Tofu Golem

Bounded Accuracy is intended to allow low level monsters to remain a threat to high level characters. It should not allow low level characters to be threats to high level monsters.

Armor class represents  how hard it is to land a hit and do damage.  Beating a target's Ac represents both making contact and overcoming armor.

Monsters are not tofu golems with pitiful AC and hundreds of hit points to compensate. It's alright if a PC never gets past AC 25', but a dragon with less tha AC 25 is a problem.
Bounded Accuracy is intended to allow low level monsters to remain a threat to high level characters. It should not allow low level characters to be threats to high level monsters.

Armor class represents  how hard it is to land a hit and do damage.  Beating a target's Ac represents both making contact and overcoming armor.

Monsters are not tofu golems with pitiful AC and hundreds of hit points to compensate. It's alright if a PC never gets past AC 25', but a dragon with less tha AC 25 is a problem.

::Sigh::

Monsters do not have levels.  There is no such thing as a high-level monster.

Monsters have xp values based on their power.  AC/HP are only a couple measures that contribute to overall power.  The "monster level"  does not equate to a PC level.  it is an approximation of xp value.

A dragon with AC less than 25 is perfectly reasonable if that dragon's scales are not harder than platemail.  Scale hardness determines AC, not monster level.
@OP: You would be incorrect that low level characters "should not be able to" defeat "high level" monsters. Is it unlikely? Sure. But HP and damage is the deciding survivability factor in DDN, not accuracy. This is the best way to mechanize a situation where an angry horde of commoners can still defeat a mighty hero or fearsome monster. It might take a whole village, but it should be doable.

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Monsters don't have levels? Don't be so technical. Monsters have hit dice and a 15 HD dragon should not even be hit by level 1 characters.

Armor isn't determind by hardness. It is determined by thckness. Adamantine and steel provide th same AC. Dragons have thicker armor than plate.

I didn't say a mob can't be victorious. In general a peasant should not be a significant threat to anyone. 100 peasants vs a PC, maybe. 100 peasants vs a dragon, no. I don't think peasants should be hitting dragons on anything less than a natural 20. Besides, that has nothing to do with reasonable encunters. In the playtest, a level 10 character CAN have +19 to hit.  Is autohitting a dragon reasonable?
Monsters don't have levels? Don't be so technical. Monsters have hit dice and a 15 HD dragon should not even be hit by level 1 characters.

Armor isn't determind by hardness. It is determined by thckness. Adamantine and steel provide th same AC. Dragons have thicker armor than plate.

I didn't say a mob can't be victorious. In general a peasant should not be a significant threat to anyone. 100 peasants vs a PC, maybe. 100 peasants vs a dragon, no. I don't think peasants should be hitting dragons on anything less than a natural 20. Besides, that has nothing to do with reasonable encunters. In the playtest, a level 10 character CAN have +19 to hit.  Is autohitting a dragon reasonable?



Doesn't it take a special type of gun to take down a charging rhino?
...a 15 HD dragon should not even be hit by level 1 characters.

Personal opinion and preference does not a paradigm make.

And your definition of "hit" is clearly not represented in the D&D hit point mechanics of this or previous editions.

“The only time you look in your neighbor's bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don't look in your neighbor's bowl to see if you have as much as them.” - Louis C.K.
...a 15 HD dragon should not even be hit by level 1 characters.

Personal opinion and preference does not a paradigm make.

And your definition of "hit" is clearly not represented in the D&D hit point mechanics of this or previous editions.




Allow me to referemce the 3.5 SRD.

"Your Armor Class (AC) represents how hard it is for opponents to land a solid, damaging blow on you. It’s the attack roll result that an opponent needs to achieve to hit you."

"When your hit point total reaches 0, you’re disabled. When it reaches –1, you’re dying. When it gets to –10, you’re dead."

A Young Adult Black Dragon has 16 hD and an Armor Class of 24, (-1 Size, 15 Natural Armor). A 1st level character really shouldn't have been able to hit it.


Monsters don't have levels? Don't be so technical. Monsters have hit dice and a 15 HD dragon should not even be hit by level 1 characters.

Armor isn't determind by hardness. It is determined by thckness. Adamantine and steel provide th same AC. Dragons have thicker armor than plate.

