Apparently 26 goblins are an average encounter for a level 1 party! Wait, what??

I'm glad they gave the monsters in the Beastiary another coat of paint.

First off, I like the revisions to a lot of abilities!

Zombie Fortitude trait: is an awesomely brilliant example of clever mechanics that don't inflate numbers
Dark Acolytes/Adepts: their spells are SO much better and streamlined now. Easy to use as is.
Goblin's "Sneaky" trait: Attempt to hide at the end of a move without using an action? This makes them scary as heck!
Orc's "Relentless" trait: Kind of wordy, in a confusing way. If I read it correctly, they basically get an extra, free round of combat after being reduced to 0 hp? Cool "last stand" kind of ability...but maybe there's a better way to phrase it?

And second: they fixed those weird XP values! Yay!

Or wait...did they? Some of the XP values are NOT realistic when using the Encounter XP Budget table (Page 11, DM Guidelines 100812)

Here are some examples, with the broken things highlighted in red:

4x Level 1 Players (for a typical starting party)


  • Easy encounter = 160 XP


    • 8x zombies

    • 16x goblins

    • 4x Hobgoblins




  • Average encounter = 260 XP


    • 26x Goblins (or Kobolds)

    • 1x Ogre

    • 5x Human Berserkers + 6x Fire Beetles (their pets!)


  • Tough encounter = 400 XP


    • 6x orcs

    • 40x goblins

    • 40x kobolds

    • 20x Zombies

    • 13x Skeletons



3x Level 2 Players (the party in my playtest)


  • Easy encounter = 210 XP


    • 2x Bugbears

    • 21x Goblins

    • 1x Medusa




  • Average encounter = 360 XP


    • 1x Owlbear

    • 4x Bugbears

    • 6x Orcs

    • 1x Hobgoblin Leader + 5x Hobgoblins




  • Tough encounter = 540 XP


    • 54x Zombies

    • 1x Troll

    • 9x Orcs

    • 1x Minotaur + 5x Goblins




As you can see, some of these numbers are just plain silly and completely unrealistic challenges for these low-level parties.  What's the source of the problem? Are the values in the Encounter Building table too high? Or are the Monster XP values too low?

Well, from my little encounter building math above, we can see a pattern: these are all level 1 monsters. My guess is that Level 1 monsters have their XP set too low. 10 XP is just not realistic when building encounters with Goblins. And 20 XP is not realistic for Zombies (especially now with their new Fortitude trait).

What are some solutions?

After running the numbers, my best and easiest solution is: Add 20 XP to the level 1 monsters
Goblins are now worth 30 XP
Zombies are now worth 40 XP

  1. Easy Level 1 encounter (160 XP) would be: 5x Goblins or 4x Zombies

  2. Average Level 1 encounter (260 XP) would be: 8x Goblins or 6x Zombies

  3. Tough Level 1 encounter (400 XP) would be: 13x Goblins or 10x Zombies


That seems a LOT more realistic for a level 1 party.

Thoughts? (and pretty please, can we keep this conversation civil and on-topic?)

edit: typo 

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Seems reasonable to me, but I don't usually DM or build encounters.

I would like to point out that in your table your Tough 400XP section includes one listing of 8 Zombies and then a listing of 20 Zombies. I think you forgot or mistyped something. Just a heads up in case someone wanted to make a fuss about it when the debates start. (They always do start after all)
Seems reasonable to me, but I don't usually DM or build encounters.

I would like to point out that in your table your Tough 400XP section includes one listing of 8 Zombies and then a listing of 20 Zombies. I think you forgot or mistyped something. Just a heads up in case someone wanted to make a fuss about it when the debates start. (They always do start after all)

Ah, thanks for that. Scratch the 8x zombies, that was a typo I think.
I find the posting bullet system unwieldy sometimes.

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

 

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 

I don't have my playtest materials open at the moment to verify these numbers, so I'll assume they're correct.

40 kobolds certainly would be a tough encounter but I'm not sure it would be a lot of fun and I'm not sure I would build an encounter that way at all even if the numbers told me so. I don't think the intention is to spend exp until you run out but to rather build encounters that are fun and make sense. Not just encounters that add up to the right values. I get your point here and I have to agree a bit. I don't think 54 zombies makes sense to throw at a level 2 party. However, given their stats, I also don't think zombies or kobolds should be worth a lot of exp. So the options are to make encounters tougher or simply use your head to build the encounter in a more clever way. 

I think I like the numbers where they are even if I would never throw 54 zombies at a level 2 party. It gives me the option of throwing 2 goblins at a character on their own at level 1. 

