Here's the deal. I'm a temporary PC who was tossed in by a DM who decided to let me play as a Priestess of Lolth (5e, 14th level, vs a party of 10th level PCs)

On my side, I have:

  1. 2 Driders I can summon for ten minutes
  2. The ability to turn myself into a Drider
  3. Whip of Fangs, 4 heads (Poison, all that fun stuff)
  4. 3 Drow followers, 2 assassins and a mage
  5. The fact that I've installed myself as a friendly PC Sun Elf who spun a yarn about the orb I'm trying to steal from them being one of TWO, the "Eyes of the Yolchol," required to resurrect a follower of Lolth required to oversee a ceremony of world-ending proportions.

On THEIR side:

  1. Half Orc Warrior who just got a sword of unknown magical properties
  2. A blue Dragonborn, frost breath, flying and all
  3. A Dwarven Paladin, party healer
  4. A half orc/gnome spellcaster
  5. A gnome Druid with a mouse familiar(?)
  6. A gods-damned tiefling of unknown capability
  7. The woodselven ranger I need to take the orb from.

Tactical Advantage:

  1. I'm in their party as a cleric, and they think I work for Tatiana of the Summer Court.
  2. They're in the Feywild, and I've already contracted a promise from them to "Help me find the Drow female leader and finish this, and you'll have the eye and favor of my Lady, whatever is in her power to give." Oh semantics and wordsmithery, how you've helped balm my possible (pretty much assumed-upon) death with beyond-the-grave-Lolth-screw-withery.
  3. There's a cliffside nearby the site of the battle. The party ended looking upon a camp of elves (the drow servants disguised with Seeming by their Mage). The hammer should fall very quickly once the game begins.

I'd like to inflict MAX damage on this party before I croak, and I'm certain the DM wouldn't have placed a temporary PC in me like this unless that was to be my party-decimating goal.
I've never played with everything behind me to murder a party of PCs, AS a PC, and I'd like to make this as fun as possible, for me.

How can I do maximum damage before I get to 0 hit points?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Have you already created this character / been given her stats, or is creating the optimal character part of this question's scope? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your last point mentions a "site of the battle". Does there have to be a battle? So far it sounds like the party has seen a camp of elves; why would they attack the elves? Having a battle between the party and your minions is a bad outcome for you, so it seems like you should try to avoid that if you can. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 3:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do the PCs trust you and your character? If so, it should be very easy to kill all of them if they listen to the things you tell them to do. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 3:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unlike charop questions, this "idea generation/Brainstorm" is probably best suited to a discussion forum. With more specificity on the stats spell of the drow and the party, and the problem to be solved thus having clearer definition, the question may get sufficient focus. (It's an intriguing challenge, to be sure). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 12:44

2 Answers 2


Based solely on the information supplied, here is my personal take on how this can best be accomplished.

First, and most importantly, is prioritizing targets and separating individuals. By this I mean you must figure out the best way to remove their fighting effectiveness from the start.

Priority #1: Strategic Placement

Before you enter combat with the party, you want to make sure to maximize the positioning of the units you have. I recommend surrounding the healer, support, and primary casters with capable melee attackers. Especially with the mage, make sure two assassins start near him: mages are famed for being squishy. This feeds into the next point, but see if the GM will allow you to hold an action with dispel magic as you attack the mage to deal with any magical defenses he might have.

Priority #2: Surprise

This is imperative: you must get a surprise round on the PCs. This is a full turn for all of your characters to act without opposition, and becomes especially important when dealing with the rogues or assassins available to you, since they can sneak attack on creatures who are flat-footed or have not acted yet.

Priority #3: Order of Engagement

The most important people to take out first are the healer and the support/mage. They provide extended conflicts and crowd control, which can shut down any attack almost immediately.

With this in mind, my recommendation is thus:


  • with the group gathered, have one of the drow use faerie fire on the area. This will massively increase your chance to hit, and he can cancel it afterwards to deny the PCs the advantage against the NPCs.

  • have the assassins take out the mage immediately. If they are flanking, this should be even easier. If they have any kind of bonus damage available, make sure to use it.

  • next, remove the healer from the battle. If you do not possess the ability to take him/her down, you must isolate him/her from the team. This will ensure that the mage remains out of action for at least 2 turns.

  • Ranger should be placed inside a darkness spell. This removes the ranged abilities or at least forces him to move as his first action to escape the darkness cloud, since they should not have any dispelling abilities available.

  • You should have the mage cast Evard's Black Tentacles on the Dragonborn and the Fighter. CC is the most effective way to remove them from the fight until they are the sole targets.

  • Alternately, have the mage use Cloudkill to deal a good amount of damage all at once.

  • You (the priestess) should cast Web on to of the Evard's Black Tentacles, then transform to Drider and stay near the side of the cliff face. Since you have a climb speed, you can move over the side of the cliff to block line of sight while the PCs panic.

  • Alternately, if you managed to take down the mage or healer, grab them with you and hurl them over the edge.


  • Summon the Driders to increase your effective action economy by either 1 or 2.

  • Have the Driders throw non-flying members off the side of the cliff if possible, else use them to prevent movement and continue to keep the party flanked.

