D&D 5E Let’s Read Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse.

I mean, the CR system honestly makes that pretty clear. They reward skilled play by not trying to punish or fight people optimizing: if you optimize, you do better. But the assumption is that people are not optimized: based on the D&D Beyond info we have, most people playing really aren't optimizing in the slightest, so it makes sense to use what people are actually doing as the baseline.
It does make sense. But do they say, anywhere in the game, that their CR system assumes non-optimized players, and requires work (sometimes a lot of work) to make it challenging for more skilled players?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Parmandur

Book-Friend
It does make sense. But do they say, anywhere in the game, that their CR system assumes non-optimized players, and requires work (sometimes a lot of work) to make it challenging for more skilled players?
Yes, the DMG spends a lot of time on how to customize challenges to a party.
 

Yes, the DMG spends a lot of time on how to customize challenges to a party.
Not an answer to my question. There's a difference between "every party is different, so take that into account", and "Our threat rating system assumes PCs who aren't really using the game to it's fullest, so you will need to do some work to make it challenging".
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Not an answer to my question. There's a difference between "every party is different, so take that into account", and "Our threat rating system assumes PCs who aren't really using the game to it's fullest, so you will need to do some work to make it challenging".
Since the book doesn't even say that 6-8 is anything more than a guideline as to how much a party can handle (at a rough estimate), not how many encounters they should face, they probably didn't feel a need.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Not an answer to my question. There's a difference between "every party is different, so take that into account", and "Our threat rating system assumes PCs who aren't really using the game to it's fullest, so you will need to do some work to make it challenging".
If it isn't clear to you as written, Mearls and Crawford have made it clear over the years.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
CR would be more useful if you split up the numbers into Offence Rating and Defense Rating. But even then its only a measure of DPR.
To get a better read on now deadly a monster is, you would need to take into account its Mobility, Range, Action Economy, and Special Win Conditions.

For Speed there are really only three numbers you need to consider:
Anything below 30 speed without a ranged attack and/or a movement ability is a chump. A DM is going to have to compensate for slow monsters like these.
40' speed is the bare minimum I would recommend for a melee-only monster. Humanoids can be slower, but most humanoids can also wield ranged weapons or spells to compensate.
With 60' or more of speed, a monster can render short range attacks useless, which happens to be the bulk of ranged attacks. Mounted combatants can easily reach this speed, which is why horses are so dangerous in combat.

The rest of Speed concerns special movement types. Does the creature have any of them? If so, they are more deadly. In most cases, when given an appropriate environment, there isn't a functional difference between Climbing, Swimming, or Flying, they all add 3d into the combat.
Teleportation is good, but not as good as magical transportation would imply. While you can use it to break out of a trap or grapple, use it as a Disengage, or reposition yourself regardless of interposing obstacles, you are still limited by your other movement types. You can't teleport into the air and expect to survive without a supporting fly speed, for example. And often Teleportation is limited by x number of uses or some other factor (such as only into shadows).
Burrowing, on the other hand, is on a whole other level. It can do the 3D combat, and provide up to total cover for the creature to attack from below. Handily the most dangerous form of movement.

For range, there are 5 basic categories:
15' or less (basically Melee), 20-60 (short), Up to 80' (Mid), Up to 100' (long), 120'+ (Extreme).
Extreme Ranged combat basically turns anything anything Mid Range or lower into pincushions.

Action Economy is "How many Actions can this monster negate, or create." Because CR is calculated by Tank-and-Spank metrics, where the combatants just trade DPR with each other, and the Action Economy functions as a Force Multiplier for DPR. You could go as far as saying that Actions are true currency of combat and DPR is just a tax to play with a given CR.

Special win conditions are things like Stat Damage, or knocking targets Unconscious. Anything that lets them bypass the HP mechanic entirely. These effects completely throw the DPR out the window, and often just kill the PCs outright over the course of a single battle.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.

Retriever (MToF)​


Sadly, the Retriever is not a type of dog-person for D&D (We have three birds, two cats, and more fish than necessary, but still no dog people!). Instead it is an evil spider-construct that spends its time in the Abyss, capturing Demons on behalf of the Drow. Who in turn use said Demons as either ritual fodder or cannon fodder.

If that seems incredibly niche, don’t worry, the Retrievers can also be used to kidnap people or steal items too. In fact, they are able to track down a target from anywhere on the same plane of existence, and even Plane Shift to the plane and back with their quarry as necessary.

