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Thread: LA vs CR

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default LA vs CR

    Why are level adjustments generally so much greater than CR adjustments?
    Example:
    Ghost
    CR +2, LA +5
    Ghost Bard 1: CR 3, ECL 6.

    I don't understand. When a character has a CR equal to his level, why is the CR vs LA so great? Is it to discourage monsterous races, or because players are supposed to be better than NPCs. If that is true, why is the CR for a 5th level wizard 5, when that means that he is a challenge for a group of four 5th level PCs?
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    Isn't CR a measure of the sort of challange it would be to an entire party?
    hence it would, by simple mathmatics always have to be lower than LA, which is a single character comparison?
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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing its because things with a CR (aka monsters) are supposed to die when the PC's face them. Abilities that a monster could use once in an encounter are balanced, but give them to a character, and they would quickly become quite powerful.

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    Khantalas's Avatar

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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    Also, there are some abilities that won't be much useful in combat, but very useful out of it. Like having create food and water as a spell-like ability at will. You can't take advantage of it during combat, but it is otherwise very useful.

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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    Quote Originally Posted by illathid View Post
    I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing its because things with a CR (aka monsters) are supposed to die when the PC's face them. Abilities that a monster could use once in an encounter are balanced, but give them to a character, and they would quickly become quite powerful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Khantalas View Post
    Also, there are some abilities that won't be much useful in combat, but very useful out of it. Like having create food and water as a spell-like ability at will. You can't take advantage of it during combat, but it is otherwise very useful.
    Pretty much. Look at the lich's phylactery. That doesn't significantly increase the lich's CR; you can still trounce the lich in combat, you just have to hunt down the phylactery afterward. But from a PC perspective, that phylactery represents virtual immunity from character death.
    Last edited by Dausuul; 2007-04-26 at 08:52 AM.

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    Planetar

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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    The D&D books that go into detail on LA explain this. Basically, it comes down to the difference between how much chance a monster will have to use abilities, and how much chance a PC will have to use abilities.

    Take a simple spell-like ability like the devil and demon ability to use greater teleport at will (self only). A barbazu has that and it's only CR 5. If the PCs fight one, the barbazu's teleport is unlikely to make much difference in the fight. It'll make the barbazu more mobile, but every time it uses it it loses a turn, giving the PCs time to recover. The barbazu can use it to stay away from the PCs completely, but in that case, it isn't challenging them much at all. Usually what'll happen is that there'll be a few rounds of combat, the barbazu will die, and the teleport is never used.

    But now imagine if a player could use greater teleport at will. They're going to be goddamn Nightcrawler, bamfing about here, there, and everywhere across the entire campaign world. They can spy on anything, steal anything, assassinate enemies, be the ultimate scout - you name it. And that's not counting the Barbazu's damage reduction, spell resistance, immunities, resistances, and special attacks. LA +5 is way, way too low for that.

    Any kind of spell-like ability that can be used at will has the potential for horrendous abuse in the hands of PCs. There's a reason that the base classes only grant 'at will' use for the lowest-level and simplest of spells, like the paladin's detect evil.

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    Last edited by Saph; 2007-04-26 at 09:59 AM.

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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    Any kind of spell-like ability that can be used at will has the potential for horrendous abuse in the hands of PC. There's a reason that the base classes only grant 'at will' use for the lowest-level and simplest of spells, like the paladin's detect evil.
    And even that gets abused, insofar as it can, by some.

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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    There are three major factors in why ECL is usually higher than CR:

    1) Many monsters have either powerful abilities usable at will or a large selection of abilities usable at least a few times per day. In situations where CR is what matters, the monster will only appear for a short time (usually just a few rounds of one combat) and will only have the opportunity to use a small number of those abilities a few times. When the monster is a PC and ECL is used, it will be in many battles over a long period of time and will be able to take full advantage of the entire selection and use limits, so these abilities have a greater effect on ECL than CR.

    2) Monsters may have abilities that synergize particularly well with class levels, but monsters used as generic enemies usually don't have class levels while PCs do. Again, these abilities are more powerful in situations where ECL matters than CR.

