A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
You can get A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2 now at Gumroad
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Iceland
    Gender
    Female2Male

    Default I learned a lot about CR today.

    I was doing some quippmaff, and stumbled on some pretty interesting tidbits.

    Using Donjon's encounter size calculator I was trying to figure out some averages the help me out with improvising numbers in my games. Using those references and this one I was looking for:

    a) How much damage can each PC expect to take each round in a medium encounter.
    b) How much damage does each PC have to contribute each round in order to clear a medium encounter in two rounds.


    ------------------------------------------------------
    The answer to a) seemed to be close to 2(N+1) where N is the PCs level.

    For this table I used medium encounters for 4 PCs with a number of enemies between 4 and 6.

    Level Incoming damage per PC 2(N+1)
    1 3 4
    2 5 6
    3 8 8
    4 10 10
    5 12 12
    6 15 14
    7 15 16
    8 15 18
    9 20 20
    10 20 22
    11 25 24


    When I write this up in a table it looks reasonable enough. The formula is pretty spot on, so I will definitely use this for improvised damage in my games from now on.

    ----------------------------------------

    Using pretty much the same method, but for HP instead of Damage, these are my results for answer to B.

    Using Donjon I can see that for a group of four 9th level adventurers a medium encounter is four 3CR creatures. The combined health of these creatures is on average 240. Divide this by 2 rounds and 4 PCs we have a good average damage output of our hypothetical party.


    Level Expected DPR (on hit) (N*3)+2
    1 4,5 5
    2 7,5 8
    3 11,25 11
    4 15 14
    5 18,75 17
    6 22,5 20
    7 22,5 23
    8 22,5 26
    9 30 29
    10 30 32

    This is also pretty interesting. I'm not entirely sure what to make of this, but at least now when someone asks me "what's a good damage output guideline?" I can link to this little experiment and say "If you want to contribute in a medium encounter, this is the damage you should deal. Just modify these guidelines based on if your character is a support type or a damage type."

    This is also a pretty interesting way to measure damage.
    - A 5th level Zealot Barbarian is a 10th level damage dealer.
    - A 3rd level Fighter can becomes a 7th level damage dealer when he uses Action Surge.
    - A Rogue's damage level is his class level +2.
    -

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Flumph

    Join Date
    Aug 2019

    Default Re: I learned a lot about CR today.

    I like the endeavor, always enjoy stats and math.

    Any reason why you are using 2 rounds instead of the "typical" 3 given by the DMG for monster creation (damage calculation, increased health via regenerate, etc.)? As far as I knew, that was the standard.

    Of course, if you do make it over 3 rounds, that will make the typical damage numbers required appear lower, but at the same time, this analysis is assuming all attacks hit, so the two should neutralize each other.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Iceland
    Gender
    Female2Male

    Default Re: I learned a lot about CR today.

    Any reason why you are using 2 rounds instead of the "typical" 3 given by the DMG for monster creation.
    I did try 3 rounds to begin with, but the numbers just came out plain ridiculous. They were so low I didn't imagine them being useful for anything. It's probably because, as you said, you have to account for some missed attacks. That's another fun way to think about it "A combat lasts 2 rounds, and an additional round for each 4 missed attacks made by the PCs" hahaha

    I must admit, there was a little bit of confirmation bias, since I already started working on this, and was looking to getting some similar numbers.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    stoutstien's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Maine
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I learned a lot about CR today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjarkmundur View Post
    I did try 3 rounds to begin with, but the numbers just came out plain ridiculous. They were so low I didn't imagine them being useful for anything. It's probably because, as you said, you have to account for some missed attacks. That's another fun way to think about it "A combat lasts 2 rounds, and an additional round for each 4 missed attacks made by the PCs" hahaha

    I must admit, there was a little bit of confirmation bias, since I already started working on this, and was looking to getting some similar numbers.
    A few things to think about when looking at CR or encounters building in general.

    What HP is the likely threshold for the NPC to flee/surrender/self-destruct.

    DPR for players is very bust focused. As you seen with action surge or a well placed spell. Mean isn't a good way to look at it if you want to set up encounters that's aren't over before they start.

