Terrain Reconnaissance and Modeling Example
Pits and Pendulums and Other Means to Retire an Adventurer: OED Traps Digest

Dragon Assault on Throrgrmir

Anax Archontas Atop the Central Donjon  Throrgrmir Burns
Anax Archontas Atop the Central Donjon, Throrgrmir Burns.

The red dragon Anax Archontas begins his campaign to subdue or destroy the dwarven civilization with a predawn assault on the Throrgrmir Citadel, entryway to the subterranean domain.

The dwarves, through regular communication with their elven neighbors, are aware of the massing of troops on the north edge of the Ellriendi Forest and increased orc and gnoll activity to the east.

Each dwarf regiment consists of nine dwarves led by a Dwarf-Hero. Two regiments defend the citadel’s ramparts at all times accompanied by a unit of six crossbows. A third regiment is stationed in a nearby barracks. When called, it arrives through the door of the central donjon at the end of the first turn. King and army commander Harbard, always close by, arrives at the end of the second turn.

Two Regiments Defend the Ramparts
Two Regiments Defend the Ramparts.

I imagined the encounter quickly over but more complex. The details of the assault, however, come down to who gets the first go.

The dragon breathes at the end of his move from 90 yards (270 feet or 54 scaled inches) above the plateau ground level directly over the center of the central donjon. His breath’s cone shape terminates in a circle 30 yards or 90 feet in diameter, nearly the citadel’s length and breadth.

If the dragon wins initiative, the breath touches 15 dwarves and 1 dwarf crossbow. The remainder of the two regiments: 3 dwarves, 5 dwarf crossbows, and 2 regiment commanders, make for the donjon door. The last slips through the closing door before the end of their move.

If the dwarves have the initiative, or if movement is simultaneous, all the dwarves enter the donjon by the end of the dragon’s move, when he breathes on empty courtyards. The Greensward goes up in flames.

Regimental Commanders Usher the Last Troops Into the Donjon
Regimental Commanders Usher the Last Troops Into the Donjon.
In my play of the encounter, the dwarves won the initiative.

Either way, the raid is over in a minute. Anax Archontas alights atop the donjon amid the conflagration. He makes brief sorties over the surrounding terrain, setting the countryside aflame. By the time the sun rises over the eastern mountains, the entire valley is aware of a dragon in residence at Throrgrmir.

Given that the dragon breathes at the end of his move—therefore prior to missile fire, the only way the dwarves might defeat the dragon and end the campaign before it starts, is for either or both of the regiment commanders, who are Dwarf-Heroes, to give pass-through fire in the dragon’s first move, shooting the dragon with a crossbow.

He who gives pass-through fire gives up the move phase. A hero needs a two-dice roll of 10 to kill. The halls below are filled with monuments to fallen heroes.

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