Monster Analysis: Young Adult Blue Dragon

Thanks to @ginaleighsmith for this art piece!

  • Encounter Appearance: 2-45 The Stowaway

  • Armor Class 18

  • Speed 40 ft, 80 ft Flying

  • Darkvision 120 ft, Blindsight 30 ft, Passive 19

  • Immune to lightning damage

  • Suggested Average, Max HP: 152, 224

  • 295* damage taken, 51 HDYWTDT by Twiggy

    • *At least 2 damage was as a weasel

Dragons develop from wyrmlings into young dragons, then adults, then ancients. As they age, their powers increase, allowing a DM to utilize them with adventurers at all levels. In Dungeons & Dragons, chromatic (black, white, red, green, blue) dragons are traditionally evil, while metallic (gold, silver, copper, bronze) dragons are good. Certain dragons are more likely to be found in particular locations, and each has its own personality quirks. Each type has a different breath weapon at its disposal, as well, determined by their color scheme.

Blue dragons tend to be desert-dwellers, and will bury themselves in the sand when hunting, using their horn as bait for curious passers-by. They tend to prefer to feed on herd animals, and will often cook their food before eating it with their lightning breath. Personality-wise, blue dragons are incredibly vain and will not stand for any insinuation that they are weak or inferior. However, they also tend to be incredibly patient and methodical, and when fighting on their own terms, will extend combat for hours or even days. Blue dragons will collect anything that looks valuable for their hoard, but love gems, particularly sapphires, and in keeping with their vain nature, covet valuable and talented creatures they can use as agents to reinforce their sense of superiority.

Halas, the wizard and landlord of the extra-planar dungeon where the dragon took up its residence, apparently had an arrangement with the dragon: Halas would provide a lair and valuables, and the dragon would provide security and feed on troublesome intruders. Although it may be considered counter to the dragon’s vain nature to serve under a mere mortal, the dragon did hint that it was waiting for the day that his own power exceeded his arcane master’s so he might take the 100-room hideaway as his own, rather than a single chamber.

In the little time the Nein had to research, they learned that Halas is from prior to the Calamity, which happened over 800 years ago. As they would learn after the encounter, this pocket dungeon follows a strange timeline of its own. If merely a week had passed in the span of the Nein’s exploration, from what century did this relatively young dragon hail from on the material plane prior to taking up residence?

As a side note, though this is the first blue dragon on Critical Role, Vox Machina battled a young adult blue dragon prior to the show named Brimscythe, at approximately the same level. Though quite a bit weaker than the rest of his significantly more aged compatriots, the Nein’s battle easily demonstrates that even without legendary actions, legendary resistances, or lair actions, a dragon of any age or affinity is not to be taken lightly. In fact, you should probably just run, right?

How to Flee Your Dragon

Fjord did his best to talk his way out of being eaten, stalling for time as he waited for his friends to find him. Even if his offer to join the dragon as its companion had appealed to it, all bets were off when Beau and Jester fell through the portal. Beau’s use of the Conjure Elemental gem they found all the way back in the Iron Shepherds’ stronghold brought another (temporary) ally that would end up doing much more good than harm. In the first round, her summoning drew the ire of the dragon, who fired his lightning breath at her. Beau consistently avoided all damage from the lightning breath thanks to her monkly Evasion, beginning a string of unfortunate events for the dragon as a result of its breath weapon.

Twiggy and Caduceus joined the party in the next round. Caduceus’s Bane continued to be a boon for the Nein. Jester’s Polymorph may not have lasted very long, but it served the purpose of getting the dragon on the ground, where the fire elemental could continue to damage it.

After the dragon targeted Jester with its lightning, her Hellish Rebuke accidentally discovered the key to the Nein’s escape: activating the hallway spheres with magical damage. As Matt detailed on Talks Machina, whatever type of magic activated the first sphere would also be required to activate the second sphere. In a strange stroke of luck, Fjord had failed to blink out that round, which enabled him to hear that cold damage was necessary in order to activate the other sphere. His Armor of Agathys was potentially one of the only cold damage-dealing spell in the party’s arsenal, which he made creative use of. Beau then accidentally figured out that all that was needed to escape was touching the main sphere in the chamber. Jester also cast Blink, but failed to blink out and took physical damage from the dragon.

In the fourth round, everyone present did variations on attacking and hiding, so that when Caleb and Nott finally made their entrance, no one was visible. Caduceus popped out of the wall, told them that they were running, and disappeared through the sphere, not knowing that Jester was merely blinked out, not out of the room. When Fjord blinked back in, he could only see Caleb, Nott, and Twiggy, and got himself to safety. Twiggy’s Suggestion to the dragon that it wait until they left failed, but she stuck around to continue to do damage until she knew that everyone was out. (Twiggy was the only one in the room who knew that Jester hadn’t escaped yet.)

