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D&D 5E Help With fixing the BBEG, after he got destroyed in 3 rounds

NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
Hello all. I’ve been running a game for a few friends, and am in a spot of bother. This might be a long post, since there is quite a bit of context for this, so I appreciate your patience.

The party consists of a level 13 Dragonborn Zealot Barbarian, level 13 Aasimar Conquest Paladin, a Dusk Elven Scribe Wizard ,and a Ki-Rin(they found a scroll of True Polymorph I happened to randomly roll). Through story, they found a time watch, and had it stolen around Level 7( we had switched DMs for a while), and chose not to follow it. Until they hit level 13. The Genasi who stole it had used it to splinter himself throughout the timeline in the intervening year and a half, and had fled to the Nine Hells in order to destroy the watch. Whilst they were there, they challenged Bel(an ex party member’s patron who stabbed them in the back) and failed to win naturally.

At this, I started laying the groundwork for the final BBEG. Alias was a Bard, who was from Shadycreek run, a settlement in Wildemount that burnt down(party made no attempt to stop it but reasonably could have), and was a Revenant. For some reason, he has lived beyond a year. He gathered a group known as the Walkers, which consisted of a Water Elemental Myrmidon, a Lampad, a Cambion, a Mind Flayer and Alias. I thought this would be a difficult encounter,that they would have to seriously rest after…

In a grand 3 rounds, the Walkers were all dead but Alias. He had lost 2 hit points having cast Tenser’s Transformation ahead of time, but decided that a one on four fight was extremely stupid, and teleported out. The BBEG was no real threat.

What do I do know? He has lived beyond a year with the help of Orcus(the Ki-Rin whilst an Artificer had made a deal to slow his cancer), and perhaps could gain power via that, but aside from that, I’m not sure.

Potential Allies- Zariel- Thanks to the Deck of Many, she LOATHES the Paladin.
Orcus- Alias is an undead after all, but is actually just mourning the death of his adventuring party.
Bel- The party walked into his home, and attacked him
Somebody Else?

I don’t want literally all their enemies(especially since Zariel and Bel hate each other, as do Orcus and the Archdevils) to team up, and am not sure what’s too much, since I could feasibly just say anything. I plan however, that they will be invited to a feast as a thanks for saving the world, and when they get there, they will encounter Alias(looking like himself but less pale) as the right hand man to the King(Glibness up naturally, so he can’t roll below a 34 on Deception). By that time, he could have amassed a bit more power, in order to complete his vengeance.

Many Thanks to all for this.

Before the fight, he had Glibness, Foresight, Tenser's Transformation and Death Ward cast

Alias- 145 Hit points, 20 AC
STR-18(+10)
DEX-14(+8)
CON-18(+10)
INT-13
WIS-16
CHA-24(+13)
Resistant to Necrotic, Psychic, Acid, Fire, Lightning
Immune to Bludgeoning, Piercing and Slashing from nonmagical weapons, Poison
Condition Immunity- Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Paralysed, Poisoned, Stunned

Regeneration- 20 at the start of his turn if he hasn’t taken radiant damage
Rejuvenation- Same as Revenant
Turn Immunity
Vengeful Tracker
Hateful Ricochet- If Alias succeeds on a saving throw against a spell of 3rd level or lower, he can deflect the spell, targeting a creature affected by his Vengeful Tracker ability using the caster’s spell DC and spell attack modifier.
Bardic Inspiration(7 uses per short rest)
Cutting Words
Magical Secrets
Peerless Skill
Legendary Resistances(3 uses)
Spellcasting- Alias is a 17th level spellcaster, and uses Charisma for his DC and spell attacks (DC 21)
0-Mind Sliver, Minor Illusion, Friends, Thunderclap
1(4)- Bane, Cure Wounds, Healing Word, Thunderwave
2(3)- Misty Step, Invisibility, Suggestion
3(3)-Dispel Magic, Major Image, Counterspell
4(3)- Greater Invisibility, Dimension Door, Death Ward
5(2)-Scrying, Synaptic Static, Steel Wind Strike
6(1)-Tenser’s Transformation
7(1)-Forcecage
8(1)-Glibness, Feeblemind
9(1)- Foresight

Actions- Multiattack- Alias makes three attacks with Mythcarver. He can substitute one of these attacks with his Deconstructing Touch if he is able to use it.

