# D&D 5EIt's Official! Most of my encounters are "Deadly" (now updated with info through the end of 2022!)

#### Flamestrike

##### Legend
1. I don't know what that means, but. .
2. Saying "if they don't significantly contribute to the difficulty of the encounter" is absurd. Of course they do. At least they did they way I run these encounters.

Step 4 for determining encounter difficulty:

4. Modify Total XP for Multiple Monsters. If the encounter includes more than one monster, apply a multiplier to the monstersâ€™ total XP.... when making this calculation, donâ€™t count any monsters whose challenge rating is significantly below the average challenge rating of the other monsters in the group unless you think the weak monsters significantly contribute to the difficulty of the encounter.

Building Combat Encounters

So, for 5th level PCs+, CR 1/2 creatures likely do not significantly contribute to the difficulty of the encounter. You don't count them when determining how many monsters are present in the encounter when multiplying for encounter difficulty at step 4.

It looks to me like you're tallying up all monsters in the encounter at step 4 (regardless of challenge rating or if they pose a significant threat) and this is giving you a higher Difficulty than what the encounter really is.

#### Flamestrike

##### Legend

I just use this site (as I said in the opening post): D&D 5th Edition Encounter Calculator

Yeah, I was just pointing out that that site is wrong.

Encounter calculation requires several judgement calls by the DM. It's not just a strict mathematical formula.

Part of the calculations is to assess whether a monster presents a 'significant' challenge to the PCs. Mathematical formulas can't do that, only a person can. If the monsters dont present a significant challenge, then they dont count at Step 4 for multiplication purposes. You still add in its XP value, but you dont multiply overall XP on account of its presence.

Sahuagin are AC 12, 22 HP, 2 x Attacks at +3 to hit.

For a 5th level+ party, that's trivial. Assuming a standard party of...

1) GWM Barbarian or Fighter
2) Thief Rogue
3) Life Cleric
4: Evoker Wizard

...Should be killing 3-4 of them each and every round, without expending any resources (relying on cantrips and at-will attacks). Return attacks from the Sahuagin are targeting ACs of 16-18, with Blood Frenzy on some of those attacks so a roughly [45 percent hit chance] x [9] or 4 damage per Sahaugin in return.

With no resource expenditure by the PCs, a group of 6 Sahaugin are killed in two rounds, likely with minimal damage caused in return (easily healed by the Cleric, or with a Short rest and a few HD). With resource expenditure (fireball for example) it's over in a single round.

Generally speaking, they don't significantly contribute to the difficulty of the encounter, so they should be ignored when it comes to multiplication for multiple monsters.

#### el-remmen

##### Moderator Emeritus
Yeah, I was just pointing out that that site is wrong.

Encounter calculation requires several judgement calls by the DM. It's not just a strict mathematical formula.

Part of the calculations is to assess whether a monster presents a 'significant' challenge to the PCs. Mathematical formulas can't do that, only a person can. If the monsters dont present a significant challenge, then they dont count at Step 4 for multiplication purposes. You still add in its XP value, but you dont multiply overall XP on account of its presence.

Sahuagin are AC 12, 22 HP, 2 x Attacks at +3 to hit.

For a 5th level+ party, that's trivial. Assuming a standard party of...

1) GWM Barbarian or Fighter
2) Thief Rogue
3) Life Cleric
4: Evoker Wizard

...Should be killing 3-4 of them each and every round, without expending any resources (relying on cantrips and at-will attacks). Return attacks from the Sahuagin are targeting ACs of 16-18, with Blood Frenzy on some of those attacks so a roughly [45 percent hit chance] x [9] or 4 damage per Sahaugin in return.

With no resource expenditure by the PCs, a group of 6 Sahaugin are killed in two rounds, likely with minimal damage caused in return (easily healed by the Cleric, or with a Short rest and a few HD). With resource expenditure (fireball for example) it's over in a single round.

Generally speaking, they don't significantly contribute to the difficulty of the encounter, so they should be ignored when it comes to multiplication for multiple monsters.

Maybe in some white room calculation. In reality, it did not play out that way.
If you're curious the party for the sahaugin raid was:

Bard 5 / Wizard (Diviner) 2
Barbarian 5 / Fighter 2
Ranger 3 / Sorcerer 4
Druid 7

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#### Flamestrike

##### Legend
Maybe in some white room calculation. In reality, it did not play out that way.
If you're curious the party for the sahaugin raid was:

Bard 5 / Wizard (Diviner) 2
Barbarian 5 / Fighter 2
Ranger 3 / Sorcerer 3
Druid 7

One shockingly suboptimal MC there (Sorc + Ranger), but still.

Barbarian with GWM kills 2 per round (Reckless attack, +1 Weapon, Str 18, GWM) +3 at advantage vs AC 12 dealing 2d6+15 (22 damage per hit). He should hit and kill at least 1 with his 2 attacks per round, and this triggers a third attack with GWM which likely hits and kills another.

Better with Rage and/or Action Surge of course, but we're just looking at 'at will' stuff. Also Bardic inspiration will turn one of those misses to a hit.

