D&D 5E Level = Challenge Rating


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Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
In terms of "a CR X monster is a reasonable fight for a level Y PC", it is closer to:

CR 1/4: L1
CR 1/2: L2
CR 1: L3
CR 2: L4.5
CR 3: L6
CR 4: L8
CR 5: L11
CR 6: L13
CR 7: L15
CR 8: L17
CR 9: L19

4 CR1/4 monsters have a 400 XP budget. A party of 1 L 1 PCs has a deady budget of 400.
4 CR3 monsters have a 5600 XP budget. A party of 4 L7 PCs has a deady budget of 5600.
4 CR9 monsters have a 20000*2 = 40000 XP budget. A party of 4 L 19 PCs has a deadly budget of 43600.

However, 5e D&D monsters are written as "solo" medium difficulty encounters for a group of 3-4 PCs instead of individual deadly threats for a single PC.
The levels that your calculations arrive at are about the same as GiffyGlyph Monster Maker arrives at.

The numbers look solid, for an opponent that is deadlier but a smaller "bag of hit points", in other words closer to a player character at this level.
 

mamba

Legend
Actually, "level" offers far more granularity than "challenge" does.

More importantly, "level" offers far, far, far more ACCURACY and CONSISTENCY.
no, CR is more granular at lower levels with its 1/8, 1/4, and 1/2, and at higher levels they are more or less 1:1 (when you look at the solo monster progression against a party). There also is no reason whatsoever why level would be more accurate than CR at determining monster power, it all just depends on how you determine it
 

Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
no, CR is more granular at lower levels with its 1/8, 1/4, and 1/2, and at higher levels they are more or less 1:1 (when you look at the solo monster progression against a party). There also is no reason whatsoever why level would be more accurate than CR at determining monster power, it all just depends on how you determine it
For example, suppose Level 18 corresponds to Challenge 12.

The Challenge Rating has only 12 points of granularity, where Level has more points of granularity: 18.

CR ½ tends to equate with about level 2. CR only has ½ a point of granularity, where level has two points of granularity.

Level has more granularity when calculating the combat worthiness of monster traits.


Moreover, level offers "kinds" of granularity, in addition to numerically more granularity. For example, the ability to fly appropriate for certain levels, the Athletic skill improvements are appropriate for certain levels, the Hold Person or Paralysis at certain levels. Looking at player character levels gives a sense of what traits would be typical and what traits would be outliers in terms of gauging combat balance.
 

mamba

Legend
For example, suppose Level 18 corresponds to Challenge 12.

The Challenge Rating has only 12 points of granularity, where Level has more points of granularity: 18.
if you go by 1:1 monster to char, ok, if you go by monster to party it is more or less the same

Moreover, level offers "kinds" of granularity, in addition to numerically more granularity. For example, the ability to fly appropriate for certain levels, the Athletic skill improvements are appropriate for certain levels, the Hold Person or Paralysis at certain levels. Looking at player character levels gives a sense of what traits would be typical and what traits would be outliers in terms of gauging combat balance.
I don’t want to just recreate char builds that works as a formula I guess, but ultimately it does not matter whether you determine the level or CR of a monster, you need to have a robust logic to do so and which one you use (CR or level) makes no difference to that, you can have a solid or a wobbly formula either way
 
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Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
For a "standard combat encounter" (not deadly),

the level of a single opponent (whether a monster statblock or a DM PC)

should be something like the following, depending on how many player characters are in the party.


Level of Monster for a Standard Combat Encounter
Level
of Player
Characters
If one PCIf two PCsIf three PCsIf four PCsIf five PCsIf six PCs
Monster
Level =
(PC Level − 1)
x 0.75
Monster
Level =
PC Level − 1

Monster
Level =
(PC Level − 1)
x 1.25
Monster
Level =
(PC Level − 1)
x 1.5
Monster
Level =
(PC Level − 1)
x 1.75
Monster
Level =
(PC Level − 1)
x 2
1000000
2111222
3223334
4234556
5345678
64568910
756891112
8579111214
96810121416
107911141618
1181013151820
1281114171922
1391215182124
14101316202326
15111418212528
16111519232630
17121620242832
18131721263034
19141823273236
20141924293338


Note, level 1 is intentionally easy mode to get a feel for what the character can do.


