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Dragons and Dungeons, Oh My

This is a meta-post about the Moving Forward campaign. It’s not told from anyone’s point of view but my own. It spanned a night’s worth of gaming, but the majority of the action was a few seconds for our PCs. Gwenn’s journal entry on this event might be little more than a footnote: We fought a dragon. We won. The dragon is dead. Sad to kill dragons, but glad to deny the Regency another powerful weapon.

We made the DM cuss like a sailor last night. And it was good.

We knew from earlier posts in our forum that one of our players would be late or absent, so we had to muddle about trying to decide what to do next. We had some role-playing, in which we discussed in-party what to do with the bandit/refugees up in the Frostwood, but we didn’t really take action on it. Gwenn talked to Firiel’s brother, Gale (also Tyler’s backup PC) and came to a sort of agreement.

Gale went to chat with his comrades, but the reality is, they’re not going anywhere without a charismatic leader telling them what to do.

In strategizing over how to get the Frostwood refugees to join us further south and form an army for us, we came up with the carrot-and-stick approach. The carrot: The lands to the south are warmer and more liveable than a frozen forest with winter fast approaching. The stick: Also, the Regency and Erathis forces are looking for them.

We weren’t entirely comfortable with that, though, and Gwenn suggested that, if we clear out the caverns they have used in the past, the refugees can have a choice of two carrots– go south to get into position for a fight, or hide out in the caves. “That way, we only get the ones who really want to be there.”

It’s the carrot-and-carrot approach. We like it, we agree, we tell Steve (the DM) that’s what we’re doing.

“Okay…. let me, uh… give me a minute. This encounter shouldn’t be done without Tristram.” He sounded distressed.

“Well, how will it play with Gale in the party? He said he’d go with us.”

“Ah… yeah. That’ll work.”

We go to the caves and Steve moves our character tokens to this beautiful map in Roll20 he has set up. Firiel and Ordune scout ahead and count 7 humanoids, including a dragonkin and some guys of a similar type we faced before, in the mines. They don’t see us, and Firi and Ordune fall back to report.

Gwenn does a hasty battle plan and I say “All right. Let’s set up an ambush outside and draw them out, preferably in small groups. It’ll be best to do that with someone small and unassuming, but fast,” she says, looking meaningfully at Firiel.

We tell Steve we’re setting up outside for an ambush.

“Eff you guys. Eff you especially, Steph.”

What? Oh, right. Steve spends the next 5 minutes drawing a new map for the outside of the caverns, where the ambush will be. Because we’re jerks like that and just completely ruined his map usage.

The ambush works like a charm. Firiel goes in and draws three of them out– we just about have them all down when another 3 join them, who we’re in the middle of dispatching when wave 3 arrives. Then the dragonkin, a couple more brutes, and the dragon show up.

Well… dragon. Okay, then. We fight the dragon– our third, sorta. We fought one earlier, down to bloodied, and let it go. We fought a dragon construct and destroyed it in a furnace. We are sad that Tristram isn’t here, since he has a connection with dragons.

We defeat the dragon. How? Among other ways… Gale is a beastmaster ranger who pretty much does a prone attack every round. Dragons lose a lot of their power when they can’t fly. We beat the crap out of it, and Gwenn finishes it with an arrow. Its death nova nearly takes us out– Gale had 2 hit points left at the end of the session, but Gwenn was ready with two available heals when the dragon went down (I was saving them for after I attacked, in case it did something reactive that might drop an ally.)

At the end, Steve commented that he might have to ban Gale’s build from the game, as being too powerful. Part of that is the class– Rangers are always overpowered– the beastmaster is actually considered the least powerful type of ranger in 4th edition. But part of is it simply that we got into the right position (high mobility team), the fight was right in Gale’s wheelhouse, and we just harried that dragon until it had nowhere to go.

As an aside: we also released a baby rust monster, which ate one of Gwenn’s wrist razors, some axes, and a crowbar before Ordune convinced it to run off into the woods. We considered training it, but decided the cost of replacing Tristram’s magical armor would be too high.

Next week: Speechifying? Tristram comes back. We move north to finally face Ordune’s ghosts.

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