5E Curse of Strahd: Giant Raven vs. Giant Bat

Bladecoder

Visitor
Hi,
So I am running Curse of Strahd and I was thinking that I could change the encounter at the Heart of Sorrow, which is 10 flying halberds and 4 vampire spawn, to something a little more epic...

Such as a flying servant of Strahd! But, I am having trouble deciding between a Giant Bat (With Improved Stats) or a Giant Raven (also with improved stats.)

So what to you guys think? Giant Bat or Giant Raven to serve as Strahd's personal pet and minion. Also if you would like you can leave a suggestion on an ability that one of the creature's may have that would be helpful.

Thanks in advance! Leave your suggestions below!
 

Rils

Visitor
Ravens don't work for Strahd, they work for his enemies.
True. Ravens are "good" guys in CoS. Bat would be a better option, thmatically. Better yet, multiple giant bats. My experience with solo fights in 5e is that they tend to be very one-sided. Your PCs will just spread out on the stairs and shoot arrows or spells at it till it's dead. You want multiple bad guys when possible. To really fear for their lives, you probably want at least 3 or 4 "average" baddies per PC. Even at a 1:1 ratio, the baddies should be at the party's CR level; if the party is level 5, you should have a CR 5 baddie for each PC. I know the DMG says one CR 5 monster is worth 4 level 5 PCs, but that's actually a fairly weak encounter in practice.

Another idea might be flying undead, like ghosts or specters or something. Maybe tie it to the March of the Undead or whatever its called from the village of Barovia - Strahd has called the horde of ghosts from the village cemetery to swarm the tower and attacks them. Or scratch the halberds but have like 10 Vampire Spawn, crawling down the walls and stuff (remember they have spider climb) - Strahd sends all his spawn to guard the heart. Those are both doable with using the monsters as-is, and just using more of them.
 

Bladecoder

Visitor
True. Ravens are "good" guys in CoS. Bat would be a better option, thmatically. Better yet, multiple giant bats. My experience with solo fights in 5e is that they tend to be very one-sided. Your PCs will just spread out on the stairs and shoot arrows or spells at it till it's dead. You want multiple bad guys when possible. To really fear for their lives, you probably want at least 3 or 4 "average" baddies per PC. Even at a 1:1 ratio, the baddies should be at the party's CR level; if the party is level 5, you should have a CR 5 baddie for each PC. I know the DMG says one CR 5 monster is worth 4 level 5 PCs, but that's actually a fairly weak encounter in practice.

Another idea might be flying undead, like ghosts or specters or something. Maybe tie it to the March of the Undead or whatever its called from the village of Barovia - Strahd has called the horde of ghosts from the village cemetery to swarm the tower and attacks them. Or scratch the halberds but have like 10 Vampire Spawn, crawling down the walls and stuff (remember they have spider climb) - Strahd sends all his spawn to guard the heart. Those are both doable with using the monsters as-is, and just using more of them.
Hmm... Yeah I agree, but I do want to keep a Giant Bat so I will just scrap the halberds, and have 7 Vampire spawns and a Giant Bat instead.
 

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