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Killing the Boss

Written by Scott - Published on February 19, 2010

by Scott D. Sveter

Let me preface this article by saying that usually I am the DM. I am the guy who is responsible for the care and feeding of monsters and other nastiness. I have recently had the pleasure of being on the other side of the DM’s screen as a player. Let me say it is quite refreshing.

I am running a fighter and a wizard in the campaign. Last session we had an encounter with a large green dragon. Having 4th level characters this was potentially lethal. As we approached the lair we prepared to fight. Alchemical fires were passed out and mage armor was cast. The entrance to the dragon’s domicile was a long tunnel leading into the main chamber. The first thing when dealing with a creature with an area attack weapon is spread out. There should be at least five feet, one square, between each character. Our party was hit first off with the chlorine gas breath weapon. Only three of our seven party members were hit, luckily two of them made their saving throws. My fighter failed his throw but soaked the damage anyway. The dragon was already aloft in his lair which is a very dangerous thing.

The next thing to do was immobilize and bring the dragon down to our swords. My wizard cast web upon the beast. Despite making his save, the dragon was entangled.  After that he was set upon by our fighters and the rogue. They went to the flanks and made their attacks. The alchemical fires were thrown setting alight the web. This was a tactical error in hindsight. While we did damage the dragon with the fire and the burning web, we released the wings of the serpent allowing him to fly. While he was on the ground lucky critical hits scored massive damage on it.

In the second round the dragon knocked out one of our fighters and scored a solid hit on the rogue. More damage was done and the over one hundred point dragon was taken out. We really surprised the DM by how quickly we killed the dragon.

The technique here is a basic military tactic. Find, fix, and destroy the enemy. First one has to find the enemy. We did this by finding him in his lair easy right. Next fix, keep your enemy from maneuvering. No matter what, do not allow your foe to maneuver on you. This is a tactical maxim that has allowed smaller forces throughout the centuries to defeat larger ones. Such as the battle of Thermopoly, were the Persians could not envelope the Greeks with their mass number of troops. This also applies to where you choose to fight. If you can; choose where you engage the enemy, make it your battlefield. Lastly, destroy the enemy. Most of you are thinking “duh”, but seriously throw your hardest, baddest stuff at your enemy and don’t let up. Be creative and really get into the roleplay. Remember, when swinging swords swing for the fence. Backend spell blasters need to consider the placement of area effects. Think in three dimensions, a fireball explodes in a sphere so if you need a smaller effect aim high. Front end casters, move in close enough to pound the baddies.

And always remember to grab the loot!

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12 Responses to “Killing the Boss”
  1. Elderon Analas says:

    I like your tactics. But, it angers me slightly to hear of the death of a fellow dragon. Well, lest he was up to nefarious deeds.

  2. Will F says:

    I’m sorry Scott, but i don’t see the use of this article. It doesn’t really seem useful in any way and is completely different to your usual entertaining and helpful flavour articles. Hope to see more of your usually great articles soon.

    Will F

  3. @Will F, I believe your comment was directed at me. This article was written by Scott D. Sveter, and is his first for the sight as far as i can tell. I am no longer writting for DM’ing.com, but you will be able to catch me from time to time over on Critical-Hits.com

    Thanks

    Scott Wallace

  4. Will F says:

    @ Scott Wallace

    Your right, the comment was directed at you as i didn’t notice the name change. Looking forward to seeing your stuff on Critical-Hits.com.

    Thanks for clearing it up with me.

  5. Eldeon Analas says:

    @Scott

    I do blieve i still have you Email address but I do belive I may be confusing it with a diferent one. I may try sending you a test Email to try and sort this problem out. But, again I don’t particuarly like this story. It’s good. It helps the human players, it’s just I don’t like to see my fellow dragons die.

    Elderon “wer arauj ir” Analas

  6. SSveter says:

    In response to the confusion about the name. I was told once to pay attention to detail…it might save your life. That guy was my drill sergeant. In light of your comments, Will, may I remind you that there are inexperienced players who do read this stuff and can benefit from them. Being that I am just a soldier with over 23 years of experience some in actual combat. Fireballs and breath weapons are like grenades and rockets so spread out and kick your damn head down!!!

  7. Will F says:

    @ssveter. While there are new players out there that benefit from the tips and tactics, i see no such thing presented in your article.

    All i can see is some half-baked attempt of a retelling of a dragon fight you had a some stage, there is no connection to the audience, nothing useful and it is just plain boring. If you aim to help new players try provide clear and accurate techniques and tips. What you presented above has no tips or techniques that have anything to do with the 4e system. DM’s have total control over monsters and their abilities so your experience with dragons is pretty useless to anybody else. Focus on character builds and min/max’ing if you want to help new players.

    Finally, if you wish to make it as a blogger, just a small word of advice. Don’t ridicule someone with yout very first comment, it doesn’t leave a good impression.

    All the best

    Will F.

  8. Krystal says:

    So I finally finished reading this article, I started several times but ended up getting side tracked (I just started a new job hahaa. S’been hecktick.)

    And it’s glad to see a form tactic and the way someone else handles this situation. We just…blast the fuck out of it and pray. Personally, if I can bargain with the dragon for my life and get the hell outta there I will. XD Haha, or just run like hell. Last dragon I encountered that’s exactly what we did. And, somehow, made it into an improbably crack situation where we finally somehow escaped it.

    Of course, we were level 12. So, heh. :P

  9. Elderon Analas says:

    This if for everyone. Do none of you continue useing your D&D persona outside of D&D. C’mon guys I mean thats half the fun. I mean I love to go to scjool and talk to my friends in Draconic and share tales of the towns I have recently burnt down or raided.

    One more thing. Every time I post either you guys just don’t care about a lowly brass dragon trying to talk to my fellow adveturers or you just ignore me. It is very rude you know. I may just have to eat a few of you.

    @ Krystal
    I would let you live. I fancy company in my lair. It’s nice to have company. Well, lest you provoke me, then you would have a fight on your hands. But, other than that I’m quite nice and make a great friend.

    P.S. Will someone at least acknowledge me in the future, please.

    Your friendly Brass dragon,
    Elderon Analas

  10. SSveter says:

    No offense to all of the dragons out there, my article is intended as an example of how to deal with any sort of boss type monster. Dragon, Demon, or otherwise PC’s may find themselves in need of some tactical advice.
    The fact is, as a DM I love dragons, they can swoop in like an A-10 an open up some knights like a can opener. In fact imagine one carrying a tun of alchemical fire…I love the smell of magical fire in the morning.

  11. Elderon Analas says:

    Oh I take no offense Sveter (just going to use your last name). I also said I liked you employment of military tactics. I do so love a good fight but I do so with honor. I am highly skilled in the ways of the monk, assassin, and wizard of both dark and holy magic. I am also one of the high priests of the Brass dragon god Morten The Great. I honor my fallen dragon breathren and my fallen adversaries.

    A lesson most adventurers should learn

  12. Elderon Analas says:

    Oh and Sveter I hope to see your name in the DM Crew sidebar soon. Good luck my human friend.

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