Converting class levels to CR - Page 5 - Myth-Weavers


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Converting class levels to CR

Look, Color spray alone makes a cr 1 trap, along with the sorceress herself who gets a suprise round. It had the potential to do a decent amount of damage.

The thing to take away from this is that low level CRs, like high level CRs, are wonky.

And that the circumstances can completely invalidate the 'listed' CR. If it's not a challenge, don't give XP. But something like colour spray can either wipe out an entire party, or do nothing. It's an area effect save or die at low levels, and sure, wizards are meant to be doing crap like that, but it's a nightmare from a challenge rating perspective.

You have to judge things individually anyway, you might as well get in the habit of it, because judging solely by listed CR is a recipe for boring games and poor encounters.

I don't like the suggestion and assumption that because I utilize the CR system I am devoid of any sort of higher judgement. I understand that there are low lvl cr's that don't work and high lvl cr's that don't work and cr's that seem perfect but just wind up doing nothing to the party, and cr's that seem perfect but can wipe out the party if poorly handled. I always cross check my parties abilites to the encounters I throw them against. With a party of six, and the nature of the encounter, the color spray would have hit, at most, two players. These players would have taken a good deal of damage if they were knocked out, but the other 4 players would have easily been able to come to their aid well before they died, so your "save or die" theory is out. If they didn't get knocked out by the first one, there were other spells and tricks available. Also, just because of good forture or educated play makes an encounter easier than intended doesn't mean I should fork over less XP. Yes, if I send a band of undead against a party of 3 clerics, then I would give less points, but assuming the party was just lucky or handled a situation better than expected does not mean that you shouldn't reward them. It is played with dice instead of full DM arbitration for a reason. You're playing the odds as well as the tactics of every fight, and if you get a little lucky, then you got lucky. It could have just as easily turned around and caused more damage than intended, but unless it was because I overcalculated the parties abilities, I shouldn't reward more. The dice land as they do. You should not withold a reward that could have been earned just because the enemy performed poorly.
It was not circumstance or "wonkyness" that affected the encounter. It was luck of the dice. Had the color spray caught, it would have dealt a lot more damage to the group, and been an ideal at level encounter.

I really doubt it. She hit 2 players with the colour spray. They fall over, the rest murder the skeleton and then murder her in short order.

Or she hits all 6 players with the colour spray and you're looking at TPK. Combat is wonky at low levels, especially with spellcasters.

That's why you should have individually weaker spellcasters as part of larger groups.

That way the 'oh whoops TPK' aspect of magic use is ameliorated.

Except you're talking about getting a group of 6 players into a 15 foot cone. Do you know how stupid my players would have to be? Also, with a surprise round, how would the remaining four characters "murder the skeleton and sorceress" in short order without acting? And from across the room? If they can hit her from across the room, they must be ranged fighters. That must mean they are out of reach of the cone and can't be hit. If they're melee fighters, they can be hit with the cone, but since its really hard to kill a skeleton with a crossbow, that must mean that I planned on knocking out 1 or 2 of the melee fighters to make the skeleton a little harder to deal with, allowing the sorceress time to fling off a few more spells from across the room, protected from the total concealment she had since the party light source was one of the melee fighters, and she was more than a good 60 feet away. but ya know what, you're right. This entire encounter was just wonkyness, and there was no fortune involved. It was just DOOMED to fail no matter what. Because everything I've stated isn't carefully balanced so that at worst the ranged fighters have to melee fight a skeleton to get through to the sorceress, and at best they destroy her outright, as they did.

Yeah you know actually, she hits two with Colour Spray and they both save, then they both hit the skelly, and she gets a second action. That's not so big a deal I don't think. If one of them had missed or failed their saves (perfectly possible at that level) it would probably have gone a lot less smoothly for them. At the very least the skelly would probably get an attack on a prone target and soak up another action or so. I would have considered making her second action something like Invisibility, though. Possibly followed by Summon Monster before doing anything too crazy. Chances are it wouldn't do much but it makes a slightly more dynamic encounter than a single save-or-die.

But yeah, low-level encounters are wonky for sure; in this case wonkiness means precisely that there's fortune involved - far too much, in fact. The modifiers are so low that the roll makes too much of a difference - the opposite problem, really, of high levels (aside from nat 1s and 20s). Thus an encounter can easily swing from a push-over to deadly or vice versa with the odd die roll. Sounds to me like your Sorceress did OK (ish), they just got lucky.

Unless she was cornered to begin with, why the hell was she fighting anyone?

Her best nuke knocks a couple of guys out of the fight, and then the rest of the party rolls over her (1) meatshield and probably stabs her into the bargain, and that's if things go well.

Why was she even fighting in the first place? Madness?

I find madness tends to decrease CR, if played right. Mad people don't make tactically sound decisions.

Look, not every unit in a dungeon has to be built so that it has a good chance of winning. She simply overestimated her abilities and bit off more than she could chew. Plenty of encounters play out where the enemy creatures face imminent defeat and can only really hope to weaken the party by fighting. Its how you wittle players down. If everything thats weaker than them runs, and only things that can kill them stay and fight, you're gonna have a really crappy game..

Pretty desperate situation if you're going up against 6 1st level PCs and all you've got is colour spray and a lousy skeleton, and you're not even taking them by surprise while they're bunched up. If I didn't think I was going to be slain out of hand, i'd surrender in that situation before I fired a shot.


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