Author Topic: Most under/over CRed monsters?  (Read 1106 times)

Offline Nytemare3701

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2019, 03:57:01 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.

I'd like to chime in as one of those who don't approve of the CR system as written. While it looks "good enough" for some stuff, it feels entirely arbitrary when you start digging into it. There have been multiple attempts over the years to find mathematical benchmarks for what an appropriate CR is, or to find what constitutes a +/- CR change, and it all seems to boil down to "looks good to me".
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Offline snakeman830

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2019, 08:56:03 PM »
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.

I'd like to chime in as one of those who don't approve of the CR system as written. While it looks "good enough" for some stuff, it feels entirely arbitrary when you start digging into it. There have been multiple attempts over the years to find mathematical benchmarks for what an appropriate CR is, or to find what constitutes a +/- CR change, and it all seems to boil down to "looks good to me".
That's because this game really can't have any accurate mathematical benchmarks on that front.  Two parties of Fighter+Wizard+Rogue+Cleric can be vastly different in capabilities, despite having the same class combos.  Heck, it makes a big difference if a monster is encounter 1 or encounter 5 in a day.  There are just too many variables to get anything that's not "looks good to me."

Which, honestly, is exactly what the writers intended.  Challenge Rating is explicitly stated to be a guideline, not hard rules (screwed up a bit by the fact XP is calculated off CR, but I digress).  "Looks good to me," is literally the only method of presenting stock challenges that will work in any but the most rigid tabletop RPG's.
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Offline Nanshork

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2019, 09:01:06 PM »
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.

I'd like to chime in as one of those who don't approve of the CR system as written. While it looks "good enough" for some stuff, it feels entirely arbitrary when you start digging into it. There have been multiple attempts over the years to find mathematical benchmarks for what an appropriate CR is, or to find what constitutes a +/- CR change, and it all seems to boil down to "looks good to me".
That's because this game really can't have any accurate mathematical benchmarks on that front.  Two parties of Fighter+Wizard+Rogue+Cleric can be vastly different in capabilities, despite having the same class combos.  Heck, it makes a big difference if a monster is encounter 1 or encounter 5 in a day.  There are just too many variables to get anything that's not "looks good to me."

Which, honestly, is exactly what the writers intended.  Challenge Rating is explicitly stated to be a guideline, not hard rules (screwed up a bit by the fact XP is calculated off CR, but I digress).  "Looks good to me," is literally the only method of presenting stock challenges that will work in any but the most rigid tabletop RPG's.

The issue isn't that CR is bad for different parties, the issue is that CR isn't consistent between monsters with similar abilities.

Offline oslecamo

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2019, 09:54:46 PM »
Yeah, that damn crab is a classic example since it's a typical grappler brute that's much tougher and hits much harder than any other brutish monsters of the same CR. Consider the basic ogre that at CR 3 only has 29 HP and 16 AC vs that damn crab's 66 HP and 19 AC plus the crab's immune to mind-affecting too. The ogre technically deals more damage at 2d8+7 vs 1d8+9, but that damn crab has better to-hit (+8 vs +10) plus constrict and considering it's virtually impossible for a lv 3 PC to beat that damn crab's grapple bonus then its claws will often be hitting for double damage at a whooping 2d8+18 damage per hit. And the crab gets two claw attacks in a full attack to the ogre's single greatclub attack!

Something else that's really unforgivable is how so many monsters have more HD than CR, sometimes even double or more (then sometimes less HD than CR), which really screws with all the different effects based on HD. That's why in my monster classes one of the key rules is that each level brings one HD, no more and no less.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2019, 10:05:48 PM by oslecamo »

Offline Nytemare3701

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2019, 12:23:41 PM »
There's a way to benchmark the basics at the very least, as shown by people mathematically breaking down average stats by level across entire monster manuals and sorting them into combat roles. We can say that a bruiser with X HD should be a challenge for a level Y bruiser character. Party dynamics and minmaxing skill make this kind of thing useless for defining any kind of "absolute balance", but it still hopefully keeps things like That Damn Crab or TPK Shadow from happening.
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Offline zook1shoe

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2019, 06:13:50 PM »
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Offline magic9mushroom

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2019, 09:13:04 AM »
snip
The meaning you appear to impute to my posts is so bafflingly different from the meaning I intend in them that I do not believe further conversation between us will serve any purpose.

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).
I would disagree. There are TO builds without questionable interpretations of rules (e.g. much of Pun-Pun's cheese).

I'm more skittish than usual in this particular case because the rules actually tell you to be careful when improving monsters, and that the guidelines for CR (as opposed to the actual effect of advancement or templates on the monster's abilities) are only that. In particular, monsters with class levels and monsters advanced by HD beyond twice their original CR have a note that you "should modify its CR as seems logical"; I feel that this note, unhelpful as it may be, is still a rule and that holding up monsters in those regions as "badly-CRed" amounts to wilful ignorance of that rule (effectively, the official CR of monsters in those regions is "figure it out yourself", which is lazy but tautologically accurate). On the other hand, I see printed monsters, printed templates and suggested-in-monster-entry HD advancement to mostly be fair game here, as that's stuff they are telling us to trust.


Speaking of which: advancing Spell Weavers by Hit Dice goes crazy very quickly, as their racial casting scales as HD+2. Dragon 338 actually published an Advanced Spell Weaver of Legend Archmage 3, which was allegedly CR 21 but cast as a 35th-level sorcerer with Improved Metamagic, two instances of Multispell and Epic Spellcasting. If you just straight advanced it to max it'd supposedly be CR 16 (or 17, depending on how you round it) but would still have four epic feats and 32nd-level casting.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 09:16:50 AM by magic9mushroom »

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2019, 10:09:27 AM »
Given that was isn/isn't logical varies for everyone, you can't really hold that up as a rule that people are ignoring and expect any sort of agreement on the subject.

Offline zook1shoe

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Re: Most under/over CRed monsters?
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2019, 01:08:35 PM »
Kind of like how everyone's RAI may vary.

Template stacking (Or cascading like my uses of tauric/were-/ento-) are the most consistent way to blowup the CR system.

Another is just who is in playing/running and their optimization levels. An group of veterans can compete with higher CRs than noobs or even average players, because they know what to do to build to their strengths.

There's a lot of circumstantial changes to CR, just based on environment setting.

I feel like the higher the CR, the higher the probability of getting it wrong drastically increases, usually over.

----

I'm having a tough time sorting out the CRs needed in my PF Reign of Winter game, because they're all good, but I have a grappler/slaver than is brutal. I don't like limiting people reasonably, but I'm also trying to not go out of my way to introduce things specifically neutralize his character.

That said, I did just nearly PK/TPK with a mandragora (3.5 stats from an earlier AP). Got 5 of 6 confused for 3 rounds. But the crit cards (both 1s and 20s) seem to help them.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2019, 01:21:27 PM by zook1shoe »
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