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Author Topic: I don't like CR.  (Read 1880 times)

Ratman_tf

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2021, 05:01:50 PM »
I just treat it like AD&D Monster Level - a very rough guide to threat level, not something to build encounters with (late 4e was the only D&D version where 'encounter building' worked). I prefer status quo sandboxing with a big PC group who know when to run!

Oh, I do use BTB XP in my current game, so Challenge determines XP rewards if you beat the monster.

Now you've done it!

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HappyDaze

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2021, 05:06:05 PM »
I find it amazing that a game that worries so much about balance--as D&D has since 3e--can't figure out a way to make a CR system (or some other measure of "encounter balance") worth a shit. Sure, not everyone would use such a system even if it were flawless, but I'd rather not have a greatly flawed system that many do try to use fucking up a game.

Ratman_tf

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2021, 05:09:47 PM »
My usual stumbling point is that the system assumes a party of X characters and one monster as it's base value. And I rarely use just one monster in an encounter. So I'm almost always having to apply some kind of modifier.
I find the examples to be confusing unless I happen to have exactly the same number of characters as the example.

As others have noted, additional attacks from the four 1-HD orcs make them more deadly in many ways than the one 4-HD ogre, and it never seems like this is accounted for correctly. I assume that one could create a chart with # of characters on one axis and CR on another, and then when you cross-reference you could get a true difficulty level for the encounter, but to do that I have to get a better grasp of the examples and how to adjust for multiple characters or multiple monsters.

Love the idea in concept, but like others I just eyeball it and cross my fingers.

Donjon has a 5th ed encounter calculator. I haven't used it yet, so I don't know how effective/accurate it is.

https://donjon.bin.sh/5e/calc/enc_size.html
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TJS

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2021, 05:18:53 PM »
I find it amazing that a game that worries so much about balance--as D&D has since 3e--can't figure out a way to make a CR system (or some other measure of "encounter balance") worth a shit. Sure, not everyone would use such a system even if it were flawless, but I'd rather not have a greatly flawed system that many do try to use fucking up a game.
It's what you get when you go backwards reflexively out of fear.

4E had a lot of flaws, but it's way of balancing encounters was more accurate and easier to use than CR.  13th Age uses the same system.

One Level 4 monster is considered a threat to one level 4 character.  So if you have a party of four you want 4 level 4 monsters.  What could be easier than that?

Philotomy Jurament

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2021, 07:38:41 PM »
I've tried using CR...Anybody like it? Using it sucessfully?

I used CR when I was ran some 3e games. I found it to be of limited use, at best. I get better (and faster) results eyeballing things with hit dice and monster special abilities, rather than trying to apply a formula that is bound to require all sorts of modifiers based on the circumstances.
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Slipshot762

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2021, 07:39:00 PM »
I used CR successfully back in my 3e days and have incorporated it into my B/X and OD&D games. I don't really see the issue that others do as CR is the exact same mechanic as "Monster Level" from OD&D/AD&D. It even has the same problems (such as how in AD&D four 1 HD orcs are more of a threat than one 4 HD Ogre yet are worth fewer XP).

The only difference is that CR is scaled to character level rather than the arbitrary dungeon level, which as others have pointed out, makes it more useable in practice.
This echoes my own experience with using CR; but to be fair 3e was my only usage of such.

Eirikrautha

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2021, 02:30:04 PM »
I find it amazing that a game that worries so much about balance--as D&D has since 3e--can't figure out a way to make a CR system (or some other measure of "encounter balance") worth a shit. Sure, not everyone would use such a system even if it were flawless, but I'd rather not have a greatly flawed system that many do try to use fucking up a game.
It's because the newer versions of D&D have almost no balance.  They can't.  As the number of "fiddly bits" in character abilities, powers, spells, etc., increase, the ability to "balance" the game (i.e. have similar outcomes across varied characters) grows more and more difficult.  The more character "choices," the more that unexpected synergies crop up.

It's also the reason that people who complain that the game was less balanced in the early editions are objectively wrong (at least with respect to combat efficiency).  While fighters and magic-users definitely had different power curves, there were no "builds" to create synergies (the best you could do is find complimentary magic items).  It was far easier to have a consistent play experience (combat-wise) in AD&D than in 5e, so "CR" was unneeded (HD worked well enough).

This is why 5e's CR system is hot garbage.  First, it cannot take into account monster's own ability synergies; second, it cannot factor in the action economy.  Third, it cannot account for PC builds or variable effectiveness.  At most, it is a simple reflection of a monster's HP, to hit, and damage potential per round.  And, honestly, you'd be better off just listing monsters by those qualities than trying to create a system that can design the "proper" number of encounters per day via "experience budgets," etc.

And all this is only a problem if you subscribe to the very modern notion that every encounter (combat or no) should be scaled so that it is winnable by the party (survivable is different).  Some of my party's very best experiences have been fighting retreats while they are getting mauled, setting up a revenge fight several levels later.  It's why I lament that 5e's random encounter tables are by CR first, and not by environment.  If you're on the plains of the Serengeti, you don't get to not encounter a lion just because you aren't prepared to face one...

Shasarak

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2021, 02:55:17 PM »
Older versions of DnD never gave one shit about so called Balance.

Look at the wandering monster tables, while adventuring through the Mountains you encounter (rolls dice) 1d6 Dragons.
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Eirikrautha

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2021, 03:35:05 PM »
Older versions of DnD never gave one shit about so called Balance.

Look at the wandering monster tables, while adventuring through the Mountains you encounter (rolls dice) 1d6 Dragons.

I see you are agreeing with me (based on what I posted above).  Older versions never cared about encounter balance at all.  Combat balance is different...

Shasarak

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2021, 03:39:42 PM »
Older versions of DnD never gave one shit about so called Balance.

Look at the wandering monster tables, while adventuring through the Mountains you encounter (rolls dice) 1d6 Dragons.

I see you are agreeing with me (based on what I posted above).  Older versions never cared about encounter balance at all.  Combat balance is different...

Is the DM supposed to try and balance 2d100 Orcs?

You cant talk about ADnD and Balance except to say ADnD is not at all balanced.
There will be poor always,
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look at the good things you've got! -  Jesus

TJS

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2021, 03:54:42 PM »
Balance Shmalance.

I remember someone, can't remember who exactly, did an analysis of a lot of the 1e modules and found that they actually matched fairly well with the guidelines given in the 3.0 PHB (That is the actual guidelines where some encounters are CR+6 not the delusion of perfect balance that the player base arrived at).

The problem is not really CR - except for the fact that it promotes a certain mindset that involves a slippery slope to perfect balance.

If you were to take guidelines as a general approach to stocking a dungeon it's fine - probably redundant because eyeballing works just as well - but for the mathematically anal it at least gives them something to do.

It's when games become linear 'adventures' with necessary combat set pieces that balance at the encounter level also becomes necessary.  Because if a fight in an alley with a bunch of goons is always going to happen, then it had better be winnable.

But obviously you do care about balance in AD&D.  Fill a dungeon with monsters all of which have 8 HD or more and see how much fun it is.  AD&D modules come with suggested level ranges.  It's just that the notion of balance doesn't exist on a pure  encounter level - it's there on an environmental level - which means that some of the encounters may not be winnable, or extremely difficult to win.

WOTC keep designing CR systems with the intention that they should be used at an environmental level - and people keep expecting and wanting them to work at the level of the individual encounter.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2021, 05:26:00 PM by TJS »

hedgehobbit

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2021, 04:51:21 PM »
Older versions of DnD never gave one shit about so called Balance.

Look at the wandering monster tables, while adventuring through the Mountains you encounter (rolls dice) 1d6 Dragons.
Those were the wilderness encounter tables and meant for only high level parties. If you were in a first level of a dungeon, you'd never encounter dragons like that.

It's a joke to say that AD&D wasn't supposed to have encounter balance when every single adventure module was sold based on the expected level of the party playing through it. Just because there weren't any hard and fast rules in the DMG on how to balance adventures to the party level, doesn't mean that this wasn't the expectation.

hedgehobbit

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2021, 04:57:26 PM »
I remember someone, can't remember who exactly, did an analysis of a lot of the 1e modules and found that they actually matched fairly well with the guidelines given in the 3.0 PHB (That is the actual guidelines where some encounters are CR+6 not the delusion of perfect balance that the player based arrived at).
The dungeon stocking rules for the 3.0 DMG actually produces more high level monster encounters than the similar dungeon stocking tables in the AD&D DMG. The second 3.0 adventure published, Forge of Fury for 3rd level characters, famously had a Roper encounter in it. Something that would devastate any party that chose to actually fight it. (My players floated some dead orcs down the river the Roper was guarding and then snuck past it while it was gorging on the bodies.)

Shasarak

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2021, 05:24:53 PM »
Older versions of DnD never gave one shit about so called Balance.

Look at the wandering monster tables, while adventuring through the Mountains you encounter (rolls dice) 1d6 Dragons.
Those were the wilderness encounter tables and meant for only high level parties. If you were in a first level of a dungeon, you'd never encounter dragons like that.

It's a joke to say that AD&D wasn't supposed to have encounter balance when every single adventure module was sold based on the expected level of the party playing through it. Just because there weren't any hard and fast rules in the DMG on how to balance adventures to the party level, doesn't mean that this wasn't the expectation.

Yes Adventure writers wanted balance but ADnD gave no fucks for balance.
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pathetically struggling,
look at the good things you've got! -  Jesus

Eirikrautha

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Re: I don't like CR.
« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2021, 06:38:51 PM »
Older versions of DnD never gave one shit about so called Balance.

Look at the wandering monster tables, while adventuring through the Mountains you encounter (rolls dice) 1d6 Dragons.
Those were the wilderness encounter tables and meant for only high level parties. If you were in a first level of a dungeon, you'd never encounter dragons like that.

It's a joke to say that AD&D wasn't supposed to have encounter balance when every single adventure module was sold based on the expected level of the party playing through it. Just because there weren't any hard and fast rules in the DMG on how to balance adventures to the party level, doesn't mean that this wasn't the expectation.

Yes Adventure writers wanted balance but ADnD gave no fucks for balance.

Yeah.  Good thing the same people that published the adventures weren't the same people that published AD&D.  Oh, wait...

And aren't you one of the people in another thread who was arguing that ancillary materials prove that AD&D had monster races as a standard?  And now ancillary materials like adventures don't count?

Goalposts ------>

You