D&D 5E (CR ratings) Could 6 level 6 characters survive and beat a Young Blue Dragon?

ECMO3

Hero
The key to making Dragons tough is to put them in the air, take advantage of their 80ish foot movement and target wizards, Archers and Rogues first.

Keep the dragon in the air and take the OA's if necessary, but you should not take many. A wizard that casts shield or absorb elements, or a Rogue that uses uncanny dodge does't get opportunity attacks and that Ranger wielding a bow can only use an improvised weapon or a fist on his OA.

Another option is grapple, flight, drop/throw. Go bite the wizard, then grapple the wizard, then claw the wizard (or grapple again if the first failed) then fly into the air as much movement as you have left and drop. Alternatively skip the 2nd claw attack, grapple, then fly into the air and then throw the wizard at another party member. You can also do this against an archer, although in that case I would hang onto him until he dropped or stowed his bow.

If the party puts a combatant into flight to melee the dragon, climb straight up and after he closes use shove and knock him prone for very high damage from high altitude. Since your movement is more than his, he will typically have to dash to close with you and you will usually get the first attack after he closes. A dash by you takes you out of range of most spellcasters on the ground and into long range for most archers. With three attacks and a 20+ strength your chance of being sucessful is good, even against a high-strength fighter with athletics, you can also probably get a 4th shove if you ready one instead of dashing as you climb.
 

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Some sub question before answering to OP question.
Day or Night?
Indoor or outdoor?
Fog or Not?
Which side is aware of the presence of the other?
 

aco175

Legend
I tend to have dragon encounters built in with something to restrict their flight or movement. the players do not always see it or may surprise me at times as well. One of my favorites was in LMoP when the PCs encountered the green dragon at level 2-3 and beat it enough to make it flee and it came back during a larger fight with hobgoblins attacking the town of Westbridge to get revenge. The PCs fled the swoop attacks by hiding in a large barn on the farmers property. the dragon was smashing the walls and coming it at them like in a movie and one of the PCs decided to use a feather token to block its escape by planting it behind the dragon. It prevented the dragon from fleeing and moving much to allow the Pcs to gang up on it with melee attacks. Another time the rogue was able to steal a dragon egg and get the dragon to follow him into a tight ravine where it could not readily fly.
 
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ad_hoc

(he/they)
On my phone and didn't see the necro. Advice to new players is the same though.

As others have said the game works best with 4 and needs to be adapted with 1,2,6+ players.

Monsters also multiply their efficacy when faced in groups which is reflected in multiplying XP values for calculating difficulty.

My recommendation when balancing things is to think of a 6-8 encounter day rather than each encounter on their own.

If the party can get through the previous encounters without much trouble then they deserve to rip it apart. If they had a hard time with the previous encounters then maybe they need to abandon the quest or really risk it.
 

pnewman

Explorer
When I ran Sunless Citadel I knew that the boss fight with the CR 7 Young Black Dragon was going to be a cake walk, so I had to reskin a Young Red Dragon (Cr 10) instead. There were 7 characters, two at Level 4 and 5 at Level 3.

In the next campaign (six of the same seven players), I had to beef up the boss fight with Stradh (Cr 15 + Lair Actions) by adding in Rahadin (Cr 10 on his own, even without the +2 Shield form the castle that pushed his AC to 22), Madam Eva (Cr 10), Stradh's one remaining bride and two other Vampire spawn (Cr 5 each).

The party did not have significant problems and none of them died. They were 6 level 6 characters, 1 level 8 character and Esmerelda, a CR 8 ally.

It really depends on player skill, their selection of more powerful builds, ruthless use of focus fire, and the powerful magic items both adventures handed out.
 


Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
Hi, personal experience here! We were a party of 5 players, level 6, and we beat a young blue dragon without anyone dying. That would be a hard encounter, and I would say it was. If we had one more player, we would have just won faster... so sure, I'd say Easy is appropriate.
 

There is some monster that even if got surprise or the party is low on ressource it don’t make that much a difference.
But Dragon can create disaster with favorable conditions.
I have played against dragon breath on surprise round, high init, recharge and breath again.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
When I ran Sunless Citadel I knew that the boss fight with the CR 7 Young Black Dragon was going to be a cake walk, so I had to reskin a Young Red Dragon (Cr 10) instead. There were 7 characters, two at Level 4 and 5 at Level 3.

In the next campaign (six of the same seven players), I had to beef up the boss fight with Stradh (Cr 15 + Lair Actions) by adding in Rahadin (Cr 10 on his own, even without the +2 Shield form the castle that pushed his AC to 22), Madam Eva (Cr 10), Stradh's one remaining bride and two other Vampire spawn (Cr 5 each).

The party did not have significant problems and none of them died. They were 6 level 6 characters, 1 level 8 character and Esmerelda, a CR 8 ally.

It really depends on player skill, their selection of more powerful builds, ruthless use of focus fire, and the powerful magic items both adventures handed out.

The biggest factor in combat by far is how the DM plays it.

Builds and the like have much smaller impact.

Strahd for example is completely unfair. The only real way to win is to get to the room where he is destined to lose. Otherwise he can hit and run to his heart's content. It is his castle.
 

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