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Curmudgeon
2007-12-26, 09:51 PM
I know better than to post this on the "Simple Q&A" thread.

My question has to do with Challenge Ratings (CRs), and how (or if) they figure in "additional resources" that an enemy with spells or spell-like abilities can call upon.


Scenario 1: The callees calling.
According to the official rules, the CR for a spellcaster who uses every spell they've got to summon or call monsters/undead/allies is just the CR of the caster; all the summoned/called creatures are just the products of their spells. But what happens when you call up help that can, in turn, call in others? An example is a Titan, which can do the following:
3/day - etherealness, word of chaos (DC 22), summon natureís ally IX;
1/day - gate (A Gate spell can call a Titan, but I think there's no guarantee that any particular Titan you call hasn't already used up their Gate spell for the day.) Even if there's no recursive Titan calling, a single Titan can call up quite a few reinforcements. This is all supposed to be a fixed "Challenge Rating: 21", right?
Scenario 2: Multiple days of effort.
Here's an easy one, conceptionally. A fairly low-level NPC, say a 5th level Wizard, decides to prepare Explosive Runes every day. Not wanting the spell to go to waste, this Wizard uses scrap parchment to write the ERs down, and accumulates a couple dozen in a Heward's Handy Haversack, where they're in a separate space and not endangered by whatever random magic is flying about. The party ticks off the Wizard in a tavern, and that night the Wizard posts Explosive Runes all around the party's campsite and waits for them to wake up. Is this still just a CR 5 encounter?
Scenario 3: Spending NPC treasure on calling up reinforcements.
Leaving the issue of recursive Titans via Gate spells aside, let's just consider spending enemy money to get the most reinforcements for the gp. An 11th level NPC gets 21,000 gp of gear (Table 4-23 in the DMG, page 127). If that's a Wizard, that would just cover the cost of a wand of Summon Monster IV. So if this enemy Wizard used up the full 50 charges while Invisible, and all their daily spells as well, that's only a CR 11 encounter. I'm certain this is correct. Any dissenting opinions?
Scenario 4: Using what's available.
If summoning elementals or undead using all available resources doesn't change the CR, what about when you just use what's lying about? An enemy Cleric could use Summon Monster III to summon a bunch of small elementals to attack the party. Or the Cleric could summon those elementals to dig up a military graveyard and cast Animate Dead to create a whole bunch of CR 1 Warrior skeletons, and Mending and Make Whole to repair their weapons. It's just a single spellcaster using only a single day's spells. Does this change the Challenge Rating?
Scenario 5: Combining it all for one big bang.
Finally we consider a Mystic Theurge who can load up on permanent/long duration surprises (Explosive Runes, Deeper Darkness), can summon monsters and undead, and can use existing resources (Animate Dead in a graveyard, or Fear on a cattle herd or in a crowded tavern) to cause all sorts of grief to an adventuring party. Is this still just the Challenge Rating of the Mystic Theurge, or do we adjust the CR to include frightened tavern patrons who are knocking people aside trying to get to the exit?

Bag_of_Holding
2007-12-26, 10:16 PM
Scenario 1: The callees calling.
According to the official rules, the CR for a dedicated summoner who uses every spell they've got to summon monsters/undead/allies is just the CR of the summoner; all the summoned creatures are just the products of their spells. But what happens when you call up help that can, in turn, call in others? An example is a Titan, which can do the following: (A Gate spell can summon a Titan, but there's no guarantee that any particular Titan you summoned hasn't already used up their Gate spell for the day.) Even if there's no recursive Titan calling, a single Titan can call up quite a few reinforcements. This is all supposed to be a fixed "Challenge Rating: 21", right?

Yes; it would just have a fixed challenge rating.



Scenario 2: Multiple days of effort.
Here's an easy one, conceptionally. A fairly low-level NPC, say a 5th level Wizard, decides to prepare Explosive Runes every day. Not wanting the spell to go to waste, this Wizard uses scrap parchment to write the ERs down, and accumulates a couple dozen in a Heward's Handy Haversack, where they're in a separate space and not endangered by whatever random magic is flying about. The party ticks off the Wizard in a tavern, and that night the Wizard posts Explosive Runes all around the party's campsite and waits for them to wake up. Is this still just a CR 5 encounter?