Make sense? 
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
I don't have my playtest materials open at the moment to verify these numbers, so I'll assume they're correct.

40 kobolds certainly would be a tough encounter but I'm not sure it would be a lot of fun and I'm not sure I would build an encounter that way at all even if the numbers told me so. I don't think the intention is to spend exp until you run out but to rather build encounters that are fun and make sense. Not just encounters that add up to the right values. I get your point here and I have to agree a bit. I don't think 54 zombies makes sense to throw at a level 2 party. However, given their stats, I also don't think zombies or kobolds should be worth a lot of exp. So the options are to make encounters tougher or simply use your head to build the encounter in a more clever way. 

I think I like the numbers where they are even if I would never throw 54 zombies at a level 2 party. It gives me the option of throwing 2 goblins at a character on their own at level 1. 

Make sense? 

Yeah, I totally get point. And I guess I should clarify that I wouldn't blindly create said encounters because the numbers told me to. Of course I would use my many many years of DM judgement. 

However, these tables exist in the core rules because the designers have already (allegedly) done the math on what a reasonable encounter for a given level is. That way the DM can trust that s/he's building a decent encounter. And yeah, the playtest rules are only for levels 1-5, but if they're already broken at level 2, then something needs to be fixed!

I guess another solution is to problem is Scalable Monsters. I mean, of COURSE a level 1 zombie is only 10 XP right? But what about a level 3 Zombie? Ah, maybe that one is worth 90 XP (using a quadratic increase). 

I think the best thing they can do with D&D Next is to make as much of the math transparent to the DM as possible so they can customize it. And to be clear, I don't mean everything has to be equal (like in 4e), but give me the option to scale the mechanics easily! 

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

 

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 

This is a problem you will find with pretty much any encounter budget system.  Weak creatures in ridic numbers are more powerful than the numbers will show. Hell 1 anything vs even 2 of the same thing is not just 2 times as hard.  The thing is at a handful of monsters the amount off falls within the tolerance level, but when you go to dozens of monsters they become a lot more difficult than the numbers would indicate.  
This is a problem you will find with pretty much any encounter budget system.  Weak creatures in ridic numbers are more powerful than the numbers will show. Hell 1 anything vs even 2 of the same thing is not just 2 times as hard.  The thing is at a handful of monsters the amount off falls within the tolerance level, but when you go to dozens of monsters they become a lot more difficult than the numbers would indicate.  



Then they just have to change the calculations so that they're not simple addition of monster + moster, maybe by adding / multiplying the regular XP for another number that's based purely on the number of monsters, or some other idea.

But really, not only this must be fixed but it can be fixed.
My character is called Ryotto Tyrannicide, wich comes from "tyrannicidal riot". He wields two magic swords: King Beheader (as in "Beheader of Kings", not "King the Beheader") and Chain Splitter. He's also a bit of a skirt-chaser. So yeah, I REALLY hope you have some Lawful Evil bad guys prepared for me. Government/trade/church conspiracies are optional, but highly recommended.
The best way would be to multiply additional monsters xp by half the total number of monsters used.

Number     Xp value   multiplier
    of
Monsters
1 goblin     5xp          0.5
2 goblins   20xp         1.0
3 goblins   45xp         1.5
4 goblins   80xp         2.0
5 goblins   125xp       2.5
6 goblins   180xp       3.0
etc...etc...

Basically when you hit about 10 the cost of each monster is times five. 20 would by times 10. So 20 goblins would cost 2000xp as an encounter...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
The best way would be to multiply additional monsters xp by half the total number of monsters used.

Number     Xp value   multiplier
    of
Monsters
1 goblin     5xp          0.5
2 goblins   20xp         1.0
3 goblins   45xp         1.5
4 goblins   80xp         2.0
5 goblins   125xp       2.5
6 goblins   180xp       3.0
etc...etc...

Basically when you hit about 10 the cost of each monster is times five. 20 would by times 10. So 20 goblins would cost 2000xp as an encounter...



I think this is actually more broken (and definitely more complicated) than the rules really require or allow. Every situation would handle greater numbers differently anyway. If your heroes are in the open and can each get swarmed by handfuls of goblins vs your heroes encountering the goblings in a hallway where only a couple goblins can fight the pcs at a time. It is all entirely situational which is why I think a single number does it the most justice.

I'd prefer to use the xp budgeting rules as given, even if there are some 'breaking' points.

However, I'd also enjoy seeing some scaled up versions of different monsters. Maybe these need to have a different name, but maybe they really don't, I'm not sure. For example, can we define a zombie as having 10 hps per level with +2 to hit + 1 per 3 levels etc etc? do we need to simply define 10 different zombies at different levels?

