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surfarcher
2014-07-15, 12:00 AM
Yes, I have started 5e monster analysis/monster building article already :-)

I'm basically going to replicate my D&D 5e Monsters: Master Index (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/d-5e-monsters-master-index.html) here...


Part 1: Starter Set Monsters (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/07/d-5e-monsters-part-1-starter-set.html)
Part 2: Construction: Before Building (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/07/d-5e-monsters-part-2-construction.html)
Part 3: Construction: CR & Size (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/07/d-5e-monsters-part-3-construction-cr.html)
Part 4: Construction: Ability Scores & HP (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/d-5e-monsters-part-4-construction.html)
Part 5: Construction: AC & Other Attributes (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/08/d-5e-monsters-part-5-construction-ac.html)
Interlude: A Bunch Of Monsters! (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/08/d-5e-monsters-interlude-bunch-of.html)
Part 6: Construction: Traits & Spellcasting (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/09/d-5e-monsters-part-6-construction.html)
Part 7: Construction: Damage (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/09/d-5e-monsters-part-7-construction-damage.html)
Part 8: Construction: Actions (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/10/d-5e-monsters-part-8-construction.html)
Part 9: Construction: Attack Bonus (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/10/d-5e-monsters-part-9-construction.html)
Part 10: Construction: Evaluating CR (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/12/d-5e-monsters-part-10-construction-cr.html)
Part 11: Construction Consolidation (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/d-5e-monsters-part-11-construction.html)
Part 12: Conclusion


This top post will be kept up to date. I'll also post to this thread as new installments are posted on my blog.

Feel free to discuss, as questions, etc on here and I'll do my best to respond as appropriate!

Yorrin
2014-07-15, 01:09 PM
Hey Surf! I was actually thinking about your monster math post recently. Now that 5e is officially going with a CR system are you planning to redo your chart from scratch? Especially now that the XP table and XP values of monsters has altered.

surfarcher
2014-07-15, 08:47 PM
Hi @Yorrin!

Eventually, yes! You might want to have a gander at today's post as it maps out what I'll be doing, based on what I saw in the Starter Set.


Today's post... Part 1: Starter Set Monsters (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/07/d-5e-monsters-part-1-starter-set.html)

As always all constructive feedback, comments and discussion are most welcome!

Yorrin
2014-07-15, 09:28 PM
Nice. I'll be following your progress in anticipation.

Envyus
2014-07-16, 02:56 PM
Mike gave a shout out to your analysis on twitter.

surfarcher
2014-07-16, 07:37 PM
Just posted Part 2: Construction: Before Building (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/07/d-5e-monsters-part-2-construction.html)


Nice. I'll be following your progress in anticipation.
Thanks! I hope you find it useful!


Mike gave a shout out to your analysis on twitter.
Yeah, I was pretty buzzed when I saw that :-D

surfarcher
2014-07-17, 08:28 PM
So some folks have commented about my blog posts on Reddit... Uh-huh. Reddit :annoyed: Remind me to tell you about it sometime.

They may have a point tho so I thought I would take it to the forum communities.

Would folks rather see more frequent installments that are smaller?

Or longer, more detailed installments that cover more, but are further apart??

obryn
2014-07-17, 09:45 PM
Longer ones. Sadly, I didn't get much out of today's. :)

surfarcher
2014-07-17, 09:56 PM
Longer ones. Sadly, I didn't get much out of today's. :)
Thanks for letting me know!

I didn't expect experienced monster builders to get much out of it :-( And the one before it has a couple of interesting bits but not a lot more. In many ways those two have simply been the intro tho.

I'm looking forward to doing the next one's, where we actually get down to the logic and some statistical analytics...

surfarcher
2014-07-22, 06:48 PM
A quick update...

I have completely stalled on the articles because I am breaking down CR. I had thought I could work around it but it's proving more foundational to monsters than anticipated... I figure I may as well bite the bullet now.

On the downside this means the next post will be delayed a couple of days more than planned.

On the upside we'll have something we can use for a result-oriented build far sooner than I expected!

Thomar_of_Uointer
2014-07-24, 10:32 PM
A quick update...

I have completely stalled on the articles because I am breaking down CR. I had thought I could work around it but it's proving more foundational to monsters than anticipated... I figure I may as well bite the bullet now.

On the downside this means the next post will be delayed a couple of days more than planned.

On the upside we'll have something we can use for a result-oriented build far sooner than I expected!

