My players have wound up bringing an ancient silver dragon to defend a town being attacked by a young red dragon. Of course the ancient silver dragon would beat the young red dragon solo, unless I'm missing something. My question is how do I run this encounter in a fun way without railroading the players (I originally wanted them to fight the dragon) and while staying accurate to what would logically happen?

The players do need to have some involvement in the actual fight, because they were the ones who started it.

My best idea at the moment is to have the players on damage control, putting out the fires and such, but I'm still not sure how to run that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Making my players part of the action instead of being just witnesses \$\endgroup\$ – KumosAgosta Jul 7 '17 at 18:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please add the specific D&D version; also you may want to unpack your goals more so this isn't a random brainstorm. Do the PCs need to actually be in the combat or is an answer that recommends they be running around doing other stuff acceptable? Are there other opponents besides the dragon? Give us an idea what criteria a good answer hits for you in this situation, so answers aren't just a random list of ideas (we don't do that here). Read that linked related question for an example of how to add criteria of what you want/don't want in an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Jul 7 '17 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe give the red dragon a reinforcement to make it a closer match? \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Sep 27 '17 at 17:32

Kudos to your players: you presented them with a difficult encounter and they overcame it. You resolve it like this:

The red dragon circles the silver warily but, realizing that is overmatched it bows its head to the silver and, without a word needing to be exchanged, flies away. The silver turns to you and says "He will not return. I will watch your careers with interest" before flying off in the opposite direction.

You then hand out XP for the red and move on to the next adventure.

  • \$\begingroup\$ interesting idea. However, the reason the Dragons are fighting is because they sent the red dragon to the town in exchange for their lives, so I might want to adjust the XP they get. \$\endgroup\$ – Ian Finnigan Jul 8 '17 at 18:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is an interesting hook too. Now they have a silver dragon as an acquaintance / friend. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Sep 27 '17 at 17:34

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