I'm not sure. As a DM, I scale monsters all the time on the fly, so I have no issues with this. Keeping the xp chart as the encounter budget doesn't bother me in the least. If I want to throw 40 goblins at the party, I have no problem giving them the budgeted result in xp rather than some weird scaled up version just for sheer numbers. The numbers themselves are adding the multiplier.

In 3e, you might remember that some of a multiplier was built into the CR system.
If you were level 2 and encountered 8 Cr 2 creatures , it would count as Cr 8 (or something) which would be more than 8 times the xp if I remember correctly. But most dms just calculated 8 CR2s instead which essentially just means adding them up.
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
The best way would be to multiply additional monsters xp by half the total number of monsters used.

Number     Xp value   multiplier
    of
Monsters
1 goblin     5xp          0.5
2 goblins   20xp         1.0
3 goblins   45xp         1.5
4 goblins   80xp         2.0
5 goblins   125xp       2.5
6 goblins   180xp       3.0
etc...etc...

Basically when you hit about 10 the cost of each monster is times five. 20 would by times 10. So 20 goblins would cost 2000xp as an encounter...



I think this is actually more broken (and definitely more complicated) than the rules really require or allow. Every situation would handle greater numbers differently anyway. If your heroes are in the open and can each get swarmed by handfuls of goblins vs your heroes encountering the goblings in a hallway where only a couple goblins can fight the pcs at a time. It is all entirely situational which is why I think a single number does it the most justice.

I'd prefer to use the xp budgeting rules as given, even if there are some 'breaking' points.

However, I'd also enjoy seeing some scaled up versions of different monsters. Maybe these need to have a different name, but maybe they really don't, I'm not sure. For example, can we define a zombie as having 10 hps per level with +2 to hit + 1 per 3 levels etc etc? do we need to simply define 10 different zombies at different levels?

I'm not sure. As a DM, I scale monsters all the time on the fly, so I have no issues with this. Keeping the xp chart as the encounter budget doesn't bother me in the least. If I want to throw 40 goblins at the party, I have no problem giving them the budgeted result in xp rather than some weird scaled up version just for sheer numbers. The numbers themselves are adding the multiplier.

In 3e, you might remember that some of a multiplier was built into the CR system.
If you were level 2 and encountered 8 Cr 2 creatures , it would count as Cr 8 (or something) which would be more than 8 times the xp if I remember correctly. But most dms just calculated 8 CR2s instead which essentially just means adding them up.



The problem is regardless of how they are coming at you they still have the same attrition rate. 26 attacks the first round followed by 24 attacks the second round followed by 22 attacks the third round followed by 20 attacks in the fourth round is still 32.2 hits and 4.6 crits. Short of not having a ranged attack standing in a hallway is not going to help very much because both groups will have penalties to hit and they will even out.

The difference between 2 goblins and 20 in a combat is geometrically difficulty. Even if you can take out 2 goblins per round you are still getting a bunch of attacks against you some of which will get lucky and hit or crit you.

Number   Total       Attacks Per Round
Of           Attacks    Round #
Goblins                  1st   2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th
2             2            2
3             4            3      1
4             6            4      2
5             9            5      3      1
6             12          6      4      2
7             16          7      5      3      1
8             20          8      6      4      2

You should start getting the point. The difficulty is geometrically increased each time you add 1 monster to the mix. So the xp cost (not to be confused with the xp reward) should go up in a similar geometric way. Now maybe my initial numbers are not optimal, but the idea is good. Maybe just multiply it by the number of monsters in the group. Of course they would need to reverse the math on that.
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Only out in the open where they can all attack you. In a hall way its always just something like 2 each round. In addition, if you show up and get zerg'd by 40 goblins with no warning, your play style is a lot different than any game I've ever played in, but that isn't really the topicwe're discussing either. A 'strong' encounter of that kind should end up in pc roflstomps in my opinion. And if you replaced half those goblins with an equally strong hero I think you'd find something similar happening

Anyway, I agree with the geometric 'issue' out in the open, in general. At the same time however, your burning hands spell is going to hit 5 goblins instead of just two and killing each outright. do this three times (which you can at 1st level even) and that's 15 goblins. So it takes 3 rounds with tons of attacks coming at you. I get that this would be really tough to survive. There are bound to be some 20s wiping out your little wizard, but he's pretty much your only hope at that moment.