  • the mage should cast whichever spell he did not cast last turn.

  • have a drow/drider hold an action until the ranger appears out of the cloud of darkness to immediately cast another one centered on her, preventing another turn of combat damage.


In conclusion, you want to take down the spellcasters / squishier combatants first, crowd control the tanks/warriors, and keep the ranger in a darkness spell. Use the cliff to your advantage: the ranger, tiefling, and warrior should have no way to prevent the massive amount of falling damage it incurs. Your most powerful spell in this combat as the priestess should be dispel magic: if they ever attempt something magical, immediately stop it.

Hopefully this is helpful. I would like to leave the unasked yet solicited advice that you should make sure not to allow repercussions from this to bleed over into real life, and killing characters is something that should be done only with great forethought.

  • \$\begingroup\$ For the characters, I operated under the assumption that the NPCs listed were according to the Monster Manual and used spells and stats from such places. \$\endgroup\$
    – Boredom
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 22:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is amazing info, thank you! Usually a GM assigns combats to be FUN, but if you're literally playing someone to screw a party that's a whole other nugget. The encounter happened, unfortunately the ranger managed to negate my surprise round, and as it turned out, the DM was planning on my demise to establish me as 'recurring'. I know NOW that I wasn't totally meant to destroy the party THIS TIME. Had the Paladin dead to rights (webbed, grappled by a Drider) at the business end of a Disintegrate spell, when the DM looked at me and went, "Huh. Sorry, I can't allow it." \$\endgroup\$
    – Taelie
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 6:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm glad it worked for you! Best of luck in your future TPK endeavors! \$\endgroup\$
    – Boredom
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 21:06

First, let's talk about this spell:

Word of Recall (Cleric 6):

You and up to five willing creatures within 5 feet of you instantly teleport to a previously designated sanctuary. You and any creatures that teleport with you appear in the nearest unoccupied space to the spot you designated when you prepared your sanctuary (see below). If you cast this spell without first preparing a sanctuary, the spell has no effect.

You must designate a sanctuary by casting this spell within a location, such as a temple, dedicated to or strongly linked to your deity. If you attempt to cast the spell in this manner in an area that isn’t dedicated to your deity, the spell has no effect.

If you can grab the orb and then cast this spell, you can teleport to the (presumably far-away) Temple of Lolth, which pretty much means you win.

If your minions knock the ranger unconscious, and then you take the orb off his body and cast this spell, then you teleport to your temple, which means you win.

If your minions don't bother attacking him, and just make Sleight-Of-Hand checks to cut his backpack off and steal the orb, then you can walk up and cast this spell on your minions, and again, this means you win.

If you convince the party that you've found a divine ritual which requires holding the orb ("I can use this orb to find the location of the other one!"), and they let you hold the orb for a moment, you can cast word of recall and win.

If you somehow persuade the party to let you cast word of recall on them ("hey guys, we need to confer with Titania personally, let me teleport us back to her temple"), then as you're casting the spell you can cast it only on the guy holding the orb. That will lead to a battle in your temple, but with your summoned driders you have a good chance of winning. (Note that this spell requires a level-11 caster and only targets five allies, so if you offer to cast it and the group looks up the spell definition in the book, they might realize something is up.)

I'll mostly skip the discussion of what happens if you actually have a fight with the party. If you have a fight with the party, you will lose and die. Casting high-level damage spells such as fire storm or insect plague will let you deal some damage before you go down. But your goal should be to not have a fight at all.

(Your question says that you want to deal max damage before hitting 0 hit points, so I suppose this makes my answer a bit of a frame challenge. If your goal is to get the orb, and there's a way to do that without getting killed, you should try that first. :) )

Instead, your plan should be to persuade the party to fight somebody else. You've convinced the party that you'll help them find an orb, right? Tell them your divinations have revealed that the orb is in some horribly perilous location, like a dragon's lair, or the local lord's treasury, or a cave full of giants or whatever. (You'll have to negotiate with the DM to find out what sort of perilous locations are nearby that you can send the party into.) Once the party is committed to that battle, then you (and your minions, if you can swing it) can attack them from behind.

Your question, as written, says that your minions are nearby, and the party has seen them (and thinks they're sun elves), and that there's going to be a battle soon. You should try to prevent that battle. Have your minions run away, or have them pretend to be friendly, or whatever else you can manage. Letting the party get in a direct battle with your minions won't accomplish anything except (probably) blowing your own cover.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Assuming a RAW + Twitter view of the rules recalling with the unconscious ranger won't work. rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/80393/… covers a number of viewpoints on whether it should work. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ceribia
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 6:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ceribia Weird! Okay, I've changed the wording to sidestep that issue. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 6:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll see if I can have this spell added to my repertoire since I'm going to apparently be recurring. That will be tremendously useful. The way THIS encounter went, the DM had everything inevitable, including the combat, but I'll be sure to have a nice long chat before he has her resurrected to do the bidding of the Spider Queen. >:D \$\endgroup\$
    – Taelie
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 6:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the mission focused nature of this answer, and the problem solved without combat RP/tactical/devious approach. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 12:48

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