Higher level mobs as solo encounters for lower level characters?

11 posts / 0 new
Last post

Hi all,

Merry Christmas!

I was wondering at what level disparity could I use a brute (or any other non-solo mob type) as a solo challenge for my players?  Is there a rule of thumb to follow? 

The example I had specifically in mind is a level 9 brute (shambling mound) vs. 3 PCs with 2 companions (level 4 party).  Party consists of a fighter, cleric, wizard and the two companions make up the rogue and damage dealer side of the striker role.

Thanks in advance.

Bad idea.  Use an appropriate-level solo, or scale the 9th-level one down.

Getting much above party level +3 will result in the party missing too often for too little damage, and being hit too often for too much damage, for the combat to work properly. 
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Noted.  Will scale it down.  
In a "kill-em-all" fight, you'll wind up with odd results. But for an encounter in which the enemy has a goal other than killing the PCs, you'll at least avoid slaughtering them. But they might still have a power that automatically hit and knocks prone or something, which without some reflavoring might seem a little strange.

You might consider running a "higher-level creature" as a skill challenge. They can't hurt it, but they can deal with it in some other way.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy


Hi all,

Merry Christmas!

I was wondering at what level disparity could I use a brute (or any other non-solo mob type) as a solo challenge for my players?  Is there a rule of thumb to follow? 

The example I had specifically in mind is a level 9 brute (shambling mound) vs. 3 PCs with 2 companions (level 4 party).  Party consists of a fighter, cleric, wizard and the two companions make up the rogue and damage dealer side of the striker role.

Thanks in advance.



I do this on accasion, works fine.  I usually just go with a hard leveled monster, ie one four levels higher than the party.  If one isn't enough, like if they still manage to kill it in a round or two, I'll throw in a second or third monster of the same level or just make a monster of their level or up to four levels higher into a solo of it's own.
 

Hi all,

Merry Christmas!

I was wondering at what level disparity could I use a brute (or any other non-solo mob type) as a solo challenge for my players?  Is there a rule of thumb to follow? 

The example I had specifically in mind is a level 9 brute (shambling mound) vs. 3 PCs with 2 companions (level 4 party).  Party consists of a fighter, cleric, wizard and the two companions make up the rogue and damage dealer side of the striker role.

Thanks in advance.



I do this on accasion, works fine.  I usually just go with a hard leveled monster, ie one four levels higher than the party.  If one isn't enough, like if they still manage to kill it in a round or two, I'll throw in a second or third monster of the same level or just make a monster of their level or up to four levels higher into a solo of it's own.
 



Which can work on some occaisons and be completely disasterous on others.  Its best just to not use it so you don't run into huge issues.

Consider this problem:

My Melee Ranger is decently optimized and has a +14 vs AC as his predominant attack (he has one move that hits Ref, and its an encounter power).  Many other classes, especially weapon classes and Eclasses, have similar problems where they can't attack a non-AC defense.  If my melee ranger came up against an Icetomb Wight (which is 4 levels higher) he would need an 18 in order to hit the creature, or a 16 with combat advantage.  That means the vast majority of his turns are going to be completely wasted and he will feel ineffective  (I know, this happened to me recently only it was an 11 Elite instead of a 13 standard).  That fight won't be dynamic and fun.  It will be boring and annoying.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
I wouldn't recommend using a higher level brute as a solo just because of the high HP.  The PCs will miss more than usual due to the high defenses and combat can really start to drag if you're trying to knock down a brute but aren't hitting often enough.  
For a brute, hitting NADS will be more of an issue than hitting AC.  An average brute is at -2 to AC compared to a tyical monster of the same level, but NADS are on a par.  However, in spite of this and the concerns above regarding an encounter that is too difficult or drawn out, the biggest issue with using a single higher level monster as an encounter is that it won't be challenging enough.  Most Solos have mechanisms to protect them from being locked down with status effects (dazed, prone, immobilised etc.), whereas a standard monster has nothing.  Quick look at the maths:

A typical L4 striker has +10 to +12 vs. AC and a standard L9 brute has an AC of 21

A reasonably competent party should have combat advantage throughout the entire combat, so your strikers are hitting on 9+ at worst and the rogue might be hitting on 5+.  Even with ~110hp I can't imagine it being more than a 2-3 round fight and a well-organised party might not even take damage.  Throw a couple of them at the party and you might be looking at a reasonably interesting challenge.

A party level +5 soldier would of course be horrible... let alone an Icetomb Wight, which has an AC 3 higher than a std soldier of the same level; but I think that's a fairly extreme case.
Since MM3, brutes no longer have tanked AC or accuracy.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Since MM3, brutes no longer have tanked AC or accuracy.


AC for brutes has in fact stayed the same; it's 2 below the majority of roles (4 below soldier, and same as artillery).  No one in this thread has claimed that they have tanked accuracy, but yes, it has been improved.  Fun fact I guess.