Content of the article: "Balance question using homebrew enemies"
Posted a few times before asking about various things, and this time it's about how to balance an encounter for my party. They will be 5 players of 7th level by the time they run into this.
TL;DR: How many of these creatures from the homebrew below (assuming 1-3 different kinds to buff surrounding ones) would a 7th level party of 5 players realistically be able to handle? What would be the "threshold" where if there's more that appear they'll most likely start getting downed or having deaths?
The party is a Life Domain Cleric, a 5th level Champion Fighter with 2 levels in Pact of the Blade Warlock, a Battlemaster Fighter, a Wild Magic Sorcerer and a Pact of the Tome Warlock.
I had found someone that did D&D 5e stat blocks for the MTG Slivers (link above) and that kind of fit with a zombie/swarm encounter that I wanted to have coming up in my game. Balancing fights is something I've been struggle with since I started this game and I basically rely on places like Kobold Fight Club to have even a vague idea of if things are too much or not enough. So far fights have been easy super easy or mildly threatening to 1-2 of my 6 players. There was only one fight that was getting a little sweaty because the players were rolling bad that night.
The encounter that I have planned is to have these creatures causing havoc to nearby cities and have someone commission the group to rid the pests. There's a high concentration in the woods and scouts that have been sent (and came back alive) have reported strange creatures that seem to shift and change as they group up or separate (I'll be having the Slivers adopt physical changes to show what abilities they have borrowed from others). I found a battlemap that's a chasm in the ground that opens up to an underground cave system where this specific nest will be located. The players will be tasked to go in the nest and kill the queen. Obviously, if there's a full hive of creatures and the players alert them to their presence and get swarmed, it'll be a bad time for them, especially with the nature of how Slivers work (both in MTG and in the D&D homebrew linked).
I don't want this to be a cake-walk where they have no struggle and feel no threat, but I also don't want it to turn into a TPK as soon as a couple of enemies show up. How can I try and balance something like this to know how much of a threat it actually is to the party?
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