they'll hit level 5 before they meet the dragon, level 4 is essentially guranteed.

    as for the combat itself
    (it stands now as)
    a young blue dragon
    vs the party

    in a cave (very limited flying options for the dragon, it can do very little but hop up and out of reach of the characters for maybe a round before running out of room)

    in regards to more creatures
    I have a plotline in place so teaming it up with a 2nd dragon (regardless of category) is out
    I may however throw some more of my favorite creatures at the party (who doesn't love kythons? )to round out the battle
    numbers wise

    EDIT: I may (instead of kythons) throw bugbears or goblins/orcs in addition to the dragon. the dragon has attached itself to a small warband of orcs/goblins and a few ogres. with 3 mages as magical support (the mages worship the dragon)

    so perhaps goblionoids are the order of the day for rounding out the numbers.... but that sounds overwhelming to me. (even taking into account the reduced age category of the dragon with this approach)
    /EDIT
    currently the group has only managed to locate 1 magic weapon (discounting the paladin's holy relic or whatever the feat from BOED is called)

    one of the ranger's has a masterwork greataxe for when he feels accuracy counts.


    ooh, new add on question that just occured to me...
    Spoiler
    Show
    at that age, roughly how large would a Dragon's Hoard be?


    2 necromancers, 1 with a personal vendetta against the paladin
    a greater fiend and it's mortal and semi-mortal minions chasing down the party
    a kython brood with a brewing grudge against the party for repeatedly slaying them.
    and soon, the ire of a dragon!!!

    I love my party

    (yes I do brag on them whenever possible)

    /ramble/response
    Last edited by big teej; 2010-12-31 at 03:09 PM. Reason: a thought.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Cealocanth's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crossblade View Post
    It is the true sign of a bad DM that DOES want to kill his players. Sadly, most of the time, there's no turning back.
    I agree here. Although it's a completely unrelated quote,

    "I never meant to kill, I only meant to maim or seriously injure..."

    Go ahead, push the boundaries, make them pay for their meddling and their stupidity. Push them as far to death as you possibly can and force them to save themselves. If you go over the line, it's fine. As long as you gave them a chance to survive, death is their fault if they didn't take it. Fighting for survival can really turn on the team, it gets natural instincts and adrenaline going.
    Currently RPG group playing: Endworld (D&D 5e. A Homebrewed post-apocalyptic supplement.)

    My campaign settings: Azura; 10,000 CE | The Frozen Seas | Bloodstones (Paleolithic Horror) | AEGIS - The School for Superhero Children | Iaphela (5e, Elder Scrolls)

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Skaven's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: I'm not about to kill my players am I?

    Considering the fact its a Dragon, your party should expect to suffer casualties.

    Keep in mind the Dragons intelligence/wisdom score is positive. Don't have something that intelligent run in and melee full attack against overwhelming odds. Normally flight would be used, but if you expect the battle to be underground, keep in mind the dragons aim keeping in mind the age category could be escape as opposed to melee grind unless they use their verbal skills or there's something at stake (such as a hoard) and even then if the dragon starts losing badly it could turn to that. Having the dragon flee still counts as defeating the encounter for XP/loot purposes.

    Throw in some mooks under his/her sway if you're worried the climactic encounter will be as underwhelming as 7 initiative rolls followed by 7 turns and an 'huh, is that it..?' Kobolds perhaps. Just to keep it from a swarm over. They don't have to be anything special, but since the party is level 3 they can still function in the mook role. Could also have a trap or two.

    Anyway, just my 2c. I like to see Dragon's run well. :)
    Last edited by Skaven; 2010-12-31 at 03:26 PM.
    Credits to Nathan for my avatar!


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •