D&D 5E Do the Monster Building Guidelines Work?

OK, I have some more time now, but not much! I will start by saying the monster building rules are not, IMO, for new DMs. They are for experienced DMs. In general, I think any of the rules for creating new things and altering the rules of the game in the DMG are for experienced DMs. New DMs should, IMO, stick to the MM for monsters, the rules in the PHB, and how to play guidance in the DMG. Once you start homebrewing that is, IMO, for experienced DMs.
This is a strong disagreement about philosophy.
So I reject the notion that the monster building guidelines are for new DMs. Additionally, despite the title in the DMG, the are not quick. There are 20 steps listed in the process with many sub-steps within those steps. These are not guidelines for the new / inexperienced DM.
The Creating Quick Monster Stats section has literally 4 steps, not 20. And it is presented after "modifying a monster" but before the full "creating a monster stat block".
Those are boring monsters, but technically functional. I will say this is not how you're supposed to make a monster (simply picking numbers of the table). But they technically function properly.
From the Creating Quick Monster Stats section on P274 we get
  • Step 1: Expected Challenge Rating
  • Step 2: Basic Statistics
This is literally how the DMG tells you to create quick monsters - and it does that before going through the longer process. If it's not how you are supposed to use it then the DMG shouldn't tell you to use it that way - and tell you to do it that way before giving you the more involved and intimidating process.
I am by trade a designer (architect) and I have trained to design in art and building. Design is not easy and takes a lot of work. That applies to architecture, art, and monsters. I don't think simple picking some numbers off of a table will every make a good monster. That is why it is not, IMO, an task for a new DM. It takes experience / training to be good at monster design.
Design is not easy - but we should have tools to make design easier at multiple levels. The creating a quick monster rules (and remember the Monster Stats by Challenge Rating are explicitly presented there not under the 20 step section) fails. The 20 step section is long and involved and shouldn't lead to different outcomes (and indeed doesn't necessarily).

Design is not easy - but 5e makes it actively harder and breaks the easier methods.
Now, I also disagree that these things don't affect CR and I agree the guidelines could be better here (and I hope they are in 2024). What you listed are all spells or spell like. Step 13 has a section on spellcasting, but doesn't go quite far enough in explaining that you can convert those spells to damage (the WotC designers have explained this in interviews - but it is not in the DMG). Basically you take the spell that inflicts just that effect or condition and use the damage by spell level for the "effective" damage. If that is higher than the other attacks, it affects the CR.
What I listed are all explicitly and unambiguously listed on page 280 - 281 of the DMG under the Monster Features table. Section 13 at the top of page 279 says "The Monster Features table lists various features that you can plunder from the Monster Manual. The table notes which features increase a monster's effective Armour Class, hit points, attack bonus or damage output for the purpose of determining its challenge rating".

We aren't talking about "spellcasting". We are talking about using those explicit monster features you were actively praising in the exact way you are told to use them. Somehow you think they are good - but when I show them being used in what I believe to be their intended way you talk about how the spellcasting section isn't explicit enough?

Seriously, this sounds like "the features table is a great thing to have - just don't try to use it". I'm not using spellcasting, I'm using the explicit features.
No that is incorrect. It could be free or it could cause in increase in CR. It depends on where everything else is. So if you are CR 1, but the calculation was really a 1.25, the +1 to effective AC could push the total CR up to 1.5 which is typically round to 2.
I literally quoted the rules for calculating monster CR on p274 under the quick monster creation rules. You know what the Step 16: Final Challenge Rating says to do to calculate Monster CR? "This step is identical to Step 4 under 'Creating quick monster stats'."

It is absolutely and 100% explicit that "If your monster's AC is at least two points higher or lower than that number, adjust the challenge rating suggested by its hit points by 1 for every 2 points of difference.".

So no, that +1 to effective AC would not change things under the DMG unless there was another +1 involved. And it doesn't say to use fractions. It says by 1 for every 2 points if the difference is at least 2.

Now you might personally do things differently - but those would appear to be your personal house rules.
However, again there is an art to this. It is unlikely any guide can account for the breadth and depth of human imagination. There will need to be judgement calls made and that is, again, where experience comes in handy. Not for new DMs!
However that excuse doesn't hold water. There is an art to this - but that doesn't mean that applying the simple WotC recommended defaults should lead to a huge negative play experience. Applying the default options should lead to perfectly functional options not complete messes.
No the table only works when you carefully follow the creation rules they explicitly do not work separately. I hope for only slight tweaks to improve guidance in a few areas for the 2024 DMG.
I did follow the creation rules on page 274. And they lead to a complete and utter mess.
 

