Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Moment Before the Dragon

As best I can guess, here is the position of the party:


First of all, Ahmet has the crossbow, as suggested.  He has a clear sight on the dragon.  He does not need to make a save vs. fear.  Though he does have the crossbow, the dragon is watching him and the others and initiative will still have to be rolled before the party can attack.  (when Ahmet stands up behind the sacks to fire, the dragon may attack first.

Everyone in the party except for Ahmet, Andrej and Frith will need to roll a d20 at the outset.  At the moment, the fact that you're not fighting is keeping those dwarves who already feel terror from simply running off (though the book says the "sight of the dragon" is enough, I'm willing to stretch that to the dragon appearing confrontation - which this dragon isn't, right now).

Andrej, Worter has agreed to throw flaming oil with you.  Worter cannot, at the moment, see the dragon, but Andrej can.  The dragons range at the moment will incur a -2 to hit.  A flask of oil's range is 1-3hexes (close), 4-6 hexes (medium) and 7-9 hexes (long).  I've put Janos behind Andrej.

The other dwarves are lined up to slide down the slopes to the dragon.  Remember that these are 12 foot high slopes, about 60 degrees, but they are covered in ice and you will slide easily.  Also remember that ALL movements on the blue level will demand a dexterity check, and failure indicates you've slipped and fallen.  You can throw anything 2 lbs. or less from a prone position on the ice, but you must take a round to stand up before you can attack with weapons.  It takes a round because it is sheer ice and as such it is slippery.  I will let you attack while laying on your back if the creature is directly above you.

Dragons have all sorts of attacks, so don't be certain you know everything there is to know about them.

For this post, I'll ask that you keep your "color" comments to a minimum, and keep to short sentences describing your exact actions and positions.  There's a lot of detail to be exact about.  Please continue to make casual comments on the previous post - I'll be watching both.  I suggest you do the same.

98 comments:

Lukas said...

(OOC: Your post appears lacking in title)

Lukas will mutter, "It appears to have an affinity to cold. I begin to wonder if it would be better to talk to it... Maybe we can get it to just leave?"

Andrej said...

Will Andrej be able to toss a flask of oil with Worter standing in his hex?

Alexis said...

Ah, thank you Lukas - fixed.

Alexis said...

Andrej, it's a good question.

Because you are not in melee, and you are not swinging weapons about, I will rule that yes, you can throw the flask with Worter standing in your hex.

Andrej said...

To Lukas: "If a score of mice came to your door bearing pins and flaming twigs, demanding that you leave... would you? Unless there is some lever you feel we could apply, I wouldn't know how to begin such a discussion. I'm willing to let somebody try, though."

Alexis said...

AHA!

The way to initiate a discussion would be to look at your cards.

What would a persuasion argument be? Would it be possible to jest with the dragon and get it to like you?

Would you be able to threaten it effectively?

Only by applying the cards would you be able to do that.

Lukas said...

"This keep will fall, regardless of our success or failure, and when it does this chamber WILL be discovered by an entire army. And I don't think Herr Hornung will be as amicable to previous residents."
Lukas replies, "If the fact that this castle is under such certain siege doesn't shake the beast, I don't know what will."

(OOC: I really want to make it clear, if this DOES work, there will probably only be treasure XP, so I really want to get OKed by everyone involved... Of coarse that's being extremely presumptuous.)

János said...

Alexis: to answer your question on the last post, I actually forgot to pick a third proficiency. I will do that now.

On another note, I don't believe that Janos was ever given a set of Conflict cards.

"I'm not sure talking'll do much good..."

Alexis said...

I haven't sat down and created a set for you yet, Janos. I shall try to make time for it.

Andrej said...

I say go for it, Lukas. I'm OK with treasure XP only. Alexis did mention glittering piles.

János said...

Otherwise, I'm fine with my position. I'll forgo taking any of the oil flasks, as I doubt I'll have a good opportunity to throw one.

If we wish to try and parlay with the dragon, though, I'm willing to see how it plays out.