I didn't say a mob can't be victorious. In general a peasant should not be a significant threat to anyone. 100 peasants vs a PC, maybe. 100 peasants vs a dragon, no. I don't think peasants should be hitting dragons on anything less than a natural 20. Besides, that has nothing to do with reasonable encunters. In the playtest, a level 10 character CAN have +19 to hit.  Is autohitting a dragon reasonable?



Doesn't it take a special type of gun to take down a charging rhino?



You can kill it with an hat pin, it only takes a looooooooot of time.

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I counter with this, from another thread, just today:
Hit points are already an abstraction of all sorts of things including damage and fatigue.

“The only time you look in your neighbor's bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don't look in your neighbor's bowl to see if you have as much as them.” - Louis C.K.
Monsters don't have levels? Don't be so technical. Monsters have hit dice and a 15 HD dragon should not even be hit by level 1 characters.

Armor isn't determind by hardness. It is determined by thckness. Adamantine and steel provide th same AC. Dragons have thicker armor than plate.

I didn't say a mob can't be victorious. In general a peasant should not be a significant threat to anyone. 100 peasants vs a PC, maybe. 100 peasants vs a dragon, no. I don't think peasants should be hitting dragons on anything less than a natural 20. Besides, that has nothing to do with reasonable encunters. In the playtest, a level 10 character CAN have +19 to hit.  Is autohitting a dragon reasonable?

Doesn't it take a special type of gun to take down a charging rhino?

You can kill it with an hat pin, it only takes a looooooooot of time.

You can kill anything with a looooooooot of time.  You don't even need the hat-pin.

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F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

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The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

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Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

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Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

In the end it comes down to the explanation of why a 15HD dragon can't be hit by a peasant.  I mean, it's the size of a barn, right?  Even a peasant can manage to hit a barn.

If the issue is the thickness of scales, or some aura of invulnerability, then that should have a mechanical representation.  Is the dragon immune to nonmagical weapons?  Then give him a "+1 weapon or better to hit" quality.  Is his hide thicker than plate mail?  The give him an impossibly high AC.

The dragon isn't unhittable because he has a lot of Hit Dice -- he has a lto of hit points because he has a lot of Hit Dice.  He's unhittable because of some other intrinsic quality and you should give him a mechanic to match that intrinsic quality.  In 3rd edition this was the ineffable quality called "natural armor", which was given to creatures with no credence as to whether they were actually naturally armored.  In 4e, this was simply the creature's defenses as established by level.  But the answer is the same.  Why is it unhittable?  That answer will tell you how to make it unhittable in the playtest.
A Young Adult Black Dragon has 16 HD and an Armor Class of 24, (-1 Size, 15 Natural Armor). A 1st level character really shouldn't have been able to hit it.


First,a natural 20 still hits in 3e -- it's just not a critical hit.... unless the 1st level character can muster a +4 to hit bonus, such as a 1st level fighter with an 16 Strength, or a 1st level Commoner with a 14 Strength who charges.

At any rate, what the heck is "15 natural armor"?  Why that's supposed to mimic how thick those scales are.  This dragon's armor is almost twice as effective as full plate. So do the same thing in Next.  If the dragon's armor is almost twice as effective as full plate (18 AC), give it a 26 AC.  Voila.  No commoner is going to hit that dragon.  And nobody else, unless they can figure out a way to get a +6 to hit and roll some natural 20's.
I like keeping AC (and AC modifiers) simple. I don't need five different types of AC for everything. I just need 1 AC, HP and some version of a saving throw (hopefully simplified to an ability check). I think comparing the "natural armor" of a monster with the "manufactured armor" of a PC (or a humanoid monster) makes good sense. If given the choice, I prefer to roll hits and have damage be a constant.
...and tht's exactly what I wan. For dragons to have an AC that can't be hit by level 1 characters or peasants with the exception of the natural 20.

A hit implies dealing damage. By no means is a dragon ever unhittable. It should just be so hard to hit that a peasant couldn't do it without  natural 20. A tank is petty easy to touch, but is extremely hard to damage.

