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D&D 3E
Young Adult Black Dragon 
11th-Jan-2005 10:37 am
For my next session this Sunday, I am running my players through a dragon's lair. I know, very cliche. The group averages 7th level, and we have six people among them plus an additional NPC druid. I'm thinking of pitting them up against a young adult black dragon.

First of all, do you think that is too hard for them? The CR ratings are for 3-5 people, so I picked a slightly higher CR.

Secondly, if someone dies of acid, can they be revived by normal raise dead spells, or does it require something more extravagant? So far, they have known to run before dying, but y'never know, really, and they've put so much effort into their characters' backgrounds, I'd hate to kill one without a chance of revival...but I certainly want the dragon to be a big challenge, as dragons are supposed to be.

Thirdly, if a dragon eats a character (we have a fairy, which is why I ask), do you rule the person completely dead?

Also, would it be feasible for a young adult black dragon and adult green dragon to have neighboring lairs? I read somewhere that these two dragons often form crude alliances. Would they share the same lair? This is relevant to the above topic because NPCs of higher level are supposed to be fighting an adult green dragon while the PCs distract the young adult black dragon ally.

And lastly, any advice on making a unique dragon's lair? Draconomicon has been helping me a lot, but I'm always open to suggestions.
11th-Jan-2005 07:03 pm (UTC)
Ithink black dragons live in swamps and green dragons live in forests? so, while they may be allies, I don't think they would lair together. maybe it can be a "coordinated strike"? Dragons can fly, and are fast so even if they were several miles apart they would be practically bumping into each other, from their point of view anyway.
11th-Jan-2005 11:47 pm (UTC) - Idea
via the "Magic: The Gathering" land card that produces both green mana (the magic of Forests) and black mana (the magic of Swamps):
A Bayou is a terrain type suitable for both Black and Green Dragons?

12th-Jan-2005 12:47 am (UTC) - Re: Idea
I had to look that one up.


That actually what I was visualizing, a swamp inside a forest kind of.

Thanks for the help!
12th-Jan-2005 01:55 am (UTC) - Re: Idea
A bayou may have trees...
But a proud green dragon may think of it as a vile swamp none the less...
Its hard to compare lush conifer woods to evergreen marshes...
But anything is possible...
Maybe two black dragons? :)
11th-Jan-2005 07:21 pm (UTC)
I play a 7th level druid and we've been having a lot of fun with reincarnating. We've had an elf come back as a dryad who hangs out at the elven great oak temple, my animal companion bear came back as a (ridable) great stag, and an elf came back as a (shudder) human and was ostracized by his community. So that could be a fun twist in this scenario.
11th-Jan-2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
I would say go for it and require something more extravegant than a raise dead spell. Make it so that being killed by a dragon's acid is scaried than being killed by a sword.

Also, for being eaten, I usually tweak some rules from a swallowing monster (like a giant worm). Let them cut their way out from inside, assuming they can survive the stomach's acid :p
11th-Jan-2005 07:40 pm (UTC)
I don't remember the exact CR, but it depends on how well the group works together and how smart the players are. A bunch of characters doing their own thing is going to have a much harder time than a group effort.

I would treat acid damage like any other kind. My house rule is that the body is still intact until the body is past its total in negative hit points (plus 10 for dying).

Eats (as in chews up) the character, or swallows whole?

As for the green/black alliance, it's your game: do as you wish. ;)

Unique dragon's lairs... I try to play to the dragon's strengths. It can fly, so the path in should be cluttered and difficult to manage for walking creatures. If the dragon can breathe water (can't remember offhand for the one in question) part of the lair may be submerged -- or just require access through water-filled tunnels.
11th-Jan-2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
It depends on the characters, the player's skill, and the dragon's tactics.

Things to keep in mind:

The listed CR for dragons are just wrong.

Frightful Presence: DC 19 will save, fighters will most likely fail their save, even the party cleric will need a decent roll. Most of the party at 7th level should have 7HD and will only become shaken (-2 attack,save,skill checks), but character with LA will like flee.

