To Slay a "Dragon"

To Slay a "Dragon"

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To Slay a "Dragon"


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XP Eliu Mon, ElectricDidact gave XP for this post
Another 2-page adventure!

The evil gnome inventor, Yarbon Yunklebrow, exiled for crimes against demihumanity, has built a steam-powered dragon and convinced a group of kobolds that he is a prophet of Tiamat.

This one for is 1st-level characters, so it features some of the most classic D&D elements: a village in trouble, a dungeon, traps, wretched humanoid trash mobs, an ooze for no reason, a dragon, and a surprise twist!
  1. sim-h
    I like it - giving this to a level one party will terrify them as they will know a dragon could toast them, they will wonder what the hell the DM is playing at!

    In the rewards section it states various rewards but then there are XP awards (CR-based?) noted in every numbered area. Are these cumulative? I also at first glance think CR1 for the Steam Dragon seems very low. CR3 at least, surely?

    There are some spelling errors (Spectrers, Theives Tools are the two I immediately noticed)

    Finally - I don't like the example kobold names provided. But that's just me. It's good that you provide some.
  2. 77IM
    Thanks for the feedback! I guess I will need a spell checker.

    The XP awards are mostly based on creature XP values (e.g. the room with 6 kobolds is worth 150 XP because those guys are 25 XP a piece) with a few adjustments for circumstances. I put these in the adventure because a) it's a decent indicator to the DM of how difficult an encounter might be (for example, the workshop is 300 XP, triple that of any other encounter) and b) I hate doing XP math, especially right in the middle of game play, so I really wish all published adventures listed the XP with each encounter. In total the adventure is worth 1,200 XP, which, divided by 4 characters, should get them exactly to 2nd level, which seems in line with the DMG sessions-per-level guidelines. The quest XP rewards listed at the beginning are based on Hard and Easy encounters, respectively. (I don't necessarily agree with all of the DMG's guidelines on XP but in this case they produced results that feel "about right" to me.)

    The Steam Dragon is, by the numbers, CR 2, but it will absolutely devastate a 1st-level party UNLESS they take advantage of the Weak Points feature. Beheading the beast is almost an instant-win because it becomes blinded and deafened, can no longer bite or multiattack or use its breath weapon. Exposing the pilot (either by chipping away at the torso or by hopping up top and opening the hatch as described under Cockpit) is also a great move since he only has 11 hit points. Treating the dragon as a high-AC, low-HP creature drops its CR down to 1. My goal here is to make an encounter that is a) exciting, dramatic, and dynamic and b) encourage players to use creative tactics early-on so that they continue to try stuff like this at later levels. (I'm the kind of DM who rewards people for attempting "called shots" and similar maneuvers.)
  3. 77IM
    I fixed the spelling errors (thanks again!) and moved some stuff around and deleted a few things (notably the useless "overheat" ability), which let me add some more information. The biggest change is that I reduced the dragon's hit points so that it's a proper CR 1 whether the PCs interact with the Weak Points system or not. It still seems dangerous for a 1st-level party, but not insane.

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