This is a strong disagreement about philosophy.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.
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".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.
From the Creating Quick Monster Stats section on P274 we getThose 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.
- Step 1: Expected Challenge Rating
- Step 2: Basic Statistics
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).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 5e makes it actively harder and breaks the easier methods.
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".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.
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.
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'."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.
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 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.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!
I did follow the creation rules on page 274. And they lead to a complete and utter mess.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.