D&D 5E Boosting Strahd

dave2008

Legend
Also, since he's in the study if he gets reduced to 0 hp, there's a good chance he just goes gaseous form, slips through some cracks in the stone and reforms in his coffin. This would give the party 24 hours to track him down before he returns with a vengeance (attacking at a time and in a place to his benefit).

If the party has done the work to track the items to destroy him and prepped to face him for this confrontation though, I wouldn't rob them of their victory. If you know (as you seem to) that the fight will be disappointing, using a Mythic Form does seem to be the way to go, as mentioned in the posts above.
He can just use his lair action to move through the floor and regen in safety before that happens.
 

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Retreater

Legend
Also, since he's in the study if he gets reduced to 0 hp, there's a good chance he just goes gaseous form, slips through some cracks in the stone and reforms in his coffin. This would give the party 24 hours to track him down before he returns with a vengeance (attacking at a time and in a place to his benefit).

If the party has done the work to track the items to destroy him and prepped to face him for this confrontation though, I wouldn't rob them of their victory. If you know (as you seem to) that the fight will be disappointing, using a Mythic Form does seem to be the way to go, as mentioned in the posts above.
You may have missed it in my first post, but he cannot take mist form. If he is reduced to 0 hp in sunlight (provided by the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind), he is instantly destroyed. No mist form.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
How many PCs are there? I think I remember you mentioning 6 or 7?

If so, then yeah Strahd (listed as a CR 15) is going to be a pushover, especially if they are even close to fresh an can nova.

Either you need to beef him us (a few good ways suggested above) or to make sure he has help.

Even 1 more target - like say his animated armor, if they haven't disabled that already, will make this a MUCH harder fight. Just pick something that would reasonably be there and have it help him.
 

Retreater

Legend
How many PCs are there? I think I remember you mentioning 6 or 7?
Down to 5-6 now. 2 of the players are very inexperienced and probably don't contribute the full capabilities of their characters. So it's closer to 4-5 characters.

Either you need to beef him us (a few good ways suggested above) or to make sure he has help.
I might bring help - and if it's needed, do a "second form" if they had too easy of a time.
I don't want to kill them immediately, and I DO want them to win, but I want it to be satisfying, challenging, and fun. If the session is over in 30 minutes, that's not going to be enjoyable.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Down to 5-6 now. 2 of the players are very inexperienced and probably don't contribute the full capabilities of their characters. So it's closer to 4-5 characters.


I might bring help - and if it's needed, do a "second form" if they had too easy of a time.
I don't want to kill them immediately, and I DO want them to win, but I want it to be satisfying, challenging, and fun. If the session is over in 30 minutes, that's not going to be enjoyable.

A second form is pretty appropriate for this villain!

Plus it's a pretty rare thing in D&D, unless your players watch Critical Role (Mercer is a huge fan of this, perhaps a bit too much), so will get a horrified reaction from the PLAYERS. Exactly the kind of reaction you want, considering the setting!
 

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
I put my notes on running Strahd (as is) in a Strahd thread, but in summary, in his castle he's near invincible because of his Lair ability to run through walls.

He's a genius tactician and general. He can run through a wall, regenerate 100%, and come back. I played him hit and run. He'd come running through a ceiling, floor or wall, taking an Attack of Opportunity (maybe) to strafe a PC, preferably a caster. If he misses, he just comes back after he's healed up.

If the PCs tried resting, he'd summon minions to create enough noise and havoc that they couldn't (Leomund's Hut helps, but they'll just be waiting outside). Same if they tried to wall themselves up somewhere strategic. He can wait them out. He's eternal.

That all said, if you play him right, even with artifacts in hand, he should be unbeatable. So, like I believe bosses should be, I made him a puzzle to be solved. There's all this backstory and history about Ireena, a diary, even a novel written about it all that didn't make the module cut. Whoopity do, perhaps? But what if understanding him was the key to beating him? In our game, Ireena succumbed to his emotional beatdowns and began to recreate history (the original Tatyana scene was about to play out). Understanding the bad guy should be a key to defeating him. Otherwise, it's just fluff.

The PCs figured this out after getting their arses handed to them and putting up a Leomund's Hut (I can't recall how they bought time to do that, maybe I was being generous). They thought: what would make a genius general give up his "can't lose" tactic? They'd seen Strahd get angry before, and it was only when bringing up his bad relationships. Their solution? Find Ireena, and stake her. They figured she's at the castle, and he's turning her into a vampire. They also figured there's a crypt with a ton of places to hide her. With nothing to lose (except their lives), they made a run for it, defending while they opened crypt doors until they found her. And they staked her. And Strahd lost it.

After that, with all the artifacts in hand, even beat up, Strahd was going to go down. It was satisfying for the players to see him go down quick. After all, he'd been beating up on them for the entire session.
 

MGibster

Legend
If you have the weapons designed to defeat Strahd then he's actually pretty easy to beat. This has been true of every Ravenloft adaptation that I've played/run since the original module from 1983.
 

Retreater

Legend
I put my notes on running Strahd (as is) in a Strahd thread, but in summary, in his castle he's near invincible because of his Lair ability to run through walls.
Right. If he keeps running through walls, he would be unbeatable. But it's a cheat.
Also, the Tarrokka cards said he would be encountered in the Study, heavily implying that he wouldn't just stay there for six seconds and run away. What would be the point of finding a spot for a generic ambush that means nothing? There must be some reason it was foretold in the cards, right?
I don't want him "unbeatable." I want him beatable - but thrilling, fun, exciting, dangerous. Which is something that is VERY hard to achieve in 5e.
 

MarkB

Legend
Right. If he keeps running through walls, he would be unbeatable. But it's a cheat.
Also, the Tarrokka cards said he would be encountered in the Study, heavily implying that he wouldn't just stay there for six seconds and run away. What would be the point of finding a spot for a generic ambush that means nothing? There must be some reason it was foretold in the cards, right?
I don't want him "unbeatable." I want him beatable - but thrilling, fun, exciting, dangerous. Which is something that is VERY hard to achieve in 5e.
Well, it's a study. That implies interesting reading material. Maybe he shows off his lair actions and gives them the slip, but looks back in concern at a particular volume on his way out, and if the PCs check it out they find some method of counteracting his get-out-of-jail card - anointing the walls with holy water or the like.
 

JAMUMU

actually dracula
Lightning bolts. Vampire bosses throwing lightning bolts around always make my players duck and cover. Then gaseous form, so he can wait somewhere else with his crooked vampire fingers ready to throw more lightning bolts.
 

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