Tell Me About Your Experiences With High Level 5E - Page 8
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  1. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oofta View Post
    Solos have never worked very well. You either need legendary along with lair actions and a CR several levels above the PCs or minions. I usually throw in minions that are high enough level to be distracting and dangerous that can also help prevent or deflect attacks against the BBEG.

    I guess it can be done if the solo can use hit-and-run tactics, but just a straight up fight? Nah. It's too much focused fire.
    For a solo fight try 150% party level for CR. The XP value will be just over deadly and the creature will have a chance to take out PCs who havent taken precautions against the monsters most powerful abilities.

    Its no mistake that monster CR goes up to 30 when PCs go to 20.
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  2. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by OB1 View Post
    For a solo fight try 150% party level for CR. The XP value will be just over deadly and the creature will have a chance to take out PCs who havent taken precautions against the monsters most powerful abilities.

    Its no mistake that monster CR goes up to 30 when PCs go to 20.
    Good point. But it's still going to depend on the group size and their overall effectiveness which varies significantly by group. In any case, if you're running a game with high level PCs you should have a general idea of what you can throw at them.

  3. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oofta View Post
    Good point. But it's still going to depend on the group size and their overall effectiveness which varies significantly by group. In any case, if you're running a game with high level PCs you should have a general idea of what you can throw at them.
    Oh absolutely! Depending on your partys defenses you can easily TPK an unprepared group with a CR 150% baddie.

    Im just saying that its easier to start with the base for a solo combat at 150% party level to CR and then adjust from there.

    CR is a linear progression not an exponential one, so a CR30 monster against a level 20 party is similar to CR3 monster against a Level 2 party or a CR6 monster against a level 4 party and so on.

    A CR2 monster against a level 1 party would be like a level 10 party taking on a CR20 and I think people sometimes make the mistake of thinking that going 1 CR over level at higher levels has the same effect as it did at level 1.
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  4. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oofta View Post
    Solos have never worked very well. You either need legendary along with lair actions and a CR several levels above the PCs or minions.
    Or, of course, you could hope and expect that WotC finally does it right.

    This was after all the FIFTH attempt.

    What doesn't work well, is absolving the designers from having to do what we pay them to do.

    It seems we all want creatures that can confidently handle five level 20 heroes all by itself.

    The ONLY way to ever get that is to put the blame squarely at the devs feet. And never resign ourselves to "Solos have never worked very well".

    I mean, none of us argue it's impossible. Right? (Personally, I'd say it's pretty fracking far from impossible.)

  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Or, of course, you could hope and expect that WotC finally does it right.

    This was after all the FIFTH attempt.

    What doesn't work well, is absolving the designers from having to do what we pay them to do.

    It seems we all want creatures that can confidently handle five level 20 heroes all by itself.

    The ONLY way to ever get that is to put the blame squarely at the devs feet. And never resign ourselves to "Solos have never worked very well".

    I mean, none of us argue it's impossible. Right? (Personally, I'd say it's pretty fracking far from impossible.)
    There's too much variation in group ability and power level to get it "right". In any case, no monster in 5E is actually labeled a "solo". It's just my observation that a single monster needs to be higher CR than many people expect, or you need to use tactics to shift the balance.

  6. #76
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    Last night we ran a high level test, which ended up encompassing 2 battles over the course of about 4 hours. The PCs were a Lifer Cleric, a Monk, a Bard, a Paladin/Sorcerer and an Illusionist.

    The (admittedly thin) backstory was horrible demons were attacking cities across the world and establishing magical energy pylons in order to eventually take down the Capital, etc... The PCs were Big Damn Heroes who, with the support of scrying and teleporting mages, could drop in on a group of demons and kill them before they established their pylon.

    In the first battle (which did not include the illusionist as the player was not there yet) the opposition included 4 hezrou, a vrock, a barlgura and a Nalfeshnee. The paladin did huge amounts of damage every hit, using Shadowblade and Green Flame Blade along with his smite. The Life cleric ended up banishing all but the barlgura and the Nalfeshnee just a couple rounds in, so it turned into a pretty trivial fight. No one took any major damage.

