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

Wulf Ratbane

Adventurer
Sorcica said:
Now, I don't want to open the can of worms that the discussion of ability scores and CR is, because I agree that a player's high stat rolls shouldn't be included. However, I DO think that any other modifier should be included.

Oh, these damned ability scores!

All ability scores SHOULD be rated-- or, at the least, the mechanic for rating them should be there. The purpose is not to have them there to "penalize" players with ECL. It's simple enough for the DM to just say, "1 Character Level = 1 CR" and leave it at that-- but that would be the exception to the "hard math" rules provided. That's just a short-cut the DM can make, knowing that it's math in the players' favor-- and that's fine.

But that's not the whole story, and it strips a lot of the utility away from UK's system.

1) The DM can look at his players' Ability Scores to calculate their "true" CR in order to challenge them appropriately. This works for both above average and below average scores.

2) The DM needs to be able to create "elite" monsters (how about a smarter or wiser ogre?) and he needs to know how an arbitrary increase in ability scores will affect CR. The definition of "arbitrary" here is an ability score that is increased NOT as a result of: increased HD (+1 per 4 HD), Size (Str, Con increases, Dex decreases as a function of size), or any of the other "template" type factors that UK has already provided. The +0.1 per +1 ability works fine here.

Regarding the "Design Parameters" section where UK makes certain recommendations for outsiders and other "supernatural" creatures, I think I am reading (or, for certain, intending to implement) that differently. I read the Design Parameters as guidelines for where the ability scores should fall-- but they are NOT freebies. I may very well agree that Outsiders should have an elite array as a baseline-- but they should PAY for that elite array, because those ability scores WILL raise the CR of that creature.

I don't particularly care if the Size template includes or does not include ability score (or natural armor) increases or not. However, whatever each size category DOES include should definitely be broken out for the user to see.

Wulf
 

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xanatos

First Post
Wulf Ratbane said:
I am sure I am not the only one who would like you to provide that file, ready or not!
I'm at a good point. I have already inserted all the data from the IH and I've began writing some formulas. Tomorrow I'll write the macros for the buttons. I think that Sunday/Monday I'll be able to send to Upper_Krust a beta release of the sheet.
The problem is that I'm not completly happy with building an Excel Spreadsheet, and I think that an Access database would be better. With the Excel Spreadsheet you put data and rules on how to manipulate data in the same place. If you want to change the rules, you can't (if next year UK will tell us that it would be better to calculate CR using different modifiers, I couldn't modify the spreadsheet AND recalculate old data. Using a database it would be possible. You save data and the manipulation functions are in the interface)

--- Bye
 
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xanatos

First Post
On attributes... Just to be sure (I cannot put the rule "at the whim of the user something happens" in a spreadsheet):
- what do you get "for free" (as a +0 modifier to CR): nothing, everything 10, Generic Creature Base (13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8) or one of your chosing between Generic Creature Base and Individual Creature Base?
- if the reply was everything 10, then you have to pay to have the Generic Creature Base or the Individual Creature Base, right?
- you then add on top of this the "free points" from Size and other templates (you have to pay for Size and other templates)
- For every 4 full dices of "monster HD" or "PC/NPC class" you get a free +1 to an attribute (or perhaps you don't have to count monster HD).

--- Bye
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Sorcica said:
Yes I did :eek:

But his lousy scores would put his CR way lower than your estimate anyways. I'm actually quite confused by your appliance (or lack of) of ability scores in CR calculation. See below, please

It all depends on whether you want to start mucking about with PCs Ability Scores. I don't, I prefer the inherant simplicity of the 1 Level = 1 CR mantra.

Sorcica said:
So I did. Which would bring the total to CR 4.39. Close to the 4.43 you get. But what about the dobbelgangers +14 to ability scores then?

I didn't rate them, same as I wouldn't have rated a PC with the same scores.

