63 votes

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

Absent Extenuating Circumstances, Yes According to Kobold Fight Club, which gets its information from the DMG, a party of two level 4 characters would consider 250xp worth of monsters Easy, 500xp ...
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  • 830
61 votes

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

Try it yourself If you have a copy of their character sheets, run the encounter by yourself a few times playing both sides. You should get a decent idea about how outmatched the PCs might be.
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57 votes

Trouble determining CR or difficulty for homebrew creatures

Regarding your disclaimer: I don't exactly know what you mean by "won't fit with the campaign", but one of a DM's strongest tools is the reskin. Take the stat block from a monster in one of ...
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45 votes
Accepted

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

In part it depends on the magic items. Did you give them magic items that were useful in combat? Like, have they mostly got +3 plate armor or have they mostly got sovereign glue? Broadly, the ...
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  • 79k
38 votes
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How to increase a monster's CR without adjusting its flavour too much?

Just fake it You're asking for an epic one-on-one duel for a player, and it has to feel suitably epic. Sadly enough, CR ratings are only a rough estimate and one-on-one duels in D&D are extremely '...
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  • 35.5k
38 votes
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Why do red dragons and gold dragons have the same CR?

CR ignores versatility I will preface addressing the two "extra" abilities the Gold Dragon has over the Red Dragon by saying that the CR calculation described in the DMG ascribes no value ...
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  • 18.6k
37 votes
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How would a Kobold's challenge rating be affected if I gave it a cantrip and a resistance?

We can determine the Challenge rating of the new "Koldbold" (like it? it's all yours!) by using the steps in DMG page 273. Firstly, a few assumptions: The Kobold's ability scores do not change. ...
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  • 28.3k
36 votes

Why is an archmage only CR12?

"By the book," the archmage is CR10. (Or even 12; zacm's answer makes some different assumptions than I do below and comes out right at CR12.) The DMG covers how these numbers are crunched, ...
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  • 98.8k
35 votes
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Ogre CR calculation: is it wrong or am I missing something?

Mearls wrote an article about Challenge Ratings that actually specifically explains the Ogre's Challenge Rating of 2: http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/building-adventures-0 The important bit ...
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  • 142k
34 votes
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Are there higher CRs possible than the Tarrasque's CR 30?

Firstly, there are no official (as in, published by WotC) monsters with a CR higher than 30. The rules for creating monsters are on page 273 of the DMG. While there is no explicit statement that ...
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  • 142k
31 votes
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Is there a playable correlation between CR and level in 5e?

The short answer is that a regular bugbear (CR 1) is a closer add on to the party -- even so, he's a fighter who might outshine other martial characters at level 3, and is at least comparable. The ...
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31 votes

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

Your initial premise is flawed: The encounter tables are designed for parties of three to five characters. A CR4 monster is a challenge for 4 fourth level characters. The DMG says to adjust for ...
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  • 9,384
31 votes

Why is an archmage only CR12?

CR12 for Archmage is exactly in line with the rules for determining CR of a monster in the DMG Chapter 9 (Pg. 274). Defensive CR is easy-- we take Mage Armor plus the HP and resulting AC to get a ...
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  • 697
29 votes

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

Generally speaking, larger numbers of enemies (not tougher enemies) and better tactics. It's a common tactic to just increase the stats of existing monsters or to choose higher CR creatures for them ...
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  • 2,490
27 votes
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Why is the Will o' Wisp CR2?

Calculation according to the DMG DMG 274 has a nice table for calculating CR based on offensive and defensive stats. Running the numbers for the Will-o-Wisp: Offensive CR Its damage is only 9 (2d8)...
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  • 62.6k
26 votes
Accepted

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

I've been struggling with this but figured it out, I think. The thing that's hard to get from a lot of D&D player/DMs' perspective is that there simply is no level => challenge correlation ...
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  • 7,733
22 votes

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

I think I have to answer this question with a question: Are your current encounters challenging the players appropriately? If yes, then there's no need to increase the difficulty. If they're already ...
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  • 1,229
22 votes
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What is the AC equivalent of mirror image?

Frame challenge: use HP First, monsters with big bonuses to their AC apart from their Dexterity do not benefit much from the spell, as a lot of attacks that otherwise would have missed will work to ...
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  • 60.3k
21 votes
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Should "resistance to damage from non-magical weapons" continue to affect monster CR once the party has magical weapons?

Do you reduce the CR of monsters with resistance to Fire or Lightning when facing a party with no Fire- or Lightning-based attacks, since the resistance doesn't affect that party? I'm going to guess ...
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21 votes
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How can I avoid accidentally deadly encounters from monsters that are more deadly than their challenge rating suggests?

1. Understand what Challenge Rating is and is not. You're already on the right track here, as you have observed that there are some situations where Challenge Rating magnificently fails to capture the ...
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20 votes
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Do 5th-edition D&D PCs consistently outmatch level-appropriate encounters?

All D20, but DnD 5 especially, are designed and balanced assuming a 4 or 5 player party. And you can kinda tell, when the rules start asking you to apply multipliers to bigger parties, rather than ...
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  • 520
20 votes
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Why is the Basilisk’s CR so low?

Petrifying Gaze isn't save-or-die for the party To apply the Gaze, the basilisk have to see the character, and the character must be within 30 feet. The Gaze affects target at the start of the target'...
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  • 61.8k
20 votes

Is this "Timberwolf" Balanced?

It seems too weak. From the DMG p. 273 onwards, if you make the math: For defensive CR: It is not resistant to Slashing, on the opposite, it is vulnerable. As it is resistant to Bludg. and Piercing, I ...
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  • 36k
20 votes

Can you Wild Shape into a beast with the half-dragon template?

Players can't apply templates to creatures, nor can they assess CR. That's up to the DM. You'd have to discuss this with your DM, and they'd likely (at the very least) tell you that you'd need to have ...
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  • 77.9k
19 votes

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

The scenario you describe is a perfect example of the Tiers of Play discussion on page 15 of the player handbook. This edition of D&D is divided roughly into four tiers, the first tier comprising ...
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  • 1,634
19 votes

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

I'ts been a long time since I played, much less DMed, 3.5e, so I'm going to try to keep what I say pretty high-level and hopefully system-agnostic, but I'm also saying this as someone who exclusively ...
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  • 321
18 votes
Accepted

Goblin's Challenge Rating and Nimble Escape

How is this difference reconciled? Is there something I missed about Nimble Escape? It isn't. No. It has been said before on this site (but damned if I can find it) that the CR of the monsters in ...
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  • 191k
18 votes

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

Don't increase the difficulty. Let the players do this. The players have some new item. Thus they grow in power. 5e assumes no (to few) magic items (as better answered here). Eventually, more magic ...
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  • 181
17 votes
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Is my CR correct for this Elementalphant monster?

You are quoting expected CR - the final CR is much higher. On base hp 178 × 1.5 for immunities gives 262 - so defensive CR 13. Expected AC is 18, so an AC of 16 gives no adjustment. Expected ...
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  • 191k
17 votes
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How to determine CR of a group of enemies?

The answer to this is slightly more complicated than I think most would like. There's no easy way to calculate the total CR of an encounter; CR is one factor used in assessing Encounter Difficulty. (...
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