Content of the article: "I’m not sure how to surprise my players with a lycanthrope boss in a way that doesn’t feel cheap."
Hello, it's first time posting here, and I am pretty new DM, so I apologize if I have miss stepped in any way.
Essentially, my problem is that in my campaign, my party of three level 2 players, are planing to kill a big time gangster who told the party to either fetch his small time criminal brother and meet him at the top floor of this 10 story tall hotel where he will be waiting to either reward the party for doing his bidding, or waiting to simply fight the party because he loves a good fight.
the party consists of:
+ A half orc barbarian with 20 strength and in character social anxiety.
+ A human circle of spores druid who prefers dual-wielding melee fighting with his shillelagh and rapier in hand. Bless his lawful good heart is primarily the one driving the plot anywhere (other than me) because he's the player with the most experience.
+ A tiefling rogue, who recently joined the party, and who is new to D&D and oh dear god am I really about to throw her into a boss fight as literally her third fight ever?!? (holy shit I have no idea what I'm doing what am I doing why am I a DM).
In any case, I thought it would be an interesting twist to have the gangster be in fact a lycanthrope, specifically a wereboar, in humanoid form. (part of a larger criminal syndicate of gangster lycanthropes).
This would be the party's first encounter with a Lycanthrope, and they don't carry any silver on them except for 8 silver coins in druid's pocket (which I would rule as an improvised weapon if they were clever enough to use them in the fight).
I like the idea of this twist because it would shock the party to see the 20 strength barbarian strike the goon with all her might only for the dust to settle and see him without so much as a blemish on him.
Additionally, this would force all members of the party to think critically about the fight and provide a unique puzzle for them to solve in the sense that they would need to deduce the boss's kryptonite (ie silver, magic, and elemental damage such as lighting him on fire) and then find sources of that kryptonite in the surrounding combat environment of the hotel room that they are fighting in
There are silver coins in their pockets, a silver plater on a coffee table, and silver faucets in the bathroom. The Druid can cast shillelagh on any wooden object that he is touching thus making it magical, and the room full of flammable furniture is illuminated by the flames of various oil lamps around the room.
I worry however that I'm not sure how to show them to use these objects, without blatantly telling them either before or during the fight "YOU NEED TO USE SILVER" in a way that would essentially be me solving the Kryptonite puzzle for them, and thus defeat the point of why I wanted to use a lycanthrope in the first place.
at the same time I don't want to tell my players nothing, because that would just seem like I made an immortal boss that serves no purpose other than to be "Rocks Fall Everyone Dies" Incarnate, especially since I have a new player in the party.
I also cant think of a good reason why the boss would stage a fight in a hotel room full of the exact things the party needs to kill him other that ludicrous amounts of hubris.
The best I've got is to give them each one free history check each round to see if in character they realize what a wereboar is weak to even if out of character they might be stumped, but that just seems like a "roll until the dice hand hand you the answer" kind of deal, and I think that would feel shitty for them.
TL:DR How do I have a bandit boss be a surprise lycanthrope as a twist, without making the fight against him seem actually impossible, and without making the twist that he's a lycanthrope irrelevant to the fight in the first place by simply handing my players all the information and tools to beat him on a silver plater? (pun intended).
- Is this normal DM behavior??
- Additional Lycanthropy Rules for SpOooOoKy sEaSOn! Feedback Welcome.
- What to do about players that constantly recognise and call out narrative tropes?
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