View Full Version : CR Variation for Gear and Locale

2013-12-29, 10:11 PM
I was wondering if anyone had any general guidelines they use for CR or XP calculations for fights that get altered in unusual ways. At a certain point it's admittedly more trouble than it's worth to recalculate CR based only on factors like that, but a few questions like these always come to mind (I think my earliest thoughts on this involved what happens to the CR of a level 1 Warrior Kobold who gets his hands on the Sword of Kas.)

A more specific example that I'm working on right now is trying to balance a customized minotaur in a labyrinth-style conclusion to someone new to gaming who wants a solo session before joining a regular gaming table. Starting at level 1, I'm making the significantly weaker minotaur have fewer hitpoints and capable of dealing less damage. Its lair, an ancient maze of mirrors, is something that I want to make cause a kind of non-magical effect like the Blur spell, but with a lower percentage of missing if a successful perception check gets rolled.

Two abilities I'd like the minotaur to have would be a variation of Tree Stride (basically a "Mirror Walk" that lets it step into one mirror and instantly out of another mirror within thirty feet), the ability to cast mirror image on himself once a day, and a masterwork-ish weapon that has the ability to create an illusory double of the target that it strikes (usually a useless ability, but one that will gradually increase the probability of failing a perception check in the mirror maze as the player no longer has just her own mirror reflections seeming to interact with the minotaur images, but also 3D holograms of herself doing the same thing.) Admittedly, this weapon is an exception to the rule that all magic weapons need to have a +1 enhancement.

A fear I have is that these abilities together might make the creature too difficult to reasonably call the creature CR 2, even if this mini-taur only has one or two hit dice. On the other hand, given the very narrow range of ways that these abilities would be used by the creature in this location, the specificity might keep it down. (And might be offset by as much as a single potion of Truestrike found earlier in the adventure.)

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on balance in terms of this, or for location and equipment modifications to CR in general.

2013-12-30, 12:06 AM
To be perfectly honest at this level even if it was a basic kobold with a shortsword at the end the low HD of both parties, (i'm assuming the PC is going to be not too far out of line with the Mino), is going to really push this into a crapshoot unless the character is a specific class and/or build combination, (and if he's a new player i'd be surprised if that's likely). Neither side need's a very large number of successful dice rolls at any specific step to get a kill so RNG is going to be the primary determining factor in this fight. The addition of the whole illusion mechanics with miss chance only makes that worse by increasing the number of steps.

This TBH is really one of 3.5's biggest issue's, at fairly low level and low con modifiers that go with it and fights can be decided by a single high damage roll, a single lucky crit, or a single miss when the enemy doesn't can be decisive. When your dealing With T3 or below non-ubercharger build it's much rarer to see that situation at higher levels, the potential damage output per round vs the average HP's just aren't as skewed ratio wise in favour of offence.

2013-12-30, 08:26 PM
True, that's always an issue. I was working on that a bit more this morning, and I changed the minotaur's primary weapon to be less lethal for potential end-game closers on his part. Given his enhanced dexterity and the culture the game takes place in, I've changed his weapon to a "+1 Riding Crop" that deals nonlethal damage. I'm not sure what damage a Riding Crop should typically do if wielded as a legitimate weapon, but I'm assuming it'd be in the 1d3 or 1d3 range, if that much.

I'm a bit less concerned about one-shot kills that might come from the player. If she takes down a boss monster that quickly on her first foray, awesome. (The imminent collapse of the mirror maze and chance to save the hostages will make the boss fight almost a secondary concern if it's over too quickly.)