The Encounter is Too Difficult

The DM has accidentally pitted his player characters against a group of creatures too powerful for them, so much so that the player characters are doomed. To fix things, the DM can have the monsters flee in inexplicable panic; secretly lower their hit points; allow the player characters to hit or inflict more damage than they really should; have the monsters miss on attacks when they actually hit; have the creatures make grievous mistakes in strategy (like ignoring the thief moving in to strike from behind).

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