Mythcarver-+13 to hit- Deals 1d8+7 slashing on a hit as well as 1d6 force damage, or 1d10+7 slashing damage if Alias uses Mythcarver two handed and 1d6 force damage.

Deconstructing Touch(recharge 5-6)- Alias makes a melee spell attack(+13 to hit). On a hit, the target must make a DC 15 Con save, or take 10d6+40 force damage on a failed save, or half as much on a success. If the target is reduced to zero hit points, they are disintegrated, and are reduced to dust.

Bonus Action- Bardic Inspiration, Misty Step

Reactions- Counterspell, Cutting Words

Legendary Actions(Alias has 3 legendary actions)-
Striking Enmity(1)- Alias makes one attack with Mythcarver
Quickened Retort(1-3)- Alias expends a number of legendary actions in order to cast a spell of a level equal the the number of actions spent
Hastened Deconstruction(3)- Alias recharges his Deconstructing Touch#

Many Thanks to all the replies. What if he had an ability, which meant his greatest power was adaptation. Throwing more spells at him means they become less effective, and mindlessly attacking does the same. Then the fight stops being a hack fest, and becomes more of a strategy. They outmatch him currently, but they need to think as well.

Also, Tenser's is out for Otherworldly Guise, since he can still do spells, it buffs his A, would give him an extra attack(assuming the improved stat block posted by Flamestrike in amazing detail), boost to AC, immune to radiant and using Charisma for attacks(meaning he would have a +16 to hit).
 
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For starters, you've statted him up as a PC. Dont.
His HP are woefully subpar for a 13th level party as well. Id they're reasonably rested, he wouldnt last a single round in combat with 4 x 13th level PCs.

I'll give it a crack and get back to you.

For reference, he's designed to fight 4 x 13th level PCs, reasonably well rested, and armed with potent magic items right?
 

Alias, Medium undead, neutral evil
CR: 17
Armor Class: 20 (Natural Armor)
Hit Points 272 (32d8 + 128)
Movement: 40' (Fly 40')

STR-18(+4)
DEX-14(+2)
CON-18(+3)
INT-13 (+1)
WIS-16 (+3)
CHA-24(+7)

Saving Throws CON +10, WIS +13
Damage Resistances: Psychic
Damage Immunities Poison, Necrotic; Bludgeoning, Piercing and Slashing from nonmagical weapons
Condition Immunities Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Paralyzed, Poisoned, Stunned

Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 20
Skills: Perception +10, Insight +10, Deception +14, Arcana +15, Acrobatics +16
Challenge 17
Proficiency Bonus +7

Regeneration. Alias regains 20 hit points at the start of its turn. If the revenant takes fire or radiant damage, this trait doesn’t function at the start of the revenant’s next turn. The revenant’s body is destroyed only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points and doesn’t regenerate.

Rejuvenation. When the revenant’s body is destroyed, its soul lingers. After 24 hours, the soul inhabits and animates another humanoid corpse on the same plane of existence and regains all its hit points. While the soul is bodiless, a wish spell can be used to force the soul to go to the afterlife and not return.

Turn Immunity. The revenant is immune to effects that turn undead.

Vengeful Tracker. The revenant knows the distance to and direction of any creature against which it seeks revenge, even if the creature and the revenant are on different planes of existence. If the creature being tracked by the revenant dies, the revenant knows.

Hateful Ricochet- If Alias succeeds on a saving throw against a spell of 3rd level or lower, he can deflect the spell as a reaction, choosing targets as if he was the caster off the spell, however using the caster’s spell DC and spell attack modifier.

