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What would be a adequate level for a party of 5-6 players to face an Ancient Red Dragon?

Content of the article: "What would be a adequate level for a party of 5-6 players to face an Ancient Red Dragon?"

It's my first time DMing a campaing and beeing a few months in, I'm mostly succeeding as far as my players let me know. There's one area that I find pretty difficulty, tho. Balancing combats. I mostly just use Kobold's Fight Club to have a general idea of how hard a combat may be and the closest I've been to homebrewing stuff is adapting or slightly altering some already existing stats blocks.

So, my main villain is a Ancient Red Dragon and, if no big derail happens through out the campaing, this will be the last or one of the last combats that my party will face. So I kinda want to plan out how many level ups they should have up to this point. We're using milestones leveling, so I should be able to more or less predict when they will reach a certain level.

The party has a Cleric, a Wizard, a Paladin, a Mage, a Barbarian and a Rogue. The mage may or may not remain through the ending of the campaing due to OOG reasons, so it's either a 5 or 6 characters party. I'm giving then oportunities to acquire magical items every now and then, they're mostly going for then though nothing tooo powerful yet, apart from a couple items, have been found. Also I kinda want to hand out a Dragon Slayer sword for flavour but I don't know how much of an edge to the players this might be in the final confrontation.

Beeing probably the final showdown of the campaing, I expect it to be a pretty deadly and high-stakes battle where death of a character is a real possibility. The Kobold Fight Club says a party of six 13th level players is the maximum you can go for a deadly encounter, is this accurate? Should I look up some more powerful homebrew dragon stats block? Or if a throw in some company for the dragon it will make it more challenging? Does 1HP minions actually help in anything? So many questions lol

Read:  Dimensional Loop Magic Item

EDIT: Forgot a critical detail: the fight will be in the dragon's lair unless the players somehow manage to bait him out of it, but it's very unlikely.

Thanks in advance!

Source: reddit.com

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