Help! My PCs polymorphed my boss enemy! What do I do?

Our Druid has recently gotten access to the polymorph spell and has started polymorphing the opponents I so lovingly crafted for our (well, mostly my) enjoyment. (So far, he has been turning them into rabbits, not yet killer whales.)

Now, the canonical response to a polymorph is to reduce the polymorphed creature to 0 HPs, upon which it will transform back. Or to attempt to break the spellcaster’s concentration.

However, polymorph is a 4th level spell, not a cantrip. It does not seem all that likely the target’s allies know the spell, can connect the dots when their friend suddenly turns into a bunny, and start to attack the bunny, or the spellcaster. It seems more likely that they will just blink upon seeing their friend transformed into a bunny, shrug, write him off, and continue battling the PCs as before. Which would essentially take the target out of the fight.

I have been thinking about allowing the target’s allies an Arcana check each, against some reasonable DC (e.g., 14, which is 10 plus the spell level of polymorph). On a success, they recall hearing about the Polymorph spell and about the two possible remedies. On a failure, they don’t. In which case the target will remain polymorphed, until it gets hit by a stray fireball or some such. I might even allow the target itself an Arcana check, and on a success, it will try reducing its own HPs. Well, this might at least make for some fun.

It looks to me like polymorph might be a bit overpowered against opponents whose allies only consist of non-spellcasters, because they will likely not know what steps to take to break the effect. Is there a better way to role-play what happens to a polymorphed enemy?

How can I be effective as a low level human magic-user in a boss battle against a more powerful magic-user?

First of all I’m a human magic-user level 2:

Except for the spell sleep and charm person and some other spells that were useful for X situation out of combat, (Enlarge person, Mount etc.)

I could not do much things, there’s no shops around for now because we’re out of town.

The only thing I have is a dagger and a sling (-5 to hit)

We are against flying birds humanoids and I killed 2 of them via the sleep spell (I used enlarge on our fighter earlier) because they were flying and they fell to their death, an NPC had a flying magic wings item and I took it to do so, luckily I was not as high in the air as the other enemies because my DM made the enemy magic-user (that we weren’t aware of) sleep on me and I lost 8 hit points (thanks to my cat familiar and constitution (and luck on HP roll) I have 15 HP), the enemy turned invisible and did some other tricks before turning invisible again, I (and my cat) could pinpoint where he is via superhearing, but I feel powerless since he went back in his tower and our party nearly died and we’re escorting lots of NPC and the enemy has 2 children that he kidnapped in his tower, most of the party is Chaotic Neutral but I’m Neutral good and our NPC healer is Loyal-Good, I think I have no choice but to abandon the poor children to their death (we’re not even sure that they are still alive).

There was still one bird left (15 to hit is required) so with my Sling 19-20 in my case (16 Dex)

The magic-user enemy is at least level 5…

Sleep is very powerful and as a human I guess the only thing that can protect me is my party and some future magic items/spells… unless I could learn some useful spells I’m not aware of…

“Episode Boss” encounter balance assessment

I am creating a boss battle for the end of an episode in my campaign using the following homebrew monsters:

Knight Zombie

AC 16 (chainmail) HP 28
STR 13 DEX 15 CON 10 INT 7 WIS 10 CHA 6
Immunities: Poison, Charm, Exhaustion
Attack: Longsword +3 to hit, 1d8+1 damage
CR: 1/2 (100 xp)

Necromancer

AC 14 (mage armor) HP 25
STR 11 DEX 13 CON 11 INT 13 WIS 9 CHA 11
Attack: Quarterstaff Hit:+3, Damage:1H – 1d6, 2H – 1d8
Spells: True strike, Chill touch, Mage Hand, Fire bolt, Magic Missile, Mage Armor, False Life, Blindness, Ray of enfeeblement, Animate dead
Spell save: 14; +4 to hit with spell attacks
Spell slots Available: 3 first and 2 second
CR: 1 (200 xp)

Encounter Stats

Party: 4 level 3 – Ranger, Paladin, Sorcerer, and Fighter
Monsters: 4 Knight Zombies, 1 Necromancer
Encounter CR: 4 (1,000 challenge XP)
Expected Difficulty: Hard, a reasonable expectation to survive but a chance of character death

The Question

Have I correctly assessed the CR of the monsters and encounter?

