The heroes found their own way to the halls. As night was near, they decided to camp in front of the halls to explore them when daylight come.
But our fearless DM had a fumble in store… but for whom?
To my amazement, the heroes – without prompting from wizard dad – decided to camp the night out and take turns keeping guard.
The last guard heard some noises and quickly and silently awoke the rest of his group.
They followed a Kobold sentry all the way to the entrance of the Kobold Halls.
Let us take a break from the narrative to relate a playtesting story.
When I playtested this room, the group nearly got wiped. Man, these kobolds are tough. I’ll make sure to roll behind my DM screen to help the kids out when we play it for real.
I also had a nagging feeling in the back of my head that the kids would strategize less and just run into the Kobolds and beat them to a pulp before they become a nuisance – something that experienced player seem to do less.
I won’t do a play-by-play of the fight.
Suffice it to say that I forgot everything about Kobold tactics. I just remembered the « ambush » part and I had one Kobold try to get the players to come in the room and be mugged by multiple Kobolds.
But the melee players held back and the ranged fighters took out the kobold before he had time to do anything worth anything.
And my players advanced cautiously.
And, for some reason, the kobolds only came at them in pairs. DM fumble and wiped… his party of kobolds.
So they made short work of that and the kobolds did not get a chance to use they flanking and mob strategies.
So I did the best thing I thought. The remaining kobolds fled through a secret door I just invented outside of the player’s sight. The players just saw them leave through the room in the back and heard the chief’s kids scream – to let the players know they were on the right track.
Now, at this point, the kids have been playing for roughly 1hour and a half (excluding rules explanation). So I thought, I’ll give them a small boss fight and end this here. I was ready to put in some tougher kobolds in the back of the room.
But I looked at my players. They were still focused and engaged. I thought – lets give them epic. Let’s jump to the last room and give them an epic fight against a… dragon! After all – the game is called dungeon and dragon! They’ve seen dungeons, its only fair they see a dragon.
So, being wise enough to figure out that the kobolds didn’t just vanish, they managed to find a secret door and go downstairs to… room #2.
Room #2 is the altar room with the caskets and traps everywhere. Let us forget the traps. There are the chief’s kids tied to the bloodied altar. There are two badly wounded kobolds – the dragonborn hero has been holding his fire and I wanted him to have multiple kills with his breath weapon… and … a big green frost dragon. He was green because that’s the mini I have. It still is a frost dragon because I never planned on fighting a dragon and didn’t prepare stats for a level 3 solo green dragon.
And here, again, ChattyDM’s « let them run the story » rule made this section magical.
The heroes rushed the dragon – who seemed impervious to harm (with its 232 hit points!).
In the meantime, the rogue and warrior-princess went straight for the kids and bee-lined for the second set of stairs, presuming that they would lead to the flight of stairs they had seen in the previous room.
The dragon resisted the heroes’ attacks, while the wizard and the dragonborn burned the remaining kobolds.
The dragon ignored the heroes when he noticed that his « lunch » was about to escape him.
This is when I noticed that the stairway was too small for the dragon to follow throug. I started wondering how he even got in that room. That’s what I get for just deciding to put the dragon three rooms in advance 🙂
Ignoring the dragon, Adrielle and Brand escaped through the stairs. Since they wanted the next room to be the first room, I gave them just that.
But they were blocked by a gate. Adrielle used her strength to bend the bars and Brand escaped with the children.
Meanwhile, the dragon was clawing and spitting and biting at our heroes who were starting to think that they were not having any effect on the dragon.
One of the players mentioned that if the dragon was hurt, he should be starting to loose his armor or scales or something. Probably referring to some video game.
Basically, my narrative was not encouraging them – they didn’t see that they were having an effect on the dragon. And I wanted them to beat the dragon. But I didn’t want to just dumb the dragon down too much.
Taking hints from my players, the dragon started sweating, loosing scales and teeth. They were having as much fun trying to get the dragon naked as they had trying to neutralize him.
Still, they managed to get the dragon bloodied – so he spat his icy breath on them. And kept on clawing, biting and doing all sorts of dragony stuff.
(Now my player’s dads and moms were arriving at the house to pick them up – the game was supposed to be over an hour ago and my players all negotiated extensions to their game time with the powers that be).
The dragon, being non-stupid, saw that the combat was not going its way and the heroes freed his lunch anyway. So I decided to have it flee… through a hole in the ceiling… that didn’t just bring him in the room just above – suspend your disbelief.
As I was doing this, I though : ‘what a lame way to end an epic experience!’
All range-enabled heroes started firing at the dragon. I hoped someone would hit it (they figured the dragon’s AC by now) – I could have its wing broken and he could fall down.
But they missed.
So I decided that the dragon just grew a bit weaker and couldn’t fly as fast, giving them the opportunity to manage to bring it down and beat it to an inch of its life.
The rogue arrived, running down the stairs to help his friends after having freed the kids. He stepped in the room and threw a shuriken at the dragon.
And felled the beast.
Treasure was found with no interest from the heroes – I failed to mention that the heroes gain experience, levels, skills and can use the weapons on another game, should they choose to play again.
But who cares? the dragon was beat. The children saved. And their parents were waiting.
Within a few minutes I was alone with birthday boy and his dad.
« I kinda liked that », said birthday boy. « Maybe we’ll play again some day? »
DM get 1000XP and gains a level.