Alexis said...

Remember. I have mentioned before that it is difficult to cause someone to surrender something they intrinsically believe in. DIALOGUE IS NOT A CHARM PERSON SPELL!

By this I mean that while A) you might convince the dragon to not attack you; B) you might convince the dragon to help you; C) you might convince the dragon to be your friend and even attack the enemy - you WON'T convince the dragon to simply abandon all its wealth in your favor.

Turn it around; would you accept a rule that worked in that manner against you? If the dragon said, "Hey, leave all your stuff behind and get out," then rolled 2 sixes on 2d6 and your characters had to do it? Of course not! Then don't expect the same in return.

Decide upon a REASONABLE argument or suggestion, presupposing that the opponent cannot be mind-fucked to believe whatever you want. It is like any other conversation that you have with your coworkers. You can't go up to the water cooler and say, "Hey buddy, I like you, can I own your house?"

It's a little frustrating that people playing D&D suddenly feel that once you've inserted a die roll into RPG, it becomes an automatic tool for mind control.

Alexis said...

Janos, without digging out images of the cards themselves (you can find them on my Same Universe wiki page), I can tell you that your cards include REASON, JEST, PERSUADE, BEAUTY and 2 FORTITUDE.

Alexis said...

Oh, BEFUDDLE also.

Lukas said...

You can look at my character page for the details until you get some images if you want.

Hrm, I'm seeing this as a chance to escape with their life, rather than as a give me all your wealth. But I can see how simply walking up to someone and telling them to give me their money wouldn't work. My goal would be to explain to them, that if they don't leave, they will die or be in a dire spot and forced to sacrifice anyhow.

If someone had a real army coming soon, and were the forwards force, and could persuade me into believing that I had to get out now or not at all, I probably would agree, then take everything I can carry and get out.

What are the parties thoughts on this?

Lukas said...

For now, I think perhaps asking questions cannot hurt eh? I shall give it a try.

Lukas clears his throat and steps forwards slightly ensuring he is in view of the dragon.

"Sir Dragon, I am Lukas. Are you aware this castle is under siege by an army?"

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Why didn't we just by-pass the dragon, if we're going to convince him to outside anyway? Wasn't the whole point to KILL IT so it couldn't attack Hornung's men?)

Lukas said...

If we persuade it to leave without attacking them, we could preserve resources is my thought. For now, perhaps it could be useful or interesting to know why the dragon is here.

Alexis said...

Being a dragon, "You haven't a chance, you'll die if you don't run" seems something you'd have to prove.

Before I get to the dragon's reaction - remember that if you want a conflict result, you must first describe the cards you are using, then make your statement. Note that some cards only modify other cards. You cannot use multiple Action cards together. The cards describe what is an action and what is a modifier.

The dragon will say, in clear tones, rather resounding within the icy chamber, "I AM AWARE, TINY MAN. AND YOU DO NOT LOOK LIKE A KOBALD TO ME. HAVE YOU KILLED MY LITTLE FRIENDS?"

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Or why not persuade it to stay? Our goal is to keep it from attacking Hornung (or us), correct? Convincing the dragon to simply stay here in its lair, I think, will be easier than convincing it to leave and abandon its treasure.)

Andrej said...

Ahmet raises a good point. Is our only motivation to keep it from attacking Hornung, though? Also, what guarantee would we have that its word will be kept. Plus, we murdered all of his friends.

Andrej said...

But keep going Lukas, see what you can do. We're in your hands for now.

Lukas said...

I am not using cards at present. Just talking, not trying to influence.

"We have, they chose to attack us on the way to our objective. We were forced to react in kind. I assume you aligned yourself with the bishop?"

Alexis said...

The dragon laughs, a deep, booming noise. "I ALIGN MYSELF WITH NO ONE," it booms. "I SERVE MYSELF!"

It then breathes out a large puff of frosty air, opens its jaws wide and says, "AND PERHAPS I SHOULD SERVE MYSELF ALL OF YOU!"

