Monster Challenge Level vs. Player Power

I have been DMing the newest PT material released in December for the Next PT. I have been having two issues with it as of yet.

First, the monster scaling seems way out of whack. The monster's AC and HP values are too low. I used a level 5 minotaur against a full five member, level 2 party and they destroyed it without a second thought. Given the 'level' of the monster and the XP value compared to what was supposed to be an 'easy', 'moderate' or 'tough' challenge, I would have thought the monster would have been a challenging or, at the very least, a decent challenge. I'm also mystified about how the monsters level and how to calculate the XP values of monsters.

Second, the combat-based classes seem a little funky, too. The martial die adds a very nasty edge, especially when monsters are so easy to hit and they have so little HP.

Is anyone else experiencing the same, or is it just me?

Thanks! 
I'm finding it very challenging with my Artful Dodger Rogue.  But I'm also at a loss for the monster XP values, it would be simpler to DM if they were more linear as opposed to all over the place.

Vampire Class/Feat in 2013!

I prefer Next because 4E players and CharOpers can't find their ass without a grid and a power called "Find Ass."

I generally agree with everything you said Nominrath, especially the part about the martial dice. They just seem like they add a little too much damage capability on top of what is already available, and when my players have used them, it almost felt like slightly cheating against the monsters, but there it is in the rules.

The one thing that makes me not worry about the monster toughness so much is this snippet from the intro of the Caves of Chaos pdf:

"What Is This Adventure Testing?
The Caves of Chaos isn’t meant to be a hard test of the
play balance between characters and monsters.
That process is a continuing one as we refine the
rules for monsters, characters, and encounter
building."
I also agree that several creatures seem weak in comparison to the players, in most cases i've been giving most enemies an additional +2 AC and things have gone nicely, albeit at low levels. As for XP and encounter building - fairly simple and am enjoying the rules transition from 4e.

Simple select the party level and difficulty to set an xp 'budget' and 'buy' a number of creatures upto the xp value of the encounter. The reason the monsters have a level as well as an xp number far as im aware (or at least as it was in 4e) is to guide the dm when choosing, in 4e -2/+2 levels was a good range of challenge for players.

 
It is unbalanced.  The players have too much power, specially the martial dice.  Secondly, the AC  of monsters is most of the time too low, and damage, in some cases, should be revised (like dragon breath).
Monster HP seems just right to me, it's martial characters damage output that seems way out of hand.
Monster AC is too low for sure
And monster damage output is kinda hard to calculate: between an artfull dodger rogue, a parrying fighter, a damage resistant raging barbarian......and a WIZARD, it gets hard to do it just right: 2 good swing of a club from a cyclop could kill our wizard, yet the fighter would have needed (considering averages) around 21 rounds of combat before dying.
yet most fights last 2-3 rounds (which is great)
a group of 6, around level 5, EASILY killed the green dragon.  
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My group of 7 around level 5 also easily killed the green dragon. (Technically 8 but one of them is a dirty treasure-loving coward and didn't actually fight)

I'm in favor of buffing monsters rather than nerfing players, because martial dice progression is directly linked to maneuver ass-kicking. If monsters were tougher the math would work out. 
My group of 7 around level 5 also easily killed the green dragon. (Technically 8 but one of them is a dirty treasure-loving coward and didn't actually fight)

I'm in favor of buffing monsters rather than nerfing players, because martial dice progression is directly linked to maneuver ass-kicking. If monsters were tougher the math would work out. 

It's not nerfing if it's balancing.

I'd rather actually have less options for PCs. I like my RPGs to be about the story and the characters... not the abilities, special powers and numbers.

But that's just my humble opinion... everyone has a different view on what an RPG actually entails.

 
My group of 7 around level 5 also easily killed the green dragon. (Technically 8 but one of them is a dirty treasure-loving coward and didn't actually fight)

I'm in favor of buffing monsters rather than nerfing players, because martial dice progression is directly linked to maneuver ass-kicking. If monsters were tougher the math would work out. 



Haha, did they have a dwarf in front too ? if so, how did you like the breath's "efficiency" ?)

Nerfing players or boosting monsters has the same result, but the former keeps game numbers low and make for easier maths
Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com
My group of 7 around level 5 also easily killed the green dragon. (Technically 8 but one of them is a dirty treasure-loving coward and didn't actually fight)

I'm in favor of buffing monsters rather than nerfing players, because martial dice progression is directly linked to maneuver ass-kicking. If monsters were tougher the math would work out. 

It's not nerfing if it's balancing.

I'd rather actually have less options for PCs. I like my RPGs to be about the story and the characters... not the abilities, special powers and numbers.

But that's just my humble opinion... everyone has a different view on what an RPG actually entails.

 



I think its important to have those mechanical tools in combat to support groups and players who dont have the rp element at the top of their list, whilst i agree that a more story driven combat sequence can be very rewarding not all players and groups are capable or have the inclination - and they shouldn't get any less enjoyement out of the game.

