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 Giant in the Playground Forums [4e] Damage balanced monsters
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 05-01-2010, 05:50 PM Top  -  End  -  #1 Yakk Ogre in the Playground     Join Date: Nov 2006 [4e] Damage balanced monsters There is a problem in 4e where, at high levels, monster damage output ceases to be scary. This is my attempt to make a system that makes high level monster damage output sufficient to scare high level players. Spoiler Here is the backing mathematics. Skip if uninterested. I started out with the idea that a threatening monster should be able to take down a target with defender-level HP and low enough defences to be hit 50% of the time in about 8 rounds. Anything below that, and the monster really isn't a damage dealing threat. This gave me the equation (Level+4)*3 average DPR. I then turned this into a damage per hit. Soldiers have higher defences and higher to hit, so they should do less damage on average (even after taking into the higher to hit). Skirmishers and Artillery generate threat through damage. Controllers have more status effects, so should do less damage (probably similar to soldier damage per hit). Brutes need a huge boost to damage per hit, because of their low accuracy, in order to keep up with skirmisher damage. Next, to make an easy system, I need to account for encounter powers (and the like). So I split the damage budget between at-will and encounter powers. To keep soldiers at-will from being a joke, soldiers get a lower budget for encounter powers. I made the system point-based, with a chart to turn points into damage expressions. Instead of the DMG "group 3 levels together", I grouped the levels geometrically -- each group of levels is about 25%-30% more damage per hit than the previous one. (Player HP doesn't go up as fast at higher levels, so damage expressions don't have to evolve as fast). Using some math mojo, I worked out that elite damage output should be about 1.5 times normal monster damage output. However, elite brutes shouldn't get quite so much, and soldiers need a little extra, to keep things sane. Solos end up at 3.0 times normal monster damage output, after accounting for improved focus fire from a solo compared to a normal. Once again, Soldiers get more than 3x, and Brutes less, to keep things sane. (in effect, the extra 2.0 should be closer to baseline monster damage, instead of solo/brute). For area damage, if you compare what happens when fighting 5 opponents and concentrate fire compared to doing area damage, damage on secondary targets is worth about 50% of concentrated fire damage. And as that is easy math... [4e] Monster Damage Points -- a system This is an attempt to make an easy to use monster damage balancing system. Each number gets a number of points. Soldiers get fewer, Brutes get more. You spend these points on buying up your standard attack, or buying encounter attack powers. Normal: Code: ``` At-Will Encounter Budget Soldier: Low 4-9 pts Controller: Low 14-20 pts Artillery: Medium 9-15 pts Skirmisher: Medium 9-15 pts Brute: High 15-20 pts``` Elite: Code: ``` At-Will Encounter Budget Soldier: Medium 10-20 pts Controller: Medium 25-35 pts Artillery: High 20-30 pts Skirmisher: High 20-30 pts Brute: OMG 30-40 pts``` Solo: Code: ``` At-Will Encounter Budget Soldier: OMG 40-70 pts Controller: Med 65-95 pts Artillery: OMG 60-90 pts Skirmisher: OMG 60-90 pts Brute: Lim. Low 80-110 pts``` Damage Expressions: Level Code: ``` At-Will Damage Expressions Adjective: Wiff Low Medium High OMG Value: 2 3 4 5 6 Level 1 1d4 1d6 1d6+2 1d8+2 1d10+2 2-3 1d4+1 1d6+2 1d6+3 1d8+4 1d10+4 4-5 1d4+2 1d6+3 1d8+4 1d10+5 1d12+6 6-8 1d6+2 1d8+4 1d10+6 1d12+7 2d8+8 9-12 1d8+3 1d10+5 1d12+8 2d6+11 3d6+11 13-16 1d10+4 2d6+7 2d8+10 2d10+12 3d8+14 17-22 1d12+5 2d8+9 3d6+13 3d8+16 3d10+19 23-29 2d6+8 2d10+11 3d8+17 3d10+21 4d10+23 30-38 2d8+10 3d8+15 3d12+19 4d10+25 4d12+31 Rule of Controller Defender Thumb: Healing Surge Healing Surge Limited Damage Expressions Adjective: Low Medium High OMG Value: 8 10 12 15 Level 1 2d6+3 2d6+5 2d8+6 2d10+8 2-3 2d6+6 2d8+7 2d10+9 3d8+10 4-5 2d8+8 2d10+10 3d8+11 4d8+14 6-8 2d10+11 3d8+14 4d8+15 4d10+19 9-12 3d8+15 4d8+18 4d12+17 5d12+22 13-16 4d8+19 4d12+20 5d10+28 10d6+34 17-22 4d10+25 5d12+26 10d6+35 8d10+44 23-29 5d12+28 6d10+42 10d8+45 10d10+57 30-38 10d6+41 10d8+50 10d10+59 15d10+60 Rule of Controller Defender Controller Thumb: Bloodied Bloodied Dead``` Each point above represents roughly the same amount of damage. The amount of damage it concretely represents varies with monster level. Point ranges for encounter damage points: Use the lower end of the point range if you are at the lower end of