For now I would probably use the Pathfinder monster creation rules with the d20-related values fudged down to whatever's appropriate in the proficiency system. http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/rules-for-monsters/monster-creation

surfarcher
2014-07-24, 11:45 PM
For now I would probably use the Pathfinder monster creation rules with the d20-related values fudged down to whatever's appropriate in the proficiency system. http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/rules-for-monsters/monster-creation
I've seen that before... But after several days breaking down 5e's CR I can say I think the numbers for 5e and PF don't align that well.

Thomar_of_Uointer
2014-07-25, 11:47 AM
I've seen that before... But after several days breaking down 5e's CR I can say I think the numbers for 5e and PF don't align that well.

Well, at the very least do we have an idea of what the HP curve should look like? Calculating the balance between HP and AC will also be easier thanks to proficiency.

surfarcher
2014-07-25, 06:53 PM
Well, at the very least do we have an idea of what the HP curve should look like? Calculating the balance between HP and AC will also be easier thanks to proficiency.

I'm pretty sure I have nailed all this and am back to writing actual articles :-) FYI my analysis on Next shows that AC is decoupled from these considerations, at least for monster building. It's simply covered by Bounded Accuracy. Analysis so far on 5e ratifies my Next analysis.

surfarcher
2014-07-28, 11:13 PM
OK gang, I just posted Part 3: Construction: CR & Size (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/07/d-5e-monsters-part-3-construction-cr.html) and hope it's of some interest.

Give me a few days and I'll get Ability Scores & HP posted too.

Thomar_of_Uointer
2014-07-29, 01:33 AM
Come on... Get to the good stuff... Post the one with stats... :smallfrown:

surfarcher
2014-07-29, 01:37 AM
Stats, yes. Soon they come, young padawan.

With the base built we get into ability and HP stats next post.

surfarcher
2014-08-01, 06:22 PM
OK Part 4: Construction: Ability Scores & HP (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/08/d-5e-monsters-part-4-construction.html) is up!

Remember, I love to hear feedback and questions...

Have fun!

da_chicken
2014-08-01, 07:41 PM
It's a good analysis so far. It looks like there's a built in gradual progression.

I was curious about the PC damage chart, but you linked the forum where you discussed that, so I haven't got any questions, really. :smallsmile:

Lokiare
2014-08-02, 06:55 AM
So what I'm getting from this analysis is that bounded accuracy is pretty much a lie because the monsters ability scores go up by level rather than staying the same.

Jeraa
2014-08-02, 10:14 AM
So what I'm getting from this analysis is that bounded accuracy is pretty much a lie because the monsters ability scores go up by level rather than staying the same.

My understanding of bounded accuracy was that the numbers would increase only by a little, not by a lot. I can't find the article again because of WotCs new website to check.

obryn
2014-08-02, 10:26 AM
What's the highest-level monster in the analysis?

Jeraa
2014-08-02, 10:45 AM
What's the highest-level monster in the analysis?

Most likely the CR 8 young green dragon from the Starter Set. As far as I know, that is the most powerful creature released so far.

Thomar_of_Uointer
2014-08-02, 11:02 AM
So what I'm getting from this analysis is that bounded accuracy is pretty much a lie because the monsters ability scores go up by level rather than staying the same.

Naw, they only increase slowly to keep pace with Proficiency. This was covered in the playtest blogs. The good news is that this means parties fighting inappropriate challenge ratings have a decent chance of winning, and lower-CR monsters are still a threat.

Lokiare
2014-08-02, 11:10 AM
Naw, they only increase slowly to keep pace with Proficiency. This was covered in the playtest blogs.

Well their definition of 'bounded accuracy' was that things don't automatically go up because of level and instead need an in game reason. Like an Ogre might have a higher strength or constitution score than an average human, but that's because they are large brutes that are very strong.

So now they are going on the treadmill. That's great. I just wish the treadmill was big enough to matter.

surfarcher
2014-08-03, 10:35 PM
What's the highest-level monster in the analysis?

Most likely the CR 8 young green dragon from the Starter Set. As far as I know, that is the most powerful creature released so far.
Yep the L8 Young Green Dragon.

Even so we can learn a surprising amount thanks to Basic D&D providing some scaling to L30 an various L&L entries and tweets. Scaling past L10 is unwise tho without creatures to verify against. But it'll come.


