D&D 5E What Level To Hunt A Great Wyrm?

SlyFlourish

SlyFlourish.com
Supporter
So, in that case, they'd have to be level 18 (18 x 1.5 = 27). But that formula doesn't take into account the number of party members. 2 single level 18 characters would get slaughtered by the Great Wyrm, while 8 level 18 characters would mop the floor with it (even though both groups would have an APL of 18).

You have to mix the two together. Frankly, no single monster stands up well to a full group of high level characters. They always need some sort of backup.

So the Lazy Encounter Benchmark gives you both –

four 14th level characters gives you a LBM of 28 with a single creature being potentially deadly at 21. If you want to edge closer to that benchmark, you have to throw in some side monsters. Maybe a couple of fire elementals.

I also have a dial on the benchmark you can turn if your 14th level characters are pretty powerful: Increase the threshold to 3/4 of character level at 11 to 16 and 1:1 at 17+.

Remember, the benchmark isn't a hard rule. It's a loose gauge to give you a vague idea how powerful an encounter might be.

Step 1 is to build encounters that make sense given the situation in the world.
 

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Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Lots of good stuff in this thread. Thanks everyone.

To clarify a couple things: The dragon would be CR24 Elite, designed using the tools in A5E Monstrous Menagerie. Originally I was thinking standard MM dragon, which is why I was kind of low balling the APL. Also, I would build it for 5 PCs.

While there is an adventure that allows the party to locate and research the dragon, I wouldvexpect the actual fight to take place when both the party and the dragon are fresh.

Whether the fight takes place in the lair depends entirely on if the PCs want to try and draw it out and can come up with a reasonable plan to do so. If I were a player I would prefer the lair. Sure, that gives it lair actions, but it also probably eliminates the range and mobility advantage of the dragon.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Sure, that gives it lair actions, but it also probably eliminates the range and mobility advantage of the dragon.
why? whenever I design lairs for flying creatures I make sure it has vertical space so the creature can fly, places to perch, or dive, places that force PCs to either climb or rely on range - dragons especially should be making best advantage of their abilities and remodeling their lairs to suit themselves.
 

We had a TPK versus a great wyrm with 5 17th level PCs. However, I’ve no idea how close it was to an “official” great wyrm or its CR. My DM likes to make custom monsters for these sort of one-offs.

Also, we got to choose from about 20 different pregens and it was only a single 4 hr adventure. Mostly: here is the dragon - go fight it.
 

why? whenever I design lairs for flying creatures I make sure it has vertical space so the creature can fly, places to perch, or dive, places that force PCs to either climb or rely on range - dragons especially should be making best advantage of their abilities and remodeling their lairs to suit themselves.

No lie. This isn't a mindless beast or an ignorant wyrmling. We're talking about a powerful creature that has been around for close to a millenia.(it's been alive for half again longer than Europeans knew about the Americas) It's survived territorial battles with other dragons, probably come into conflict with dozens of cultures, dealt with dragon-hunters of all types, and made (and outlived) a plethora of enemies.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
why? whenever I design lairs for flying creatures I make sure it has vertical space so the creature can fly, places to perch, or dive, places that force PCs to either climb or rely on range - dragons especially should be making best advantage of their abilities and remodeling their lairs to suit themselves.

No lie. This isn't a mindless beast or an ignorant wyrmling. We're talking about a powerful creature that has been around for close to a millenia.(it's been alive for half again longer than Europeans knew about the Americas) It's survived territorial battles with other dragons, probably come into conflict with dozens of cultures, dealt with dragon-hunters of all types, and made (and outlived) a plethora of enemies.

Verticality is one thing, but a colossal creature with a commensurate wingspan needs a stupidly large area to fly, at which point it isn't really "inside" or a lair anymore.
 

RoughCoronet0

Dragon Lover
Verticality is one thing, but a colossal creature with a commensurate wingspan needs a stupidly large area to fly, at which point it isn't really "inside" or a lair anymore.
I’d argue that when a dragon reaches the state of a Great Wyrm, it’s power is so immense and potent that it can mold it’s own lair from the surrounding environment it is inhabiting. It’s why I tend to up the regional effects for the Great Wyrms, these places they call home are so saturated with the dragons essence and magic that they are their own unique and wondrous ecosystems almost separate from the surrounding land.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Using A5E's rules, a CR 24 great wyrm green dragon would b a deadly encounter for five 16th level characters. The dragon's primary damage is poison, which is relatively easy to counter. Proficiency bonus is +5 and they have had their 4th ASI, so AC 22 or DC 22 saves are essentially trivial. Casters have access to 8th level spells, which includes spells like dominate monster and maze. The dragon does close to 100 points of melee damage per round, and its breath does 69. PCs are going to have somewhere between 90 and 150 HP, depending on class and Con. The dragon has 840 HP.

I honestly don't see this being particular deadly for five 16th level PCs.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I’d argue that when a dragon reaches the state of a Great Wyrm, it’s power is so immense and potent that it can mold it’s own lair from the surrounding environment it is inhabiting. It’s why I tend to up the regional effects for the Great Wyrms, these places they call home are so saturated with the dragons essence and magic that they are their own unique and wondrous ecosystems almost separate from the surrounding land.
That is accounted for in lair actions and features.

The dragon is relatively slow (80) and has an effective range of 90-120 for its breath attacks. That means if wants to be mobile it can at best end 40ft from a particular melee target (and taking an opportunity attack on the way) or 80 from the party. Since the dragon is gargantuan, the real range is 20ft closer. Maybe mobility isn't the ace it is made out to be?
 


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