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Dynamic Challenge Ratings

Ramaster

Explorer
How about this.

4 Pcs are pitted off against a Glass Golem.

The golem is a CR 5 Creature. It has a strong melee attack, a bit more HP than regular monsters of its level and poor saves. BUT (That's a big but) it’s key defining features are that it is immune to magic, has DR 5/adamantite or something an is vulnerable to critical hits and sneak attacks.

On the CR part of the monster's stats it says this:

CR: 5.

Modifiers: +1 CR for each primary offensive spellcaster in the party. +1 CR for each frontline fighter without an adamantite weapon. -1 CR for each character with full sneak attack feature (Max -2).

That would model the fact that 4 wizards will have a very hard time dealing with the golem (CR 9) and four rogues will quickly flank it and shred it to pieces (CR 3).

I know this numbers might be a bit off, but what do you think about this kind of guidance with CRs?
 

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Yora

First Post
Challenge Rating is a complete hit and miss as it already is. Adding these factors to the calculation instead of telling the DM "keep in mind the strength and weaknesses of the PCs" would probably make the numbers completely random and without any practical use.
 

mkill

Adventurer
When I DMed 3E I felt it was a waste of time to calculate combat XP by CR. I pretended to keep track of XP in front of my players, but in the end I just told them to level up for next session when I felt it was the time. The players either didn't notice or didn't care.

So yeah, if a designer wants to bother designing a dynamic CR system, knock yourself out, but I personally just wouldn't need it.
 
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Grydan

First Post
While I can't parse some of the terminology used (some of it differing from that used in my edition of choice), I can see some rather distinct flaws.

1. You need to define what classes, and what possible class-combos, count as a "primary offensive spellcaster", and a "frontline fighter".

2. You inflate monster stat blocks, with the problem that the more complex features a creature has, the more notes about adjusting the CR you need. Every adjustment, instead of just being it's own note, is also the cause of a second note.
 


OnlineDM

Adventurer
I think it's a good idea to provide DMs with some guidance about what types of characters will have more difficulty or an easier time with what types of monsters. But I think this should be general guidance in the DMG rather than specific difficulty adjustments for each monster.

For instance, "Monsters with the ability to shake off negative conditions or with spell resistance present a larger challenge to spellcasters. Monsters that fly present a larger challenge to melee characters." Basic stuff like that should teach DMs what they need to know.

I see it as more of a philosophy than specific monster notes.
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
Challenge rating should continue to move away from the front lines and serve as more a general guideline for about where your party should be at when fighting it. There really shouldn't be any hard-coded rules about challenge rating, but it should be easier to adjust creatures on the fly.
 



OnlineDM

Adventurer
Is there going to be challenge rating or some similar concept? I hope not.
I'd like there to be some guidance about how tough a monster is - wouldn't you? 4e has monster level, 3e has challenge rating, earlier editions have hit dice... is this a bad thing all of a sudden? Or is there something else you mean that you don't like?

To be clear, I don't think something like challenge rating or monster level should be the sole determining factor to help DMs build encounters. Terrain, PC abilities, monster synergy, etc. should all be considered. But having some kind of number to help DMs understand just how nasty that ogre is in comparison to that goblin is helpful, at least to me.
 


Ahnehnois

First Post
I'd like there to be some guidance about how tough a monster is - wouldn't you? 4e has monster level, 3e has challenge rating, earlier editions have hit dice... is this a bad thing all of a sudden? Or is there something else you mean that you don't like?

To be clear, I don't think something like challenge rating or monster level should be the sole determining factor to help DMs build encounters. Terrain, PC abilities, monster synergy, etc. should all be considered. But having some kind of number to help DMs understand just how nasty that ogre is in comparison to that goblin is helpful, at least to me.
I think there's probably a role for some table somewhere that has an estimated level equivalent or something for monsters. A beginning DM needs to understand that an illithid will slaughter a level 1 party and that a goblin might be more appropriate as an encounter. An advanced DM needs some sense of heirarchy to apply to new monsters as they come out. But it's really just a vague guideline, it shouldn't be mentioned much or in the monster stat block.

CR as a hard rule just doesn't work (which is why this thread was started). There's no way to take into account party makeup, DM choices, let alone rules options in an option-heavy system.

Hit dice is a substantive number that does something (determines the creature's toughness and skill, like level); not the same thing. Monsters should have a level. But it's hard to say that a level 5 monster should be in any way balanced with a level 5 PC; their abilities are so diverse.

The bottom line is, as always, that balance is the DM's job, not the game writers'. The writers just provide tools, and frankly I don't find CR a useful tool.
 

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