Totally Not GG
THE DRAGON IS DEAD
Preliminary Encounter with Blue Dragon
If Dragon is Dead, see E04 for the Bullette encounter
If Dragon and Bullette are both dead, the PCs can move through this square unimpeded.
Scout by Ground or Air: The previously mountainous terrain seems to be becoming much rougher in this area as several of the larger hills intersect and begin sloping upwards to the snow capped peak of a tremendous mountain towering over all the others. There is a clear, if steep, trail cut in the side of the mountain that will allow you passage upwards. (DC 10 Kn: Nature) The rock here has shifted from sedimentery to igneous, indicating that the large mountain ahead of you may have once been a volcano – perhaps the top of the mountain contains a caldera . (DC 15 Perception) You can see a large river flowing down its side over a series of waterfalls from the glacial melt that crowns the mountaintops. (DC 15 Kn: Nature) Based on the parts of the peak that you can see, however, there is far more water running down the river than the snow melt alone would account for. (DC 33 Perception) A glint of yellow and blue in the distance freezes your blood cold… there is no doubt in your mind that this mountain is the home of a powerful blue dragon. Moreover, there is no doubt in your mind that it saw YOU, as it immediately vanishes from sight, invisible.
As you begin the hike up the large mountain that marks the edge of the Gambit’s boundaries, you are taken aback by the beauty of the landscape below you, and how it only grows in majesty the further up you travel. The winding path zigzags back and forth across itself, then breaks away to cross between a rocky river gorge spanned by a solid looking 50ft long rope bridge (DC 15 Kn: Engineering confirms that the bridge is sturdily built – horses can be safely ridden across it). After crossing the bridge (or directly before it, if the PCs are unappreciative of natural beauty in favor of metagaming paranoia of a 200ft drop), they are given a public Perception check to act in the surprise round as not one, but two blue dragons crash down on either sides of the party, effectively blocking them in from the middle of the bridge and about 50ft down from the party’s position. The illusory dragon is the one that isn’t attacked first – the dragon’s incredible intelligence allows it to predict which version of itself the PCs will find most threatening.
Surprise Round: The dragon lands on the ground and casts Major Image just as its Vanish spell runs out. Have PCs roll a save for the dragon’s Frightful Presence. PCs may also roll Knowledge: Arcana at a DC of 23 to identify the creature as a Blue Dragon and to know what types of powers they are known for.
Give the PCs an opportunity to make a Perception check (free action) to look for cover or escape. A DC 10 allows the PC to survey all the relevant cover from burst attacks in the area, including the pilings of the bridge and a series of large rocks. A DC 15 reveals that there is better cover on the side of the bridge blocked off to the PCs by one of the Dragons. DC 20 reveals a ledge about 40ft down and 10ft off from the edge of the bridge (whichever side the PCs are actually on) – it can probably be reached with a decent Acrobatics check, but the drop will hurt a little. A DC 25 check reveals a more efficient path to the escape route cave that requires the character to slide down a rough slope dealing 1d6 slashing damage instead of the 4d6 falling damage.
The DM should also secretly roll a DC 28 Sense Motive for the characters to realize that they are being herded into this cave.
Remind flight capable PCs that doing an aerial tango with a dragon is going to end poorly for him… this is just simple good advice that everyone knows.
If a PC says out loud that he hypothesizes that one or both of the dragons are illusions, the two dragons both breath a line of blinding Electricity at each other in a fluid synchronized motion such that none of the PCs in the line can tell which dragon it came from (the breath enhanced by the Major Image to look and feel confusing). If the PCs believe they are facing two dragons, the real one will breath electricity while the illusory other scrambles along the thin mountain trail, knocking rocks and gravel aside as it moves to melee with the highest AC member of the party and “oooh… just BARELY misses you.”
Regardless of the PCs offensive actions, the two dragons take wing on the second round, diving off of the cliff and swooping upwards to gain altitude and casting Vanish on himself and his illusion.