Questions tagged [cr-calculation]

For questions that deal with the calculation of a Challenge Rating, a method of evaluating the combat-difficulty of monsters and encounters in D&D and derived systems. Such questions should ideally demonstrate that the querent has first tried official methods of calculating CR and describe what problems they encountered in doing so.

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30
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4answers
8k views

I've given my players a lot of magic items. Is it reasonable for me to give them harder encounters?

I'm running a campaign for a group of 6 level 8 characters. Last session, they went shopping, and I let them buy about 2 magic items each. On top of this, I let them each start with an extra feat and ...
27
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4answers
11k views

Ogre CR calculation: is it wrong or am I missing something?

My question is about the basic ogre CR calculation in the monster manual, which doesn't make senses to me. I tried to make a concept of an "armored ogre" with chain mail and pikes (AC 16 and 15 (2d10+...
24
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3answers
27k views

If I design a PC for use as an NPC, how much XP should he give when killed?

As part of an early quest, my PCs are likely to face off against a wizard. The problem here is that the stat block for Mage NPCs listed in the Basic Rules has a Challenge Rating of 6, while the PCs ...
23
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2answers
5k views

Why do red dragons and gold dragons have the same CR?

There are 4 variants of each type of dragon, each corresponding to a specific age. At each age, the red and gold dragons each have the same CR (4, 10, 17, and 24). The dragons are superficially ...
22
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8answers
10k views

How to increase a monster's CR without adjusting its flavour too much?

Background I have a player who has a level 8 Half Orc Paladin (STR 16, CON 18, CHA 14, Vengeance oath, Sentinel and Orcish Fury feats, no magic items) whose backstory involves running away from his ...
22
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6answers
41k views

Do 5th-edition D&D PCs consistently outmatch level-appropriate encounters?

I have a group of PCs that started at level 1. The group varies in size between 6-8 PCs and they have a good spread of classes (healer, tanks, damage dealers, 2 arcane casters). They are level 5 ...
19
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7answers
5k views

As a DM, how do you adjust the difficulty to create challenging encounters when your party is well constructed (aka Power Players)

I am a newbie DM and started DMing because our current DM was not bringing a nice and engaging story. I am doing really good on the role playing and storytelling, but my encounters had been nothing ...
18
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3answers
44k views

Is there a playable correlation between CR and level in 5e?

Let's say that I'm about to run a combat-heavy 3rd level one-shot for a group of players. Balance and challenge rating is still very important, but one of my players says he'd like to play a humanoid ...
18
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4answers
3k views

How does the summoning ability affect the encounter difficulty?

The Drow Mage (CR 7) has the Action Summon Demon (1/day), which allows him to summon a shadow demon (CR 4). Is the shadow demon already included in the CR of the Drow Mage, or do I have to count the ...
17
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1answer
2k views

How does the ability to cast healing spells affect a monster's CR?

I've been making a few homebrew monsters for my current D&D 5e campaign, and I ran into a problem when I wanted to create a creature that used healing magic. There were general rules for offensive ...
15
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3answers
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Why is the Will o' Wisp CR2?

The Will O' Wisp seems pretty challenging for a CR2 monster. An AC of 19 is Incredibly high, especially for lower level players. In addition to its AC, it has resistance to most melee damage types ...
14
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3answers
40k views

Are there higher CRs possible than the Tarrasque's CR 30?

We were discussing with a DM friend of mine about the challenge ratings in D&D 5, and I affirmed the highest known to this day in the official content is the Tarrasque, with a CR of 30. He then ...
14
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2answers
1k views

How would a Kobold's challenge rating be affected if I gave it a cantrip and a resistance?

I want to create a version of a Kobold that has the Ray of Frost cantrip, as well as resistance to cold damage. How would this affect the challenge rating of the monster? A normal kobold is CR 1/8. ...
14
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1answer
12k views

Why is the Basilisk’s CR so low?

A basilisk has a hardy pool of HP and can force players to save-or-die constantly. For a party of low-level adventurers, going purely by CR, one should be a normal-ish challenge, but I don't know how ...
13
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4answers
8k views

Should "resistance to damage from non-magical weapons" continue to affect monster CR once the party has magical weapons?

My 5e group has reached level 5 and all have acquired +1 weapons. This renders the monster ability of "resistant to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage from non-magical weapons" a moot point. It'...
13
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2answers
1k views

How can I make this homebrew Elder Aboleth the CR rating I want it to be?

