The strength of monsters seems lacking

Now I'm not sure if we're simply doing something wrong, but I threw my party of 4 level 4s, being a cleric, fighter, rogue, Ranger(Rogue with a bow atm) against a Devil, Horned (Malebranche), level 10 with minimal nerfing, basically I didn't use the daily power to summon more. I was rolling averagely hitting occationally and they were rolling well. Now I'm not complaining that they were able to do this but it seems like the monsters are fairly weak atm, some higher level monsters aren't nearly as strong as some lower level ones, is any else experiancing this?

Next session we will be doing a mock battle against a level 20 with no nerfing to see what happens(they are all level 5 right now)
You are correct.

In my own experience I've seen my party beat encounters that should have been hard for a group three levels higher than them (they were sixth).  The encounter should have been off the scale for them. 

Monster defenses need to go back up - at least to where they were in the October packet, if not higher.


Monster attacks are improved, although personally I'd rather see them hit a bit more often (and if necessary to balance that, do a bit less damage) rather than the current model of fewer hits and high damage.  But at least they did fix the attack bonuses somewhat (although plate and shield - especially in the hands of a hill dwarf - continue to make players into gods.

Some monsters are especially inappropriately weak - dragons come to mind as a specific example (e.g. The Black Dragon:  AC 15?  Really?  Dragons are supposed to tough!  And a breath weapon that does 4d6+4 damage on a level 11 creature?)

And, in some cases, hit point may need to go up as well - although raising the defenses has a comparable effect.  At present I'd like to see them start with either 3 points more AC (on average) or 30% more hit points - and from there we can see how that plays.
  



Carl
Yeah, the monsters are glacially making progress to something playable. They still really blow chunks.
I blame it on monster design.

Most of the low level monsters are designed to be encountered in large groups. So they get off a lot of weak attacks but the damage accumulates.

But past level 6, every thing is built to be encountered as solos or pair with the XP budget. So monsters deal little damage but can't overcome the numbers of the PCs.

Low level monsters are "minions" and weak "standards". Mid levels are "elites"
. High levels are "solos with standard effects and damage"

Monsters need to either uniformly built based on level or they need encounter tags to match their encounter rate.

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!

Monsters in any edition should grow at a formulaic rate proportionate to the growth of the players. Low level monsters shouldn't be built to necessarily fight in groups, and high level monsters shouldn't necessarily be built as one to two per encounter.
Here is reality, read and understand: Rangers aren't dull or underpowered, in any edition. Fighters aren't dull or underpowered, in any edition. Casters aren't "god mode" or overpowered, in any edition. The tarrasque isn't broken. And you aren't voicing your opinion by claiming otherwise, you're just being a pain. Now, stop complaining.
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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

I wish monsters worked the way Mearls was hoping back when Bounded Accuracy was new. He was saying how ideally, with accuracy bounded and progression marked primarily by damage and HP, the concept of minions, elites and solos could be accomplished by using lower and higher-leveled opponents. Ogres might be like Solos for a level 1 group, Elites for a level 2 group and standards for a level 4 group. By level 8, they might even be Minions.

But what are we deciding constitutes an appropriate difficulty for "average" encounters? Perhaps Wizards of the Coast is aiming low because they want the average adventuring day to have tons of encounters. What was their number of encounters per day, again? 
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
Monsters need to either uniformly built based on level or they need encounter tags to match their encounter rate.

Yup, but you try saying that to the bounded accuracy love club. I did before Christmas and it got nowhere.

@kadim

Bounded accuracy is not the culprit here (from what I've seen). Bounded accuracy only effect the AC and to hit.

The issue is that the damage and HP scaling. Or correctly, the bad formula used for it.

Ogres are level 4 at 300Xp. They are not "standard" at level 4 though. They are somewhere between standards and elites for level 4's. Minotaurs are 5s at 500XP and the same issue.

But goblins? Low XP lower damage chumps that barely can fill the budget with outnumbering the PCs.

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!

@kadim Bounded accuracy is not the culprit here (from what I've seen). Bounded accuracy only effect the AC and to hit. The issue is that the damage and HP scaling. Or correctly, the bad formula used for it. Ogres are level 4 at 300Xp. They are not "standard" at level 4 though. They are somewhere between standards and elites for level 4's. Minotaurs are 5s at 500XP and the same issue. But goblins? Low XP lower damage chumps that barely can fill the budget with outnumbering the PCs.

You're preaching to the choir. I know and you know that bounded accuracy was never meant to replace level based stuff, but just you wait 'till they descend on the thread so they can "set the record straight".