Alternatively, as a reaction he can add +7 to his AC against a melee attack that hits him, potentially turning a hit into a miss.

Spellcasting - Spellcasting- Alias is a 17th level spellcaster, and uses Charisma for his DC and spell attacks (DC 21). He has the following Bard spells prepared:

0-Mind Sliver, Minor Illusion, Friends, Thunderclap

1(4)- Bane, Cure Wounds, Healing Word, Thunderwave

2(3)- Misty Step, Invisibility, Suggestion

3(3)-Dispel Magic, Major Image, Fireball

4(3)- Greater Invisibility, Dimension Door, Death Ward

5(2)-Scrying, Synaptic Static, Steel Wind Strike

6(1)-Tenser’s Transformation

7(1)-Teleport

8(1)-Glibness, Feeblemind

9(1)- Foresight

If prepared he has Foresight, Death ward, Glibness and Tensers Transformation pre-cast, adding 50 temporary Hit points, removing his ability to cast spells, allowing 2 attacks with Mythcarver, gaining advantage on all saves, ability checks and attack rolls, and allowing him an automatic result of 15 on any Charisma check.

Legendary resistance: Alias can choose to pass a save he just failed 3/ long rest.

Actions

Actions- Alias makes one attack with Mythcarver (or two attacks if under the effects of Tensers Transformation). If Deconstructing Touch is available he can also use this as a Bonus action.

Mythcarver: Melee weapon attack, one target +14; Hit: 13 (1d10+7) slashing damage and 18 (5d6) force damage.

Deconstructing Touch (recharge 5-6)- Alias makes a melee spell attack(+14 to hit). On a hit, the target must make a DC 15 Con save, or take 10d6+40 force damage on a failed save, or half as much on a success. If the target is reduced to zero hit points, they are disintegrated, and are reduced to dust.

Legendary Actions (Alias has 3 legendary actions)-

Striking Enmity (1)- Alias makes one attack with Mythcarver

Quickened Retort(1-3)- Alias expends a number of legendary actions in order to cast a spell of a level equal the the number of actions spent. This action is unavailable while Tensers is active.

Hastened Deconstruction (3)- Alias recharges his Deconstructing Touch

Gear: Boots of Flying, Mythcarver, Cloak of Displacement.

-----

I removed Forcecage and replaced it with Teleport (it's a sucky move for a BBEG fight locking a PC into a forcecage) and replaced counterspell (which he cant use while Tensers is active anyway) for Fireball for some extra ranged OOMPH.

Remember - as long as Tensers is up, he cant cast spells.

He has boots of flying for better manouverability (I did consider a legendary action that lets him teleport a short distance, but if he gets stuck in a wall of force or similar he can always drop Tensers and Misty step, Dimension door or Teleport).

His HP now more closely match a CR 17 legendary monster, but his actual CR is probably closer to 1 or 2 higher due to his magic items.
 

Yeah, even with a 20 AC, that's just not enough HP for that level party. His primary damage-dealer, Mythcarver, is pretty low, too. I'd up the force damage or add an additional 2d6 necrotic as a result of him wielding it, since he's undead. I'd also give him some Legendary Resistances and Lair actions.

Next confrontation, I'd be sure to soften them up first, before they get to him. Maybe throw in one of their big other foes first before Alias shows his hand.
 

Yeah, even with a 20 AC, that's just not enough HP for that level party. His primary damage-dealer, Mythcarver, is pretty low, too. I'd up the force damage or add an additional 2d6 necrotic as a result of him wielding it, since he's undead. I'd also give him some Legendary Resistances and Lair actions.

Next confrontation, I'd be sure to soften them up first, before they get to him. Maybe throw in one of their big other foes first before Alias shows his hand.
For a solo v 4 x 13th level PCs, you're looking at at least CR 17-18 (AC of around 20, and around 300 HP).

