Making an adventure for characters level 17 to 20 can be challenging. At this point, players simply look at an evil warlord’s keep and level it with a meteor swarm. It is also very easy to have encounters seem flat and underwhelming. Here are a few ways to make sure your high level game is as epic as possible.
Don’t simply make the threats bigger. Make them badder. A red dragon is sooo mundane. A fire breathing lizard is easy to understand and lacks a mythic vibe. In addition to his basic flickerbreath, make it so that anything ‘cold’ or ‘wet’ always evaporates before touching his skin. It has long forgotten what it was like to have a sip of something refreshing. Make the ground spontaneously combust and the blood of creatures from the elemental plane of fire boil in its presence. Make his fire so furious it even burns the weave of magic creating spaces where magic no longer exists. THIS is a dragon of fire.
Thanos wanted to save the cosmos from falling into despair like his people. Not a bad goal, but the method of killing off half of creation was a bit much. Epic level threats rarely attack for MORE power. They already have that. They generally use that power to accomplish some goal that happens to threaten reality in some way. Maybe a titan intends to remove free will to end war and strife. Asmodeus could be plotting to siphon the souls of all deaths to bolster his army to fight the ever growing abyssal threat. A githyanki savant may be seeking a way to destroy magic to bring equality to mortals. A world shifting good caused by great evil.
A World Apart
These powerful entities do not merely reside in a stone keep. They live in a land of their consolidated power, a place where they are comfortable, and can entertain themselves. Their homes are brimming with power, and physics may not function properly. Their castle could be surrounded in a magical storm that rains blood. Their dessert oasis could be infused with illusory magic that shows your heart’s desire. The dragon’s cave could be a museum of horrific artifacts from different eras it lived through. This is also a great way to show off the NPCs personality and goals without an exposition dump.
I hope this sparked your imagination. Thank you for reading.