Weak Spot for the Forest Dragon

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Majestic
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Weak Spot for the Forest Dragon

Post by Majestic » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:19 pm

As I was seeking more of a 'general 5E question' regarding mechanics, moreso than a strict AME question, I first posed this one over on rpg.net. It's sparked much interesting discussion, so feel free to check it out there. The question I asked was:
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I did a bit of Google searching, to see what's been suggested for any kind of mechanic similar to a Called Shot, but the main response I've seen so far (I'll look at Reddit later, as I can't access it at work) is simply 'Don't Do It!', as introducing such a mechanic would be unfair, or slow down combat too much.

In general it's not something I'd allow in my game(s), but in this case I'm trying to figure out a proper mechanic for my Adventures in Middle-earth game if/when my players go up against the Forest Dragon from The Darkening of Mirkwood. As is typical for worms/wyrms in Tolkien's world, this dragon has a weakness (in The One Ring RPG, which I'm converting this from, it's called her "Weak Spot"); in this case it's a tender area in her soft belly.

I suppose the simplest solution would be to have PCs roll with disadvantage, if they specifically try to target such an area (I might force them to make a Perception roll if they're looking for such a weak spot). But the dragon is so much bigger than the PCs, that you could almost rationalize that it would not even require the attack being at disadvantage. I definitely don't want it to be too easy for the PCs to defeat this powerful creature.

Any ideas on how to implement this?

[Note that I almost put 'Adventures in Middle-earth' in the title, but I wanted eyeballs from anybody familiar with D&D 5E, and didn't want some to dismiss the topic just because it's for this variant of the game]
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Feel free to throw out any ideas or thoughts you might have...
Adventure Summaries of our campaign, currently playing through The Darkening of Mirkwood

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steerpike65
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Re: Weak Spot for the Forest Dragon

Post by steerpike65 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:34 pm

Not adding too much to the discussion on this but in my game I would rule that a passive Perception minimum would apply to spot the weak spot and then an attack with disadvantage would be required to hit it. However, I would be open of course to particular strategies (or use of Inspiration) that would negate the disadvantage.
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Weak Spot for the Forest Dragon

Post by Otaku-sempai » Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:37 pm

How does a Called Shot work in D&D 5e? I'm a bit disappointed to see that the subject is not addressed in the SRD-OGL document or the Player's Basic Rules, though I guess that gives the AiMe design team the opportunity to devise their own version of it. Heck, I can't even find a Called Shot rule for 3e. I'll present two options:

CALLED SHOT
Option #1: Make a normal Attack roll at a penalty of -4 to hit. All other applicable modifiers apply.

Option #2: You are at a disadvantage. Make two Attack roles and keep the poorest result. All applicable modifiers apply.
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lord dynel
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Re: Weak Spot for the Forest Dragon

Post by lord dynel » Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:17 pm

Otaku-sempai wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:37 pm
How does a Called Shot work in D&D 5e? I'm a bit disappointed to see that the subject is not addressed in the SRD-OGL document or the Player's Basic Rules, though I guess that gives the AiMe design team the opportunity to devise their own version of it. Heck, I can't even find a Called Shot rule for 3e
No, called shots haven't been around (officially) since the 2nd Edition AD&D days. Anything that circumvents hit points in a hit point system isn't a very good idea, in my opinion. But, that's my opinion.
Otaku-sempai wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:37 pm
CALLED SHOT
Option #1: Make a normal Attack Roll at a penalty of -4 to hit. All other modifiers apply.

Option #2: Make two attack roles and keep the poorest result. All other modifiers apply.
As for these options, I personally wouldn't give a penalty - that's what disadvantage is for (Option #2 is the disadvantage rule). I'm pretty happy with WotC's decision to mostly do away with +/- modifiers on rolls (outside of the standard attack bonuses and such).

But your Option #1 basically equates to a higher AC. So why don't you do both? Assign the soft spot a higher AC (because of it's small size) than the base AC, and then attacks rolls are at disadvantage to the. That makes it appropriately difficult. You could even factor in steerpike65's idea of a Perception check - make it DC 15 or so, but not passive (again, my opinion). If the PCs find/see it, they get to attempt to attack it (vs. the higher AC and at disadv,). If they fail the Perception check, they can't attack the soft spot and must attack they dragon normally. A check every round would be permissible, until they see it or combat is over. Double or even triple damage would be an idea, but if you go more than double, I'd make the Perception check higher (20, or 25 even). This may work for you...maybe not. I would probably do it this way, myself.

