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Holy crap my players are powerful. Like Polymorph the captured rogue into a giant ape that kills everything, powerful.
D&D’s always had a weird balance that revolves around attrition. Creatures are given a Challenge Rating and DM’s have a tool to calculate how to make encounters Easy, Medium, Hard, and Deadly depending on the type and number of enemies.
But that assumes a “well-rested party.” Much of the challenge of D&D comes from fights taking a gradual toll on the party’s resources. It was a tricky balancing act, particularly in dungeons.
5E lets the party Short Rest to recover some abilities. If the party does that right before a major boss battle, they’re sitting much prettier than an otherwise easy or medium fight that’s at the end of a long string of encounters. See for example the near deadly fire elemental encounter near the end of Scarlet Moon Hall.
For this week’s session the party tackled their biggest boss battle to date – the leader/prophet of Elemental Water Gar Shatterkeel, and suffered nary a scratch. I even threw an extra force of reinforcements at them, AND had their lizardfolk allies turn on them afterward.
Nary a scratch.