I am creating the Big Bad Evil Guy for my campaign and I don’t know what the CR would be.


Medium humanoid , lawful evil

Armor Class 22 (Natural Armor)
Hit Points 285 (2d8/18d6+200)
Speed 30 ft.

\begin{array}{cccccc} \text{STR} & \text{DEX} & \text{CON} & \text{INT} & \text{WIS} & \text{CHA} \\ 10\;(+0) & 13\;(+1) & 30\;(+10) & 30\;(+10) & 14\;(+2) & 16\;(+3) \end{array}

Saving Throws Dex +7, Con +16, Int +16
Skills Athletics +6, Deception +15, Insight +8, Intimidation +9, Persuasion +15, Religion +16
Damage Resistance magical damage
Senses passive Perception 12

This is a Rogue 2 / Wizard 18 PC-turned-NPC bad guy. He has a spell attack bonus of +16, and a spell save DC of 24. His stats are granted by magic items. He knows all magic spells available in D&D 5e and has most of the known magic items in the game.

I can’t figure out what the CR would be. Can anyone help? What is his CR?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; the extensive conversation this question has generated has been moved to its own dedicated chat. Please continue workshopping there, where collaboration can more-naturally happen and the record will exist in perpetuity. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    May 24 '19 at 1:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch got it--thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    May 24 '19 at 18:34

Impossible to tell; it depends on his preparation

The Dungeon Master's Guide has rules on determining the challenge rating of creatures, and they depend on factors such as survivability and damage per round. You mention that this wizard "knows all spells" and "has most known magic items in the game".

Unless you've also decided that this guy can also break the rules for item attunement (he's already got stats and natural armor far higher than normal humanoids), that means his items could be any combination of 3 items from the DMG that require attunement, and any other number that does not. (Thanks to Miniman for pointing this out in a comment.)

His challenge rating will depend entirely on what spells he has prepared and what magic items he is using at that moment.

If all the spells he has prepared are utility and survival spells, and none of the magical items he is bringing along allow him to do damage, his challenge rating is essentially negligible, he'll be a huge bag of HP and weirdly high natural armor. If however he has some strong combat spells prepared and some powerful magic items attuned, he'll be able to single-handedly kill ancient dragons.

In other words, we can't tell you what the challenge rating of this creature is, because it depends on circumstances. If you want to figure it out, you'll first need to determine what spells he'll have prepared and what magic items from his vast collection he'll be using, then you can determine a challenge rating. If, in a later encounter, he shows up again with different spells and different items, he'll have a different challenge rating.


Off the charts

Challenge rating is not a gameplay property in itself --- rather, it's a tool for you, as a GM to assess the difficulty of a particular foe your party might face. I'll start off by noting that it is primarily not intended to be a property of PC-like characters but much, much simpler monsters.

The amount of tactical mobility this character has is enormous, owing to them owning most magic items and knowing all spells. They can perform all kinds of clever tricks using those magical items and spells, not to mention simply using the Wish spell to wish the party away. The only limit is how "well" you'd play such a villain. This amount of versatility makes this BBEG of yours is so extreme even comparing to the strongest monsters that there is no point in trying to fit it on the CR scale.


On page 274, the DMG offers a very useful table that I frequently use for calculating the CR of my homebrew creatures. The table makes a distinction between Defensive and Offensive statistics, which can be heavily influenced by which items a character carries and which spells they have prepared. As the comments in chat suggest, without any of these numbers it’s simply impossible to calculate the CR of a creature.

How the table works is quite simple:

  • Look up the CR for each statistic individually
  • Add all of these numbers together
  • Take the average number (total/6)

What I often do when I don't want to limit the spell or carried magic item of the creature just yet (or just don't know what to pick), I make a temporary selection anyway, because without it I cannot calculate the DPR and without that I cannot calculate the CR. So if you update your question, I could update my answer with a clear and detailed calculation for your NPC.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Can downvoters clarify why they downvoted my answer? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vadruk
    May 25 '19 at 7:57

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .