The thing about 4E that aggravates me the most...

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The stats for "monsters" do not add up to any kind of semblence of what should be "normal".  Bonuses for attacks, defenses...they just don't add up at all.  In 3.5, you knew exactly how to calculate this stuff because it was the same both ways, but now it's just made up and what the monster has really doesn't matter.  Example, Iron Circle Rabble.  A level 2 minion with a 10 Dex and 9 Int, wears no armor but has an AC of 16.  WTF??  Where does that even come from?  Based on level, ability scores, and equipment these guys should have AC 11.


Would it throw balance off to much if I adjusted the stats to match expectations?
The stats for "monsters" do not add up to any kind of semblence of what should be "normal".  Bonuses for attacks, defenses...they just don't add up at all.  In 3.5, you knew exactly how to calculate this stuff because it was the same both ways, but now it's just made up and what the monster has really doesn't matter.  Example, Iron Circle Rabble.  A level 2 minion with a 10 Dex and 9 Int, wears no armor but has an AC of 16.  WTF??


Would it throw balance off to much if I adjusted the stats to match expectations? 



Yes it would. The attack and defense bonuses are as such because they are designed to have specific probabilities of hitting and being hit by characters of the same level.
The stats for "monsters" do not add up to any kind of semblence of what should be "normal".  Bonuses for attacks, defenses...they just don't add up at all.  In 3.5, you knew exactly how to calculate this stuff because it was the same both ways, but now it's just made up and what the monster has really doesn't matter.  Example, Iron Circle Rabble.  A level 2 minion with a 10 Dex and 9 Int, wears no armor but has an AC of 16.  WTF??


Would it throw balance off to much if I adjusted the stats to match expectations? 



Yes it would. The attack and defense bonuses are as such because they are designed to have specific probabilities of hitting and being hit by characters of the same level.

Then why wouldn't the designers at least say these guys are wearing chainmail or something?  I guess I'll do that...
you knew exactly how to calculate this stuff because it was the same both ways, but now it's just made up and what the monster has really doesn't matter.

Correct: 4e is very much gamist rather than simulationist. If the monster-gear aspect is the thing that aggravates you the most (compared to the other stuff), then you're probably doing good.

Monsters do not follow the same rules for statistics as PCs

PCs have an AC of 10+1/2 level+Armor Bonus+Enh Bonus+Feat Bonus+Item Bonus+Power Bonus+Misc Bonuses
As of MM3 (and you SHOULD update monsters based on pg 7 of the DMG Update) Monsters have an AC of ~Level+14 (+2 more if a Soldier, -2 if a Brute)

PCs have an Attack Bonus of 1/2 level+Proficiency Bonus+Enh Bonus+Feat Bonus+Item Bonus+Power Bonus+Misc Bonuses
As of MM3, Monsters have an Attack Bonus of ~Level+5 vs AC or Level+3 vs NADs (+2 for Artillery and Soldiers)

PCs can only use 1 Action Point per Encounter unless they have a special ability that states otherwise
Monsters can only use 1 Action Point per Turn unless they have a special ability that states otherwise

Especially with AC, expecting monsters to have it calculated even remotely to how a PC does is absurd. Dragonscale Armor isn't Scale Armor made by Dragons, it's Armor made from Dragon Scales, logically, even without wearing Armor, a Dragon should have a decent AC since it's Scales are as good as Scale Armor. Apply this logic to all Monsters - their skin is tougher.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Zathris, thanks for that info. The math does add up using that. And I would certainly hope a dragon gets a better AC without having to wear armor, but I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around a human being a "monster". I just think humanoid monsters should follow the same rules as humanoid players. Guess I should just get over it and move on. Lol
Zathris, thanks for that info. The math does add up using that. And I would certainly hope a dragon gets a better AC without having to wear armor, but I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around a human being a "monster". I just think humanoid monsters should follow the same rules as humanoid players. Guess I should just get over it and move on. Lol



A monster and a PC occupy distinctly different roles in the game.  Monsters essentially exist only during the encounter; PCs are in for the long haul.  Monsters need to be simpler to run, use, and create, because the DM may well run, use and create hundreds of them during the course of a campaign, whereas each player only runs one PC, and may never have to create more than one.

It makes no sense for them to have similar levels of complexity; if anything, it would be counterproductive.
Zathris, thanks for that info. The math does add up using that. And I would certainly hope a dragon gets a better AC without having to wear armor, but I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around a human being a "monster". I just think humanoid monsters should follow the same rules as humanoid players. Guess I should just get over it and move on. Lol



A monster and a PC occupy distinctly different roles in the game.  Monsters essentially exist only during the encounter; PCs are in for the long haul.  Monsters need to be simpler to run, use, and create, because the DM may well run, use and create hundreds of them during the course of a campaign, whereas each player only runs one PC, and may never have to create more than one.

It makes no sense for them to have similar levels of complexity; if anything, it would be counterproductive.

But I have even seen examples of weapons doing very different damage, as in the dice used, than the standards given in player books.  Those inconsistencies make no sense. If you want someone to do more damage, give it a different weapon. Ugh. Idk. Probably just putting too much thought into it. My attention to detail is TOO exacting sometimes.  
The primary advantage of the changes in 4e is that fights with NPC characters at higher levels don't result the PCs gathering huge amounts of magical gear. 

 In 4e, a party of 15th level characters fighting a group of humanoids of equivalent level will probably get 1 magical item, maybe 2, in treasure, plus gold.

