CR question

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3.5 game. 

Okay, so, the characters rock up to an inn and out comes an npc wizard intent on slaying them. Now, for a party of four level one characters, a level one wizard is supposedly an even challenge (according to this npc generator I've got, that says he's CR1). That doesn't seem right. Does the challenge come from what gear he has? Because this same generator says he should have 900gp worth (is that after the 100gp for starting package? I would think so). *ponders what 900 could buy* (probably masterwork quarterstaff and dagger). This is just really bugging me. 

The CR goes up by either 1, or 2, every time you double the number of opponents of the same CR... iirc (and if that's D&D 3.5 and not Modern). 

My party will probably only be 3 people.  
3.5 game. 

Okay, so, the characters rock up to an inn and out comes an npc wizard intent on slaying them. Now, for a party of four level one characters, a level one wizard is supposedly an even challenge (according to this npc generator I've got, that says he's CR1). That doesn't seem right. Does the challenge come from what gear he has? Because this same generator says he should have 900gp worth (is that after the 100gp for starting package? I would think so). *ponders what 900 could buy* (probably masterwork quarterstaff and dagger). This is just really bugging me. 

The CR goes up by either 1, or 2, every time you double the number of opponents of the same CR... iirc (and if that's D&D 3.5 and not Modern). 

My party will probably only be 3 people.  

yep are 900 gps in items but you loss the starging package, this 900 make a boost to the 1 lv npc to make it a challenge for 4 player lv 1

and 2 CR of the same value (X) starting at 1 CR is the Value+2 (X+2)
for CR lower that 1 only add them to be 1

Example

CR 1 (3 goblins)  plus CR 1 (1 drow) is a CR 3

but the EXP is divided in each one to participate in the encounter (typically between 4)
if you have only 3 characters i think this is not too underpower team, you only divided for 3 the exp and give it to each player.

but at last her lv +3 or +4 in CR

example party of 3 lv 5 = max CR 8 or 9 (boss) instead of Lv +5 as normal for a party of 4
Pepe pecas pica papas con un pico con un pico pepe pecas pica papas si pepe pecas pica papas con un pico donde esta el pico con que pepe pecas pica papas.
3.5 game. 

Okay, so, the characters rock up to an inn and out comes an npc wizard intent on slaying them. Now, for a party of four level one characters, a level one wizard is supposedly an even challenge (according to this npc generator I've got, that says he's CR1). That doesn't seem right.

It isn't an EQUAL/EVEN challenge in the sense that you're implying.  That is, it doesn't mean that it's a 50/50 chance that one side or the other will die.  CR1 means that to a 1st level party the wizard presents a challenge against which the party will generally expend about 20% of their resources (hit points, spells, item charges, etc.)

Does the challenge come from what gear he has? Because this same generator says he should have 900gp worth (is that after the 100gp for starting package? I would think so). *ponders what 900 could buy* (probably masterwork quarterstaff and dagger). This is just really bugging me.

Well it sounds like the generator in question has issues.  900gp of equipment is what a SECOND level character should have, not a FIRST level character.  Or more accurately, when a 1st level character has REACHED 2nd level he should probably have about 900gp in equipment.  Yes, that value WOULD include the value of equipment they still have from any purchased starting package.  900gp in equipment is generally only going to be mundane equipment plus a few potions &/or scrolls.  Other magical items are overwhelmingly going to be too pricey yet to be EXPECTED to be found upon a level 1 wizard opponent.

The CR goes up by either 1, or 2, every time you double the number of opponents of the same CR... iirc (and if that's D&D 3.5 and not Modern).

Do not confuse CR and EL.  CR does not change, regardless of how many of the creatures there are or who they are facing.  EL, however, is what is used to adjust encounters using multiple opponents to a degree of challenge that the DM desires.  You adjust the EL by using more or fewer creatures of a given CR.  Experience awards are still calculated using CR, not EL.