His main schtick seems to be Tensers, which shuts down all spellcasting (!!!), gives him 2 attacks (where he has 3 in the stat block) and gives him advantage on attack rolls (which he already has thanks to foresight).

I wouldn't bother casting it, would just give him the two attacks (each dealing around 35 damage) and that way he can cast spells normally.

When locked into Tensers, it doesnt help him all that much and shuts down his spellcasting, leaving him ground bound and lacking any ranged offense.

Giving him a fly speed really helps, and not shutting down his casting also really helps.
 

J-H

Adventurer
His HP is too low. Aside from the Deconstructing Touch, he's about CR 12 or CR 13 by stats, like a vampire.

My party of 6th 12 level characters burned through Dracula's two forms in Castle Dracula in, if I recall correctly, 4.5 rounds. That's a combined 800hp of solo boss monster. First form got two sets of actions per round and a nearly-free teleport around the room. The second form was a big shadow-vampire dragon.

Paladins, barbarians, etc. can easily do more than 100hp on a single turn at this level. If you want this guy to be a solo threat, go make him line up more with the statblock for an Empyrean.
 

hopeless

Adventurer
He employs a mirror of Opposition using his insane double to contact the PCs telling them about the original's base probably just before they kill him.
Unknown to them when the double was released the proof of the double's plan is a small hand mirror that's broken during their fight but it copies the PCs who the original awakens telling them they have a mutual enemy who copied their bodies and using some power word spell knocked them out and swapped their gear with their dopplegangers who are out there threatening everything they value.
Since they're initially unarmed the rescuer leaves them equipment that resembles their own and leaves the room whilst they're dressing an unexpected explosion causes them to come outside and find the remains of their rescuer well there's not enough left to be sure but they find themselves meeting their dopplegangers and of course horribly mismatched they flee whilst the PCs who came rushing because of the blast finds the remains and witness what looked like figures resembling them who turn and flee before they can do anything.
Your BBEG just hides occasionally helping the duplicates who have the reverse alignment of their original just not gone insane yet as they don't know the truth.
Would that help?
 


GlassJaw

Hero
BOOM!!


To expand a bit, 5E does solo boss battles really poorly. Legendary and lair actions help but even they aren't enough sometimes. You either need to tie up the PCs with minions to eat up their resources (and actions!) or cheat. Giffy Glyph's Monster Maker helps immensely with the latter. Highly recommended.
 
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BOOM!!


To expand a bit, 5E does solo boss battles really poorly. Legendary and lair actions help but even they aren't enough sometimes. You either need to tie up the PCs with minions to eat up their resources (and actions!) or cheat. Giffy Glyph's Monster Maker helps immensely with the latter. Highly recommended.

Legendaries go a long way to fixing the problem as you state above.

I find the problem is generally with DMs trying to create PC BBEG's (class levels etc) instead of using the monster creation guidelines, and also critically under CRing the monsters.

In this case the BBEG should be around CR 18, a legendary, and should not be built as a PC class. Just cherry pick figures from the Monster stats by CR table (for this CR an AC of 19 odd, 330 odd HP, 110 or so damage per round at +10, Save DCs around 19) and work around that.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Just to make you feel better, honestly I think your fight went well. Against 13th level characters your BBEG managed to survive and escape after 3 full rounds of combat (which players hate!!!), and with that vengeful tracking can find and hunt them down. Looking at the CRs of your watchers, which aren’t all that great against 13th level...they seemed to do their job

that’s pretty solid honestly.

as for the next fight, I agree on the hit points and tensers (which is not a great spell).
 

I had my first significant experience with a 5e "solo" (legendary monster) on Sunday. We were 12th-level. I would recommend stealing that type of monster design, then flavoring abilities like PC abilities. (So a legendary wizard might still dish out Magic Missile, but it's an epic missile storm that can deliver far more damage than a PC wizard could against multiple opponents. And then the epic wizard has other actions!)

