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Old 02-10-2020, 02:58 PM
Pantastic is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2015
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What characters can handle depends on your player group, as some players just don't make effective characters. If you use the challenge creation rules in the DMG (You can use https://kobold.club/fight/#/encounter-builder to do the calcs for you), you can get a good idea of encounter difficulty, though there's some non-intuitive stuff. The challenge ratings and danger levels are built with the idea that PCs will face 6-8 encounters between each long rest, maybe half of them combat. So a fight rated as 'hard' just means that it's going to burn some resources, and 'deadly' just means 'there's a decent chance of player death. Tough 'boss fight' type fights need to be about 2-3 times a 'deadly' encounter if they're going to be the only one for the day. Generally PC damage is huge, so I usually give max HP to anything that's supposed to be tough and any caster types. Also, unless your party is really small (2-3 players), because of the action economy 'boss' monsters fighting alone are either going to be a pushover for a party or so overwhelming that it's pure luck to not die to them. Give a boss pets, lieutenants, and/or minions so that players have to spread their actions around - if that mummy lord has a pack of lesser undead at his command, that vampire has thralls flanking the party, or the wizard has some hired muscle guarding his back the fights will be a lot closer and more interesting.

If you're just doing 3rd to 5th level, Running a few of the Adventurer's League mods might work. A couple that I really like from Season I are DDEX1-14 Dues for the dead (straightforward dungeon), DDEX1-02 Secrets of Sokol Keep (bit of a mystery and dungeon), DDEX1-08 Tales Trees Tale (the scary kind of fairy tale forest), and DDEX1-6 The Scroll Thief (investigation of a theft, then a chase). That season was all tied to the Tyranny of Dragons hardcover, but the adventures only loosely connect to it, and if you've run before it's easy enough to change locations and backstory around while keeping the crunchy bits from the mods. Also since they're built for AL, the encounters mostly have adjustments for different size and levels of party so it's easy for you to play around with the difficulty. (These are all available from dmsguild.com and I think some of them may be free now if you search for the number).

If you've already got "Tales from the Yawning Portal" (which has the 5e version of Sunless Citadel), Forge of Fury is built for Characters around that level and I've heard good things about it.