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Thread: Converting Red Hand of Doom to 5e

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Aug 2006

    Default Re: Converting Red Hand of Doom to 5e

    Blackwater Causeway

    Spoiler: Adolescent Hydra
    Huge Monstrosity
    Armor Class 14
    HP 157
    Speed 30 ft, swim 30 ft
    Str +5, Dex +1, Con +5
    Int -4, Wis +0, Cha -2
    Skills Perception +6
    Senses darkvision 60 ft
    Languages n/a
    CR 7 (2900 XP)
    Hold Breath. The hydra can hold its breath for 1 hour.
    Multiple Heads. The hydra starts with five heads. While it has more than one head, the hydra has advantage on saving throws against being blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, stunned, and knocked unconscious.
    Whenever the hydra takes 23 or more damage in a single turn, one of its heads dies. If all its heads die, the hydra dies.
    At the end of its turn, it grows two heads for each of its heads that died since its last turn, unless it has taken fire damage since its last turn. The hydra regains 9 hit points for each head regrown in this way.
    Reactive Heads. For each head the hydra has beyond one, it gets an extra reaction that can be used only for opportunity attacks.
    Wakeful. While the hydra sleeps, at least one of its heads is awake.
    Multiattack. The hydra makes as many bite attacks as it has heads.
    Bite (melee, reach 10 ft) +7: 1d8+5 piercing

    Encounter Composition
    Adolescent Hydra

    XP Award: 2900


    Now, this one is interesting. My playtest party quickly dropped a Slow spell on this hydra, and the rest of the encounter was a total cakewalk. No danger of imminent death for even a single character.

    I'm wondering if I should bump the hydra up to match the MM version (which is CR 8 rather than CR 7), but I actually don't think that would fix the issue. It would still have only a 30% chance to save vs. Slow each round, and would be utterly pathetic without Multiattack.

    So I think I should balance the Hydra's CR with what works when the party doesn't have Slow, and then if the party in an actual campaign Slows it, just say "Congratulations, you found this particular creature's exact crippling weakness. You get this encounter for free at the cost of a Level 3 spell slot."

    I playtested the encounter a second time banning Slow from the PCs' tactics, and it seemed like a sufficiently hard fight as long as the heads of the hydra know to focus-fire one PC at a time. One PC only survived due to a lucky Death Save. But if the heads spread out their fire a bit, the players probably could take on a MM hydra ... nah. This is supposed to be a significant fight, but not a boss fight.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2017-06-09 at 11:24 PM.
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