So I have this player

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(We are playing 4ed currently at Level 13)
So recently this new player joined our group he is playing a Very logical Warforged Fighter. While I love having him in the group he is certainly challenging me as a DM to come up with new and interesting ways to let him RP his character. While i have no problem with this I also need suggestions on how to challenge him. For instanst as of right now they are dealing with a Dragon Cult who just resurrected a Very powerful "hellspawn" Dragon. The PC's dont know where the Hellspawn is, an NPC is trying to locate him, in the mean time i have tasked the PC's with eliminating some of the Hellspawns allies/potential allies thereby weaking the Hellspawns forces.
This of course has lead to several fights agianst various dragons. The Warforged has challenged me by launching himself onto the Dragons even riding them while fighting in midair. Which has been quite entertaining but has lead to some very impromt too rulings as far as being able to hold onto a Dragon while it is flying several hundred feet above ground and thrasing around trying to knock you off.

I should also mention the PC's have a flying boat and where flying towards the main City where they have been recieving all their quests when the 3 dragons attacked them spurring the Warforged to launch himself, from one of the ships Ballistas, onto the back of one of the Dragons he missed his target but luckily another dragon was within range and he landed on that one instead.

Anyway getting to my point I would like some suggestions/tip on how best to handle arial combat and my PC's throwing themselves onto dragons and stabbing said dragons to death while in midair most of the time with no hope of returning to the ship (their choice) should said dragon get knocked prone/die while they are riding, this again happened a couple of times last encounter. 

The Warforged suggested I come up with a feat he can take to make him handle these types of situations better I might be a good idea, tips on that as well
1.  A Dragon isn't some "Handle Animal" check, eh? I would have some checks to simulate the bucking and imagine the dragon would be doing tricks and flips to get the unwanted "flea" off.

2.  I would, at this point based on events that happened, ask if your player is outright interested in Taming Dragons. I would look at different games that use Taming options, and pick something. It seems to already be part of your games fun, right?

I would also hope there is at least one friendly dragon this player can ride gracefully sometime instead of just getting bucked by enemies. Good luck!

Within; Without.

Grappling flying enemies and getting carried into the air is classic, so good for you for encouraging it, and not treating it as foolish.

My feeling on this is that, as far as the player should be concerned, losing the character due to a fall from this kind of encounter should be off the table, which if you're considering offering him a feat to get out of it anyway, seems to be what you all want.

Basically, you need something to come from this situation that is interesting. Having the character just auger in and die isn't that interesting, though being that he's a warforged I wouldn't be surprised if he could regularly survive. At the same time, I imagine you don't want to say he just gets out of it without an consequence.

My suggestion is to work with the player, either up front or when he embarks on this kind of thing, to find out what he thinks would be cool and make sense if he happens to fall or be dropped. You and the other players can work with him on this. Pull from movies or stories where things like this happen. The story can't just let the hero pancake, so there's always something in the way. A lake, a barn, a tree, a slope, a mud pit, what have you. Yeah, it seems coincidental, but the only people who have to buy it are those at the table.

Beyond that, a fantasy world offers all sorts of possibilities. Spells, arrows trailing lines, hitting ground that's been undermined by kruthiks, the flying boat getting there just in time.

Any and all of these can carry costs or rolls or whatever you and the players think are appropriate. Once you take falling to his death off the table, you'll find that other options become much more appealing and viable.

As for rules for arial combat, I don't advise spending much time hashing those out. Give the fighter an attack penalty and cause him to grant combat advantage and call it good.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

After running something slightly similar, and thinking about what I could have done better afterwards, I think I'd suggest this:

- Minor action to do a check to calm the dragon/beast/whatever (check that the player suggests and justifies from nature for soothing noises, heal for pressure point control, arcana for arcanical locks or whatever else)
- DC at start of his turn to see if he stays on the animal while it does not like him being there
- Either DCs reducing after each successful check, or DCs disappearing after 3 successful checks (maybe both) to show it coming to grips temporarily with you on it
- If he falls, then rather than falling hundreds of feet to his death or out of combat (ie: into something soft), a minor penalty of falling and then being picked up by a scavenger (minion or the main flying beast) in it's teeth/mouth. They take some damage (a healing surge?) but keeps them in the battle.
- An easy way for the character to get back to the main battle and/or to get away from the minion chewing on them

Where I messed up in particular last time was that then keeping the minions focused on the fallen character. Given it was epic level monsters against mid-heroic heroes ... a really bad idea in hindsight.
Whenever I've come across situations like this, I've just told my players "Okay, roll... whatever you think is appropriate"

If it beats a hard DC, you do it.  If it beats a standard DC, you do it but I throw a complication at them or give them a choice ("okay, you can do that, but if you do, you drop your weapon").  If it doesn't beat a standard DC, I come up with a failure that isn't death but is interesting (perhaps the dragon eats them and now they have to fight their way out of his stomach)
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/

 Actually, if the player is planning on making suicide a career, you may want to give him an item rather than a feat...

