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D&D 3E/3.5 v4: Challenge Ratings pdf (3.5 compatible)

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi all! :)

Okay a bit later than I expected, but I always get there in the end. ;)

For those of you who don't already know what this pdf is:

Appendix One (Challenging Challenge Ratings) details how to accurately determine a monsters Challenge Rating (all core and epic monster CRs are given at the end of the appendix).
Appendix Two (Encountering Encounter Levels) outlines how Challenge Ratings properly relate to Encounter Levels .
Appendix Three (Design Parameters) gives some advice on how to balance class and monster design.

Benefits of this system
• Accuracy: it generates much more accurate results.
• Balance: provides guidelines for homebrew monster design.
• Certainty: removes guesswork, which often leads to mistakes.
• Exploratory: promotes experimentation with the system.
• Flexibility: provides more campaign flexibility (such as restructuring for Low Magic campaigns).
• Integral: easily integrated into the current rules.
• Modular: can be adjusted and tailored by individual DMs.
• Necessity: is a virtual necessity at epic levels, otherwise any thoughts of balance quickly unravel.
• Sensible: elements like Monster Advancement now credibly handled.
• Unlimited: functions at any conceivable measure of power.

Thanks to everyone for their support, and let me know what you think. I appreciate all constructive criticism.
 

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Wulf Ratbane

Adventurer
Upper_Krust said:
Would you let me know if its all working okay mate? Just to be sure. ;)

Well, the PDF seems to have printed ok, if that's what you mean.

As for whether the system is working or not... checks for ability score increases...

EDIT: Section 10: UK, this explanation is perfect. I, personally, thank you!

The only change I would make, as a DM, is simply to mention how "lucky rolls" can and will affect the actual challenge of any given encounter. What's appropriate, encounter wise, for an average ability array is going to be easier for a character (or an entire party) with lucky rolls, and I think DM's deserve to know that.

The one glaring omission from my point of view is your Section 15/Copyright notice. ;)


Wulf
 
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Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hello again mate! :)

Wulf Ratbane said:
Well, the PDF seems to have printed ok, if that's what you mean.

:D

Thats it thanks.

Wulf Ratbane said:
As for whether the system is working or not... checks for ability score increases...

EDIT: Section 10: UK, this explanation is perfect. I, personally, thank you!

Put your trust in Krust! ;)

Wulf Ratbane said:
The only change I would make, as a DM, is simply to mention how "lucky rolls" can and will affect the actual challenge of any given encounter. What's appropriate, encounter wise, for an average ability array is going to be easier for a character (or an entire party) with lucky rolls, and I think DM's deserve to know that.

I would simply add +1 CR for every +10 'relevant' bonus ability points (above elite array). By relevant I mean is the stat relevant to the class? I mean a Fighter will benefit more from a Strength increase than a Charisma increase.

Wulf Ratbane said:
The one glaring omission from my point of view is your Section 15/Copyright notice. ;)

Cheeky. :p
 

Wulf Ratbane

Adventurer
I am noticing a lot of spots that could be clearer-- in some cases it seems to me that you know what you are talking about and make assumptions that the reader will, too. This is a common and natural tendency after spending so long with your own document.

Example: page 3, Size modifiers. What does the Colossal +, ++, +++ mean? And why does the CR start to reduce? (I assume these are Epic notations?)

Would you like for me to start making a comprehensive list?


Wulf
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hiya mate! :)

Wulf Ratbane said:
I am noticing a lot of spots that could be clearer-- in some cases it seems to me that you know what you are talking about and make assumptions that the reader will, too. This is a common and natural tendency after spending so long with your own document.

Undoubtedly. Probably also a result of wanting to keep the page number down where possible.

Wulf Ratbane said:
Example: page 3, Size modifiers. What does the Colossal +, ++, +++ mean? And why does the CR start to reduce? (I assume these are Epic notations?)

Colossal + is from the Epic Rules, but I explain the others in the Immortals Handbook. Feel free to ignore them. I may change certain aspects of them before the Immortals Handbook is released, I'm not happy with sizes above Colossal at the moment.

Wulf Ratbane said:
Would you like for me to start making a comprehensive list?

Sure. Thanks. :)
 

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
Yes!

Whooohoooooooooo!!! :D

At last, The Gather.... Erh, I mean finally we get v4. Oh, how I've waited.
You can expect a hail of questions and comments from me UK!

Now, must read.
 

maggot

First Post
First of all, great work. Thank you very much.