Ultimately though I disagree fundamentally in many different ways which just scaling the xp up because of this.  While 10xp may not be the optimal number for an ibby (goblin), I think a static value is going to be better, simpler and the way to go. The encounter rules tell you not to stack up on low level stuff or high level stuff as it will necessarily sorta break stuff. At low levels, the goblin really shouldn't be level 1 but level 1/2. And if you look at its xp value, that kinda makes sense. So stacking up on these would break normal encounter rules. So...

Encounter rules for ibbies would probably say things like every 10 goblins is accompanied by a goblin leader or some such. Making 40 goblin zergling rushes impossible in and of itself. 1 Leader = 8 goblins. So just throwing in two leaders makes that encounter look a lot better. Of course, leaders have +3 more to hit and do 3 more damage.


BTW love bushwhacker and sneaky stealthy ibbies! 
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
Lastly,  I really think the tough encounter for level 1 is probably just a bit too high in general. 6 orcs are likely to TPK in my opinion just as 40 gobbers would.
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
I want to say the xp is about right. The problem is that the monsters are still too weak. If you look at the goblins stats, they probably are worth only about 10 xp. The xp needs to go up to make them realistic, but this requires them to become tougher to justify that increase in xp.
The best way would be to multiply additional monsters xp by half the total number of monsters used.

Number     Xp value   multiplier
    of
Monsters
1 goblin     5xp          0.5
2 goblins   20xp         1.0
3 goblins   45xp         1.5
4 goblins   80xp         2.0
5 goblins   125xp       2.5
6 goblins   180xp       3.0
etc...etc...

Basically when you hit about 10 the cost of each monster is times five. 20 would by times 10. So 20 goblins would cost 2000xp as an encounter...



I think this is actually more broken (and definitely more complicated) than the rules really require or allow. Every situation would handle greater numbers differently anyway. If your heroes are in the open and can each get swarmed by handfuls of goblins vs your heroes encountering the goblings in a hallway where only a couple goblins can fight the pcs at a time. It is all entirely situational which is why I think a single number does it the most justice.

I'd prefer to use the xp budgeting rules as given, even if there are some 'breaking' points.

However, I'd also enjoy seeing some scaled up versions of different monsters. Maybe these need to have a different name, but maybe they really don't, I'm not sure. For example, can we define a zombie as having 10 hps per level with +2 to hit + 1 per 3 levels etc etc? do we need to simply define 10 different zombies at different levels?

I'm not sure. As a DM, I scale monsters all the time on the fly, so I have no issues with this. Keeping the xp chart as the encounter budget doesn't bother me in the least. If I want to throw 40 goblins at the party, I have no problem giving them the budgeted result in xp rather than some weird scaled up version just for sheer numbers. The numbers themselves are adding the multiplier.

In 3e, you might remember that some of a multiplier was built into the CR system.
If you were level 2 and encountered 8 Cr 2 creatures , it would count as Cr 8 (or something) which would be more than 8 times the xp if I remember correctly. But most dms just calculated 8 CR2s instead which essentially just means adding them up.



The problem is regardless of how they are coming at you they still have the same attrition rate. 26 attacks the first round followed by 24 attacks the second round followed by 22 attacks the third round followed by 20 attacks in the fourth round is still 32.2 hits and 4.6 crits. Short of not having a ranged attack standing in a hallway is not going to help very much because both groups will have penalties to hit and they will even out.

The difference between 2 goblins and 20 in a combat is geometrically difficulty. Even if you can take out 2 goblins per round you are still getting a bunch of attacks against you some of which will get lucky and hit or crit you.

Number   Total       Attacks Per Round
Of           Attacks    Round #
Goblins                  1st   2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th
2             2            2
3             4            3      1
4             6            4      2
5             9            5      3      1
6             12          6      4      2
7             16          7      5      3      1
8             20          8      6      4      2

You should start getting the point. The difficulty is geometrically increased each time you add 1 monster to the mix. So the xp cost (not to be confused with the xp reward) should go up in a similar geometric way. Now maybe my initial numbers are not optimal, but the idea is good. Maybe just multiply it by the number of monsters in the group. Of course they would need to reverse the math on that.



Take a look in the test packet in the pdf spells. you send 20 goblins and my two mages drop them all taking no hits in one round with two castings of burning hands. You can't think in a vacume. Players have ways of dealing with groups of monsters besides hack and slash. Oh look there are a bunch of orgres comming twards the castle ... lets wait till they get to the gate and dump a large ammount of oil on them and set them on fire ... one torch later no more ogres.

Take a look in the test packet in the pdf spells. you send 20 goblins and my two mages drop them all taking no hits in one round with two castings of burning hands. You can't think in a vacume. Players have ways of dealing with groups of monsters besides hack and slash. Oh look there are a bunch of orgres comming twards the castle ... lets wait till they get to the gate and dump a large ammount of oil on them and set them on fire ... one torch later no more ogres.



