Monster design and expected bonus to hit...

Are monster bonus to hits too high?

  • No

    Votes: 20 87.0%
  • Yes

    Votes: 3 13.0%
  • Lanefan's polls are better

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Poll closed .
I am working on converting an encounter for some 15th level PCs and have a question.

A 'core' 17th level Skirmisher has a +21 vs AC basic attack.
The parties ACs range from about 26 {Striker} to 31 {tank}, meaning this critter has at worst a 50% chance to hit.

Toss in an expected Combat advantage and this ups to 60%.. and a measly 15% chance to miss the Striker.

This doesn't feel right, so I thought I would check with y'all smart folks. Is that right?

If not, Has anyone done the math to come up with 'standard' to hit bonuses for critters?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Mengu

First Post
Monster attack bonus (per DMG) is:

Brute: Level+3
Skirmisher/Lurker/Controller: Level+5
Soldier/Artillery: Level+7

No, I don't think these are too high. In your case though, I'd re-examine the AC's in the group. They seem to be on the low side, though still within reason if tank is a part time striker build, and striker is a back liner.
 

I´d rather had a 2 point lower to hit chance of monsters with a bit higher damage.

This would make better use of the d20 as you are in the 40%-60% range.
 

bganon

Explorer
A monster two levels above the party generally is going to hit them fairly often.

And why do you expect it to have CA? 15th level PCs should have a variety of ways to avoid being flanked.

Also, a wizard with no armor feats, in +3 cloth, wlll have AC 26 at 15th level. Sure, wizards have decent AC in 4e, but clearly your striker is not prioritizing AC very much. If they've made a choice to have low AC, then you shouldn't feel too bad about hitting them a lot.
 

fba827

Adventurer
also pcs could get stuff like cover, concealment (and higher) from a variety of terrain and powers. (not to mention power bonuses).
 

mkill

Adventurer
A 'core' 17th level Skirmisher has a +21 vs AC basic attack. The parties ACs range from about 26 {Striker} to 31 {tank}, meaning this critter has at worst a 50% chance to hit.

Those AC values are very low. Can we see the builds please? Either you plain miscalculated, or you forgot the starting magic equipment, or masterwork armor, or the PCs aren't built very well.

My Paladin had 31 AC at 11th level already (plate + shield + feat). Granted, that's on the high end for a defender, but it shouldn't be much lower. Defenders should be between 16+level and 20+level, so at 17th level that's 33 - 37.

Strikers can survive with a low AC, if they stay out of melee. If not, though, you're dead quickly.
 

Hejdun

First Post
A 15th level defender with a shield should have an AC of at least:
10
+ 7 for 1/2 lvl
+ 3 enhancement
+ 10 masterwork scale
+ 2 heavy shield
__________
32

Reasonably you can add +2 from more magical armor and masterwork bonus, +1 feat, +1 plate. You should also have some ways to consistently get some conditional bonuses to AC through items of powers. In this case, the defender with a 31 AC seems slightly low.

However, in general, monsters typically have a very high chance to hit PCs regardless of level. Average hit rates of over 60% are the rule rather than the exception.
 


:hmm: The striker build is, um... mine. I am away from the campaign and helping my co-dm prep for the adventure. Ranged striker with no intent on getting into melee combat or staying there for long if dragged into it, so I agree his melee AC was not a priority on the build. His cloak of concealment and longbow range usually keeps him out of trouble.

The Tank is a Paladin whose player is new to 4e, and I wasn't really looking to closely at the build. Just checking I see that (a) his feats are augmenting his anti-undead powers to target demons, devils, outsiders, and elementals... and (b) his Heavy Shield is not equiped :-S

The encounter is on a swaying rope bridge, which is taking the slot of one of the critters in the encounter as it impacts the combat significantly. Can't say too much as some of the players lurk here, but the end result is Combat Advantage!


So far, its looking like the monster builds are on target but since the party generally has not focused on AC the options are to allow them to feel the pain for that choice or drop the critters attacks by 2 points, setting the range more freindly for the parties choice of builds.
Hmm, I think I will wait a bit longer for more opinions before finalizing the encounter build.
Thanks!
 

Hmmh, seems i am the only one not liking those high to hit bonuses on monsters. ;)

Of course i would have liked slightly lower bonuses with increased damage output/lower PC hp. A bit more swingyness is fun in my book.

