Hello Tildes community,
I am soon going to DM my second ever mini-session for a small group of fairly new players. I'd like to send the group into a haunted tavern that has an unusually intelligent mimic in the basement that has been eating tourists that pass through, leaving behind undead creatures throughout the basement.
My primary goal with this is to help the players (most pretty new) understand how to conserve their magic instead of firing it all off in each battle, so I wanted to prevent them from long resting. I figure I could magically lock them inside when they arrive, and then let them learn that if they should rest, previously killed undead creatures (like Minotaur Skeleton or zombies) resurrect after about an hour.
I am looking for two pieces of advice. First, I'd like to know good creatures to put into the dungeon that would provide a challenge, but not be too devastating. I looked at Wraith, for example, but a Wraith could easily one-shot any of the casters in the group and instantly kill them, which isn't fun. What should I be using instead? Remember that each individual fight doesn't need to be too hard, I just want the group to start feeling the strain of resources getting exhausted.
Secondly, the primary DM (who I am running a single session for) has said I can level up the party to 6 during the dungeon. Does this essentially heal the whole party and refresh their spell slots, ala most RPG games? I'm a bit confused how this part would work, tbh.
Thanks for your help, and big thanks to everyone who answered my last question about a Kobold Brewery. It was a blast, and the party loved it, particularly some of the traps that y'all came up with. By the time the party escaped, the entire brewery was on fire, which was amazing.
Appreciate your help!