If the party has a caster who can identify the magical writings as being explosive runes (cast detect magic to see the magical aura around 'em), then I'd say CR 5. Since the danger of getting caught inside the blast would discourage the wizard from getting anywhere near the effective area (dispel trick won't work because you automatically dispel any spell you cast without the need to roll), the party can take their time to come up with a plan that will enable them to not to read a word on the parchments and just walk out of the area. Well, if a dumb fighter wanted to read those suspicious looking papers (they're everywhere!), then tough luck. :smalltongue:

Nonetheless, it's partly the PCs' fault as they didn't even bother to pick a look-out guy for the night (the blast range is 30ft, so for the trick to be effective the runes must be within 30ft of the party). Of course, if the DM use an NPC or other things to trigger the spell (without giving the PCs a chance to come up with a plan), then it's not an encounter- it's a DM cruelty.

However, come to think of it, unless a mage decides to dispel them all (and fail them), just reading one of the papers will not trigger all of them but one, which will destroy all other papers within 30ft. radius. Hmm, not very effective, is it? Although I guess it can be a very, very fascinating to see how the PCs RP (whether it be role-play or roll-play) it out.



Scenario 3: Spending NPC treasure on calling up reinforcements.
Leaving the issue of recursive Titans via Gate spells aside, let's just consider spending enemy money to get the most reinforcements for the gp. An 11th level NPC gets 21,000 gp of gear (Table 4-23 in the DMG, page 127). If that's a Wizard, that would just cover the cost of a wand of Summon Monster IV. So if this enemy Wizard used up the full 50 charges while Invisible, and all their daily spells as well, that's only a CR 11 encounter. I'm certain this is correct. Any dissenting opinions?

RAW, that is correct. I can think of a very shrewed and cunning (possibly cowardly also) wizard coming up with the plan to harass the party. As a DM however, I never felt the need to outplay the PCs; playing the game is for them, and my job is to set the game! I'm the banker of monopoly, the mastermind behind every scheme and... a geek behind the screen. :smallfrown:



Scenario 4: Using what's available.
If summoning elementals or undead using all available resources doesn't change the CR, what about when you just use what's lying about? An enemy Cleric could use Summon Monster III to summon a bunch of small elementals to attack the party. Or the Cleric could summon those elementals to dig up a military graveyard and cast Animate Dead to create a whole bunch of CR 1 Warrior skeletons, and Mending and Make Whole to repair their weapons. It's just a single spellcaster using only a single day's spells. Does this change the Challenge Rating?

No; it's just a single caster using only a single day's spells. :smallamused:



Scenario 5: Combining it all for one big bang.
Finally we consider a Mystic Theurge who can load up on permanent/long duration surprises (Explosive Runes, Deeper Darkness), can summon monsters and undead, and can use existing resources (Animate Dead in a graveyard, or Fear on a cattle herd or in a crowded tavern) to cause all sorts of grief to an adventuring party. Is this still just the Challenge Rating of the Mystic Theurge, or do we adjust the CR to include frightened tavern patrons who are knocking people aside trying to get to the exit?

I'd say the frightened patrons could be considered obstacles if you don't use the mob rule to bullrush/grapple the party, since it will only add more RP-related dilamma (would the party mage blast the patrons just to get that MT?). Well, all in all it's just another spellcaster using whatever she can do well in.:smallwink:

Curmudgeon
2007-12-26, 11:12 PM
Nonetheless, it's partly the PCs' fault as they didn't even bother to pick a look-out guy for the night (the blast range is 30ft, so for the trick to be effective the runes must be within 30ft of the party). Where are you getting that 30' range from? From the spell description I thought Explosive Runes couldn't cause damage if you were more than 10' distant:
Explosive Runes

You trace these mystic runes upon a book, map, scroll, or similar object bearing written information. The runes detonate when read, dealing 6d6 points of force damage. Anyone next to the runes (close enough to read them) takes the full damage with no saving throw; any other creature within 10 feet of the runes is entitled to a Reflex save for half damage. The object on which the runes were written also takes full damage (no saving throw). I thought the idea was if you were close enough to read them, you'd take the damage. So the Wizard would tack them to trees that are close together, and if the party doesn't have a Rogue making good checks, they'll pass one tree and come into sight of another with a little bit of parchment -- boom! (Repeat until the ERs run out, the party gets smart enough to avoid them, or they're dead.)