your level range, and the upper end if you are at the upper end. If you are the middle... guess. Creatures with an abnormal amount of annoyance abilities should have even more points deducted, or at-will damage lowered. Boosting/lowering at-will attack: To move from Low to Medium damage, it costs 6 encounter damage points -- or, you regain 6 by dropping from Medium to Low. In essence, take the difference in value, and multiply by 6. If you gain a second at-will attack that can be used with the first, you have to pay 6 times the value for it (ie, a 1/round minor attack, or an attack that does a double standard attack). Generally, you only pay for the "best" standard at-will attack (the others are free). So two "low-at-will" attacks that can be done on the same standard action is as good as an "OMG" at-will attack (as 3+3=6). High end monsters (elites and solos, and sometimes brutes) should avoid having a basic attack that is as strong as their strongest at-will. Buying per-encounter uses of a power: For each time (estimated) you use a power in a fight, it costs the "Value" row in encounter damage points. Powers that are standard actions get a discount equal to the value of the at-will power it would displace. An encounter power with recharge 6 is x2 cost, with recharge 45 is x3 cost. Area/Multi-target powers: Each target past the first in a power adds +50% to the power's cost. For area powers, estimate how many targets it would attack. Auto-target powers: If the powers target is out of control of the monster, only charge 75% of the cost. Status Effects: Controllers should have lots of them, soldiers should have some kind of stickiness. If a monster is a status effect beast... reduce its budget and damage abilities. Note that higher level monsters are expected to have more status effects 'free of charge'. Alpha Strike Issues: Avoid too much alpha strike. If you make a monster with wiff damage output and all of its damage in a single target non-situational encounter attack power, it will be too strong. Ideally damage should be spread out over multiple rounds. Attacks and Defences: Use DMG guidelines. Each +1/-1 off the guidelines increases the damage value of the power by +/- 10%. A monster with +1 AC over the standard for the role, or an average NAD 1 point higher, should have about 1/2 a level taken off it damage-wise. Last edited by Yakk : 05-01-2010 at 10:46 PM.
05-01-2010, 05:56 PM   Top  -  End  -  #2
Chainsaw Hobbit
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Re: [4e] Damage balanced monsters

Very nice, I noticed that too.
I will definitely use it in my homebrewed monsters.
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 05-01-2010, 06:12 PM Top  -  End  -  #3 Mando Knight Titan in the Playground     Join Date: Dec 2007 Re: [4e] Damage balanced monsters That's an interesting way of going about it. I like the rule of thumb summary in the code box, which explains roughly why you chose the damage spreads you did. The instagib power of the "OMG Limited" is amusing. __________________ Avatar by Strategos
 05-01-2010, 06:34 PM Top  -  End  -  #4 Yakk Ogre in the Playground     Join Date: Nov 2006 Re: [4e] Damage balanced monsters Note that using the above rules makes Brutes an actual threat. They will lock down defenders because if the defenders don't mark them, everyone else goes splat against them. The balance point of the above is aimed at monsters that where already a threat, which is probably high-balling monsters from many WotC suppliments. It isn't as strong as the fire beetle and the other legendary TPK monsters, however. What I find interesting is how weak high level monsters end up being. I mean, low level monsters actually approximate my system pretty well. Further edits coming (mostly to clarify things). After that, I'm going to post some "redone" WotC monsters using the above system. My original attempt to do this was based off of raw damage budget balancing. While it wasn't bad for analyzing existing monsters, making monsters (or fixing them) with it was a serious headache. This approach -- with points that you spend on powers, and the amount of damage it does that scales with level -- should make it easy to do. Note that the ranges I picked for encounter budgets are not arbitrary. Every 2 windows is a 60% increase in damage output. This prevented the annoyance of narrow windows at high levels, and wide windows at low levels. The damage expressions are based off of the average level (and how much damage that monster should do), with the windows being about 15% of that (they really should be closer to 25%, now that I think about it... I'll fix it later, mayhap). Last edited by Yakk : 05-01-2010 at 06:40 PM.
