The Evoker in Volo's Guide to Monsters (p. 214) is listed as CR 9. However, I just can't figure out how to calculate its CR to get that high a result.

AC: 15 (with Mage Armor) & HP: 66 with 2 Saves = Defensive CR: 1.5
If we added in that Stoneskin is active prior to the start for resistances = Defensive CR: 3

Spell Attack: +7 & Save DC: 15 with 75 DPR average = Offensive CR: 11
(Cone of Cold: 1 at 6th Level, 2 at 5th Level)

So the best overall CR I can get is CR 6 without Stoneskin, and CR 7 with Stoneskin.

I'm not sure how to boost it to a CR 9 in my studies. I was planning on making a slightly stronger Evoker, but trying to get the baseline down.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already and see the help center or ask us here in the comments (use @ to ping someone) if you need more guidance. Good Luck and Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Nov 27, 2020 at 20:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you basically asking if the official CR calculation for the Evoker is (in)correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 27, 2020 at 20:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't doubt that the CR is correct, I just can't figure out what I'm doing wrong to get that CR. I want to throw some Wizards at my group based on the Evoker with 7th level slots and a CR closer to 11/12. I don't want to modify and go overboard if I can't understand the Evoker's baseline. \$\endgroup\$
    – ConfusedDM
    Nov 27, 2020 at 20:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: Is the official Necromancer NPC’s CR calculation accurate? \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Nov 28, 2020 at 0:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Steve: Don't answer in comments (including speculative/incomplete answers). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 28, 2020 at 7:53

1 Answer 1


You seem to be forgetting the final step in calculating a monster's CR. From the DMG (p. 275):

Creating a monster isn’t just a number-crunching exercise. The guidelines in this chapter can help you create monsters, but the only way to know whether a monster is fun is to playtest it. After seeing your monster in action, you might want to adjust the challenge rating up or down based on your experiences.

The math doesn't add up because the math is only the starting point, not the entire process. We can assume that the professional game designers did play testing, which resulted in the final CR.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I imagine CR 9 also fits better with the DMG guideline of "When putting together an encounter or adventure, especially at lower levels, exercise caution when using monsters whose challenge rating is higher than the party’s average level. Such a creature might deal enough damage with a single action to take out adventurers of a lower level.". A 6th level cone of cold could definitely knock out some 7th level PCs in a single go if it remained at CR 7; the average ~41 damage can be more than the max HP of any 12 Con & d6 hit die party members at that level, and a good roll could do worse. \$\endgroup\$
    – CTWind
    Nov 28, 2020 at 13:51

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