I also echo'ed this above. While I feel like the ogre/oil/castle scenario is probably not really a true encounter worthy of an equal level of exp, the environment and team matters a LOT!.  And while two mages probably won't kill 20 goblins in one round, they'd likely kill half of them depending on who acts first and what the gobbers are doing (if they aren't chopped down first). But this is what 1st level is like for a mage anyway. A single orc can walk up and slice the mage down just as easily.

What am I saying? I'm still down for keeping the xp static. 10 xp per goblin. Fine no problem. If 40 goblins seems silly to you, then don't build this as an encounter (I probably wouldn't). How does your group walk into 40 goblins w/ no other mobs/leadership. They've done something very very abnormal. Did they slaughter the goblin leadership already? Did the route the rest of the goblins into this 10xp goblin hoard in some way? Why aren't the goblins running already? I can't imagine the story that leads to this, and thus, not an encounter I'd build. Maybe they backed 40 goblins into a dead-end cave after killing the leadership and force the goblins to fight? At level 1, you'd probably just let them go. Which would give you 400 xp in my campaign anyway. You've handled the 'threat' by doing the right thing.

Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.

The numbers don't add up very well, but that's partially a flaw that can't be overcome using their current method:  you either have simple math, or you have more accurate math.  Difficulty is NOT linear, but it has to be in order to make encounter building quick and easy.  Sometimes they come up with a great solution that fixes all the problems:  sometimes they don't.  40 kobolds for a level 1 party is a "don't."


Ultimately, there is still a lot of finnesse in encounter building using this system.  And they still have a ways to go with the math.  At the same time, the monster numbers are pretty similar and I saw our party slice through the 2nd playtest like butter.  So something had to be bumped up.  Unfortunately they chose "total monsters," which was already high.


The real issue is that trying to RUN 40 kobolds is basically impossible.  It's not fun for anyone.


The real issue is that trying to RUN 40 kobolds is basically impossible.  It's not fun for anyone.




Yeah, I'd agree with this as well. I think the system will get there through simple addition. If the issue is that you want to run 100 goblins with no superiors and figure out what the true challenge rating should be, then I get that. Maybe the encounter building can ad hoc some exp like one of the OP had suggested. However, I don't have that kind of desire whatsoever and think the natural thing to do, is not that, but rather to add in some bosses.

If there is a race that is going to run on true mobbing without any superior elements present, perhaps they can build that as a separate encounter listing altogether. However, I'm in favor of spicing it up with higher level leadership to fill out the xp instead.
 
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
Only out in the open where they can all attack you. In a hall way its always just something like 2 each round. In addition, if you show up and get zerg'd by 40 goblins with no warning, your play style is a lot different than any game I've ever played in, but that isn't really the topicwe're discussing either. A 'strong' encounter of that kind should end up in pc roflstomps in my opinion. And if you replaced half those goblins with an equally strong hero I think you'd find something similar happening

Anyway, I agree with the geometric 'issue' out in the open, in general. At the same time however, your burning hands spell is going to hit 5 goblins instead of just two and killing each outright. do this three times (which you can at 1st level even) and that's 15 goblins. So it takes 3 rounds with tons of attacks coming at you. I get that this would be really tough to survive. There are bound to be some 20s wiping out your little wizard, but he's pretty much your only hope at that moment.


Ultimately though I disagree fundamentally in many different ways which just scaling the xp up because of this.  While 10xp may not be the optimal number for an ibby (goblin), I think a static value is going to be better, simpler and the way to go. The encounter rules tell you not to stack up on low level stuff or high level stuff as it will necessarily sorta break stuff. At low levels, the goblin really shouldn't be level 1 but level 1/2. And if you look at its xp value, that kinda makes sense. So stacking up on these would break normal encounter rules. So...

Encounter rules for ibbies would probably say things like every 10 goblins is accompanied by a goblin leader or some such. Making 40 goblin zergling rushes impossible in and of itself. 1 Leader = 8 goblins. So just throwing in two leaders makes that encounter look a lot better. Of course, leaders have +3 more to hit and do 3 more damage.


BTW love bushwhacker and sneaky stealthy ibbies! 



Nope, goblins have ranged attacks too which they can do with penalties for intervening creatures. So all of them that can see you get to attack. Likewise ranged attacks against the goblins have the same penalties so they are basically a wash. Everyone gets to attack everyone. In rare cases crowded hallways that have corners might cut off some attackers, but that could work both ways...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
One of my only player kills in 4e came from too many minions on the day the wizard was off studying scrolls.    So, 4e, though it is very well balanced, doesn't fully balance this either.    4e does recommend you don't make an entire encounter our of minions, and that advice probably still holds.  And, it also mentions that a few low level minions are under-represented as threat, and that advice likely still holds (though with bounded accuracy, it's likely not quite as true anymore).

