6 Tips On How To Run High Level D&D Campaigns

It’s time to let go of the pesky Goblins and their caves. You want more in your D&D adventure. Either your players have finally reached demigod status or you wish to start at a high level already. Not many campaigns actually use high levels – it’s very hard to see a level 20 party, which makes most DMs unprepared to handle such a powerful party.

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If you are planning to create a high-level campaign, you may be wondering what you can do when your players can do virtually anything. How do you put them at risk? Well, it’s a challenge, but it’s doable.


6 Use powerful spells, abilities and creatures

This is a no-brainer, but it must be said. Your players probably won’t die against whatever you throw at them, and on the off chance that some do, there will be ways to bring back the fallen. So go crazy. Throw good old Tarrasque at them (they’re not even as lethal as they seem). Use powerful characters, have lower level bosses work as minions, force them to make saving throws that require a few high rolls to escape, or start damaging their surroundings to make them think about what to do next. You can go overboard with a high-end party and they will probably take it.

It’s possible to overdo it a bit (remember, DMs can technically create immortal monsters, so try to avoid that), but if you’re not sure how to design creatures, you can use the creatures from the manual or practice making your own first. to bring them into play. There is a counterpoint here, though.

5 Let them enjoy their power

Even if you want to challenge them with your BBEG, which is supposed to be a lethal force, it’s also okay to have weaker enemies that your players will instantly obliterate. This is especially important if you have managed to start this campaign at a low level and have worked their way to becoming as powerful as they are now.

Yes, give them hundreds of weak minions, which the wizard can simply destroy with a meteor shower. Let the barbarian throw around large creatures with their score of 24. There is a balance in having both deadly and easy fights, and players should face both situations during their campaign. Let them have the satisfaction of seeing their hard work pay off. This also helps them learn how to make better use of high-level skills and helps you see what they are capable of, which will help you plan deadly encounters better than before.

4 Raise the stakes

Powerful adventurers need powerful enemies and this brings powerful consequences. Perhaps something that threatens the whole world may be a little too much; after all, failure is always an option. If you’re okay with risking your homebrew world, though, then go for it. Threats are possible that can destroy a city, entire regions, a country or even a continent.

This also counts for the choice of specific locations for the battle to take place. A Kraken can be lethal from killing multiple ships. The Tarrasque, which is not as lethal from a distance, would be disastrous if the fight took place in a city. The same can be said for a high-level caster who can destroy a building (with players inside) with a meteor shower.

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You can literally put them at risk by creating a monstrous force that can destroy anything in its path, or by playing a more political enemy, for example, one that players can’t face in the open (more on that later). And there is another way to increase these stakes …

3 You put others, especially your loved ones, in danger

If the players are too hard to kill, kill the ones they love. A nice way to raise the stakes, beyond the previous methods, is to put people who mean a lot to the players at risk rather than a lot of people. NPCs can die quite easily. So, not only do players have to keep themselves alive, but if they have to take care of others who can be killed quickly, the intensity of the fight will increase significantly.

You can even put them in moral situations where they have to choose from many innocent lives in order not to save someone they care about. Either the NPCs they loved or the characters from their backstories, this is something that works well. Even if the players are neutral or evil, there is someone they care about and this can be used for drama.

2 Create problems outside of combat

There are other ways to get tension in a campaign besides combat. If you have players who are eager for stories with more drama rather than just fights, you can cause them problems that require social interaction. Here the aforementioned example of politics can come into play. Sure, they can now easily kill the boy in front of them, but if he represents a country, his death could cause a war, for example.

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Power is not just literal power or magic, but also influence and status, something evil NPCs can have to make them both dangerous and untouchable. You can also create other types of problems to solve, such as a murder mystery or having dungeons with puzzles to solve. However, keep in mind that D&D is tailor-made for combat and there’s only so much you can do without it.

1 Get your players’ feedback

This tip works for any level in any campaign, but the best way to find out what your players want is to simply ask them. Conversations can not only solve problems between characters, but also between players. Instead of giving yourself anxiety trying to figure out what to do in your campaign, you can ask about their preferences and what they want to see in the future.

It is not necessary to disclose that you will do things exactly as they say, nor that what they have asked of you will be immediately in the next session. However, whenever you are thinking about what the next session will be like, you will have their feedback in mind and can use it to your advantage.

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