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Question for the group. Have any of you actually run a Dragon fight? I recently did, so I'm curious as to everyone else's experiences. Here's mine.
PSA: Spoilers ahead for the Mercurial adventure, so avoid if you haven't run it yet and are planning to. For context, we're using 2E with some house rules, but realistically this is relevant and open to anyone's preferred edition.

So, at the end of the adventure, the team was faced with a final battle with best in the world assassin Kyle Morgan(who the party has decided is basically John Wick), and the Dragon Perianwyr. I decided for expediency and clarification of some abilities to use the 3E Western Dragon stats from Dragons of the Sixth World, which worked well. As for Kyle Morgan, he really can't go Toe-To-Toe with a team of Runners for very long, even with his solid Firearms skill and cybered-up reflexes. However, he had a weapon for every possible range(ARES Predator, Viper Slivergun, and Ranger Arms SM3-3 Sniper Rifle). So why wouldn't he use that advantage?

I'm a firm believer that you NEVER catch a Dragon unprepared, and the same goes for someone like Kyle Morgan. So the to keep it short, the team was lured onto the rooftop, where Perianwyr had sustained Invisibility on Kyle with his Sniper Rifle out. And with mobility his main advantage, the Dragon spent a couple turns hitting the outside of the building with his Fire Breath to create an oily black smoke that helped obscure the area.

The fight was intense, with the team finally locating Kyle and suppressing him with combined fire. The team lost a rotodrone, the super strong Dwarf Street Samurai managed to actually score a hit and wound Perianwyr with a Composite Bow, multiple people learned that Sniper Rounds from concealment suck(but they lived), and in the end the team Shaman had to pull some emergency shenanigans to summon a Great Form Sky Spirit to assist them and cover their escape afterwards. But the team did win by the skin of their teeth.

So, final thoughts: Dragons, regardless of edition, aren't completely invincible as some people I've seen comment other places seem to believe. But they are tough as well, have a huge range of abilities and spells at their disposal, and honestly? Their biggest advantage is their mobility combined with just a bit of preparation. Dragons are SMART(if maybe a bit arrogant), and they know how to use their own strengths and mitigate their weaknesses. Attacking from the air, using long range spells, sustaining invisibility on allies, all of these are basic tactics that IMO should be utilised to full effect. If you manage to catch a Dragon on his/her back foot, that Dragon has massively screwed up somehow.

Anyways, just thought I'd share my experiences as a GM, since getting to actually use/see a Dragon in combat is something that happens in the lore and fluff a bit, but very rarely in most games. What are your guys' thoughts?
In my experience if your team knows they are going to face a dragon, they get the right gear and the dragon falls as fast as anyone else. They are pretty damn tough against regular ammo and light weapons but pull out the APDS and high AP assault weapons and down they go.
Yup, Now in 4th edition you have things like the thunderstuck gauss rifle. Sure not as powerful or piercing as a Panther, but semi-auto rate of fire can more than make up for that.

Even better is the Ares Heavy MP laser. Put that on a drone and zap, zap, zap away your dragon issues.
In my experience, direct "Boss" fights in Shadowrun rarely work well. If the PC have Edge left, they'll spend one to act first, then spend Edge to attack with their most powerful attack, and unless the boss can spend enough edge to survive this initial barrage, the fight is pretty much over.

So I fully agree that good tactics and preparation is key, be it for dragons or for any other "boss". I have to admit that when I GM the most dangerous opposition isn't the one with the biggest stat, it's usually the opposition that you can't or won't fight, for one reason or another.
IMO, as with all powerful enemies, it depends on level of preparedness (on both sides) more than actually rolling the dice.

A normal dragon can be killed with an AR and APDS rounds, and both of those are not exactly difficult to get for even a moderately experienced team. If you know what you are up against, it is comparatively easy to acquire gear and plan tactics to counter specific threats.
However, if the opponent is played smart, and has their own preparations that the runners don't necessarily know about, it gets way more interesting, due to the need to adapt the plan and improvise on a moment's notice.
Dragons are, IMO, the poster child for having an ace up their metaphorical sleeves, ranging from early warning systems (Animal Control power, plus Mind Link Spell, or similar), very high awareness of surroundings (i.e. Enhanced Senses plus spells that further heighten these), abilities to influence people (Compulsion, Fear) to such "simple" things like having an obscene number of bound spirits summoned and at their beck and call or "know[ing] most spells" (SR4A, p. 303). All of these eventualities are very hard to find out about beforehand, and difficult to defend against.

I also find that just having them fight until they die is the surest way to make the encounter not very memorable. In my time, my characters have fought a few dragons, and only one of them used their full arsenal against a very prepared runner team, resulting in an even fight, and, after wounding most of us, a successful flight on part of the dragon. The other half dozen times the GMs simply did not use spirits, spells, or powers like Compulsion or Fear and we more or less easily killed the things, to their dismay.

A smart enemy using tools (that the runners also might have access to) is much more dangerous than just a firebreathing lizard. That is not even taking into account eventual allies like Perianwyr has in Kyle Morgan, or drakes and the like.
Oh, and I absolutely refuse to give Great Dragons stats. If you attack those directly, you're toast and I won't even roll for it.

On a different note, I once ran Survival of the Fittest. In the last scenario, there is an astral quest, and in the Place of Battle, it is suggested to have the runners fight dragons while clad in the form of dragons themselves. I followed that and it was a very interesting and visceral experience, rolling these buckets of dice and using powers you normally don't have access to.
I suppose I would look at it this way:

how much does it cost to hire your team of shadowrunners to do a job, and do you think the dragon doesn't have that much money?

when it comes down to something that represents a threat to their life, I see no reason to expect that the dragon isn't willing to invest a little money... so you'd better catch them completely by surprise or it is entirely reasonable that you face off against the only team of troll archer adepts armed with longbows that could punch a hole through an underground bunker this side of the Mississippi or something of that nature.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Jul 29 2020, 05:15 AM) *
Yup, Now in 4th edition you have things like the thunderstuck gauss rifle. Sure not as powerful or piercing as a Panther, but semi-auto rate of fire can more than make up for that.

Actually... with the Arsenal Errata, like other Gauss weapons... it halves armor first, then subtracts it AP modifier.
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