Content of the article: "Would this be unfair to my players? /how do I make this combat more unique"
If your team name is The Gays, and you recognize dude-bro Dave, don't read any further.
Apologies, I tend to ramble, so this may be a long post.
I am running Rise of Tiamat at the moment, as a sequel to Hoard of the Dragon Queen. My players are currently in Arauthator's lair, Oyavvigaton, and they mean to go down into the depths where he is to attempt to kill or drive him away, so that they can rescue a spellcaster by the name of Maccath the Crimson for more info on the Draakhorn.
The current party makeup is: Human Samurai Fighter
Human Gunslinger Fighter
Half Elf Beastmaster conclave ranger (revised ranger, with dragons as greater favored enemies because why would anybody NOT choose that running through these modules)
Elf Arcane Trickster
Human Assassin Rogue
Kenku Death Cleric
Half Elf Moon Druid
They've already faced an adult white dragon in his lair, during Hoard of the Dragon Queen they managed to get a long rest before the battle and it was still incredibly challenging; they were grouped up, so I got 2 devastating ice breaths on their party (a mistake I doubt they'll make again, unless they forgot how badly the dragon's ice breath damaged them that encounter). In addition, they found it very hard to pin the dragon down, as the party's highest damage dealers (the rogue and the samurai fighter with great weapon master) couldn't seem to get more than a hit in every couple of rounds. Pair this with legendary and lair actions, and the hit-and-run strategy I employed, and they would've TPK'd without the cleric (life cleric that is no longer with the party)
However, they are now a higher level, they have been given a ring of cold resistance and 2 arrows of dragon slaying by Maccath, and they have the prior experience of killing one adult white dragon. So, I've been thinking of ways to make it more challenging, more of a fresh experience, and more of an interesting fight. As well as this, they've already dispatched the trolls that are supposed to come to the fight 5 rounds after it begins; the dragon is all on his own for this fight, and he knows this.
One thing I thought of, after looking through some forums, was giving Arauthator the variant spellcasting feature. The spell? Greater invisibility. I figure that this will allow him to escape quite a few of some of the bigger damage dealers' hits, while allowing him to space correctly to hit them with his tail attack and ice breath, and wait for his ice breath to recharge; furthermore, someone doesn't need to see a dragon for his frightful presence to work, only be aware of him. Until greater invisibility runs out, he could be basically right in their faces, only 15 ft away from them, and when he senses it's going to run out, he could employ the same hit and run strategies as I used in the first white dragon fight, only with a bigger lair (that the party can't see all the way into because of the fog, meaning he can just hide and wait for his ice breath to recharge).
However, I'm wondering if this is too much. I don't want to TPK my party, but I want them to feel like this is an all-out fight, no holds barred, where he is doing his absolute best to massacre the party. They're high enough level that it's feasible for any party members who remain dead (i.e don't get revivified by cleric) to exchange a big share of the hoard to be brought back to life, I just dont wanna kill all of them in one go.
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