Another thing I've noticed is that the game is heavy in the burst damage, throwing what should be a balanced encounter against my party using the given stats on some monsters would literally kill them in one hit if they hit. and the PCs seem to have a ton of burst damage as well.
Another thing I've noticed is that the game is heavy in the burst damage, throwing what should be a balanced encounter against my party using the given stats on some monsters would literally kill them in one hit if they hit. and the PCs seem to have a ton of burst damage as well.



I agree.  There are many monsters which appear to be designed on the "they almost never hit, but if they do someone might die; if they hit twice, someone is going down.   I would much rather see them hit more often and do (proportionally) less damage.  Shooting for the same average, but getting there in a less swingy way.


This becomes especially important when you start looking at criticals.


The PCs just do too much damage period (and nearly always hit.  Dragons with an AC of 15?  Really?  The wizard in our group has an AC of 14 - and he's supposed to be squishy.  Dragons should have ACs comparable to the best of the heavy armor wearers.)


Carl      
I totally agree.   The best ways to challenge my players are by using environmental hazards, multi-attack monsters and monsters or traps that have area attacks.   Most of the one hit monsters are not a threat unless I use 3:1 ratio or above.   I would rather have all monsters working on a 1:1 ratio at equal levels.

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I highly prefer monsters with lower accuracy and higher damage. Perhaps a middle ground would be to make sure every monster has at least one low accuracy high damage attack and one high accuracy low damage attack.
I still think most of the monsters hit too often in this iteration of the playtest...

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.

i think the solution which isnt a perment one but will drive players wild is overbearing rules. they may blast thru 20 goblins but if 20 goblins grabbed a fighter and took him to the ground hes effectivly removed from combat and he can be beaten quickly
I still think most of the monsters hit too often in this iteration of the playtest...



What level are your PCs right now?



And what monsters are you using that you think hit too often?


Carl    

Monsters in any edition should grow at a formulaic rate proportionate to the growth of the players.

Please, god, no, that was the treadmill of 4th Ed, that revolting 1/2 level bonus action I cut out, thankfully they will not be making that mistake again (they are going for the opposite: BA).

Monsters will grow with player strength. They do now and that's not gonna change. The xp budgets by level assure that, Mearls has specifically mentioned monsters growing with player level as recently as 3 weeks ago:
The standard rules will adopt some of 4E's innovations, such as creating monsters on the fly through a set of standard damage, hit point, and defense numbers by level.

They're being careful to call it something besides "level" as much as they can because people have bought their story that monsters will somehow ignore player strength but rest assured they do and they will continue to do so.
I agree.  There are many monsters which appear to be designed on the "they almost never hit, but if they do someone might die; if they hit twice, someone is going down.   I would much rather see them hit more often and do (proportionally) less damage.  Shooting for the same average, but getting there in a less swingy way.

Awwwww no fun! I love how significant hits are and I really want it to stay that way. I realise it's not the most popular idea in the world and they probably won't let it stay that way but I can still hope.
This becomes especially important when you start looking at criticals.

I guess. I feel like if the game swings one way it should have a reasonable chance at swinging the other and players probably shouldn't assume that they'll make it out alive, but I don't really want to get into another pointless discussion on player death.
 
The PCs just do too much damage period (and nearly always hit.  Dragons with an AC of 15?  Really?  The wizard in our group has an AC of 14 - and he's supposed to be squishy.  Dragons should have ACs comparable to the best of the heavy armor wearers.)

Yeah The whole thing could do with being dialed down a touch. I like that the hits are significant. I'd love for players to do equally signficant hits but hit less.

I agree.  There are many monsters which appear to be designed on the "they almost never hit, but if they do someone might die; if they hit twice, someone is going down.   I would much rather see them hit more often and do (proportionally) less damage.  Shooting for the same average, but getting there in a less swingy way.

Awwwww no fun! I love how significant hits are and I really want it to stay that way. I realise it's not the most popular idea in the world and they probably won't let it stay that way but I can still hope.
This becomes especially important when you start looking at criticals.

I guess. I feel like if the game swings one way it should have a reasonable chance at swinging the other and players probably shouldn't assume that they'll make it out alive, but I don't really want to get into another pointless discussion on player death.
 
The PCs just do too much damage period (and nearly always hit.  Dragons with an AC of 15?  Really?  The wizard in our group has an AC of 14 - and he's supposed to be squishy.  Dragons should have ACs comparable to the best of the heavy armor wearers.)