There is such thing as "Level Zero" in 5e 2024. It is a character with background traits but without levels in a class. The defacto hit points are 3 hit points, plus any Constitution. Where the "average" Humanoid has d8 Hit Dice, its hit points equal level x 5, plus an additional 3 hit points at level 0, whence level 1 starts at 8 hit points.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
CR was a 3E thing tweaked in 4E and 5E.
The big problem is that it exists in the first place. There's to many variables in monster, class abilities, playstyles, character generation, player skill etc to account for it.
People keep saying that. It worked in 4e and it worked in 13A, and (from what I hear) it's worked in PF2e. Once you might argue is a fluke. Twice, a coincidence. But three times? Three times is a pattern. You're going to need more of a response than just "bah, can't be done."

Square peg round hole. They're trying to quantify an art.
We quantify parts of art all the time. The color wheel, kinematics, the ways cloth pulls and the ways light reflects, the ways we can make better (longer-lasting, brighter-color, easier to apply) pigments. The circle of fifths, chord progressions, cadences. Adding useful quantitative elements to art is no bad thing--in fact, it can make the difference between art being the province of only the tiniest minority and being accessible to most who take an interest.

Which is, and was, always the point of having a good encounter-building tool. To make it so more people can quickly build encounters that they actually understand and can deploy with eyes open.

Beats me why they didn't figure this out in 3E or end of 4E at the latest.
Because the thing you claim they need to "figure out" is in fact wrong, and always has been. Just because you can't measure the marigolds, doesn't mean that quantification has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to contribute to art. It does. It can contribute a hell of a lot, if you do so judiciously. Writing off the whole thing as a total fool's errand with no point whatsoever is not, and never will be, the right answer, because throwing up your hands and saying "why bother!" is never the right answer to a challenging but achievable task.

I am the exact opposite from you. Like, the EXACT opposite, this couldn't be more wrong to me.

We already know that overloading the a word, like level, causing issues. Class levels vs. character levels vs. spell levels. Why do I get spell level 9 when I hit class level 17? Please, for different things always use different words. Most especially when they are loosely related, like spell level is so there's honest confusion. So something that is kinda like level but really off by FOUR? Whatever you call it, the most wrong it could be would be to call it level. Because level and level+4 are not the same thing, even if they happen to advance at the same rate.
They aren't different. They're the same when you do this--that's kind of the point!
 

Zardnaar

Legend
People keep saying that. It worked in 4e and it worked in 13A, and (from what I hear) it's worked in PF2e. Once you might argue is a fluke. Twice, a coincidence. But three times? Three times is a pattern. You're going to need more of a response than just "bah, can't be done."


We quantify parts of art all the time. The color wheel, kinematics, the ways cloth pulls and the ways light reflects, the ways we can make better (longer-lasting, brighter-color, easier to apply) pigments. The circle of fifths, chord progressions, cadences. Adding useful quantitative elements to art is no bad thing--in fact, it can make the difference between art being the province of only the tiniest minority and being accessible to most who take an interest.

Which is, and was, always the point of having a good encounter-building tool. To make it so more people can quickly build encounters that they actually understand and can deploy with eyes open.


Because the thing you claim they need to "figure out" is in fact wrong, and always has been. Just because you can't measure the marigolds, doesn't mean that quantification has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to contribute to art. It does. It can contribute a hell of a lot, if you do so judiciously. Writing off the whole thing as a total fool's errand with no point whatsoever is not, and never will be, the right answer, because throwing up your hands and saying "why bother!" is never the right answer to a challenging but achievable task.


They aren't different. They're the same when you do this--that's kind of the point!

4E was just broken in different ways. You coukd still break the gane hence 70 odd pages of errata. Square peg round hole.

That falls into the to many variables to account for. Hell they broke the game on the forums before it was released. They missed the Ranger thing killing Orcus.

Hence my comment you woukd have to resort to 4E levels of monster design and taking away all the class and player agency with clearly defined powers that were mostly damage.

And pretty much no one plays 13 age. It's not a fix if no one plays your game.

So yes you could make a better balanced game than D&D. It's not D&D though and good luck finding anyone to play it.

The CR system has been borked from day 1 and I doubt 5.5 will fix it. Probably be better than 2014 5E.

Popular, fun, balanced. Pick 2.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
4E was just broken in different ways. You coukd still break the gane hence 70 odd pages of errata. Square peg round hole.
It was not "broken." It was by far the most successfully-balanced D&D we've ever gotten--and multiple similar systems attest that this sort of project is possible. Again: you keep asserting this without actual demonstration. The vast majority of that errata was to fix typos, change the Skill Challenge stuff, or to do things like adding DOAM to Wizard powers--and what few things were actual, serious balance fixes were usually quite minor and definitely required far more than just casual play.

Your examples do not demonstrate what you claim they do. Much the opposite; they demonstrate that 4e was quite good at preserving a substantial amount of balance across its run, and that it was quickly and concisely able to address the few places that went wrong without destroying the rest of the system in the process, contrary to your claims that such a thing is inevitable.