My party will probably only be 3 people.

3rd Edition does not have a formal system to adjust things based on more or fewer PC's - only more or fewer opponents.  You can still adjust for this in a number of ways - you just have to do it on your own, whether that means giving the PC's just slightly more/better equipment, NPC opponents just slightly less equipment, lowering monster hit points just a little, having slightly fewer monsters, giving PC's a slight terrain advantage, give the PC's an NPC to support them (and make a standard 4 character party) etc. etc.

Old School: It ain't what you play - it's how you play it.

My 1E Project: http://home.earthlink.net/~duanevp/dnd/Building%20D&D/buildingdnd.htm

"Who says I can't?" "The man in the funny hat..."

The Man_in_the_Funny_Hat is actually giving some advice that is pretty sound.

When the book calls an EL 1 encounter (what a single CR1 equates to) an appropriate challenge for a group of four PCs it is really just saying this is something that could get the PCs attention and maybe slap them around a bit but will still go down before it causes too much damage.  It's when the PCs are facing ELs above their level that encounters really become difficult with "who win" actually becoming more random.

I'll mention that a Wizard 1 is actually an encounter that can easily swing either way for a party of 1st-level character.  If the wizard wins initiative he could just cast Sleep and potentially wipe out the party before it even gets a chance to act.  Conversely if someone in the party goes first there is the potential for that PC to wipe out the Wizard 1 who is normally not very tough before the fight really gets started.  This is something to keep in mind; at higher levels similiar things can happen when groups face single, powerful opponents.

Now looking at the NPC Wizard entry in the DMG (pg 126) it is listed as having a mundane melee and a mundane ranged weapon (a staff and dagger maybe?) plus 800 gp.  Now that 800 gp should be spent on additional equipment most likely a potion and/or scroll or two and maybe even a wand of some type.  Note that these things should get USED AGAINST THE PCs if appropriate which means they aren't going to be "treasure" for the PCs to pick up later but NPC gear is usually worth more then normal CR treasure to account for this.  I believe the Magic Item Compendium may actually have better tables to show how to equip characters based on how much wealth is available to them.

Now every time you double the number of opponents the EL goes up by +2 although this does have some issues at the lowest levels and when you start dealing with too many creatures.

Although it doesn't help a lot at first level I would generally treat a party of three characters just like I would a party of four characters who are a level behind.  If you have three 6th-level characters I'd figure encounters like they were a party of four 5th-level characters. 
Now reading the set up it appears that the wizard will be waiting for the PCs and thus should have a round or two to prepare before engaging.  Now I don't know what few 1st-level spells the wizard will know and which will be memorized but that's actually unimportant as that encounter would really come down to the "equipment" used and initiative.  Here's how I'd see "tricking out" that poor WIZ 1:

Dagger
Crossbow, Heavy or light depending on STR.  Loaded with total of 20 quarrels carried.

25gp  Scroll of Mage Armor (use when you see the PCs, gives +4 armor bonus for 1 hour)
150gp  Scroll of Protection from Arrows (DR10/magic vs ranged weapons absorbing 30 damage, lasts 3 hours)
25gp  Scroll of Sleep (a full round to use but could take out the entire group)
360gp  Wand of Invisibility, 4 charges remaining (the escape plan?)
225gp  Wand of Magic Missile, 3rd-level, 5 charges remaining (two 1d4+1 damage missile)
15gp remaining.

Now the first two scrolls are there to provide a defense against PC attacks.  Protection form Arrows will basically force the PCs to engage in melee or spell attacks.  Mage Armor provides a decent AC for what is normally a weak character.  As I said before using that Scroll of Sleep could take out the party but takes a round to use instead of just a standard action.

The two wands are really the potential "treasure" from this encounter but both have very few charges remaining. (Note, do NOT let your PCs buy partially charged wands as they are so cheap for the effect.)  I had originally had a Potion of Invisibility listed but changed it to a wand to help avoid a possible AoO for using it.  The Wand of MM can be auto damage against certain things but it isn't a lot of damage.
     