Flight: Unless the party's fighters can fly, or everybody has decent ranged attacks (that can hit and damage something with AC 24, DR 5/magic, and SR 17), the dragon will stay aloft and drop spells and breath attack on the party to weaken them.

Breath weapon: 10d4 every 1d4 rounds. One of the most effective weapons at the dragon's disposal, he'll use it as often as he can. Luckily, a black's breath weapon isn't that bad (shouldn't be an instanta-kill for any of the party).

All in all it will come down to tactics. I'd say give it a shot, but we willing to have the dragon not be the most tactically-minded member of its race if it starts going downhill.

The dragon might wipe the floor with them, or they might kill it in 3 rounds. A couple scorching rays and a critical from the fight could drop it at range with decent rolls.

Unless cornered, a dragon will run before being killed. Especially a young one, it's got thousands of years to rebuild its hoard. If it's looking bad for the party, play up how badly wounded the dragon appears, and have the dragon flee.

Acid isn't a problem with raising. Unless you have TPK, the dragon wouldn't eat anybody. You can have the dragon fly off with somebody in its mouth if you'd like, but ignoring that they should be able to raise fallen party members if they have the cash. Depending on your DM style, you may want to adjust the size of the dragon's hoard to compensate for losing party members.

11th-Jan-2005 11:10 pm (UTC)
1: CRs are for a four-person party of cleric, wizard, rouge, and fighter. The target should consume about 1/4th of the party's replenishable resources (hp & spells) if it's of equal CR. A challenge as high as four-CR above should be a better challenge, if you watch out for pitfalls such as DR and auto-die spells. When in doubt, try an equal CR dragon first and see how they handle it.

2: Very few things hamper ressurection spells. All of those things clearly state that they do so. Acid, fire, and simply pounding the opponent into puree have no such effect.

3: Dragons cannot swallow whole. Do not let the dragon swallow anyone if they are not dead. (Treat the fairy as grappled if it flies into the dragon's gullet. It'll be dead quick enough.)

4: Yes. Anything's feasible for D&D.

5: Why bother trying to be unique? Let your players guess and figure out the lair: dragons are tough enough without nasty surprises.

12th-Jan-2005 12:42 am (UTC)
Dragon lairs are a staple of D&D. They're a fun part of the game.

Two evil creatures whose very nature is not to trust ANYONE much less another dragon are not going to lair together. Unless by some stretch they're a mated pair. Even then they will behave with some distrust of the other.

Dragons (except the good kinds) are very paranoid and very evil. One or both are likely going to betray the other at any time it is convenient to do so, possibly while justifying the betrayal in the idea that the other is going to betray him at any moment. And he'd be right!
12th-Jan-2005 01:18 am (UTC)
Even if the dragon could use Swollow Whole on your pixie, the pixie sitll has a chance to fight its way out(thought not a good one).

I ran a Black Draogn once that stayed in a misty grotto and hid underwater between breath weapon shots. Nobody would get in the water to use melee attack and ranged attacked were suffering from concealment from the water and the mist.
12th-Jan-2005 04:38 am (UTC)
the idea of a black dragon and a green dragon sharing a lair is pretty slim. maybe with some twist of storyline its possible. maybe the black draggy and green draggys parents lived nearby and both sets of parents died and the only survivors of the clutches were those 2 dragons. maybe the green dragon hatches first or something. *shrug* anythings possible if yer the DM.

set by the standards of the Draconomicon though, it makes it sounds not possible whatsoever. first off, they both have already started the hoard a long time ago, and with both of the culture of green and black dragons of being cuning, i doubt they could stand living together unless you get pretty intricate in their story. its totally possible of the alliance though. for them to be staying in the same forest though is also pretty shaky. once again their cunning would lead them into a battle sonner or later. course this is all going on the fact that the draconomicon is the only way to play with dragons in a campaign.
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