A party I'm running for are going up against an aboleth as a late-game "boss" (but not the "final boss"). They are currently Tier 4, level 17 to be precise, so a basic CR 10 ...
13
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4answers
2k views

How, exactly, is a new creature playtest conducted? [duplicate]

Many questions on this stack that are primarily about CR Calculation point to playtesting as the final step to homebrewing a creature. That, merely calculating the Challenge Rating isn't enough, the ...
12
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8answers
7k views

Is this homebrew CR 12 monster too difficult an encounter for two level 4 characters?

I'm about to lead a raid into an orc camp for a party of two characters. Both are level 4, one is a bard and the other is a barbarian/warlock multiclass. I found a CR12 homebrew monster, the Orc ...
12
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3answers
1k views

How can I make a CR 1/2 Imp?

I am new to playing 5e, and my DM is also new to DMing 5e (although they have extensive prior experience as a 3.5e DM). We are interested in using the Sidekick rules presented in Tasha's Cauldron of ...
12
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3answers
874 views

What is the impact of banishment on CR?

Disclaimer: I know that monster balance is never exact and I don't expect it to be, I'm looking for rough guidelines like they are given in the DMG for many traits. I like to flavor up my monsters ...
12
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1answer
1k views

What challenge rating should the Ebondeath stat block have been given?

In the adventure Divine Contention, there's a creature called Ebondeath, and the adventure provides a stat block for this creature, available on D&DBeyond. This creature's stat block appears to ...
12
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3answers
13k views

How do I determine a dragon's new Challenge Rating when applying the Shadow Dragon template?

The Monster Manual contains a template whereby any true dragon may be turned into a shadow dragon. A shadow dragon differs from a true dragon in the following ways: It has resistance to necrotic ...
12
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4answers
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What is the CR of a Metallic Dragon after it uses Change Shape?

The older Metallic Dragons have the Change Shape ability: Change Shape. The dragon magically polymorphs into a humanoid or beast that has a challenge rating no higher than its own, or back into its ...
12
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1answer
376 views

Does a monster's Proficiency Bonus increase when its CR increases due to it being in a lair or coven?

Some monsters have a note saying that their CR is increased when in its Lair or Coven. Since the Proficiency bonus is directly tied to the CR/XP-rating, does this mean that it increase when in a Lair ...
11
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2answers
2k views

What is the AC equivalent of mirror image?

It is suggested (by the DMG) to account for defensive options by assuming increased AC, e.g. +2 AC for magic resistance. I would like to give some of my monsters the spell mirror image as part of a ...
11
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4answers
2k views

How much does "Defender Wins Ties" affect challenge rating math?

In my group, we couldn't be bothered in session 1 to look up whether the attacker needed to score equal to or greater than the defender's AC in order to hit. We decided to live in a "defensive" world, ...
11
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1answer
486 views

How is Challenge Rating (CR) calculated for a mixed group of multiple monsters in regards to the Treasure Table?

I understand that encounters are balanced around exp thresholds in the DMG (e.g. https://rpg.stackexchange.com/a/105360). With that said, there are loot tables in the DMG 136-139 that have "Challenge ...
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3answers
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What level character might win a solo fight with a CR 8 monster? [closed]

I'm running a fifth edition game heavily featuring intelligent undead. One such undead is a Sword Wraith Commander who was killed in a duel with a noble, who had cheated during the fight to ensure ...
10
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3answers
2k views

How dangerous is exhaustion?

I'm interested in adding exhaustion effects to monsters. I might homebrew changes to the exhaustion mechanic, but for now, I'm interested in assessing how dangerous it is if monsters can cause RAW ...
9
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2answers
2k views

How does a monster giving disadvantage to hitting it affect its CR?

I'm working on a big creature with an AC of 22 and for flavour reasons, I'd like attacks against it to be made with disadvantage. Could you suggest how this would effect the creature's CR? I ...
9
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2answers
5k views

Goblin's Challenge Rating and Nimble Escape

So I'm trying to tinker with a few custom monsters and decided to give one Nimble Escape. As a reference, I tried to see how nimble escape interacts with creatures that already possess this ability: ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Do the HP multipliers for resistance and immunity when computing EHP stack?

DMG p. 277 provides a table and some instructions for the computation of effective hit points based on resistances and immunities when computing the defensive Challenge Rating of a monster, or ...
9
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2answers
6k views

How to determine CR of a group of enemies?