    3) Monsters typically do not have much equipment. A standard CR 5 critter is CR 5 as is, with no more gear than is included in its stat block. Make that same critter into a PC, and it will be decked out in gear appropriate for its ECL, which is usually a great deal more than what it normally has. LA has to take that into account, CR does not.
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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    Quote Originally Posted by douglas View Post
    3) Monsters typically do not have much equipment. A standard CR 5 critter is CR 5 as is, with no more gear than is included in its stat block. Make that same critter into a PC, and it will be decked out in gear appropriate for its ECL, which is usually a great deal more than what it normally has. LA has to take that into account, CR does not.
    It's also worth noting that even when NPCs do get equipment, they have less money to spend than a PC does, so that a 5th level NPC fighter (who is CR 5) isn't as powerful as a 5th level PC fighter.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    I think what the OP means is, why, say, a human half-dragon with 5 levels of sorcerer is less dangerous than a normal human with 11 levels sorcerer, yet both need the same experience points. Both count as 11th level, but the half dragon is CR 8, and the human is CR 11.
    Note, I picked half-dragon at random, and the LA and CR may be completely wrong. I know they changed it a bit from 3.0 to 3.5, but I think you know what I mean.

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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    Quote Originally Posted by Roderick_BR View Post
    I think what the OP means is, why, say, a human half-dragon with 5 levels of sorcerer is less dangerous than a normal human with 11 levels sorcerer, yet both need the same experience points. Both count as 11th level, but the half dragon is CR 8, and the human is CR 11.
    Note, I picked half-dragon at random, and the LA and CR may be completely wrong. I know they changed it a bit from 3.0 to 3.5, but I think you know what I mean.
    Because a caster level of 11 is infinitely more than a caster level of 5 plus a breath weapon and some minor physical ability score modifications? An enemy NPC with a caster level of 11 is very dangerous. A caster level of 5 versus level 11 PCs? Not so much.

    But as a PC, all the half-dragon abilities become very useful over a period of time. Of course, the sorcerer 11 is still better... but that's because most LA races simply aren't that good. And casters don't synergise well with anything that means they lose caster levels.
    Last edited by Yuki Akuma; 2007-04-26 at 01:55 PM.
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    I understand why playing an incorporeal creature, a creature that is effectively impossible to kill (ghost or lich) in most circumstances, or a creature that can teleport, but why is a NPC wizard 11 CR 11 when he is supposed to be a challenge for FOUR 11th level PCs (generally including a wizard) and who has less cool stuff, etc.
    And also when a Ghost wizard 11 would be CR13, but a 16th level character and yet a 16th level character would be CR 16?

    Or even a fighter or rogue to take Caster Level out to the equation.
    Last edited by BardicDuelist; 2007-04-26 at 01:58 PM.
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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    Quote Originally Posted by BardicDuelist View Post
    ....why is a NPC wizard 11 CR 11 when he is supposed to be a challenge for FOUR 11th level PCs (generally including a wizard) and who has less cool stuff, etc.
    CR is based on what should consume about one fifth of a four-character party's resources. It's not based on what should be a "fair fight" for a single encounter.

    A party of four level 11 NPCs (with non-NPC classes) has a good chance of exhausting the entire resources of a party of four level 11 PCs; that's why their CR is higher (calculated to be 15).
    Last edited by Jasdoif; 2007-04-26 at 02:06 PM.

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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    Ah... I must of misread that. Now the whole thing makes sense, well as much as CR systems make sense to me anyway.
    Johannes factotum of the Bard Defense League

    "A witty saying proves nothing." -Voltaire

    "Jack of all trades, master of none, though ofttimes better than master of one."

    The main question that any DM should ask before making a house-rule or exception is, "Is it balanced?"

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: LA vs CR

    Some abilities are more worthwhile to players than to NPCs because of the difference in the way they can use them. For the most part though CR is different from ECL because monsters are expected to be played with drama and metagame archetypes in mind while almost completely ignoring internal consistence (personally I'd rather do it the other way around). PCs on the whole tend to balk at that, archetypes are all fine and well ... but if wearing armor means the difference between life and death they will put on armor.

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