5E I'd really, really like to hear about some fights with Strahd . . !

HawaiiSteveO

Explorer
My group just had closest scrape with him yet. His movement is crazy due to his legendary / lair actions and he messed the party up a little bit.

The PCs are exploring the castle now, and he's going to pop in from time to time to harass them. Aside from that we'll see what the PCs do. Messing with the heart of sorrow is for sure going to draw his attention!
 

Daern

Explorer
So far, I've only had him fight for a couple rounds at a time. The group has the Sunsword now, so he's fairly well handicapped.
 

Delazar

Explorer
Unfortunately, we only met him at the very last. He was vanquished in less than one round (only 4 out of 6 players got to act, then he was already dead...).

Biggest disappointment of the whole adventure.
 

HawaiiSteveO

Explorer
Unfortunately, we only met him at the very last. He was vanquished in less than one round (only 4 out of 6 players got to act, then he was already dead...).

Biggest disappointment of the whole adventure.
Whaaat? What was Strahd doing this whole time - texting ;) ?

Seriously though, if the group came up with a clever plan I'd like to hear details.

Strahd has allies, minions, spells, spider climb, crazy mobility, legendary saves, lair actions, legendary actions, etc. He can act / move when it's not his turn (x3). So what happened??
 

ad_hoc

Hero
Whaaat? What was Strahd doing this whole time - texting ;) ?

Seriously though, if the group came up with a clever plan I'd like to hear details.

Strahd has allies, minions, spells, spider climb, crazy mobility, legendary saves, lair actions, legendary actions, etc. He can act / move when it's not his turn (x3). So what happened??
Don't forget his spells or his DC 17 charm ability which he uses on the character with the worst save.
 

Delazar

Explorer
I think the DM was just tired of the campaign. Apart from a TPK in Death House, we steam-rolled through the whole module.

We met Strahd in the tower where the "heart" was. We had already destroyed the heart from a distance, while fending off some vampire spawns.

Maybe the DM thought Strahd was more powerful on paper, because he just faced us head on. We were all under "protection from evil", our paladin had the Sunsword.

The sorcerer tried to paralyze him with the holy symbol of ravenkind, where he used his legendary save. Cleric hit him with a higher level guiding bolt. Fighter (me) action surged for 4 attacks, two were crits, so I got to make a 5th attack (GWM). I didn't use the -5 to hit, because I wasn't sure how hard to hit he was (not that hard, it seemed). Paladin hit him twice with sunsword, and two high-level smites. And it was over.

I haven't read the adventure, so I don't know if there were suggestions on how to handle Strahd, but the Sunsword is really powerful against him. Which I suppose it's the way it should be.
 

HawaiiSteveO

Explorer
I think the DM was just tired of the campaign. Apart from a TPK in Death House, we steam-rolled through the whole module.

We met Strahd in the tower where the "heart" was. We had already destroyed the heart from a distance, while fending off some vampire spawns.

Maybe the DM thought Strahd was more powerful on paper, because he just faced us head on. We were all under "protection from evil", our paladin had the Sunsword.

The sorcerer tried to paralyze him with the holy symbol of ravenkind, where he used his legendary save. Cleric hit him with a higher level guiding bolt. Fighter (me) action surged for 4 attacks, two were crits, so I got to make a 5th attack (GWM). I didn't use the -5 to hit, because I wasn't sure how hard to hit he was (not that hard, it seemed). Paladin hit him twice with sunsword, and two high-level smites. And it was over.

I haven't read the adventure, so I don't know if there were suggestions on how to handle Strahd, but the Sunsword is really powerful against him. Which I suppose it's the way it should be.
I can see why you were disappointed . . .too bad! No sense rehashing it as it's done now, but suffice to say Strahd should have been tougher.
 

mcintma

Visitor
Im seeing alot of anecdotal evidence that boss monsters are weak in 5e. I was just reviewing OotA and seeing the ~CR23 Demon Lords have 300-400HP and thinking "Hmm, don't fighters and paladins dish about 100-200HP damage per round at these levels ...?" ACs in the 17 range at CR23 seem weird to me too, compared to the -7 to -10 (i.e. extremely hard to hit) of yore.

The main chorus seems to be that minions are required for these guys, lair/legendary actions don't cut it. Which is a tough adjustment for longtime D&D players (well, me at least). Also, magic items - most monsters need a boost as the assumption seems to be no magic items (i.e. for the demon lords, their Resistances would be reducing their damage by half,strange as it is to picture a party level 18 having no magic weapons ..)
 

ad_hoc

Hero
I think the DM was just tired of the campaign. Apart from a TPK in Death House, we steam-rolled through the whole module.
Doesn't sound like CoS at all. A lot of the creatures you can encounter are much more powerful than the party. The idea is to find other courses of action rather than just killing everything.
I haven't read the adventure, so I don't know if there were suggestions on how to handle Strahd, but the Sunsword is really powerful against him. Which I suppose it's the way it should be.
Pretty much the opposite of what happened. He has been scrying on the party since they entered Ravenloft. He is supposed to use all of their weaknesses against them and be as devious as possible. He has 5th level spells, a DC 17 charm ability (and he knows the Wisdom saves of the party so he can target the weakest one), he can walk through walls, and he can summon many types of minions.

