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The Dragon Tamer - or "When did my players become awesome?"

Rating: 7 votes, 5.00 average.

Do you see that guy? That is a Catastrophic Dragon. This is an Adult Earthquake Dragon. It is a level 14 Elite Soldier from Monster Manual 3. It exists for the purpose of being absolutely badass, and being incredibly effective at the role of Soldier. It has an Aura that will grow from 1, to 3, to 5 over the rounds. If you make an attack in this aura that does not include the Dragon, you take 10 damage and fall prone. When this aura is at 5 at the start of its turn, it gets a free attack against all enemies in the aura. It does not have time to listen to what you have to say.

Do you see this? This is even more badass than the last dragon. This is an Adult Volcanic Dragon. It is a level 15 Elite Brute from Monster Manual 3. It exists for the purpose of hurting PCs a lot. It has an aura that follows similar growth mechanics, but enemies that end their turn in the aura take 5 damage. This means that just engaging it in melee combat is going to guarantee you get hurt every turn. When the aura gets 5, and its turn starts it gets an awesome attack against all enemies in the aura. When it hits you with its claws, it shuts down any fire resistance you have. When it bites you, it sets you on fire.

See this guy? His name is Ignatian Southlight. He is a human. A ranger, specifically. His talents include stabbing things with swords, stealing everything that isn't nailed down, and taking a Rat with him everywhere he goes. He has decided that he wishes to tame the above two dragons for the purpose of riding them to a volcano which is hovering about 1000 feet above where it should be due to influence from the Elemental Chaos. The last time he tamed a wild creature, it was a Rat. That went pretty well for him, so he determined himself quite qualified to try it on dragons. He is also crunchy and tastes good with ketchup.

So, here is how it went down.

Shortly after combat started, Ignatian ran around to the back of the the Female Volcanic Dragon, and let the rest of the group keep her mate, the male Earthquake Dragon too busy to help. He grabbed the tail of the dragon as it swished back and forth, and used it to flip up on her back.

Ok, that is pretty good. Dragon didn't want any part of this, and started focusing attacks on Ignatian. Every round, Ignatian had to make a check to stay on the dragon or fall off. Ignatian then took out some Enchanted Reins from AV1, which don't actually help his nature check against the Elemental Dragons, but they would be able to automatically fit themselves in the Dragon and give him something to hang onto. Why does he need something to hold onto? Because he was riding that Volcanic Dragon like a Cowboy rides a wild horse. He was trying to break the Dragon. All the while, the Dragon is clawing and biting at him. After a while, the Volcanic dragon had had just about enough. It took flight to reposition itself, and was met with a Longsword in the back. Ignatian was now hanging onto the Reins with one hand, and the hilt of his sword which was plunged into the Dragon with the other. All while the Dragon is flying around to try and finish off the Artificer who the Earthquake Dragon had nearly killed. the Paladin then turned around and used Lay on Hands to help the Artificer, who then promptly threw a needle at Ignatian, hitting him with a Healing Infusion. It's a damn good thing he did, too, because the Volcanic Dragon was just about done with this human pest. She took flight again, and this time was met with a Drow Long Knife in her back. Ignatian now had another hilt to hang onto as the Dragon flew. she flew over a large flowing river of Lava, and dove in. All the while, Ignatian was still on her back.

Now, you'd think that total submersion in Lava would be instant death to a character, but we had established that it would simply be 20d6 damage. Ignatian was lucky enough to also have on his person an artifact he had acquired from a previous adventure, which was presently granting him resist 15 Fire. At his level, there was a chance he could survive one round under the lava. Maybe.

Well, the rest of the group assumed him dead, and continued fighting the Earthquake Dragon. This was no time to mourn, though there was time to complain about being unable to loot his corpse. They redouble their efforts, concerned about survival, and nearly defeat the beast...

Then it happens. Ignatian's turn rolls around, and I roll his damage. He survives with 1 HP. Under the Lava. On a Volcanic Dragon's back. With 1 more successful nature check required to successfully complete his skill challenge to tame it. It all rode on this one check. Failure would mean immolation for sure.

The next thing the party saw, was truely magnificent. The great Volcanic Dragon burst from the river of lava, the triumphant Ignatian riding her back in a literal blaze of glory. That is not me misusing the word literal, he was very much on fire at this point, and would have surely been knocked unconscious from the damage were it not for his Fire Resistance, and the fact that the Paladin was ready to grant him a saving throw against the ongoing Fire Damage. Ignatian landed his newly conquered Dragon Mount, who called off her mate. The man was covered head to toe in ash, soot, flames, and there was even some bits of cooling lava stuck to his clothes. But he had done it. In spite of everything, he was somehow successful. With a mere 1 hit point remaining, he did it.

So I say, in complete bafflement: When did my players become awesome?
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Updated 05-19-2014 at 05:14 AM by Teksura

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  1. archmagi1's Avatar
    at the moment they even TRIED to tame the dragon. its always epic when the party wants to accomplish something so 'impossible' seeming. success or fail, they'll remember the event. the luck that he survived, makes it that much cooler.

    excellent story, and one of the best uses of a skill challenge i've seen.
  2. Aerthos's Avatar
    Ditto that. If you can get players to start thinking about crazy things. When they actually start trying them... then everyone is having a good time, no matter how it turns out.
  3. Gunder's Avatar
  4. TheTallestDwarf's Avatar
    When it comes down to it, D&D becomes amazing when epic things are even tried. Whether using physics to crush skeletons, riding a blind dragon, or swimming in magma.

    Epic is as epic does, it is better to die in a blaze of glory than it is to die in a dull manner.

    Die trying.
  5. Ao's Avatar
    That was some epic shit... 5 Stars! I put it on the front page.
    Updated 07-28-2010 at 01:02 AM by Ao