View Full Version : 4E XP Value of Enemies with class levels

2009-03-14, 06:04 PM
So I'm working on creating some NPC villains for an encounter, and the 4E rules on NPC enemies are...odd. It seems that they're simply really gimped versions of PCs. For example, if I want to make a 7th level elf cleric as an NPC villain, he'll only have 1 at will, 1 daily, 1 encounter, and 1 utility. So...this means that a 7th level cleric NPC will get the snot beat out of it by a 7th level Cleric PC, no questions asked.

There are a couple of immediate options:
1) Make it an elite. This will double the hit points, and will give a few extra attack options and powers, but the NPC will still have significantly less options than a PC of equal level and class. I don't really like this option too much
2) Make it the same as a PC. A more difficult challenge in terms of abilities, but will be weaker in regards to defenses and HP.

I know how to handle the first option, but how would I adjust xp if I went with the 2nd? Are there any in-between suggestions that people can come up with?

Tiki Snakes
2009-03-14, 06:17 PM
I'm pretty sure, not entirely sure, but pretty sure, that if you're adding a class template to an npc/monster, it is the same/part of making it elite? They should get more HP and stuff, I though, just the same?

Basically, it's not creating a 'Player Character' to throw against the party, it's creating an npc/monster that has the flavour/tactics/general abilities of a certain class, *but is still a monster/npc*. Monsters generally should only have a couple of main attack powers, (An at-will or two, and some bigger, but more limited ones.) And maybe an extra trick or two.

If you load up a foe with a player character's worth of options it's going to be a lot less...predictable, than a standard/elite. If it's got a whole boatload of Encounter powers and several dailies, chances are, it's never even going to need to *bother* with a mere at-will power. There's no reason for them to hold back, they aren't likely to get another encounter anytime afterwards! Compared to the PC's, who chances are will be rationing their powers, it'll give the NPC rather a large advantage.

That's not to say it's not doable, but I'd say that kind of makes it more than an 'elite' foe. I wouldn't say it'd make it a 'solo' creature, (Because that implies it will be able to take more actions, in order to challenge 5 people, yada yada).

[edit] If you want to have the creature more specifically survivable/challenging, just give it another power or two, up some defences as you like. There's no hard and fast rules you HAVE to follow.

But if it's a matter of challenging your players, bare in mind that it's very much a party vs party situation unless you really are building a solo creature. The NPC Cleric and his friends/minions should be a challenge to the Party. Whether or not the Cleric could beat up the NPC cleric isn't the main issue.

If all else fails, just stat the NPC up as a level 8 or 9 cleric. That'll give him a bit of edge and keep the Player on his toes simply enough. (as long as you stay within about 4 or so levels, the only thing you need to worry about is the encounter's XP total. That's the important bit.)

2009-03-14, 06:38 PM
I'm pretty sure, not entirely sure, but pretty sure, that if you're adding a class template to an npc/monster, it is the same/part of making it elite? They should get more HP and stuff, I though, just the same?

You are correct.
Also if you want to make them Solo's you can apply two templates... I wonder if there is any joy in adding the same template twice?

2009-03-14, 06:42 PM
Watch out that Goblin is a... DOUBLE CLERIC!

Would be interesting... but weird to fight.

2009-03-14, 07:12 PM
Well, speaking as a proponent of the "The PC's level... when the DM says they level" party? I only use the monster creation rules as a frame of reference to try and create monsters I feel will be challenging without wiping the party. As I play the system more, I'm using them less and less as my own familiarity kicks in.

2009-03-14, 09:24 PM
PCs don't work as enemies in 4E. They didn't in 3.5 either, if they could cast (i.e. if they had a full daily allotment of powers but were able to expend it in one encounter). Seriously, if an enemy can nova by burning all 10+ encounter and daily powers in one encounter, it will kick some serious asses (but the low HP will make it a total glass cannon relative to monsters). There's no way to calculate the XP because the system doesn't support this.

The powers are the main reason it doesn't work. HP are the other. They're both good, powerful reasons. Use the class template, and the enemy gets a few - enough! - powers from the class and enough HP to be an actual opponent. The end result is the same, but more satisfying and balanced.

Of course, if you're not that worried about play balance or tracking XP, there's nothing to stop you, but you will have to figure things out on your own, in the end.

2009-03-14, 09:37 PM
The purpose of the class templates is to generate an elite.

First, start with a standard monster. Then apply a class template, and make it elite.

This generates an opponent with more offensive powers, and twice the HP, of a standard opponent, and they have the flavor of a particular class.

The character creation rules for players are designed to build a complex character for one person. They are designed to have continuity between encounters, and have to manage resources between encounters. They have the ability to deal with bad rolls by going nova and burning extra resources in a given encounter.

They have a complex HP system -- they have less HP than a similarly powerful monster, but more healing surges, and far more ways to use healing surges.

