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I'm planning a one shot for two level 10 characters and I'd like a challenging boss fight for the end of it. The plan at the moment is that they will fight a corrupted Deva in the tomb of a Beholder God. The Deva will take the stats of the Deva from the Monster Manual, and the partially revived Beholder god will have a 1/4 chance of firing a random eye ray (again stats taken from Beholder from the Monster Manual) at one of the characters.

I've never run a boss fight like this before and have no experience with characters of level 10 or above (I've been DMing for a few years but usually for lower-level parties up to level 7-8). Any advice on this would be great, as I'd hate to have the fight be too easy or unreasonably difficult.

The characters are:

  • level 10 Dwarf Cleric
  • level 10 Gold Dragonborn Paladin
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HenryPowell Thank you for clarifying! I have edited in the dnd-5e tag to indicate the game you are playing. Be sure to take the tour as an introduction to how the site works and check the help center if you need further guidance. Good luck and happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Sep 2 '19 at 11:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you know what prepared spells your party is going to be going into the fight with? \$\endgroup\$ – John Clifford Sep 2 '19 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately not. V2Blast's answer below has answered the question but thanks for you comment! \$\endgroup\$ – Henry Powell Sep 3 '19 at 9:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HenryPowell V2Blast only edited, I answered it. \$\endgroup\$ – NeutralTax Sep 3 '19 at 11:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NeutralVax Ah, well then thanks to you. \$\endgroup\$ – Henry Powell Sep 3 '19 at 14:58
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This will end up mostly likely deadly.

The Dungeon Master's Guide has a chart for XP chart for character by level.

At level 10, the XP thresholds for an individual character are

  • Easy: 600
  • Medium: 1,200
  • Hard: 1,900
  • Deadly: 2,800

The Deva has Challenge Rating of 10 (5,900 XP).

The cleric and paladin will have a a combined XP threshold of 5,600 for a deadly encounter. The Deva alone is above that threshold. Even without the beholder, the Deva alone is likely to wipe the floor with them.

A simple solution would be to add an NPC of similar or slightly lower level than the characters.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is very useful, thanks a lot. I suspected that this would be case so I will change the NPC to something easier. Marked as answered. \$\endgroup\$ – Henry Powell Sep 3 '19 at 9:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ The Deva would actually have an expected challenge level equivalent to 8550 XP according to the Dungeon Master's Guide. This is because of the Party Size rules which say: "If the party contains fewer than three characters, apply the next highest multiplier on the Encounter Multipliers table. For example, apply a multiplier of 1.5 when the characters fight a single monster" \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Sep 3 '19 at 19:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HenryPowell Do note my above comment; two party members can handle less than half of four (which is why the rules about Party Size are present in the Dungeon Master's Guide) \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Sep 3 '19 at 19:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron Didn't see that. I also wasn't factoring the beholder. \$\endgroup\$ – NeutralTax Sep 3 '19 at 19:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron Duely noted, many thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Henry Powell Sep 4 '19 at 14:58

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