The solo wasn't the only guy on the battlefield, which was very large; opponents attacked us from three directions (three of which were significant enough in their own right that I didn't think of them as "minion") and the solo hadn't even appeared on the field at the start. One of our PCs (an elf ranger) was taking damage from being shot at with arrows. My character (a dwarven fighter) had only taken 3 damage taking on some minor opponents, but unfortunately this took me further away from the solo's intended attack point. Then the solo appeared out of the gloom and teleported to the critical point and still had actions left over since they could use legendary actions.

One PC dimension doored with my dwarven fighter to that point, but by then the ranger had taken a full round of attacks to the face. Some of the attacks weren't even directed at him, but he was hit at least four times that round. Together with the damage he had already taken we found ourselves looking up how far into negative hit points can a character fall without dying. (Apparently more than 4e; minus your total hit points!) So he didn't die outright, but was currently lying on the ground, face up, with a startled expression on his reshaped face.

My character had 103 hit points left when he got there, and took four attacks, reducing him to exactly 1 hit point! Second Wind would not give him enough hit points, and Parry would not cut enough incoming damage, to save him without some urgent assistance. In the end, we were all mangled. I would have been happier if we had interacted with the legendary monster earlier, but we fought a battle that could have easily ended up as a TPK. When you find yourself frantically looking over your character sheet, trying to find options that will keep you alive, you know you've bitten off more than you can chew.
 

NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
Alias, Medium undead, neutral evil
CR: 17
Armor Class: 20 (Natural Armor)
Hit Points 272 (32d8 + 128)
Movement: 40' (Fly 40')

STR-18(+4)
DEX-14(+2)
CON-18(+3)
INT-13 (+1)
WIS-16 (+3)
CHA-24(+7)

Saving Throws CON +10, WIS +13
Damage Resistances: Psychic
Damage Immunities Poison, Necrotic; Bludgeoning, Piercing and Slashing from nonmagical weapons
Condition Immunities Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Paralyzed, Poisoned, Stunned

Senses Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 20
Skills: Perception +10, Insight +10, Deception +14, Arcana +15, Acrobatics +16
Challenge 17
Proficiency Bonus +7

Regeneration. Alias regains 20 hit points at the start of its turn. If the revenant takes fire or radiant damage, this trait doesn’t function at the start of the revenant’s next turn. The revenant’s body is destroyed only if it starts its turn with 0 hit points and doesn’t regenerate.

Rejuvenation. When the revenant’s body is destroyed, its soul lingers. After 24 hours, the soul inhabits and animates another humanoid corpse on the same plane of existence and regains all its hit points. While the soul is bodiless, a wish spell can be used to force the soul to go to the afterlife and not return.

Turn Immunity. The revenant is immune to effects that turn undead.

Vengeful Tracker. The revenant knows the distance to and direction of any creature against which it seeks revenge, even if the creature and the revenant are on different planes of existence. If the creature being tracked by the revenant dies, the revenant knows.

Hateful Ricochet- If Alias succeeds on a saving throw against a spell of 3rd level or lower, he can deflect the spell as a reaction, choosing targets as if he was the caster off the spell, however using the caster’s spell DC and spell attack modifier.

Alternatively, as a reaction he can add +7 to his AC against a melee attack that hits him, potentially turning a hit into a miss.

Spellcasting - Spellcasting- Alias is a 17th level spellcaster, and uses Charisma for his DC and spell attacks (DC 21). He has the following Bard spells prepared:

0-Mind Sliver, Minor Illusion, Friends, Thunderclap

1(4)- Bane, Cure Wounds, Healing Word, Thunderwave

2(3)- Misty Step, Invisibility, Suggestion

3(3)-Dispel Magic, Major Image, Fireball

4(3)- Greater Invisibility, Dimension Door, Death Ward

5(2)-Scrying, Synaptic Static, Steel Wind Strike

6(1)-Tenser’s Transformation

7(1)-Teleport

8(1)-Glibness, Feeblemind

9(1)- Foresight

If prepared he has Foresight, Death ward, Glibness and Tensers Transformation pre-cast, adding 50 temporary Hit points, removing his ability to cast spells, allowing 2 attacks with Mythcarver, gaining advantage on all saves, ability checks and attack rolls, and allowing him an automatic result of 15 on any Charisma check.