Parvum
2007-12-26, 11:34 PM
For scenario 1, I beleive that summoned beasties CANNOT summon more beasties or use spells that would normally cost XP. As for second, you have to actively READ the parchment. The only classes stupid enough to read them before suspicious examination have plenty enough HD to survive (and one of them is illiterate and therefore immune). Skipping to #4, that's a whole day of spells. Imagine an evoker filled with pain spells. I have no clue about the other 'reinforcement' scenarios.

CthulhuM
2007-12-26, 11:41 PM
Scenario 4: Using what's available.
If summoning elementals or undead using all available resources doesn't change the CR, what about when you just use what's lying about? An enemy Cleric could use Summon Monster III to summon a bunch of small elementals to attack the party. Or the Cleric could summon those elementals to dig up a military graveyard and cast Animate Dead to create a whole bunch of CR 1 Warrior skeletons, and Mending and Make Whole to repair their weapons. It's just a single spellcaster using only a single day's spells. Does this change the Challenge Rating?
[/LIST]

I would say that animated undead do count as separate creatures, because animate dead's effect is permanent. Unlike the other cases, where the caster is just bringing in temporary help, in this case he is actively seeking the aid of other creatures. I suppose you could rule that undead controlled via rebuking or the animate dead spell count as part of the caster's CR, but at some point you just have to start using common sense - is a 7th level wizard with 2 14 HD skeletons following him really no more challenge than a 7th level wizard with one more 4th level offensive spell known?

Likewise, if your BBEG is a mindbender using his charmed and dominated subjects to run a large criminal organization, are encounters with his minions worth no XP, because, in the end, they're just an extension of his class features? What if the BBEG just has the leadership feat? Are his followers worth no XP?

CR is really more an art than a science. By the rules, a hill giant with 12 levels of cleric is CR 13... this in spite of the fact that it could technically be taking epic feats at that point. When a question like this comes up, you really just have to give your PCs the XP you think they deserve (or send them up against the challenge they have a chance to survive) - the rules can only take you so far.

Curmudgeon
2007-12-27, 12:01 AM
I would say that animated undead do count as separate creatures, because animate dead's effect is permanent. Unlike the other cases, where the caster is just bringing in temporary help, in this case he is actively seeking the aid of other creatures. OK, I understand about the permanent nature of Animate Dead. But there's a limit to how many undead a single Cleric can control:
Animate Dead

Regardless of the type of undead you create with this spell, you canít create more HD of undead than twice your caster level with a single casting of animate dead. (The desecrate spell doubles this limit)

The undead you create remain under your control indefinitely. No matter how many times you use this spell, however, you can control only 4 HD worth of undead creatures per caster level. So since the Cleric's ability to control undead is fixed at each level and can't be exceeded, isn't it already figured into their CR?

Gralamin
2007-12-27, 12:08 AM
OK, I understand about the permanent nature of Animate Dead. But there's a limit to how many undead a single Cleric can control: So since the Cleric's ability to control undead is fixed at each level and can't be exceeded, isn't it already figured into their CR?

It is. This is something I like to call the Skull Lord bug. If you open up Monster Manual 5 and read page 155, under "Create Servitor" you will find the following quote:

Servitors in the presence of a skull lord at the beginning of an encounter earn experience points for PCs as normal if they are fought and defeated. Servitors created during combat are treated as summoned monsters, which do not provide additional experience points.
By this idea, summoning before battle = Extra XP. Summoning during battle = Nothing?

Curmudgeon
2007-12-27, 12:45 AM
It is. This is something I like to call the Skull Lord bug. If you open up Monster Manual 5 and read page 155, under "Create Servitor" you will find the following quote:

By this idea, summoning before battle = Extra XP. Summoning during battle = Nothing? I'm sorry, but I only have MMs 1, 3, and 4. If I understand this correctly, a Skull Lord who is ready to create a bunch of servitors as soon as the PCs arrive is less challenging than one who's already got a smaller total number of servitors at hand and doesn't create more?