Another question - do they know the dragon is supposed to have a soft spot? If not, maybe a Lore check is necessary.

BookBarbarian
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Re: Weak Spot for the Forest Dragon

Post by BookBarbarian » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:30 pm

I would implement this by giving the Weak Spot 1/2 cover or maybe even 3/4 cover. Because the other parts of the Dragons body are shielding it. Essentially this just gives that one spot of the Dragon higher AC than the rest of it.

I think that would be easier than trying to make a called shot system for 5e.

As far as making a Check to find out about the weak spot, I think it's a good idea. But instead of just saying its a Perception check, I would let the player's approach determine what kind of check could be make.

Perception, investigation, Survival, or even Shadow-Lore could work to me, or maybe something I can't think of (my players are great at thinking in ways I would never imagine).

Lordrin
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Re: Weak Spot for the Forest Dragon

Post by Lordrin » Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:35 am

There's a pair of Feats that kinda do a simliar thing already in RAW 5E: Sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master. After they identify the "Weak Spot" you can just have them take a -5 to the attack roll and give them bonus damage when they hit.

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ThrorII
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Re: Weak Spot for the Forest Dragon

Post by ThrorII » Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:26 pm

Lordrin wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:35 am
There's a pair of Feats that kinda do a simliar thing already in RAW 5E: Sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master. After they identify the "Weak Spot" you can just have them take a -5 to the attack roll and give them bonus damage when they hit.
Honestly, I think if you were going to incorporate a weak spot, THIS is how I'd do it. I'm all about using existing rules in new ways. I'd require a Perception check first to notice it (or an Investigation check if you already knew about it, but hadn't seen it for yourself).

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Weak Spot for the Forest Dragon

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:27 pm

lord dynel wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:17 pm
Another question - do they know the dragon is supposed to have a soft spot? If not, maybe a Lore check is necessary.
Well, the notion of dragons commonly having a vulnerable spot was common enough to become an aphorism even in the Shire ("'Every worm has his weak spot,' as my father used to say, though I am sure it was not from personal experience."). That doesn't guarantee that anyone in the company knows precisely where it is. Perhaps a Lore check should be made to confirm that at least one of the Heroes knows that there should be a weak spot. A Perception check seems most appropriate for locating the spot.
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Mykesfree
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Re: Weak Spot for the Forest Dragon

Post by Mykesfree » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:11 am

This Weak Spot is from the Dragon in Wilderland Adventures. It has 2 ways you can access the Weak Spot.

Weak Spot: The Dragon's belly is vulnerable. If a foe strikes
from below, that attacker gains Advantage on attacks
against the dragon.

Weak Spot. If the Dragon uses a special ability that uses an
action (Mesmerise, Multiattack, Poison Blast), any heroes
that are within reach may use their reaction to make a single
melee attack. For this attack only, The Dragon is considered
vulnerable to Piercing, Slashing and Bludgeoning damage.

So it is not an instant kill, but if multiple party members can hit it the dragon will go down fast. This particular Dragon has an AC 21 and can not fly, so getting below the dragon will be hard.

I would still like to see other AiMe Dragons, but I think this example should give you an idea of how the C7 designers envision it.

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Majestic
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Re: Weak Spot for the Forest Dragon

Post by Majestic » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:41 pm

Lots of good info here; I especially like the bit about the aphorism from the Shire. I've got a party with three Loremasters (plus some have faced the dragon, Raenar, before). The Perception will likely not be a problem for my party, as I've got one PC with a passive Perception of 28!?! When he actively looks for stuff, he rolls with advantage (ring with a blessing) and adds +18 to the roll!

And brilliant, Mykesfree; I hadn't even thought to check on Raenar. I'm making the Forest Dragon up using mostly the D&D Monster Manual and basing her on an Adult Green Dragon, but I'll be sure to look at the one from Tales/Wilderland Adventures for inspiration as well!
Adventure Summaries of our campaign, currently playing through The Darkening of Mirkwood

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