Now, at this point, do not make assumptions: but the dragon looks terrifying as it does this, and I will need Lukas and Janos to make saving throws.

Do not have your characters take any action until I hear back about those rolls (I'll roll for Janos if I don't hear from him quickly)

János said...

My first glorious roll of the game: 1

Lukas said...

D20: 9 (Didn't add anything, but I don't think I do.)

Andrej said...

You get a +1 to save from my previous blessing if this is a saving throw.

Andrej said...

Also a +1 per level of intoxication vs. fear.

Lukas said...

I was at moderate, so that would be what, 12?

János said...

"Looks like I picked a bad week to quit drinking..."

Andrej said...

Looks like it, Lukas

lol Janos

Alexis said...

I'm afraid both Janos and Lukas both fail their saving throws.

A surprising number of dwarves made their rolls, especially since it IS against magic, and they only get a +1 from Zoft's bless. Zoft, Erdina, Ganzor, Mega, Palt, Kushi, Batath and Ermeth all stand their ground.

Balther, Worter (with the oil and Andrej's torch), Aruth, Seth, Warth, Salth, Culf and Nerga ALL fail their saves and begin to flee, along with Lukas and Janos.

Klaas has clearly decided to redeem himself - he makes his save and stands his ground, too.

Those who have stood their ground realize that that dragon is JESTING. The only ones influenced are Mega and Ermeth - Andrej hears them both chuckle.

Alexis said...

Hm. Can anyone tell me if a 1st level mage needs a 12 to save vs. magic?

Andrej said...

Andrej is whipping out his cards

"I'm afraid my orcan blood makes me quite sour, most magnificent wyrm (jest). Of course we understand you would not prostrate yourself before some tiny human, but tell us... the bishop is your ally, yes? Perhaps your minion?"

Andrej is jesting, attempting to win the dragon over and get him to reveal some information.

Lukas said...

I'm guessing a +1 from Wis doesn't apply nor would make a difference?

Oh well. Let us tactically withdraw!

János said...

On the chance that things might go downhill from here: what happens to those of us that have fled if a battle breaks out? Are we simply too frightened to participate, or is there any possibility of us regaining our courage?

Alexis said...

The +1 from wisdom DOES apply! Does a 13 make it?

Alexis said...

You are simply too frightened to participate, Janos. The monster manual does not specify a time; effectively, until you gain a level, you won't have the strength of heart to fight this dragon.

But things seem to be going potentially in your favor (ie., skipping a long combat and moving onto the next thing).

Alexis said...

I will need 2d6, Andrej.

Andrej said...

MU save vs. spell is 12 exactly.

Alexis said...

So Lukas doesn't run.

Lukas said...

Thank god for alcohol.

Andrej said...

"Alchohol, the cause of and solution to all of life's problems."

2d6: 7

Lukas said...

Hiding his shaking knees Lukas shakes his head as the new guy runs off.

Andrej said...

FNG

János said...

Fear not; Janos will valiantly cover the rear.

(I feel I am off to an excellent start.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Plenty of time still to make your bones, Janos. It's not every first-level whose inaugural encounter is with a dragon.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: By the way, Lukas, didn't mean to butt in there. I thought you were halfway to Munster when I decided to speak up.)

Lukas said...

It's alright, we all have voices you know.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Janos, if you haven't read the story of my first played D&D game, you should. It is the very first post of this entire blog)

Andrej, the dragon seems uninfluenced, but not aggressive. "THE BISHOP IS MY RENT-LORD," says the dragon. "I CARE NOT FOR HIM, 'CEPT THAT HIS FALL MAY COST ME A MOST COMFORTABLE CAVE." The dragon shifts and lightly waves its wings, creating a rather lively and unpleasant breeze against the faces of Andrej and those behind him.

The dragon makes no attempt to influence at this time.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Rather, the first on the Tao of D&D blog)

János said...