Sorcica said:
I am under the impression, as I've stated earlier, that ability modifiers that are not part of Size affect CR on a +1/0.1 basis. If not, I'm lost.

Average Ability Modifiers are included in the Size factor.

Sorcica said:
Obiviously, the Ogre's rotten mental stats are not included in his CR and neither is the Doppelganger's superior stats.

Correct.

Sorcica said:
In answering my questions on the trolls ECL, you implied that the Troll's CR didn't reflect its better than large size ability scores.

Thats correct. Remember with Troll Traits you are essentially rolling up a PC then applying the Troll Traits. With +12 bonuses to both STR and CON you could easily end up with a character with both scores in the high 20s!

Sorcica said:
Now, I don't want to open the can of worms that the discussion of ability scores and CR is, because I agree that a player's high stat rolls shouldn't be included. However, I DO think that any other modifier should be included.

All modifiers to ability scores that are not luck (or within the parameters of PC luck from starting ability scores are rated).

Sorcica said:
If the CR listings in v.4 do not include modiers from stats beyond size, two problems occur IMO:

1. Some monsters are underrated, some monsters overrated. The Troll is more dangerous than its listed CR (even enough to change the EL) and the Ogre is not as dangerous as listed (vulnerable to magic due to low wis, for example).

Just like some PCs have high ability scores, some have lower scores.

It all depends on how accurate you want to be. Everything you need to determine CRs and ECLs for both Monsters and PCs factoring Ability Scores is in v4.

Sorcica said:
2. It is not possible to use the CR listings as ECL. One has to doublecheck to get the correct modifier from stats and size.

Comments?

You can use them, but they won't be as accurate as they would specifically determining the monsters Traits - which is effectively a Template.

Sorcica said:
Ah.. I was mislead by the elf warrior being first lvl.

Easy done, I seem to have missed a few things myself. :p

Sorcica said:
Thanks for clearing all this up, Krust.

Anytime mate

Sorcica said:
One last question: How do you rate SR that increases by lvl a la the Drow. I mean what's the ECL of a drow's SR?

Thanks.

+0.1/level of Drow.

I suppose you could just add +0.5 in total.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi xanatos mate! :)

xanatos said:
Yes, a difference that your CR rules don't count... I know that a 18 and a 6 well placed are surely better than two 12. But still you can sell back attributes at 0.1 CR/point (p. 8, second column), so there isn't any difference! And then even the Attribute is important... It's quite clear that if we put the 18 in Intelligence and the 6 in STR we will make a very poor fighter!

But why would you give a Fighter an 18 Int and a Str 6?

xanatos said:
(as a note, in the MM it's suggested that creatures should start with a base of 10 in each attr (or 11, but it doesn't change if we use only even modifiers, as suggested somewhere else)). I'm not sure how this will mix with your suggestion of using at least the "advanced" array of attributes... Perhaps you should simply have put three templates:

"base" attributes: 0 points
"advanced": 0.3 points
"elite" 1.2 points[/QUOTE]

The base array is the equivalent of 10.5 in every stat.

xanatos said:
In this way a person can simply make an elite creature using the "elite" template (yes, I do know... this means that normally "standard" monsters have a CR of 1.2 points lower than PC, because PC are built on at least the Elite array, monsters on the base array)

They could do that anyway.

xanatos said:
????? We where speaking of including or not including attributes in Size. It's something totally different. I was pointing out that there isn't any single table with absolute numbers (and not relative, like the one of the MM) that contains every modifier for size. I even think that, if you wanted to give "standard" attributes based on size, you should have used the table of page 295 (MM3.5)(table 5-1) (the one that gives examples of attributes for various sizes) (the funny thing is that those numbers are a little different from the values you can obtain using the "relative" table.

I think you can easily define average ability score figures from size.

xanatos said:
Could you post your Size breakdown?