Now for some questions:

How come damage for breath weapons and touch attacks are expressed in dice of damage? Shouldn't it be average damage. It makes it tough to convert 10d10 fire damage into CR.

There is a discrepency between the breath weapon CR multiple for ranged single target effect (x1) and the example gorgon (x1.5).

How is the ghoul's touch attack CR+0.1 when the value is CR+0.1/spell level? What spell is the touch simulating? I would say at least CR+0.2.

Should a creature that gains abilities with stat bonuses (such as an incorporeal undead gaining deflection bonus with gains in charisma) receive a CR adjustment because of this? I'm thinking of a spectre sorcerer gets a whole lot more out of eagle's splendor than a kobold sorcerer?

And maybe in the same vein, shouldn't a creature that has multiple attacks have more of a CR increase when its strength increases? All the damage CRs listed was without strength, but a point of strength does a lot more for a marilith's multiple attacks than for a nightwalker.

Should a bonus feat that is selectable such as a human bonus feat be worth more than a fixed bonus feat? (I'm not sure, but a creature just like a human but with power attack as a bonus feat seams weaker than a human in a lot of ways.)

I noticed elves did not get adjustments for their martial weapons, and dwarves did not get adjustments for their weapon familiarity.

Now an overall design question: If a party of four 20th level charcters (PEL 20) took on a balor (EL20), the would get 6000xp (300*party level) and use about 25% of their resources (table 2-6). If the same party tackled two balors at the same time (EL 22), the xp would be 12000 (600*party level) and they would use about 50% of their resources (table 2-6). But this second result is the same as fighting two combats each against one balor. I would say that fighting two balors at once is significantly harder than fighting one balor at a time twice. I realize this is a problem with the standard CR system as well, but I would like a solution for this flaw.

Again, thank you for all your hard work. Sorry for the long post, but I'm really exited about all this work, and would love to put it into play.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi all! :)

I have been trying to post in ENWorld for a while but its very slow, so if I don't get to respond tonight I will tomorrow morning. ;)

Hey Sorcica mate! :)

Sorcica said:
Whooohoooooooooo!!! :D

:D

Sorcica said:
At last, The Gather.... Erh, I mean finally we get v4. Oh, how I've waited.

Its taken a lot longer than expected (primarily because of the revised CRs). :eek:

Sorcica said:
You can expect a hail of questions and comments from me UK!

Appreciate the feedback mate! :)
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi there maggot! :)

maggot said:
First of all, great work. Thank you very much.

My pleasure, glad you like it.

maggot said:
Now for some questions:

Fire away.

maggot said:
How come damage for breath weapons and touch attacks are expressed in dice of damage? Shouldn't it be average damage.

The reason is twofold. Firstly because I want to make things as accessible as possible.

Secondly because it ties in with everything I'm setting up with the Immortals Handbook and the Design Parameters where I advocate things are always rated using the same type of dice: force d4; energy d6; aligned damage d8 etc.

So this way you can have in the Design Parameters that you gain 40 dice for a Breath weapon at 40 HD and its all uncomplicated.

maggot said:
It makes it tough to convert 10d10 fire damage into CR.

10d10 = 55 divided by 3.5 = 15.7 d6

maggot said:
There is a discrepency between the breath weapon CR multiple for ranged single target effect (x1) and the example gorgon (x1.5).

So it appears. DOH! :eek:

maggot said:
How is the ghoul's touch attack CR+0.1 when the value is CR+0.1/spell level? What spell is the touch simulating? I would say at least CR+0.2.

Well technically I would rate Paralysis Touch as +0.2, But the Ghouls Paralysis Touch is really weak, hence it was reduced a bit.

maggot said:
Should a creature that gains abilities with stat bonuses (such as an incorporeal undead gaining deflection bonus with gains in charisma) receive a CR adjustment because of this? I'm thinking of a spectre sorcerer gets a whole lot more out of eagle's splendor than a kobold sorcerer?

I usually give a flat bonus for things like that. Usually five times the minimum bonus (or ten times for epic monsters).

eg. Deflection would give a minimum of +0.1 (1 point of deflection) so Deflection in a template would rate +0.5 (or +1 on an epic template/monster).

maggot said:
And maybe in the same vein, shouldn't a creature that has multiple attacks have more of a CR increase when its strength increases? All the damage CRs listed was without strength, but a point of strength does a lot more for a marilith's multiple attacks than for a nightwalker.