How could that make sense?

Gralamin
2007-12-27, 12:54 AM
I'm sorry, but I only have MMs 1, 3, and 4. If I understand this correctly, a Skull Lord who is ready to create a bunch of servitors as soon as the PCs arrive is less challenging than one who's already got a smaller total number of servitors at hand and doesn't create more?

How could that make sense?

You understand it correctly, and it does not make sense. Thats why I call it the Skull Lord Bug. I would guess the argument is that the Skull Lord had to use up actions to create the servitors in combat, peventing it from doing something else.

Bag_of_Holding
2007-12-27, 01:58 AM
Oh, was it 10ft.? Now I'm seriously embarassed. :smalleek:



edit: serious'ly' :smallredface:

SoD
2007-12-27, 06:27 AM
Doesn't it say somewhere that any being called in with a summoning ability which has its own summoning abilities can't use those summoning abilities for 1 hour? I think I remember reading that somewhere.

The way I see it (working under the assumption that this is correct :smallredface: ) in one case, titan A summons titan B in the middle of battle (with the use of the gate spell). Titan B must wait for 1 hour before attempting to summon titan C. Flat CR 21 encounter.


or

Titan A summons titan B before the encounter starts. After a while, titan B summons titan C, and titan A summons titan D. Then the four of them charge nearby metropolis. 4 CR 21=CR 25.

If my understanding is wrong, please disregard this post.

Talic
2007-12-27, 06:45 AM
Scenario 1: The callees calling.
According to the official rules, the CR for a spellcaster who uses every spell they've got to summon or call monsters/undead/allies is just the CR of the caster; all the summoned/called creatures are just the products of their spells. But what happens when you call up help that can, in turn, call in others? An example is a Titan, which can do the following: (A Gate spell can call a Titan, but I think there's no guarantee that any particular Titan you call hasn't already used up their Gate spell for the day.) Even if there's no recursive Titan calling, a single Titan can call up quite a few reinforcements. This is all supposed to be a fixed "Challenge Rating: 21", right?

Correct. Keep in mind, at level 21, you should have 4 PC's capable of independently matching this level of power.


Scenario 2: Multiple days of effort.
Here's an easy one, conceptionally. A fairly low-level NPC, say a 5th level Wizard, decides to prepare Explosive Runes every day. Not wanting the spell to go to waste, this Wizard uses scrap parchment to write the ERs down, and accumulates a couple dozen in a Heward's Handy Haversack, where they're in a separate space and not endangered by whatever random magic is flying about. The party ticks off the Wizard in a tavern, and that night the Wizard posts Explosive Runes all around the party's campsite and waits for them to wake up. Is this still just a CR 5 encounter?

CR rules do have entries about the DM being able to adjust the CR on the fly. That said, I doubt the party will read more than one or two of these before getting past that, so it's not much more effective than one or two. Now, if he subsequently cast Dispel magic, triggering over half of them, then we have the makings of cheese, and a CR bump.


Scenario 3: Spending NPC treasure on calling up reinforcements.
Leaving the issue of recursive Titans via Gate spells aside, let's just consider spending enemy money to get the most reinforcements for the gp. An 11th level NPC gets 21,000 gp of gear (Table 4-23 in the DMG, page 127). If that's a Wizard, that would just cover the cost of a wand of Summon Monster IV. So if this enemy Wizard used up the full 50 charges while Invisible, and all their daily spells as well, that's only a CR 11 encounter. I'm certain this is correct. Any dissenting opinions?

Rules do not provide for guidelines in distribution of wealth. Still, I advise following the same guidelines for wealth distribution that you apply to PC's for NPC's. If PC's can't have more than 25% of their WBL on a single item, neither should NPC's. Even so, at level 11, the party should have at least one solution for invisible casters. And summon monster 4 should not provide a credible threat to a level 11 party.


Scenario 4: Using what's available.
If summoning elementals or undead using all available resources doesn't change the CR, what about when you just use what's lying about? An enemy Cleric could use Summon Monster III to summon a bunch of small elementals to attack the party. Or the Cleric could summon those elementals to dig up a military graveyard and cast Animate Dead to create a whole bunch of CR 1 Warrior skeletons, and Mending and Make Whole to repair their weapons. It's just a single spellcaster using only a single day's spells. Does this change the Challenge Rating?