That falls into the to many variables to account for. Hell they broke the game on the forums before it was released. They missed the Ranger thing killing Orcus.
Something that could only occur in a vanishingly rare situation, unless the players had specifically stacked together an enormous amount of things. And it was fixed--quickly. Again, this does not, at all, show that the problem is insoluble. It shows that humans are imperfect, but that when we try, we can find the places where we messed up...and fix them.

Hence my comment you woukd have to resort to 4E levels of monster design and taking away all the class and player agency with clearly defined powers that were mostly damage.
Nope! It is straight-up edition war propaganda that 4e in any way was "taking away all the class and player agency." That is false, it is perniciously false, and I'm tired of dealing with such a claim. I will simply reject it if you say it any further in this thread--because it is false and always was.

And pretty much no one plays 13 age. It's not a fix if no one plays your game.
This isn't an argument, and you really should know better. "It isn't popular therefore it didn't fix the problem" isn't even trying to hide that it's a non-sequitur. You said it could not be done. I've shown you it can. Your response was to tell me that well, because one of the games that did it wasn't a massive seller, then it can't really be done. That's not even a fallacy. It's just straight up making up new standards as you go along.

So yes you could make a better balanced game than D&D. It's not D&D though and good luck finding anyone to play it.
Nope. It will absolutely still be D&D because being "D&D" has little to do with what the rules themselves are. Almost nothing of the rules has been preserved between OD&D and 5e, and yet nobody challenges either of them for whether they are or aren't D&D. Rules aren't, and never were, what makes D&D what it is.

The CR system has been borked from day 1 and I doubt 5.5 will fix it. Probably be better than 2014 5E.
Well, it's nice that you admit that that's the case. And, frankly, I don't expect 5.5e to be any better. "Backwards compatibility" will be the albatross around 5.5e's neck.

Popular, fun, balanced. Pick 2.
You have yet to show even one shred of evidence for this claim.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
It was not "broken." It was by far the most successfully-balanced D&D we've ever gotten--and multiple similar systems attest that this sort of project is possible. Again: you keep asserting this without actual demonstration. The vast majority of that errata was to fix typos, change the Skill Challenge stuff, or to do things like adding DOAM to Wizard powers--and what few things were actual, serious balance fixes were usually quite minor and definitely required far more than just casual play.

Your examples do not demonstrate what you claim they do. Much the opposite; they demonstrate that 4e was quite good at preserving a substantial amount of balance across its run, and that it was quickly and concisely able to address the few places that went wrong without destroying the rest of the system in the process, contrary to your claims that such a thing is inevitable.


Something that could only occur in a vanishingly rare situation, unless the players had specifically stacked together an enormous amount of things. And it was fixed--quickly. Again, this does not, at all, show that the problem is insoluble. It shows that humans are imperfect, but that when we try, we can find the places where we messed up...and fix them.


Nope! It is straight-up edition war propaganda that 4e in any way was "taking away all the class and player agency." That is false, it is perniciously false, and I'm tired of dealing with such a claim. I will simply reject it if you say it any further in this thread--because it is false and always was.


This isn't an argument, and you really should know better. "It isn't popular therefore it didn't fix the problem" isn't even trying to hide that it's a non-sequitur. You said it could not be done. I've shown you it can. Your response was to tell me that well, because one of the games that did it wasn't a massive seller, then it can't really be done. That's not even a fallacy. It's just straight up making up new standards as you go along.


Nope. It will absolutely still be D&D because being "D&D" has little to do with what the rules themselves are. Almost nothing of the rules has been preserved between OD&D and 5e, and yet nobody challenges either of them for whether they are or aren't D&D. Rules aren't, and never were, what makes D&D what it is.


Well, it's nice that you admit that that's the case. And, frankly, I don't expect 5.5e to be any better. "Backwards compatibility" will be the albatross around 5.5e's neck.


You have yet to show even one shred of evidence for this claim.

I did 70 pages of errata is not good game design. That's the proof right there. Theres games out there smalker than 4E errata. It's around 50% of some of my games rules.

You also have provided 0 proof either in your claims BTW.

4E pretty much laid out expected numbers on a spread sheet. And still failed because they couldn't account for all the moving parts.

If you wanted even more balanced design you do tgat again and take away the options of all those powers and grant fixed ones instead a'la Pre 3E.

More moving parts more chances of broken stuff. Fairly simple concept. No amount of playtesting will catch all of the interactions.

Hell 4E slowed the game to a crawl and made it not fun. So as I said they broke it in different ways and were constantly hot patching it. Collapsed under its own weight/UI.
 

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