My group of 7 around level 5 also easily killed the green dragon. (Technically 8 but one of them is a dirty treasure-loving coward and didn't actually fight)

I'm in favor of buffing monsters rather than nerfing players, because martial dice progression is directly linked to maneuver ass-kicking. If monsters were tougher the math would work out. 

It's not nerfing if it's balancing.

I'd rather actually have less options for PCs. I like my RPGs to be about the story and the characters... not the abilities, special powers and numbers.

But that's just my humble opinion... everyone has a different view on what an RPG actually entails.

 



I think its important to have those mechanical tools in combat to support groups and players who dont have the rp element at the top of their list, whilst i agree that a more story driven combat sequence can be very rewarding not all players and groups are capable or have the inclination - and they shouldn't get any less enjoyement out of the game.


Oh yeah. I do not disagree... I think cool abilities and such are important and in combat, they do make the difference. I wasn't saying that they weren't needed and story combat was the only way to go... I was just saying that it shouldn't be JUST about the numbers and abilities overall. 

After all, you need something for incentive to level up and it's always better to have something special to augment your class. I just don't like how the game is so bloated with so many options nowadays. That's all.

But, I'm a just a simplist and traditionalist at heart... which contradicts a lot of gamers today. They like having bazillions of options to choose from and define their characters through these options. Personally, I like having a little variety, but I like to define my character through their personality, their actions and the RP side of it... I was brought up with DMs who stressed that this was a role-playing game and that the numbers and options, while important and fun, weren't the core of the game... the character and the story was.
I recently experimented with giving a monster access to some character abilities like martial damage dice.  It really turned up the difficulty.
My group is getting ready to test the Mud Sorcerer's Tomb adventure with level 14 characters.  We didn't see any good rules for equipping high level characters, so we decided to test minimalist equipment:  NO additional equipment above level 1, except for a +1 weapon for each to overcome resistances.  (On a side note it has worked very well so far with no gear, I'm a big fan of this flexibility).

We ran a few test runs against various random monsters and found it to be a breeze:  even a group of stone golems which should have been an impossible encounter were mowed over by the group.

Interested to see how the actual adventure goes, but at this point it looks like there are some serious monster balancing issues.      

Personally, having seen the game for the last 4 editions from both player and GM seats, I am in favor of augmenting monster toughness rather than nerfing characters.  1) A big part of the fun of the game for our group is seeing the scaling power of higher levels.  Its not quite as impressive if the ancient red dragon's stats aren't that much different than a hill giant.  2)  Although some groups enjoy story focused campaigns, having lots of character options is critical for hack and slash groups.  Story groups can still run a story focused game with lots of character powers; hack and slash groups have a harder time overcoming lack of character options. 

Keep the player abilities, augment the monsters.

 
IveI be run three sessions at level 11 now, skippiing levels 4-10.  The players had a chance to see their PCs start the adventure and then fast forward. Things I've noticed:

- martial PCs are all doing about 50% more damage then they should. This party of 5 is churning out over 150-200 hp a round in damage. 
- monsters don't last long enough. I've been doubling HP on standard critters and quadrupling solos.
- casters both feel extremely underpowered most of the time, and have too few spell slots (though number of spells prepared seems good and manageable.). This is probably related to increasing monster HP to compensate for the extreme damage of the martial characters. 
- monster damage is slightly low, but again, the cleric says he cannot keep up with monster damage output. I don't think monster damage is too far off except for some creatures (dragons, for instance).
- not seeing obvious problems with attack vs AC. Some specific monsters need an AC boost (umber haulks) 
- adding 6d6 up may not seem like a lot, but when it is nearly every PC every turn it becomes tedious fast.  

Despite the obvious ballence flaws my group still prefers to play this proto-edition, and I prefer to DM it too.  
I`m agree with most of you. In our last session 4 players (lvl 2 cleric, lvl 2 monk, lvl 2 slayer ftr, lvl 2 wizard) could easily handle lvl 6 hydra. Ok they are slightly advanced players but monster AC and monster attack bonuses are too low. Even Asmodeus has 17 AC, thats not good.. I get the idea behind that, you want "everyone can hit anything, great numbers of lower levels must be dangereous" but monster ACs should increase. 
I`m agree with most of you. In our last session 4 players (lvl 2 cleric, lvl 2 monk, lvl 2 slayer ftr, lvl 2 wizard) could easily handle lvl 6 hydra. Ok they are slightly advanced players but monster AC and monster attack bonuses are too low. Even Asmodeus has 17 AC, thats not good.. I get the idea behind that, you want "everyone can hit anything, great numbers of lower levels must be dangereous" but monster ACs should increase. 



This is especially true for exceptional monsters or unique monsters like Asmodeus, or even a specific Orc leader, or a specific Gnoll leader.   I'm hoping that in the future (or even when D&DNext goes to print), it will be very easy to add extra features, AC, hit points to exceptional monsters of every species.   I feel as if it is going to be really easy to do when all is said and done.

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