Author Topic: Most under/over CRed monsters?  (Read 1615 times)

Offline Nanashi

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Most under/over CRed monsters?
« on: November 12, 2018, 12:24:32 AM »
3.5 Ogre Mage was so useless for its CR Wizards remade the monster from scratch on their website. Bad caster, bad brute, has poor ranged attacks so it can't use its at will flight to any effect.
Hobgoblin Warsoul (MMV) is a Lightning Warrior as a monster with Wizard 9 casting paired with full BAB and higher HD and leadership lite at CR8. While not stupidly far off its CR (10 at most), it gets points for how blatantly it is under CR, given a plain old Wizard 9 is CR8 without all the extras.

Honorable mention to the monsters low level PCs have no chance of killing, Swarms, Incorporeal and Wererats. These aren't too bad for a group against higher level PCs, but impossible even as a boss for lower level ones.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2018, 12:29:21 AM by Nanashi »

Offline altpersona

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2018, 03:23:44 AM »
you mentioned the incorporeals...

specifically specter or whatever one it is that takes out 90% of MM1.
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Online Skyrock

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2018, 10:54:35 AM »
Fleshraker Dinosaurs (CR2) and Monstrous Crabs (CR3) are the classic heavily undervalued monsters that will wreck any party of their supposed level.

Offline MeimuHakurei

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2018, 03:48:39 AM »
Among Incorporeals, the CR 3 Shadow stands tall as its 19 HP is tough to take out even with Magic Missile (only does 7 damage average at CL3) which would require three castings and its Strength damage can incapacitate the one or so person who has a +1 weapon or quickly deplete the caster, who'll turn into another Shadow in just a bit. +2 Turn Resistance also means a Cleric is having a hard time keeping it away. At the Spectre's CR at least you'll be more likely to have an option to attack it or at least flee.

Offline oslecamo

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2018, 07:32:18 PM »
In the other side of the scale, a lot of high-CR monsters lack both flight and ranged attacks so they can just be easily kited. The tarrasque in particular is quite guilty of this.

Said monsters also often lack magic attacks and high-level parties get access to get etherealness/incoporeability so yeah.


Honorable mention to the monsters low level PCs have no chance of killing, Swarms, Incorporeal and Wererats. These aren't too bad for a group against higher level PCs, but impossible even as a boss for lower level ones.

What's wrong with the wererat? It has DR10/silver which is nasty yes, but still only 12 HP and 1 HD. A good old barbarian with a greatsword or a color spray/sleep can take it down, unlike a swarm/incorporeal undead.

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2018, 05:59:25 PM »
Some more here from a couple years back.
http://minmaxforum.com/index.php?topic=17533.0


Clearly a Kobold Wizard 17 but CR 14, is stronger than any other regular NPC Wizard 17 with CR 17.


CRO/DA is either an Outsider or Dragon with an LA+1 or CR+1 template, on the one side, and an Adept on the other.
So a CR 20 version is Outsider 20 // LA+1 / Adept 19.  Any number of level 20 Tier 4 classes are weaker than this.

Fey with racial hitdice advancement get quite wonky.  You can't control initial conditions that well but lets say:
1 rhd + a 1 cr template = roughly around cr 1 ; then advance it 4 rhd per cr.  CR 8 = 28 rhd = pow.
It's off the random# range on skills and attacks v ac, with slightly more feats than a fighter feats stack build.

Undead version of this has all those yummy resistances and a bunch of Improved Turn Resistance feats,
so it can't be turned by the very surprised Cleric.
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Offline Nanashi

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2018, 01:24:29 PM »
Remembered Cockatrice. Save or die on CR3!

I think Pathfinder's fix for them is one of core PF's few changes over 3.5 that's clever, functional and a genuine improvement: They do dexterity damage with gradual petrification fluff. This is very simple mechanically, but keeps their iconic ability without making it stupidly swingy.

Offline snakeman830

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2018, 02:14:30 AM »
In the other side of the scale, a lot of high-CR monsters lack both flight and ranged attacks so they can just be easily kited. The tarrasque in particular is quite guilty of this.
Honestly, I'm of the opinion that the Tarrasque's CR isn't far off for limiting collateral damage.  It's not difficult to defeat overall, but defeating it quickly is another matter entirely.

My nomination for over CR'd creatures is the Mountain Landwyrm.  CR22, but it literally has no special qualities, only a 1/day supernatural (Greater Shout) for ranged attacks, and a 30ft movement speed with 20ft reach.  Given enough crossbow bolts, a level 1 commoner on a horse will kill it without concern (though it is relying on nat 20's to hit).

And when I mean "No special qualities," I mean "Doesn't even have the usual Dragon traits of Darkvision and immunity to sleep and paralysis."  Seriously, WTF?