Naw, they only increase slowly to keep pace with Proficiency. This was covered in the playtest blogs. The good news is that this means parties fighting inappropriate challenge ratings have a decent chance of winning, and lower-CR monsters are still a threat.

Mostly, yes. That said as level increases the monsters need a little extra to keep pace with the PCs. Hence their ability score cap of 30 instead of 20.


Well their definition of 'bounded accuracy' was that things don't automatically go up because of level and instead need an in game reason. Like an Ogre might have a higher strength or constitution score than an average human, but that's because they are large brutes that are very strong.

So now they are going on the treadmill. That's great. I just wish the treadmill was big enough to matter.

Er. The game scales on the HP/Damage axis, which is what I've looked at so far.

They have dampened the Attack/AC/Defense axis a lot, though it still scales a little along there. I look at this a bit next, but for example the underlying formula for AC seems to scale from 16 (L1) through 20 (mythical L30) for all PCs... Yet there's plenty of leeway within that at a given level so the Fighter can get AC19 at level 1 and AC20 by level 3 or 4 without too much difficulty.

What I touched on, and you are referring to, is the Ability Score scaling. But that is pretty well bound too and is capped at 20 for PCs and 30 for monsters. That 30 is a +10 monsters get, keeping in mind these are epic critters that don't get access to all the goodies the PCs do - like a plethora of items and buffs.

Yorrin
2014-08-12, 05:18 PM
So, with the DM basic document out it looks like they've done a lot of the work for you. Still planning to go through with all of your analysis?

Thomar_of_Uointer
2014-08-12, 05:39 PM
So, with the DM basic document out it looks like they've done a lot of the work for you. Still planning to go through with all of your analysis?

No they haven't. It just gives general rules for Hit Dice and proficiency ratings. Nothing as good as the Pathfinder comprehensive monster table with stats by CR.

surfarcher
2014-08-12, 06:20 PM
So, with the DM basic document out it looks like they've done a lot of the work for you. Still planning to go through with all of your analysis?


No they haven't. It just gives general rules for Hit Dice and proficiency ratings. Nothing as good as the Pathfinder comprehensive monster table with stats by CR.

They have clarified some of the basic mechanics, but there's no advice at all on creating monsters. So yes I shall continue!

The main thing is lately we've had an influx of new monsters... which is great! I'm further through adding them to my analysis than you might think, too ;-)

BTW I know I didn't get a post out last week, but unimaginative real life waylaid me and gave me a good ole beatdown. I'm back now so hopefully in the next day or so!

surfarcher
2014-08-12, 09:08 PM
OK Part 5: Construction: AC & Other Attributes (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/08/d-5e-monsters-part-5-construction-ac.html) is up.

Have fun!

surfarcher
2014-08-13, 09:24 PM
Just a quick head's up. Next post will be a review/stocktake intermission... We've gone from 33 monsters to 209 in about a week!

surfarcher
2014-08-24, 10:53 PM
OK sorry this is later than I expected - I spent a couple days extra on HP and then got an awful cold :-( Been pretty ill!

But next post Interlude: A Bunch Of Monsters! (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/08/d-5e-monsters-interlude-bunch-of.html) is now up.

Thomar_of_Uointer
2014-08-25, 12:43 AM
OK sorry this is later than I expected - I spent a couple days extra on HP and then got an awful cold :-( Been pretty ill!

But next post Interlude: A Bunch Of Monsters! (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/08/d-5e-monsters-interlude-bunch-of.html) is now up.

Hey, tweet this so I can retweet it.

surfarcher
2014-08-25, 12:49 AM
Hey, tweet this so I can retweet it.
I thought I had, but apparently not... Doh!

Done!

Yorrin
2014-08-25, 07:14 AM
Glad to see your data confirmed/clarified!

da_chicken
2014-08-25, 11:41 AM
I dislike the fact that you use "CR" throughout the latest article. "CR" is a 3e and 4e term. 5e uses the term Challenge and never uses the abbreviation "CR". I believe that's intentional. Since 3e and 4e use a moderately different meaning for the term, I think it's best to avoid the use of the previous terms where possible.

obryn
2014-08-25, 12:07 PM
I dislike the fact that you use "CR" throughout the latest article. "CR" is a 3e and 4e term. 5e uses the term Challenge and never uses the abbreviation "CR". I believe that's intentional. Since 3e and 4e use a moderately different meaning for the term, I think it's best to avoid the use of the previous terms where possible.
Err, no... It's a 3e and 5e term. 4e only used Monster Level.

da_chicken
2014-08-25, 01:53 PM
Err, no... It's a 3e and 5e term. 4e only used Monster Level.

