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General Memorable dragon encounters


Ticked off my players during Forge of Fury 3E. The dragon smacked the party hard and they retreated back to town to heal. They came back to lair empty of the dragon, and half it loot was gone. I forget what note the dragon left for the group said.
It left half the loot? Man, that was nice of you. :)

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In my current 3.5 campaign I've had no less than three dragons (or draconic creatures, in any case - one was a three-headed gorynych) taken out by that wretched Otto's irresistible dance spell. (There's no save, so once you overcome the dragon's spell resistance it's all downhill from there.) But the most memorable draconic encounter of recent adventures was when the PCs imprisoned a planar dragon in a narrow cave tunnel with two wall of force spells and then proceeded to clean out all of its treasure while it stood there watching in impotent fury.

I despise that spell. It has ruined 2 dragon encounters for me as DM.


My most memorable dragon encounter is a negative one. I learned a lot about solo monsters in 5e and so it was "good" in the end but boy did it suck.

I built an entire campaign and setting around an epic dragon that destroyed a kingdom. The game was not going great overall so I decided to push the Final Encounter forward to change stuff up.

There were 8 8th level PCs against an Ancient Red Dragon. A couple of the players were skilled power gamers. I did not have a great handle on how solo encounters worked in 5E so I gave them a couple boons (including a dragon band weapon) to boost their chances. In addition I let them draw the dragon out to a place and time of their choosing (there were in fiction reasons but it was still a terrible idea). But worst of all was te Wish one of the characters had from a previous adventure involving a Deck of Many Things.

The details are fuzzy and I don't remember all the details but the crux is they used the Wish to Force Cage the dragon and then just pounded on it. I had foolishly expended the Dragon's legendary resistance ability (which was their plan; they threw every spell at it they could on its approach).

It was boring, frustrating and anticlimactic, ruining not just the session but the entire campaign. And it was entirely my fault. I played the dragon poorly, adjudicated rules poorly, and let persuasive, rules savvy players confound me. It was terrible.

I stopped running 5e for a year after that happened and still won't play with a couple of those players.


I've had a few interesting dragon encounters over the years. As a player, by FAR the most memorable was in 2E when we finally worked our way through a nasty cavern system to get to the inner lair, the dragon was asleep! We prepared ourselves, and planned to let loose our highest level spells and magic items at it at once. We should have wondered what was up when the DM made us roll for initiative, but no one thought anything of it (in 2E, each round you declared your action, then rolled initiative, allowing actions to be interrupted). We unleashed Hell... on a poor tied up kobold that had the illusion of the dragon around it. All our best stuff went off at once, because you couldn't change the action once declared. Immediately, the real dragon got a surprise round on us, when he used his fire breath weapon on us from above! We did eventually defeat it, but only 2 out of 7 of us were still standing, with 3 of us completely dead (including me). This was so good, I stole the idea for a 5E game using a White Dragon and a polished ice wall mirror.

As a DM, one of the most interesting and fun dragon encounter never involved fighting the dragon at all. The party had to sneak into to lair of an ancient green dragon to retrieve lost elven artifacts. They knew they had no chance in a fight, since they were only level 3. They worked their way into the lair, and found the dragon asleep, facing away from them. The entire area was lit by a fungus, so light wasn't an issue, and they saw the survivors of the last adventurers to try this, tied and gagged on the far side of the cave with zombies guarding them. The artifacts they were looking for was adorning an elven corpse hung on a series of sticks like a puppet, right on top of the pile of coins that would surely make noise if disturbed. They could go for one or the other, but doing both would certainly risk waking the dragon... so of course they went for both. The rogue sneaked across the room to the prisoners (objecting heavily to being told NOT to go for the loot), while the sorcerer went for the artifacts. The sorcerer used levitate and pushed off from the wall to get the artifacts, making no noise and having no problems. The rogue found the "zombies" were humans set up like the other corpse was, then woke and untied the first prisoner... who immediately began to scream bloody murder!

Everyone freaked out, drew weapons and moved to fight the dragon... who never moved. The rogue freed and woke another prisoner, who was freaked out, denying the PC was real. The last prisoner was semi-lucid, and after being convinced the party was in fact real, explained that the ancient dragon who terrorized the forest has been dead for years. Her youngest son had taken over the horde, and used tricks to make everyone believe that his attacks were hers, since it would greatly deter thieves and would be dragon hunters. It had a cruel streak, like his mother, and used various illusions and the puppets to torment them until their minds cracked. They freed the prisoners, took the artifacts and only a small pouch of gems, then fled (they expected the young dragon to return, and didn't want to face it). They then raced through the forest maze around the lair while the young dragon threatened its minions to find the thieves, periodically flying overhead, but never finding them (I had a series of challenges based on how long they took in the lair, and if they took too long, the dragon would catch them). In the end, they escaped without ever facing a real dragon.


The dark one :)
The one I remember the most was in 3rd edition in RttToEE. It was just the begining of the session and the PC decided to investigate the ruins of the moathouse.

They really advanced slowly trying not to get surprised (they had no clue that they would find a dragon here and after all it was only the start of the adventure...) but the blue beast came out of nowhere catching 3 out of 5 PC in it's breath (they were just in the middle of the empty moathouse yard). Funny fact that made this fight memorable only the one with the best reflex saving throw failed at it (an halfling rogue with bad con) and he was toast on the first round (-10 hp exactly!!).

The other PC's managed to resist and finally drove the beast away after only a few rounds (the dragon was barely wounded but anyway he didn't want to risk losing his life here).

Thankfully they rescued a strange tiefling in a cell guarded by gnolls a bit later that made a fine replacement for the poor halfling. This one was more robust :p