I'm a newbie DM running a remix of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. Our version of this adventure is less about speedy chases and clock ticking, but more about politics, alliances, mystery and deception. We've been running the campaign for about a year and the party ended up to be level 11-12, soon 13.

We ran Dragon Heist because of the great reviews and next we wanna run Curse of Strahd.

But then I learned that Curst of Strahd is for the party of 1-9 levels. And the thing is that the players really built a connection with their characters over those 25 game sessions. Almost to the point that we sometimes call each other IRL by our character names 🙈😁. So we want to continue with those player characters! I even came up with a couple ideas how the current adventure could logically pivot to Curse of Strahd and why the party would NEED to travel to Barovia.

Long story short, we don't want to create new characters for this new campaign. But what should we do if the campaign is for lvl 1-9 the party is already 13?

  1. Keep the personalities, but downgrade the PCs to level 1 or level 3? And somehow explain that as they enter Barovia their skills go away?
  2. Go through all of the monsters that will be in the campaign and somehow improve their stats? Like bump HP, AC, give them resistances, etc? ALL of the monsters, from the skeleton up to the Strahd himself?
  3. Ban certain spells that might completely break some mysteries of the new campaign? Spells like True Seeing for example.

While I asked this question with regards to the Curse of Strahd campaign and there may be some specifics related to it, it may be also helpful to get a more general advice on this from experienced DMs!

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't see how we can answer this for you. You correctly identified the three options. Which one you choose is up to you and your players. (I definitely recommend starting at level 2 or 3, though -- I recall that when we started with level 1 characters, we had multiple near-character-deaths and I'm pretty sure the DM pulled her punches to avoid actually doing it.) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 21, 2023 at 20:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ That said, I've always thought Borovia was a setting that benefits from players building to the feel of the place -- going in with intentionally gothic-style characters just feels better than Thog the Barbarian and his prancing magical elf buddy, at least in my opinion. I wound up going in with a life cleric and wished I hadn't -- he clashed so badly with the gloomy feel that I really wanted to switch characters to play an alchemist instead. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 21, 2023 at 20:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don’t get it, why the question got closed? This forum isn’t supposed to be used to get help from experience DMs on how to run campaigns better? (Because all of that would be opinion based, wouldn’t it?) \$\endgroup\$
    – Lisa
    Apr 22, 2023 at 8:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, there are supposedly many FACTS that you can use to answer this question. Like some spells, some campaign specifics, suggestions from books, etc… \$\endgroup\$
    – Lisa
    Apr 22, 2023 at 8:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ There is ultimately no way we can actually answer this question. There isn't a "right" answer among the three options you gave. The relevant factors are how your players feel about being downgraded or laying aside their current characters , which isn't information we can know. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 22, 2023 at 14:20