Legendary resistance: Alias can choose to pass a save he just failed 3/ long rest.

Actions

Actions- Alias makes one attack with Mythcarver (or two attacks if under the effects of Tensers Transformation). If Deconstructing Touch is available he can also use this as a Bonus action.

Mythcarver: Melee weapon attack, one target +14; Hit: 13 (1d10+7) slashing damage and 18 (5d6) force damage.

Deconstructing Touch (recharge 5-6)- Alias makes a melee spell attack(+14 to hit). On a hit, the target must make a DC 15 Con save, or take 10d6+40 force damage on a failed save, or half as much on a success. If the target is reduced to zero hit points, they are disintegrated, and are reduced to dust.

Legendary Actions (Alias has 3 legendary actions)-

Striking Enmity (1)- Alias makes one attack with Mythcarver

Quickened Retort(1-3)- Alias expends a number of legendary actions in order to cast a spell of a level equal the the number of actions spent. This action is unavailable while Tensers is active.

Hastened Deconstruction (3)- Alias recharges his Deconstructing Touch

Gear: Boots of Flying, Mythcarver, Cloak of Displacement.

-----

I removed Forcecage and replaced it with Teleport (it's a sucky move for a BBEG fight locking a PC into a forcecage) and replaced counterspell (which he cant use while Tensers is active anyway) for Fireball for some extra ranged OOMPH.

Remember - as long as Tensers is up, he cant cast spells.

He has boots of flying for better manouverability (I did consider a legendary action that lets him teleport a short distance, but if he gets stuck in a wall of force or similar he can always drop Tensers and Misty step, Dimension door or Teleport).

His HP now more closely match a CR 17 legendary monster, but his actual CR is probably closer to 1 or 2 higher due to his magic items.
Thanks for such a detailed reply.

I chose Forcecage, because going up against 4 party members is not gonna go well, and so it was a method to splitting up the party. The lack of magic items was a mistake, because aside from Mythcarver, he was at a serious disadvantage. Mythcarver was given since the party each has a Vestige of Divergence, and I thought it would be cool if he had one.

The barbarian has a damage modifier of +32 to his first attack, and sacred flame legendary actions was an immense lack of foresight from somebody who gave him foresight. The next time they encounter him, he will be using his social prowess first and foremost.
 

NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
For starters, you've statted him up as a PC. Dont.
His HP are woefully subpar for a 13th level party as well. Id they're reasonably rested, he wouldnt last a single round in combat with 4 x 13th level PCs.

I'll give it a crack and get back to you.

For reference, he's designed to fight 4 x 13th level PCs, reasonably well rested, and armed with potent magic items right?
He would probably use Scrying to pick the worst possible time to fight the party. He would have his spells cast ahead of time, and since he no longer has his allies, would need another advantage.
 

NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
Yeah, even with a 20 AC, that's just not enough HP for that level party. His primary damage-dealer, Mythcarver, is pretty low, too. I'd up the force damage or add an additional 2d6 necrotic as a result of him wielding it, since he's undead. I'd also give him some Legendary Resistances and Lair actions.

Next confrontation, I'd be sure to soften them up first, before they get to him. Maybe throw in one of their big other foes first before Alias shows his hand.
Both Bel and Zariel want the characters dead, so that's not really hard to do. He is going to strike in future, when the party don't want him to(mwa ha ha), such as after Zariel strikes against the Paladin. The Paladin in question, has like a +13 to hit, and I dread to think of the Barbarian(to avoid convenience, I rolled for magic items, and never will again), so I agree with people that his main weakness was my planning as such. He was always at a disadvantage
 

NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
His HP is too low. Aside from the Deconstructing Touch, he's about CR 12 or CR 13 by stats, like a vampire.

