breath weapon damage... really basic questions

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

hello all:

A black dragon has acid breath, whose area of effect is a
ray, 60 ft long. It does 6d4 damage.

a) is that 6d4 total damage? or 6d4 to each creature that doesn't
save? That is, if there are 6, characters in the AOE, and 6d4 comes
up 12, is the damage a) 2 points each, or b) 12 points each?

We've been playing (b); but the pcs in the introductory, boxed set
adventure
were creamed by the black dragon. The pcs had gotten to second level,
and we replayed the scenario a couple of times; each time the dragon
munched the pcs pretty severely.

b) When determining what squares lie in the aoe, I'm thinking you
draw a line emanating from the dragon's square for 60 feet. And then,
every square the line touches is affected by the attack... is that
true?

thanks in advance
david
18 answers Last reply
More about breath weapon damage basic questions
  1. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    A Ray? The standard for a Black Dragon is a Line effect. Maybe you
    misread / misremembered it?

    Anyway, assuming it is a Line effect then you are doing it correctly.

    The fact that it does 6d4 would make it a Young one (if it's standard)
    which is CR 6. That's really tough for a 2nd level party and it isn't
    that surprising that it took everyone out.

    I don't know anything about this particular scenario - is there no way
    to avoid the fight?

    Are your PCs below average standard (e.g. less than average party
    wealth), or were they out of spells, etc. for the day?

    Maybe you players are all inexperienced? That can obviously make a big
    difference.
  2. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Whoops, I mean CR5.
  3. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    The OP said something about playing a prepackaged adventure from an
    introductory boxed set. Not familiar with this, maybe the OP could
    explain more what it is that he's looking at?

    Could be an incomplete set of rules in it.
  4. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Thanks everyone, for the replies.

    Yeah, it was a line; not a ray; sorry, and yes, it was a young
    dragon...

    I was just checking my understanding of the rules. My main worry was
    we weren't playing the damage right; the rules said "6D4" only, and
    not whether that was to everyone or divided up. It makes sense that it
    would be to everyone (which is why we were playing it that way). Kind
    of like a stream from a firehose that gets everyone wet the same
    amount.

    WOTC sells the intro boxed set. It's got some basic docs, dungeon
    tiles and some miniatures. The adventure is called "The Baron's Ring".
    It's an easy intro; the characters are pregen'd, so you can play right
    away.

    It's actually not much of a dungeon, except for the dragon. The
    players start the dungeon as 1st level (0 hp), and the dragon is at the
    end of the adventure (we've been playing it since december). The
    dragon isn't supposed to be killed; when he loses half HP (42), he is
    supposed to escape down a well shaft.

    I dm'd it, and the players are all 10 year olds ... I used to play d&d
    when it was still "advanced" in the 80s, and i thought my kid would get
    a kick out of it.

    Anyway, when they came to the dragon, I knew they were in trouble. I
    played things in their favor in every way possible... we did the level
    increase before the dragon battle; gave lots of hints ("buy up all the
    healing scrolls you can get"), used up the dragon's attacks on npcs
    like the unseen servants and dire weasels (and in one case, a celestial
    monkey :) ) that the kids summoned. After three tries ("okay you guys,
    I think you should run away and try something else now"), they were
    finally able to drive the dragon off.

    Afterwards, I was curious to see whether or not the pc's could prevail
    had i played it a little more severely, so we replayed the scenario a
    couple of times. I think better spells would have probably helped...
    and i like the idea of fighting defensively. We'll try that one next
    time, just to see.

    Certainly, it would still be exciting; dragon's favorite tactic was to
    stand in the doorway, engage the two beefy fighters, and breathe on the
    MU and thief as they tried to hit with ranged attacks.

    thanks again.
    david

    ps: boy minatures sure make things easier!
  5. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    But a good lesson for 10 year olds just learning to play (since it was
    played as a "what-if" scenario) - it is possible to take on too much,
    and get a total party kill (TPK).

    sometimes, you _should_ run away!

    tussock has some good tactics, I'd add that the rogue could think about
    flanking (+2 to hit, plus 1d6 sneak attack damage).

