[dragonraid] RE: Dragon Battle

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From: "Joe Revesz" <jrevesz@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 07:19:51 -0400
David Cole wrote:

> On the passage:
> It certainly makes dragon battle seem more interesting with the
> description
> and such.  However, the numerical descriptions of pride damage screws a
> little bit with the fantasy immersion.  I might edit it so that,
> after each
> section or round of battle, the number crunching and game-mechanics
> explanation is presented.  Instead of saying "The dragon winces again it
> takes the five points of Pride
> Factor damage from this WordRune", one might write, "The dragon
> winces again
> as it feels the WordRune wound its pride.  [The WordRune deals
> five points
> of damage to the dragon's pride factor.]"  Of course, that's a very rough
> idea, but I think I've made my point.

Good.  The whole idea is to provide both a descriptive narrative of a dragon
battle, and the numbers to go with it.  So one way or another, I have to
work in the numbers, the narrative is not enough.

> Also, I noticed that the battle seems to be split into two distinctive
> parts-- spiritual first, and then physical, once the dragon
> decides to kill
> the LRs.  Will this be reflected in the actual game mechanics?

That is the plan.  All dragon encounters start off with Mind Speech, then
digresses to hack and slash.  The current rules muddy the situation with the
Attach Charts on AMM page 66 which make the encounter see-saw back and forth
between physical and spiritual combat.  I would rather that the encounter
starts off with spiritual combat, then go to physical.  Then, there will be
the possibility of the dragon flying off before starting the physical
portion of combat.  So, like encounters with other dark creatures, players
may be able to avoid physical combat.

> It's
> something that I've kinda been planning on doing in my own game-- get all
> the hard thinking out of the way first  (weakening the party, if all goes
> well for the dragon), and then give the players non-stop, overt
> excitement.
> I suppose that this would depend on the AM's wishes, however.


> Other questions:
> I've been wondering if a die roll might be added to both sides when the
> dragon uses its fire breath.  If the dragon rolls one die and
> adds it to its
> "Fire Factor" (I apologize but I can't remember the actual game term)

Fire Attack Ability, but that is easy to remember when I have the book open
in front of me ;-)

> and
> the LRs roll a SINGLE die to add to their combined SF, it would make it a
> little more random.  One of the things that always irked me about
> the dragon
> battles is that if you are fighting a dragon and your party is well
> organized, you will always win or lose on a fire-breathing round
> by the same
> amount.

No matter how organized a group is, they can't stay all clumped together
forever.  If they try, they probably will not be able to hurt the dragon
much because some of them cannot get close enough to use melee weapons to do
StarLot damage instead of missile weapons that only do 1-5.

Let me explain a bit.  The best defensive formation against dragon fire is
to have four LightRaiders in a 2 x 2 block on the Battle Grid.  This way,
all of their Shields of Faith can be combined to reduce the Fire Attack
Ability, especially since the most concentrated fire spreads out over ten

Now, if the group has more than four people, say five, someone will be left
out of the fire attack area so that their SF will not be combined.  And
depending on where the LR is standing, and if the dragon is smart, it will
aim at that LR.  Then, only three LRs can combine their SFs to reduce the
fire attack.

Those LRs in the back rank have to use missile weapons to attack the dragon.
According to the rules, they cannot fire through their friends in front of
them. (If the LR in front is also using a missile weapon like a crossbow,
then he can kneel and provide room for the LR behind to fire over his head.)

But, once the LRs have run out of things to throw at the dragon they will
have to break their defensive formation to attack the dragon with swords and
such.  The dragon can then easily pick them off one or two at a time with

Six LRs can be in a 2 x 3 formation and totally protect the two LRs at the
rear.  This minimizes the group's attack ability since those at the rear
will not be able to fire through two ranks of their friends.

A 3 x 2 formation will work when the fire attack covers a 15 foot wide area,
a 4 x 2 for 20 foot wide attacks, and so on.

***This all assumes the AM will manipulate the die rolls on the Attack Chart
for the dragon.

Oh, and by the way, a smart (or merciless) AM will have the dragon use its
Breath and Smoke weapons before Fire since they have the ability to enchant
or incapacitate individuals and reduce the effectiveness of the RaidTeam.

> Now, I know it's not likely that a dragon would use fire breath
> more than two or maybe three times in a battle, but adding the roll of a
> single die brings more excitement and suspense than a mechanics-oriented
> gamer, like myself, doing the number crunching before the battle and
> realizing that as long as the team sticks together, the dragon's
> firebreath
> is basically a wasted turn on its part.  I think that the die rolls are
> especially important once you get a large RaidTeam together--
> maybe a very
> powerful dragon would roll 2SSt (or 3!)instead of one.  This
> would even out
> the discrepancy between an Elder dragon and, say, a RaidTeam of 6 people
> with an average SF of 6.  Of course, the Team would also get a
> single die to
> roll, perhaps saving the skins of a small, fledgling team (or,
> alternatively, burning them to a crisp.)

Again, only four of those LRs can combine their SFs, not all six.

I don't think that the extra die is needed for both sides, especially since
the dragon will only get a max of 8, and the LRs a max of 10.  Unfair!
(Just like a lot of other advantages that LRs get.)  Just add the Shadow
Stone roll to the dragon's Fire Attack Ability so that the LRs do not know
just how strong the attack can be.

> On the other hand....


> Perhaps the AMM could instruct the AM that the dragon is most
> effective in
> using its fire breath when the LRs are divided (so that only 1 or 2 could
> defend against the fire when he breathes it.)

Which is what this narrative is basically for.  But, do we have to spell out
every tactic that the dragon can use?

> This could lead to some
> interesting tactical maneuvers, with the dragon trying to split
> the RaidTeam
> in order to incinerate them one at a time, and the RaidTeam
> trying to stick
> together.  After all, if an SF 6 LR gets flamed by a Mature Firedrake, he
> probably won't be much more than charcoal briquettes once the
> dragon closes
> his mouth.


> Perhaps give dragons another move, where they can fly
> into the
> air (taking one turn), move near the team (may take between 0 and
> infinite
> turns, depending on distance *grin*), and drop onto the ground,
> shaking it
> and causing anyone who fails an AG roll at a certain difficulty
> level to fly
> away from the dragon for a certain number of spaces?

Dragons are too big and bulky to move that fast.

Add another dragon to the fight instead.

> Sure, this may mean
> the dragon is surrounded, but hey, it'll be a lot easier to catch
> just one
> or two LRs with the fireballs, and it eliminates the necessity of a die
> roll.  But I think I'm rambling now... oh well.  This is a forum,
> isn't it?


Phew!  Any questions?

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