Players have more to hit bonuses than you think they do. The Strength 20 cap is an illusion, since you can get a Belt of Giant's Strenth. A Cleric can use Divine Power and get +4. Throw in a +3 weapon and he can hit just about anything with his eyes closed.
Um, ok.  You seem to think bounded accuracy means a dragon can't have AC 26.  If you think the dragon as designed is too easy, that's not a complaint about bounded accuracy.
Aye, a peasant with a sling could hit a sitting dragon. He's HUGE for god's sake. Now will it do any real damage to him? No. That, in my opinion, is a much more natural way to handle it.
My two copper.
What if it just bounces off the scales, does that count as a hit? There are plenty of examples in historical combats where large objects (battleships for example) made contact with a projectile weapon, but it just bounced off or failed to detonate. American WWII torpedoes had a massive problem with this!
Actually, no, I don't think that bounded accuracy prevents monsters from having high AC and I don't have a problem with bounded accuracy as long as it works as intended.

The original post was meant as a response to those that think boundd accuracy means that monsters should increases in hit points, but not in armor class.
Um, ok.  You seem to think bounded accuracy means a dragon can't have AC 26.  If you think the dragon as designed is too easy, that's not a complaint about bounded accuracy.



AC 26 dragons however implies some form of scaling based on "level" where a high level dragon has a higher AC so as to be an appropriate challenge for a high level party who in turn have scaling bonus to their attack rolls.

I'm not saying that is a bad thing, just that it goes against the stated design goals the devs have given us regarding bounded accuracy.  

If BA is handled well with some minor scaling to attack and defense values it could work out nicely.  Right now however we have seen only terrible design math regarding bounded accuracy.*

*Just  look at skill DCs, skill mastery, scaling attack bonuses, scaling save DCs, the fact that defense only scales in relation to wealth, monster HP AC and attack bonuses, etc.
No. An AC 26 dragon does not imply level scaling. It iimplies that dragon scales are really fracking tough. The high AC warrants a high xp value, which equates to a high "monster level" approximation. But it's the AC driving the xp boost, not the level driving the AC boost. That is an important distinction, and it does not break the design philosophy of Bounded Accuracy.
AC 26 dragons however implies some form of scaling based on "level" where a high level dragon has a higher AC so as to be an appropriate challenge for a high level party who in turn have scaling bonus to their attack rolls.


No, it doesn't imply that at all.

High AC implies the dragon is very hard to hit for whatever reason, probably due to dragon scales twice as thick and strong as plates of iron.  It implies that in order to harm the dragon you need to find some way to pierce that ludicrously tough exterior.
No. An AC 26 dragon does not imply level scaling. It iimplies that dragon scales are really fracking tough. The high AC warrants a high xp value, which equates to a high "monster level" approximation. But it's the AC driving the xp boost, not the level driving the AC boost. That is an important distinction, and it does not break the design philosophy of Bounded Accuracy.


Which can be 100% true. But he is saying all creatures of a dragon's relative power should not be hittable by level 1 characters.
My two copper.
Which can be 100% true. But he is saying all creatures of a dragon's relative power should not be hittable by level 1 characters.


For what reason?  It seems as if he thinks there should be an "aura of awesome" power attached to certain creatures that says 
 
without any explanation for why you have to be this tall. 
Now I'm confused If a DM wants to raise the creatures AC with very hard scales, he can. Not all dragons should be this way. Not all creatures of a dragons power level should be this way. Are we not on the same side here Wrecan?
My two copper.
I counter with this, from another thread, just today:
Hit points are already an abstraction of all sorts of things including damage and fatigue.


'nuff said.

I look at it from a fun standpoint.  You have two main choices:

Choice 1: Low level characters can't hit higher level monsters (or have a very, very low chance to hit), but high level monster won't have tons of HP.

Choice 2: Low level characters can hit higher level monsters just fine, but high level monsters have a lot of HP.

Both result in the same end goal: low level characters have a very hard time defeating a high level monster.  But Choice 1 results in fights in which players can't hit at all, and I think that is a lot less fun.  Choice 2 also results in a game that can have higher level characters threatened by groups of low level monsters, which I also think it a lot of fun.

No. An AC 26 dragon does not imply level scaling. It iimplies that dragon scales are really fracking tough. The high AC warrants a high xp value, which equates to a high "monster level" approximation. But it's the AC driving the xp boost, not the level driving the AC boost. That is an important distinction, and it does not break the design philosophy of Bounded Accuracy.



You just proved my point...