    Anyhoo, now you have "one that got away" - a foe they'll remember, and
    possibly able to kill after they've gotten a few more levels in. Ya
    gotta figure that a dragon - of any size, color, or age - is gonna make
    an impression anywhere it goes, so the countryside will be awash in
    sightings and rumors for a bit :-)
  6. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    dchinn@nwlink.com wrote:
    > hello all:
    >
    > A black dragon has acid breath, whose area of effect is a
    > ray, 60 ft long. It does 6d4 damage.
    >
    > a) is that 6d4 total damage? or 6d4 to each creature that doesn't
    > save? That is, if there are 6, characters in the AOE, and 6d4 comes
    > up 12, is the damage a) 2 points each, or b) 12 points each?
    >

    It's B. Don't forget that Evasion means rogues & such will take NO damage
    on a successful save. It's what keeps them alive.

    > We've been playing (b); but the pcs in the introductory, boxed set
    > adventure
    > were creamed by the black dragon. The pcs had gotten to second level,
    > and we replayed the scenario a couple of times; each time the dragon
    > munched the pcs pretty severely.
    >

    As Phil pointed out, who's putting a CR 6 monster against 2nd leve
    characters?
    That's quite a challenge unless the dragon is hampered in some way.

    > b) When determining what squares lie in the aoe, I'm thinking you
    > draw a line emanating from the dragon's square for 60 feet. And then,
    > every square the line touches is affected by the attack... is that
    > true?
    >

    Since at that age the dragon is only one square in size, you simply
    count out
    12 squares in a line from a side (or 8 diagonally) and everything in
    that area
    must roll to save.

    > thanks in advance
    > david
    >
  7. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On 18 Apr 2005 02:53:06 -0700, dchinn@nwlink.com scribed into the ether:

    >hello all:
    >
    >A black dragon has acid breath, whose area of effect is a
    >ray, 60 ft long. It does 6d4 damage.
    >
    >a) is that 6d4 total damage? or 6d4 to each creature that doesn't
    >save? That is, if there are 6, characters in the AOE, and 6d4 comes
    >up 12, is the damage a) 2 points each, or b) 12 points each?

    Hits everything for 6d4.

    >We've been playing (b); but the pcs in the introductory, boxed set
    >adventure
    >were creamed by the black dragon. The pcs had gotten to second level,
    >and we replayed the scenario a couple of times; each time the dragon
    >munched the pcs pretty severely.

    Well, you are pitting 2nd level characters against a CR4 encounter, and an
    undervalued CR4 at that. I'd pretty much expect them to get munched.

    The fight is hugely inappropriate for what the characters are expected to
    be able to defeat.
  8. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    A dragon at second level? That sounds wonky. I would replace it with a
    giant spider or something less deadly.

