Dungeons & Dragons Online

Would this blindside my players?

Content of the article: "Would this blindside my players?"

First: if you are a member of the Feather Force 5 (Tinker, Claudia, Pyre, Tinker), away with you!

Cool. Now that that's out of the way. Here's the context: party arrived in a brand new city. Traveled around went shopping, the usual stuff.

Seed 1: "You notice several towers around town that seem to be made for combating large aerial creatures." –> party assumes dragons

They continue on, find an inn and ask about said dragon.

Seed 2: "Oh yeah, up in the mountains he lives. I've seen him attack once in my lifetime, but usually he sticks to Valeyard and the hills to pick off the live stock and travel animals for food." the npc goes on to ask the adventurers to not do anything to provoke the dragon and lead him back here.

Party: "I bet he's the dragon in disguise. He doesn't want us fighting the dragon." They even ask if they know that aspect of dragons and learn some details about what that means for dragons to do that.

It then became a bit of a recurring joke: "She's actually the dragon." "He's actually the dragon." you get the point. Well the party is actually trailing the baddies who are using magical crystals for their plan. At one point, trying to find their trail, they ask about the group or if anyone knows about these magic crystals.

Seed 3: an npc overhears their convo and it just so happens he knows of a cave in the mountain with magical crystals that might be related to what they are after. He can lead them there as he is very familiar with the terrain as he has made several trips between the mountains and cities. And dont worry: the dragon won't be there.

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An npc who knows the areas well is not in and of itself a red flag. Has traveled a lot between the cities and mountains… not there yet either… Just so happens to know of a cave of magical crystals they might want and says not to worry the dragon doesn't know about it… uh….

It's the dragon. He's the dragon in disguise.

However the party bought it hook line and sinker and after insight checking and being paranoid of everyone else to the point they joked the city was just like 5 dragons all pretending to be the various humanoids they did not think to here. Of all the people to not insight check they literally ignored the actual dragon in disguise.

I plan on having a few other tells: if they insult said dragon on the way he'll lash out / get testy and then play it off as the trees / animals are his spies and would bring him hear if he hears they insulted him. NPC will have vast knowledge of the dragon's defenses and environment affecting attributes. etc etc. Basically the dragon is leading adventurers in for both their treasures and maybe food if he feels like it and they have bought it entirely. However he is also genuine: there are magical crystals in his cavern that are probably related to the ones they are after. He just doesnt care and wants their treasure, though may (almost impossible) be persuaded otherwise.

They do have an ace in their sleeve to deal with it. I just dont want it feeling like I blindsided them with a literal dragon fight. I feel like its just the right amount of plausibility while being pretty clear its sketch, but I have been too subtle in the past.

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Source: reddit.com

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