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What's the CR of that?
I think most people have said that CR works reasonably well for the first few levels, and completely breaks down around level 5 or so (or level 7, or some unspecified higher level).
This is completely untrue. CR is meaningless, it's why this whole thread exists in the first place! If it was working as intended there wouldn't be 11 pages of people describing how their parties can destroy monsters at much higher levels.
That's not it. The CR section says nothing about only requiring the spending of some resources. What it says is this. A CR 3 creature should be a "worthy challenge" to 4 level 3 PCs, but not kill a PC. A cake walk is not a worthy challenge, and people here are describing fights against CRs much higher than the party level as cake walks. That makes CR broken. It doesn't function like it is supposed to.
That's all it means if you ask me. It says nothing about offering a hefty challenge, or a good fight (depending on how you interpret the meaning of "worthy challenge" or "fair challenge" ). In my view, all it says is "The party will probably not die when faced with this foe". And that's extremely useful information. It means that if the party is level 12, the DM can pretty much ignore all of the monsters that are lower than CR 12 in the Monster Manual, when building his/her encounters. So as the players increase in level, the selection of monsters to choose from decreases. In other words, CR's become MORE useful the higher the level of your players. Because there are less monsters to choose from.
RodneyThompson said:The DM's monster roster expands, never contracts. Although low-level characters probably don't stack up well against higher-level monsters, thanks to the high hit points and high damage numbers of those monsters, as the characters gain levels, the lower-level monsters continue to be useful to the DM, just in greater numbers. While we might fight only four goblins at a time at 1st level, we might take on twelve of them at 5th level without breaking a sweat. Since the monsters don't lose the ability to hit the player characters—instead they take out a smaller percentage chunk of the characters' hit points—the DM can continue to increase the number of monsters instead of needing to design or find whole new monsters. Thus, the repertoire of monsters available for DMs to use in an adventure only increases over time, as new monsters become acceptable challenges and old monsters simply need to have their quantity increased.
It opens up new possibilities of encounter and adventure design. A 1st-level character might not fight the black dragon plaguing the town in a face-to-face fight and expect to survive. But if they rally the town to their side, outfit the guards with bows and arrows, and whittle the dragon down with dozens of attacks instead of only four or five, the possibilities grow. With the bounded accuracy system, lower-level creatures banding together can erode a higher-level creature's hit points, which cuts both ways; now, fights involving hordes of orcs against the higher-level party can be threatening using only the basic orc stat block, and the city militia can still battle against the fire giants rampaging at the gates without having to inflate the statistics of the city guards to make that possible.
I slightly disagree. I think that the variance is (as noted by a poster in the other thread) that 5e borrows from older editions. 4e, for example, was more mathematically precise.
This means that there is more consistency not just in terms of parties to monsters, but in terms of monsters to each other. 5e doesn't quite have that consistency. It has some of the 4e precision, but not enough. Whether that's good or bad depends on your beliefs.
Personally, I don't mind, because I'm more old school. I don't need CR precision. But I understand that it is frustrating for people that prefer it.
...in 5e it's debatably the worst system to figure out CRs of a monster. Have you LOOKED at that table that shows you how to calculate CR? It's a nightmare! It's like... they tried to mathematically explain "winging it".
Teach a GOOD GM how to run a game, not how to regurgitate meaningless numbers in a certain situation.