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

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.

You know what would be fun? Have someone let the PCs know in advance that Strahd is going to try to steal their stuff. There's three ways that can go:

(1) PCs fail to thwart the theft and get crushed in their next confrontation with Strahd (unless they find a way to generate some other advantage).
(2) PCs thwart the theft, Strahd either tries again or just brings enough firepower to the party to win anyway.
(3) PCs manage to trick Strahd into thinking the theft has succeeded (Nystul's Magic Aura?), Strahd attacks them at his leisure, PCs go "Aha!" and whip out the sunsword/etc. anyway to his surprise and dismay, and then the PCs crush Strahd.
 

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I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
You know what would be fun? Have someone let the PCs know in advance that Strahd is going to try to steal their stuff. There's three ways that can go:

(1) PCs fail to thwart the theft and get crushed in their next confrontation with Strahd (unless they find a way to generate some other advantage).
(2) PCs thwart the theft, Strahd either tries again or just brings enough firepower to the party to win anyway.
(3) PCs manage to trick Strahd into thinking the theft has succeeded (Nystul's Magic Aura?), Strahd attacks them at his leisure, PCs go "Aha!" and whip out the sunsword/etc. anyway to his surprise and dismay, and then the PCs crush Strahd.

I'm looking forward to the look of horror on the party's face when the swarm of bats suddenly bands together and starts gnawing at their hands to disarm them of the sunsword, but these critters are weak enough that I don't think they'll have a HUGE chance to do it (swarms do not have great acrobatics/athletics scores, y'know?).

...and once the party knows that Strahd's first goal is to get rid of those items, it should be interesting. :)

Strahd charms a character and asks them to hand it over? Strahd uses the Shove action to knock a character away and into acid/spikes/whatever? Strahd focuses fire on a character with the items? Using decoys is certainly possible...for both groups. :)

I think it adds an interesting bit of game-within-a-game to the proceedings, and hopefully invokes that fear of loss in the party without necessarily going in for the kill. "We spent all this time, and all this effort, to get our hands on the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind, and now the paladin who is wielding it was charmed by Strahd, and then just gave it to him...." should result in a party that feels like they're fighting a clever, cautious, and absolutely nefarious adversary who is interested in winning, and who, if they fight on his terms, will probably win.
 

ccs

41st lv DM
So far my party has only had 1 encounter with him. We were busy fighting some evil druids & their beserker cultists & my pseudo-dragon familiar had just dug a glowing gem out of a giant wicker idol of him.
My 1/2ling warlock was hanging back near the slope of the hilltop plinking people with magic stones when Strahd comes barreling in on a Nightmare. Nearly ran me over.
So I come running into the melee screaming for help being chased by Strahd astride a Nightmare....
Our barbarian sees this, charges Strahd, & is polymorphed into a chicken. :O
But this doesn't stop the barbarian. He just proceeds to attack anyways, landing a crit with a beak attack. 2 whole pts of damage!
Strahd rolls his concentration check - and FAILS. (DM forgot his option to just pass x # of saves/day)
Now he's faced with a raging 1/2orc in his face waving a magic spear about. And our dwarven cleric lights him up with a crit from sacred flame (?).

Next round comes & we figure that now we're going to be in for a real fight.
Nope. Strahd withdraws.
We have no idea why he attacked us, & even less why he just up & left.
The barbarian maintains that he's a ______ since he fled from the might of a chicken.
 

fmacanadaguy

Villager
As loathe as I am to bring back a 4 year old thread, this campaign is still run pretty regularly to this day and after playing it and now DMing it, I can't see how Strahd can be beaten honestly within his lair. I have yet to see any threads that address this challenge and I have been looking.

On lair count 20, he gets the action 'Until initiative count 20 of the next round, Strahd can pass through solid walls, doors, ceilings, and floors as if they weren't there'. This is what makes Strahd basically impossible to defeat unless you all beat his initiative and can bring him down in one turn. So this action goes off, then he gets to pass through any wall. Now he blasts you with a fireball and then just walks through a wall you can't get through and just waits to regenerate any damage before coming back and doing it all again. Remember he has legendary actions that allow him to move that he gets back every turn whereas the party has limited resources. He will win the war of attrition. You grapple him, he turns to mist and can escape. You can maybe try to block some avenue of escape with a wall of force, assuming you have a wizard in the group that has access to it but he can just go another direction. Now you do have items that are supposed to aid you but really, Strahd is intellgent. He isn't going to fight fair. He should be able to get around that. He shouldn't want to get close to the Sunsword. He can legendary save against the symbol for at least 3 rounds. Now you can try to burn him of his saves but you have to do that 3 times assuming he doesn't save naturally. As an intelligent bad guy, he will be trying to separate individuals from each other to take them out one-by-one.

There is simply no way given all the actions and resources listed that you can beat Strahd with that lair action available. This is why I am going to have to remove it for my campaign. It becomes a losing battle that the players will find blatantly unfair because it is. I have to make other changes as well to it that I don't like such as all the clear dracula rip-offs, for example.
 

Savage Wombat

Adventurer
There is simply no way given all the actions and resources listed that you can beat Strahd with that lair action available.