(OOC: I have indeed read the story. I suppose I ought to be happy that Janos' affliction is far less permanent!)

Andrej said...

"I'm sure that despite whatever inconvenience we may cause, one such as yourself would not be compelled to fight the battles of tiny men, yes?"

"It is an impressive host that has been arrayed against the bishop. I'm afraid his time is short. Perhaps there is no reason to find a new cave, however, just a new rent-lord? Tell me, oh miserable lord of terror and frost... what lies beyond the great bound door in the kobald caves? "

Andrej said...

Forgot to add, Andrej is attempting persuasion above.

Andrej said...

Specifically, persuading him to stay put, not interfere in the battle and tell us what's coming next. If I may I will apply my piety card. Perhaps make obvious the outward trappings of my faith?

Alexis said...

I still need 2d6 when you attempt to influence or intimidate, Andrej.

Andrej said...

assuming piety is in effect, then:

2d6 (+2): 12

Alexis said...

Piety does add the bonus. The dragon is swayed. However, you tried to persuade the dragon in three different things, and the listener need only respond to one. In this case, the last thing would be the question of what is beyond the great door.

"THAT IS THE DWARF'S LAIR," says the dragon. "I QUITE LIKE THE DWARF - HE FEEDS ME A KOBALD NOW AND THEN, AND THEY MAKE A PLEASANT MEAL." It licks its lips, which is somewhat unnerving.

The dragon attempts to threaten you: "DO NOT HARM THE DWARF. I WOULD NOT LIKE IT."

The threat does not, however, have any influence on the party members.

Alexis said...

(OOC: this went well, but I am out of time for the day. Take care all.)

Ahmet said...

(OOC: We have plenty of corpses, if the dragon likes the taste of kobold!)

Andrej said...

"We can feed you kobalds. How many would you like?"

I may continue to persuade, yes?

Alexis said...

You may continue to persuade, but once you have used a card in a particular dialogue, you cannot use that card again. You don't need an actual card to convince anyone of anything ... the cards only represent a modifier on your dice.

I'm wondering how many times I shall have to remind you to roll 2d6 when attempting to influence or intimidate.

Andrej said...

We shall see the next time I attempt to intimidate or influence, I suppose. Above, I was asking the dragon a question, followed by a separate question to the DM. You have already answered without the need for rolling 2d6. Will the dragon do likewise? ;)

Alexis said...

The dragon is distrustful. "HOW SHALL I TRUST THE HAND THAT OFFERS TO FEED ME?" It eyes Andrej. "WHAT MAY YOU HAVE DONE TO THEM?"

Ahmet said...

(Whistling innocently)

Lukas said...

(OOC: Yeah my first impression was that offering food may not be the best alternative. Seeing as the last thing we need is it asking for one that's still alive and expecting we bring it...)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Fair enough)

"Only butchered them, I assure you. They are still quite fresh. Let us bring you as many as you can eat. We want to be friends and serve you in this as the dwarf does oh mortifying prince of malevolent ice!"

Persuade 2d6: 8

Alexis said...

The dragon will then reason with Andrej: "I CAN SMELL ALE, LITTLE PIG-PERSON ... AND I SUSPECT MORE THAN YOUR SMALL BODY CAN DRINK. BRING ME TEN BODIES AND TEN BARRELS AND WE SHALL HAVE A BARGAIN."

The dragon adds its beauty (it is quite magnificent) to its reason action, and gain a +2. It rolls a 13 against Andrej, a 12 against Lukas, an 8 for Ahmet and an 8 for Frith.

Now, at this point, this being a reasonable request, Andrej and Lukas are inclined to acquiesce; but Ahmet and Frith can talk them out of it, if they so choose.

Lukas said...

I personally don't see a problem with this. Shame we don't have a sleeping draught or poison. He didn't ask if the ale was tainted...

Ahmet said...

Ahmet consults with Andrej.

"We provide him with the kobolds and the ale, and he agrees to... what, exactly?"

Andrej said...

