Posted on June 11, 2018
I was DMing for a group of my friends using an online game engine, as we were all scattered around the country. I had spent lots of time getting the pieces right and setting up all the fights beforehand so I could just drop the needed tokens on the map for my group.
During one game, the group was tasked with collecting materials to build a magic compass in order to find the Lich King's hidden island. One of the materials needed were several fangs from some snow dragons. The group trekked up the mountain and just destroyed all the fights I had set up, laughing all the way.
In reality I had made all the earlier encounters a little easier so I could make the dragon fight even harder (because I love dragons).
The party finally made it to the cave, and I was ready for the big fight. Then the Rogue in the party, who up to that point had not done anything with stealth and failed all of his skill checks, declared that he wanted to sneak in and see if the dragons were asleep. I let him roll twice—once for stealth, and once to see if the dragons were asleep (High DC).
He crit both. He also noticed on the map I’d made that there were dragon bones inside the cave. So he said he wanted to sneak in and steal one of the smaller skulls, thus bypassing the fight.
Five skill checks and three crits later the party was laughing their way back down the mountain, and I was mourning the loss of the dragon fight. I would have left it at that, but the Rogue, who knew of my love for dragons, started making fun of the ‘pathetic dragons who couldn’t guard their stuff’. This continued for the next couple sessions, and eventually the rest of the party joined.
A few sessions later the party finished their compass and made it to the Lich King's island. They began to set up a base camp on the beach when a surprise fight began. Originally the fight was supposed to just be a horde of basic undead corpses, enough to push the party up the beach towards the cliffs but not really enough to be a challenge. However, I was still mad about not using my dragons, so I had created a new creature token for this particular fight.
Out of the water a massive, undead kraken rose up and threw up about 50 zombies onto the beach. The party was pretty scared, and they started cursing me out. The zombies swarmed while the kraken attacked from behind. The party fought bravely and dispatched the zombies quickly, but they realized the kraken just wasn't going down. At one point I had the kraken grapple the Paladin and throw him straight into the Archer, knocking them both down. In the end the party won like I had intended, but it had been a hard fight—almost all of the party was dead.
From then on no one in that group disrespected my dragons.