It is strangely hard to spot, though, boasting a +23 Hide modifier (with further bonuses in mountains).  No Move Silently bonus, so it's still not going to sneak up on you.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2018, 01:32:52 AM by snakeman830 »
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Offline ksbsnowowl

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2018, 11:37:24 AM »
There is a CR 5 Gargantuan (flightless) dragon in Monsters of Faerûn.  It's slow (20 ft land speed) and only deals 2d6 fire damage on its breath weapon.  The Ibrandlin also has a bite attack for 4d6+12 damage, and can pin multiple opponents with a standard action (by jumping on top of them, and can be avoided with a Ref save), that deals 4d6 points of damage each round a struggling opponent is pinned.

Offline magic9mushroom

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2019, 02:58:49 AM »
I would have to say that the most over-CRed monster in 3.5 is the Devastation Beetle. Spot and Listen +6, no special detection besides darkvision, can't fly or teleport, has no attacks at greater range than 60 ft., has no means of affecting incorporeal creatures. CR 50.

I mean yes, it has nearly 3000 HP, its lowest save is +42, it's got SR 60 and DR 20/-, its land speed is 70 ft., and it does 30d10+24 trample + a 6d6/round acid aura, but it literally loses to Walls of Force + (Shadow or Cloudkill or Melf's Acid Arrow), and that's just in core. It doesn't even have the Tarrasque's set of immunities, regeneration, or DR/epic to potentially (yes, I know, the RAW's weird) let it hit incorporeal.


The other really obvious case of an over-CRed monster is the Shrieker, which is CR 1 despite being unable to move or attack in any way.

@awaken_D_M_golem: Kobold wizard 17 isn't CR 14. The CR = level - 3 text only applies to kobolds with NPC classes, which Wizard is not. Also, the Races of the Dragon web enhancement (though not RotD itself) is explicitly intended to improve kobolds to parity, so it'd be more than a little mean as DM to use that material and then still count kobolds as weak.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2019, 11:17:37 AM »
You don't need to do any CR = level - 3 math to create under CR'd kobolds.

Wizard is probably a nonassociated class level for kobolds (depending on DM interpretation) so every two levels only increases the CR by one.

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2019, 02:30:20 PM »
Nonassociated only works until it is their highest theme. For a Kobold, which can sub it's 1HD, that'd be lv1.

Offline magic9mushroom

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2019, 07:37:23 PM »
You don't need to do any CR = level - 3 math to create under CR'd kobolds.

Wizard is probably a nonassociated class level for kobolds (depending on DM interpretation) so every two levels only increases the CR by one.

You're not applying nonassociated class levels correctly. Let's look at the MM's actual text.

Quote from: Monster Manual p. 293-294
Advanced Monster Challenge Rating

When you add higher ability scores, class levels, more Hit Dice, or a template to a monster, you make it a more challenging opponent for your players.

When adding class levels to a creature with 1 or less HD, you advance the creature like a character. Otherwise, use the following guidelines.

Adding Class Levels

[...]

Associated Class Levels

[...]

Nonassociated Class Levels

[...]

Nonassociated class levels are in (a subsection of) the section immediately following the bit about "if 1 HD advance like character, otherwise use the following". Kobolds have 1 HD. So we advance them like a character - i.e. an NPC. To the DMG!

Quote from: Dungeon Master's Guide p. 37-38
Challenge Ratings for NPCs

An NPC with a PC class has a Challenge Rating equal to the NPC's level. Thus, an 8th-level sorcerer is an 8th-level encounter. As a rule of thumb, doubling the number of foes adds 2 to the Encounter Level. Therefore, two 8th-level fighters are an EL 10 encounter. A party of four NPC 8th-level characters is an EL 12 encounter.

Some powerful creatures are more of a challenge than their level would suggest. A drow, for example, has spell resistance and other abilities, so her CR is equal to her level +1.

[stuff on monster levels, basically treating all classes as associated; overridden by MM]

Since NPC classes (see Chapter 5: Campaigns) are weaker than PC classes, levels in an NPC class contribute less to a creature's CR than levels in a PC class. For an NPC with an NPC class, determine her Challenge Rating as if she had a PC class with one less level.

Kobolds have CR = level - 3 instead of level - 1 when given an NPC class (because it's in their monster entry and specific trumps general), but when given a PC class CR = level.

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2019, 10:01:44 PM »
Kobolds have CR = level - 3 instead of level - 1
No they don't, thats not how numbers work, and I don't think you understand fractions, or how the DMG uses them to determine EL, or the fact CR isn't the same thing as EL.

What I do know is nothing you just quoted adds -2 to their CR and how the hell you think 1/4+0=-3 is unfathomable. But clearly you're not the kind of person that should attempt to talk about it.