    
Now reading the set up it appears that the wizard will be waiting for the PCs and thus should have a round or two to prepare before engaging.  Now I don't know what few 1st-level spells the wizard will know and which will be memorized but that's actually unimportant as that encounter would really come down to the "equipment" used and initiative.  Here's how I'd see "tricking out" that poor WIZ 1:

Dagger
Crossbow, Heavy or light depending on STR.  Loaded with total of 20 quarrels carried.

25gp  Scroll of Mage Armor (use when you see the PCs, gives +4 armor bonus for 1 hour)
150gp  Scroll of Protection from Arrows (DR10/magic vs ranged weapons absorbing 30 damage, lasts 3 hours)
25gp  Scroll of Sleep (a full round to use but could take out the entire group)
360gp  Wand of Invisibility, 4 charges remaining (the escape plan?)
225gp  Wand of Magic Missile, 3rd-level, 5 charges remaining (two 1d4+1 damage missile)
15gp remaining.

Now the first two scrolls are there to provide a defense against PC attacks.  Protection form Arrows will basically force the PCs to engage in melee or spell attacks.  Mage Armor provides a decent AC for what is normally a weak character.  As I said before using that Scroll of Sleep could take out the party but takes a round to use instead of just a standard action.

The two wands are really the potential "treasure" from this encounter but both have very few charges remaining. (Note, do NOT let your PCs buy partially charged wands as they are so cheap for the effect.)  I had originally had a Potion of Invisibility listed but changed it to a wand to help avoid a possible AoO for using it.  The Wand of MM can be auto damage against certain things but it isn't a lot of damage.
     
    

5 gp Scholar’s outfit
35 gps Crossbow light
2gp 20 bolts
2 gp dagger
15 gp Spellbook
5 gp Spell component pounch
25gp  Scroll of Mage Armor (use when you see the PCs, gives +4 armor bonus for 1 hour)
150gp  Scroll of Protection from Arrows (DR10/magic vs ranged weapons absorbing 30 damage, lasts 3 hours)
25gp  Scroll of Sleep (a full round to use but could take out the entire group)
360gp  Wand of Invisibility, 4 charges remaining (the escape plan?)
225gp  Wand of Magic Missile, 3rd-level, 5 charges remaining (two 1d4+1 damage missile)

51gp remaining.
Pepe pecas pica papas con un pico con un pico pepe pecas pica papas si pepe pecas pica papas con un pico donde esta el pico con que pepe pecas pica papas.
Oma012, I was going off of the listed entry instead of picking all the 900 gp worth of NPC gear.  I didn't list all the details (including the spellbook which shouldn't have too much in it and is actually going to be worth a LOT more then 15 gp based on what it costs to copy a spell from another wizard) and you seem to be missing some things as well.  He'll need some way to hold all of those things otherwise you can just throw out the crossbow as he definitely doesn't have the hands to wield that and hold on to everything else.
Thanks, everyone, this helps a lot.
Oma012, I was going off of the listed entry instead of picking all the 900 gp worth of NPC gear.  I didn't list all the details (including the spellbook which shouldn't have too much in it and is actually going to be worth a LOT more then 15 gp based on what it costs to copy a spell from another wizard) and you seem to be missing some things as well.  He'll need some way to hold all of those things otherwise you can just throw out the crossbow as he definitely doesn't have the hands to wield that and hold on to everything else.



but he can make a back pack like a nomad whit many free sling and 1 free Quarterstaff

and the rules of D&D dont say nothing about limitation in volume only in weight.

if you detail all the treasure the player can be take, some wizard may need the spell book or the scrolls or wands.

Pepe pecas pica papas con un pico con un pico pepe pecas pica papas si pepe pecas pica papas con un pico donde esta el pico con que pepe pecas pica papas.