    dchinn@nwlink.com wrote:
    > hello all:
    >
    > A black dragon has acid breath, whose area of effect is a
    > ray, 60 ft long. It does 6d4 damage.
    >
    > a) is that 6d4 total damage? or 6d4 to each creature that doesn't
    > save? That is, if there are 6, characters in the AOE, and 6d4 comes
    > up 12, is the damage a) 2 points each, or b) 12 points each?
    >
    > We've been playing (b); but the pcs in the introductory, boxed set
    > adventure
    > were creamed by the black dragon. The pcs had gotten to second level,
    > and we replayed the scenario a couple of times; each time the dragon
    > munched the pcs pretty severely.
    >
    > b) When determining what squares lie in the aoe, I'm thinking you
    > draw a line emanating from the dragon's square for 60 feet. And then,
    > every square the line touches is affected by the attack... is that
    > true?
    >
    > thanks in advance
    > david
    >
  9. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    "Some Guy" <someguy@thedoor.gov> wrote in message
    news:PWX8e.56015$lz2.26616@fed1read07...
    > dchinn@nwlink.com wrote:
    >> hello all:
    >>
    >> A black dragon has acid breath, whose area of effect is a
    >> ray, 60 ft long. It does 6d4 damage.
    >>
    >> a) is that 6d4 total damage? or 6d4 to each creature that doesn't
    >> save? That is, if there are 6, characters in the AOE, and 6d4 comes
    >> up 12, is the damage a) 2 points each, or b) 12 points each?
    >>
    >
    > It's B. Don't forget that Evasion means rogues & such will take NO damage
    > on a successful save. It's what keeps them alive.
    >
    >> We've been playing (b); but the pcs in the introductory, boxed set
    >> adventure
    >> were creamed by the black dragon. The pcs had gotten to second level,
    >> and we replayed the scenario a couple of times; each time the dragon
    >> munched the pcs pretty severely.
    >>
    >
    > As Phil pointed out, who's putting a CR 6 monster against 2nd leve
    > characters?
    > That's quite a challenge unless the dragon is hampered in some way.
    >
    >> b) When determining what squares lie in the aoe, I'm thinking you
    >> draw a line emanating from the dragon's square for 60 feet. And then,
    >> every square the line touches is affected by the attack... is that
    >> true?
    >>
    >
    > Since at that age the dragon is only one square in size, you simply count
    > out
    > 12 squares in a line from a side (or 8 diagonally) and everything in that
    > area
    > must roll to save.
    >
    >> thanks in advance
    >> david
    >>

    *blink**blink*
    Amazing, MSB must be sleeping... No 'RTFM' from him...
    *rubs eyes to double check*
    Yup, still no comments from him...

    --
    --==--
    Jerry Chesko
  10. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    <dchinn@nwlink.com> wrote in message
    news:1113817986.562738.54460@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    > hello all:
    >
    > A black dragon has acid breath, whose area of effect is a
    > ray, 60 ft long. It does 6d4 damage.
    >
    > a) is that 6d4 total damage? or 6d4 to each creature that doesn't
    > save? That is, if there are 6, characters in the AOE, and 6d4 comes
    > up 12, is the damage a) 2 points each, or b) 12 points each?
    >
    > We've been playing (b); but the pcs in the introductory, boxed set
    > adventure
    > were creamed by the black dragon. The pcs had gotten to second
    > level,
    > and we replayed the scenario a couple of times; each time the dragon
    > munched the pcs pretty severely.
    >
    > b) When determining what squares lie in the aoe, I'm thinking you
    > draw a line emanating from the dragon's square for 60 feet. And
    > then,
    > every square the line touches is affected by the attack... is that
    > true?
    >
    > thanks in advance
    > david

    AOE is a line but I think that was already said, by many including
    you.

    The answer is all players in the AOE take the full amount of 6d4, most
    people roll the damage value once because to do otherwise would be
    both time consuming and perhaps a little silly. Although there might
    be some talk for rolling damage value for each player. It produces
    more of a random damage spread but still the best way to handle this,
    timewise is to roll once. Apply any modifiers for everybody, evasion,
    cover, etc.

    Now the question is why are level 2 character fighting a dragon? Why
    not try to talk with the dragon. Dragons are not mindless killing
    machines and even the Chromatics will stop to talk if they think they
    have the upperhand or can control the encounter. A black dragon might
    open with a breath weapon, notice that he slaughtered quite a few of
    the people and offer peace in exchange for something. The something
    could easily be the corpses of those it killed, or shiny gems, gold,
    equipment. It might even be a promise of service to him, or a promise
    of never returning to his place. Remember, at least in most games,
    players do get rewards for overcoming a foe. Now if the Mod, Starting
    adventure, etc provided no options for parley, or barter or anything
    else, it becomes up to the DM to modify the adventure to make it at
    least competitive for the players.