Of course within the math of this game, higher hit chance with lower damage is fine.
 

keterys

First Post
The problem with lowering attack bonuses is when you run into people who do actually concentrate on defense that are backed up with some bonuses. Also, if monsters only have a 40% chance to hit, it's very easy to have a monster that doesn't hit at all (see a lot of complaints about Brutes)

I mean, an attack against AC 31 or so missed the _level 5 defender_ in the game I played yesterday. Base AC 25, he second winded most combats (dwarf) for +2, I gave him a +6 AC for a round each combat (Blades of Astral Fire with Tactician's Armor), and I had an interrupt to give an enemy a -3 attack once per encounter.

Pretty different from your party :)

Now, FRWs are often too low on PCs so you could think of attack bonuses as being too high, but I tend to think of it more as PCs' FRW defenses being too low for there, as a systemic problem.

Try using more monsters of level N, rather than N+2, if you want to drop by 2. More targets to attack, easier for PCs to hit, faster to kill stuff, more damage output.
 

mkill

Adventurer
The Paladin needs to invest some cash in Heavy War Plate +4, which should bump his AC to a more reasonable 35. It's only a level 16 item, he should have bought it a while ago (or found it in treasure).

AC 31 is plate +2. No wonder he gets beat up badly if he runs around in a loincloth.
 


Spatula

Explorer
Monster attack bonuses vs AC are generally fine. Where it breaks down is attacks vs the players' Fort/Ref/Will, which don't scale as well.
 

DanmarLOK

First Post
As a rough rule of thumb I shoot for about a base 60-70% hit rate on average for both sides of the table. I keep a running average of their attack bonuses (invoker, artificer, avenger, ranger, barbarian) and defenses and when I build monsters (rarely don't use customs) I make their attack bonuses and defenses to match. Elites and solo's obviously end up on the high end and minions and nobodies on the low. And these are just rough guidelines. I mix it up with monsters that hit easily but do less damage and monsters that miss more often but do more damage. Roughly if I drop the hit rate by 10% I boost the damage by the same amount etc. And vice versa.

I add 1/2 level damage to both sides as well (for single attacks, 1/4 level for double attacks, 1/8 level for AOE's) to boost combat speed and the tension meter.
 

The problem with lowering attack bonuses is when you run into people who do actually concentrate on defense that are backed up with some bonuses. Also, if monsters only have a 40% chance to hit, it's very easy to have a monster that doesn't hit at all (see a lot of complaints about Brutes)

I mean, an attack against AC 31 or so missed the _level 5 defender_ in the game I played yesterday. Base AC 25, he second winded most combats (dwarf) for +2, I gave him a +6 AC for a round each combat (Blades of Astral Fire with Tactician's Armor), and I had an interrupt to give an enemy a -3 attack once per encounter.

Pretty different from your party :)

Now, FRWs are often too low on PCs so you could think of attack bonuses as being too high, but I tend to think of it more as PCs' FRW defenses being too low for there, as a systemic problem.

Try using more monsters of level N, rather than N+2, if you want to drop by 2. More targets to attack, easier for PCs to hit, faster to kill stuff, more damage output.
Yeah, the way the rules work it is fine. ;) But my solution would be use more elites of 4 levels lower: -4 to hit, nearly double damage ;)
 

S'mon

Legend
Don't use non-brute monsters 2 levels higher than the party if you don't want them to hit a lot!

The most fun fight I ran recently, it was a bunch of brutes, minions & artillery 1 level lower than the party. The PCs chewed through them extremely quickly and a great time was had by all. By contrast, with over-levelled creatures the grind sets in very fast.
 

babinro

First Post
I fall into the minority here in that I feel monster to hit feels high. However, I should clarify this is more for NAD's then AC. I've noticed all too often that if I have a monster that primarily target that defense will hit on a natural 3 or 4. Granted, PC's have low defenses here and there, but even a PC with low AC will tend to be missed by the same natural.

This doesn't particularly ruin the game mind you, players can take powers to lessen the %65 or so hit rate of monsters.

To my surprise, the only exception to the defense rules in my current game is the Fey Warlock, who is extremely difficult to hit and is often missed with natural 13 and 14's. In truth I haven't looked closely at the sheet to see if anything is illegal, but defensively, they far are far and away the best class I've seen in action.
 

keterys

First Post
I still think the problem there is with the design of character FRWs, not with the design of monster attacks against them.
 

Epametheus

First Post
Monsters don't really have high attack bonuses. The issue feels more that PCs just have terrible defenses if they don't blow 4 or more of their feats on shoring up their defenses.
 

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