This is literally from the book: "Strahd attacks at the most advantageous moment and from the most advantageous position."

The bottom line is that CoS is not a combat focused adventure. I'm sorry your DM presented it that way.
 

MonsterEnvy

Adventurer
He should also attack the party all the time. Not just be encountered at the end.

He should have already attacked the party before they got the sword or anything like that.
 

cmad1977

Adventurer
I think the DM was just tired of the campaign. Apart from a TPK in Death House, we steam-rolled through the whole module.

We met Strahd in the tower where the "heart" was. We had already destroyed the heart from a distance, while fending off some vampire spawns.

Maybe the DM thought Strahd was more powerful on paper, because he just faced us head on. We were all under "protection from evil", our paladin had the Sunsword.

The sorcerer tried to paralyze him with the holy symbol of ravenkind, where he used his legendary save. Cleric hit him with a higher level guiding bolt. Fighter (me) action surged for 4 attacks, two were crits, so I got to make a 5th attack (GWM). I didn't use the -5 to hit, because I wasn't sure how hard to hit he was (not that hard, it seemed). Paladin hit him twice with sunsword, and two high-level smites. And it was over.

I haven't read the adventure, so I don't know if there were suggestions on how to handle Strahd, but the Sunsword is really powerful against him. Which I suppose it's the way it should be.
So Strahd fought and thought like a kobold.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
We had one out-of-castle confrontation in the church of Vallaki, where he kidnapped Ireena.

Even without his lair actions, I find that his legendary action to move his speed without provoking OA's is more than enough to let him get out of any melee he cares to not want to be in. I made use of spiderclimb there, too. Charm hasn't been too effective yet (got some lucky PC's. :)). All that + Misty Escape assures that he won't be killed before the PC's do their due diligence.

My players are smart, so they're lookin' for the treasures before they go confront him. Strahd is also not opposed to them at the moment - they are the thing that gave him Ireena, that enabled her to have hope of leaving, and that hope lead her to him, to be bound forever. He's invited them to the wedding (hehehehe).

When Strahd does get furious, I plan on having him use his Children of the Night and lair minions (wolves, bats, rats, specters, shadows) to disarm the party of these items and abscond with them before he even bothers to deign to fight them. He'll focus on short-term harassment when the party is at it's most vulnerable (resting, stumbling through traps, caught at a dead end), especially with that charm, retreating if they bother to do any notable damage to him, and ensuring that they cannot rest.

The only place he will stand and fight for any length of time is the location described in the Tarokka reading, where he'll remain until he's mist-ified.

And then he'll just take a quick dirt nap and be back before too long, so when the party fights him there, they better have already found his actual tomb. Which should give Strahd plenty of opportunities to harass them.

I imagine when the big fight happens, it'll be like a horror movie climax: short, but vicious. It's not about wearing the target down over time, it's about suddenly seizing on a momentary advantage before the oppressive evil simply resumes it's menace. The party's going to have to be remorseless and persistent.
 

Ranthalan

Visitor
I took my group through the original I6 (converted) as part of our campaign before CoS was announced. It was my favorite module back in 1E times and the two grognards in my group had inexplicably never played it back in the day.

Strahd definitely toyed with the party (of six) throughout the adventure. First, he attacked with wolves while they were spending the night in the mansion in Barovia. In the castle, they saw flashes of him and even engaged with him and some minions at the midpoint of the adventure. They would have defeated him there if not for his gaseous form escape. When they encountered him again at the end, it was in Sergei's crypt. They party had decided to rest there and Strahd entered in gaseous form along the ceiling, eluding the watch thereby gaining surprise. Once the party was awake and fully engaged, he charmed the bard which was amusing. The bard did his best to make everyone get along. Strahd's resistance to non-magical weapons and regeneration kept the battle going for some time. Strahd made several bite attacks, draining blood and helping him regain further HP. After 2 party members were unconscious and another 2 damn close, the party eventually prevailed and Strahd made another gaseous escape. Fortunately for the party, they could follow the cloud across the crypts to Strahd's resting place, where they finished him off. As it was, they very nearly decided to take a long rest instead, which probably would have resulted in TPK.

That was over a year ago, but the party still gets nervous if they see an alcove, or a statue.
 

HawaiiSteveO

Explorer
Looking forward to the conclusion of the adventure for sure.

Strahd is a unique, legendary bad guy and finale should be memorable. I'm toying around with the idea of Ireena being a real bride (not a spawn) :] Strahd took her earlier in the adventure.
 
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The PCs in the campaign I was running were incredibly savvy and had been fully outfitted with all kinds of goodies in the book before the final confrontation. They had faced him a couple of times before, but were smart enough to de-escalate the situation.

I had beefed up Strahd's HP a little because I knew what kind of damage this party could do, and as a consequence for not bringing the Silver Dragon skull back to the knight's hold, I decided Strahd had broken into the chamber where layeth the bones and had used the dark powers to animate the dragon as a dracolich.