My party of 6th 12 level characters burned through Dracula's two forms in Castle Dracula in, if I recall correctly, 4.5 rounds. That's a combined 800hp of solo boss monster. First form got two sets of actions per round and a nearly-free teleport around the room. The second form was a big shadow-vampire dragon.

Paladins, barbarians, etc. can easily do more than 100hp on a single turn at this level. If you want this guy to be a solo threat, go make him line up more with the statblock for an Empyrean.
Completely agree. He gets the extra 4d6 on all but the Barb(who joined later, so isn't marked with vengeance), so the Barb presents a huge threat to him(hence Forcecage to separate). So I should look closer to CR 20 monsters.
 

NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
For a solo v 4 x 13th level PCs, you're looking at at least CR 17-18 (AC of around 20, and around 300 HP).

His main schtick seems to be Tensers, which shuts down all spellcasting (!!!), gives him 2 attacks (where he has 3 in the stat block) and gives him advantage on attack rolls (which he already has thanks to foresight).

I wouldn't bother casting it, would just give him the two attacks (each dealing around 35 damage) and that way he can cast spells normally.

When locked into Tensers, it doesnt help him all that much and shuts down his spellcasting, leaving him ground bound and lacking any ranged offense.

Giving him a fly speed really helps, and not shutting down his casting also really helps.
I think I made a terribly written block. His abilities often overlap, and aside from his deconstructing touch, he has little form of offense that genuinely may hurt a level 13 party. I may swap Tenser's for something like Tasha's Otherworldly Guise, to grant him flight, an AC boots, immunity to radiant(he has seen all the party use it), Charisma for attacks, and extra attack.
 

NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
He employs a mirror of Opposition using his insane double to contact the PCs telling them about the original's base probably just before they kill him.
Unknown to them when the double was released the proof of the double's plan is a small hand mirror that's broken during their fight but it copies the PCs who the original awakens telling them they have a mutual enemy who copied their bodies and using some power word spell knocked them out and swapped their gear with their dopplegangers who are out there threatening everything they value.
Since they're initially unarmed the rescuer leaves them equipment that resembles their own and leaves the room whilst they're dressing an unexpected explosion causes them to come outside and find the remains of their rescuer well there's not enough left to be sure but they find themselves meeting their dopplegangers and of course horribly mismatched they flee whilst the PCs who came rushing because of the blast finds the remains and witness what looked like figures resembling them who turn and flee before they can do anything.
Your BBEG just hides occasionally helping the duplicates who have the reverse alignment of their original just not gone insane yet as they don't know the truth.
Would that help?
Wait a minute. Are you suggesting that he creates duplicates? That ask the party for help destroying their creator, but are really sleeper agents? If not, that's still extremely cool.
 

NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
BOOM!!


To expand a bit, 5E does solo boss battles really poorly. Legendary and lair actions help but even they aren't enough sometimes. You either need to tie up the PCs with minions to eat up their resources (and actions!) or cheat. Giffy Glyph's Monster Maker helps immensely with the latter. Highly recommended.
That's immensely cool and helpful. Thanks very much!
 

NotQuiteANoble

Explorer
Just to make you feel better, honestly I think your fight went well. Against 13th level characters your BBEG managed to survive and escape after 3 full rounds of combat (which players hate!!!), and with that vengeful tracking can find and hunt them down. Looking at the CRs of your watchers, which aren’t all that great against 13th level...they seemed to do their job

that’s pretty solid honestly.

as for the next fight, I agree on the hit points and tensers (which is not a great spell).
Swap Tenser's for Otherworldly Guise? The party immediately called him a coward afterwards, but he learned firsthand about what the party can do. It was a lesson for me as a DM regardless.
 

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