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dave2008

Legend
This is a strong disagreement about philosophy.
Yes
The Creating Quick Monster Stats section has literally 4 steps, not 20. And it is presented after "modifying a monster" but before the full "creating a monster stat block".
Your correct - I was looking at the creating a monster stat block. That is what I use. I never use the quick monster stats so I am not really familiar with them. You could be correct that they are trash - IDK
What I listed are all explicitly and unambiguously listed on page 280 - 281 of the DMG under the Monster Features table. Section 13 at the top of page 279 says "The Monster Features table lists various features that you can plunder from the Monster Manual. The table notes which features increase a monster's effective Armour Class, hit points, attack bonus or damage output for the purpose of determining its challenge rating".
Yes I know. What I am saying is there are errors in that table. However, that table is more guidance than we have ever gotten and I appreciate it.
We aren't talking about "spellcasting". We are talking about using those explicit monster features you were actively praising in the exact way you are told to use them. Somehow you think they are good - but when I show them being used in what I believe to be their intended way you talk about how the spellcasting section isn't explicit enough?
My point is this is an area this could be improved upon in 2024. Because it is like spellcasting. I am telling you how i read between the lines and get to an equivalent and accurate monster. I think this type of guidance should be there I agree with you.
Seriously, this sounds like "the features table is a great thing to have - just don't try to use it". I'm not using spellcasting, I'm using the explicit features.
No I use it all the time. It is very helpful for using existing features and comparing to new features. Not perfect, but it is a great start.
I literally quoted the rules for calculating monster CR on p274 under the quick monster creation rules. You know what the Step 16: Final Challenge Rating says to do to calculate Monster CR? "This step is identical to Step 4 under 'Creating quick monster stats'."
It is absolutely and 100% explicit that "If your monster's AC is at least two points higher or lower than that number, adjust the challenge rating suggested by its hit points by 1 for every 2 points of difference.".

So no, that +1 to effective AC would not change things under the DMG unless there was another +1 involved. And it doesn't say to use fractions. It says by 1 for every 2 points if the difference is at least 2.

Now you might personally do things differently - but those would appear to be your personal house rules.
You did, but you didn't include anything about the CR previous to adding web, that is what I was pointing out. If you want an example I can get one. I don't have time now, but I can run through it with you. Also, if web doesn't change the CR it doesn't. No big deal.
I did follow the creation rules on page 274. And they lead to a complete and utter mess.
I use them all the time and get great results. They work for me so I like them. Maybe they reflect the user IDK
 

They point to discrepancies between the CR in the Monster Manual (MM) and the DMG as "proof" that they are broken. Is that true? If it is true, is that proof of an error in the guidelines or an error in the execution?
No, it is not proof that they are broken.

Support of this is simple, they are a Guideline. Thie definition of this word apparently is ignored when people discuss this topic. For ease, here is the Cambridge dictionary definition:
  1. information intended to advise people on how something should be done or what something should be
  2. a piece of information that suggests how something should be done
So yes, they work just fine as advice and/or a suggestion.

They will not, should not, and are not intended to work in every case. They are a guideline!
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Hey Dave! My experience running a ton of homebrewed monsters is that the 5e D&D monster creation guidelines give a decent starting point.

There are two huge caveats, though - disclaimers that really ought to be stated in the books rather than a GM having to discover these things "on the job."

I'm going to use some architectural design lingo, since I'm studying to enter the same field as you, and maybe it will help communicate better.

First.

The guidelines will work decently enough...as long as you're designing / playing within tolerances. What does that mean? The 2014 DMG tables are not like structural load design tables which are meant to work in the vast majority of conditions. Instead, they are a designer's hand-written notes they use as a rule-of-thumb for design that doesn't stretch too far from baseline assumptions.

What does that mean exactly? So long as you're designing a monster whose offensive CR and defensive CR aren't radically far apart (leaving all conversations of "CR is flawed" aside), and it doesn't have a ton of features or any unusual features, you should be OK.