You said a dragon has an AC 26.  And an AC 26 is worth some amount of XP meaning the dragon is a level X challenge.

So for a party to challenge the dragon they must fall into its level range and therefor must have certain to hit bonuses gained through advancement or they will only ever hit the dragon on a roll of 19+ which spells TPK.

Thanks! 
Nope. Xp value in no way means character level range. It means a party (not a character) must have a minimum xp budget to stand a chance. This is in no way the same thing as level scaling.. nor does it imple a minnimum attack bonus by the party to participate.
I counter with this, from another thread, just today:
Hit points are already an abstraction of all sorts of things including damage and fatigue.


'nuff said.

I look at it from a fun standpoint.  You have two main choices:

Choice 1: Low level characters can't hit higher level monsters (or have a very, very low chance to hit), but high level monster won't have tons of HP.

Choice 2: Low level characters can hit higher level monsters just fine, but high level monsters have a lot of HP.

Both result in the same end goal: low level characters have a very hard time defeating a high level monster.  But Choice 1 results in fights in which players can't hit at all, and I think that is a lot less fun.  Choice 2 also results in a game that can have higher level characters threatened by groups of low level monsters, which I also think it a lot of fun.




Choice 3: A solid math foundation is built into the game.  Higher level monsters may have AC in the 25+ range effectively making low level PCs unable to challenge them. This is ok though because the monsters the level 1 PCs will face will most likely not be elder wyrms.  

As the PCs level their attacks and defenses scale slowly to the point where they can eventually hit higher level monsters with some degree of frequency.  

High level monsters still need a lot of HP as PC damage is still increasing each level, but HP and Damage scaling can be toned back so PCs are not required to roll 12d6 every round.

The scaling is minor enough that even monsters +/- 8 levels are still easily usable for challenges against the PCs.

As math on a d20 roll tends to break down once a +/-5 threshold is breached, a monsters attacks and defenses should be within 4 of the expected value the party is supposed to challenge.  PCs who needed 10+ to hit can go up to needing a 14+ or down to needing a 6+ while still being challenged.   
Are we not on the same side here Wrecan?


You and I?  Yes.

But you said Asurtiel "is saying all creatures of a dragon's relative power should not be hittable by level 1 characters" without any explanation for why that need be so.  In fact, the monster level seems to be the only justification for why it's unhittable.

For example, let's take, say Juiblex.  Juiblex is demonic ooze.  Ooze is not tough.  Ooze is not durable. Ooze is not armor.  Juiblex isn't even particularly agile.

Juiblex should be easy to hit.  But ooze is gelatinous.  Juiblex has no vital organs.  Juiblex has no weak spots.  He just leaks slime and protoplasm until he's dead.  But the thing is --  he has a lot of slime and protoplasm.

Juiblex should have a relatively low AC.  Juiblex doesn't avoid hits.  He absorbs them.  He probably has regeneration and does a ton of damage.

Put Juiblex against a village and Juiblex will take hit and regenerate and leak acidic slime all over the village and destroy them.  With his low AC.  

The stats are determined by the creature's qualities.  You don't say "Juibliex is a high level creature so we'll ive him these stats."  You say "Juiblex is easy to hit, but it's almost impossible to inflict enough damage to kill him.  That makes him a high-level creature."

But in 3e, Juiblex gets natural armor because he is gargantuan.  In 4e, Juiblex gets high defenses because he is 26th level.  In each case, it's up to the DM to retroactively justify those defenses.  What does "natural armor" mean to a tower of slime?  Is the slime particularly chunky?  Why does 4e Juiblex have a 42 AC?  What does it mean?  The description of Juiblex doesn't really help in either case.  

Here is his 4e description (from the article in Dungeon 198 ):
The Faceless Lord is an apt moniker for Juiblex. He has no set form, and he drifts between different shapes and sizes with ease. He might stretch himself out in a filthy, bubbling pool or gather himself up in a swaying tower only to crash down, with a great splash, into a vile mound. Dimpling the thin, oily epidermis containing his vile fluids are red, winking eyes.  When opened, they weep sludgy black tears that dry in a crust across his heaving body. Juiblex’s hide is an unhealthy mixture of hues—browns, greens, yellows, and grays—streaked with black.
Nothing here gives any clue as to why he has an AC 42.  He has a "thin, oily epidermis".  Is it the crust of dry tears?!  

