It started on the airship.
Our Epic Tier party has been playing together for 4 years now, and has acquired some interesting little toys, including an airship which we use to cruise around looking for things to break.
It was while we were riding in the airship returning from some adventure when we were attacked by a mechanical “dragon,” which was really a dragon-shaped airship being piloted by marauders.
In game mechanics, we were fighting a giant Rust Dragon, but the DM played it as if we were fighting the bad guys in an airship, who kept swooping in and out, towards and away from our own ship, flapping its rusty wings and trying to bring us down.
My Paladin isn’t much for ranged fighting, so while our Wizard and Ranger were having a field day with distance attacks, I was resigned to sitting on my hands and waiting until the thing got close enough for me to smack it. And since the DM was choosing its swooping direction with a die roll, odd for closer, even for further away, it was chance that it would even come close enough for me to hit it.
But finally, after waiting several rounds for my opportunity, I took a running leap, nailed an Arobatics check, and landed on the rickety thing’s back, where I started bashing on it with my axe while it bobbed and weaved.
I rode the back of the Rust Dragon airship, wailing away against it as it floated back and forth across the sky.
The DM was being nice when he warned me, “If this thing dies and you’re still on it, you’re going down with it.” But its movement was still under the control of the dice. For three rounds it drifted away on even rolls. The DM was even rolling in front of the screen so there was no doubt about where it was going and why.
Finally it began to drift back towards our own airship, and not a moment too soon. At 10 feet away, I took another leap, didn’t do as hot on my Acro check, but I cleared the distance, landing on my face back on the deck of our own airship. In two more rounds, it went down and crashed somewhere in the Dawn Forged Mountains where it lies rusting to dust even to this very day.
There was no way my character was going to miss the chance to ride the back of a dragon. If he died in the process, it would have been worth it. It would have been a death worthy of song.
And that’s what D&D is about.