The actual CR value of a Kobold Warrior 1 is CR 1/2. And it has nothing to do with math, rather creatures with at least one level in an NPC Class have a minimum of a 1/2 CR. So nice job reading into the subject too.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2019, 11:20:02 PM »
There are a large number of templates that grant hd that can be used on kobolds which I was assuming would be used.

I'm going to channel SorO and be amused that you're attempting to educate people who have been doing this on this very forum for many years.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2019, 11:30:20 PM »
There's a guide with whole sections about this.

Offline magic9mushroom

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2019, 03:18:46 AM »
Kobolds have CR = level - 3 instead of level - 1
No they don't, thats not how numbers work, and I don't think you understand fractions, or how the DMG uses them to determine EL, or the fact CR isn't the same thing as EL.

What I do know is nothing you just quoted adds -2 to their CR and how the hell you think 1/4+0=-3 is unfathomable. But clearly you're not the kind of person that should attempt to talk about it.

The actual CR value of a Kobold Warrior 1 is CR 1/2. And it has nothing to do with math, rather creatures with at least one level in an NPC Class have a minimum of a 1/2 CR. So nice job reading into the subject too.
Quote from: SRD and MM
Challenge Rating

Kobolds with levels in NPC classes have a CR equal to their character level -3.
Quote from: SRD and MM
Kobold, 1st-level Warrior

Challenge Rating: 1/4

I did not quote these particular sections earlier because I assumed they were common knowledge. We are, after all, discussing the possibility of kobolds being under-CRed, and these are the parts which reduce their CR below that of a PH race.

I am not sure why you are deriding me so, but I do know that you are saying things that directly contradict the Monster Manual's entry on kobolds.

@Nanshork: I do not know all the tricks you are alluding to. However, counting added HD from templates toward the limit of nonassociated class levels seems to have a fairly shaky RAW basis, considering the direction for when to stop counting levels as nonassociated is "one of its nonassociated class levels equals its original Hit Dice". This line is ambiguous, but considering the direction to "Err on the side of overestimating" when calculating the CR of a monster with class levels, it's a little silly to take the reading that reduces CR (to count all non-class HD, rather than merely the HD of the original printed monster) and then hold up the result as an example of an under-CRed monster. The guidelines didn't under-CR that monster, the person building it did. This is in contrast to cases where a printed monster's CR is directly inaccurate (Adamantine Horror, Devastation Beetle, etc.), or cases where simple application of the guidelines for improving monsters produces an inaccurate result (e.g. nonassociated class levels lasting far longer than they should for high-HD monsters like undead, resulting in nonassociated-class monsters with CR < class level) - which really are a mistake in either the printed monster or the guideline.

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2019, 09:44:45 AM »
So what you're saying is you read how a Kobold Warrior 1's CR is 1/4 and how a Kobold with "levels in NPC classes" (plural, not singular) and arbitrarily decided one of these things didn't matter because if doesn't support you instead of reading how you're supposed to adjudicate the rules? Welcome to your very first act of confirmation bias. Now when you're ready. You can read page 7 of the Monster Manual, it's Errata, and the ever important in the RC to learn how D&D says you're supposed to handle that.

And welcome to D&D. The best heads up I can give you is everything exists in a stack of inherited rules but it's not written by programmers or lawyers. It's why WotC had a habit of printing multiple rule iterations on some of their more complicated rules so you also have to understand how D&D handles them. In fact come to think of it,I think they wrote a multiple part series article that was posted in the Game Rules section of their website to help with the HD/LA/ECL/CR/EL confusion too. So after you get done with the DMG you can try reading that too.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2019, 10:18:29 AM »
The generally accepted interpretation (at least here) of "original Hit Dice" is HD before adding class levels, not HD in the base creature entry.  And the guidelines didn't under CR the monster, the CR rules themselves did (which is partly why CR is generally accepted as not very good although it's hard to come up with an alternative).

Also, if you don't like rules interpretations that are a little out there you should probably avoid the "You Break it You Buy it" section, that kind of interpretation is the whole purpose of theoretical optimization (as compared to practical optimization).

Offline snakeman830

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2019, 01:46:51 AM »
The generally accepted interpretation (at least here) of "original Hit Dice" is HD before adding class levels, not HD in the base creature entry.  And the guidelines didn't under CR the monster, the CR rules themselves did (which is partly why CR is generally accepted as not very good although it's hard to come up with an alternative).
I don't think most of us have any issue with the CR system, rather that those who wrote the books weren't good at estimating CR for some creatures.  The majority of challenge ratings are fairly close to accurate, but there are the Shadows and Tarrasques thrown in as well.
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