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How do I make boss fights interesting, intense, and threatening, without making it unfun for 1 or more players?

Content of the article: "How do I make boss fights interesting, intense, and threatening, without making it unfun for 1 or more players?"

Tldr at the bottom.

First time DM here. I currently have a party of 6, all of them level 5. I have come across an issue while designing boss fights for them.

Since they are a large party, and all capable of dishing out decent damage, I typically use creatures of higher CR then they are for bosses. This works well for overall difficulty, but there is typically one issue: The boss monsters almost always have enough damage to down 1 member of the party in a single turn.

Take for example my most recent boss: A hydra. Our rogue was the first victim of the hydra, being the only one in it's range, while also being the only easy target (the area was very dark and he was carrying the only light source, and had rushed ahead of the party). The hydra, with all 5 of its heads, downed him in one turn. After this the party arrived, and healed the rogue to get him back up, but he was still low on HP.

I decided that the hydra, logically, would continue to attack it's current target with several heads, maybe leaving 1-2 heads for the others. But I realized that mechanically, all this would mean is that the rogue would not be able to do anything for the entire fight (which was the main event of the session), and our healers would need to spend all of their turns healing the rogue to keep him alive, and would effectively be losing their turns as well.

Ultimately, I decided that my player's fun was more important to the game, and to me, then the logic of a 10 WIS monster, so I had the hydra's attention shift to the rest of the party. This was okay on it's own, but after the hydra stopped focus firing on one person, it became a bit of a pushover as the party whaled on him round after round. Soon enough the party had defeated the hydra with no issues (In fact, I don't think the wizard even use his highest level spell slots the entire session).

Read:  Resource - A descriptive intro/invite to Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign

How do I make a boss encounter intense and challenging for my party, while at the same time making sure that it is also fun for all of the party members?

Somewhat long read, sorry. Thanks in advance for helping me out!

Tldr: I'm struggling to create boss encounters that are challenging and engaging for my party of 6, while at the same time ensuring every player gets to participate fully and does not get instantly K.O.d. What should I do to make it difficult AND enjoyable for the party?

Source: reddit.com

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