At the least, a Lesser Ring of Feather Fall is a 12th level item. (You take no damage from a fall.)
If you want something more interesting...

 Since he's a warforged, an embedded component with an Immediate Reaction (trigger: begins falling) Encounter gliding power would be perfect. Call it an Avemalaem. Flavor it as glider wings, a parachute or a Batman-style cape. Since he's 13th level, maybe allow him to gain a flight speed equal to twice his speed until the end of his next turn, after which point he has to spend a minor action every turn to make a Hard DC Athletics or Acrobatics roll in order to not begin falling.
 (Flavor: the device is necessarily thin and fragile in order to be folded up and stored without affecting the abilty to wear armor and not designed for prolonged use, so it takes active concentration to keep aloft after a certain point...)
If he does fall he's allowed to use the falling rules for flying creatures, and on his next turn can take a minor action to make a check to stop his fall.
 Once his actual flight speed wears off, for every turn he doesn't fall he automatically safely descends a vertical distance no less than his speed and no more than double it, and must move a distance equal to twice his speed horizontally as a free action during his turn. You might allow him to trade two squares of horizontal movement to regain one square of altitude.

 Assuming he's not terribly far from the airship he has at least a vague chance of making it back onboard the ship or at least giving the party a chance at some sort of retri...grabbing a hanging rope, etc.) IF he chooses to concentrate on that rather than killing the dragon or landing.
 And he also has a decent chance of landing in one piece since a warforged fighter is going to have a good Athletics score pretty much by default even if they didn't train it. At the very least, trying to nurse himself down to a safe landing will give him something interesting to do if he ends up taking himself out of the fight (picture every white-knuckle crash-landing scene from every adventure movie ever made - plowing a few acres of real estate with his face on every landing would make for a good running gag)...

 Between the internal glider component and the ring, that should satisfy the jump-happy player, although I suspect the party may eventually get tired of having to turn the ship around to pick him up again.

Edit: That word should be "retrieval", but I don't know why it won't let me edit the damned thing...

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1.  A Dragon isn't some "Handle Animal" check, eh? I would have some checks to simulate the bucking and imagine the dragon would be doing tricks and flips to get the unwanted "flea" off.

2.  I would, at this point based on events that happened, ask if your player is outright interested in Taming Dragons. I would look at different games that use Taming options, and pick something. It seems to already be part of your games fun, right?

I would also hope there is at least one friendly dragon this player can ride gracefully sometime instead of just getting bucked by enemies. Good luck!


Have not really played 4th much, but unless something has greatly changed, you should not be able to "Tame" a dragon.  Dragons are highly intelligent creatures, not animals or other creatures with a 1 or 2 intelligence. 

Convincing a dragon to act as your mount or  cohort should be a matter of diplomacy.  And even then, you have to consider what is in it for the dragon.  Consider how inclined you would be to follow around a hamster and help it defeat it's enemies.
Elixirs of Levitation are 125 gp each, easily affordable to paragon PCs. If my party falls off their airship or a similarly high place, they chug their potion and float to the ground. 
Elixirs of Levitation are 125 gp each, easily affordable to paragon PCs. If my party falls off their airship or a similarly high place, they chug their potion and float to the ground. 

Technically speaking that only works if the distance is big otherwise you crash before being able to pull the potion ;)

Elixirs of Levitation are 125 gp each, easily affordable to paragon PCs. If my party falls off their airship or a similarly high place, they chug their potion and float to the ground. 

Technically speaking that only works if the distance is big otherwise you crash before being able to pull the potion ;)


True, but as far as I can tell, leaping onto a flying enemy with a grapple attack in 4e (classic as it may be) is already deep into houserule territory, with the exception of very specific powers such as Ride the Giant Down.
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