A few questions: monsters and treasure

This might seem like a strange question but what advantage as GMs does giving a monster a level actually do for the creation of encounters? I would propose that level as a concept is dropped from Monsters all together and instead only an experience cost is provided for them. I have noticed when creating some high level encounters that the monsters have variations in them in some cases. Would it be possible to give a standard list of possible "addons" for monsters with an experience cost associated. This could include templates, but I am sure that other things could be added to this list as well.

If a mosnter is going to use a magic item on it's person, does this change the challenge of the encounter and so should it be calculated in some way? This does not mean to reward the players twice but to take into account of a magic item that could make a significant difference to an encounter. Would it be possible to give magic items an experience value as well?

This brings me to another question: How much does money actually add to the game? Instead of having two systems of calculating a characters worth (i.e. Experience Points and Gold) would it be possible to merge the two together? I would be interested to hear what other DM's had to say about that. 

How much control in the maths is there on each monster, we see the final stats for them but how are the decisions made for what abilities and how much damage, stats etc the monster will have? This is long term but I would like to see at release the ability to build basically a monster from scratch if required. This would probably be best in the form of an online tool which I assume that you will be doing at some stage though no final products have been discussed I have found that the tools that were provided for 4th Edition most useful and would love to see something similar with hopefully the ability to build an encounter with custom monsters. 
This might seem like a strange question but what advantage as GMs does giving a monster a level actually do for the creation of encounters? I would propose that level as a concept is dropped from Monsters all together and instead only an experience cost is provided for them. I have noticed when creating some high level encounters that the monsters have variations in them in some cases. Would it be possible to give a standard list of possible "addons" for monsters with an experience cost associated. This could include templates, but I am sure that other things could be added to this list as well.

If a monster is going to use a magic item on it's person, does this change the challenge of the encounter and so should it be calculated in some way? This does not mean to reward the players twice but to take into account of a magic item that could make a significant difference to an encounter. Would it be possible to give magic items an experience value as well?

This brings me to another question: How much does money actually add to the game? Instead of having two systems of calculating a characters worth (i.e. Experience Points and Gold) would it be possible to merge the two together? I would be interested to hear what other DM's had to say about that. 



Going by my experiences, money should be treated as an important issue in NeXT games.  If you don't use higher statistics across the whole
party, a character in plate with a shield is going to be significantly harder to hurt than a character in scale, with a +2 dex bonus to AC.

The level of a monster has always been, to my group, treated as a set of general guidelines for how hard a creature should hit, how hard it should be to hurt, and how many hit-points it has.  It's more of a rough approximation for what constitutes an appropriate challenge for a party rather than a hard and fast rule linked to a certain XP amount.  You could probably write it into a computer application pretty easy.

Incidently, about computer tools, a shared custom monster database, with community ratings/reviews, and organized by theme or creature type would make for a really great feature to save Dungeon Masters time.

You need both the level and the xp reward. Putting an enemy too high level against a party may cause serious issues, mainly cause he could kill players in 1 hit, even he is a weak monster for his level so his xp reward is low.


Level tells you the hp/damage balance level of a creature. Xp reward in respect to his level tells you how great part of an encounter they are by themselves, and if you should add some more enemies for the encounter to be challenging.

You need both the level and the xp reward. Putting an enemy too high level against a party may cause serious issues, mainly cause he could kill players in 1 hit, even he is a weak monster for his level so his xp reward is low.


Level tells you the hp/damage balance level of a creature. Xp reward in respect to his level tells you how great part of an encounter they are by themselves, and if you should add some more enemies for the encounter to be challenging.


I understand where you are coming from because I was in the same place until I sat down and started making encounters of my own. 

The issue that I see is that the developers are having to balance two different values for a monster. What happens when a monster true value should be 1.5 instead of 1 in terms of level? I am sure that it has already come up. I would assume that they have a conversion table that says that this amount of damage per level equates a certain level. Is this necessarily the best approach?

