This session report got away from me. Distractions surfaced, and I set this aside. I’ve lost the energy to report this out. So I’ll gather the highlights.
The characters lead the silenced. King of Feathers into the camp, right up to the guards busy dicing instead of keeping watch. Quick chomps, failed morale, and the King of Feathers had slain two guards and routed the other two
Also inside the silence, the characters ambushed a wizard, though the wizard managed to bolt outside and cast improved invisibility. Just in time for the King of Feathers to round the corner and see that wizard. <chomp>
As the melee and missile combatants fought, a battle of spells and counterspells ensued. Tides turned as the wizards dispelled the silence, a wizard suggested that the ranger/rogue kill the King of Feathers, counterspells prevented fireballs, and silence fell again.
The flesh golem, 13 veterans, 1 wizard, the King of Feathers and all of the skeletons perished. Two wizards got away. One of the veterans joined forces with the player characters.
This combat consumed the entire 2+ hours of the game session. Even though the characters got the drop, and had a powerful “ally”, it was a tight battle. Three mid-level wizards are dangerous. The characters drained many resources.
Terrain played an important element: Buildings, rooms, rooftops, and trees. Everyone shifted, jockeying for pinch points. This also split the combat, so that at times it felt as though there were two or three different conflicts.
By far, my favorite thing about this combat is that we all knew it was coming. I prepared a few random tables to adjudicate the state of the camp. With this preparation, I was thinking about a dynamic “living” camp, not “how do I setup a challenging encounter.” Instead I presented a situation for the players to interact with.
Seventh level 5E* characters have a lot of options. Each round, everyone spends their action, bonus action, and often reactions. In 2E* and earlier editions, the wizard is your nuke and others grind opponents down. In 5E, anyone can bring a nuke.