At CR 14, it can seem daunting to use the Retriever, but keep in mind that its win condition is simply knocking out a target, then Plane Shifting away with them in tow. Killing isn’t strictly necessary (unless they have to, in which case they don’t give a second thought about doing so). In fact, you could have a totally oblivious spider-construct that doesn’t care about anything other than the quarry. In which case the “Fight” plays out more like the ending from Terminator: The Retriever simply ignores any damage it receives while trying to take out the target. This creates a sort of puzzle combat where the goal is still to destroy the Retriever, and hopefully the PCs start using the lack of direct pressure to set up and use environmental hazards

In a more direct combat, the Retriever hits every note you could want from them. A multiattack featuring beams with ranged Damage or Paralysis. Superior movement capabilities (including multiple abilities that let them transport their target). The resilience of a higher tier construct. Access to Web for some additional ranged control. And even Blindsight to counter Darkness tricks. The minor levels of added complexity on otherwise stock powers are exactly where they need to be.

The Retriever was not significantly changed for this book.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Again, comments on social media and interviews. Not something even every experienced player would necessarily know about.
Yeah, because most aren't even optimizing, let alone paying attention to social media. That why it works to design around a minimum level rather than an "optimized" level of play.
 

Yeah, because most aren't even optimizing, let alone paying attention to social media. That why it works to design around a minimum level rather than an "optimized" level of play.
I never said they shouldn't do it. I said they should be clear in the books that they are doing it, because not every player is new to the game or unwilling to/disinterested in playing a deeper game.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I never said they shouldn't do it. I said they should be clear in the books that they are doing it, because not every player is new to the game or unwilling to/disinterested in playing a deeper game.
I mean, again, based on the Beyond data and what WotC designers have said about their own data, apparently most are disinterestedor it doesn'teven occur to them. And that ia the target audience for the game.
 

I mean, again, based on the Beyond data and what WotC designers have said about their own data, apparently most are disinterestedor it doesn'teven occur to them. And that ia the target audience for the game.
That implies that they should cater to the majority and ignore the rest of their client base. Being clear about their intentions would at least throw a bone to their existing fans.
 

That implies that they should cater to the majority and ignore the rest of their client base. Being clear about their intentions would at least throw a bone to their existing fans.
The majority is what should be cared about for a game.

I won't mind some deeper stuff, but it's best for some things to be simplified.
 



Parmandur

Book-Friend
That implies that they should cater to the majority and ignore the rest of their client base. Being clear about their intentions would at least throw a bone to their existing fans.
They don't ignore anybody, but assuming a common baseline and communicating thet is just smart.
 



FitzTheRuke

Legend
I expect that they figured that most people who optimize will want to be more powerful than the game expects. If they balanced the game for optimization, they'd be working against that idea. They'd also be leaving the rest of the players (most of them) to feel like they suck. Seems like a lose-lose.
 

base 16 +1 from evasion = 17)
Eh? Evasion doesn't affect AC, and is largely irrelevant when fighting quicklings, since reasonably competent players aren't going to use DEX save spells against them.

Although I did stat up some giant cockroaches for a level 2 dungeon once, and gave them really good CON saves as a joke, playing into the trope of "can survive a nuclear war". And it turned out the party arcane caster was a storm sorcerer with largely CON save spells!

But it's clear that WotC treat CR as a rough estimate of a monster's relative strength, so they don't care if it's a bit off. The problem, as we can see from this forum, is some players treat xp budgets and encounters per day as hard rules not to be broken under any circumstances. The core rules need to make it clearer that CR is only a rough guide and no substitute for common sense.
The guideline doesn't ask you how many daggers, though technically they only need 1
By RAW, it is assumed that they can make an unlimited number of ranged attacks, which allows for the hit and run tactic that @Sulicius is concerned about. Limiting them to one dagger forces them into melee range and therefore neutralises their superior mobility. Limiting their ammo would be a sensible move for a DM worried that the encounter might be too difficult.

Now, you could put a note to that effect in a monster book, but you would quickly get to the state were your monster manual looked like a biblical commentary "the gelatinous cube should be used in enclosed spaces where players cannot evade it with superior mobility", with more notes than it has stat blocks and lore. So your book is twice as thick, or in the real world, has half as many monsters. And that's for information that is only relevant to new DMs. There may be a case for releasing an "Annotated Monster Manual" but it's not a product everyone would want forced on them.
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top