As for this exact question -- 5e is supposed to be swingy, and I think we're seeing this.  If the party goes first, the wizard starts with burning hands, takes out a few, the fighter kills 2, and team monster swarms the fighter and cleric, the battles going to be  fairly even.    If the monsters go first, swarm the rogue and wizard, and get a couple of lucky crits, the battle's going to fall into TPK territory pretty easily.

Of course, party composition matters a lot.  2 wizards, 1 fighter, 1 cleric is going to be night and day different from 4 rogues.

The part that bothers me is that this doesn't really leave a lot for the fighter and rogue to do, if things start going south.  In 4e, if the battle went bad, you had improvisation, sure, but then you also had setting up your dailies, and maximizing their effectiveness and timing.  And, trying to decide whether to use them or not.   I recognize they weren't universally loved, but I wonder, if my party is jumped by 26 goblins, and I'm a fighter, what do I do to maximize my chance of survival.   "hope to roll high" doesn't seem fun.  


The burning hands spell is a cone 15 feet long. Goblins take up a 5 foot space therefor the absolute most you can kill with one casting of the burning hands spell is six; one in the first five feet two in the second and three in the third. It's impossible for two casters to kill 20 goblins in one round. 

Actually unless the casters are facing in two different directions or are fifteen feet apart their spells will overlap causing even fewer goblin deaths. 

Take a look in the test packet in the pdf spells. you send 20 goblins and my two mages drop them all taking no hits in one round with two castings of burning hands. You can't think in a vacume. Players have ways of dealing with groups of monsters besides hack and slash. Oh look there are a bunch of orgres comming twards the castle ... lets wait till they get to the gate and dump a large ammount of oil on them and set them on fire ... one torch later no more ogres.


The burning hands spell is a cone 15 feet long. Goblins take up a 5 foot space therefor the absolute most you can kill with one casting of the burning hands spell is six; one in the first five feet two in the second and three in the third. It's impossible for two casters to kill 20 goblins in one round. 

Actually unless the casters are facing in two different directions or are fifteen feet apart their spells will overlap causing even fewer goblin deaths.
Not to mention those Goblins aren't going to be just standing side by side lined up in a neat cone for a wizard to kill with burning hands.
Not to mention those Goblins aren't going to be just standing side by side lined up in a neat cone for a wizard to kill with burning hands.



Why not, most people think they will line up around the fighter providing a cleave every round?
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Not to mention those Goblins aren't going to be just standing side by side lined up in a neat cone for a wizard to kill with burning hands.



Why not, most people think they will line up around the fighter providing a cleave every round?

The game i played, the goblins hid in the bushes, shot you with arrows and through flaming oil at you.  no cleave here.
Celtas
Even if they stand right next to each other (which they shouldn't be, cause that seems a bit much for an unorganized group of Monsters) they wouldn't be three lines deep in a pyramid shape.
I think this is actually an easy problem to fix.  The issue is that the XP cost of low level creatures, particularly those at first level, is so small that they are fraction of creatures at the next level.

Seems like the answer to this problem would be to add a static baseline to the XP numbers for all creatures, and then adjust the XP required to level by that amount, multiplying by number of creatures and encounters as appropriate.

This would make the difference in XP between monsters of different levels the same as it currently is, but up the base amount so that you can't have so many low level creatures in higher level encounters.

For example we could add 100 XP to every monster.  I picked 100 out of thin air, I'm not saying that is the right answer, simply a nice round number chosen at random to illustrate my point.

Goblin 10 -> 110
Gnoll 60 -> 160

Average Level 1 encounter per character 65 -> 165 XP
 - 6 goblins / PC -> 1.5 goblins / PC
 - 1 gnoll / PC -> 1 gnoll / PC

Average Level 2 encounter per character 120 -> 220 XP
 - 12 goblins / PC -> 2 goblins / PC
 - 2 gnolls / PC -> 1.4 gnolls / PC

Average Level 3 encounter per character 230 -> 330 XP
 - 23 goblins / PC -> 5.5 goblins / PC
 - 3.8 gnolls / PC -> 2 gnolls / PC

Etc.
I believe the low xp is currently correct for each monster. A goblin as present is in fact only worth 10 xp. It doesn't need any more xp added, that would mess up the system. The xp budget is what is supposed to challenge a group of PC's. 1 Goblin currenlty isn't worth more then 10 xp. Now what I believe happened is the xp got lowered to the correct level. Now in the next playtest packet it is going to be time to raise the monsters up to a reasonable number per encounter.