 05-03-2010, 02:35 PM Top  -  End  -  #6 Yakk Ogre in the Playground     Join Date: Nov 2006 Re: [4e] Damage balanced monsters Because I swear there must be someone interested in this, let's continue. :) This post is on BRUTES! Fire Beetle! This is a level 1 brute. AC is normal, NADs are a touch low (-1 on average). At-will should be HIGH, with (say) 18 points on encounter powers. 2d4+2 is part way between High and OMG territory -- call it 5.5. It is +5 to hit (and not +4), so that is another 10%, bringing it to full OMG. 12 points left. The AOE reflex attack should be +2 vs Reflex, not +4. That's 1.2x from accuracy. Close blast 3 hits is good for 2 targets, for 1.5x cost. Recharge 56 means 3 uses, up to x4.5 cost. It is a standard action, so it replaces the at-will 6 point attack. So we have a budget of 30 points and a x4.5 multiplier, leaving us with 6.67 damage budget. Or 6.67 points is a tad more than d10+2 (which is 7.5) -- call it 2d6+1 fire damage. And we have a balanced fire beetle. :) Bite: 2d4+2 Blast: Recharge 56, Burst 3, 2d6+1 fire damage otherwise unchanged. --- Level 15 Elite Brute Chimera At-Will: OMG Budget: 35 pts AC: Normal Fort: +2 Reflex: -4 Will: -3 NAD total: -5, or -1.67 on average. That's worth a bit of a budget bump to 37 pts. At-will is the triple threat. 1 encounter use of breath, and 1 free extra use when bloodied. Triple threat is a dragon bite (main), and then a secondary Lion bite and a Gore. Let's make the triple threat a high/medium/low attack. the medium/low attack, as they are on secondary targets, are discounted 50%. 5+4/2+3/2 = 8.5, which is +2.5 over the standard 6, costing 15 encounter budget. This leaves 22 for the breath weapon Breath is a blast 5 (so 3 targets, or x2 cost). We get 8.5 because we are replacing an at-will with a breath attack, bringing our budget up to 30.5. We divide by 2 (3 targets) and 2 again (2 uses) for 7.6 budget per breath. 3d8+14 is 6, to 3d8+19 is 8. We are most of the way to 8, so call it 3d8+18. Ongoing 10 is probably worth 15 damage at this point. So 3d8+3. So the new chimera: Lion Bite: (basic melee) 2d8+10 @ +18 vs AC Ram Butt: 2d6+7 (plus push/prone) @ +19 vs AC charge Dragon Bite: 2d10+12 @ +18 vs AC Triple: Lion Bite, Dragon Bite and Ram Butt against 3 different targets. Breath: Close Blast 3, +16 vs Reflex, 2d8+3 fire and ongoing 10 (save ends) Bloodied Breath: Free recharge and use of Breath when first bloodied Difference: +2 damage on Breath, +5 on Dragon Bite, +3 on Lion Bite, +2 on Ram's Butt. All and all, a non-trivial upgrade. But in the same ballpark. --- Tarrasque! Level 30 solo brute. At-will: Lim Low Budget: 80 pts Bite: at-will. +1 accuracy with ongoing. Fury: Recharge 56. Bite, plus 3x damage bite attack. 3 uses. Trample: ~3 target low-level damage, at-will, provokes damage (really, crap) Frenzy: at-will burst 3 Bite (!) call this 4 targets and 2 uses (only 2, because Fury is better than Frenzy). AC: +1 over normal Fort: +7 over normal Reflex: -5 under normal Will: -10 (!) under normal AC: +1 NADs: -2.7 on average Net: -1.7 Those low defences are worth another 10 points of budget. We'll lower Bite down to a High attack and end up with 108(!) budget points. Bite: +34 vs AC, 2d12+14 ongoing 15 (save ends). 108 pts to spend: Fury: Recharge 56 (x3 cost) Replaces 3 bites (15 free) Bite (5) + medium followup (3d12+19) 12 points spent 96 pts left. Trample: skip for now. Frenzy: when bloodied (x2), replaces bite (10 free). Close Burst 3 (4 targets, x2.5) = x5. Bite attack (5 x 5 = 25). 15 spent. 81 pts left. This monster is 81 points under budget. A serious joke. Step 1: Let's up defences AC: 43 Fort: 49 Reflex: 40 Will: 38 Still low reflex/will, but not a joke. Step 2: Up bite damage. 4d12+25 ongoing 25 This is Limited Low damage. (8) Frenzies are ~4 bites for Bite damage that replace bites. 