That made the final session a lot of fun! All the PCs survived.

That damn helm of brilliance was at least as useful as the actual relics.
 

Negflar2099

Explorer
I took the advice of the Power Score blog and decided the more Strahd the better. I had him "encounter" the PCs for a non battle right when they emerged from the Death House blooded and bruised. He charmed one PC, causing a frantic over reaction as other PCs rushed to hold back the charmed PC from going before Strahd. Then the Paladin got all snarky and in Strahd's face so Strahd charmed him too (since we weren't in battle and several moments had already gone by I figured it was okay for him to charm two of them). Strahd left the paladin with a tainted shadow as a parting gift and then left (another neat idea from the Power Score blog).

Later on when the PCs were trying to bury Ireena and Ismark's dear old papa Strahd paid them another visit, this time with an army of bats and Strahd zombies (all moaning Strahd's name, an idea I got from the Knight of the Black Rose). I was going to have Strahd mostly stay out of the battle and have it be a zombies break into the room sort of encounter (in fact after showing up for one or two rounds I had Strahd mist away) but then we had to end in mid battle.

When we came back one of the players that hadn't been there before was able to join us. After we caught him up, and explained that Strahd seemed to want Ireena for some reason, he "suggested" that the solution was simple, cut Ireena's head off, thus denying Strahd his target. While the PC who suggested that didn't get to try it out another player thought that was a grand idea and attacked Ireena, trying to kill her.

Needless to say that blew everything the heck up. Ismark and Ireena both turned on the PCs (in the middle of a massive zombie fight mind you), half the PCs thought the PC who had attacked Ireena had gone mad and when Strahd sensed what was happening he flew into a rage. I had him drop a 5th level fireball right on top of a few of the PCs, but far enough away from Ireena so as not to harm her (I reasoned that Strahd can sense whatever his zombies can see, and since there were zombies all up in that church he knew right where everybody was). That fireball would have instantly killed two PCs but they made their saves and were just reduced to dying.

The fireball did blow up most of the church and (as luck would have it) destroyed a chunk of the zombies. The remaining PCs stablized the dying ones, knocked out the one that had attacked Ireena, and ran in all directions. When they got outside Strahd was flying above the battlefield ready to drop a second fireball. The paladin challenged him to a fight and Strahd engaged him (more to try to get to Ireena who he'd lost track of in the confusion).

Strahd beat the paladin senseless and would have killed him if another PC didn't run in and grab the paladin and take off. Strahd decided to let them go and look for Ireena, but by that time Ireena and Ismark had snuck away.

It was a crazy night.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
I took the advice of the Power Score blog and decided the more Strahd the better. I had him "encounter" the PCs for a non battle right when they emerged from the Death House blooded and bruised. He charmed one PC, causing a frantic over reaction as other PCs rushed to hold back the charmed PC from going before Strahd. Then the Paladin got all snarky and in Strahd's face so Strahd charmed him too (since we weren't in battle and several moments had already gone by I figured it was okay for him to charm two of them). Strahd left the paladin with a tainted shadow as a parting gift and then left (another neat idea from the Power Score blog).

Later on when the PCs were trying to bury Ireena and Ismark's dear old papa Strahd paid them another visit, this time with an army of bats and Strahd zombies (all moaning Strahd's name, an idea I got from the Knight of the Black Rose). I was going to have Strahd mostly stay out of the battle and have it be a zombies break into the room sort of encounter (in fact after showing up for one or two rounds I had Strahd mist away) but then we had to end in mid battle.

When we came back one of the players that hadn't been there before was able to join us. After we caught him up, and explained that Strahd seemed to want Ireena for some reason, he "suggested" that the solution was simple, cut Ireena's head off, thus denying Strahd his target. While the PC who suggested that didn't get to try it out another player thought that was a grand idea and attacked Ireena, trying to kill her.

Needless to say that blew everything the heck up. Ismark and Ireena both turned on the PCs (in the middle of a massive zombie fight mind you), half the PCs thought the PC who had attacked Ireena had gone mad and when Strahd sensed what was happening he flew into a rage. I had him drop a 5th level fireball right on top of a few of the PCs, but far enough away from Ireena so as not to harm her (I reasoned that Strahd can sense whatever his zombies can see, and since there were zombies all up in that church he knew right where everybody was). That fireball would have instantly killed two PCs but they made their saves and were just reduced to dying.

The fireball did blow up most of the church and (as luck would have it) destroyed a chunk of the zombies. The remaining PCs stablized the dying ones, knocked out the one that had attacked Ireena, and ran in all directions. When they got outside Strahd was flying above the battlefield ready to drop a second fireball. The paladin challenged him to a fight and Strahd engaged him (more to try to get to Ireena who he'd lost track of in the confusion).

Strahd beat the paladin senseless and would have killed him if another PC didn't run in and grab the paladin and take off. Strahd decided to let them go and look for Ireena, but by that time Ireena and Ismark had snuck away.

It was a crazy night.
Leave it to Murder hobos to suggest killing an innocent will solve all their problems. Kudos to you for having their actions have good consequences. I'm interested in seeing where you go form here.
 

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