    Before they could do any resting, HQ called them to another battle (I wanted to see how much of their resources they had burned that first fight). This time there was an army of slaadi, which having killed the demons were trying to take the pylon as their own. There were 8 red, 2 gree, 1 gray and 1 death slaad. The illusionist was present for the this one.

    The illusionist. Ugh. So, it appears that a high level illusionist can carry pretty much an infinite number of pre-cast illusions around in his pocket (or as jewelry in this case). Most high level illusions have unlimited durations. Illusionists have Maleable Illusion. So the illusionist casts the illusion, modifies it into a carryable object, carries it around until needed then modifies it back into an illusion of whatever. In addition to that, there is Illusory reality.

    So the party drops in. The first round the illusionist creates an illusory adamantine shelter trapping the party and just a couple slaad, then makes it real. After a bit some slaad break through the walls of the thing and the illusionist casts mirage arcana to create a battlefield of difficult terrain and heavy fog except in an area directly around the players with a chasm separating them from the majority of the slaad force. I ruled that while the caster slaad could not see through the fog, as long as there were 3 living slaad within range of their telepathy they could triangulate area of effect spells into the PC safe zone. The illusionist player did not like this.

    The monk showed promise but did not do much beyond punching and knocking slaad back or prone. The bard was moderately successful with vicious mockery and a few other spells. The paladin continued to do ridiculous damage, though the player was a little more conservative burning spell slots than the first fight. Eventually the illusionist had to drop the concealing fog (I ruled even the caster could not see through it because you cannot disbelieve mirage arcana) and the fight went a little faster once everyone could see everyone else. Eventually it was clear the slaad were doomed and the two that could plane shifted out. The party took almost no damage between easily made saves and counterspells and high ACs.

    Overall, it was interesting but not especially fun. I think characters of that level would be more fun to DM for if you had gotten there with them, rather than made them as pre-gens. And I did not test any super high CR monsters because I wanted to know what a stock fight looked like. overall, it appears that while 5E is perfectly playable at that level, it isn't really the right fit for a convention game.

  7. #77
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    @Reynard - Thanks for the write up. Just curious as to what the level of the characters were and what you calculated the XP value of each fight as. Also, what if any magic items did the party have?

    I show the first fight as 29,700 XP and the second as a 33,100 XP base. If these were tier IV characters I probably wouldn't use a multiplier since all of the enemies are of a CR significantly below the party.

  8. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by OB1 View Post
    @Reynard - Thanks for the write up. Just curious as to what the level of the characters were and what you calculated the XP value of each fight as. Also, what if any magic items did the party have?

    I show the first fight as 29,700 XP and the second as a 33,100 XP base. If these were tier IV characters I probably wouldn't use a multiplier since all of the enemies are of a CR significantly below the party.
    We played on Fantasy Grounds so I used that program's CR calculator. The first was CR21 and the second CR22. The PCs were all 17th level with 4 PCs for the first fight and 5 for the second.

  9. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
    We played on Fantasy Grounds so I used that program's CR calculator. The first was CR21 and the second CR22. The PCs were all 17th level with 4 PCs for the first fight and 5 for the second.
    Not sure how that calculator works, but I use an alternate calculator that ignores the number of opponent multiplier and just adds up the XP budget. It seems to give me better numbers ... then again with only two fights there was no way to deplete resources.

    But for the other, I agree that knowing how the party works and what makes them tick makes a huge difference. It's particularly difficult with casters because of the whole counterspell schtick. Personally I prefer lower levels, but I've also had and run dynamic fun high level fights. I wouldn't want to just jump in to a one-shot though.

  10. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard View Post
    We played on Fantasy Grounds so I used that program's CR calculator. The first was CR21 and the second CR22. The PCs were all 17th level with 4 PCs for the first fight and 5 for the second.
    Not sure what CR21 and CR22 means in terms of gauging difficulty of a fight since CR is only a gauge of how deadly a particular opponent is, not an encounter. Using the encounter building guidelines from the DMG, the first encounter rates between Hard (23,600xp for a party of 4) and Deadly (35,2000xp for a party of 4). The second encounter also rated between hard (29,500 for a party 5) and deadly (44,000 for a party of 5).

    If the way it spits out difficulty is by CR, I'd say you need to be in the 150% range so more CR26-26 if you want a challenge assuming the party has feats and MC as well as have some magic items.

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