D&D 5E Combat strategy post-mortem

Mark1733

Explorer
Okay, not sure if anyone would want to help me with a rudimentary post-mortem on my Peryton encounter that just occurred last night using TaleSpire fully for the first time. I don't DM too much, so any basic thoughts for improving combat tactics and "encounter variables" are appreciated.

Basic premise was that the party of six 3rd-lvl adventurers (Hu Clr, Hu Brd, Elf Ftr, Elf BlSngr, DB Bar, TF Pyromancer) were fighting 3 perytons in a mountain pass about 100 feet wide with a large 2-ft tall boulder in the middle of the pass. There was a fallen creature they had met earlier in the adventure who was the perytons' main victim. The creature was down and unconscious while the peryton were fighting each other for who gets to eat the creature. The party was able to encounter the three perytons with no surprise on either side. The party was at full capacity in terms of spells, abilities, etc. The combat was okay IMO, with the Elf Ftr having to use 3 of his 4 combat superiority dice, second wind, action surge, and his health potion, the DB Bar using breath weapon to no effect, and the spellcasters using up half of their spells outside of cantrips. Two other characters were moderately wounded. The Elf Ftr was the only PC being threatened with going down, which is how he used his superiority dice, luckily to decent effect, second wind, and potion. Normal ranged weapons had disadvantage due to windy conditions in the mountain pass. However, the spellcasters had very good ranged attacks, and the tiefling got to use a hellish rebuke to finish the last peryton. Everyone contributed, but the perytons successfully saved 4 vicious mockery attempts against the bard, which I am sure was frustrating for that player. That was probably the only "downside" of that encounter, based solely on lucky dice rolls for me. As the DM, I had really good dice rolls all the way around (all attack and saving throws were visible to the players and were mostly successful), but I hid my own damage but never felt the need to fudge any of them).

Just to recap the Peryton stats... medium monstrosity; generally above avg abilities; 60'ft Fly; dmg resistances against normal slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning; SA: flyby (avoid AoO when flying) and dive attack (for extra damage if flying at least 30' ft); Atk are Gore, Talons, and Multiattack (gore + talons).

My main strategy was to use the flyby and dive attacks as the perytons swoop down from the sides of the the mountain pass, staying aloft and generally out of range of melee attacks. I did not use multiattack at all.

Is there anything you can think of that you would have done differently to make the perytons more effective/dangerous, more interesting, etc.. I never used multiattack, and I wonder if there would have been more effective use of that ability...especially with the perytons damage resistance and no magic weapons in the mix just yet, beyond a moon-touched sword. Thoughts?
 

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Dausuul

Legend
My main strategy was to use the flyby and dive attacks as the perytons swoop down from the sides of the the mountain pass, staying aloft and generally out of range of melee attacks. I did not use multiattack at all.

Is there anything you can think of that you would have done differently to make the perytons more effective/dangerous, more interesting, etc.. I never used multiattack, and I wonder if there would have been more effective use of that ability...especially with the perytons damage resistance and no magic weapons in the mix just yet, beyond a moon-touched sword. Thoughts?
You do know that the peryton can use Multiattack in combination with Dive Attack and Flyby? Dive Attack and Flyby are traits, not actions.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
The party was at full capacity in terms of spells, abilities, etc. The combat was okay IMO, with the Elf Ftr having to use 3 of his 4 combat superiority dice, second wind, action surge, and his health potion, the DB Bar using breath weapon to no effect, and the spellcasters using up half of their spells outside of cantrips. Two other characters were moderately wounded.
...
Is there anything you can think of that you would have done differently to make the perytons more effective/dangerous, more interesting, etc.. I never used multiattack, and I wonder if there would have been more effective use of that ability...especially with the perytons damage resistance and no magic weapons in the mix just yet, beyond a moon-touched sword. Thoughts?
I'm confused, the perytons were wildly effective. Especially for a Hard encounter with fully rested party.

D&D is an attrition based game, measured over multiple encounters. Using up about half of the spellcasters slots, some of the dragonborn's usages of breath weapons, multiple superiority dice & action surge, health potions - this sounds liek quite a bit more than 1/4 or 1/6th of their total resources, so as long as you run an appropriate number of encounters this was very effective in the amount it used up.

I would have used multiattack as well, it's baked into their CR. As @Dausuul said, Flyby and Dive Attack do not take the place of their action, they are just traits. Dive Attack sounds like an action, it's not - only the things in the Action portion of the stat block are.

Frankly, between Resistance to most of the weapons the party had and able to fly in to attack and out without taking OAs, this sounds like it was a rather hard battle for the players to do damage. Luckily at 3rd Readying to make an melee attack is just as effective as attacking, unlike at higher levels when you'd be missing out on extra attacks.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Is there anything you can think of that you would have done differently to make the perytons more effective/dangerous, more interesting, etc.. I never used multiattack, and I wonder if there would have been more effective use of that ability...especially with the perytons damage resistance and no magic weapons in the mix just yet, beyond a moon-touched sword. Thoughts?
More interesting: PCs need to hunt the perytons. Because: that stag blood just wants to run. And the bird-of-prey blood wants to find a lone, small, tasty meal. Not a group of aggressive PCs.

Things get interesting when the PCs think they're close to their prey, and one of the perytons dive-bombs a PC to discourage pursuit.
 

Argyle King

Legend
It sounds as though the monsters were effective.

If they were meant to be more deadly, I suppose they could have tried grappling a PC and flying off.
 

As already mentioned, it should have been twice as deadly as you made it.

The party should be copping 6 x attacks at +5, doing 16-17 damage each.

It's highly unlikely they had magical weapons so the critters effectively had 66HP each also.

At 3rd level, that's a lot to deal with. They're smart, they likely would have focussed in on the spellcasters first, killing one each round.

There is also this:

Whenever an opponent was helpless or unconscious—whether from crippling, paralysis, etc.—a peryton would attempt to rip the heart from the victim with its claws. It would immediately consume the organ.

Should you drop a PC to zero HP...
 

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