Yeah The whole thing could do with being dialed down a touch. I like that the hits are significant. I'd love for players to do equally signficant hits but hit less.





I too am 'in favor of player death'.  OK, not really.  I am in favor of players thinking that they always have the possibility of facing player death. 


But I'd rather it be something they see coming and try to get out of the way - not something unexpected that hits them out of left field.  High damage attacks combined with criticals mean characters go from  "I'm fine, barely scratched." to "Crap, I'm dead" in one hit.   I think it is far more dramatically interesting if the see those hit points going away hit after hit - not all in one shot.

I don't want to change the amount of damage per round that the monsters do - I just want to spread that damage out over a greater number of hits, each doing a bit less damage.


Carl
       

Monsters will grow with player strength. They do now and that's not gonna change.

Higher level monsters merely have more hit points, and some tend to do more damage, but I do not see their AC and Attacks conveniently scaling.

So they're growing with player strength. AC and attack bonuses are two tools to do that. Isn't it odd how hit points and damage are scaling in the beastiary based on xp reward? Seems awfully convenient. Conventions are amazing things, and the convention of players conveniently running into stronger and stronger opponents as they get stronger isn't going anywhere.

At the end of the day, the monsters are scaling. It's every bit as arbitrary as any other edition of D&D and the only way you could ever fix it is to not allow the players to get stronger, which is soooo not gonna happen. 4e is by no means alone, but perhaps it's more transparent about doing it.

@Kadim you are looking for a flamewar. 

The design goal is for combat to be over and dealt with in 2-3 rounds. Now the only way to achive that aim is to have the levels as they currently are.
I agree with carlt that its a lot more fun to wittle away HP... but that takes longer than the intended timeframe we are given so is a non option sadly.
If players only have a maximum of 3 rolls each to finnish a combat you need to make sure that with a 66% accuracy they hit for massive amounts as each player is only intended to hit twice.

I dont know why the designers have set this goal. If i want to play "deep meaningful rpg" i use another system that supports this. If I want cool combat action DnD is my go to game. But it seems that combat in DnD is now something that is in the way and we want over and done with in a few rounds so we can get back to....looking for the next combat?

So no monsters are just right for the desired aim of being something to be dealt with as the petty nuisence that they are.
@Kadim you are looking for a flamewar. 

The design goal is for combat to be over and dealt with in 2-3 rounds. Now the only way to achive that aim is to have the levels as they currently are.
I agree with carlt that its a lot more fun to wittle away HP... but that takes longer than the intended timeframe we are given so is a non option sadly.
If players only have a maximum of 3 rolls each to finnish a combat you need to make sure that with a 66% accuracy they hit for massive amounts as each player is only intended to hit twice.

I dont know why the designers have set this goal. If i want to play "deep meaningful rpg" i use another system that supports this. If I want cool combat action DnD is my go to game. But it seems that combat in DnD is now something that is in the way and we want over and done with in a few rounds so we can get back to....looking for the next combat?

So no monsters are just right for the desired aim of being something to be dealt with as the petty nuisence that they are.




Just to be clear - my request to 'whittle away hit ponts' was NOT a suggestion to reduce damage per round  - and thus combats do not take longer.  They just don't end suddenly and unexpectedly when an otherwise healthy character suddenly gets criticalled.

 

I'd rather see the monster hit you two out of three times for 10 points each, rather than hit you one out of three times for 20 points.  Especially because - although the two are statistically the same - with multiattack the amount of damage you can take in each round if the DM rolls very well is very different, as is the amount of damage you will take if the DM rolls a crit.


But for most combats, averaged over time, the damage is the same.


Carl
Round 1 monster: misses player because of 50% miss chance.
Round 1 players11th level: half the players hit and takes away half monster hp
Round 2 monter: Hits. The only way this hit is going to be a threat is for it to potentially do 60-100 damage before parry, stoneskin, deflect etc. because:
Round 2 players11th level: half hits and kills monster

we have now stayed within design aim. The less rounds combat takes the more swingy damage needs to be, as we dont want the monster to kill a playet EVERY round 2. And i even let the monster win initiative here.
 
Round 1 monster: misses player because of 50% miss chance.
Round 1 players11th level: half the players hit and takes away half monster hp
Round 2 monter: Hits. The only way this hit is going to be a threat is for it to potentially do 60-100 damage before parry, stoneskin, deflect etc. because:
Round 2 players11th level: half hits and kills monster

we have now stayed within design aim. The less rounds combat takes the more swingy damage needs to be, as we dont want the monster to kill a playet EVERY round 2. And i even let the monster win initiative here.
 



