5E DMG's definition of "Deadly" is much less deadly than mine: Data Aggregation? - Page 5
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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tia Nadiezja View Post
    Plus, even then, the sharpshooter is only picking off at most a number of hobgoblins equal to their attacks/round. That gives them a fair bit more time to make the front line PCs' and the big flashy wizard's lives difficult.
    Well, kind of. If the big flashy wizard is still doing big flashy wizard things instead of lying prone behind total cover and letting the Sharpshooter handle it, he is in my opinion engaging in incorrect counterplay.

    Then again, players always do counterplay wrong. And their PCs usually survive anyway, because 5E's "Deadly" is calibrated to be not-too-deadly.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hemlock View Post
    Yes, in fact they do. Quoting from the Basic Rules (which are the same as the DMG but easier to copy/paste):



    It then gives the daily XP table. That table is for adjusted XP, not raw XP. Poor writing on their part to refer to it as "XP", they should have called it "Difficulty value" or something to avoid confusion.
    Thanks for the catch! It's interesting. I was reading this line:
    Quote Originally Posted by DMG
    For each character in the party, use the Adventuring Day XP table to estimate how much XP that character is expected to earn in a day.
    (emphasis mine)

    Since you don't earn the adjusted XP (DMG: "This adjusted value is not what the monsters are worth in terms of XP; the adjusted value's only purpose is to help you accurately assess the encounter's difficulty"), I figured the intent was raw XP. But the table definitely lists it as adjusted, as does the sentence before the table.
    This provides a rough estimate of the adjusted XP value for encounters the party can handle before the characters will need to take a short or long rest.
    Going by adjusted XP, one encounter with 4 carrion crawlers eats up the day's XP for six 2nd-level characters. If you kick it up to 5, you're close to your back-of-envolope calculation of 4x Deadly (4,500 adjusted XP, vs. 4,800 4x Deadly).

    I mean, I'd go with 8, but maybe I'm mean. At any rate, 5-8!
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by I'm A Banana View Post
    Thanks for the catch! It's interesting. I was reading this line:
    I know! It's terrible writing.

    Quote Originally Posted by I'm A Banana View Post
    I mean, I'd go with 8, but maybe I'm mean. At any rate, 5-8!
    As a player, I think eight is about the right amount to be fun. It's worthwhile to fall back and try tricky things like luring some of them out with decoys (monk!) so you can divide and conquer, whereas with a regular Medium-ish encounter like 2 Carrion Crawlers the whole thing will be over in eighteen seconds, and I don't find that fun.

    To me, Medium/Hard = usually boring.
    Last edited by FormerlyHemlock; Saturday, 19th September, 2015 at 07:26 PM.

  4. #44
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    A lot of good advice of the "it depends" variety. Yes, I know, a thousand times over I know. Veteran DM, I get that CR is not a perfect system, blah, blah, blah. It's an important point, but it has been discussed to death online.

    And ultimately, "it depends" doesn't help me. My mind, as a veteran DM, is already trained to keep an eye out for the "it depends" elements.

    However, I'm a veteran DM pretty new to 5e still.

    What I need is a metric that works more accurately than the DMG for encounter difficulty estimating. It don't expect it to be perfect, but I expect most of the time that I should be able to predict when an encounter will be easy/medium/hard/deadly using the definitions giving for those difficulties in the DMG (which, I will note, the DMG adjusted experience seems to produce easier encounters than these definitions).

    Quote Originally Posted by Hemlock
    In my experience, the point of actual 50%-chance-of-death-in-the-absence-of-really-smart-tactical-play comes when there are an equal number of N level PCs and CR N monsters, which works out at approximately 4x the official Deadly threshold. That's just at the raw mechanical level and there are a number of factors that can tilt the balance toward either side to make Deadly come sooner (e.g. exploit 120' drow darkvision and poison against a melee-centric party) or to make 10x Deadly encounters survivable (Necromancer undead skeleton archers), but as a general guideline I find that Quadruple-Deadly fights make you have to think hard about how you'll survive while anything less is a straightforward "kill the enemy and take their stuff."
    Awesome, thanks for putting some hard numbers to it.

    So you're saying 400% of the DMG Deadly threshold is ACTUALLY DEADLY?

    This contrasts noticeably with @Henry's suggestion of 120% of the Deadly threshold is DEADLY.

    I wonder why such a large discrepancy.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmad1977 View Post
    The dmg guidelines are for 4 PCs I think. So... Yeah of course they stomped it
    For crying out loud. Did you read what I posted? There are adjustments you make in the encounter XP "budget" (hate that term) - specifically outlined in the DMG - for increased party size. I obviously used those, and I even included a snapshot of the page from Kobold Fight Club where those calculations were done. Geez!