His AC is 20 higher than the Blood Elemental, another ooze of equal size.  His Dexterity is 20 higher.  Everything is 20 higher because he's 20 levels higher than the elemental, but nothing in the physical description explains why.

Tis is not limited to 4e.  3e had the same exact issue.  Monster stats were determined by level, nto anything intrinsic to the creature, which led to a mindset of what I'm now calling the "Aura of Awesome" which treats level as if it's an actual thing that needs no justification.

Why is Juiblex so hard to hit?  Because he's 26th level.  No elaboration needed.
Are we not on the same side here Wrecan?


You and I?  Yes.

But you said Asurtiel "is saying all creatures of a dragon's relative power should not be hittable by level 1 characters" without any explanation for why that need be so.  In fact, the monster level seems to be the only justification for why it's unhittable.

For example, let's take, say Juiblex.  Juiblex is demonic ooze.  Ooze is not tough.  Ooze is not durable. Ooze is not armor.  Juiblex isn't even particularly agile.

Juiblex should be easy to hit.  But ooze is gelatinous.  Juiblex has no vital organs.  Juiblex has no weak spots.  He just leaks slime and protoplasm until he's dead.  But the thing is --  he has a lot of slime and protoplasm.

Juiblex should have a relatively low AC.  Juiblex doesn't avoid hits.  He absorbs them.  He probably has regeneration and does a ton of damage.

Put Juiblex against a village and Juiblex will take hit and regenerate and leak acidic slime all over the village and destroy them.  With his low AC.  

The stats are determined by the creature's qualities.  You don't say "Juibliex is a high level creature so we'll ive him these stats."  You say "Juiblex is easy to hit, but it's almost impossible to inflict enough damage to kill him.  That makes him a high-level creature."

But in 3e, Juiblex gets natural armor because he is gargantuan.  In 4e, Juiblex gets high defenses because he is 26th level.  In each case, it's up to the DM to retroactively justify those defenses.  What does "natural armor" mean to a tower of slime?  Is the slime particularly chunky?  Why does 4e Juiblex have a 42 AC?  What does it mean?  The description of Juiblex doesn't really help in either case.  

Here is his 4e description (from the article in Dungeon 198):
The Faceless Lord is an apt moniker for Juiblex. He has no set form, and he drifts between different shapes and sizes with ease. He might stretch himself out in a filthy, bubbling pool or gather himself up in a swaying tower only to crash down, with a great splash, into a vile mound. Dimpling the thin, oily epidermis containing his vile fluids are red, winking eyes.  When opened, they weep sludgy black tears that dry in a crust across his heaving body. Juiblex’s hide is an unhealthy mixture of hues—browns, greens, yellows, and grays—streaked with black.
Nothing here gives any clue as to why he has an AC 42.  He has a "thin, oily epidermis".  Is it the crust of dry tears?!  

His AC is 20 higher than the Blood Elemental, another ooze of equal size.  His Dexterity is 20 higher.  Everything is 20 higher because he's 20 levels higher than the elemental, but nothing in the physical description explains why.

Tis is not limited to 4e.  3e had the same exact issue.  Monster stats were determined by level, nto anything intrinsic to the creature, which led to a mindset of what I'm now calling the "Aura of Awesome" which treats level as if it's an actual thing that needs no justification.

Why is Juiblex so hard to hit?  Because he's 26th level.  No elaboration needed. 



How did Jubilex get to 26th level?  Did he start from a lowly level 1 ooze and over time slay many an adventurer.  Jubilex could have centuries of survival instincts going through it's primitive system.  Perhaps its pseudopods have become quite adept at knocking aside sword blows before they can chop into Jubilex.  Perhaps Jubilex senses the incoming attack through vibrations in the air upon its oily outer layer and is able to retract portions of its oozy goodness.  The point is Jubilex is level 26 for a reason, otherwise he would be your typical level 5 grey ooze.

P.S. I'm not saying 4e did things right.  In fact they got a number of monster design aspects wrong.  But I do not see the 5e method as any better.  In fact I see it as significantly worse.  

It is indirect, but admittedly true that monsters scale with level. Is that a problem?

In 3E, to give a monster more hit points, you give it more Hit Dice. The more Hit Dice it has, the stronger it becomes, because the more Hit Dice it has, the more feats and ability increases it had.