Absolutely. Summoning creatures is an immediate temporary effect. Creating undead makes a new creature, with its own CR. Creating undead does affect CR. Granted, a level 7 cleric, can only control 28 HD of undead, none greater than 7HD. 28 skeletons will certainly harry a level 7 party, but will not provide anything more than a distraction. Even 4 7HD skeletons, while more dangerous, will serve as a roadblock for the Cleric, and not too much more. Advice: treat as a mixed CR encounter.


Scenario 5: Combining it all for one big bang.
Finally we consider a Mystic Theurge who can load up on permanent/long duration surprises (Explosive Runes, Deeper Darkness), can summon monsters and undead, and can use existing resources (Animate Dead in a graveyard, or Fear on a cattle herd or in a crowded tavern) to cause all sorts of grief to an adventuring party. Is this still just the Challenge Rating of the Mystic Theurge, or do we adjust the CR to include frightened tavern patrons who are knocking people aside trying to get to the exit?

For the Explosive Runes, barring cheese, the CR would not change. for summoning, the CR would not change. For creating undead, the CR would change. For frightened patrons or cattle? Depends on how you rule it. Peasants, likely not, but cattle, as they're a tougher animal, I'd likely rule it an additional environmental challenge, and either award xp seperately based on party performance, or add it to the theurge combat in the form of a slight bump in the CR.

Bear in mind, the DM can adjust CR for favorable or unfavorable circumstances. 4 level 1 goblin warriors is a CR 2. Those same 4 goblin warriors, fortified, on a gravel hill, behind near total cover, with heavy crossbows, tipped with medium monstrous spider venom? Certainly at least a CR 3.


You understand it correctly, and it does not make sense. Thats why I call it the Skull Lord Bug. I would guess the argument is that the Skull Lord had to use up actions to create the servitors in combat, peventing it from doing something else.

Bear in mind, the average combat is between 3 and 5 rounds. Every action during combat is limited, and at a premium. When a creature has to use a combat action to do something, it's like expending 25% of its own HP for the effect. That action has a cost, and thus, IN COMBAT creation and summoning is part of a creature's CR.

Curmudgeon
2007-12-27, 08:07 AM
Scenario 4: Using what's available.
Does this change the Challenge Rating?

Absolutely. Summoning creatures is an immediate temporary effect. Creating undead makes a new creature, with its own CR. Creating undead does affect CR. One easy way to "use what's available" is to cast a spell like Dominate Person on one of the PCs, and have them attack their (former) allies. As long as they fail two Will saves you've successfully turned them against their party members. So is this supposed to raise the CR, because it creates a new "enemy" where none existed before?

This line of reasoning gives me problems. If the answer is "yes", then it basically gives certain spells much greater power than others of the same level, and makes CRs change every time one of these spells is used. If the answer is "no", then I don't see the distinction between using spells to turn cattle into a stampede or grave contents into attackers, and using spells to turn allies into foes.

Gralamin
2007-12-27, 02:20 PM
One easy way to "use what's available" is to cast a spell like Dominate Person on one of the PCs, and have them attack their (former) allies. As long as they fail two Will saves you've successfully turned them against their party members. So is this supposed to raise the CR, because it creates a new "enemy" where none existed before?

This line of reasoning gives me problems. If the answer is "yes", then it basically gives certain spells much greater power than others of the same level, and makes CRs change every time one of these spells is used. If the answer is "no", then I don't see the distinction between using spells to turn cattle into a stampede or grave contents into attackers, and using spells to turn allies into foes.
There is no distinction. As long as actions are being used in battle to do it, it does not count towards the Challenge Rating.

Telonius
2007-12-27, 02:53 PM
One easy way to "use what's available" is to cast a spell like Dominate Person on one of the PCs, and have them attack their (former) allies. As long as they fail two Will saves you've successfully turned them against their party members. So is this supposed to raise the CR, because it creates a new "enemy" where none existed before?

