In it, Chris reveals a spreadsheet which purports to list the average damage a monster's At-Will and Encounter attacks are expected to do per turn, and the various ways to create a dice expression that can arrive at that average. In the following week's article, Chris then reveals that at the table he sometimes simply uses that average value and adds a d6 to the damage to speed up his turns in combat.
I love this idea, especially now that my players are entering Epic Tier. We are running the Scales of War adventure path, and so I opened up the adventure to see what average damage values my monsters should be dealing, and found a massive discrepancy.
According to Chris Perkins' spreadsheet, a level 23 non-brute monster should deal an average of 31 damage with an at-will attack. Below is a snippet of the statblock for a Level 23 Elite Skirmisher (Gwenth, Vampire) printed in the adventure:
Bloodletter (standard, at-will) Weapon
+28 vs AC; 2d6+3 damage, and ongoing 10 damage (save ends).
2d6+3 gives an average of 10 damage - an average that, according to Perkins's table, is appropriate of a Level 2 monster! Only if we add in 2 round of the ongoing 10 damage does Gwenth's damage approach the average.
So perhaps this is an anomoly to account for the ongoing damage. I searched for a monster with a simple damage expression and foud the Cambion Impaler, a Level 19 Skirmisher. His basic attack:
Spear (standard, at-will) Weapon
+24 vs AC; 3d6+8 damage.
3d6+8 equals 18.5 damage, a value appropriate for a level 10 monster (According to the spreadsheet).
My party routinely goes through level-appropriate and higher encounters with nobody getting bloodied, and some characters never even taking damage. Are the monsters printed in the adventure path underpowered? It certainly seems they are failing to hit these supposed "expected average damage values," and it makes for really boring fights.
What started as a plan to speed up encounters seems to have opened a big can of worms for me. I really want to finish out the campaign, but if the system is falling apart at the start of Epic, I'm not sure what I can do to fix things to challenge my players for the next nine levels.
Does anybody have any advice on this?