I'll give examples:
  • If the monster relies on inflicting a debilitating condition like Stunned or Incapacitated or Petrified, you're moving into more art than engineering, and you need to spend some extra time with your maths and imagining of the monster-in-play. For ex, you'll likely need to know the average damage/PC/level to determine the foregone damage and add that to the monster's effective HP.
  • If the monster relies on charming PCs, similar situation.
  • If the monster circumvents HP as its main threat, you're again in the realm of art and the 2014 DMG isn't going to help you.
  • If the monster relies on ambush tactics such as False Appearance, you need the human GM to make a judgment call on how to assess that.
  • If the monster has lots of features that don't seems to have an impact in isolation (i.e. low delta), you need a human GM to do a form of "clash detection" and to keep track of compounding impacts / multiplier effect on aspects of the monster's maths.
  • If the monster is a certain type (undead, in particular) that is readily thwarted by a common character-ability, that needs to be accounted for by a human GM in a way that the monster/adventure design guidelines don't account for.
Second.

My hot take is that, if we zoom out our lens to not just look within the 5e ecosystem, but at the bigger RPG-o-sphere and what a GM more broadly wants from monster building guidelines... I think inspiration is the operative word. We don't get too excited by building a goblin-by-another-name that has different numbers, different weapons, and swaps Nimble Escape for a different feature or two. Lots of monsters are pretty much that - minor shifts. Excitement for monster design, at least for me, lies in the uniqueness of the monster and what it does different from all other monsters.

I believe the intensification of monster stat blocks across late 3e, 4e, and 5e actually works against this objective of inspiration & uniqueness. We're trying to capture lightning in a rather clinical formulaic stat block that is one-size-fits-all, when the coolest part of the monster may not conform to that at all (or may not be best served by that). Back in AD&D, yeah there was the stat block for numbers, but the interesting stuff was all in text below – it was a pain to reference in play, but it allowed for a lot more diversity.

So to get to your question "Do the monster building guidelines work?" From a basic mechanical framework, yeah, they work ok enough. But equally important (or, I would say, more important) is do they work to inspire the GM's own creations? For me, they really fail at inspiring – and this is where I love looking at other monster books outside of modern D&D.
 

FallenRX

Adventurer

I feel this needs to be in the New DMG becuase it makes 5e monster design ridiculously easy and amazing.

Once you realize you can gauge most effects like this and learn the effective damage budget or a monster you can use this to make pretty much anything on the fly.
 

dave2008

Legend
Hey Dave! My experience running a ton of homebrewed monsters is that the 5e D&D monster creation guidelines give a decent starting point.

There are two huge caveats, though - disclaimers that really ought to be stated in the books rather than a GM having to discover these things "on the job."

I'm going to use some architectural design lingo, since I'm studying to enter the same field as you, and maybe it will help communicate better.

First.

The guidelines will work decently enough...as long as you're designing / playing within tolerances. What does that mean? The 2014 DMG tables are not like structural load design tables which are meant to work in the vast majority of conditions. Instead, they are a designer's hand-written notes they use as a rule-of-thumb for design that doesn't stretch too far from baseline assumptions.

What does that mean exactly? So long as you're designing a monster whose offensive CR and defensive CR aren't radically far apart (leaving all conversations of "CR is flawed" aside), and it doesn't have a ton of features or any unusual features, you should be OK.

I'll give examples:
  • If the monster relies on inflicting a debilitating condition like Stunned or Incapacitated or Petrified, you're moving into more art than engineering, and you need to spend some extra time with your maths and imagining of the monster-in-play. For ex, you'll likely need to know the average damage/PC/level to determine the foregone damage and add that to the monster's effective HP.
  • If the monster relies on charming PCs, similar situation.
  • If the monster circumvents HP as its main threat, you're again in the realm of art and the 2014 DMG isn't going to help you.
  • If the monster relies on ambush tactics such as False Appearance, you need the human GM to make a judgment call on how to assess that.
  • If the monster has lots of features that don't seems to have an impact in isolation (i.e. low delta), you need a human GM to do a form of "clash detection" and to keep track of compounding impacts / multiplier effect on aspects of the monster's maths.
  • If the monster is a certain type (undead, in particular) that is readily thwarted by a common character-ability, that needs to be accounted for by a human GM in a way that the monster/adventure design guidelines don't account for.
Second.

My hot take is that, if we zoom out our lens to not just look within the 5e ecosystem, but at the bigger RPG-o-sphere and what a GM more broadly wants from monster building guidelines... I think inspiration is the operative word. We don't get too excited by building a goblin-by-another-name that has different numbers, different weapons, and swaps Nimble Escape for a different feature or two. Lots of monsters are pretty much that - minor shifts. Excitement for monster design, at least for me, lies in the uniqueness of the monster and what it does different from all other monsters.

