If you watch the video of my Reign of Winter Campaign and you have not yet caught up to episode 18 of the game, perhaps you should rethink reading this post after you are caught up. For all others, please procede past the pretty picture to get to the heart of the matter…
|A proud member of Goblin Squad!|
Ok, pretty picture may have been a bit of a stretch. Still, the t-shirt is cool. Last night saw the end of the Dragon encounter I asked for advice on a week or so ago. It was a violent encounter that technically ended in a total party kill (TPK). I was amused to see one of the players put up a message soon after the game last night Just squeaked past a TPK.
I can now go into specifics of the encounter which was a little difficult to do last week. The players are moving through an icy winter land which in essence means that the obvious choice of dragon was the white dragon. I had in fact rolled this up as a random encounter from the modules encounter table. The dragon was a young white dragon and was located in a cavern with a group of Kobolds (barbarians and a witch). The players last night made their way down to the final cavern and found three kobold barbarians. As the party attacked the white dragon (notoriously aggressive) burrowed into position and attempted to trip the main warrior of the party.
As the dragon appeared there were a few snickers from the party about how small it was. They expected something a little larger I think. The overconfidence was very short lived. One thing you should never do is underestimate a dragon.
The blind paladin got off a fantastic hit on the dragon initially and confidence was high. The mage moved into a position to cast flaming hands. When asked if he was casting on the defensive (he had two kobolds near him and the dragon was 10 feet away) he said no. the barbarians swung and missed and then the party found out that the dragon had a 10 foot reach with its bite. The bite snaked out and got a critical ht doing double damage (and bleed) and the dragon (Dracox) scored close to maximum damage. The wizard lost his spell (good news as Dracox was vulnerable to fire) and became quite woozy.
Then Dracox acted. The party had in the previous round moved themselves perfectly into a cone shape and so Dracox let loose his breath weapon. Only one of the actual PC’s (and Nadya the NPC) made their save and a further 6d4 of damage was meted out. It was at this point that the mage unfortunately died. The mage’s player had a barbarian in back up so we momentarily set the barbarian up as having been captured by the kobolds and was tied up in a room nearby.
In the following round the players managed two critical fumbles and the dragon took down another two. I realised we were looking directly in the face of a TPK and so I allowed the barbarian to have loosed his bonds and escaped. By the time he got into the fight there was only one standing (just) and the barbarian came in rolling another critical failure stunning himself for a round.
|Dangerous AP… Very dangerous|
Long story short, the other player went down next round and the Barbarian on the round after the stun managed a critical hit and lopped the head from Dracox’s neck. So, in response to the player who said they avoided a TPK, unfortunately you were victim to one. Had it not been for the addition of the “backup” barbarian character the adventure would now be over. There may have even been a couple of creative interpretations of dice rolls during the evening to make sure it was only one of the players that died. The guide and NPC Nadya was well killed in the battle but a player made mention of hero points so I allowed her to be saved in the long run. Losing her at that time would have been a horrendous thing to happen as she drives the game forward in a lot of ways.
In conclusion, I conducted a TPK last night. The saviour only being a backup character that the player had luckily prepared before. The moral of this story, dragons are dangerous. Even the ones that are medium in size. Thank you for the advice about running the beast. My advice to players? Never trust a dragon and keep rolling!