The design intent of the module is to keep the party from beating him unless they fight him in the one place he won't retreat, as determined by the Tarokka reading. So in practice, the "passwall" ability is the one thing that keeps the party from curb-stomping him.
 

fmacanadaguy

Villager
The design intent of the module is to keep the party from beating him unless they fight him in the one place he won't retreat, as determined by the Tarokka reading. So in practice, the "passwall" ability is the one thing that keeps the party from curb-stomping him.

I don't buy it since it doesn't say that or explain it anywhere that I can find. It doesn't make sense on its face. If you meet him earlier in the campaign in the castle where you accept his dinner invitation, you are no where near strong enough to take him anyway that he wouldn't need to use it, making the passwall ability irrelevant. Once you are strong enough where he would need to use it in battle, it ends up making him stupidly strong.

It just makes no sense to use it to avoid a curb stomp earlier and just stop using it later for no discernable reason you can explain to the players where they should be capable of just curb stomping him again since they were capable of doing it the first time and you had to use it to get away from them.
 

On lair count 20, he gets the action 'Until initiative count 20 of the next round, Strahd can pass through solid walls, doors, ceilings, and floors as if they weren't there'. This is what makes Strahd basically impossible to defeat unless you all beat his initiative and can bring him down in one turn.

Any reason why readied actions dont work? They're far from optimal (makes sneak attack much harder, limits martials to a single attack, and messes with concentration for the spellcasters, and if they dont pop the spell the next round, it's wasted) but it's an option.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure you cant use the same Lair action twice in a row. I suppose Strahd could spend every other round regenerating (and hiding).

He does have +14 to Stealth so he can literally Hide (after walking through a wall), pop out behind a PC and nuke them.
 

fmacanadaguy

Villager
Any reason why readied actions dont work? They're far from optimal (makes sneak attack much harder, limits martials to a single attack, and messes with concentration for the spellcasters, and if they dont pop the spell the next round, it's wasted) but it's an option.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure you cant use the same Lair action twice in a row. I suppose Strahd could spend every other round regenerating (and hiding).

He does have +14 to Stealth so he can literally Hide (after walking through a wall), pop out behind a PC and nuke them.
It would depend on the readied action. A melee attack would only work if he pops in right next to said person. As for the rest, we have to factor in his available spells like greater invisibility and mirror image too. So he pops in the following round after prepping himself because why wouldn't he do that. He's smart. If he has greater invisibility up, those attacks now have disadvantage against him. Or if he has mirror image up, not all of them will work as some will just hit a duplicate which he can just he can refill it later if he needs to.

I don't see anywhere in the monster manual where you can't use the same action twice in a row although I am not sure what you mean by that. You mean that the first around you use it, then the next round you can't? Also easy to get around too as you said. First round I would pop it off. On Strahd's turn, use spells. On the players turn use legendary actions to move away through the wall. Next round I would use the lair action to seal all the doors. That makes it double tough for the characters to escape or find a way around to him when he, in the next round, uses the lair action to pass through a wall again after having regenerated a bit from hits he likely took earlier.

As it is, your best option to try to counter this would be having a party built for it. You need a wizard, sorcerer or lore bard to counter his spells as he comes in. I was in a party that had none. You also have to make sure that this counterspelling machine is surrounded by those able to take some hits because without spells, Stahd now has to come in close and when he attacks, he has 2 attacks with +9 to hit and can do an average of 22 damage per hit. Now as Strahd I would be doing this to the weakest members first then use legendary actions on subsequent turns to run back through the wall, since opportunity attacks cannot be used, before I can be surrounded so that one by one those dominos fall. This is where a cleric or paladin comes into play with the holy symbol that could potentially hold him but he has a high wisdom save mod that could make him pass it but if not, he has his legendary save as backup. This also assumes you actually HAVE a cleric or paladin, in which case I think you are just going to die slowly if you don't as he runs in and starts beating people to a pulp until he can hit the wizard enough to kill them then finish off the rest with spells. Its slower but very effective. Some unwitting players could actually go in with a party composition that has no legitimate chance against him based on what he has available.

This is what bugs me about this lair action in particular. It isn't well balanced because of what it can do and there is no sufficient explanation for him not to use it in order to wipe the party out when they get to the final confrontation. This is why I have been forced to change it entirely in the campaign I started up. It doesn't make sense as written.
 

It would depend on the readied action. A melee attack would only work if he pops in right next to said person. As for the rest, we have to factor in his available spells like greater invisibility and mirror image too. So he pops in the following round after prepping himself because why wouldn't he do that. He's smart. If he has greater invisibility up, those attacks now have disadvantage against him. Or if he has mirror image up, not all of them will work as some will just hit a duplicate which he can just he can refill it later if he needs to.
Both spells wont work at the same time though.

But that's OK - he comes out of a wall with Greater invisibility, and he takes 3 ranged attacks and 2 cantrip attacks (from a party of 5 PCs).

First round I would pop it off. On Strahd's turn, use spells. On the players turn use legendary actions to move away through the wall. Next round I would use the lair action to seal all the doors. That makes it double tough for the characters to escape or find a way around to him when he, in the next round, uses the lair action to pass through a wall again after having regenerated a bit from hits he likely took earlier.
And as soon as he walks through the wall he is subject to (number of PCs) readied actions.

