How hard is a 4E black dragon fight?

Can the level 2 party defeat a level 4 elite black dragon?

  • The party will most likely die

    Votes: 28 42.4%
  • The fight could go either way

    Votes: 20 30.3%
  • The party has a good chance of success

    Votes: 17 25.8%
  • I've never played a D&D 4th Edition game

    Votes: 1 1.5%

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First Post
After Action Report:

The paladin halfling didn't make it to the game so one character resource was out of the action.

The inspiring warlord dragonborn provoked the black dragon in to attacking.

Both the wizard human (with ray of frost) and the warlord dragonborn (with a net) kept the black dragon slowed for the first half or more of the fight.

Once it was bloodied, the warlord dragonborn used the intimidate skill as a standard action to force the dragon to surrender by rolling high and adding a hefty skill bonus against the dragon's Will + 10 (DC 27 or something).


So you are saying the dragon neither...

1. Used its stealth so it gets the drop on the party.
2. Used its darkness power so the party really can't hurt it.



The dragon should win this fight every time. I know from experience.

The climactic battle in my group's first 4e adventure had them face a 3rd-level hob commander, two 2nd-level hob soldiers, and a full strength (4th-level solo) young black dragon.

The party was all 1st level, no magic items, with a human ranger, human wizard, eladrin warlord, human paladin, human cleric, and dragonborn fighter.

I wanted the encounter to set up Xarr (the hob commander) and Rixidirix (the dragon) as the long-term nemesis to the party.

The encounter started with the party fighting the hobs, the commander getting bloodied, retreating and calling in the dragon. The dragon is ordered by the hob commander to fly him the heck out of Dodge.

As soon the dragon came onto the battlemat things went downhill for the party very, very quickly. The paladin was dying at the end of the third round, everyone else was bloodied or close to it, scrambling for surges and burning action points. The dragon had been hit maybe a couple times and wasn't anywhere near bloodied.

Why did the dragon leave the fight? 'Cause the cowering hob commander told him to. Why is a dragon taking orders from a hob? That's what the party wants to know too!

Even though the party got their asses handed to them, they were all super excited to encounter a dragon at 1st-level.

I think that's the real lesson. It's okay to have encounters that will result in TPK if fought to its end, but as DM you should have escape valves to keep that from happening (as long as the players aren't stubborn idiots, that is; nothing a DM can do about that).

It might have been a closer fight if they were fresh, but that's a poor way to use a solo encounter, IMHO.

This encounter brought them to Level 2. But the fight wouldn't have been much closer without some help dealing with the dragon's magical darkness. That's the real killer; swinging wildly in the dark--and the -5 to hit that goes along with it--is never a great strategy.


First Post
I think the party would be fine, there are six of them. i had a white dragon go against 4 characters and they survived. Those 4 were at full strength and the White Dragon is a level 3, but beside that there are six in this group and the dragon is a level 4. The characters in my game were either level 1 or level 2. I posted a log of the game below (the game was run using OpenRPG, see sig for more information):



Dawg you can't just compare a black dragon to a white dragon thinking that all dragons play the same. The fact that a black dragon ALWAYS has an advantage as played by the MM guidelines makes the fight terribly unbalanced. I wouldn't wanna put that fight against a lvl 4 party.

Basically, you just keep the Black dragon in the cloud of darkness (as it is a sustain minor lolbroken) and either breath attack (if it's up), swipe from the darkness then move, or move into combat then recast darkness AP then attack (if cloud of darkness recharges) Keeps the fight locked down to aoe blasts in random places as the dragon can move in the darkness to confuse the party.
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