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The dragon in question used to be a God and has been helping the party work up to defeating the BBEG (note that they still need him to complete the storyline at this point, but I can find a way around this most likely). They have since become motivated to kill him and I have no idea how to handle this.

Do I let them? Do I punish their stupidity? They are aware of the danger of facing a buffed ancient silver dragon at level 6 so some players have begun looking for alternatives to doing this including bargaining with Asmodeus or sending them to the first level of hell, I can easily get the dragon out of this by relying on the other Gods but I'm not sure whether to. But I know for certain that them trying will either lead to a TPK or his death.

Should I let them do this, or force them to not, and if I do let them do I let them win?

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    \$\begingroup\$ What's their motivation for doing this? \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 7:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ “What should I do?” seems to be a mostly opinion based question. We don’t know your players, we can’t tell you how one course of action or another will be received. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 12:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Wasn't there just a meta about not closing questions that we should use our expertise to interpret and answer? This is perfectly answerable despite the OP not using the strict terminology that people here like. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 12:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would love to be able to reopen this question, but as it stands it has brought in unsupported answers. If folks can answer with good subjective, or if OP can clarify the problem and not present an open-ended question of opinion, then that would be a better pathway for reopening. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 13:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Has the party seen the Dragon in combat? \$\endgroup\$
    – Sam Azon
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 14:51

2 Answers 2

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The players are in charge of the party

As DMs it's very easy for us to think of ourselves as the god of gods. We are beyond the divine rules of the world, Tiamat and Mystra dance for our pleasure. However the players are an unknown and chaotic force who often refuse to bow to our will.

In D&D there is a social contract between the DM and the players - the DM will run the world and the players are free to control their PCs. It's a good idea to respect these boundaries or the game breaks down.

So what should you do if the players are going to do something stupid? You've got it easy, the players know it's stupid/crazy, but they want to do it anyway. Just play it straight, let them. Do whatever is realistic in your setting and let the dice fall where they may.

If that leads to a TPK, that's fine. A TPK is completely valid gameplay. Failure is part of the game, as is death. It's important for players to have the freedom and autonomy to make bad choices if they want.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Totally agree to this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Aldaris
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 9:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Give 'em enough rope" is a DM style that I have found to be satisfying on both sides of the DM screen, over the years. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 13:26
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Give them warning but let them do it

You should not send the PCs blindly into a fight that is near-certain death. Give them warning signs about how dangerous it will be. It sounds as if you did, so now what?

If they want to press on, let them. It is their story. Let the die fall as they will, and whether they kill him or get wiped out, it will at least be memorable.

See What is Player Agency and what it is good for for an in-depth discussion of the reasons why this makes for a better game.

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