As it is, your best option to try to counter this would be having a party built for it. You need a wizard, sorcerer or lore bard to counter his spells as he comes in. I was in a party that had none. You also have to make sure that this counterspelling machine is surrounded by those able to take some hits because without spells, Stahd now has to come in close and when he attacks, he has 2 attacks with +9 to hit and can do an average of 22 damage per hit. Now as Strahd I would be doing this to the weakest members first then use legendary actions on subsequent turns to run back through the wall, since opportunity attacks cannot be used, before I can be surrounded so that one by one those dominos fall. This is where a cleric or paladin comes into play with the holy symbol that could potentially hold him but he has a high wisdom save mod that could make him pass it but if not, he has his legendary save as backup. This also assumes you actually HAVE a cleric or paladin, in which case I think you are just going to die slowly if you don't as he runs in and starts beating people to a pulp until he can hit the wizard enough to kill them then finish off the rest with spells. Its slower but very effective. Some unwitting players could actually go in with a party composition that has no legitimate chance against him based on what he has available.
In the above case, teamwork helps. Have one PC grapple him (reducing his speed to zero). He can turn into a mist on his turn the following round, but is otherwise subject to full attacks from every other PC present.

Strahd: Moves out from from Wall, casts spell, receives X number of readied action attacks. Presuming he doesnt walk back through the wall after wards
PC 1: Moves over and Grapples him.
Strahd LA: Cant assume mist form or move.
PCs 2-5: Unload on him.

This is what bugs me about this lair action in particular. It isn't well balanced because of what it can do and there is no sufficient explanation for him not to use it in order to wipe the party out when they get to the final confrontation.
I'd be happy to run a mock combat with 5 x 9th level PCs (1 rare and 1 uncommon item each, no specials) in your choice of 'final room' from the Taroka deck to fight him in. You can run him and do all the rolls. I trust you.

I back myself to kill him.
 



dave2008

Legend
I don't see anywhere in the monster manual where you can't use the same action twice in a row although I am not sure what you mean by that.
Referring to lair actions. Most creatures cannot take the same Lair Action twice in a row:
1617709937033.png


However, Strahd is an exception:
1617709993631.png
 

dave2008

Legend
In the above case, teamwork helps. Have one PC grapple him (reducing his speed to zero). He can turn into a mist on his turn the following round, but is otherwise subject to full attacks from every other PC present.
I don't know if this is RAW, but depending on the type of attack I sure wouldn't allow that. Getting a full attack on a human size creature that is grappled by a creature of a similar size? Not an easy thing to attack without injuring your ally. I would probably start with given Strahd 3/4 cover at least.
 


jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
I had intended to use this version of Strahd:


As it worked out, I only used the "Count Strahd" and "Mist Strahd" forms from that product. It took the party so long to down Count Strahd and his backup that I skipped "Beast Strahd."

My group had eight PCs, so I figured Strahd needed some backup. They fought him at the Overlook. Strahd had captured an NPC who was important to the party, and he was dangling that person over the abyss with the levitate spell (which I also gave him) when they arrived. He announced that he would let the NPC fall if Ireena didn't come forward and marry him immediately--he had a priest (Father Lucian as a vampire spawn) ready to do the ceremony. Meanwhile, Rahadin and four suits of Strahd's Animated Armor were there to make sure the other PCs didn't rush him. I used this version of Rahadin, reworked as a hexblade:


One of the PCs had the dark gift of spider climb and a cape of the mountebank, so while Ireena distracted Strahd, he climbed around the outside of the building, grabbed the floating NPC, and bamfed them both to safety, and then the fight started. Strahd started by casting fog cloud to counteract the disadvantage from the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind, but that then meant that he couldn't see the PCs to target them, so the whole thing turned into a game of chase-the-mist. Rahadin ended up being a bigger threat, nearly dropping a PC a couple of times. Once the PCs finally downed Count Strahd, I went straight to Mist Strahd so they could finish up the fight in the crypt.
 


I'd be happy to run a mock combat with 5 x 9th level PCs (1 rare and 1 uncommon item each, no specials) in your choice of 'final room' from the Taroka deck to fight him in. You can run him and do all the rolls. I trust you.

I back myself to kill him.
Oh, can I get in on this? What rules does Strahd have to follow? Minion XP Budget?
 
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I don't know if this is RAW, but depending on the type of attack I sure wouldn't allow that. Getting a full attack on a human size creature that is grappled by a creature of a similar size? Not an easy thing to attack without injuring your ally. I would probably start with given Strahd 3/4 cover at least.
It's not RAW or even close to it, and more than shooting into a melee has a chance of hitting an ally.

But if it works for you, rule however you want.
 


dave2008

Legend
It's not RAW or even close to it, and more than shooting into a melee has a chance of hitting an ally.
What is not close to RAW, what I was reacting too or what I would do?

I agree that shooting into melee has a chance to hitting an ally, that is what I said. Well I included melee attack in that too, but basically the same.
 

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