Rolling for Monster Damage?

In 4e, minions don't roll for their damage. They just do a number. That's convenient when there's a bunch of puny dudes. The variability comes not in what they roll, but in how many of them hit you.

In Next, monster damage is expressed as things like "11 (2d8 + 2) damage". I've been rolling the dice, of course, because that's how D&D works. You roll the dice for monster damage.

What would happen if we didn't, though? Has anybody been running sessions just using the flat number? Is that what I'm supposed to be doing? It is the thing not in parens, after all. Obviously it'd speed things up at the cost of (I assume) making monsters more predictable. I don't really want to create situations where it's like, "It doesn't matter if it hits me. It does nine damage", but the speedup is tempting. (Although Next combats are already fast.) Has anybody experimented with this? (Or has everyone but me been doing it this way?)
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I haven't personally, but I believe 13th Age may have switched to static monster damage at some point.  And another game I enjoy, OldSchoolHack, has player-characters with only like 5 hit points, enemies with between 1 and 10 (and I guess more, sometimes), and attacks that generally do 1 or 2 damage (with some capable of getting all the way up to 4 or 5 with a lot of talents stacked together).
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The number outside the parentheses is the average.  On average, you should be getting a number close to that when you roll for damage.  So really, other than the damage being more consistent with each hit, there really shouldn't be an real change.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

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What would happen if we didn't, though? Has anybody been running sessions just using the flat number? Is that what I'm supposed to be doing? It is the thing not in parens, after all.

I think what you're supposed to be testing is what it's like to have the option of taking flat damage or rolling.  Since that sort of thing is really personal preference, though, I don't see how it could hurt to leave the flat damage testing to people who like flat damage and leaving the roll damage testing to people who like rolling.

If there's a serious issue with either method (which there shouldn't be), then trust the other people to find it.

The metagame is not the game.

I get that in the aggregate it's the same amount of damage and that it shouldn't be anything of a balance concern. I'm curious if people have found that using flat damage makes the monsters less exciting or too predictable or shifts things to too much of a metagamey level when players have too clear an idea of how much damage something will do if it hits.

Also, some googling suggests that 13th Age does have flat damage for monsters, or at least it did at some point. This article actually discusses flat damage, and it seems pretty on board with it. (Although you'd assume it would be, or they wouldn't have gone with flat damage.)
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I have used both damage roll and used static damage for monsters. Static damage is faster, more stable and predictable, while damage roll takes slightly longer to resolve (especially with multiple monsters) and his random thus more swingy and unpredictable.

 Same for monsters Hit Points. Its really a matter of preferances. But i think its great to have both options in the statblocks.

Yan
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As bounded accuracy is designed to make running larger encounters of lower-level enemies feasible from a math perspective, I find the option for static damage to encourage this possibility further--When I have to deal with a dozen plus weak creatures with decent chance to hit, static damage can allow me to cruise through their turns and maintain good speeds.

It's a small thing, but there is good value in it me thinks.
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I used the flat numbers when I was running a session and we really needed to wrap up. It worked pretty well; the fights didn't last long enough for the players to really notice that I wasn't rolling, let alone start predicting monster damage in metagame.


Also, some googling suggests that 13th Age does have flat damage for monsters, or at least it did at some point. This article actually discusses flat damage, and it seems pretty on board with it. (Although you'd assume it would be, or they wouldn't have gone with flat damage.)



Yes, 13th Age uses static damage for monsters. It was changed during playtest because of monsters damage being too swingy (and it was: everyone in the game hits hard and crits are x2).

So I had a go at this in our 4E campaign too and I actually liked it. Also it allows me to do x2 crits there, which is good for drama. 
Back when the monsters had bad accuracy.... I used the flat damage and faked rolling damage when I rolled the d20 for the first hit and every other hit afterward.

But they rarely hit. Tongue Out

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