    The first round is worth almost double IMO in regards to balance. If you set up a deadly encounter that turns into an easy one 3 turns in it is anticlimactic.
    what is the point of living if you can't deadlift?

    All credit to the amazing avatar goes to thoroughlyS

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Washington State
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I learned a lot about CR today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjarkmundur View Post
    snip

    Using pretty much the same method, but for HP instead of Damage, these are my results for answer to B.

    Using Donjon I can see that for a group of four 9th level adventurers a medium encounter is four 3CR creatures. The combined health of these creatures is on average 240. Divide this by 2 rounds and 4 PCs we have a good average damage output of our hypothetical party.


    Level Expected DPR (on hit) (N*3)+2
    1 4,5 5
    2 7,5 8
    3 11,25 11
    4 15 14
    5 18,75 17
    6 22,5 20
    7 22,5 23
    8 22,5 26
    9 30 29
    10 30 32

    This is also pretty interesting. I'm not entirely sure what to make of this, but at least now when someone asks me "what's a good damage output guideline?" I can link to this little experiment and say "If you want to contribute in a medium encounter, this is the damage you should deal. Just modify these guidelines based on if your character is a support type or a damage type."

    This is also a pretty interesting way to measure damage.
    - A 5th level Zealot Barbarian is a 10th level damage dealer.
    - A 3rd level Fighter can becomes a 7th level damage dealer when he uses Action Surge.
    - A Rogue's damage level is his class level +2.
    -
    So, using this we could even rate how Cantrips match up to consistent damage - and it would look like EB with Agonizing blast is a good way to maintain damage, however that also means that most other cantrips will fail to meet damage marks as time moves forward.

    I also admit that I'm having a hard time understanding the charts perfectly...

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Iceland
    Gender
    Female2Male

    Default Re: I learned a lot about CR today.

    So, using this we could even rate how Cantrips match up to consistent damage - and it would look like EB with Agonizing blast is a good way to maintain damage
    That's right!

    However that also means that most other cantrips will fail to meet damage marks as time moves forward.
    This is true, meaning that someone with a higher damage output will have to pick up the slack for you. You can then repay the favor with all the amazing situational spells you bring to the table in some other encounter! It's all about knowing your role.

    I also admit that I'm having a hard time understanding the charts perfectly.
    When I posted this I realized it wasn't the clearest thing, but I was afraid that by trying to explain I'd just confuse people even more. Maybe someone who gets it and is more articulate than I am can help fill in the gaps and explain how I made these tables better?

    There's a much longer story on how I ended up with these specific tables, if you look at the process step-by-step.

  7. - Top - End - #7

    Default Re: I learned a lot about CR today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjarkmundur View Post
    When I posted this I realized it wasn't the clearest thing, but I was afraid that by trying to explain I'd just confuse people even more. Maybe someone who gets it and is more articulate than I am can help fill in the gaps and explain how I made these tables better?

    There's a much longer story on how I ended up with these specific tables, if you look at the process step-by-step.
    Here's my attempt to explain what Bjarkmundur is doing:

    There are patterns in any data. One way to analyze data is to look at averages, for a given value, e.g. average weight for a given height and gender. Another way is to look at causes of variation, e.g. what makes certain people of a certain height fatter than average. For purposes of this thread, we're interested in averages.

    Bjarkmundur has previously computed some simple averages for CR, by looking at the DMG tables for CR, to come up with some kind of "average" Damage/AC/etc. for each CR. The DMG gives a lot of weight to the ways those quantities can vary (some monsters are tough but not very hard-hitting, some are very accurate but not tough, etc.) but again for purposes of this thread we're ignoring variation and pretending that every CR 3 monster has identical stats based right off the DMG Quick Monster table.

    Then Bjarkmundur took those averages-by-CR and plugged them into another dataset (randomly-generated Medium encounters) to get a bunch of data on how much damage he or she expects the monsters to do to some kind of theoretically-average PC party during the combat. The way this was done was to estimate that the average PC party has an AC good enough that the monsters will get in about two good hits against each PC during the combat. Then he or she used some method, probably linear regression, to turn that dataset into a simple formula, and made a chart from the formula.