Oops. I meant to say "3e and PF". In my defense, today is Monday. :smallredface:

surfarcher
2014-08-25, 06:22 PM
I dislike the fact that you use "CR" throughout the latest article. "CR" is a 3e and 4e term. 5e uses the term Challenge and never uses the abbreviation "CR". I believe that's intentional. Since 3e and 4e use a moderately different meaning for the term, I think it's best to avoid the use of the previous terms where possible.


Check out page 5 of the DM book in D&D Basic v0.1... To quote the first sentence...


A monsterís challenge rating tells you how great a threat the monster is.


I did not add the boldface BTW.

It's definitely Challenge Rating, which I take the liberty of abbreviating to CR... In my opinion that's perfectly valid and you will see much more of it. If you have a stab at writing articles like this I think you'll gain some understanding of why I personally abbreviate it.

da_chicken
2014-08-25, 07:26 PM
I'm just saying I feel like they're intentionally avoiding the abbreviation "CR" because I've seen it nowhere and it is an obvious abbreviation. I mean, they either write out "challenge rating" or "challenge". If it's seriously just because you don't want to type it out, well, your computer does have search and replace. I've used that many times on documentation.

surfarcher
2014-08-25, 07:31 PM
If they really wanted to avoid it they should have called it something else... As it is they'll have to deal with abbreviation in the wider community.

obryn
2014-08-25, 07:37 PM
I'm just saying I feel like they're intentionally avoiding the abbreviation "CR" because I've seen it nowhere and it is an obvious abbreviation. I mean, they either write out "challenge rating" or "challenge". If it's seriously just because you don't want to type it out, well, your computer does have search and replace. I've used that many times on documentation.
Why does this matter? You're splitting hairs. CR (or Challenge) functions identically to how it did in 3e. A monster of CR X is a suitable challenge for 4 characters of Level X. It's even how the xp budget works out.

da_chicken
2014-08-25, 09:48 PM
Why does this matter? You're splitting hairs. CR (or Challenge) functions identically to how it did in 3e. A monster of CR X is a suitable challenge for 4 characters of Level X. It's even how the xp budget works out.

All I'm saying is that WotC intentionally decided not to use the most obvious and already existing abbreviation. Why? I don't know. The Monster Manual and the DMG aren't out yet. There may be a reason we don't know about. The XP budget still has giant "not final rules" signs all over it, too. I just don't understand why you'd choose to use an abbreviation that's almost certainly intentionally not used by the game designers. Maybe there's another term that naturally abbreviates to CR. Maybe early playtest CR had significantly different definitions, but final is going to match and they've just carried the choice through without thinking about it. At the very least, it requires readers to know that Challenge and CR are identical, which is not something they learn in the game's books. Why change the language away from what is used in the books if you don't have to? Does that make the article more readable or less?

Is it a big deal? No, of course not. But honestly it sounded like Surf was offended or got defensive about it, so I felt I should explain again. It was meant to be constructive criticism.

surfarcher
2014-08-25, 10:00 PM
...snip...
Is it a big deal? No, of course not. But honestly it sounded like Surf was offended or got defensive about it, so I felt I should explain again. It was meant to be constructive criticism.

I certainly wasn't offended and didn't feel defensive. Reading back I'm trying to see how I came across that way but don't feel it??

Anyhoo I can assure you that I was simply trying to point out that I haven't invented a new term and only taken the liberty of abbreviating something that... becomes cumbersome to type in full and definitely has big problems fitting in my table headings :-D

I do see your point but I have come across anything in open playtest, closed (aka Alpha) playtest or since release that conflicts or overlaps. That doesn't mean there isn't something I am unaware of tho.

Thomar_of_Uointer
2014-08-26, 12:21 AM
So is damage output next? A big CR table like Pathfinder has would be nice.

surfarcher
2014-08-26, 12:25 AM
So is damage output next? A big CR table like Pathfinder has would be nice.
Traits are next, which includes Damage analysis :-)

A big table is the end goal ;-)

surfarcher
2014-09-03, 01:37 AM
Just posted Part 6: Construction: Traits & Spellcasting (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/09/d-5e-monsters-part-6-construction.html) and working my rear off to get Damage polished and posted...

surfarcher
2014-09-17, 07:45 PM
Ok dear readers, Part 7: Construction: Damage (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/09/d-5e-monsters-part-7-construction-damage.html) is now up!