Now, why can't an ooe have natural armor? Because it's ooe? Haven't you ever heard of surface tension? What if, when you don't hit it hard enough, the ooze doesn't actually leak out?
How did Jubilex get to 26th level?


It didn't.  (Not in 4e anyway -- I don't know that Juiblex ever had an origin story before 4e.)  It's a demon lord.  It spawned form the Abyss as a 26th level demon lord when the Shard of Pure Evil first touched the Elemental Chaos.  Juiblex is the corrupted form of elemental chaos itself.

Jubilex could have centuries of survival instincts going through it's primitive system.  Perhaps its pseudopods have become quite adept at knocking aside sword blows before they can chop into Jubilex.  Perhaps Jubilex senses the incoming attack through vibrations in the air upon its oily outer layer and is able to retract portions of its oozy goodness.  The point is Jubilex is level 26 for a reason


Right, and that reason should determine why Juiblex is 26th level.  But you're working backwards from your conclusion.  Juiblex is 26th level so there must be a reason!  But no reason is offered.  His stats are as they are.  3e and 4e alike.  Heck, even AD&D was weird.  Gygax gave Juiblex a -7 AC (equivalent of AC 27) and its description als gave no hint as to why it was so tough to hit.  It was a fountain of slime, ichor, and putrefescence that just stood there and squirted you with filth.

P.S. I'm not saying 4e did things right.  In fact they got a number of monster design aspects wrong.  But I do not see the 5e method as any better.  In fact I see it as significantly worse.


But I don't even get the idea you udnerstand what the monster design aspects of the playtest are.  How is it better to work backwards from a level and not have the stats match the description of the creature, rather than determine why the creature is so damn difficult to kill and built the stats according to those describable qualities.
Now, why can't an ooe have natural armor?


it can, but Juiblex isn't described as having natural armor.  He has some scabs floating on his surface, but nothing in his description justifies an AC of 42 or a Dexterity of 28.  

The point is not that we can't offer ad hoc justifications but that the system doesn't even care abotut such justifications and many peopel don't even bother with them.  Why is Juiblex so hard to hit?  because it has AC 42.  Duh.  What does that AC represent?  That it's hard to hit.

In Next, you first decide why Juiblex is so impossible to kill and build accordingly.  Now Juiblex can have an AC of 16, say, to represent that demonic surface tension.  But it also has a ton of hp, regenerative abilities, and possibly the ability to absorb matter to give it temporary hp.  Now fighting Juiblex is organic (so to speak).  He's just as tough as Acererak (both level 26 creatures in 4e), but doesn't need to have the same defenses and hp merely because of his level, role and secondary role (or, in 3e, because you want him to have a specific CR)
How did Jubilex get to 26th level?


It didn't.  (Not in 4e anyway -- I don't know that Juiblex ever had an origin story before 4e.)  It's a demon lord.  It spawned form the Abyss as a 26th level demon lord when the Shard of Pure Evil first touched the Elemental Chaos.  Juiblex is the corrupted form of elemental chaos itself.

Jubilex could have centuries of survival instincts going through it's primitive system.  Perhaps its pseudopods have become quite adept at knocking aside sword blows before they can chop into Jubilex.  Perhaps Jubilex senses the incoming attack through vibrations in the air upon its oily outer layer and is able to retract portions of its oozy goodness.  The point is Jubilex is level 26 for a reason


Right, and that reason should determine why Juiblex is 26th level.  But you're working backwards from your conclusion.  Juiblex is 26th level so there must be a reason!  But no reason is offered.  His stats are as they are.  3e and 4e alike.  Heck, even AD&D was weird.  Gygax gave Juiblex a -7 AC (equivalent of AC 27) and its description als gave no hint as to why it was so tough to hit.  It was a fountain of slime, ichor, and putrefescence that just stood there and squirted you with filth.

P.S. I'm not saying 4e did things right.  In fact they got a number of monster design aspects wrong.  But I do not see the 5e method as any better.  In fact I see it as significantly worse.


But I don't even get the idea you udnerstand what the monster design aspects of the playtest are.  How is it better to work backwards from a level and not have the stats match the description of the creature, rather than determine why the creature is so damn difficult to kill and built the stats according to those describable qualities.