The Bard has Hypnotic pattern, and 4 slots of 3rd level+ to fry the lot of the Mooks.

The Druid has Conjure Animals and also has 4 slots of 3rd level+ to have fun. With just a 3rd level slot he can Conjure 2 x Giant Octopuses (52 HP each, 2 attacks, with Grapple+ Restrain on each one, thematically appropriate for the adventure as well) and those Octopi last for an entire Hour.

He could get cheesy and instead summon 8 x Poisonous snakes for an hour (sea snakes are thematically appropriate). That's 8 attacks each round, at +6, with each hit dealing 1d4+4 damage (+3d6 poison damage, DC 11 half).

The above isn't anything weird. I mean Conjure animals, GWM and Hypnotic pattern are all staples for each of those classes.

7th level PCs should not be bothered in the slightest by a dozen Sahagian. Id expect them to mow them down in a few rounds with only some minor HP loss.

#### Stalker0

##### Legend
7th level PCs should not be bothered in the slightest by a dozen Sahagian. Id expect them to mow them down in a few rounds with only some minor HP loss.
By themselves, I would agree. But the point of a dozen Sahagun is not to be a challenge themselves, but as a force multiplier on an existing challenge.

If the party is focused on killing them, they aren't killing the big damage threat, letting it last longer and delivering more damage. Or they can be using the help action to give more advantage, which is a big increase in DPR for the main monster.

Ultimately with bounded accuracy, its rare for a monster in large numbers to produce no threat....unless the monsters are just lumped in one big circle to be fireballed away.

#### el-remmen

##### Moderator Emeritus
One shockingly suboptimal MC there (Sorc + Ranger), but still.

[SNIP]

The above isn't anything weird. I mean Conjure animals, GWM and Hypnotic pattern are all staples for each of those classes.

7th level PCs should not be bothered in the slightest by a dozen Sahagian. Id expect them to mow them down in a few rounds with only some minor HP loss.

None of this accounts for the scenario, the layout of the locale, the party goals, their gear, the history of these characters' development, our house rules or table culture, the personality of the characters, etc. . . which is all to say why I find "encounter difficulty" useless and why CR is only useful as a rule of thumb guide of how tough a monster might be (and it doesn't need to be more than that in my opinion).

You keep saying "should not be" as if every group, adventure, set of characters, particular examples of specific classes, etc are cookie cutter. In my experience they are not and I am glad, because such predictability does not seem very fun.

#### Flamestrike

##### Legend
None of this accounts for the scenario, the layout of the locale, the party goals, their gear, the history of these characters' development, our house rules or table culture, the personality of the characters, etc. . . which is all to say why I find "encounter difficulty" useless

I'm literally telling you the rules on encounter difficulty expressly tell you to take into account subjective things like the above.

You're finding encounter difficulty useless because you're the one not taking those subjective considerations into account when you're making your calculations.

Which was my whole point to begin with remember? RAW encounter difficulty is not just a mathematical calculation. There are subjective decisions to be made by a living breathing DM to take into account all the above.

#### Rabulias

##### the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
So, for 5th level PCs+, CR 1/2 creatures likely do not significantly contribute to the difficulty of the encounter. You don't count them when determining how many monsters are present in the encounter when multiplying for encounter difficulty at step 4.
First, you leave out the second sentence here (emphasis mine):
DMG p.82 said:
If the encounter includes more than one monster, apply a multiplier to the monsters' total XP. The more monsters there are, the more attack rolls you're making against the characters in a given round, and the more dangerous the encounter becomes.
Secondly, you quote this section (emphasis mine):
DMG p.82 said:
When making this calculation, donâ€™t count any monsters whose challenge rating is significantly below the average challenge rating of the other monsters in the group unless you think the weak monsters significantly contribute to the difficulty of the encounter.
but then you compare the sahuagin to the party, not the other monsters. I do not consider CR 1/2 to be significantly lower than CR 1, 2, or 3, which they are mostly paired with. In Encounter 73, there is a single CR 6 monster with them, but I think the sheer number of CR 1/2 sahuagin (30!) means they are definitely taking some resources from the party (if only HP). Even killing 5 per round will take 6 rounds, while there are 9 other higher CR threats that will have 6 rounds of actions against the party. Time is another resource.

#### Flamestrike

##### Legend
By themselves, I would agree. But the point of a dozen Sahagun is not to be a challenge themselves, but as a force multiplier on an existing challenge.

If the party is focused on killing them, they aren't killing the big damage threat, letting it last longer and delivering more damage. Or they can be using the help action to give more advantage, which is a big increase in DPR for the main monster.

Ultimately with bounded accuracy, its rare for a monster in large numbers to produce no threat....unless the monsters are just lumped in one big circle to be fireballed away.

Oh there is a threat (they'll drain some resources, kill a few summoned monsters, maybe waste a 3rd level slot in fireball or hypnotic pattern, and deplete some PC HP).

I'm just saying they don't significantly contribute to the difficulty of the encounter enough to warrant trebling the overall XP difficulty of the encounter.

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