    Averaging a bunch of averages doesn't necessarily give you the same average you'd get from averaging only once over the full dataset of all monsters a PC would be expected to fight, but it is much simpler to compute. The alternate way would be significantly harder, and would require generating a bunch of random PC parties and running them in fights against randomly-generated MM monsters, and computing how much damage they would take. This is called a Monte Carlo simulation, and to my knowledge no one has ever done one on a large scale for 5E, although it would probably be fun to try.

    Bjarkmundur, anything you want to correct or clarify here?
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2019-10-01 at 02:18 PM. Reason: typos: height, combat

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Iceland
    Gender
    Female2Male

    Default Re: I learned a lot about CR today.

    Bjarkmundur has previously computed some simple averages for CR, by looking at the DMG tables for CR, to come up with some kind of "average" Damage/AC/etc. for each CR.
    Almost. I used this study, which excludes a lot of the outliers to get a cleaner average.

    Then Bjarkmundur took those averages-by-CR and plugged them into another dataset (randomly-generated Medium encounters) to get a bunch of data on how much damage he or she expects the monsters to do to some kind of theoretically-average PC party during the combat.
    Close. I used medium encounters from Donjon, using encounters of 4-6 enemies vs. 4 PCs, based on what aligned best with the definition of a medium encounter for each level. So yeah, I did that but with like a 100 fewer steps. xD

    The way this was done was to estimate that the average PC party has an AC good enough that the monsters will get in about two good hits against each PC during the round.
    You're giving me way too much credit ;)

    Then he or she used some method, probably linear regression, to turn that dataset into a simple formula, and made a chart from the formula.
    Yup. The main column shows the actual numbers from the data, the rightmost column shows a cleaned-up formula using averages.

    Averaging a bunch of averages doesn't necessarily give you the same average you'd get from averaging only once over the full dataset of all monsters a PC would be expected to fight, but it is much simpler to compute.
    This is correct. When you take averages of averages in a theoretical hypothetical situation in a vacuum, the results will be utter bull****. But, that bull**** is often a good starting point for inexperienced DMs. They can then modify the given bull**** as their experience accumulates until they have what works perfectly for their own game. The consistency of the formula means it'll be easy to adjust.


    How does this help us?
    The incoming damage chart can be really handy for improvised damage, or for adding a basic attack to improvised monsters and traps.

    The PC-Damage chart is less useful, and is more just interesting than anything else. For me I'll be using it to keep track and use as a reference point for the damage output on my players. Something that'll hopefully prove indirectly useful later.

  9. - Top - End - #9

    Default Re: I learned a lot about CR today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjarkmundur View Post
    [B]
    How does this help us?
    The incoming damage chart can be really handy for improvised damage, or for adding a basic attack to improvised monsters and traps.
    I can see the potential utility of computing the average total combat damage for improvised traps, which affect the whole party at once (they're basically a whole combat-in-an-instant), but for an improvised monster:

    Would there ever be a reason to use this chart instead of the DMG Quick Monster chart to add a basic attack to an improved monster? Wouldn't it be even easier to just grab an existing monster like an Ogre and re-use all of its stats?

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Iceland
    Gender
    Female2Male

    Default Re: I learned a lot about CR today.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    Would there ever be a reason to use this chart instead of the DMG Quick Monster chart to add a basic attack to an improved monster?
    The main selling point is that it has been completely detached from CR, and is instead based on the level of the character taking the damage. That's handy for a number of reasons.

    Other than that it's just personal preference. I don't like rolling dice that don't affect the narrative as a DM. I pretty much only roll saves, luck rolls, attack rolls and contests. I use averages for everything else.
    Knowing how numbers were derived, how they work and how they scale means that if I have a group and think "oof, this damage is a little bit too much for these squishies" I can modify the entire table at once. It just front-loads a lot of my work, and allows me to better adjust to my specific group of players over time, which is what works best for me.
    It's all very po-tay-to po-tah-to.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •