Yesterday we had a DnD4e session to kill the final boss of a, now in total, 4 session dungeon. This fight took us 7 hours (irl).

  • The boss had an AoE ability that would shoot a fireball for 1d100 with everything below 50 adding half of the dice roll to the dice roll. This was a standard action and took a minor action to spool up. It was used about every other round.
  • Next to that the boss had 1800hp.
  • If you would stand in front of the boss it would also bite you and practically one-shot you for 60-90 damage.
  • It also used a type of gravity magic to pull us together to hit his AoE on more of us.

The mechanics of the boss seemed very legitimate to me and they didn't seem too overpowered however, i think that the amount of hp was a bit overdone. The reason i'm asking is that this is the first DnD story we have ever played (including the DM) so none of us has anything to compare it with.

Setting: DnD4E, All around lvl 12-13, Well balanced party (support, tank, Healer, melee DPS, ranged DPS, Tanky DPS), Our DM customly makes all creatures in the campaign


Additional info: We started the fight after an extended rest. Just before the bloodied value of the boss we we're trough most of the standard/minor action encounter and daily powers.

The hit modifier for AoE of the boss was 20 + d20 against reflex.

The gravity magic were circles on the ground that the boss could place with a minor action. The circles could be dispelled by a DC30 Arcana check. The circles would pull the party towards it with a standard action from the boss and you would have to do a strength check to see how far towards the circle you would be pulled. If you were standing inside of the circle (a 3x3 square) you would be slowed until you leave the circle.

I myself was the healer of the party as a cleric with paragorn path Compassionate Healer. Making me a very strong healer with close to zero damage.

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    \$\begingroup\$ d100 damage die is never a good idea for anything that's not meant to be completely ridiculous. Entirely too swingy. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MikeKellogg - 1d100 is not that different from 10d10. 1 to 100 average 51 vs 10 to 100 average 55. And it does have the advantage of not having to add up the ten results on the fly. Though in this case (having the min 50) it does sound like the DM wanted an excuse to roll their golf ball (d100). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 18:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Xavon_Wrentaile it's hugely different from 10d10. At least as far as the swingyness of the values. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 19:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Excessive amounts of HP will lead to very long fights. If 7 hour combats are what you want, then more power to you, but otherwise the HP has to be lower regardless if the encounter was too hard, too easy, or just right; there are other levers to manage encounter difficulty than just the size of the "HP buffer" to burn down. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peteris
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 20:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Xavon_Wrentaile As wax eagle mentioned, they're very different. 1d100 is a flat probability curve (i.e. all values have the same chance of occurring), while 10d10 is a very steep bell curve (i.e. results tend toward the middle values). You want the latter, because it's generally not a good thing if an attack hitting has even odds between it doing effectively nothing and one-shotting a character (or a party). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 20:34

2 Answers 2


This creature is INSANE for your level.

Typically a party of your size and level should be facing at most a L16 solo (and that's supposed to be an insanely tough battle).

To take an example, I'm going to use a L16 Brute (which will have more HP due to be being a brute). The example I found at this level was an Avatar of Bel Shavor which has 760 HP (he's laid out in Dungeon 214).

To put the damage in perspective, he gets two turns, but he's only doing 3d8+13 twice on his turn, and his AOE is Area 2 within 10 and does 1d8+14 with some status effects.

Basically, the monster you're describing would likely be something far more appropriate for an epic tier party (and even then might be overkill).

If you are a player, you might want to have a discussion with the DM about his monster designs. If this monster is typical you might want to redirect him to the monster creation guides in the Dungeon Master Guides and make sure he understands typical monster design before diving off into creating his own.

Additionally, if you have a DDI subscription, I might recommend he take a look at the Monster Builder application there as it's quite good at modifying book monsters to adjust them to your campaign or level them up or down.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Worth noting: 3d8+13 twice plus 1d8+14 averages ~72 damage, with a spread of about 50-90, which sounds like it's well above what that boss might be doing (150% of 1-49, or 100% of 50-100). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 3:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener yeah, we'd need to know the boss's to-hit modifier to know just how odd the damage is. I'm pondering a section on why swingy damage is bad in 4e (because of how inconsistent it is), but haven't quite figured out how to write it without sounding one true wayish. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 3:52

All I know is my gut says maybe.

We don't have enough information to give a solid answer. The power of two different teams can vary wildly. Especially at level 10 and higher. A team of minmaxers, with above normal attributes (depending on your method of character creation), and really good equipment can be noticeably tougher than more casual group with normal stats and items.

You say your party is balanced in terms of roles, but what are your classes, skills, and items? How tough was the monster to hit? Did you have all your daily powers and how quickly did you burn through your encounter powers?

Based on what you said, it doesn't sound like a complex fight. You only listed three moves, no special effects from the attacks (beyond the gravity pull), no weaknesses or resistances, etc.

It sounds like you won, it just took a while. So it doesn't seem like it was too difficult, just too long.

And did you all enjoy it? Because that is the real question/issue here.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This would be better as a comment under the question, since you're asking for clarification. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 20:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PaulMarshall - I'm really not. I'm trying to explain that that question is very subjective. The answer is that if they won (especially without losing any people) it wasn't hard, just long. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 21:43

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