In one of the articles regarding minotaur design they went into depth on how they chose the level of the minotaur first.  Then gave it HP according to its level, AC according to its level, and so on.

So are you sure you know what the monster design aspects of the playtest are?

Also, I don't necessarily think that type of design makes sense either.  I am perfectly fine with saying ok this monster has AC 26 because its scales are tougher than steel, Str 26 because it is stronger than any mortal could ever be, and so on.  However it is much more difficult to desing a balanced monster/game that way.

In one of the articles regarding minotaur design they went into depth on how they chose the level of the minotaur first.  Then gave it HP according to its level, AC according to its level, and so on.



You mean this article?  From five months ago and in which they were going to list "mooks", "elite" and "solo"?  And in which the playtest doesn't in fact use mooks, elite or solo anymore, indicatign that the monster design announced way back in July is completely obsolete?

Let's compare this to today's Q&A, which also discusses monster design (question )  No talk of mooks, elites or solos.  That consideration is gone.  Rather, monster design begins with the monster's qualities, and from there you work out stats and then you check to see if you've met the roug guidelines established based on assumed PC abilities.  (Not "scaled" PC abilities.  Rodney doesn't tell us that you compare the monster ot a given level.

Yes, I'm very aware of the monster design aspects of the playtest.  You, on the other hand, appear to be about half-a-year out of date.  

Also, I don't necessarily think that type of design makes sense either.  I am perfectly fine with saying ok this monster has AC 26 because its scales are tougher than steel, Str 26 because it is stronger than any mortal could ever be, and so on.  However it is much more difficult to desing a balanced monster/game that way.


Only if you need the monster to be a specific "level".  if you can't figure out why Juiblex should be "26th level" maybe he shouldn't be 26th level.  If you're image of Juiblex' abilities means he only ends up challenging 20th level PCs, maybe he should be 20th level and we shouldn't just use the Aura of Awesome to boost his stats to 26th level.
High AC  doesn't mae something 'hard to hit'. 3E had something called touch AC. AC represents how hard it is to hit AND deal damage.

So maybe hitting a giant ooze is pretty easy. How hard is it to deal damage to it? Maybe cutting it isn't hard at all. But can you seperate its fluids from the main body?

If it hs Dex 28, it is extremely dexterious. Maybe when you hit it, the surface tension holds the ooze together and its body folds around your sword nstead of being cut by it. Like in cartoons, where someone punches a fat guy to no effect. The ooze might also be stealthy and able to fit into tight spaces. Mechanically, it needs a racial bonus or high Dex to represent this.
High AC  doesn't mae something 'hard to hit'.


It does in the playtest.

So maybe hitting a giant ooze is pretty easy. How hard is it to deal damage to it? Maybe cutting it isn't hard at all. But can you seperate its fluids from the main body?


Maybe a lot of things.  but in 3e and 4e, it's never explained what those things are.  All you get is an amorphous (pun intended) "natural armor" bonus that could be anything.

It's math first, explanations later (if at all).  The playtest is explanations first, and mechanics replicate those explanations.

Do you want it to be a sinewy agile mass of sewage?  Then you give it a high Dex, and its AC represents in part this dodging ability.  Want it to have preternatural surface tension?  High Constitution and the AC includes this "natural armor".  Maybe a little of both?  Well, you decide and make the stats suit your taste.

But in 3e and 4e, the math decided it for you and you had to post hoc justify those numbers.  Often, the developers didn't bother to do so, as with Juiblex.

And I'm not blaming Rob Scwalb, the author of the 4e Juiblex article.  That was a great article.  But it illustrates the disconnect between the numbers and creature.  In 3e and 4e, we didn't really expect the numbers to have justification.  Saying "It's a 26th level solo" or "It's CR 19" was usually all it took.  

BTW, 3e Juiblex has a +20 natural armor bonus (but a Dex of merely 14 -- so much for being agile)!  Size (large) only justifed +2 of that bonus.  Did it really have "surface tension" equal to more than two suits of full plate mail?  Here's the physical description.  Can you spot the justification for the +20 natural armor bonus?  I can't.

