Dungeons & Dragons Online

How much is too much, or am I overcomplicating this boss fight?

Hi there, Reddit folks!

Sorry in advance for any grammar/spelling mistakes – English is not my first language and I'm writing it after quite a long day, so I may slip up somewhere. 🙂

First of all, standard stuff – If you're Ariyore, Eligor, Fryderyka or if you know these names, don't read any further – you'll encounter massive spoilers regarding current campaign plot.

My party has had their first encounter with their newest enemies for upcoming sessions, and I'm trying to prepare the final encounter of that mini-arc ahead of time, for once. I've had some ideas about this particular group for quite some time and now that I'm actually turning it into DnD mechanics, I started to worry I might overwhelm my players. Hence I'd like to ask your opinion, whether this boss fight seems interesting, or needlessly complicated and chaotic.

My players are currently investigating a hivemind-like cult that has spread out throughout the kingdom. It's followers wear special masks, which instill within them blind loyalty towards the group and link them to a telepathic web of sorts, allowing for instant communication between any two members of the cult. What's more important in this case, is that these masks allow also for kind of skill-sharing – members of the cult can gain fraction of skills possessed by one of the officers, turning even lowly servants into skilled, dangerous warriors or mages.

Mechanically speaking, I've prepared five character sheets representing five "archetypes" of soldiers created via this skill-sharing. Cultists can swap between them at the beginning of their turn during combat, allowing for cornered wizard to grab a sword and start fighting in melee, while swordsman that has been left alone puts away his weapon and starts flinging fireballs. This includes even the leader herself – she's able to draw skills from her officers, adjusting her abilities precisely to what she needs right now.

Additionally, since followers of the cult are in constant, telepathic connection with everyone else and fighting them will be like fighting a single mind operating many bodies, I've thought of swapping not only their stats, but also turn order – at the beginning of combat initiative is rolled as usual for each cultist, but they wouldn't be assigned to it permanently – instead, cult's leader would evaluate situation on the battlefield and make her people move in order that would suit her needs the most.

My question is – Do you think this can work out? On one hand, I find an idea of a unique encounter, where every enemy can change their stats almost at will and turn order doesn't really restrict them to have potential for a memorable, difficult boss fight that would stand out among the others. On the other, I'm afraid that the additional amount of bookkeeping and decision-making it would require from me, plus the amount of chaos that would cause, will make my players feel overwhelmed and lost in the whole situation.


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