 In 3.5, every one of those humanoids would have had +3 or better armor and weapons, wondrous items, potions, wands, scrolls, and a bunch of other assorted magical gear, just to be at the appropriate power level.
  3.5 may have made it easier to make custom enemies, but it resulted in the party always swimming in loot worth selling.
OP, what you're missing here is something we call flavor text.

Don't understand how that guy does 3d6 damage with a dagger? Okay, give him a really nasty sword. You can do that, because it's not mechanically relevant how you describe what they're doing. All that matters is that you don't skew the numbers.

Alternatively, consider extra damage features. We have a thief in our party who can do 11d8 + 20 damage with a rapier.

A rapier.

but it's basically just him finding a crucial spot on the enemy, using a special maneuver to throw off his balance, and striking hard, and fast, in just the right spot, at just the right time. 

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

This was not a breaker for me, but I remember the first time 4e monster stats threw our party for a loop. Our party...cleric, warden, sorceror, paladin, avenger, and barbarian...decided to trick our way past hobgoblin gate guards. Now yes, insight was their appropriate defense, but the dm casually remarked on their 19 intelligence!

We were like...GATE GUARDS?!? These guys should be lawyers, engineers and cpa's!!!
The thing is that there's no real correlation between what armor/weapons players are wearing and their defenses or damage either.  With the exception of classes designed to use heavy armor and shields, every class has the option to use either their primary or secondary stat for AC, and every striker class gains bonus dice or stat mods from class features or feats beyond what their weapon would provide.

A goblin is in cloth armor.  Awesome.  Does it have unarmored agility? Does it have a special feature that gives it a shield bonus or untyped AC bonus? It wields a dagger. Awesome. Does it add its dex mod on top of its strength mod for damage? An additional d6 with combat advantage? Mark on a hit?

Giving monsters the same complexity of options available to PCs would be needlessly complicated.  Forcing monster math to follow the same base assumptions that almost every PC class has a way to break, without allowing them to break them, would skew the math greatly in favor of the PCs.  

As mentioned, the right course of action if this bothers you is to just describe things differently.  The orc soldier with no armor listed and a longsword that deals 1d12+10 damage? Feel free to tell the party that he's in full plate and wielding an executioner's axe. The math is done intentionally the way it's done both because it's less tedious and because it works. The math is likewise intentionally de-coupled with the flavor so that you can describe anything however you want to/see fit.
Thanks for all the input.  I'm still new-ish at running 4E, I've DMed a couple Encounters seasons and have DMed my home game from level 1 to now level 4/5 and I DMed 3/3.5 for over 10 years, so it's a hard habit to break!  But I think I'll just reskin as needed, and if something does more damage than "normal", maybe I'll just describe it as a special maneuver or a very skilled strike or something along those lines.
The thing is that there's no real correlation between what armor/weapons players are wearing and their defenses or damage either.  With the exception of classes designed to use heavy armor and shields, every class has the option to use either their primary or secondary stat for AC, and every striker class gains bonus dice or stat mods from class features or feats beyond what their weapon would provide.



I think that at higher levels, you are probably right because the "half of your level" deal, but at low levels, the right (or wrong) armor can make all the difference in the world!
The thing is that there's no real correlation between what armor/weapons players are wearing and their defenses or damage either.  With the exception of classes designed to use heavy armor and shields, every class has the option to use either their primary or secondary stat for AC, and every striker class gains bonus dice or stat mods from class features or feats beyond what their weapon would provide.



I think that at higher levels, you are probably right because the "half of your level" deal, but at low levels, the right (or wrong) armor can make all the difference in the world!



Yes, but what I meant was that the "right" armor varies wildly by class, and multiple classes can obtain plate-like AC while wearing cloth.  Almost all light-armor classes can obtain extremely competitive-with-plate AC, and most of the light-armor classes that don't want an INT or DEX mod have class feature options that can give them CON or WIS to AC instead. 

It's less common by far for someone to be wearing the wrong armor than for someone to neglect the stat modifier or feats supporting their armor.  All barbarians are going to wear hide. Not all are going to go DEX secondary instead of CON, WIS, or CHA. Not all Avengers will take Unarmored Agility and consider their INT or DEX a dual-primary.  The AC difference between two members of the same class, wearing the same armor, can be 3-6 points - and that's at level one. Since the 1/2 level mod is universal, the disparity between people paying attention to their AC and those neglecting it doesn't get any higher really, so long as both players put the same number of stat bumps into their AC stat.

TL/DR: Your class features, stats, and feats have a whole lot more to do with your AC in 4e than whether you're wearing Cloth, Leather, Hide, Chain, Scale, or Plate, because they've all been normalized to expected values.  Users in any armor-type can optimize for higher-than-expected AC, or make silly choices and wind up with lower-than-expected AC, regardless of what they're wearing.
Thanks for all the input.  I'm still new-ish at running 4E, I've DMed a couple Encounters seasons and have DMed my home game from level 1 to now level 4/5 and I DMed 3/3.5 for over 10 years, so it's a hard habit to break!  But I think I'll just reskin as needed, and if something does more damage than "normal", maybe I'll just describe it as a special maneuver or a very skilled strike or something along those lines.


Yes, shaking the 3.5 bug can be hard. You will always catch yourself referring back to 3.5 rules repeatedly. And yes, in 4e most things are maneuvers. Seriously if you thing about it what real fighter would use simply a slashing movement with his sword and call that an attack, and then do it every time? None.     

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