Monsters, on the other hand, are intended to generate an emulation that is easier to handle. They have more HP, and fewer healing surges, and fewer ways to use healing surges. They don't have a nova and a non-nova stance, because it is presumed by default that they will be in a situation where they are trying to pull out all of the stops (as the PCs beat them).

They have some random refresh mechanics to generate some unpredictability. And their damage budget is taken up by at-wills and encounter and refresh powers.

Class templates are intended to turn a normal monster into an elite, getting the extra offensive oomph from the per-encounter and daily powers that the elite gets to use in it's (presumably) single encounter that day.

As with all DMG templates, you'll have to rework the end result to make sure it has the about 1.75x as much offense as a typical level X monster.

An alternative way to generate a 'cleric enemy' is to simply use the monster creation rules, pulling powers out of the cleric list that seem flavorful. Do a check against similar level X monsters to make sure your monster is at the right challenge level for a generic 'level X' opponent, or (if you prefer) a level X elite or solo.

However, simply pulling out the player generating rules, and using it for a monster, doesn't generate anything remotely like a good level X challenge. The resulting creature will have ridiculous offense for a single encounter, have ping-pong PC like healing instead of easier to manage NPC higher HP, requires a bunch of equipment to work right (and even then, probably won't be balanced right).

It wouldn't make a good elite, because 5 PCs beating on it could kill it in one round before it acted. It wouldn't make a good normal monster, because it's offense is out of this world for a monster.

However, you can emulate an opponent who is a cleric, without ever touching the PC creation rules. Determine how bad ass of an opponent you want, and either use the template rules and/or use cleric powers as inspiration for a monster's attacks. And as a side benefit, you'll build an entertaining opponent using less time (after you do it more than once) than building a level X PC would take.

2009-03-14, 09:42 PM
Here's the thing - there are rules in the DMG for creating NPCs. That method will allow you to create a normal Level 7 Elf Cleric NPC, which is the same as a standard monster (i.e., not a Solo, Elite, or Minion). I haven't looked over the NPC creation rules since 4E debuted, but I think those should work out well.

If you want that NPC to be more awesome, add a (non-Cleric) template from the DMG to bump him up to Elite, and maybe another if he's meant to be a BBEG/Solo encounter.

2009-03-15, 11:15 AM
*looks up number of powers in PHB and DMG*

That actually seems about what I'd expect. Basically, there's no point cluttering a stat block with stuff that won't be used, so you don't. The number of powers you DO put on there generally come close to what you'd expect a PC to actually use during a fight.

Many PC classes are only going to use one of their at-wills (e.g. Rangers and Twin Strike), and monsters are already going to have another at-will before you apply the template. So, two at-wills.

PCs will rarely blow a second daily during a fight, and almost never blow a third unless they absolutely must. By the time a monster gets that desperate, it's dead anyways. Plus, there's also the thing with already having powers to use. Utilities are similar: not many utilities are that useful in combat, and a PC isn't going to use many of the daily ones unless they're desperate...at which point they'd probably rather use daily attacks anyways.

For encounter powers, monsters again already tend to start with some, and templates for classes with encounter-ish class features (e.g. Channel Divinity) get those as well. A monster by the time the third encounter power matters, they're probably going to have used a daily, perhaps some of those class feature powers, maybe an already-extant monster power. At that point, they're probably dead.

tl;dr: You don't need a long list of stuff that isn't going to get used, so you don't bother with it.

Kurald Galain
2009-03-15, 11:38 AM
PCs will rarely blow a second daily during a fight
That's certainly not true once PCs get to the point where they have two dailies, or means of recovering one (i.e. within heroic tier).

Utilities are similar: not many utilities are that useful in combat,
Whatever gives you that idea? You have it completely backwards: almost every utility power is designed to be used in combat, and only a minority of them have any use outside of combat. Healing, stances, movement powers, and several wall spells all fall under the header of "utility", and most of them are pretty pointless outside combat. The primary utility powers that work out of combat are skill boosters.

2009-03-15, 12:43 PM
That's certainly not true once PCs get to the point where they have two dailies, or means of recovering one (i.e. within heroic tier).
Remember that we're talking about trying to emulate a fight against PCs here. Monsters, whether pseudo-PCs or not, don't realize they have thirty seconds to live, and would presumably be expected to do similar things to PCs until they got desperate:

*If you have two dailies, are you really going to blow both of them immediately when you're likely to have more encounters that day?
*If you've already had some encounters are you always going to have all of them left?
*Are you really going to nova for three or four dailies, even if you can recover them, to shorten a fight by at most one round, which may very well be the case?
*Are you really going to use up so many of your daily attacks when you can spend actions on the utility powers that you say are so useful?
*Are you going to spend every single action on a daily if there are more pressing concerns, like using Healing Word on a badly wounded teammate?
*Are you going to use up all your dailies immediately if you have racial powers (which may be more situationally useful than class dailies) that you can spend actions on?

And when they get desperate:
*Do you really have long enough to live that you can blow another two or three dailies?

