D&D 5E Help me boost Strahd for 12th level PCs


My group is 12th level (Tomelock, Shadow Monk, Evoker, Paladin of Vengence)

They are going to play the Ravenloft chapter of CoS (5 years after the events of PotA they have returned to their lives and are growing into their new found power/fame when in a wilderness corner of the land they live a strange mist appeared and when it cleared a dark forest had sprung up with an ancient castle in the middle of it...they received a dinner invitation from the master of the castle...)


Increase AC to 18
Increase HD by 3 or 6 (so 27 or 54 more hp)
Increase Regeneration to 25
Increase spell casting level to 12th or 15th to give him some access to high level spells.
+1 to Spell casting DC and attack
Additional spells (mostly defensive or charm): Possibilities: Counterspell, Dispel Magic, Wall of Stone, Globe of Invulnerability, Irresistible Dance, Mass Suggestion, Create Undead, Forcecage, Reverse Gravity, Symbol, Antipathy, Mind Blank....obviously I'd just choose a few of these...I consider Counterspell to be a must have for pretty much all casters.

Other things I intend to do: Add 25%-50% more creatures to each encounter where there are multiple creatures or add 25-50% more HP and boost the AC +1 or +2.

Any other suggestions?

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First Post
You could graft on the Vampire Warrior template from the Monster Manual. That'd boost both his AC and his melee attacks.

One fun alternative would be to put Strahd in his own Animated Armor. That'd dramatically boost his AC and would let you potentially have some fun with the armor's actions.


First Post
I like the idea of having him wearing his animated armor and using a great sword. He was a great warrior before he became a vampire, so having him armored and riding a nightmare sounds like a fun fight. You can have the armor jump on him like an Iron Man suit and have rows of animated armor in his room waiting to replace the last damaged one. If you let the animated armor take half the damage he takes, then it will give him more chances to regenerate if the party fails to keep him in sunlight or radiant damage.

Also remember that Strahd is crafty and has many minions at his disposal. If he feels that the party is a big enough threat he may even feel compelled to gift one of his brides with the powers of a full vampire. He could always destroy them later if they survive the fight. See which of his allies are still alive when the part gets to the room where

I think it would be good to set up the fight like an Angry GM boss fight from 4E. http://theangrygm.com/the-dd-boss-fight-part-4/

If you can make the party waste their nova round on a decoy wearing the animated armor you could mess up their one round win. Three encounters with no chance for a short rest in between will also mess up their chance to recover to full before taking on Strahd.


My intention is to play him the way the adventure intends. He will harass them to test them and amuse himself. He will kite the heck out of them, weaken them before encounters and take the opportunity to attack them when they are weakened from other encounters.

The animated armor idea is a good one but I think it changes the nature of fighting him. So I think I will pass on that one. If this were my own adventure, I'd consider going with it. But I want my players to experience Ravenloft as it was meant to be. They get harried by the villain until they find some way to immobilize him and kill him. The point of him is to avoid going to toe-to-toe with the party for very long.

I think one thing to make him tougher for a higher level party is just make his Children of the Night recharge on a short rest if he rests in his tomb, make it a bonus action (only usable if the sun is down) and always use the table on page 239 of CoS...so in 1d4 rounds some non-trivial monsters show up to aid him. If he escapes and can spend an hour resting in his tomb he can do it again.

I think rather than have the Heart of Sorrow kick in immediately and he can cut it off as a bonus action, instead have it kick in as soon as he is below half hp and he can't cut it off at all. So with no modifications, he has 144 hp...it kicks in at 72 hp. So let's say he is sitting at 100 hp then takes an attack that does 52 hp of damage. He will drop to 72 (taking 28 damage) and the other 24 will behave as per the description of that item. Narratively this well be "He is wearing down under your onslaught and you land a mighty blow to his face. You expect to see his jaw removed from his head, but when he turns back to you he is fine!" At that point, unless he is cornered he will begin to look to escape, rest and heal so as to avoid using it all up. He wants to maintain it. It will give me a reason to have him retreat even if he is winning and will freak the party out because he will suddenly seem to become invulnerable.



I think I will use this (with AC 19) and make him a 12th level caster so he has access to at least one 6th level spell. Imxp, caster NPCs almost never get to use all their slots or even many of them. What really matters is the range of spells available to them.

We're skipping most of the AP and playing it more like the original stand-alone adventure so I intend to have Strahd harass them early and often. I'm going to skip the randomness of the card reading and instead place the main encounter with Strahd, the Sun Sword and the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind as far from each other as possible. If he is using a 5th and 6th level spells on the party that should be enough to keep some time pressure on them (knowing he will regain his spell slots).

Weaken them with summoned monsters and other mooks first.

Have packs of vampire spawn racing the walls to attack them.

Have Strahd be the eighth encounter of the adventuring day.

Epic Threats

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