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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2017

    Default D&D 5e MM Monster Defences (AC vs Saving Throws)

    I was curious how likely it is for an attacker to succeed on an attack roll vs an enemy failing a saving throw inflicted by the same character, but there didn't seem to be a resource for this yet. So, I decided to make my own:

    This document compiles the AC and saving throw modifiers of every monster from the Monster Manual (with a few exceptions, as clarified below), including averages for each CR, and compares them against each other. The table also lists the average, median, and lowest saving throw modifiers of each monster and the CR averages. Each monster's type is also there if you find that certain kinds of enemies are more common, and it helps identify trends (e.g. mosts beasts have very low Intelligence, and true dragons all have proficiency in Dex/Con/Wis/Cha saves).

    Acknowledged flaws/limitations:

    -I have very limited IT knowledge and couldn't figure out an automated process, so I compiled the data partially by hand (mostly by copypasting, however). Therefore, the spreadsheet may have occasional human errors.

    -The averages assume that any given monster is equally likely to appear, which probably skews the numbers a bit.

    -Monsters such as the Spore Servant and Half-Dragon were ignored because they are just templates that could be applied to almost any monster.

    -Some monsters may have multiple versions with different CRs, e.g. the Faerie Dragon is CR1 or CR2 depending on its age/colour, which determines its spell list, but I only included the CR2 version. Monsters with increased CRs within their lair were included as the version without a lair.

    -This does not include damage resistances/immunities or condition immunities, or reactions that can add a bonus to AC. However, the spreadsheet does list legendary resistances and traits that grant advantage to saving throws (e.g. Magic Resistance) or reduce damage (Evasion). Magic Resistance in particular is common at higher CRs and across many groups of enemies, such as fiends.

    -If the enemy is capable of casting Mage Armour, I assumed that they do have it at the start of combat, as it lasts 8 hours and does not require concentration. Barkskin, on the other hand, only lasts an hour and competes for concentration with other spells, so I chose to ignore it.

    Assuming the same ability modifier and that the character's proficiency bonus applies to both, a saving throw is equally effective compared to an attack roll when an enemy's saving throw modifier = AC - 14. Example below:

    -The character has a +3 ability modifier and +2 proficiency bonus, for a +5 attack bonus/13 save DC.
    -Against an AC of 16, the attacker needs to roll an 11 or higher to hit (top 50%).
    -With a save modifier of +2, the enemy needs to roll a 10 or lower to fall below the save DC (bottom 50%).
    -16 - 2 = 14

    The "save vs AC" columns compare saving throws vs AC using this methodology; 0 means that they are equal, -1 means that a failed save is 5% less likely than a succesfull attack roll, 3 means that a failed save is 15% more likely than a succesfull attack roll, etc.

    Generally, effects with saving throws are less likely to succeed than attack rolls. However, a particularly weak stat can be an exploitable Achilles' heel, such as the Tarrasque's +0 Dex save vs its massive 25 AC. Also, most effects with saving throws are spells, which often have more significant effects than weapon attacks, and AoE blasts tend to deal half damage even if an enemy succeeds.

    Last edited by Platypusbill; 2020-07-30 at 07:23 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground

    Join Date
    Mar 2015

    Default Re: D&D 5e MM Monster Defences (AC vs Saving Throws)

    Haven't looked at the file yet but clearly this is a LOT of work. Well done on the input. Not sure what conclusions can be drawn from the averages as I suspect most campaigns will have a theme around a few creature types.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground

    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Where I'll never be found

    Default Re: D&D 5e MM Monster Defences (AC vs Saving Throws)

    Nice work! Must of taken a lot of time, though
    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    No, it's obviously a darker and edgier version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.



  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: D&D 5e MM Monster Defences (AC vs Saving Throws)

    These are my calculations of average damage dependent on z=AC of the target - to hit modifier.

    X-Axis depicts the difference between the target's AC and the to hit modifier of the attacker.

    Y-Axis depicts the quotient of average damage (1 - 100% of average, 1.25 - 125% and so on).

    The upper line - average damage with advantage, the middle - normal one, the lower - with disadvantage

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