I believe the intensification of monster stat blocks across late 3e, 4e, and 5e actually works against this objective of inspiration & uniqueness. We're trying to capture lightning in a rather clinical formulaic stat block that is one-size-fits-all, when the coolest part of the monster may not conform to that at all (or may not be best served by that). Back in AD&D, yeah there was the stat block for numbers, but the interesting stuff was all in text below – it was a pain to reference in play, but it allowed for a lot more diversity.

So to get to your question "Do the monster building guidelines work?" From a basic mechanical framework, yeah, they work ok enough. But equally important (or, I would say, more important) is do they work to inspire the GM's own creations? For me, they really fail at inspiring – and this is where I love looking at other monster books outside of modern D&D.
Thanks for the detail reply. I have made hundreds 5e monsters myself and agree that I have learned some things along the way that could/should be in the 2024 guidelines.

However, this point of this thread was not whether or not the guidelines make good monsters, but if they work to produce the correct CR consistently. I should have made that clear in the OP. I am really just trying to address some very specific and minor.
 

M_Natas

Hero
I tried to build my own monster building guidelines for better Monsters and I think I figured some things out with the existing Monsters and the 5e Monster Builder.

At least for Level 1 ^^.

So, what I did was, I built an average adventuring party (point buy, fitting races for optimised ability scores, so a 16 in the main stat, +1 in Constituion) and from that average adventuring party I averaged the average adventurer of Level 1.

The average adventurer of Level 1 has:
  • 10,25 HP
  • AC 15
  • +5 to attack
  • does on a hit an avg. of 8,75 Damage.

With one short rest and no other means of healing (potions, magic) an average character has an average HP Budget of 17 HP for one adventuring day.

If you roll for Stats, that could change to an additional +1 to attack and damage and HP.

The Monster Builder and CR Guidlines are supposed to be be for the adventuring day concept.
So we have easy, medium hard and deadly encounters.

At Level 1 there are supposed to be either 12 easy, 6 medium, 4 hard or 3 deadly encounters in one adventuring day.

I ran the numbers and what came close to existing Monsters and the guidelines is the following:

A medium encounters should deplete 16% of the HP of the HP Budget of all characters (so the 17 HP per Character).

A hard encounter 24% and a deadly 32%. An adventuring day should deplete on average 96% of the HP Budget.

That's what I found when I looked at the existing Monsters and my average adventure guy.

Now, I tried to build a monster created according to 4e: One Monster per one Character. I think that makes everything easier for creating encounters, when you look at an per character base (which Xanathar reintroduced).

So, now, I looked what that would mean ...
According to the encounter building guidlines, 4 CR 1/8 creatures are a hard encounter for 4 Level 1 characters and 4 CR 1/4 Creatures are a deadly encounter for 4 Level 1 Characters.

So now I could compare my Creature Designer (its just an Excel Sheet) with existing creatures.

I had my Creature Designer based on 3 Round Encounters and mathematically Monsters created with that should do exactly what they are supposed to do (on average): Deplete the ressources named at the choosen difficulty with that encounter.

So I calculated how much AC and HP that monster should have to last 3 rounds and then calculated how much damage it should do at a given attack bonus.

Like with an AC of 10 a Monster should have between 14 and 21 HP to last 3 rounds against one character of Level 1. With an attack bonus of +5 it should do 1d4 of damage (hard difficulty) or 1d4+1 / 1d6 damage (deadly difficulty) to deplete the HP the correct amount (on average).

Now, I looked at the Monsters in the MM and found, that a lot have to low HP and to strong an attack. Like the Bandit. A bandit has 12 AC and only 11 HP. On average a Bandit will only last 2 rounds against an average level 1 character. And when I adjusted the damage output to 2 rounds instead of 3, my excel sheet aligned with the Bandit stat block quite well.
Or Kobolds who only have 5 HP at 12 AC. They only last one round. With pact tactics their attack bonus is effectively a +9, so their damage output mostly fits (it is a little lower than expected).

That was for hard encounters (CR 1/8 creatures). So.I checked the deadly encounter with CR 1/4 creatures. The Goblin fits, if you account for him surviving on average for two rounds. 15 AC and 7 HP, doing on average 5.5 damage per round.

A Zombie will survive 3 rounds (AC 8, 22 HP) doing 4,5 damage on average on a hit (I calculated 4 damage).


