Content of the article: "Large battle scaling CR help needed"
I am looking for help determining how to gauge the difficulty of a large scale conflict with my players. I have a full system set up to determine how a large battle will be determined, and based on the players' decisions in preparation to defend the city, I want it to dictate how difficult each battle will be.
I don't expect them to lead an army and all the tactics involved with that, I just want to set up a difficult traditional 5e fight for them and then use the results of that fight to hand wave that's how the rest of the fight went. There may be a battle action random event type thing, but I haven't decided on that yet.
Here's the setting: they are defending Mithril Hall against a drow invasion (very Legacy of the Drow, if you will). They are seasoned warriors who gained experience individually but all answered the call to help defend the city. This is a one-shot and I intend for it to be very difficult for them to win. I intend to use the world following this battle as the back drop of a traditional campaign. I want to set the tone that I will kill them in the full campaign as our current campaign rarely involves any death saving throws.
The players are all Level 12 – 2 Fighters (Battle Master, Eldritch Knight), 1 barbarian (totem) and one multi-class barbarian cleric (6 & 6)
I expect they will split up as there are three different points they will need to defend. I would like to hit them with a hard encounter (first wave of attackers are driders), a very difficult encounter (second wave are tactical combinations of drow elites, mages, and priestesses), and then a deadly encounter with the BBEG once they fall back and band together (Yochlol(s), Matron Mother maybe?).
My question is, with them all being fighter classes, how can I make sure to do enough damage to make it challenging? I was thinking of giving them an item to use to allow them to short rest in combat, but I think that may make it significantly easier and then they just become dynasty warriors.
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