Dragon Encounters

Making dnd combat fun, finding monsters that fit together, monster tactics and strategies, and other ways of using the monsters of dungeons and dragons

CHIMERA: A Fight to the Death


Combat rating 8


1 Chimera (CR 6)

2 Gnoll pack lords (CR 2)

1 Gnoll fang of Yeenoghu (CR 4)


[Elite gnoll hunting party]

Combat rating 9


1 Chimera (CR 6)

1 Bulette (CR 5)

1-2 Carrion crawlers (CR 2)


[While the bulette is a rival, it’s one the
chimera can’t fight, given that it hides underground. It’s compromising by
stealing the bulette’s kill.]

Combat rating 11


1 Chimera (CR 6)

1 Cambion (CR 5)

2 Helmed horrors (CR 4)


Combat rating 12


1 Chimera (CR 6)

3 Barlguras (CR 5)

1 Shadow demon (CR 4)

How to Use – Combat Encounter (difficulty 7)

First appearance: The chimera’s attack style is very straightforward. It will dive from the sky, roaring and breathing fire, choosing an angle that will allow everyone to see it. I would choose a forest clearing, personally, or to have it come from around the side of a mountain, so that it can make a suitably dramatic entrance without getting hit by a dozen arrows and spells before it has a chance to get close.

(Does the chimera have the intelligence to do this deliberately? Showing itself off before charging is part of its nature. Worrying about spells and projectiles is not, but having fire breath itself, it knows that abilities like that exist. I would suggest that an older chimera that was nearly killed by spells/projectiles in the past might just have learned better. A chimera that didn’t have such an experience would need luck. Alternatively, we could suggest that with such a heavy body it doesn’t like flying long distances. Rather, it sits on a mountain peak and waits for prey to come near.)

The chimera’s strategy: What will make a chimera encounter challenging is the chimera’s single mindedness, and its determination to kill the PC. It will choose one PC that looks weak to it and target that PC non-stop, even after he falls unconscious [0 HP]. Its fire breath will be used wherever it can catch multiple enemies, to chase them off it while it finishes off its chosen prey, but all its other attacks will be on the same target.

(Its WIS is such that it can make a fairly good call as to which PC is weakest. That said, a warlock wearing armor or a monk without armor might fool it.)

The chimera’s fighting style: It won’t use its fire breath unless it can catch at least two enemies in it.

If the target tries to escape, the chimera will chase after it, suffering opportunity attacks to do so. [While flying after a target is sometimes a good time to use fire breath, even if it has to loop around to do so, which it will do so long as it can reach its target that turn.]

It will fly after the target, landing on the target’s far side if at all possible. This will make it harder for the other characters attacking it to reach it on their next turn, and harder still for them to surround it. Even if you’re playing without flanking, this makes its fire breath more effective. (The chimera doesn’t have the intelligence to realize the advantage of circling its enemy, but fortunately we have a different motivation we can provide instead. It wants to cut him off, to make it impossible for him to keep running, and it wants to end up in front of him, so that he can see that he is doomed.)

Encounter battlemap: When designing a battlefield for this encounter, put in scattered obstacles and have at least some of the area be difficult terrain. This is also to prevent flanking and escaping. The chimera doesn’t have the intelligence to utilize this, but we can hope to get lucky.

Endgame: The chimera is after its target’s death, not merely defeat, and this is what’s going to make this fight be extra difficult. Fortunately, the chimera prefers to play with its prey. The first time it knocks its target unconscious, or down to low HP, it will fly away without killing him. If the chimera is below 50% HP, it will take a short rest to heal itself as much as possible. If it knocked him unconscious, it will wait until he recovers consciousness (you can’t terrify someone who’s unconscious.) After that, it will return, and this time it won’t stop until the target is dead. It will continue attacking him once he’s unconscious until he’s completely dead. Make certain your players know this fact. At the very latest, they should know this before the second fight begins.

With the second fight, it is possible that the chimera will set an ambush, hiding in tall grass or behind bushes and possibly taking the players by surprise. If it chooses this route, it will show itself in the sky beforehand, and probably give several loud roars from the ground, before settling into ambush.

If it kills its target, it will flee. (This doesn’t go against what it said in the Monster Manual about stubbornness, as it was never trying to kill the other players at this time.) Very possibly, it will come back the next day, with a different PC as the target. The only difference between the first fight and this fight is that it will have the information it gathered from the previous fight to help it choose its target, and it might use an ambush with the first attack. (The truth is, using an ambush to start the first fight would be perfectly within normal chimera behavior. I chose to do otherwise just to make it seem more impressive in the D&D game.)

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About Me

I have been a DM for several years, and I was designing home RPG games since my young childhood. I have been a fan of many different types of games (computer, board, RPG, and more) and have designed several for my own entertainment. This is my first attempt to produce game content for a wider audience.