Some monsters are too strong, like the wolf, which does on average 7 damage on a hit with an effective +9 to hit (thanks to pact tactics). It should do, according to my math, on average 3,5 damage, if you ignore pact tactics they should do 5.5 damage. So that Creature is pretty dangerous.

So the Monsters I checked fall roughly into my calculations.
You just need to account for the expected combat rounds, which can vary from 1 to 4 (Blink Dog) or even 5 (flying sword, which does way to much damage).

So, now with all that figured out, I looked into the DMG Monster Builder.

AC 13 is fix for CR 1/8 creatures. Having 7 to 35 HP. With 7 HP a monster survives in average of 2 rounds. With 35 HP the monster survives on average 7 Rounds!

With an attack bonus of +3 it should do on average 1,3 to 4,5 Damage (my calculations). The DMG Monster Builder says 2-3 Damage, so directly in the middle of that.

For CR 1/4 it already gets crazy. Ac 13, 36 to 49 HP.
+3 to attack, 4 to 5 Damage on Average.
Such a monster would survive 7 to 9 rounds, and should do 1 to 2 damage a round.

Now, CR 1/2 should be 2 Characters per Level 1 Monsters.
According to the DMG, that should be AC 13, 50- 70 HP, +3 Attack, 6 to 8 Damage.
That again would.last 7 rounds, and should do 2,5 to 3,5 damage.

Now if we go to CR 1 it goes okay again.
A CR 1 Creature has AC 13, 71 to 85 HP, +3 to attack, doing 9 to 14 damage.
With my calculations that monster would last 4 rounds, doing 9 to 12 damage.

So, the DMG Monster Creator is actually broken at CR 1/4 and CR 1/2, leading to extremely long and deadly fights. CR 1/8 and CR 1 work as intended.
 

This thread is awesome as despite being a DM for 5e all these years, I have never delved into the math of monster design and calculating CR. I know what I'm doing this weekend. :ROFLMAO:
 

dave2008

Legend
I tried to build my own monster building guidelines for better Monsters and I think I figured some things out with the existing Monsters and the 5e Monster Builder.

At least for Level 1 ^^.

So, what I did was, I built an average adventuring party (point buy, fitting races for optimised ability scores, so a 16 in the main stat, +1 in Constituion) and from that average adventuring party I averaged the average adventurer of Level 1.

The average adventurer of Level 1 has:
  • 10,25 HP
  • AC 15
  • +5 to attack
  • does on a hit an avg. of 8,75 Damage.

With one short rest and no other means of healing (potions, magic) an average character has an average HP Budget of 17 HP for one adventuring day.

If you roll for Stats, that could change to an additional +1 to attack and damage and HP.

The Monster Builder and CR Guidlines are supposed to be be for the adventuring day concept.
So we have easy, medium hard and deadly encounters.

At Level 1 there are supposed to be either 12 easy, 6 medium, 4 hard or 3 deadly encounters in one adventuring day.

I ran the numbers and what came close to existing Monsters and the guidelines is the following:

A medium encounters should deplete 16% of the HP of the HP Budget of all characters (so the 17 HP per Character).

A hard encounter 24% and a deadly 32%. An adventuring day should deplete on average 96% of the HP Budget.

That's what I found when I looked at the existing Monsters and my average adventure guy.

Now, I tried to build a monster created according to 4e: One Monster per one Character. I think that makes everything easier for creating encounters, when you look at an per character base (which Xanathar reintroduced).

So, now, I looked what that would mean ...
According to the encounter building guidlines, 4 CR 1/8 creatures are a hard encounter for 4 Level 1 characters and 4 CR 1/4 Creatures are a deadly encounter for 4 Level 1 Characters.

So now I could compare my Creature Designer (its just an Excel Sheet) with existing creatures.

I had my Creature Designer based on 3 Round Encounters and mathematically Monsters created with that should do exactly what they are supposed to do (on average): Deplete the ressources named at the choosen difficulty with that encounter.

So I calculated how much AC and HP that monster should have to last 3 rounds and then calculated how much damage it should do at a given attack bonus.

Like with an AC of 10 a Monster should have between 14 and 21 HP to last 3 rounds against one character of Level 1. With an attack bonus of +5 it should do 1d4 of damage (hard difficulty) or 1d4+1 / 1d6 damage (deadly difficulty) to deplete the HP the correct amount (on average).