Boss fight issues

So, as you may have seen from my earlier question about this campaign, I am a DM in a Star Wars D&D campaign. The climax of a long series of adventures is a fight with a Sith Lord.

After watching several YouTube videos on how to create top-notch boss fights, one thing was consistent- have a variety of monsters, rather than just one. the DM Lair in particular advised this.

However, the entire campaign is focusing on one villain. How can I have a boss fight with a loner like my Sith have multiple enemies?

How to balance/time a campaign where a player character is the final boss?

I suggested to my GM a campaign idea where one of the player characters would secretly be the final enemy boss and the player would play and campaign alongside the group trying to further his goals using the party as means to his ends. Eventually the party would find out and finish him off (or be killed off by the villain after a while).

My GM thought it was a very interesting idea. We plan to keep the premise secret to avoid metagaming, but have discussed this in a general sense and are confident players won’t be put off by this kind of campaign concept.

We have never played such a campaign before though, and the primary problem seems to be not having the conflict come to a head too early, for the villain PC to simply kill everyone in their sleep, etc. We want the campaign to go a while before the conflict comes, and also want it to end with – even if not a straight up tactical fight, at least something that will be a interesting conflict.

What kinds of things should we take into account for both forcing the timing of and balancing the inevitable final battle?

Things like forcing a moral compass to prevent underhanded bad guy wins by killing everyone in their sleep. Would a level buff to the villain to the equivalent of matching the CR the party would face be useful? At what level would be a good point to tell the bad guy he can should try dropping hints, if the party figures it out early and moves to take him out then he’d be at a disadvantage.

If you’ve run a campaign like this before, how did you arrange it to solve this problem?

The GM ruled that we didn’t get XP for killing the boss because an enemy caster’s spell killed them. Is this allowed?

We are playing Rise of the Runelords, and were fighting Nualia and her minions in Thisletop. During the heat of the battle, Nualia was near death at just 12 HP. Her minion caster fireballed the party that surrounded her. The party survived via making the save or simply soaking the damage. The fireball killed Nualia, and the party killed the rest of the minions.

When it came to tallying the XP, the GM rationalized that since party did not deliver the killing blow to Nualia, we do not receive XP for her demise – but we get the XP for killing the remaining minions.

Can the GM do this, and is it legal?

Can I corrupt the Boss’ team

It’s the final scene, a minor villain has appeared to wreck the getaway, and I, in my role as ‘Judge’ (GM), want a few of the ‘Boss’ crew member’s minions to “cross the aisle” and side with the villain.

What do I require to do this? Can I do it with heat, or do I need them to roll disadvantage dice? Or does the rule that “they must always work as a single unit” mean I can’t co-opt them?

And if so, can I do it by ‘retroactively’ taken them out and introducing minions to replace them?

Can I corrupt the Boss’ team

It’s the final scene, a minor villain has appeared to wreck the getaway, and I, in my role as ‘Judge’ (GM), want a few of the ‘Boss’ crew member’s minions to “cross the aisle” and side with the villain.

What do I require to do this? Can I do it with heat, or do I need them to roll disadvantage dice? Or does the rule that “they must always work as a single unit” mean I can’t co-opt them?

And if so, can I do it by ‘retroactively’ taken them out and introducing minions to replace them?

[ Etiquette ] Open Question : Is there anything I can do about this My boss never says “Thank You” or shows any appreciation when I do extra things (I wasn’t hired to do)?

1 Example was, A squirrel was seen (a few times) in the office. My boss was aggravated about it & told me indirectly to take care of this problem (although I was only hired to do computer work for him). I took care of the problem (working the exterminator) which took a few hours. When I told my boss I took care of the problem. My boss had a certain expression on his face that said he heard me. Aside from this my boss was silent as if I told him something that wasn’t important. I took care of the problem (working WITH the exterminator) which took a few hours.