    Overcoming, does not always equal killing. I know my players were
    freaked out when their first level characters came face to face with a
    Mind Flayer. The creature was just seeking the brain of a fallen
    slave, and wasn't concerned with the players because their minds were
    too "weak." For the Flayer it would have been like eating popcorn when
    you really wanted a steak. I never throw punches though, and if the
    players had decided to attack the Flayer, it would have been on them.
    I never straight out said "You, guys, might be better off trying to
    talk to the Flayer." I just had the creature kill off an NPC, and
    feast on his brain. After that he stood there surveying the Party and
    deciding if any of them were worthy. If the players had attempted an
    attack, I might have had them Mindblasted, and taken as slaves.

    The slavery could have become a hook for further adventures. The
    Flayer was a plant that was supposed to foreshadow their later
    encounters with the Flayers but the campaign never got that far.

    I really have to brush up on my AOE plotting, because I couldn't even
    answer that question. I normally just have it come from the front of
    his square and go out 60 feet in a straight line, or in which ever
    angle it is going. That is for lines of course, and if my method is
    not correct, I do plan on altering it when I get my new campaign
    started. Aside from Campaign specific differences, I do hope to get to
    a point where I don't have to reference the book for odd effects.
  11. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 17:58:12 -0500, Rock-Viper
    <rockvipe@comcastNOSPAM.net> carved upon a tablet of ether:

    > A dragon at second level? That sounds wonky. I would replace it with a
    > giant spider or something less deadly.

    Why? White wyrmlings are CR2. A 2nd level party at full health should
    be able to beat a CR5 encounter if they're willing to take losses. As
    we're discussing dragons that'd be CR4 unless they have all the right
    kit, but that still includes every wyrmling but Golds, all evil very
    young dragons but Reds, and young Whites.


    --
    Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
    "Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
    should be free."
  12. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz> wrote:
    > White wyrmlings are CR2. A 2nd level party at full health should be
    > able to beat a CR5 encounter if they're willing to take losses.

    Speaking of which, last Saturday our 9th-level group took on a CR 14
    blue dragon. For a change, my character actually wanted to /avoid/ the
    fight, but I jumped in (mostly to no effect) once the other PCs decided
    to pick a fight. It was very, very difficult, and it took a bit of luck
    to win, but win we did. My wife's druid got fried, but luckily the
    dragon had a scroll of /true resurrection/ in its hoard.
    --
    Bradd W. Szonye
    http://www.szonye.com/bradd
  13. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Between saving the world and having a spot of tea Bradd W. Szonye said

    > Speaking of which, last Saturday our 9th-level group took on a CR 14
    > blue dragon. For a change, my character actually wanted to /avoid/ the
    > fight, but I jumped in (mostly to no effect) once the other PCs decided
    > to pick a fight. It was very, very difficult, and it took a bit of luck
    > to win, but win we did. My wife's druid got fried, but luckily the
    > dragon had a scroll of /true resurrection/ in its hoard.

    Luck? Sounds awfully HAMFISTED to me.

    --
    Rob Singers
    "All your Ron are belong to us"
    Credo Elvem ipsum etiam vivere
  14. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    "Robert Singers" <rsingers@finger.hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:Xns963DD8BD6E934rsingers@IP-Hidden...
    > Between saving the world and having a spot of tea Bradd W. Szonye said
    >
    > > Speaking of which, last Saturday our 9th-level group took on a CR 14
    > > blue dragon. For a change, my character actually wanted to /avoid/ the
    > > fight, but I jumped in (mostly to no effect) once the other PCs
    decided
    > > to pick a fight. It was very, very difficult, and it took a bit of
    luck
    > > to win, but win we did. My wife's druid got fried, but luckily the
    > > dragon had a scroll of /true resurrection/ in its hoard.
    >
    > Luck? Sounds awfully HAMFISTED to me.