I think its:

AC Bonus: +0.1/point
Attack Bonus: +0.1/point
Reach: +/-0.1/ft above/below 5 ft
Space: -0.2/size category above medium
Ability Scores: +/-0.1/point
Speed: +/-0.1/10 ft above/below 30 ft

xanatos said:
(I'm building an Excel spreadsheet to calculate CR... It's quite beautiful)

Great News. :cool:
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hiya Wulf mate! :)

Wulf Ratbane said:
Oh, these damned ability scores!

Tell me about 'em! :rolleyes:

Wulf Ratbane said:
All ability scores SHOULD be rated-- or, at the least, the mechanic for rating them should be there. The purpose is not to have them there to "penalize" players with ECL. It's simple enough for the DM to just say, "1 Character Level = 1 CR" and leave it at that-- but that would be the exception to the "hard math" rules provided. That's just a short-cut the DM can make, knowing that it's math in the players' favor-- and that's fine.

But that's not the whole story, and it strips a lot of the utility away from UK's system.

As I see it there are two possibilities. Either you rate ability scores exactly for everything including PC ECL or you do it my way. :p

Wulf Ratbane said:
1) The DM can look at his players' Ability Scores to calculate their "true" CR in order to challenge them appropriately. This works for both above average and below average scores.

Dangerous business that though. Really will slow you down.

Wulf Ratbane said:
2) The DM needs to be able to create "elite" monsters (how about a smarter or wiser ogre?) and he needs to know how an arbitrary increase in ability scores will affect CR. The definition of "arbitrary" here is an ability score that is increased NOT as a result of: increased HD (+1 per 4 HD), Size (Str, Con increases, Dex decreases as a function of size), or any of the other "template" type factors that UK has already provided. The +0.1 per +1 ability works fine here.

Thank you. :)

Wulf Ratbane said:
Regarding the "Design Parameters" section where UK makes certain recommendations for outsiders and other "supernatural" creatures, I think I am reading (or, for certain, intending to implement) that differently. I read the Design Parameters as guidelines for where the ability scores should fall-- but they are NOT freebies. I may very well agree that Outsiders should have an elite array as a baseline-- but they should PAY for that elite array, because those ability scores WILL raise the CR of that creature.

I think we can cut the monsters some slack within the parameters of a PCs own character creation dice rolling (45 points).

Personally I wouldn't bother rating the base ability scores including my design parameters for Ability Scores by HD unless they were something utterly ridiculous.

Wulf Ratbane said:
I don't particularly care if the Size template includes or does not include ability score (or natural armor) increases or not. However, whatever each size category DOES include should definitely be broken out for the user to see.

Okey dokey.
 

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
Upper_Krust said:
I didn't rate them, same as I wouldn't have rated a PC with the same scores.

But the doppelganger would always have higher stats than a pc with equal base scores. :confused:

Upper_Krust said:
Thats correct. Remember with Troll Traits you are essentially rolling up a PC then applying the Troll Traits. With +12 bonuses to both STR and CON you could easily end up with a character with both scores in the high 20s!

Yes. But it is difficult to judge from your list of CRs what factors have been included and which that haven't. So one has to doublecheck, especially when it comes to ECL.

Upper_Krust said:
All modifiers to ability scores that are not luck (or within the parameters of PC luck from starting ability scores are rated).

:confused: Does this mean that you wouldn't rate a +6 modifier for a medium size monster, since this is well within the luck range of a PC?
I don't understand.

Upper_Krust said:
Just like some PCs have high ability scores, some have lower scores.

:confused: I don't get your meaning.

Upper_Krust said:
You can use them, but they won't be as accurate as they would specifically determining the monsters Traits - which is effectively a Template.

So it is adviceable to doublecheck if using a monster as a character?

Upper_Krust said:
+0.1/level of Drow.

I suppose you could just add +0.5 in total.

Please elaborate. If using a average, shouldn't it be +1 CR for 10 lvls then?

See ya.
 
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Wulf Ratbane

Adventurer
Upper_Krust said:
Dangerous business that though. Really will slow you down..

