The summoned creature is a separate source of XP to the Drow Mage
The Monster Manual has the following to say in the Introduction > Statistics > Challenge section:
Unless something tells you otherwise, a monster summoned by a spell or other magical ability is worth the XP noted in its stat block.
The Drow Mage's stat ...
Attacking the camp is never the only option
There are a lot of factors that go into determining the balance of encounters in D&D. The CR guidelines, players skill, party composition and often the DM gut instinct all play a role. Without being in your DMs head or even at your table we can't tell you if they are stacking things against you. However we can ...
"Mathematically", this is beyond a "deadly" encounter, but that doesn't mean the DM planned on killing you.
Using the tables in the DMG (page 82):
A "hard" encounter for 4 level 8 characters would have monsters worth 5600 XP, a "deadly" encounter 8400 XP.
20 "minions" = 2000 (at 1/2 which would be very beefy for their CR seeing as other 1/2 CR has around ...
The area is light obscurement.
Goblins are in total cover (including other small creatures).
Medium sized creatures are in three-quarters cover.
Consider that the medium creatures actually have better sight over the area, looking down into the grass.
The grass is loud, if anyone is moving in it - the grass would reveal the presence of a creature in ear ...
You're on the right track but you just need to combine the concepts a bit.
RAW, Concealment is a property of an area, and can either be Lightly or Heavily Obscured.
The grass blocks line of sight, but only within a set distance from the ground.
Therefore, the grass constitutes a Heavily Obscured area that only exists close to the ground.
Anything fully ...
Create “encounters” before the actual monster encounter. Barbarians aren’t the best thinkers and should have problems disarming magical traps, discovering information on the correct way to kill a powerful enemy, coming up with the strategy for interacting with a non-enemy, or other such issues.
Firstly, the fact that the Barbarian is out damaging the other two isn't a problem. As you noted they are support characters so they won't be doing the same damage output.
The real issue is that your encounters ain't dealing enough damage out to the barbarian to make the encounters interesting. There are a few options to deal with this.
Some classes are weak to certain types of damage or enemies. For example, the shadow monk can survive after reaching zero for a turn unless radiant damage is inflicted. Another way is to put in monsters that can capitalize on the characters weaknesses. Lastly, the barbarian is bad against something that can either outlast, out speed him, or deal magic damage....
You don't need frontline martial classes to have decent frontliners
Oracles, Wizards and Druids can summon stuff, and there is a good guide about it out there. In fact, a Wizard built around summoning makes more effective frontline than a properly built Fighter, and a Wizard can do more.
But you have some already
Bards, Oracles and Druids can be built to ...
This may seem more like an alternative philosophical approach than an answer, but I do not design encounters with the makeup of the party in mind beyond their level & party size.
If a group of players choose classes that aren't "balanced" with each other, in my opinion it's up to them to adjust their tactics, not you. They might choose to start being ...
No matter the system, you now have a group you feel is unbalanced for your kind of game.
How can you deal with that ? There are multiple ways. I've personally used many different ways, throughout the years in "similar" situations. I sometimes had to change, or refuse to change, the nature of a campaign after a character's death but I also have had to do so ...