D&D 5E Project Monsters by Level (not CR)

dave2008

Legend
I'm not sure I see the big difference. What's challenging monster for this level vs what's a challenging CR (= monster) for this level 🤔
And what will be the result? A few pages of guidelines, or do you plan on converting all MM monsters?
Not trying to be snarky, I'm just really trying to understand
For example, you said a CR 5 monster is equivalent to a PC of level 10-11. But was does that mean? Equivalent in what way? Does that mean a fight between the two is 50/50? Is related simply to XP (which I started with ) or something else? Do Giffy or FoF state that, IDK? Maybe they do.

I stated I wanted a monster of the same level as a PC to be a "challenge" to that PC. I am still working out what that "challenge" is, but my initial thought (in the OP) was half the PCs resources. I don't know if that is similar to Giffy and FoF or not, but I am guessing it is not.

EDIT: I just wanted to add that in the end there may not be a big difference. But I don't know that yet.
 
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dave2008

Legend
I couple of thoughts here:
I meant the way CR is determined (resistance to non magic weapons affecting CR despite being worthless at level 5 at the latest,
That is very group dependent.
save or suck spells not affecting CR, but flame bolt does, stuff like that)
Save or such spells do affect CR, someone even pointed out up thread how they (WotC) figure them. I have a method I use as well. Now, I do wish the DMG gave advice on how to do this, but they do mention in the DMG monster creation guidelines that spells affect the CR.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
For example, you said a CR 5 monster is equivalent to a PC of level 10-11. But was does that mean? Equivalent in what way? Does that mean a fight between the two is 50/50? Is related simply to XP (which I started with ) or something else? Do Giffy or FoF state that, IDK? Maybe they do.

I stated I wanted a monster of the same level as a PC to be a "challenge" to that PC. I am still working out what that "challenge" is, but my initial thought (in the OP) was half the PCs resources. I don't know if that is similar to Giffy and FoF or not, but I am guessing it is not.

So you'd want a 2-encounter day (as a close call) for an "even" encounter?
 


palikhov

Ukrainian
For example, you said a CR 5 monster is equivalent to a PC of level 10-11. But was does that mean? Equivalent in what way? Does that mean a fight between the two is 50/50? Is related simply to XP (which I started with ) or something else? Do Giffy or FoF state that, IDK? Maybe they do.

I stated I wanted a monster of the same level as a PC to be a "challenge" to that PC. I am still working out what that "challenge" is, but my initial thought (in the OP) was half the PCs resources. I don't know if that is similar to Giffy and FoF or not, but I am guessing it is not.

EDIT: I just wanted to add that in the end there may not be a big difference. But I don't know that yet.
for similar reasons i began with most simple decision - deadly encounter for me is probability of losing equal 50%
But it is not very helpful in describing other levels of challenges ....
Also, i think about using encounter building system. I create encounters usually by world requirements. If platoon has 20 guards and 1 knight - then so be it.
If bandits encounter is 2d6 and i roll 12 for 1st lvl PCs then so be it.
But sometimes i need tool to measure how difficult combat will be.
For example 6 PC 6 lvl vs adult black dragon and cleric 9 - and current system not gives me such tool.
And i clearly understand that there are other factors which influence on challenge : tactics, terrain, consumable items and access to permanent items.
But all notes about this in paper notebook (i teorycrafting when in Ukraine we haven't electricty in November - February) - and i need to find it.
If you interested - i will do it.
 

palikhov

Ukrainian
Also - I know that WoTC creates average stats hoping that pcs will hit in 65%, but i not understand what hit probability for monsters was in their design documents. i think - ~40% (I hope to rebalance system to make monsters more similar to pc in sense of number of hit-points and average dmg/to hit - now we have different metrics for monsters and pc - monster has more hit-points and less ac, less to hit and more dmg);
 

Save or such spells do affect CR, someone even pointed out up thread how they (WotC) figure them. I have a method I use as well. Now, I do wish the DMG gave advice on how to do this, but they do mention in the DMG monster creation guidelines that spells affect the CR.
I must completely have missed that?
 

dave2008

Legend
I must completely have missed that?
Well like I said, the DMG advice is very scant. It says they need to be accounted for, but not how:

1682934488544.png


Regarding how WotC does it, it was post #47 above. However, the original source was a podcast with Jeremey Crawford. The link on Blog of Holding no longer works, but Paul summarizes it here:

"In the podcast, Jeremy Crawford talked about how the D&D team approaches what he calls “action denial” attacks: paralysis, charm, etc. This is something I’ve wondered about. My initial research suggested that these attacks didn’t have much of an effect on CR, which I though was strange: taking out a combatant for a few turns seems like it should be a powerful ability.