Nott fired an explosive arrow, but by firing a second arrow as her bonus action, ensured that she couldn’t escape the dragon’s reach until the next round. Caleb, fully aware of the power of a dragon to knock him out in one lightning breath or a round of physical attacks, expeditiously retreated out of the room before he could become a liability. It was then that Jester blinked back in and healed herself. This forced the dragon to divide its attacks between Nott and Jester, ensuring that both of them made it through.

Nott the Brave saw the opportunity to give Jester a path to getting out, and risked her life to take an attack from the dragon so it couldn’t use its reaction to attack Jester. Her plan worked, and both of them escaped, leaving Twiggy alone, but hidden. Twiggy, who was present for the majority of the fight, critically killed the dragon who harassed her only friends, and escaped the room, leaving naught but the fire elemental alive. (Since it was summoned by the Conjure Elemental spell, it should disappear within an hour, but given how time passes in Halas’s mansion, it may be a few days on the Material Plane before The Mighty Nein are able to avoid it entirely.)

Round Summaries

To fully grasp the chaos that was who was where at what point in the battle, we’ve broken down the rounds into the following summaries.

Round 1

Present: Fjord, Jester, Beau, Fire Elemental (under Beau’s control)

  • Fjord Blinked out

  • Beau conjured the Fire Elemental using the red gem

  • Jester cast Spirit Guardians

  • Fire Elemental damaged the dragon

  • Beau evaded the dragon’s lightning breath

Round 2

Present: Fjord, Jester, Beau, Fire Elemental (under Beau’s control), Twiggy, Caduceus

  • Twiggy and Caduceus entered

  • Caduceus cast Bane on the dragon and went invisible

  • Fjord Eldritch Blasted the dragon

  • Fjord failed to blink out

  • Twiggy disguised herself as a small Halas

  • Jester polymorphed the dragon into a weasel

  • Fire Elemental plus falling damage sent the dragon back to dragon form

  • Fire Elemental continued to hit the dragon

  • Jester took damage from the dragon’s lightning breath

  • Jester accidentally figured out how to activate the spheres with Hellish Rebuke

Round 3

Present: Fjord, Jester, Beau (initially), Fire Elemental (Beau and DM split control), Twiggy, Caduceus

  • Fjord activated another sphere with creative use of Armor of Agathys

  • Fjord failed to blink out

  • Beau touched the last sphere, accidentally revealing the exit to the chamber

  • Fire Elemental damaged Fjord, Caduceus, and the dragon

  • Twiggy went invisible

  • Jester cast Blink, but failed to blink out

  • Dragon damaged Jester (missed one attack thanks to Bane)

Round 4

Present: Fjord, Jester, Fire Elemental (under DM Control), Twiggy, Caduceus

  • Fire Elemental damaged Caduceus, Fjord, and the dragon

  • Caduceus Melded into Stone

  • Fjord Eldritch Blasted the dragon

  • Fjord blinked out

  • Twiggy damaged the dragon and hid

  • Jester caught on fire from proximity to the fire elemental

  • Jester missed her Inflict Wounds attack

  • Jester blinked out

Round 5

Present: Fjord (initially), Jester, Fire Elemental (under DM Control), Twiggy, Caduceus (initially), Caleb (initially), Nott

  • Caleb and Nott entered, saw no one

  • Caduceus cast Blindness on the dragon

  • Caduceus told Caleb and Nott that they are running

  • Caduceus touched the exit sphere

  • Fjord Misty Stepped

  • Fjord touched the exit sphere

  • Twiggy failed on her Suggestion

  • Twiggy hid

  • Fire Elemental damaged Nott

  • Nott fired an explosive arrow, injuring the dragon and Caleb

  • Nott fired secondary arrow, injured herself

  • Caleb cast Expeditious Retreat and touched the exit sphere

  • Jester appeared, healed herself

  • Jester failed to blink out

  • Dragon injured Nott, failed to hit Jester

Round 6

Present: Jester (initially), Fire Elemental (under DM Control), Twiggy, Nott (initially)

  • Twiggy hit the dragon and hid

  • Fire Elemental failed to hit the dragon

  • Nott ran past the dragon, took attack of opportunity for 18 (out of her remaining 19 HP)

  • Nott touched the exit sphere

  • Jester touched the exit sphere

  • Dragon hit the Fire Elemental

Round 7

Present: Fire Elemental (under DM Control),
Twiggy (initially)

  • Twiggy killed the dragon with a critical Sneak Attack

  • Twiggy touched the exit sphere