Nah. The "luck factor" of a PCs ability scores only happens ONCE, at character creation. Beyond that, all ability increases should be attributable to level advances and equipment, neh? It's not as if I have to constantly recalculate on the fly.

So if I know immediately after character creation that Jimmy the Fighter has above average scores (say, +1.2) then I can figure on that same increase forever. I know that his CR will always be 1.2 + Level + Equipment.

I can do the same thing across the whole party. If the whole party of four characters is similarly above average, I'll make sure that the monsters I throw at them are Total Party Level +4.8 CR per encounter, if I want to keep the PCs appropriately challenged.


Wulf
 

seasong

First Post
Lich seems to be off a bit - the lowest ECL lich possible is ECL 18, with an effective undead HD vs turning of 15. At the very minimum, turn resistance should be upped for the lich, so he has the vaguest possibility of surviving an encounter with a similar ECL cleric.

On top of that, however... the lich, at +4 ECL, gives up two levels worth of spells for a few extra abilities. At +7 ECL, it's no longer even vaguely worth it. It would be like a wizard reaching 11th level and saying, "You know? I've done about all I want to with magic. I think I'll spend the next 7 levels as a Fighter!"... except that the wizard/fighter would get more hit points. And an improved BAB. And 4 fighter feats ;).

The problem, I think, is that the lich has quite a few low-power abilities, and no high-power abilities at all - the result is a creature who, at +7 ECL, isn't quite good enough at anything (but who, at +4 ECL, has a few more options than it probably should).

-seasong
 

Kerrick

First Post
Ahh. Question: What do you with a spell system that goes above 9th-level spells (like, as someone mentioned, metamagic spells, or the level-based epic spell system our group uses)?

Not sure I understand the question mate?

Is this a question about the Immortals Handbook?

I was referring to spell immunity. What if you have a system (like the one I've got written up) that allows for spells above 9th level - not just slots for metamagic, but actual spells? It would necessarily increase the modifier for total spell immunity, unless the ability means that the creature is NOT immune to epic spells (which, incidentally, I think would have to be the case, since there's no level cap to the spells in our system).

Oh for goodness sake! :D

You can't please all the people all the time.

Yeah, yeah. I'm an editor, and a perfectionist - what can I say? :)

Okay, I may just be dense or something, but I'm still having problems with the EL system. Example: I tallied up an encounter with 5 average salamanders (CR 6). Total CR: 30 (EL 20), with an adjustment of +4 (5 creatures), for a total of EL 24?? That doesn't sound right.. the DMG says it's EL 11, which sounds closer to the mark.

Another example: 20 wights (CR 3): total CR 60 (EL 20), adjustment +8. EL 28? A mid-level cleric could blast them all before they did any real damage, as could a mid-levle mage with a couple fireballs.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi Sorcica mate! :)

Sorcica said:
But the doppelganger would always have higher stats than a pc with equal base scores.

How would it? :confused:

Sorcica said:
Yes. But it is difficult to judge from your list of CRs what factors have been included and which that haven't. So one has to doublecheck, especially when it comes to ECL.

If you want it to be more accurate, then yes.

Sorcica said:
:confused: Does this mean that you wouldn't rate a +6 modifier for a medium size monster, since this is well within the luck range of a PC?

I don't understand.

Okay. If I roll up a character using the 4d6 method I could end up with six 18's (unlikely I know but bear with me). Whereas if I choose the standard array I have an average of 10.5. So that means I could roll up a character with 45 points more than the standard array.

If I was detailing a monster I wouldn't rate ability scores (except where I already say I do: in things like Templates; Size; Traits etc.) unless they were

Sorcica said:
:confused: I don't get your meaning.

Well PCs don't all have the same ability scores but they are still all +1 Level = +1 CR.

Sorcica said:
So it is adviceable to doublecheck if using a monster as a character?

I would just recreate it as a Template/Traits.

