On the killing of dragons (spoilers for book 2)


Reign of Winter

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You're looking at this wrong.

The party doesn't have to kill the dragon. Doesn't have to go anywhere near it's tower. Or help Solveig & her revolutionaries in any way.
All they have to do is be 6th lv & get into the woods surrounding the hut.

The character that does have a vested interest in killing the dragon, entering it's lair, & setting off the revolution? Solvieg.
1) To get the revolution started.
2) Now it's personal - Logrovich has abducted her friend Bella. Let this be the factor that finally spurs real action.

So....
Let the PCs fart about doing whatever they like in Whitethrone.
When you get tired of running Whitethrone stuff? Have Solvieg & a cohort launch the attack on Logrovich themselves. And have the rest of the revolutionaries rise up throughout the city. Have the resulting chaos draw off enough of the Winter Guard to allow the PCs a chance to slip or fight their way into the woods.
Of course the PCs won't know what's happened, just that now they're caught up in the chaos of a civil war.
If they're smart they'll recognize that this is their chance & can fight their way through the streets and into the next section of the module.

And if you still want a dragon fight? That's fine. Logrovich (maybe a bit wounded) can show up to help Nahzeena once the PCs reach her.


Oh, absolutely. I'm all for them finding an alternative way to the hut. So far they haven't come up with one, other than "ask nicely", to which the Winter Guard replied, "Uh, no".

If they faff around too much, the revolution will definitely start without them, and the Winter Guard presence around the marketplace will drop, giving them a chance. How it goes from there is up to them. If they're stupid, they'll get Logrovich's attention. If they're smart they'll skip straight past to the forest.


As for starting the revolution, I'm thinking of it going like this:

- It's well known that previous daughters who rebelled against Baba Yaga didn't fare well - the legends often include the words "and her entire family" - so many anticipate the same thing happening to the Jadwiga Elvanna, opening up a chance for the Jadwiga Yelizaveta to regain the positions of power they were shoved out of a century ago.

- The Jadwiga are a mixture of eager and nervous. Wherever their loyalties lie, many are looking for a safe place to hide when it all kicks off.

- The Heralds know that there are plenty of groups in Whitethrone who'd be happy to see the Winter Guard gone and Elvanna deposed - including some factions in the Winter Guard who were former Iron Guard. But each of those groups is unwilling to act alone, and are sufficiently distrustful of each other to make coordinating an attack dangerous. So a large symbolic victory - such as killing Logrovich - is the best way to kick things off.

- First the Heralds try to get the party to kill the dragon. Since the party weren't eager to do that, they sent another group instead. They failed.

- Before they died, word got out about Bella, who Solvieg thought was dead. She now has a personal reason, and will probably volunteer to be in the next group to try if there is one.

- The Heralds' next plan is to assassinate one or more high-ranking Jadwiga Elvanna in order to weaken their power base. They happen to do this while the PCs are nearby. Some of them might even get arrested in the confusion.

- Logrovich is flying around, ready to go to town on any open rebels he sees, leading to a very messy guerrilla war in the streets, alleys and bedrooms of Whitethrone.


Success! Or at least positive steps.

I told them how, since they didn't do the job, the Heralds sent somebody else to fight the dragon. This team of heroes hasn't been heard from again, and so presumably died. The guard have been on high alert since.

They've now settled on the idea of talking to the dragon and seeing if they can either persuade it to change sides, or convince it that the guard surrounding the Marketplace are in fact rebels ... or something. Either way, they're headed for the tower next session.

The Heralds will be helping by providing a distraction to draw guards away from the tower, making it easier for them to either sneak or fight their way in.

So. They might be marching to their deaths, but at least they're going the right way now!


They haven't yet caught on to Solveig's connection to the captive Bella, though I dropped lots of hints that she was visibly shaken by the events. If they don't get it out of her - and possibly if they do - they'll find Solveig trying to slip into the tower behind them so she can rescue Bella herself.

