Monday, 27 October 2014

Session II.17 – I killed a dragon with a crit, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

Although last session was very good, it was also an example of everything that can be wrong with D&D. Especially at high level.
The party had an unexpected encounter with an adult white dragon, mounted by a necromancer. Just the phrase itself transpires of “awesome”, but mechanically I have to say it was far from that. First and foremost, when you reach a level where you can have fast paced air battles, it means the grid becomes useless. It’s a big headache for a DM to keep track of “who is where”. With a dragon flying at 200 ft per round, and a pegasus at 120 ft, even if the mage wasn’t knocked out at the beginning of the combat, there wouldn’t be much the other members could do.
But “the mage being knocked out” is actually the real problem in all of this. As a DM I hate to use resources (spells, abilities, whatever) that throw the characters away from the game. I always disliked “save or die” spells, as well as “lock and don’t blink”. And the problem with most D&D magic is exactly that. Either you:
a) just cast fireball after fireball;
b) use something you know is harmless, and therefore pointless;
c) drop an A-bomb that automatically calls for “Strike! You’re out of the game”.
It’s not possible to house rule this reality, because it would mean having to change all the spells one by one, probably rending most of them useless.

Philosophical problems aside, I’m having a blast portraying the changes in behavior of the pegasus while roaming in draconic territory. “Let me eat this. Let me eat that. What does it taste like?” MOST. EPIC. ANIMAL. COMPANION. EVER! =D

Session Chronicle: link


  1. Isn't that always the problem with dragons? Flyby attacks with 200ft of movement per movement action is... silly. Even if all the party was under a fly spell (90ft of movement), either you eternally full move after the dragon or you hope to kill him with attacks of opportunity alone. Even if they do 100ft movement, attack and another 100ft, this leaves them outside the range of melee and outside the range of the majority of spells...

  2. The emergence of dragons in the campaign (or any other fast flying creature) forces the players to adopt new strategies. It is quite possible that there are no ways of making you fly as fast as a dragon. Therefore the players must seek different approaches. Either you find a way to reduce its speed or invest in a strategy that hits them at range. If they follow the flyby attack routine, most of the times they won’t be beyond 100 ft of you (the party). At this range, most mid-level spells are within range, as well as most ranged weapons. This time the group was caught by surprise. Next time you face a dragon you must be ready with a specific strategy. Hint: Running after it with a pokey stick won’t work… ;)