We finally ran another session of Revenge of the Giants this evening, and I've been concerned about how the encounters would go. The players have some sick stats, all perfectly legal -- the fighter, for instance, has an AC of 28 and a full attack of +22/+17/+12 (2d4+12, crit 15-20) before anything like haste comes into the picture.
So whenever I'm designing encounters and looking at the party's stats, compared to those of the monsters and other foes, I often worry that the players will simply roll right over the opposition. And sometimes they do, but usually it's when I want them to. They still have to be "on game" for most encounters, and in fact they're often more worried about their own survival than I am. Granted, they can't see how many hit points the monsters have or know what other things may come bursting through the door, which helps. But it does in fact seem that, for this group at least, with close-to-recommended wealth levels and encounter XP budgets following the recommended charts, it really does work.
The heroes had something of a bombshell dropped on them this evening, namely that they have been chosen as champions of the gods in the upcoming rematch between the gods and the titans ... and this was told to them by lantern archons sent by Lathander (the party cleric's patron deity) himself, so they are pretty sure of the message's veracity. Being players (and not just pawns) in such a celestial conflict, is after all what the higher levels are all about. Right now they've just had their first session as 11th level heroes ... but they should have enough information to give them at least a rough roadmap of where the campaign is likely to go from here (assuming they don't throw their own wild kinks into the plan, as players are sometimes prone to do).
*sniff* They grow up so fast ... I remember when this party was being harassed by hobgoblins and a single CR 5 manticore was a deadly foe. Now the cleric is defending his own temple from bone devils, and the ranger is jumping on the back of rampaging woolly mammoths. Just wait until they get a load of the [redacted], [redacted], and [redacted] facing them in upcoming adventures! Oh, and they don't even know about the [redacted] waiting for them on the other side of the magic mirror...