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D&D General BBEGs shouldn't miss.

The players get four turns to one turn of the Big Bad Evil Guy. It's fine if, in a combat that lasts three or four rounds, each PC misses once or twice, because overall the party still does something interesting each turn.

I don't think the boss should miss with their attacks, or at the very least they should have an effect regardless of whether their attack hits. This was a common design conceit in 4e, but not in 5e.

Now, in traditional video game RPGs, the PCs and the boss (almost) always hit, unless someone is hit with a condition like blinded. On the other hand, in many action video games the boss will try to do something dangerous, but you can dodge or parry it. However, there's always a sense of the boss being dangerous, and the PCs having to pick the right tactics to survive, rather than just relying on luck of the dice.

What do you think? Should D&D boss monsters have more abilities that don't require a die roll to be threatening?
 

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prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
My own problem with BBEGs in those types of fights is that I invariably roll something in the low single digits for Initiative, and the BBEG has lost any chance of taking control of things before their first turn.
 

GSHamster

Adventurer
Well, you'd have to figure out something for the players who choose to invest in defensive abilities. Not much point in Heavy Armor and Shield if the boss always hits you.

One idea might be to make boss attacks like spells where you "save for half". The boss does half damage on a miss. But the value of defensive talents and abilities still drops significantly.
 

Zsong

Explorer
The players get four turns to one turn of the Big Bad Evil Guy. It's fine if, in a combat that lasts three or four rounds, each PC misses once or twice, because overall the party still does something interesting each turn.

I don't think the boss should miss with their attacks, or at the very least they should have an effect regardless of whether their attack hits. This was a common design conceit in 4e, but not in 5e.

Now, in traditional video game RPGs, the PCs and the boss (almost) always hit, unless someone is hit with a condition like blinded. On the other hand, in many action video games the boss will try to do something dangerous, but you can dodge or parry it. However, there's always a sense of the boss being dangerous, and the PCs having to pick the right tactics to survive, rather than just relying on luck of the dice.

What do you think? Should D&D boss monsters have more abilities that don't require a die roll to be threatening?
No. I like character that can design themselves to be hard to hit and are great at dodging and avoiding attacks. This everybody hits mentality and miss damage with melee and missile attacks is just absurd to me.
 

aco175

Legend
I tend to always give big guys more powers like mage armor always on, and able to cast a cantrip in additional to their normal attack. Fighter-types normally always have more than one attack or even a 4e type close burst 1 power 1/rest. Nearly all monsters have 75% HP over the 50% listed.
 

The players get four turns to one turn of the Big Bad Evil Guy. It's fine if, in a combat that lasts three or four rounds, each PC misses once or twice, because overall the party still does something interesting each turn.

I don't think the boss should miss with their attacks, or at the very least they should have an effect regardless of whether their attack hits. This was a common design conceit in 4e, but not in 5e.
The 5E design assumes that the PCs hit regularly for moderate damage and the monsters hit irregularly for significant damage. Damage on a Miss was a hotly debated topic during the playtest, and in the end the surveys told WotC is was overall disliked. Legendary Monsters and weird things are mostly the ones printed that have "interesting" things they can do; LM because they're uber-BBEG, and weird things to keep players off guard.

There is nothing that prevents you from creating monsters that do these things, but they alter the flow of the game. If you have an Acid Elemental that splashes a target for 2d6 damage even if it misses, this is going to increase the overall amount of damage it will do, thus increasing its CR. Sometimes you have be be creative on why damage is still dealt after a "miss," which was the biggest argument (basically defining if HP=Meat), which will require more work in the design.

Oh, as others have noted, never, EVER, use a non-legendary monster by itself. I've had a level 2 party take down a CR 5 Troll with utter ease before (did ~15 damage before dying early in the second round). XGtE does a decent job of setting up solo battles, so you should look into that if you don't have a usable LM. If you don't want to use a full LM, you should get "(not so) Legendary Monsters" from the DM Guild, which offers up a way to template existing creatures into Legendary Monsters.
 