Sorcica said:
Please elaborate. If using a average, shouldn't it be +1 CR for 10 lvls then?

Yes. If we rate the traits its going to be Traits +0.1/level more than 1st*

*since spell resistance at 1st-level is already rated.

Sorcica said:

Cheerio. :)
 

Matrix Sorcica

Adventurer
Upper_Krust said:
How would it? :confused:

You illustrate it yourself with your example below:

Upper_Krust said:
Okay. If I roll up a character using the 4d6 method I could end up with six 18's (unlikely I know but bear with me). Whereas if I choose the standard array I have an average of 10.5. So that means I could roll up a character with 45 points more than the standard array.

If you rolled six 18's and you wanted to play a doppelganger, you would have far better scores than even the PC that rolled straight 18's. Therefore a doppelganger would always have better stats than a character with the same base stats.
Shouldn't this be rated? Of course it should be rated if you using the monster as a PC, but what about monster encounter CR? Going by your logic, you could meet a medium size monster with all 18's and CR wouldn't be affected because conceivably a PC could have rolled the same. Do I get it right if I think that you mean that if you use a monster as is, i.e. 10 and 11's, don't adjust for stat modifiers except size etc., and if using a monster with 'rolled' stats, adjust for racial modifiers?

Upper_Krust said:
Well PCs don't all have the same ability scores but they are still all +1 Level = +1 CR.

But a race of superbeings with +10 to all stats would be +6 CR even if they don't rolled the same stats. Far superior to core races. But you wouldn't rate this, except if someone wanted to play one of these things?

Upper_Krust said:

Cheers. :)

Edit: I think I'm having bigger and bigger problems with the ability scores not being factored in CR as listed.
Take the succubus. If she had a 10 in charisma her spell like abilities isn't all that frightening. But she has 26 and she becomes extremely dangerous. Shouldn't this be reflected in CR?
 
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Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi Kerrick mate! :)

Kerrick said:
I was referring to spell immunity. What if you have a system (like the one I've got written up) that allows for spells above 9th level - not just slots for metamagic, but actual spells? It would necessarily increase the modifier for total spell immunity, unless the ability means that the creature is NOT immune to epic spells (which, incidentally, I think would have to be the case, since there's no level cap to the spells in our system).

I would agree with the latter. Such a creature is not immune to epic spells. But just as they have no limit; neither does Spell Immunity. ;)

Kerrick said:
Yeah, yeah. I'm an editor, and a perfectionist - what can I say? :)

:D

Kerrick said:
Okay, I may just be dense or something, but I'm still having problems with the EL system. Example: I tallied up an encounter with 5 average salamanders (CR 6). Total CR: 30 (EL 20), with an adjustment of +4 (5 creatures), for a total of EL 24?? That doesn't sound right.. the DMG says it's EL 11, which sounds closer to the mark.

CR 6 = EL 11 (as per Table 2-1)
5 Creatures = EL +4 (as per Table 2-3)
Final EL 15

EL 15 is a moderate encounter for a 12th-level party (PEL 15) or a 50/50 encounter for a 6th-level party (PEL 11).

Kerrick said:
Another example: 20 wights (CR 3): total CR 60 (EL 20), adjustment +8. EL 28? A mid-level cleric could blast them all before they did any real damage, as could a mid-levle mage with a couple fireballs.

CR 3 = EL 7 (as per Table 2-1)
20 creatures = EL +8 (as per Table 2-3)
Final EL 15

EL 15 is a moderate encounter for a 12th-level party (PEL 15) or a 50/50 encounter for a 6th-level party (PEL 11).

If that doesn't help I will take you through it in more detail. :)
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi Wulf mate! :)

Wulf Ratbane said:
Nah. The "luck factor" of a PCs ability scores only happens ONCE, at character creation. Beyond that, all ability increases should be attributable to level advances and equipment, neh? It's not as if I have to constantly recalculate on the fly.

