I understand that dragon encounters are supposed to be scary--DM plays them smart, etc.--but my question is how can (should) a party of adventurers prepare for a dragon fight (assuming it's unavoidable part of the plot) while minimizing any character deaths as much as possible, especially at lower levels (say levels 4-5) facing young dragons.
Details of the scenario: The party has been given the task by the town's mayor of slaying a dragon that has been terrorizing a town (eating all its livestock). The dragon is a young green dragon which has taken up residence in a nearby castle and is frequently seen perched atop a tower. The dragon has some kobolds guarding the castle. The town guard has said that they can fight the kobolds to clear a path for the adventurers to reach the dragon without wearing themselves out, however they are looking for the party to slay the dragon as that is beyond what danger they are willing to face. The town is willing to help give gear to the adventurers as needed within reason, however they do not have any magical items apart from a few common potions/scrolls and what would normally be available to a level 5 party. The actual party consists of 4 members: a druid, a ranger, a wizard, and a fighter, all level 5.
The town mayor also said that if the dragon manages to escape by flying away it is likely to come back with reinforcements which would be catastrophic. Furthermore, in order to advance the party needs the aid of the town, which will be rewarded upon slaying the dragon, so the party does not have the option of adventuring elsewhere and leveling up until they successfully finish this quest.
- Obviously avoid grouping up and getting multiple members hit by the breath attack.
- Nets or some spell would likely be needed to prevent the dragon from flying away, however the basic nets seem quite weak as the dragon would virtually always break free, and can then fly much further than what the party could chase down.
- It's a green dragon, so poisoning its food won't work as it's immune to poison.
- Anything too obvious like a large army or foreign troops surrounding its castle would raise its suspicions and cause it to fly off & bring in its own reinforcements.
- It has 30ft blindsight, thus sneaking up on it will be quite difficult.
Yes, as written it sounds as if the DM is railroading - let's just go along with it and focus on how to take down the dragon.