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Help building/balancing a big fight scenario? (Curse of Strahd Spoilers)

Content of the article: "Help building/balancing a big fight scenario? (Curse of Strahd Spoilers)"

I'm a casual DM and I've never really run a big fight scenario before, but I think I've come to the point in the Curse of Strahd campaign where it's time. They haven't had a fight in a long time and they're itching for one. I have 6 players, two of whom are playing Irina and Ismark Kolyana.

The Situation

My players just returned St. Andral's bones back to St. Andral's church after learning the location from Millivoj the gravedigger. They stole these bones back from a nest of vampire spawn at the coffin shop, the leader of which is one of Strahd's brides, Anastrasya. The coffin maker informed the players that there were about 6 vampire spawn up in the nest. They decided to leave the coffin maker alone in the house with the vampire spawn to give him a chance to get away before the guards come. It's almost dusk. 5 of my players went to return the bones and protect the church. The last player went to find the guards.

When the players got to the church, father Lucian started on the ritual to hallow the grounds right away, but he informed the players it would take a while. Milivoj is also there, recovering from a recent bout of shadow demon eating his soul.

The Encounter

So that's where we left last session. Since they returned the bones I gave them all a level, so they're freshly lvl 4. I think I'd like to have the vampire spawn attack the church before the ritual is complete. I'd like the encounter to be hard, with the main win condition being to hold the vampire spawn off long enough for father lucian to finish the ritual.

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Some thoughts I had:

  • The players haven't encountered the keepers of the feather yet, but this might be a good time for them to reveal themselves, at least partially. The keepers have been watching the party and if the vampires attacked, they'd be the ones to see it coming and warn the players
  • The players haven't met Strahd's alter ego, Vassili von Holt. This might be a good opportunity for him to be introduced, warning the players of the attack. Strahd wants to see how the players do against this attack, might also be curious what Anastrasya does. If he warned the players they might trust him more.
  • It might be cool for the hallow spell to have an effect on the players weapons. Maybe a temporary radiant damage buff while they're on the church grounds that kicks in part way through the encounter? I think Milivoj's shovel could get a permanent buff here since it has the grounds imbued on it kind of.
  • I need to figure out how to get the player that is seperated involved somehow. He has taken the lead on the last couple sessions so it's not critical that he play a main role in this one, but i want him to have something to do.


The main ways i can balance this scenario are:

  • how many vampires attack
  • how many rounds for the ritual to be completed
  • how many allies show up.

    I really need help here, i've never run a scenario like this.

Source: reddit.com

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