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by I'm A Banana View Post
    Thanks for the catch! It's interesting. I was reading this line:

    (emphasis mine)

    Since you don't earn the adjusted XP (DMG: "This adjusted value is not what the monsters are worth in terms of XP; the adjusted value's only purpose is to help you accurately assess the encounter's difficulty"), I figured the intent was raw XP. But the table definitely lists it as adjusted, as does the sentence before the table.


    Going by adjusted XP, one encounter with 4 carrion crawlers eats up the day's XP for six 2nd-level characters. If you kick it up to 5, you're close to your back-of-envolope calculation of 4x Deadly (4,500 adjusted XP, vs. 4,800 4x Deadly).

    I mean, I'd go with 8, but maybe I'm mean. At any rate, 5-8!
    To pin you down on this a little, it sounds like you're agreeing with @Hemlock that to present a fresh party a Deadly challenge, the DM needs to up the Deadly XP threshold by 400-500%. Is that correct?

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quickleaf View Post
    So you're saying 400% of the DMG Deadly threshold is ACTUALLY DEADLY?

    This contrasts noticeably with @Henry's suggestion of 120% of the Deadly threshold is DEADLY.

    I wonder why such a large discrepancy.
    Yes, that's what I'm saying. I wouldn't mind hearing Henry's perspective myself. Speculation: maybe Henry uses more gimmicky monsters like Ghouls and Banshees? My Quadruple Deadly observation is based around the basic meat-sack monsters in the MM but there are a handful of monsters with special abilities that can be deadly in smaller numbers. I alluded to this with the drow--due to sleep poison and Bounded Accuracy, plus drow darkvision, even relatively small numbers of drow can be deadly. (I took out a mid-level Necromancer and Shadow Monk, despite animated skeletons, using eight drow warriors in the dark, which I believe was officially an Easy encounter at that level if you don't count the Elite Warrior who didn't even do anything different from the regular mooks. That felt really good.)

    It's possible that Henry's DM experience instinctively reaches for the tougher monsters within a given CR level.

    P.S. The party doesn't necessarily have to be "fresh" to handle Quadruple-Deadly. I remember one encounter with vampires and zombies that occurred at the end of a long day (several other vampire fights), without the PCs even having taken the time for a short rest[1], and the XP total for that fight when I computed it afterward came out as 130% of the daily XP encounter budget all by itself, so I think it must have been at least in the Triple or Quadruple Deadly range. It was definitely a challenging fight for the players, which they won due to exploiting the cleric's Destroy Undead feature (which made him feel awesome, destroying 20 zombies all by himself over the course of four rounds) and grappling the vampires and dragging them out into the sunlight (which made me feel good about my encounter design).

    [1] Note to self: I should be more generous with just telling the players, "After clearing three houses, you stopped for lunch. That counts as a short rest, go ahead and spend HD if you want." They shouldn't have to declare to me that they eat and sleep when they've already told me they're searching the city for vampire infestations.
    Last edited by FormerlyHemlock; Saturday, 19th September, 2015 at 07:48 PM.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hemlock View Post

    I sometimes think Pass Without Trace might be the single most powerful low-level spell in the game.
    It's definitely up there, along with Faerie Fire. We have a shadow monk...she's used PwoT a few times to good effect. We've nerfed surprise a bit to make it more like older editions.

    Anyone who has ever had any kind of military training will tell you...the side that usually wins a fight in the real world is the side that gets the first _effective_ shot (meaning, the first side to remove an enemy from permanently from the fight)
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  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quickleaf View Post
    To pin you down on this a little, it sounds like you're agreeing with @Hemlock that to present a fresh party a Deadly challenge, the DM needs to up the Deadly XP threshold by 400-500%. Is that correct?
    Yeah, you'll want to go well beyond the Deadly threshold in the DMG for one encounter if that encounter is meant to be your only encounter. 4x-5x would fit with the idea of doing 4 to 5 deadly encounters in a row, which would be more in line with upping the value to be worth 4 or 5 encounters for a whole day.
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  10. #50
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    I see what Oakleaf is trying to get at here. But, I am not sure any better system for determining what is "deadly" is really possible.

    I can also see "appealing to the lowest common denominator" as not really a bad thing. Not every player or DM is going to be very skilled at play or be familiar with all their character can do until they get a lot of games under the belt. So, I have no issue with CR being somewhat skewed downward.

    I personally just eyeball things. I also run a sandboxy type campaign. These are the things in the area, and the PCs cope. CR will never be balanced and a science. Even if you assign a point system to each ability of monsters, PCs, ect there are too many intangibles like terrain/ battlemat set up, the skill of the players, and tactics of the DM.
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