You should not be changing the xp of the monsters! The Xp is Correct! What you should be saying is okay, 40 Goblins is way too many. 20 sounds like a better number. So how do I get only 20 Goblins? Okay so I double their hitpoints to 6 HP Each. They got to hit better so maybe lets give them a +2 to hit instead of a -1. Since they are hitting more often now, they really don't need to increase their attack damage, so we can leave it alone. Now how much xp is our new Goblin worth? Maybe 20xp or maybe he hits just a little too much so he is actually worth 30xp. So maybe are new Goblins require less then 20, but that is Okay because that would be preffered.

Just starting with increasing the xp values isn't going to help you out any. If you want higher xp values, just use the last playtest packet. The monster stats need to go up before the xp values are increased.   
I agree here. Another thing is that 40 goblins are just not likely to coordinate in an attack of this nature. So where are the leaders? The leaders help fix this xp 'issue' right away.
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
I believe the low xp is currently correct for each monster. A goblin as present is in fact only worth 10 xp. It doesn't need any more xp added, that would mess up the system. The xp budget is what is supposed to challenge a group of PC's. 1 Goblin currenlty isn't worth more then 10 xp. Now what I believe happened is the xp got lowered to the correct level. Now in the next playtest packet it is going to be time to raise the monsters up to a reasonable number per encounter.

You should not be changing the xp of the monsters! The Xp is Correct! What you should be saying is okay, 40 Goblins is way too many. 20 sounds like a better number. So how do I get only 20 Goblins? Okay so I double their hitpoints to 6 HP Each. They got to hit better so maybe lets give them a +2 to hit instead of a -1. Since they are hitting more often now, they really don't need to increase their attack damage, so we can leave it alone. Now how much xp is our new Goblin worth? Maybe 20xp or maybe he hits just a little too much so he is actually worth 30xp. So maybe are new Goblins require less then 20, but that is Okay because that would be preffered.

Just starting with increasing the xp values isn't going to help you out any. If you want higher xp values, just use the last playtest packet. The monster stats need to go up before the xp values are increased.   


I think you missed the point of my post.  I'm not suggesting that monsters need their XP increased due to their overwhelming and challenging nature Wink.  In fact I agree that the monsters are underpowered in the current system and we are using the +2-3 hit bonus across the board.

What I'm saying is that the reason you can have 40 Goblins in a level 2 encounters is the nature of the math in the current system.  If you notice, I also increased the amount of XP per encounter per PC by the same amount I increased each monster to illustrate the effect it has on how many monsters of a particular level are considered a "suitable" encounter based on the XP budget, and then its effect at a subseuent level.

Obviously you could build a tougher goblin that is worth more XP to keep the number of creatures down in a particular encounter, but that doesn't address the issue that a tough 5th level encounter with 4 PCs should contain 828 Goblins based on the rules as written.  Obviously that's rediculous.  However, its possible due to the nature of the math involved, and the problem is particularly exaggerated with the lowest level monsters as their XP is a tiny fraction of creatures that are even a couple levels higher.

Consider looking at it from the opposite direction, if 1 Goblin is accurately valued at 10 XP, which I don't neccessarily disagree with, is a Goblin Leader worth 80 XP?  Will the goblin leader inflict 8 times as much damage, last 8 times the number of rounds, provide 8 times the challenge, etc?  I think not.  In fact it may end up being one shotted just like its weaker breathren.
IMX, this is the problem with pre-4th edition encounter building rules. (to which 5E appears to be returning)

XP Budgets don't work as a guideline for building encounters.  They never have. They never will. 

Moreover, if Bounded Accuracy is in, then lower level threats are going to remain as threatening for longer than ever before (at least in terms of accuracy, if not damage, I guess).  If Level Up XP costs reflect a non-linear scale (as they did in previous editions) then the XP value of those monsters drops off much faster than their threat level.  That's an invitation to TPK right there.

The math doesn't work.

I prefer 4E's encounter design system, personally. Much easier, and the math worked better too.  
I like that low level monsters add up to do damage forever. It sorta makes sense as well. 

4E uses xp totals as well. 
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
I still like my idea where you multiply the number of monsters by their xp value to determine what level an encounter is because if there are more monsters in an encounter, even weak ones, then you have more chances for hits and crits each round, so a group of 10 monsters is exponentially more dangerous than a group of 2 of the same monsters...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
The burning hands spell is a cone 15 feet long. Goblins take up a 5 foot space therefor the absolute most you can kill with one casting of the burning hands spell is six; one in the first five feet two in the second and three in the third. It's impossible for two casters to kill 20 goblins in one round.