DeviousQuail

Explorer
For solo BBEG fights (non legendary or lair) I like to use monsters that have a "metamorphosis" type ability. Everything about their stat block stays the same except that their HP is cut in half. When it hits 0 HP they immediately use their metamorphosis ability to go back to full health, lose all negative conditions, and use an action. When they hit 0 HP a third time they are officially defeated. I've also used 75% HP and only one metamorphosis for lieutenant or mini-boss type creatures.

I like it because it guarantees the BBEG gets to act at least twice, you don't have to do anything to the stat block to make it work besides upping the CR by 1 or 2, it's a decent fix to the unsatisfying (but necessary) nature of legendary resistances, and it emulates the multistage boss fights found in other media. And, if you want to, it's the perfect time to alter the creature. Bumping damage but decreasing AC/saves is a common one I use.
 

13th Age has this thing where if a monster rolls under 5 something will happen. Not usually a straight out attack, but something that changes the situation - often dependent on the monster.

For example a guy with a flail may hit both himself and the PC he was trying to attack with the flail.

Or the monster may teleport or something.
 

The players get four turns to one turn of the Big Bad Evil Guy. It's fine if, in a combat that lasts three or four rounds, each PC misses once or twice, because overall the party still does something interesting each turn.

I don't think the boss should miss with their attacks, or at the very least they should have an effect regardless of whether their attack hits. This was a common design conceit in 4e, but not in 5e.

Now, in traditional video game RPGs, the PCs and the boss (almost) always hit, unless someone is hit with a condition like blinded. On the other hand, in many action video games the boss will try to do something dangerous, but you can dodge or parry it. However, there's always a sense of the boss being dangerous, and the PCs having to pick the right tactics to survive, rather than just relying on luck of the dice.

What do you think? Should D&D boss monsters have more abilities that don't require a die roll to be threatening?

This is what DM Screens are for.
 



Lanefan

Victoria Rules
For the sake of the PCs I don't mind if a BBEG misses now and then, because often when they hit they pack a serious punch and the one-attack reprieve always draws a sigh of relief from the player. :)

I'm running Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth at the moment (1e variant game) and last session the party met and fought Drelzna. I wasn't pulling my punches: of a party of 6 they outright lost two dead and the survivors are down a total of six levels between them. If she hadn't missed a few times it'd have probably been four dead and two fled, with Drelzna the victor and the party in ruins.
 





DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
This just might be the case of simply making the BBEG's attack bonus higher than normal. So it almost usually will hit... but occasionally you might get that 1 or 2 rolled to cause a miss. No reason to make a special "no attack roll needed, auto-hit" ruling for a BBEG.

That being said... I also don't think there's anything wrong with creating special attacks that are shades of magic missile-- especially attacks that are force damage. Everyone knows MM auto-hits... so other spell-like force damage attacks that also auto-hit would not and should not confuse or annoy players.
 


zarionofarabel

Adventurer
The players get four turns to one turn of the Big Bad Evil Guy. It's fine if, in a combat that lasts three or four rounds, each PC misses once or twice, because overall the party still does something interesting each turn.

I don't think the boss should miss with their attacks, or at the very least they should have an effect regardless of whether their attack hits. This was a common design conceit in 4e, but not in 5e.

Now, in traditional video game RPGs, the PCs and the boss (almost) always hit, unless someone is hit with a condition like blinded. On the other hand, in many action video games the boss will try to do something dangerous, but you can dodge or parry it. However, there's always a sense of the boss being dangerous, and the PCs having to pick the right tactics to survive, rather than just relying on luck of the dice.

What do you think? Should D&D boss monsters have more abilities that don't require a die roll to be threatening?
I think there shouldn't be Boss Monster's. The idea of a Boss Monster means I'm playing a video game. I prefer to present my players with a living world. If I wanted them to play a video game, I would tell them to go do that.
 

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