This line of reasoning gives me problems. If the answer is "yes", then it basically gives certain spells much greater power than others of the same level, and makes CRs change every time one of these spells is used. If the answer is "no", then I don't see the distinction between using spells to turn cattle into a stampede or grave contents into attackers, and using spells to turn allies into foes.

The answer is no. PCs can do it too, and have ways of countering the tactic.

Dausuul
2007-12-27, 02:57 PM
You understand it correctly, and it does not make sense. Thats why I call it the Skull Lord Bug. I would guess the argument is that the Skull Lord had to use up actions to create the servitors in combat, peventing it from doing something else.

That is precisely the argument, and it does in fact make sense. In combat, actions are the most precious currency there is. If the combat lasts 5 rounds, the Skull Lord gets 5 actions. Using one of those actions to raise minions means the Skull Lord is sacrificing 20% of his firepower and hoping that the minions are enough to make up for it. If the minions are ready at the start of combat, that sacrifice is not required.

FinalJustice
2007-12-27, 03:08 PM
This summonning issue is, as far as I see, one of the big problems in the CR systems. As an example, once my party faced a Dracolyte (a full caster 15th level cleric) and the guy pulled off a damn Adult Red Dragon out of his *ss, for 10 freakin' rounds. Overkill. One can say 'well, it's goes off after ten rounds', but dude, it's ten rounds facing one 15th level Cleric and one CR 15 Red dragon. They WON'T need 10 rounds to tpk even a 15th level party.

FlyMolo
2007-12-27, 03:57 PM
The thing about challenge ratings is that they're flexible. Very flexible. Because really, a 16th level warlock, given enough commoners, can amass an army of wights basically nigh infinite in size. Utterdark blast deals 2 negative levels. Creatures who are slain by negative levels become wights, under the control of the wight who killed them. Take RAW fairly loosely, and that means under the warlocks control. Even the wights made by his army of wights are indirectly under his control. You can't tell me that's a CR 16 encounter. An army of wights? please.

marjan
2007-12-27, 04:16 PM
The thing about challenge ratings is that they're incosistent. Very incosistent.

Fixed that.:smallwink:
If you don't believe me, compare lvl 5 elite array fighter with ephemeral swarm from MM3.

Both have same CR.

Kaelik
2007-12-27, 07:05 PM
Creatures who are slain by negative levels become wights, under the control of the wight who killed them.

Not true. People killed by the negative levels given by Wights turn into wights. People killed by Utterdark blast negative levels do nothing of the sort.

People that fie from Con damage not delivered by an Allip don't turn into Allips.

Saph
2007-12-27, 07:15 PM
Not true. People killed by the negative levels given by Wights turn into wights. People killed by Utterdark blast negative levels do nothing of the sort.

From the SRD: Energy Drain And Negative Levels (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#energyDrainAndNegativeLevels) :


A character with negative levels at least equal to her current level, or drained below 1st level, is instantly slain. Depending on the creature that killed her, she may rise the next night as a monster of that kind. If not, she rises as a wight.

- Saph

olelia
2007-12-27, 11:28 PM
So...they rise at a wight but aren't under your control because you aren't a wight...so instead...the warlock kills a person then lets it "incubate" per se for about a week.

Idea Man
2007-12-28, 12:44 AM
Oh man, that is too sweet. I have to use that in my campaign. :smallamused:

More on topic, any special condition that the party is ill-suited to handle can raise the effective CR of an encounter. Undead with no cleric, traps with no rogue, etc.

#1: In the case of the gate/titan, it can call reinforcements (called creatures are not restricted), but will it? It is under no compulsion to call more of its kin, unless that's the service you ask of it, and they won't be under your control at all. In combat, the titan might call another of its kind, but probably only if it thinks it will die, since it would be really dying. Note, unless you call a particular titan, which requires a minimum level of 20, it can be good, neutral, or chaotic, which might be a problem.