Actually, the cone should affect 1 goblin in the first 5 feet, 3 in the second, and 5 in the third... for a total of 9 possible goblins. Some may make their saves, but the two mages will likely take out about a third of the attacking force in one blow. If played properly, that would make the remainder think twice about pressing on the attack... and if they did, a thunder wave or two in the next round will take another quarter out. 
The burning hands spell is a cone 15 feet long. Goblins take up a 5 foot space therefor the absolute most you can kill with one casting of the burning hands spell is six; one in the first five feet two in the second and three in the third. It's impossible for two casters to kill 20 goblins in one round.


Actually, the cone should affect 1 goblin in the first 5 feet, 3 in the second, and 5 in the third... for a total of 9 possible goblins. Some may make their saves, but the two mages will likely take out about a third of the attacking force in one blow. If played properly, that would make the remainder think twice about pressing on the attack... and if they did, a thunder wave or two in the next round will take another quarter out. 



How do you figure? At 5' it is only 5' wide which is 1 goblin. At 10' it is only 10' wide. Which should only hit two squares.  It is not a 90 degree cone. 

I'd have to look again, but I haven't seen thunderwave make a return yet either.
 
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
Shouldn't the cone be a quarter-circle? Or did I miss a rule somewhere? In earlier editions it's a quarter-circle, and in 4E it's a 3x3 square burst, with the net effect being pretty much the same, 9 affected squares.
As for thunderwave... I just got the playtest rules this week, so they should be the newest, and the spell is in there. 
First of all, a 90 degree section of a circle IS a quarter circle.

A 15-ft cone covers 9 5x5-ft squares: 1sq, 3sq, 5sq (as Mravac_Kid said)

Thus, Burning Hands could potentially kill 9 goblins. And since goblins have 3 hp and the minimum damage is 4...they each have only a 5% change NOT to die (auto-save on natural 20).

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

 

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 

A 15-ft cone covers 9 5x5-ft squares: 1sq, 3sq, 5sq (as Mravac_Kid said)


From 3.5 and Pathfinder: 2.bp.blogspot.com/-MK8sWA8JC8A/T35ia8ZWv...
And that's still asuming the Goblins bunch up in just the right formation for a cone spell to hit them.
A 15-ft cone covers 9 5x5-ft squares: 1sq, 3sq, 5sq (as Mravac_Kid said)


From 3.5 and Pathfinder: 2.bp.blogspot.com/-MK8sWA8JC8A/T35ia8ZWv...



Oops, I misread the Cone rules in the How-To-Play pdf. It says "A cone's width at any given point is equal to its distance from the point of origin."

Thus, a 15-ft cone extends 15-ft (3 squares) from you. And at its widest, it's also 15-ft (3 squares).

So it is 6 squares afterall. Or sometimes 7 squares. Or if you play by 4e's rules, it's 9 sq (a 3x3). This is what happens when you try to shove a round object into a square hole.

The picture you linked is a good visual. Thanks. I hope these area diagrams make it into 5e, even though they aren't requiring grid play.

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

 

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 

Well, that comes from not having the 3.5E books.
It does make far more sense than the 4E square, and fits much better with the low-level spells than the quite large d20 SRD cone (which is what I used for reference). And I totally missed the description in the pdf...
Very well, carry on.  

So it's up to the muscle to keep the goblins off the spellcasters... now it's getting interesting.  
And that's still asuming the Goblins bunch up in just the right formation for a cone spell to hit them.


Well, if you're fighting 26 goblins in anything other than a flat, featureless environment, it's pretty hard for them not to bunch up.

On topic: I just simulated two encounters between six 2nd-level Fighters on one side, and 2 wights, 8 zombies, and 12 skeletons on the other (which I thought was a Tough encounter, but read on).

In the first, I had the monsters evenly spread their attacks among the Fighters, and the wights didn't show up until after the zombies were dead. The Fighters took several rounds killing the zombies, then mopped up the skeletons while dealing with the wights. They suffered 2 fatalities (if they had a war cleric, they would have been fine).

In the second, I had the monsters focus fire. The first Fighter died in the first round, and I didn't need to continue any further.

Then I realized I had misread my note: it was supposed to be 12 zombies and 8 skeletons, not the other way around. Skeletons are worth more XP than zombies--which is clearly stupid, since literally any hit with a blunt weapon instantly kills a skeleton, but zombies never ever ****ing die.

So... I dunno.