Now, I looked at the Monsters in the MM and found, that a lot have to low HP and to strong an attack. Like the Bandit. A bandit has 12 AC and only 11 HP. On average a Bandit will only last 2 rounds against an average level 1 character. And when I adjusted the damage output to 2 rounds instead of 3, my excel sheet aligned with the Bandit stat block quite well.
Or Kobolds who only have 5 HP at 12 AC. They only last one round. With pact tactics their attack bonus is effectively a +9, so their damage output mostly fits (it is a little lower than expected).

That was for hard encounters (CR 1/8 creatures). So.I checked the deadly encounter with CR 1/4 creatures. The Goblin fits, if you account for him surviving on average for two rounds. 15 AC and 7 HP, doing on average 5.5 damage per round.

A Zombie will survive 3 rounds (AC 8, 22 HP) doing 4,5 damage on average on a hit (I calculated 4 damage).


Some monsters are too strong, like the wolf, which does on average 7 damage on a hit with an effective +9 to hit (thanks to pact tactics). It should do, according to my math, on average 3,5 damage, if you ignore pact tactics they should do 5.5 damage. So that Creature is pretty dangerous.

So the Monsters I checked fall roughly into my calculations.
You just need to account for the expected combat rounds, which can vary from 1 to 4 (Blink Dog) or even 5 (flying sword, which does way to much damage).

So, now with all that figured out, I looked into the DMG Monster Builder.

AC 13 is fix for CR 1/8 creatures. Having 7 to 35 HP. With 7 HP a monster survives in average of 2 rounds. With 35 HP the monster survives on average 7 Rounds!

With an attack bonus of +3 it should do on average 1,3 to 4,5 Damage (my calculations). The DMG Monster Builder says 2-3 Damage, so directly in the middle of that.

For CR 1/4 it already gets crazy. Ac 13, 36 to 49 HP.
+3 to attack, 4 to 5 Damage on Average.
Such a monster would survive 7 to 9 rounds, and should do 1 to 2 damage a round.

Now, CR 1/2 should be 2 Characters per Level 1 Monsters.
According to the DMG, that should be AC 13, 50- 70 HP, +3 Attack, 6 to 8 Damage.
That again would.last 7 rounds, and should do 2,5 to 3,5 damage.

Now if we go to CR 1 it goes okay again.
A CR 1 Creature has AC 13, 71 to 85 HP, +3 to attack, doing 9 to 14 damage.
With my calculations that monster would last 4 rounds, doing 9 to 12 damage.

So, the DMG Monster Creator is actually broken at CR 1/4 and CR 1/2, leading to extremely long and deadly fights. CR 1/8 and CR 1 work as intended.
Thank you for the analysis - I would love to see your spreadsheet. FYI, in another thread (Project Monsters by Level) I am starting to look at monsters by level instead of CR and I am create an "average" character similar to you as a basis of design. I am making a group of fighter, wizard, cleric, and rogue and then average them out into one. However, I am also assuming magic items in that exercise.

However, what I really was trying to get to is whether the encounter building guidelines reliably produce a particular CR. If there are differences in the guideline CR and MM CR. Is that an issue with the guidelines or the MM. I was not trying to figure out if the CR works as measure against the PCs which is what you are talking about. Of course, that (monsters relative to PCs) is really the more interesting question, just not what I was discussing in the OP.
 

M_Natas

Hero
Thank you for the analysis - I would love to see your spreadsheet. FYI, in another thread (Project Monsters by Level) I am starting to look at monsters by level instead of CR and I am create an "average" character similar to you as a basis of design. I am making a group of fighter, wizard, cleric, and rogue and then average them out into one. However, I am also assuming magic items in that exercise.

However, what I really was trying to get to is whether the encounter building guidelines reliably produce a particular CR. If there are differences in the guideline CR and MM CR. Is that an issue with the guidelines or the MM. I was not trying to figure out if the CR works as measure against the PCs which is what you are talking about. Of course, that (monsters relative to PCs) is really the more interesting question, just not what I was discussing in the OP.
Here is my excel sheet.
The second sheet is the englisch version, witch is for Lvl 1 Characters only.

The first sheet is in german and "more advanced" Version, a work in progress, where I build a framework for Level 1 to 20.
But it is not based on average adventure guy but on the champion fighter.

I hoped that somebody would have done the calculations for the average D&D character of the levels, but all I could find Was not really unable, so I used the Fighter for the advanced Version as an easy to calculate character.

The whole CR system rises and falls with how good the estimate of the average adventure guy is.
 

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