4 bites is 20 pts, minus the 8 bite it replaces, and 2 bites is 24 pts. 56 left. 3 uses of Fury puts each Fury at 18.6 pts, plus the bite it replaces. That is way too much. So let's turn Trample into a move action (!). It hits ~3 targets (x2). It provokes OAs (ouch), which gives it a discount (say 3 discount per target). We'll set the damage to OMG: 4d12+31 (6), 6 uses per combat (at-will), 15 points spent. 41 points left. Let's make it "Make a bite and a rend on one target, and a tail slap on two other targets." 3 bites. 3 rends. 6 secondary tail slaps. With rend and slap damage being about the same, and spending on +1 accuracy: Rend is +32 vs Fortitude (reach 3), 4d12+25, and -5 penalty to AC (next turn) Slap is +32 vs Reflex (reach 5), 5d12+25, push 4 and knock prone. So, the reborn Tarrasque that Doesn't Suck: HP 1136 AC 43 Fort 49 Reflex 40 Will 38 Speed 10 Burrow 8 Climb 8 basic melee Bite: Reach 3, +34 vs AC, 4d12+25 ongoing 25 (save ends) melee Fury of Tarrasque: Recharge 56. Make a Bite and a Rend attack on one target, and a Tail Slap on 2 other targets. Rend: +32 vs Fortitude, 4d12+25, -5 penalty to AC until end of Tarrasques next turn Tail Slap: +32 vs Reflex reach 5, 5d12+25, push 4 squares and knocked prone. Trample: Move action. Move your speed over creatures smaller than you. This provkes OAs. Attack each creatures you move over for 5d12+25 damage. Frenzy: when bloodied. Make a bite attack against all enemies in burst 3. This monster is way scarier than the standard tarrasque. Last edited by Yakk : 05-03-2010 at 02:37 PM.
 05-18-2010, 10:07 AM Top  -  End  -  #7 Yakk Ogre in the Playground     Join Date: Nov 2006 Re: [4e] Damage balanced monsters Here is another attempt to make an "easy to use" monster damage budget balancing system. This one is less useful for existing monsters, but is instead intended to build new monsters. It is also more similar to the DMG monster-building rules, except unlike the DMG monster-building rules, it doesn't suck horribly. As yet, this isn't cross-balanced with the above system: while the numbers are reasonable, they aren't fully polished. It also only includes rules for normal (non-elite/solo/minion) monsters: Monster Building via Boosts Code: ``` Normal Limited Boosts Low Medium High Low Medium High 1-3 1 1d4+2 1d8+3 2d6+3 2d6+4 4d4+4 2d12+4 4-6 2 1d4+3 1d10+4 2d8+4 3d6+5 3d8+5 4d8+5 7-9 2 1d8+3 2d6+6 2d12+5 3d8+7 3d12+7 7d6+7 10-12 3 1d8+4 3d4+7 2d12+7 3d8+9 6d6+9 4d12+9 13-15 3 1d10+5 2d10+7 4d8+7 4d8+11 7d6+11 9d6+11 16-18 4 1d12+5 2d10+8 4d8+8 4d8+13 7d6+13 9d6+13 19-21 4 1d12+6 2d12+8 4d10+8 4d8+15 8d6+15 8d8+15 22-24 5 2d6+6 2d12+9 4d10+9 4d8+17 8d6+17 8d8+17 25-27 5 2d6+7 3d8+10 5d8+11 3d12+19 5d10+19 6d12+19 28-30 6 2d6+7 3d8+11 5d8+12 3d12+20 5d10+20 6d12+20 31-33 6 2d8+7 2d12+14 5d8+14 4d10+21 5d12+21 12d6+21 34-36 7 2d8+7 2d12+14 5d8+14 4d10+22 5d12+22 12d6+22 37-39 7 2d8+9 2d12+16 7d6+16 5d8+23 10d6+23 10d8+23``` Rules: Soldiers use the Low damage expression table, Brutes High, everyone else Medium. You get a number of boosts. They go up with level. They are used to buy encounter powers and the like. 1 boost buys a 1/encounter limited damage standard action attack. 1 boost buys a 1/encounter normal damage non-standard action attack. You can pay 0.5 boosts to upgrade your special attacks by 1 notch, or get 0.5 back by downgrading it by 1 notch. Power attacks two targets: *1.5 cost Area attacks cost: 3x3: *1.5 cost 5x5: *2.0 cost More: *2.5 cost (remember to pay for accuracy if you want it -- area attacks normally take a -2 penalty to-hit, unless you are a controller) +X accuracy (over normal for your power): +10%*X cost Upgrading at-will 1 step: 2.5 boosts, minus 0.5 boost per standard action encounter attack power. Last edited by Yakk : 05-18-2010 at 10:08 AM.