Yorrin
2014-09-17, 08:09 PM
Looks good. Some interesting conclusions in there, especially about CR1 monsters.

surfarcher
2014-09-18, 05:55 PM
Looks good. Some interesting conclusions in there, especially about CR1 monsters.

Glad you enjoyed it!

Ninjadeadbeard
2014-09-19, 12:09 AM
@Surf: So, I can't into math. But I am loving the articles so far (on part 5 at the moment). So I was wondering a number of questions. I'll only plague you with one:

1) How did you calculate the example Pyromancer's HP? The stat block says 14d8+14. Could you break that down for a stupid person like myself? I am, at best, an English major.

surfarcher
2014-09-20, 07:13 PM
Glad you are enjoying it @Ninjadeadbeard

To answer your question...
The Pyromancer has 14 Hit Dice (aka HD)
a d8 is "worth" 4.5
so 14d8=14x4.5=63
it's Con bonus is +1 and we multiply that by it's number of HD
thus 14x1=14
Now add the two togethor...
therefore HP=63+14=77


Does that make sense? I do plan to go back over all the articles when the current run is done and do some minor editing for clarity so I will add this then.

jkat718
2014-09-30, 04:20 PM
@Ninjadeadbeard

To simplify what surf said, the formula for hp is:

level*(((1 + HD sides)/2) + Constitution modifier)

What this is doing is basically finding the average HP of a creature with that CON mod and hit dice, by using the average roll instead of actually rolling.

archaeo
2014-09-30, 05:38 PM
I'm impressed with all the math going on. How's it looking now that the full MM is out, surf?

surfarcher
2014-09-30, 07:00 PM
I'm impressed with all the math going on. How's it looking now that the full MM is out, surf?
I've dabbled with a little bit of the data entry... But I am on vacation right now so finishing the current series is chewing up what little spare time I have :-) Give me a few weeks and then ask again ;-)

surfarcher
2014-10-03, 05:37 PM
Part 8: Construction: Actions (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/10/d-5e-monsters-part-8-construction.html) is now up!

Look forward to hearing people's thoughts.

Lokiare
2014-10-03, 10:27 PM
Part 8: Construction: Actions (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/10/d-5e-monsters-part-8-construction.html) is now up!

Look forward to hearing people's thoughts.

Any chance we can get a list of averages for monster stats by level? Things like AC, Hp, ability score mods, save bonuses, etc.. Etc...

surfarcher
2014-10-04, 01:09 AM
Any chance we can get a list of averages for monster stats by level? Things like AC, Hp, ability score mods, save bonuses, etc.. Etc...
By CR, not level and the series does include that (or will). Plus an extrapolation of what what I believe the progression for each should be and how I arrive at it.

pwykersotz
2014-10-04, 09:39 PM
I just have to reply to reiterate what everyone else has said...you are doing amazing work. Thank you very much.

jkat718
2014-10-04, 11:26 PM
At the end of the series, will there be a single page of just the tables, without graphs or explanation or anything, as a reference source? It would be a huge convenience, especially for offline monster making.

surfarcher
2014-10-06, 03:54 AM
I just have to reply to reiterate what everyone else has said...you are doing amazing work. Thank you very much.
Thank you! Glad you are enjoying the articles!


At the end of the series, will there be a single page of just the tables, without graphs or explanation or anything, as a reference source? It would be a huge convenience, especially for offline monster making.
Every series will have this. The construction series is almost done and will have all the CR0 through CR10 tables consolidated for this purpose. When I'm done crunching the Monster Manual there'll be a CR0 through CR30 version.

surfarcher
2014-10-06, 06:23 PM
Part 9: Construction: Attack Bonus (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/10/d-5e-monsters-part-9-construction.html) is now up!

surfarcher
2014-12-14, 11:38 PM
Ok well Part 10: Construction: Evaluating CR (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com/2014/12/d-5e-monsters-part-10-construction-cr.html) is now up.

It was a tricky thing to nail... Now all I can do is wait for my DMG to arrive and see how it aligns :-P

surfarcher
2015-07-01, 06:39 PM
Posted Part 11: Construction Consolidation (http://surfarcher.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/d-5e-monsters-part-11-construction.html) ...