    Heh.
  15. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
    >> Speaking of which, last Saturday our 9th-level group took on a CR 14
    >> blue dragon. For a change, my character actually wanted to /avoid/ the
    >> fight, but I jumped in (mostly to no effect) once the other PCs decided
    >> to pick a fight. It was very, very difficult, and it took a bit of luck
    >> to win, but win we did. My wife's druid got fried, but luckily the
    >> dragon had a scroll of /true resurrection/ in its hoard.

    Robert Singers <rsingers@finger.hotmail.com> wrote:
    > Luck? Sounds awfully HAMFISTED to me.

    OK, OK, the DM did admit to putting the scroll into the hoard just in
    case we were stupid enough to fight the dragon. Luckily, we only lost
    one PC in the fight!
    --
    Bradd W. Szonye
    http://www.szonye.com/bradd
  16. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Jerry Chesko wrote:
    >
    > *blink**blink*
    > Amazing, MSB must be sleeping...

    He's busy with Bradd, and I don't think they're sleeping.

    > No 'RTFM' from him...
    > *rubs eyes to double check*
    > Yup, still no comments from him...

    The OP indicated he was using the boxed set, which indicates he
    might not have TFM at his disposal to R; he was also substantially
    correct, just unsure of how it all played out.

    --
    tussock

    Aspie at work, sorry in advance.
  17. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    "tussock" <scrub@clear.net.nz> wrote in message
    news:4264eec6@clear.net.nz...
    > Jerry Chesko wrote:
    >>
    >> *blink**blink*
    >> Amazing, MSB must be sleeping...
    >
    > He's busy with Bradd, and I don't think they're sleeping.
    >
    >> No 'RTFM' from him...
    >> *rubs eyes to double check*
    >> Yup, still no comments from him...
    >
    > The OP indicated he was using the boxed set, which indicates he might
    > not have TFM at his disposal to R; he was also substantially correct, just
    > unsure of how it all played out.
    >

    *ducks the slap to face* *smiles*
    I was just noticing MSB's lack of assertion to his usual RTFM. Followed
    just fine, the thread to that point prior to my observation. Wasn't
    implying anything else. TYVM.

    --
    --==--
    Jerry Chesko
  18. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Decaying Atheist wrote:
    > Now the question is why are level 2 character fighting a dragon?

    Because it was there. 8]

    Ofcourse, 3e provides plenty of low CR dragons, this one was just
    rather tough for the party.

    > Why not try to talk with the dragon. Dragons are not mindless killing
    > machines and even the Chromatics will stop to talk if they think they
    > have the upperhand or can control the encounter.

    That doesn't suit the blacks. They're thouroughly maelevolent and
    sadistic, the only reason they won't kill you now is if they're planning
    on killing you later.
    Fortunately they're also somewhat cowardly, and will run and hide
    when things look dangerous.

    > A black dragon might open with a breath weapon, notice that he
    > slaughtered quite a few of the people and offer peace in exchange for
    > something. The something could easily be the corpses of those it
    > killed, or shiny gems, gold, equipment. It might even be a promise of
    > service to him, or a promise of never returning to his place.

    A black would kill them all, take their stuff, and eat their rotted
    corpses, no question about it. The *real* reason for a black to stop
    fighting is if the PCs /survived/ his breath weapon and started hurting
    it, then it might decide to run and hide: which is what the adventure
    recommened.

    > Overcoming, does not always equal killing. I know my players were
    > freaked out when their first level characters came face to face with
    > a Mind Flayer. [snip] The Flayer was a plant that was supposed to
    > foreshadow their later encounters with the Flayers but the campaign
    > never got that far.

    There's far cooler ways of foreshadowing the Illithid; such as when
    the madman that the party has been chasing bars himself in a room, only
    when the PCs break in, he's found alone, dead, with his skull hollowed
    out. Have one of the minor NPCs who helped them track down the madman go
    missing, permanently.

    Not that I'm adverse to having the odd powerful creature completely
    ignore the PCs, IMO it's just better done from afar.

    --
    tussock

    Aspie at work, sorry in advance.
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