"I'm... I'm not sure, Ahmet. Let us collect the things he asks for and discuss it."

Moving away...

"The dragon has clearly taken my hints that he should remain here and not aid the bishop as part of the bargain. We should collect the things he has asked for hopefully the dwarves agree and we each give half of our respective takes in barrels. I will also cast a spell that can detect the dragon's general intent and before we pass over the payment, will put the question directly to him what he is promising in return. If all is well, we agree. If not... then what?"

Orders of business:

Do dwarves agree to give half? What do we do if Andrej detects duplicity from the dragon via Know Intent

Ahmet said...

"We will hand over 10 barrels of ale and 10 kobold corpses in exchange for the dragon remaining here until he negotiates an agreement with his new rent-lord."

(OOC: I feel compelled to point out, as a long-time Shadowrun player, that one of the three tenets of the game was "Never deal with a dragon.")

Alexis said...

What should happen would be that either Lukas or Andrej should try to convince Frith to hand over the ale (since Frith wasn't convinced by the dragon's argument). Lukas has a pretty strong reason card; if he rolls 2d6 and adds whatever modifiers he can to the Reason action, he has a good chance of convincing Frith. Ahmet, being a player character, must be convinced the old fashioned way.

Alexis said...

Regarding hints and what the dragon understands, you might want to state clearly (one more time) to the dragon what you hope to gain in trade for the barrels. I should tell you the ale is worth something like 120 g.p. per barrel. Not that it matters.

Lukas said...

I will likely reason with the dwarves when that point comes up, but can I confirm that the terms as I understand them? Or am I alright with the unspoken terms?

Andrej said...

Restating to the dragon what the deal is with the help of a Know Intent Spell is in the plan. I didn't just restate it then because I wanted Andrej to step away and cast the spell to avoid it being seen as a hostile action.

If Hornung doesn't later deal with the dragon then it will likely come to blows and the barrels will be treasure for the army once again. We miss out, sure, but I'm OK paying 150 gp to both avoid fighting this thing but ensuring it doesn't attack the Army.

Lukas, why don't you deal with Frith since I got to handle the dragon.

Ahmet, you're on board, yes?

Andrej said...

Andrej can step away now to cast and return to put the question to the dragon. All agree?

Ahmet said...

Aye!

Andrej said...

I don't forsee any real objections so Andrej will go ahead in the interest of time and momentum.

Andrej steps back a discreet distance and since he will be concentrating on the spell asks one of his party to state clearly the deal to the dragon: In exchange for 10 barrels of ale and 10 kobalds the dragon swears to remain in the cave during the duration of the current siege. Furthermore to hinder not Hornung or his force (including us) in any way nor to aid the Archbishop of Manz, etc... in any way. At the conclusion of the siege and battle he is free to act or negotiate whatever terms he likes with his rent-lord.

Andrej casts Know Intent and focuses on the dragon when the above terms are put to him. Is his intent to follow the word & spirit of the agreement? Does he plan betrayal or some subterfuge?

Alexis said...

Hooray. I love the Know Intent spell.

The dragon intends to keep the bargain, so far as doing no harm to others. After he laps up the ale and chews up the kobalds, it intends to frost itself into its lair and sleep.

Alexis said...

If we can assume this information is relayed to Frith, he has no objections to leaving the dragon alone, and he will order his dwarves to accept it. After all, they don't expect that ten barrels (about 1,200 g.p.) will make much difference to their overall take. He orders his men to police ten kobald bodies and bring them down to the dragon's lair.

The dragon will make it clear that he does not care if the barrels split; the liquid will sit upon the top of the ice and he will drink it from there.

Andrej said...

Let us consider it all said and done then and move on to the closed, unlocked door?

(OOC: If I can manage to cast Hold Person today I will have, for the first time ever, exhausted every spell in my inventory.)

Alexis said...

I would like some consideration.

Not fighting the dragon? Disappointment?

Ahmet said...