Jeremy used paralysis as an example to illustrate the team’s approach. First, find the lowest-level spell which inflicts a condition. For paralysis, that’s Hold Person. Next, you translate that into damage by finding the damage output of the simplest pure-damage spell of that level. Hold Person is level 2, and its comparable damage spell is Scorching Ray, which does 6d6 (21) damage. Thus, the ability to paralyze is worth 21 “virtual” damage for Challenge Rating calculation purposes.
"

This is a similar approach to what I have done for years when determining spell impacts on CR except I use the DMG spell damage table. Unfortunately that seems to give you a lower value (16 virtual damage).

EDIT: If you read Paul's analysis in that article, you see that he has a fundamental misunderstanding of how to apply the DMG guidelines. His analysis determines WotC doesn't do what they are saying; however, when I run the numbers through the DMG guide, they match up. They do account for paralysis as Jeremey said (I checked through the mummy - they all match the CR produced by the DMG guidelines and assume 21 damage for paralysis with the exception of the carrion crawler and I believe that is explained by its unusually high attack bonus).
 
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NotAYakk

Legend
Could you give me a practical example of this, as I'm having trouble picturing it. The old brain ain't quite as sharp as it was once.

For example, if I wanted to make a monster where three of them was "worth" about 1 "regular" monster of the same level (or CR) or alternately, I wanted to make a monster that was "worth" THREE regular monsters, how ought I multiply them?
I'll start with a toy model.

The PCs do 100 damage per round. Monsters have 100 HP, and do 30 damage per round.

You fight 3 monsters. If the PCs lose initiative, the PCs take 90 + 60 + 30 = 180 damage.

To "win" initiative, they have to all 3 beat the initiative of the monster they chose to focus fire, killing it before it acts. That is relatively unlikely on round 1. There is a higher chance on later rounds.

Now we want a combo-monster "worth" 3 monsters to last as long. So we want 300 HP, give or take (X times the HP, where X is 3). The fight takes 3 rounds.

--

Under my model, the 3x combo monster should do (1+X)/2 the damage of a single monster, where X is 3.

So the 3x monster monster does 60 damage per round. The PCs take 60+60+60 = 180 damage.

The idea is that this roughly lines up with the damage they take against the 3 separate monsters.


Basically. Surviving two encounters with a monster of your level would, in theory completely drain you of resources, if not take you down.

At least that was my initial thought - it may change!
a) Just dice will mean that a single encounter with monsters of your level is going to have a decent chance of a PC being dead, unless the PCs are optimized and "better than they should be". Like 10%. And PCs in 5e have to undergo 100+ fights to hit level 20.

Nobody gets to level 20 without "cheating" in the described system. You don't win 100s of close to even duels.

b) Variation of PC build power level is high enough that you'll generate a hard incentive to pick OP PCs. Less OP PCs will die a lot. If you then rebalance for said OP PCs, the process repeats, until you have at best a handful of viable PC builds.

c) 5e PCs are not designed around 2 encounter days. The endurance vs power output of PCs varies significantly between classes. A rogue's only daily and per-encounter resources is HD; in contrast, a wizard's resources are almost all on a per-day basis. Over a mere 2 encounters, the wizard can dump an entire day's worth of resources and be exhausted; the rogue, in contrast, is at worst a single large heal spell away from being 100% effective after the 2nd fight.

Draining the Rogue's resources precisely would require extreme fine tuning, and would fail at least half of the time, because the only resource you can drain is HP. And the Rogue can't "choose to spend HP". For the Wizard, they get to pick how fast they burn down their spells; depending on perceived danger, they are likely to "overkill" and burn too many spells rather than let themselves fall to single digit HP.

A fine-tuning that both forces the wizard to use all of their spells and drains both of the wizard and rogue's HD and drops them to single-digit HP is inplausible.
 

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