She'll be alone. The rest of the Heralds only care for valuable assets; a musician doesn't help their cause in any way.


I don't suppose they like or care enough about Sollveig that giving her a noble / dramatic / tragic death would move them at all.

Still, moving in the right direction is good.

Doug M.


Probably not, though it is at least a personal connection that lets me work plot in better than it would with Faceless Civilian 3.

I have very little idea what's going to happen in the tower. It depends entirely on their approach.

One way or another, the revolution is starting soon. The PCs can be part of it, or just bystanders caught up in it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

When Logrivich is defeated, do not forget to have the revolutionaries brag about all the treasure they found, so that the players know what they have missed.


Luna eladrin wrote:
When Logrivich is defeated, do not forget to have the revolutionaries brag about all the treasure they found, so that the players know what they have missed.

Ha! I doubt the party will stay in town long enough to chat.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Well, they have to liberate the hut first before they can leave.


Okay, this game got delayed for a while because of real life, but has now resumed.

They've now climbed the tower (mostly by stealth, so its hazards and guards are still present), opened the door to Bella's cell (but have not told her they're there to rescue her, for some reason, preferring to pose as officially approved something or other), and are about to confront the dragon...

I still don't know what their approach is going to be or what's going to happen. Neither do they.

Grand Lodge

Yikes, with that approach, I sure hope the whole tower doesn't come to help the dragon once they engage it! And even if they don't react then, they surely will when the dragon is dead and it's time to leave.

If I were the GM in this case, I would have troops waiting outside below the tower and also guarding the exit/entrance to the dragon's lair.


The clock tower IS incredibly noisy, so it's possible to have the confrontation with the dragon without drawing attention from below. (Unless they have a gunslinger or some other thing that's also incredibly noisy.)

Huh. Did the party look around the tower enough to figure out that the witch has been feeding the trolls children?


Nope, they haven't seen any of that stuff. They skipped straight past the second floor.

They did stealthily decapitate the two trolls in bed, and that's about to be discovered... cue much shouting and running around.


This could still turn into a TPK, if they play it badly. That's the game: you need real hazard for there to be real victory.

Since they were prevaricating, a few days ago (in game) I had their contact with the Heralds tell them that they'd sent a different team of warriors up the tower to try and kill Logrovich, and none of them returned. I backed this up by mentioning bloodstains on the stairs up. So the party are certainly aware of the fact that this is supposed to be a dangerous situation.


Okay, so... they managed to talk the dragon into leaving town.

Seriously! Through a combination of:


  • Clever thinking: they noticed that the dragon appreciates music, but the clock tower is really noisy, so there's got to be a better place for him to appreciate it.
  • Roleplaying: the kobold's player really threw himself into the obsequious worship role, and they all took the time to sing, play music and dance for him. None rolled as well as Bella, who they'd dragged up there.
  • Logrovich being arrogant and self-centred enough to believe at least some of the glorious praise being heaped on him (because the kobold, at least, really did mean it!)
  • Utter bastardy: they cheerfully offered Bella to go with him as the dragon's guide to all the best places in the world to appreciate music. She was not particularly pleased to hear this, but the dragon intimidated her into going along quietly.
  • Complete lies: the kobold made a very good role when bluffing that they'd take care of making arrangements to have the dragon's hoard shipped to his new home.
  • Logrovich being actually quite thick (Int 8 by the book), and not realising that Taldor is in fact a really long way away.

End result: Logrovich simply picked up Bella flew off. (I'd adjusted him to be 'large', because a medium-sized dragon isn't nearly as impressive).

I don't think I made it too easy for them to achieve this, but as GM I wanted to respect that they were trying a creative approach and not just automatically launch into violence whatever they did. Logrovich was ready for a fight at any second (and they noticed that with a sense motive check on his body language), but it didn't come to that. It took the whole session and the party working together (not including one player who fell asleep), but they achieved it.