I prefer to keep ability scores tied to why they ascend rather than the effects the ascension creates.

maggot said:
Should a bonus feat that is selectable such as a human bonus feat be worth more than a fixed bonus feat? (I'm not sure, but a creature just like a human but with power attack as a bonus feat seams weaker than a human in a lot of ways.)

I think its easiest to just rate them all equal.

maggot said:
I noticed elves did not get adjustments for their martial weapons, and dwarves did not get adjustments for their weapon familiarity.

There are probably a few minor bonuses that I omitted; either I missed them completely or they were so insignificant that I chose to leave them out.

maggot said:
Now an overall design question: If a party of four 20th level charcters (PEL 20) took on a balor (EL20), the would get 6000xp (300*party level) and use about 25% of their resources (table 2-6). If the same party tackled two balors at the same time (EL 22), the xp would be 12000 (600*party level) and they would use about 50% of their resources (table 2-6). But this second result is the same as fighting two combats each against one balor. I would say that fighting two balors at once is significantly harder than fighting one balor at a time twice. I realize this is a problem with the standard CR system as well, but I would like a solution for this flaw.

I'll have a think about it.

maggot said:
Again, thank you for all your hard work.

My pleasure.

maggot said:
Sorry for the long post,

Don't be silly, no apologies necessary...it wasn't that long anyway you should see some of my other threads. :eek:

maggot said:
but I'm really exited about all this work, and would love to put it into play.

Well have fun getting your feet wet with it. :)
 

maggot

First Post
Upper_Krust said:
Hi there maggot! :)

Hello and thanks for responding.

Upper_Krust said:
I think its easiest to just rate them all equal.

Well, I was thinking of using your CR ratings for player character races, and some feats are more powerful than others, and selection of a range of feats is more powerful than just one feat. I'm willing to dump the "some feats are more powerful" thing, but I'm reluctant to drop the selection criteria. Kind of like how you give bonuses to classes for class skills and for skill points.

Upper_Krust said:
Well have fun getting your feet wet with it. :)
/QUOTE]

Just to tell you what I'm up to, I want to change the definition of undead for my new campaign. So for example, all undead will be immune to cold as well as other things. Thus, I need to revise the CRs for all undead, but with your system that will be trivial.

Thanks.
 

Kerrick

First Post
Got it, downloaded it, but I haven't looked at it. I'll be offline for a few days, so I'll take the opportunity then and let you know what I think when I come back next week. :)
 


Wulf Ratbane

Adventurer
Upper_Krust said:
Well technically I would rate Paralysis Touch as +0.2, But the Ghouls Paralysis Touch is really weak, hence it was reduced a bit.

For a quick estimate of where WOTC rates it:

Take the save DC.
Subtract 10.
Subtract the bonus due to the ability mod (Ghoul's CHA mod).

The end result is right about the spell level of the ability.

Ghoul's touch at Lvl 1, Ghast at Lvl 2.

I suppose you could use this method to figure out where WOTC rates all kinds of special attacks with save DC's...


Wulf
 

Wulf Ratbane

Adventurer
I have comments up through page six.

First of all, I can't tell you how loathe I am to point things out after you went through the trouble of calculating CR's for every monster. Every thing I mention is gonna grate on you. Sorry in advance!

ONE

How Do Factors Work?


Round down all fractions if the total is 4 or more,

Meaning, drop all fractions.

if the total is less than 4 apply the result to Table 1-1.

Why does the cat (-1.035) round down to -1.5, when the table shows an entry for -1.25? I'd be inclined to round it to -1, or -1.25, but it doesn't seem clear why you'd skip the -1.25 entry. I'd "fix" this by changing the CR, as well as clarifying the text to say, "Round down to the next lowest value on the table: -1.01 drops to -1.25, -1.26 drops to -1.5, etc."

Oh, and by the way, that's a comma splice; you want a semi-colon. ;)

TWO

1. Character Levels


All Class Prestige Levels: CR 0.8 / level

What happened to 1 CR = 1 Level?

What is the correct CR of an 8th level human rogue (including all factors)? You'd add CR for levels, + CR for wealth? (And assuming that we're rounding off the racial modifier for humans to 0, per the DM's option?

Clearly I think I know the answer to this one, but for someone who's reading this thing linearly, they've just heard you say how important 1 Level = 1 CR is, then you seemingly break that rule. A simple reminder that "Player characters add +.2 CR/level for equipment (see section X.X)" would help here.

