Every time I bring Castle Ravenloft to my tutoring session the boys, Tony and James, always want to fight the big draco-lich. I think they think it must be the biggest, baddest enemy since the miniature is the biggest. Today I managed to talk them into doing the adventure with the other dragon, the Zombie Dragon.
It was the same mix of characters as last time, Tony was the fighter, James was the wizard and I was the cleric. This seems to work best for us since Tony loves rushing headlong into any danger. James is a little older and understands the tactics of being fragile and powerful. I usually choose the cleric to keep those two alive.
This adventure seemed to take quite a bit more time to set up, since I had to go through the encounter deck and remove the indicated cards and arrange them accordingly. I think having the numbers of the cards, the one's printed in the lower corner, would have made it go faster then having the titles of the cards.
There was more cooperation than usual, which is good. I guess losing the Forbidden Island last time taught them a lesson at teamwork. I'm not sure if they understand the Encounter card mechanics, at least I'm not sure Tony understands it so we ended up going through quite a few encounters while battling enemies in the beginning. The first enemies were pretty light, in fact, I don't think we encountered a single wraith the entire session.
We were cleaning up quite nicely. A fire trap took the wizard down about mid-game so we were down one healing surge. There was a crossbow trap but I had the thieves kit and managed to disable it before it could cause too much damage.
Enter the Dragon
Really I think the problem was not explaining to my two companions that the mission on this adventure was to escape and not to kill the dragon. Should have been more communication there. That zombie dragon is tough.
Tony rushed in headfirst as usual. Used his Brute Strength attack to good effect. James unleashed his fireball doing good damage to the fiend. I was using what I could to keep the party healed. In the beginning the dragon kept missing, which was good. We had enough xp to cancel some of the encounters while we were fighting. Undead monsters couldn't be used to cancel encounters however so we got into trouble pretty quick.
It was the two rounds of attack/ambush type of encounters that spelled our doom. The wizard went down again. Then that blazing skeleton came out of nowhere and I went down. The dragon ate well.
I'll have to remind them of the mission goals next time. It isn't always about killing the big baddie, sometimes escaping is the goal.
Overall still a fun encounter, took a little over an hour to finish, maybe 90 minutes with set-up so a little longer than I would of liked. Next time, it will be different, I'm sure of it.
Thanks for posting. I am reading the new Star Trek game rules and laughed when it kept reminding the players that this is a cooperative game. I didn't realize people need to be reminded! I like Ravenloft, your experience is why I like it. Fun, fast, interesting...