5E DM's, what's your experience with suggested Challenge Ratings? - Page 3
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  1. #21
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    Myrmidon (Lvl 10)



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    CR is good, the "adventuring day" aspect is the problem.

  2. #22
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    In general, I don't use the encounter building guidelines. I'm an experienced DM, however, with experienced players, so I've got a pretty good idea of how things should go. When I've used them, I've found that once you hit 5th level (and fireball is available), swarms of lower CR creatures aren't nearly as dangerous as fewer on level or higher CR (even if the guidelines say otherwise). If you can limit the potential of AoE (such as a maze with twists and turns where monsters can jump right on the group), then the swarms become a lot stronger.

    The guidelines are very good for newer DMs and players. Following them, you shouldn't accidentally cause a TPK (total party kill) unless you create a Deadly encounter (and even then it's unlikely). Oh, and you should also try to make sure you set up at least 5 encounters per day (6-8 is recommended), otherwise the encounters are going to be too easy.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jester David View Post
    The encounter building guidelines are a nice baseline, but using optional rules (feats) and having optimizing players throws them out the window.
    I usually don't bother with the guidelines and just toss out whatever monsters seem appropriate. Based on the play experiences of Mike "Sly Flourish" Shea, it also sounds like a monster with a CR equal to the player's level/ 3 is a fair fight. So four CR 1 monsters challenge a level 3 party, four CR 2s challenge a level 6 party, etc.

    But CR tends to get funky and break down at higher levels, depending on where you are in the adventuring day...
    Yeah I think the 4e approach of "this monster challenges 1 PC" is better than 5e's sort-of-return to 3e "this monster challenges a party".

    I'm not sure that "monster CR equals 1/3 party level" works particularly well either, but then I don't think basing assessment off 6-8 fights/day is particularly sensible. I guess I tend to use more like 3 monsters of CR = 2/3 party level as the baseline for my 5 PC group, and assume about 3 fights/day. That's about how many fights the PCs are usually looking to handle before actively seeking a Long Rest.

  4. #24
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    Unfortunately I still haven't played that much 5e to provide a statistically strong opinion... nevertheless, IMXP the suggested Challenge Ratings have often resulted in easier combats than expected, sometimes much easier, and never harder.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by S'mon View Post
    Yeah I think the 4e approach of "this monster challenges 1 PC" is better than 5e's sort-of-return to 3e "this monster challenges a party".

    I'm not sure that "monster CR equals 1/3 party level" works particularly well either, but then I don't think basing assessment off 6-8 fights/day is particularly sensible. I guess I tend to use more like 3 monsters of CR = 2/3 party level as the baseline for my 5 PC group, and assume about 3 fights/day. That's about how many fights the PCs are usually looking to handle before actively seeking a Long Rest.
    Both 5e and 4e use a similar experience budget system. 5e just makes accommodations for large numbers of opponents that prevents the dozen minions and couple standard foes against a PC.
    The difference is instead is putting four level 3 monsters against a party of level 3 PCs you put four CR 1 monsters against that party. The difference is you don't have difference solo/ elite monsters and you don't have level 1/8 monsters...
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  6. #26
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    I've found the CRs to be somewhat on target, but generally more on the easy side for encounters. I've often had a party complete an encounter and felt that it was easier for them than I had anticipated based on the CR and encounter guidelines.

  7. #27
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    If your PC's regularly curb stomp encounters built within the suggested guidelines, but you are concerned about adjusting the difficulty upward and overshooting the mark, I suggest having small groups of reinforcements ready to join the monsters after the first round.

    If the PC's are crushing it, more monsters show up on the 2nd or 3rd round. If the PC's are having difficulty, or you want the fight to finish quickly, then they don't show up (and possibly never existed, as far as the PC's are concerned).

    Just try to build the option into the encounter ahead of time, so it makes sense within the game. Don't just have three ogres materialize on the battlefield.

  8. #28
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    This article has some nice advice on encounter building in 5e:
    http://slyflourish.com/5e_encounter_building.html
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  9. #29
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    In my experience, I have to agree with @LordEntrails and @jimmytheccomic sentiments.

  10. #30
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    I operate mostly on the feels of the encounter.

    Should it be a hard, easy, or deadly encounter I leave to how the story is unfolding. Sometimes that can mean a day of easy fights, or a really rough day for the party depending.

    How I build each encounter though, is somewhat similar.
    I will parrot what some others have said, that a lot of figuring out your encounters is going to come with familiarity. Knowing the monsters, knowing yours players, and knowing their particular strategies when fighting said monsters.

    Even that is not terribly constant. Sometimes, my players are having an off day, and a total breeze encounter jumps up and bites them big time. Likewise, I have crafted encounters that I feel somewhat worried about beforehand, but my players stomp all over it.

    CR goes a good way to laying down some form of guideline, but I think given time, some DMs can part with worrying about that number entirely once those 'feels' are achieved.

    Right now, I probably couldn't accurately tell you the CR to most monsters, simply because I no longer go by that information.

    Not particularly useful advice, but I think it is good to know that the style is out there if you are into planning in such a way.

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