I have played some games of D&D and when it comes to groups of enemies, I'm always asking myself "Does this encounter have a good CR for my group? Is it too strong/weak?". I might have missed the ...
9
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1answer
4k views

Why is the Werewolf's CR as high as 3?

I'm trying to better understand the Werewolf so that I can design my own varieties of homebrew Werewolves for my campaign. I started by adding together all the stats of the Monster Manual's Werewolf ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Is there a quick and fair way to adjust stats for an upcast Conjured Elemental?

The 5th level spell Conjure Elemental spell states (PHB, p. 225, bold added): An elemental of challenge rating 5 or lower appropriate to the area you chose appears in an unoccupied space within 10 ...
9
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1answer
447 views

Does adding the Damage Absorption trait to a not-immune creature change its CR?

The DMG has a "Monster Features" table (p. 280), containing traits that can be added onto monsters for customization purposes. One of the traits with no effect on CR listed is Damage Absorption (it ...
8
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2answers
2k views

Are these homebrew metallic/chromatic pseudodragons the same CR as RAW pseudodragons?

Pseudodragons are Tiny CR 1/4 dragons, but they're not quite dragon-like enough for my purposes. I want to homebrew some alternative stat blocks to the pseudodragon so that they more so resemble the ...
8
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2answers
3k views

The CR of a Dragon [closed]

I've been looking to scale up the CR of a few Ancient dragons for one of my settings, so I've been figuring out the offensive and defensive CR of each dragon to determine how my scaled-up dragons ...
8
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1answer
14k views

Is the official Necromancer NPC’s CR calculation accurate?

I am planning to make a variation of the official Necromancer NPC statblock from Volo’s Guide to Monsters, and I wanted to make sure the challenge rating was correct based on the original. However, ...
8
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2answers
4k views

How to determine the proper CR for a Necromancer & Animated Dead

Given the low CR of skeletons and zombies, I have attempted to create a reasonably low level Necromancer villain for my adventurers to thwart. While I am aware that monster creation involves ...
8
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1answer
2k views

How can high-CR (20+) NPCs be created?

I remember in earlier editions villains and NPCs sometimes had astronomical levels (Elminster, etc. all are 20+ Spellcasters). Currently I am making a campaign where the major NPCs are all Legendary ...
8
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2answers
10k views

Is my homebrew lower-powered Lich's CR calculated correctly?

I created a "Lesser Lich" so my party would be able to fight something interesting in the story I have. In my game, a lich undergoes development changes the first time it "ascends(...
8
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1answer
1k views

Are aberrations of CR 6 and below approximately as powerful as demons of CR 6 and below?

Background I'm currently playing a Great Old One (GOO) Pact of the Chain warlock in one homebrew campaign. Originally, I had designed the character to be evil and roleplay-heavy, with skill and spell ...
7
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2answers
510 views

Understanding CR calculations of these monsters from the Monster Manual

I've been working on a tool to help me design monsters, specifically doing CR calculations as described in the DMG. In order to test it, I've tried it out on some monsters in the Monster Manual, which ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Can you just subtract the challenge rating of friendly NPCs?

The party have bitten off more than they can chew and the DM wants to help them out to avoid a likely TPK by adding a friendly NPC to an encounter. Can they get a good sense of how difficult the ...
7
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2answers
176 views

XP & CR for Monsters with magic equipment?

Suppose I have a monster. OK he's not really a monster, he's just Knight like the one on page 347 of the monster manual. Only this particular Knight has a Spellguard Shield as described on page 201 of ...
7
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2answers
657 views

How would giving Hydra a Breath Weapon affect game balance and CR?

I wanted to spice up a fight I'm planning for my party by giving a Hydra a Breath Weapon. I'm flexible on the specifics, but the change would effectively be described as such: Actions Multiattack. ...
7
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1answer
252 views

Does the Archmage’s challenge rating factor in the buffs from its pre-combat spells?

The statblock for the Archmage contains an interesting footnote: The archmage casts these spells on itself before combat. The three spells are: mage armor, stoneskin, and mind blank. These spells ...
7
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1answer
247 views

Calculating CR of monsters that do not deal calculable damage

How do I calculate the challenge rating of monsters that feature abilities that do not directly do damage? For example, my homebrew monster has the two following abilities: The target takes a ...
7
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1answer
126 views

Calculate CR of creatures that share spells (like a hag conven)

I recently got inspired by this stat block, that shows that witches can get more powerful when together. https://www.dndbeyond.com/monsters/green-hag-coven-variant I want to make a similar creature ...