#2: Explosive runes isn't likely to have that big of an impact all by itself. Setting a ring of them just ensures that someone will find (and read) one of the sheets. At best, if the wizard is waiting for one of those to go off so he can spring his ambush, you could raise the CR by one.
#3: If the party has no way to find an invisible wizard, then the CR would be higher. If the party had no practical way to run from this foe, the CR would be even higher. If the party didn't think to use those resources, but had them; too bad. Hope they have a want of summoning to make the DM hate life. :smallamused:

#4: Using what's available can raise the CR if it significantly benefits one side or the other. A good rule of thumb is that if it's ready before battle (and won't go away afterwards), and it makes an impact on the fight, then it can raise the CR. Traps, undead, terrain, and timing can all change how hard an encounter becomes.

#5: See #4. Preparing before combat always has the potential to raise the CR. Along that line of thinking, whenever your PCs do that, don't feel bad about giving them less XP for a fight if their opponent isn't set to challenge them at full power.

Talic
2007-12-28, 02:18 AM
Fixed that.:smallwink:
If you don't believe me, compare lvl 5 elite array fighter with ephemeral swarm from MM3.

Both have same CR.

Which does not mean that they have an even chance of facing each other. This isn't PvP for the monsters either.

It means that a party of level 5 adventurers should, on average, be able to defeat the creature with a loss of 25% resources. Whether that's spells, items, HP, or what have you, is different for each monster. A hill giant will normally reduce the HP of the party, possibly magic.

An undead attack might expend turning attempts, magic, and hp.

Different enemies require different tactics, yes. That's flexibility. With the CR system, take a moment to think, "could a rogue, a wizard/sorceror, a cleric/druid, and a melee type of X level beat this without dying?"

Armads
2007-12-28, 03:10 AM
Which does not mean that they have an even chance of facing each other. This isn't PvP for the monsters either.

It means that a party of level 5 adventurers should, on average, be able to defeat the creature with a loss of 25% resources. Whether that's spells, items, HP, or what have you, is different for each monster. A hill giant will normally reduce the HP of the party, possibly magic.

An undead attack might expend turning attempts, magic, and hp.

Different enemies require different tactics, yes. That's flexibility. With the CR system, take a moment to think, "could a rogue, a wizard/sorceror, a cleric/druid, and a melee type of X level beat this without dying?"

I think he meant that they are very different (in difficulty) challenges.

Ephemeral Swarm: 9 HD, Incorporeal Undead Swarm (basically, immune to weapon damage, 50% chance to avoid spells, magic weapons, and so many HD you can't turn it too effectively).

Elite Array Fighter 5: Generic mook, easily killed by party.

Talic
2007-12-28, 03:18 AM
I think he meant that they are very different (in difficulty) challenges.

Ephemeral Swarm: 9 HD, Incorporeal Undead Swarm (basically, immune to weapon damage, 50% chance to avoid spells, magic weapons, and so many HD you can't turn it too effectively).

Elite Array Fighter 5: Generic mook, easily killed by party.

Turn attempts get bonuses for the swarm template. Check Libris mortis. Should put it manageable to turn.

Average damage for magic missile at level 5 is 11 or so. That puts it at 5 castings for a definite kill. The only thing really saving the swarm is the application of the template and the incorporeal.

Swarm is pretty under-CR'd anyway, in my opinion, but adding in the incorporeal was a bit cheese IMO. But it's doable at 5, though I'd probably call it CR 6, to be safe.

Escef
2007-12-28, 03:19 AM
It means that a party of level 5 adventurers should, on average, be able to defeat the creature with a loss of 25% resources.

20%. That's one fifth, not a quarter. Common error, 25% is easier for most people to remember.

marjan
2007-12-28, 09:18 AM
Turn attempts get bonuses for the swarm template. Check Libris mortis. Should put it manageable to turn.

Average damage for magic missile at level 5 is 11 or so. That puts it at 5 castings for a definite kill. The only thing really saving the swarm is the application of the template and the incorporeal.


It's actualy 12HD swarm, so goodluck turning them. 5 Magic Missiles will do 52.5 dmg on average and swarm has 90hp (and BTW how are you targeting swarm).




Swarm is pretty under-CR'd anyway, in my opinion, but adding in the incorporeal was a bit cheese IMO. But it's doable at 5, though I'd probably call it CR 6, to be safe.

Yeah, sure.

Also compare/=put them to fight each other.

And try healing that 1d6/round str dmg that swarm does with your 5th lvl cleric and WBL.