So some things happened and now I have 3 awaken scrolls. The rules say I don't have to use material components so I can just use them. I also switch with the dm occasionally and run it myself. How would this character + their companion effect how much xp the party can handle? So, for balancing the CR of encounters, how does a lvl 5 optimized hexblade warlock riding an awakened Giant Crocodile with 2 awakened Giant Scorpions to their side effect CR?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Determining “level” of an NPC ally for purpose of budgeting encounter XP \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 21:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ I assume these are just regular versions of the Giant Crocodile and Giant Scorpion but with a known language and 10 intelligence? I assume when they die they are dead just like any other monster and wouldn't be sticking around or reappearing like a Ranger's Companion might? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 12, 2020 at 21:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ yea. Its the awaken spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – user60792
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 21:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ As a side note, keep in mind that, unless your GM rules differently, you will have to make a successful ability check to attempt to use these scrolls. "If the spell is on your class’s spell list but of a higher level than you can normally cast, you must make an ability check using your spellcasting ability to determine whether you cast it successfully. The DC equals 10 + the spell’s level" Source \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 14, 2020 at 13:37

1 Answer 1


Frame challenge - This is a big mistake by the DM

I can't see this as anything other than a huge mistake I am afraid. Awaken is a 5th level spell, so you wouldn't naturally get this power until level 9, and even then it is balanced by cost and availability of the material components; it is simply not designed to allow you to create your own personal army.

A giant crocodile (CR5) and 2 giant scorpions (CR3) are a medium encounter for a party of 4 level 10 characters according to Kobold Fight Club. At 6,400 adjusted XP this is way beyond deadly at level 5.

What you have found here is a situation which is almost impossible to balance because they are so much more powerful than the actual player characters in the group (assuming the rest of the party is level 5 too).

One solution (the closest actual answer to your question that I can think of)

Every encounter you face just has a CR5 and 2 CR2 enemies added on, which (assuming the CR's are balanced, which is debatable) accounts for your extra firepower. Then there is no need to faff on with giving XP to the creatures etc, they are simply balanced by buffing the other side and ignoring both your pets and the new enemies from the balance equations.

Another solution (or, what I would do)

Your character realises that keeping these intelligent creatures bound to your will is inhumane (it is essentially keeping slaves) and you just let them go. Problem solved, balance restored.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Or the character realizes that, sooner rather than later, these creatures are going to realize where the real power is, and who ought to be in charge of this little party. They're charmed, not mind controlled, and have a predator-type mindset. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 13:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does increasing the CR of the enemies and the associated XP increase really balance with the sharing of XP? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch it is effectively giving the other side their own giant crocodile and 2 scorpions, so yes they should simply cancel each other out. The linked question from Someone_Evil seems to come to the same conclusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 16:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's some questions I have in that answer as well - basically they didn't back it up with the math, either. And the issue of more creatures and balance is also a consideration that's talked about in the comments there. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch there are definitely complications, and I would never do it in my own game, but it is the closest approximation I can make. It probably works better in situations with only a single NPC of similar power to the party, but that is just part of the reason I would just let the creatures go; which was really what my answer was about. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 16:56

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