Whatever gives you that idea? You have it completely backwards: almost every utility power is designed to be used in combat, and only a minority of them have any use outside of combat. Healing, stances, movement powers, and several wall spells all fall under the header of "utility", and most of them are pretty pointless outside combat. The primary utility powers that work out of combat are skill boosters.
I should probably rephrase that.

First, I didn't say they weren't useful at all, and I didn't say it applied to all of them. Second, you have to account for the fact that there's only so many rounds in a battle. If you give a monster the full complement of powers, he's most likely going to die before using all of them.

*A lot of utility powers are indeed practically useless in combat. And you know that PCs most likely will end up with at least one or two of those. If you're trying to emulate a fight against PCs, you don't have to give them the full allotment.
*Even utility powers that are useful in combat aren't always useful in that particular combat. Nobody's going to pull out an elemental resistance utility if they're up against a lot of people with pointy objects and not a lot of elemental damage. Likewise you aren't going to break out Wall of Fog if you've got a lot more ranged attackers than the enemy does.
*Many utility powers are dailies. Even when they're useful in that particular fight, they aren't always useful enough to justify spending half your actions using up a one-per-day resource instead of hurting things.
*A lot of monsters already have a utility-style power or two before you apply the template. That's even fewer class utility powers you need to have a template add. If a typical PC has, say, 4 combat utilities, and the base monster already has one, the template only needs to add three more to bring it up to par.
*A lot of utility powers are just plain overshadowed by other things. A Cleric is a lot less likely to use the one CLW he has for the day if he still has Healing Word uses. And if he gets desperate, he's liable to use a higher CXW (if he has one) instead of a mere CLW. By the time a Cleric is using his CLW, he's likely to be dead, or else have nobody left to use it on (or both!).


So, how many of each type of power is a PC going to use during a fight? How much of each type of power is going to be useful, namely in that particular fight? How many of each type of power does the particular class template add on top of what would already be given (e.g. Eldritch Blast, Channel Divinity, etc.)? How many of each type of power is a PC who's getting his butt kicked going to have time to use?

Answer those questions, and that's how many powers you need to keep at the ready. Anything else is just wasted space. And the template is designed such that it minimizes that wasted space. It only becomes a problem if the monster tries to do something that even PCs rarely do, such as blow four dailies in a nova or use nothing but utility powers.

2009-03-16, 10:04 AM
In my campaign, I have a few PCs as enemies, and I give the same XP as for an Elite of that level. I make it a rarity... Usually a recurring enemy. (The villain's elite guards who're constantly searching for the party are a trio of PCs.)

However, there are templates for for making an enemy that uses PC abilities too... I've done this a couple times too... The best example I have being the party's first fight: A Human Paladin Paladin (Redgar, Lvl 1 elite) and a Human Paladin Paladin Paladin (Vicky, Lvl 1 solo).

Generally, for a party of 5, you're gonna want encounters to average 2 levels above what the DMG recommends for them. This is what I've found challenges the party without being enough to kill them. Even then... At level 2 they fought a lvl 4 dragon (all dragons are solos, so this is an encounter that's exactly 2 levels above them) that literally got only 2 turns in before it was dead.

2009-03-16, 02:35 PM
4-6 level+2 encounters between long rests is much harder than one level+2 encounter between long rests. :) Are you throwing decently long days at your party?

2009-03-16, 03:06 PM
It depends on a variety of things.

If you care to know... My response is all relative to campaigns I'm in or running:

Some days might only have one encounter. Some days don't have any... I like to mix some skill challenges in there as well. The time-sensitive stuff that I've done has all been skill challenges instead of encounters, so they generally have time to sleep when they run out of dailies. Focus, however, has not been on dungeon crawls at all. There's a region of towns and cities in which they must talk to enough of the area's leaders. Each place has it's own issues that need tending to (at least for now). After the current quest, things will start to focus a bit more. (Basically, the main villain is thought to be loved throughout the land, and the party needs to prove him a liar before they storm his tower... He's actually hated throughout the land though... Each place just thinks everyone else thinks he's great, so they're in fear of reprisal if they act against him in any way.)

That's in my campaign though. I'm in a few others... And in those, the same seems to apply.

In one of those campaigns, the party has no healer, so the DM doesn't really give us multiple encounters in a single day anymore. When we had a healer, we had probably 3-4 encounters per day, and he said he generally averaged 2 levels above us.

In another, the DM is throwing things at us that are at least 2 levels up, if not more. Our longest run in a single day was 6.5 encounters. He had something open that was going to close within 24 hours, so we couldn't stop to sleep, so instead we had a TPK during the 7th encounter. There were 5 of us for the first half of that run, 4 for the 2nd half (one guy was out sick.)

In a 3rd, we started at Paragon Tier. 3 of us took on a Hydra our own level and despite being in the water, it spent the entire time prone and fell quickly. The DM has expressed concern that he can't really find much that can challenge our characters without outright killing us... So the encounters are mostly a few levels above us. In that campaign, we have probably 5-6 encounters per day.