So if I know immediately after character creation that Jimmy the Fighter has above average scores (say, +1.2) then I can figure on that same increase forever. I know that his CR will always be 1.2 + Level + Equipment.

I can do the same thing across the whole party. If the whole party of four characters is similarly above average, I'll make sure that the monsters I throw at them are Total Party Level +4.8 CR per encounter, if I want to keep the PCs appropriately challenged.

Isn't that just the same thing only different!? Then again it might work, though it does all seem a bit fiddly.

You are applying a sort of phantom penalty to PCs, but you are going to have to reverse engineer second hand stats in case of equipment and templates and traits.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi seasong mate! :)

seasong said:
Lich seems to be off a bit - the lowest ECL lich possible is ECL 18, with an effective undead HD vs turning of 15. At the very minimum, turn resistance should be upped for the lich, so he has the vaguest possibility of surviving an encounter with a similar ECL cleric.

On top of that, however... the lich, at +4 ECL, gives up two levels worth of spells for a few extra abilities. At +7 ECL, it's no longer even vaguely worth it. It would be like a wizard reaching 11th level and saying, "You know? I've done about all I want to with magic. I think I'll spend the next 7 levels as a Fighter!"... except that the wizard/fighter would get more hit points. And an improved BAB. And 4 fighter feats ;).

The problem, I think, is that the lich has quite a few low-power abilities, and no high-power abilities at all - the result is a creature who, at +7 ECL, isn't quite good enough at anything (but who, at +4 ECL, has a few more options than it probably should).

All those minor abilities do tend to add up though. ;)

The Lich template is ECL 6 after the Silver Rule...does that help a little? :eek:

If the template is wrong it must mean some of the factors are wrong...any guesses which?
 

CRGreathouse

Community Supporter
Upper_Krust said:
If the template is wrong it must mean some of the factors are wrong...any guesses which?

It's only a small part of the lich, but I'd say that skill bonuses are overvalued -- they're probably only worth .01 instead of .02.
 

Anabstercorian

First Post
Conceivably, a better solution would be to grant virtual spellcasting levels, a la a prestige class, to the Lich template. They're valued low enough that you might be able to add them in without boosting the CR too much.
 

seasong

First Post
Upper_Krust said:
All those minor abilities do tend to add up though. ;)

The Lich template is ECL 6 after the Silver Rule...does that help a little? :eek:

If the template is wrong it must mean some of the factors are wrong...any guesses which?
Honestly, I think the factors are fine, but that the lich template is designed with an end ECL of +4 in mind. Bump turn resistance to +7, maybe give some DC boosts to the special abilities, and it starts to look all right again.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi Sorcica mate! :)

Sorcica said:
You illustrate it yourself with your example below:

If you rolled six 18's and you wanted to play a doppelganger, you would have far better scores than even the PC that rolled straight 18's. Therefore a doppelganger would always have better stats than a character with the same base stats.

Shouldn't this be rated? Of course it should be rated if you using the monster as a PC, but what about monster encounter CR? Going by your logic, you could meet a medium size monster with all 18's and CR wouldn't be affected because conceivably a PC could have rolled the same. Do I get it right if I think that you mean that if you use a monster as is, i.e. 10 and 11's, don't adjust for stat modifiers except size etc., and if using a monster with 'rolled' stats, adjust for racial modifiers?

I just don't think the majority of people will want that level of detail its not very intuitive.

Sorcica said:
But a race of superbeings with +10 to all stats would be +6 CR even if they don't rolled the same stats. Far superior to core races. But you wouldn't rate this, except if someone wanted to play one of these things Cheers. :)

Edit: I think I'm having bigger and bigger problems with the ability scores not being factored in CR as listed.
Take the succubus. If she had a 10 in charisma her spell like abilities isn't all that frightening. But she has 26 and she becomes extremely dangerous. Shouldn't this be reflected in CR?

If you rate them for monsters you have to rate them for PCs too. Thats the trade off you have to make.
 

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