I'm am planning on running a 4E campaign for a fully optimized group of five players. I would prefer to use officially published material and tweak where needed. These players love to be challenged (i.e. hardest for the PC's to overcome, mainly combat), however much the rules will allow.
- What official rules help to maximize difficulty?
- What strategies can I employ to use these rules in a effective manner?
I'm looking for a answer that shows experience in dealing with optimized builds and clever players.
All official material is allowed. 1 Warlord and 3 Strikers for sure. The other is still choosing between a defender who can double as a striker, a Warlord, or a Orb of Imposition wizard.
I want to avoid using house rules. I'm looking at using the best official rules that increase the difficulty. Similar to the example below.
Hard encounters are two to three levels above the party, and can include monsters that are five to seven levels above the characters. These encounters really test the characters’ resources, and might force them to take an extended rest at the end. They also bring a greater feeling of accomplishment, though, so make sure to include about one such encounter per character level. However, be careful of using high-level soldiers and brutes in these encounters. Soldier monsters get really hard to hit when they’re five levels above the party, and brutes can do too much damage at that level.
Monsters that are more than eight levels higher than the characters can pretty easily kill a character, and in a group they have a chance of taking out the whole party. Use such overpowering encounters with great care. Players should enter the encounter with a clear sense of the danger they’re facing, and have at least one good option for escaping with their lives, whether that’s headlong flight or clever negotiation. (D&D 4E Dungeon Master's Guide, p. 104)
I have also read that WotC made the monsters stronger near the end of the edition's publications, is this true?
All monsters will be ran as ruthless and tactically efficient!