Content of the article: "Venomfang killed a player of mine, now they are mad at me"
We got to the encounter yesterday. I renamed the dragon narythra as to not make it too obvious she is evil, and had her in a smear campaign against reidoth, saying he's crazy and evil and summons plant monsters. They did not believe that and were rather weary, downright scared of the dragon. They have met her already, 3 sessions ago. My party went with the cultists to her lair where the cultists tried to offer them as tribute. It could have ended then and there, but the dragon, being a green one and wishing to dominate people was of the opinion they could be more useful alive. She sent them eastward to a cave to retrieve a magical item. The item turned out to be a circlet with charges that let's it's wearer polymorph (also into humanoids) – an item that especially a green dragon would covet. They identified what it was and still wanted to go and give it to her. They then, when they reached Thundertree, split the party with both of the players that know healing spells rummaging through the village in search of a mcguffin while the others 'distracted' the dragon.
So the distracting group follows the dragons invitation into its lair. There is some cultists inside offering tea. The party proceeds to go inside and talk to the dragon as the others search. Turns out, obviously, that the mcguffin was in the dragons possession… So the dragon asks for what it has sent them to fetch. They walk forward and place the item on her treasure hoard. The dragon then slithers down and tells them that 'now that she can trust them, she is willing to tell them the truth.. The whole truth.' She slithers about the lair, carefully positioning herself between half the party and the door, with all of them bunched together and.. Poison breath, initiative. The party immediately tries to flee, two get downed. One of them stuffs the mcguffin and the polymorph circlet into his bag of holding, so now the dragon is pissed and following the person that stole from her. She mostly disregards the others, trying to regain her hoard. She is furious and uses poison breath… The Player didn't save and died instantly. The dragon grabs the bag of holding, going back to its lair laughing. The rest of the party flees.
I feel I let them off the hook easy by not giving chase. But if you go to fight the monster that's literally on the box and then you split up the party and walk right into its trap, full well knowing its evil, prone to mood swings and sees you as lesser… Well it's gonna fuck you up. Now, some of my players are angry with me, unsatisfied with the events. Did I do something wrong? I feel I just played her like a green dragon would be played… Not everything is gonna be perfectly balanced, and some things will require a modicum of strategy. Should I have run this differently?
Edit: the player that actually died is not too angry. Another who also almost died on several occasions but survived with a lot of dumb luck and one that immediately flew are not mad. One player who survived, however, played a ranger and his wolf died, the character that died was his characters good friend and he was very interested in getting the mcguffin the dragon has, so now feels his character would just commit suicide (I'm fine with them stabling a character and making a new one, just how they want to do that rubs me a little weird) and one player who did survive was very pessimistic, saying things like 'yeah so x dies now and I won't make a new character', or when I said 'ok, wow… I hope you still had fun in our session, even though the outcome was less than ideal..' 'absolutely not!' Comments like that make me feel that they feel I was unfair with them, but I honestly don't see where. They had a lot of warnings and behaved in the worst way possible, tactically speaking. I'm not sure what to do with this.
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