When your players reach a point in the story that warrants a major milestone or turning point, a common approach is to utilize specialized, harder encounters that can be called Boss Encounters. While there is no firm or formatted way to characterize these encounters, provided below are some basic guidelines that you can follow to make sure they are engaging and exciting for your players.
• Describe your enemy or the situation in detail so that players understand the scope and magnitude of their impending peril.
• Construct encounters that will be challenging, but also plausible for defeat. Focus on character weaknesses and exploit them. For instance, if your party excels in martial combat and have been dispatching encounters with relative ease, devise your boss encounter to counter that with heavy armor and high defenses.
• Utilize Combat Tactics or Flourishes to give your Boss Encounter enemies added flair and originality. Keep your players off-guard and force them to use ingenuity and grit to succeed.
• Consider terrain and natural advantages where the encounter takes place.
• Reward victory over a challenging Boss Encounter with appropriate loot.
• If the Boss Encounter is going easier than expected, do not be afraid to switch it up mid-combat. Constantly assess the flow of the battle to add mixes of challenge in order to keep drama maximized.