If we could have an absolute value for monsters where only one thing needs to balanced I would think it would make the developers job much easier.

If they want to keep this direction so that people familiar with the older versions understand how to build encounters the encouter building instructions need to reflect this which currently they do not.  
I have had the same questions. Answer this easy riddle: What has 1-2HD, a con't-be-missed AC of 11, and no flavor? That's right, any number of the humanoids - which is incredibly frustrating to me.

Here's how I "fixed" it: Think like a monster. They aren't waiting around in a 10x10 room waiting to be killed, they've got to hunt, protect themselves and care for their lairs. So the XP of a monster (I believe) already is included within the bounds of the creatures' potential.

For instance, take the standard Orog (deep orc). Already wears ringmail, and has an att of +6, and 3d8+6 hp. So I left them their ringmail (AC14) and their greataxes (d12 dmg), and gave them 25hp each. Only a slight modification, but within the bounds. The "chief" I gave Banded mail (AC17), an 18 STR (+4 to hit/dmg) and max hp (30). No magic weapons needed and all at the same XP level. Harder, yes, and more challenging, but if the PC's want to wear the banded mail, they are welcome to wear the smelly, and bloody, thing.
The post was not really about the flavour of the monsters or how they interact and more about adeqately rewarding players and also giving some uniformity to how encounters are created.

Encounters always seemed to me to be the last to be looked at. If they are the basic unit of an adventure (an adventure is built up from a number of encounters , both combat and non-combat based) then it needs careful revue and from a DM's point of view they need to be a simple as possible to create so that the rules don't get in the way of the story that is being told.  

Taking the above example - what if you did want to add in a Greatsword +1 that the Orog Cheiftan was using - would this be unbalancing enough to make this a hard encounter rather than average if we say that there were 4 Orogs one as the Cheiftan with the swordand banded mail, would these two changes have made the encounter significantly harder for a group of 4 PCs at level 3? If it does not then should the aquistion of a Greatsword +1 be sutracted from the total XP gained by the party?

These are probably issues for further on when more rules are provided for converting a standard to an Elite or changing a normal to a minion. At this stage though I would like them to start things right by having a uniform value for each monster most likely based off XP rather than trying to balance XP and Level.
The level is just a basic guideline. You're throwing an encounter together, flipping through the Bestiary, your players are Level 3, you can just go ahead and ignore all of the Level 12s you see without looking at their XP, which is a little trickier when you're within a few levels of the target. Saves time and doesn't waste any space since they're on one line. Don't try to build by level, though, use experience, forget the level when you're doing the math.

The rules can't account for everything a DM can do to alter a monster, you have to use your best judgment when you might be increasing its difficulty.

Money, however, is a huge part of the game. It would not be much of a roleplaying game without that kind of resource management.

Taking the above example - what if you did want to add in a Greatsword +1 that the Orog Cheiftan was using - would this be unbalancing enough to make this a hard encounter rather than average if we say that there were 4 Orogs one as the Cheiftan with the swordand banded mail, would these two changes have made the encounter significantly harder for a group of 4 PCs at level 3? If it does not then should the aquistion of a Greatsword +1 be sutracted from the total XP gained by the party?



Not an official here, but I would say that it's unlikely to be at all unbalancing to have the chieftain with a +1 sword. The only thing that does is bump his "to hit" and "damage" up by 1 point. Giving his banded mail is similarly fine, since an AC of 17 is completely with the PC's ability to overcome.  At level 3, the fighter might have a STR of 17, giving him at attack of +4, or the ability to actually hit an AC 17 40% of the time. This also gives the PC's the instant satisfaction of having loot already in action. A +1 greatsword would count as an uncommon item, and is appropriate for 3+ level PC's (Magic items, pg2) and is worth somewhere between 100 and 500 gp, which easily fits within the guidelines listed under treasure (DMG pg13) for an average encounter (4 3rd level PC's = 440xp and 4 orogs are 440xp).

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