A shuddering, glistening cone of jelly and slime striated with veins of black and green rears up from the pit. Baleful red eyes swim in the thing's gelatinous body, and dripping pseudopods of tremulous ooze writhe with latent hunger in every direction at once.
Part of the issue is what beating AC represents. AC is a representation of how hard it is to strike a vulnerable area of the creature with enough force  that a chance to kill it occurs.. Hitting AC means you hit a vulnerable area.

So a AC 26 might be easy to touch, but it is difficult to strike a weak point in the hard scales or strike the scales with enough force to bypass the hardness of the scales.

You aren't aiming for the broadside of the barn,  you are arming the window. And the barn is moving.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Part of the issue is what beating AC represents. AC is a representation of how hard it is to strike a vulnerable area of the creature with enough force  that a chance to kill it occurs.. Hitting AC means you hit a vulnerable area.

So a AC 26 might be easy to touch, but it is difficult to strike a weak point in the hard scales or strike the scales with enough force to bypass the hardness of the scales.

You aren't aiming for the broadside of the barn,  you are arming the window. And the barn is moving.

This brings up the ever-ongoing HP vs damage debate. A "hit" that does "damage" does not in any way require any form of physical contact with the target, unless you expressly houserule it. Yes, some want HP to include actual wounds, which I'm not trying to dismiss (outright). But as defined, losing HP is in essence is just removing whatever survivability the target may possess. hit/miss, HP, and damage are all abstracted in D&D. Being abstract, no one can be inherently "wrong" in the narrative of a particular attack resolution unless the target reaches 0 or less HP (assuming no subdual damage) and doesn't die, unless the target has some feature allowing surviving below 0 HP.

TL;DR the numbers are strictly for mechanics, the narrative describes how it happens. If the numbers are too far "unrealistic", then the narrative becomes too difficult to create and still allow any kind of verisimilitude.

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AC and HPs are two related abstractions to represent defense. AC is just a customizable DC for attack checks.
True defense simulation would include experience as the most important source of bonus.

Bounded accuracy just put the monster defense more on the HP side than before. Instead of having a higher armor DC, the monsters will gain damage reduction or more HPs.

The only problem is when people want to translate these abstractions into "real" separated concepts.

Avoiding losing HP abstraction or having more abstraction to lose is the same. AC and HPs make no sense in themsleves as they are presented mechanically.
Nobody can agree to what exactly is AC and HPs as real things, because it's the two things taken together that simulate reality.

There's no way to have a hole in the middle of a breastplate in D&D. In some rules, armors have their own HPs and are considered destroyed if they lose all of them. But in reality, even with a hole in the breastplate, an armor can still be a very good protection.

AC and HPs are the same thing, not two different things. We can get rid of attack rolls and AC and directly translate the impact of attacks through random damage going from 0 or negative (to simulate a miss) to a determined maximum.

Defense in D&D is AC + HPs in D&D, not AC and HPs as two distinct concepts.
And even if the roll is defensive, it works the same with saving throws : a pool of HPs and a DC to simulate missed attacks.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

AC and HPs are two related abstractions to represent defense. AC is just a customizable DC for attack checks.
True defense simulation would include experience as the most important source of bonus.

Bounded accuracy just put the monster defense more on the HP side than before. Instead of having a higher armor DC, the monsters will gain damage reduction or more HPs.

The only problem is when people want to translate these abstractions into "real" separated concepts.

Avoiding losing HP abstraction or having more abstraction to lose is the same. AC and HPs make no sense in themsleves as they are presented mechanically.
Nobody can agree to what exactly is AC and HPs as real things, because it's the two things taken together that simulate reality.

There's no way to have a hole in the middle of a breastplate in D&D. In some rules, armors have their own HPs and are considered destroyed if they lose all of them. But in reality, even with a hole in the breastplate, an armor can still be a very good protection.

AC and HPs are the same thing, not two different things. We can get rid of attack rolls and AC and directly translate the impact of attacks through random damage going from 0 or negative (to simulate a miss) to a determined maximum.

Defense in D&D is AC + HPs in D&D, not AC and HPs as two distinct concepts.
And even if the roll is defensive, it works the same with saving throws : a pool of HPs and a DC to simulate missed attacks.



Pretty much.

AC is the part of your defenses that doesn't diminish
HP is the part of yur defense that does.

Therefore AC and HP mean different things for each creature.

Makes me want to blog but my next blog will be on warlock.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

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