They still have a tower full of angry trolls and other things to deal with, and the Winter Guard are starting to return. The longer they take, the more guards will arrive. Currently the party meat shield is sitting on the trap door. It's going to be one hell of a fight, but creative use of the open wall and ice shelf might help them avoid too much of it - at the cost of not looting the tower or rescuing anyone from it - but since they skipped most of the first floor and all of the second floor on their way up here, they don't actually know there's anybody to rescue.

At some point, of course, the dragon is going to fly back to Whitethrone, angry as the north wind - probably as soon as Bella manages to escape. But the party will be on another continent by then, unless they hang around town for some reason.

Solveig is going to be so mad when she finds out...


Next steps: the Heralds didn't honestly expect their plan to work, so they will have had contingencies for when the party either died or killed the dragon or both. These plans will involve storming the tower behind them. They'll have been quite surprised to see the dragon just flying away.

What that means, though, is that I can have Solveig and some other Herald fighters pitch in to help them get away from the tower - and I can therefore add proportionately more guards to the fight and make it a proper battle right in the middle of the Bone Road, with the PCs making the difference. Why simply tell them about a revolution when I can show them a revolution?


Your party are terrible people, and that's pretty great.


They are. They really are. And I love them for it. :D


That was some really impressive out-of-the-box thinking on their part...


I can't see the Jadwiga forgiving such a brazen dereliction of duty, even from a dragon.


Well done. That sounds like a fun and memorable session. How many adventurers can say they survived a dragon encounter through... SHOWBIZZZ~!?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I do admire the solution (albeit it is a very evil one)

One mechanical suggestion that a previous party noticed - if you kill (and I mean used fire really killed) large trolls they can easily start to pile up and make it rather difficult for more people to get up various stairs and doorways in the tower... so even if all the guards and more try to come up they may get bottlenecked by a smart party - not least by the corpses... sure, not a permanent solution - but the party may be able to buy themselves enough time via smart use of choke points.

In any case as GM I agree with your approach - let the party find a solution that is in keeping with the party - even if it isn't necessarily the "good" solution - and Reign of Winter is definitely an AP that can accommodate non-good parties quite well (as my current group is discovering - they are largely all neutral with one exception - and that tension does lead to some roleplaying situations...


Rycaut wrote:
if you kill (and I mean used fire really killed) large trolls they can easily start to pile up and make it rather difficult for more people to get up various stairs and doorways in the tower... so even if all the guards and more try to come up they may get bottlenecked by a smart party - not least by the corpses...

That's worth remembering for the upcoming fight - whether they do it deliberately or just find that the stairs they were planning to use are now full of troll and less accessible than before. Whoever tries to cross the stairs will have to squeeze through difficult terrain and find themselves at a substantial disadvantage on the other side.

The floors are made of wood. How hard would it be to hack through them, given warhammers and battle axes?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

This was great fun to read and I like the solution your players came up with. However, did Solveig not have a relationship with Bella? She won't be pleased.
Which is worse? An angry dragon or angry Solveig? :-)


They may find use for those Diplomacy rolls yet. In the middle of a battle, if possible.


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Quote:


"Come, Bella! Let us fly!"
With this, the dragon picks her up and leaps off the platform. You can hear her screaming right across the city.


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They just met the three seductively friendly fey women in the marketplace-forest. Two of the party were quickly charmed (and are roleplaying it pretty well). The wine is flowing, and song is starting to join it.

Wizard: "I cast... mad monkeys!"

Me: "......... what?"

Wizard: "It summons a swarm of monkeys. They make lots of noise, smash all the bottles, and just ruin the mood."

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
sadie wrote:

They just met the three seductively friendly fey women in the marketplace-forest. Two of the party were quickly charmed (and are roleplaying it pretty well). The wine is flowing, and song is starting to join it.

Wizard: "I cast... mad monkeys!"

Me: "......... what?"

Wizard: "It summons a swarm of monkeys. They make lots of noise, smash all the bottles, and just ruin the mood."

That is wonderful!

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