Ahmet would disagree, but I liked using our wits instead of our swords in this case. We may have slain the dragon, eventually, but I'm sure it would have been at quite a cost. I think the most likely outcome would have been we do a bit of damage, the dragon breathes frost and takes out a third of the party, we rally and do a bit more damage, the dragon leisurely kills off another one or two, and then grows bored and flies off to join the battle outside.

I'm focused on the larger picture, killing off the Bishop, and we'll need to conserve our resources if we're going to do that.

Andrej said...

Not from me. While a white dragon in first ed. AD&D is comparatively weak (as written) when compared to other editions and types, I still thought it rather likely one or more of the party were not going to make it out of a combat encounter given a number of factors: Terrain; effects of fear; damage from bulk; hit points from mass; its wily nature as interpreted by this DM.

Maybe if we were fresher and had the jump on it I'd have felt better, but we're depleted. It seemed like we had to at least engage the thing or find some other way to take it out of the equation. I'm glad Lukas spoke up when he did.

Alexis said...

I understand the temptation some DMs have at this point to give the party experience; the problem is solved; the dragon is neutralized, at least as near as you can tell; the party has avoided some probable death or certain depleting of resources ... it looks very much like the party ought to be rewarded. I'm not immune to that temptation.

But apart from an argument I made once about all this not increasing a character's fighting skills, which experience does, I'd like to offer a metaphor. When you DON'T steal something that is there, and can easily be taken, there is no tangible "reward." There's the real sense that your self-respect is retained, that you haven't left yourself open for consequences and the like ... but you don't materially gain from that kind of choice. The only gain is that you don't lose.

Sorry. I just wanted to throw out a few thoughts that were in my head. I hoped from the beginning the party might notice the dragon wasn't aggressive, that it had a live-and-let-live attitude (otherwise it could have breathed the whole chamber as the party was organizing itself), and that a negotiation was possible. Also, as written white dragons are "evil" ... I'm glad the party seems to have understood that the books don't define these monsters absolutely. But the ghost must have gotten that across ages ago.

János said...

I can't really say I object. All's well that ends well, eh? (And personally speaking, it probably wouldn't have been the most entertaining way to start off this game by watching the rest of the party fight a dragon—not that I'm complaining about anything, except perhaps my ill-fated d20.)

Alexis said...

But kudos to you, Janos, for playing the 1 as rolled. These moments of honesty from the players, online, where the dice can't be seen, are truly heartening for an old cynical DM like me.

Andrej said...

I'm completely on-board with your views on it. XP is earned one of two ways. Our reward for the dragon encounter is living to earn more XP in the next encounter.

Now let's see about that dwarf, shall we? I still have a Hold Person spell to expend, after-all.

Ahmet said...

Yes, speaking of honesty, it's time to kill the Dragon's best friend :)

János said...

Heh, no problem, Alexis.

Janos is ready to go deal with this mysterious dwarf when everyone else is.

Alexis said...

I'll start the new post in front of the door when I am able tomorrow morning.

Be well this day my friends.

Andrej said...

and you as well. take it easy gents.

Ahmet said...

Janos, just to catch you up, Ahmet and Lukas encountered this Dwarf, if it's the same one I'm thinking it is, but we did not fight him. We slew a giant mink (which was much tougher than it sounds), then hid when he and another giant mink came out to investigate. Eventually, they left and we skedaddled. He looked like a tough customer.

Looking forward to tomorrow!

János said...

Do we have any inkling of what his relationship might be with the Archbishop and his forces? Unless he's on good terms with them, I can't imagine he'd be too keen on opposing us.

Ahmet said...

I would guess he's a mid-level henchman of his excellency.

Lukas said...

I have regrets only for not getting a pile of shiny pretties under the ice. But, as I said, we were likely going to lose a good deal of resources, and keeping the dragon from following us was probably a good idea.

Yeah I kind of pulled that non-hostile vibe and decided it might be an idea to see what we could do with it. I wonder how Hornung will react...

Alexis said...

The next post is up.