The Fiendish template is identical to the celestial template except for the following:

... and presumably Smite Evil changes to Smite Good.

Half-Celestial Templates

CR variable +3.2 (1 HD) to 9.87 (20 HD)

I found the word "variable" confusing here. What other HD scaling effects would cause the CR to be variable? It would be helpful to flag the factors that vary by HD. What if I want a 6HD Half-Celestial? It's not immediately apparent how to calculate that, so I find this section (unfortunately) useless.

I suspect it's some application of the golden rule...?

Lich Template: Skill Bonuses (+56) CR +1.12

I have more to say on skill bonuses later. I flag this here and now because it jumps out at me in relation to the human "racial" factor coming up, which caps the value of +1 skill point per level at CR +.1 (.02 x 5 max).

I think there needs to be some distinction between fixed, racial bonuses to skills (+8 to Hide, for example) versus bonus "discretionary" skill points (+1 skill point per level for humans; greater number of skill points per HD for other types (Fey and Dragons have a lot of skills per HD if I recall...)

I might simply fix this by more specifically referring to "skill bonuses" as "Racial Skill Bonuses" which is the terminology already used for fixed bonuses.

THREE

Challenge Rating Modifier For Size


I'd love it if this section broke down all the factors for each size that you ARE including.

Quick question: Why did you decide not to include natural armor, since WOTC considers this part and parcel of a size increase when advancing monsters?

TRAITS

Challenge Rating Modifiers For Traits


Quick point: It occurs to me that in places you call them challeng rating factors, in other places, challenge rating modifiers. Were I an editor (and sometimes I am) I'd fight hard for consistent terminology.

TYPE TRAITS

I'd like to see every one of the types broken down here to show where the factors are-- not half of them here, and half of them in Table 1-3. I'd like to see Aberrations broken out, for example.

FOUR

RACIAL TRAITS


DM's discretion to ignore the impact of core racial traits less than +1 CR.

A few points here.

First, it seems all the core races are .5 or less. Why not ignore .5 or less?

I also wonder about the golden rule when applied to player character races. I am not sure why a player should get a "discount" to ECL by adding factors that exceed his starting 1 HD.

What are the CRs for planetouched and genasi, out of curiosity?

Are there any official races that add more than +1 ECL without also adding HD?

FIVE

8. FULL ATTACK


I liked this better when it was based on the attack bonus. What happens when a marilith uses a dagger? Does her CR drop?

Seems this works fine for creatures with natural weapons, but breaks when the creature can use manufactured weapons. If you advance the marilith's size, for example, you'll naturally go in and add factors for size; but you'd also have to go back and recalculate this section as well.

Again, all in all I think this section was better off when it was based on number of attacks and BAB.

Ideally, the system should work such that you can change any given factor without too many "cascading" changes. (The Golden Rule would be the one big exception I can see-- but it's easily enough to fix if you keep a tally of your total factors.)

That's it for now... I wish I had more hours in the day, my friend... But after all the hard work you did, I am doing my best to give this a very careful read.


Wulf
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
maggot said:
Hello and thanks for responding.

Hello again maggot mate! :)

maggot said:
Well, I was thinking of using your CR ratings for player character races, and some feats are more powerful than others, and selection of a range of feats is more powerful than just one feat. I'm willing to dump the "some feats are more powerful" thing, but I'm reluctant to drop the selection criteria. Kind of like how you give bonuses to classes for class skills and for skill points.

Its inevitable that all feats were not created equal, but I think we can get away with using an overall average.

Regarding selection, I agree to a certain extent. But with choice you can choose better feats or worse feats depending on what you want to do. So the difference is going to be minimal.

maggot said:
Just to tell you what I'm up to, I want to change the definition of undead for my new campaign. So for example, all undead will be immune to cold as well as other things. Thus, I need to revise the CRs for all undead, but with your system that will be trivial.

Glad I could help.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi kerrick mate! :)

Kerrick said:
Got it, downloaded it, but I haven't looked at it. I'll be offline for a few days, so I'll take the opportunity then and let you know what I think when I come back next week. :)

Put your feet up and enjoy.

Appreciate the feedback mate.


By the way so far no one has commented on the new layout...Good? Bad? Ugly?
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi ciaran mate! :)

ciaran00 said:
*passes out with all the excitement*

I purposely held off answering your recent questions in the other thread because I hoped v4 would do my talking for me. :p

I hope it has answered your previous questions?
 


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