Looking for some opinions on hypothetical Chapter 7 5-player encounter adjustments

Doomsday Dawn Game Master Feedback

Okay, so I've already run my party through the first 2 fights of Chapter 7 and they are about to enter Ramlock's workshop. I adjusted the Rune Giant fight by adding an extra but did not actually adjust the Star-Spawn fight (Which turned out for the best, as it would have made our session run too late if it was any stronger. As it was we dispatched the Star-Spawn in good time).

I've already worked out to adjust the Shoggoth fight by having a Deh-Nolo stumble into the room when combat begins, that being an appropriate EXP addition.

Where I'm doing some more complicated work is on the fight with Aeteperax. This fight has 2 potential iterations, depending on if Necerion survived chapter 7. However I am handling it juuust a little differently due to an in-joke with my party, as I will explain in a moment.

Fight version 1 is Aeteperax (Level 18) and 3 Deh Nolos (Level 14). This fight is 105 EXP, almost right between high and severe. Adjusting for a fifth payer should take it to 130-135. So I am going to add a resurrected or cloned Necerion (With the strong template since it has been a couple years. This makes him level 16, adding 30 EXP to the fight, roughly appropriate for the extra player adjustment). The reason I'm doing this is because we had a big laugh and several jokes over the fact that Necerion is a Rare creature, not Unique, implying there is more than one of him. One of my players has already jokingly commented he expects to come across another Necerion, so I'm going with it since it conveniently fits the adjustment I need.

Where the real consideration I'm going with is in fight version 2. Normally this is only if Necerion survived Part 6 (He didn't in my group, the Kraken killed him as he failed a flat check to Dimension Door away when he was grabbed), but I've decided that I'm going to throw this version of the fight in if my players rest up in the safe room in the workshop instead of going on to Aeteperax the same day as they fight the Shoggoth. I figure the fight would raise a ruckus so their enemies would ready themselves for a fight and if it isn't forthcoming then they would gather reinforcements.

Normally the fight is Aeteperax (18), 5 Deh Nolos (14), and Necerion (15). This is 155 EXP, borderline Extreme battle. For the 5 player adjustment I was just going to add the Strong template to Necerion and add 2 more Deh Nolos, upping the fight by 40 EXP, still just short of Extreme for a 5 player party.

So this would be Aeteperax (60 XP), Necerion (30 XP), and 7 Deh Nolos (15 XP each, 195 total).

But then I had a couple cool ideas to make the fight more of a climactic last stand of the Night Heralds.

First, making one of the Deh Nolos Strong and flavoring it as a resurrected Ilvoresh (This does push us to 200 XP, a true Severe battle, but I know my party can do it).

Second, Dropping two of the Deh Nolos for Hevah the Antipaladin at Level 16. This is an equivalent XP change, and my players have always been curious about the Night Heralds from Part 2 that they never fought (They were like 3 days ahead in that scenario).

Third, dropping one or two Deh Nolos for a level 14 or 16 creature reskinned as a re-resurrected Hidimbi (Possibly with adjustment to add that sandstorm breath and a Despair Aura.

Now this does seem to take the number of enemies down too much, leaving Ilvoresh and only 2 or 3 other Deh Nolos. I'd like there to be at least 5 Deh Nolos counting Ilvoresh so I may make Hevah level 14 and only drop 1 Deh Nolo instead of 2 or drop Hidimbi altogether, IDK.

I want the fight to be 2 or 3 tough cookies and 4 or 5 significantly weaker enemies so they have a big challenge but also have enemies with a big numerical disadvantage they can go crit-happy on and blast with Meteor Swarm and Chain Lightning and crap. XD

So I'm looking for opinions on if these changes to the Severe fight seem like they are too divergent, which options on the specific changes seem better, etc.

I don't want to diverge too greatly from the written Playtest but I need to make an adjustment to the encounter and I'm kind of left at liberty on how to do so so I feel like pulling a couple of exchanges instead of just straight additions while still keeping the original 4-player encounter mostly intact is fair enough if it'll result in a more hype fight for my party.

I mean in the end, mechanically, the original fight of Aeteperax, Necerion, and a total of 5 Deh Nolos is almost exactly still there, just one Deh Nolo may be removed, another may be buffed and flavored as Ilvoresh, and Necerion may be buffed. So in the end most of the actual changes are just a matter of hat I choose to add for the 5 player adjustment now that I think about it.

Still interested in feedback though!

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