The error in your argument is this:  The amount of damage that parry, stoneskin, deflect etc can mitigate is not a predetermined value.  It is set where it is because of the damage that monsters do.   If monsters hit more often, but do less damage per hit - the amount of damage mitigation per round would also go down to compensate
    

(I am also not necessarily accepting your premise of 'we want fights to last two rounds'.  Many monsters should last two rounds.  But if the fight is against a single (appropriately threatening) monster, the fight should last longer.  And if the fight is against multiple monsters equivalent to the one in your example - the important part of the fight is the damage the other monsters are doing - which you failed to consider.)


 
Carl

The baseline assumption is that combat will be 2-3 rounds, but Mearls hasn't ever pretended that combats can't be shorter or longer depending on narrative.


The thing that the massive damage does is it makes the defensive options feel powerful. The danger is that they start to feel mandatory.


They've definitely flattened the curve. My hope a few months ago was that I'd see a ton of character options and funky abilities show up to give us something to look forward to with levels but that's yet to materialise. I'm still keeping my eye on it and hoping.

The error in my argument is that monsters dont do 60-100 damage so are never a danger to players at higher level. And I never said how they was doing that damage or how many monsters there were. The above assumption needs to hold true no matter the number of monsters and their abilities if combat is to take 2-3 rounds.

 IF the design intend is for combat is to take 2-3 rounds then the odd encounter that takes longer/shorter should be rather rare or else the intended is not the norm and then its not working as intended.

Monsters will grow with player strength. They do now and that's not gonna change.

Higher level monsters merely have more hit points, and some tend to do more damage, but I do not see their AC and Attacks conveniently scaling.

So they're growing with player strength.


No, they're not; as they say, if at first one doesn't succeed, try, try again. 



Wait...how does a higher level monster having more HP and damage not count as scaling up to the PCs?
I prefer to see it as the creature is what it is - and the PCs scale up to it....


Carl
But I really miss higher AC creatures meaning something. It is like going from 3D to 2D, i.e. the depth and richness of variable AC is lost. Especially when you look at creatures like a dragon, demons, devils, quicklings, etc.
I see people bring up the Dragon all the time. I agree that it could use a little bump, but it should never equal a fighter in plate. Medium creature in Plate armor vs Huge creature in plate armor? Who's harder to hit? The smaller guy. But dragons got, or are supposed to get, a big chunck of HP to represent being able to shrug off those anklebites.
My two copper.
I see people bring up the Dragon all the time. I agree that it could use a little bump, but it should never equal a fighter in plate. Medium creature in Plate armor vs Huge creature in plate armor? Who's harder to hit? The smaller guy. But dragons got, or are supposed to get, a big chunck of HP to represent being able to shrug off those anklebites.




its not the hp that makes a dragon hard to hit. it getting in range of his claw/claw/bite attack or breath weapon or spells. the ac of dragon hide is based on how tough the scales get as they age which are alot harder and denser than plate armor
High hit points, AC, Damage, Mobility, etc. are valid concepts for monsters design. It is acceptable for large creatures to have high AC as well, versus having their durability expressed as hit points. They could have both, including DR. Otherwise you get into they all feel the same argument.

Even the classes suffer the same problem as there is not enough distinction between armor sets.
Monsters don't even have one point of AC for every Encounter Level they are. The very first creature is one of the meat bag sorts and has about 200 HP but only a 12 AC. 12. For something that you would make as an 11th level encounter for 8th to 11th level characters.


An 8th level barbarian with an 18 stat hits that thing 75 percent of the time.
Before advantage. Before magical spells and items boosting him. Before tactics
that would make him more accurate. The guy isn't really even trying.

So yeah, the Amphisbaena is a meat bag and a dumb one at that.

But look at Level 4 creature Aranea. A smart, magic-using spider beast with 12 AC.

You just always hit everything.

Some of these just feel like they can't be right. Like the Beholder, possibly the most iconic Dungeons and Dragons creature besides you know, the friggin' dragon! He's a 13th level encounter guy and 15 AC. He's barely got more AC than his encounter level. And the guy has 120 HP which a few solid hits from Level 8 onwards martial guys is just lights out. Okay, it can fly and maybe it is the glass cannon sort and you can't claim the attacks are watered down. Got it.

Here are some other iconic creatures with joke AC classes and no way to impose disadvantage on attacks as a creature ability.
Every single demon and devil that was a double digit CR in 3.0/3.5
Glabrezu, Hezrou, Nalfeshnee, Marilith and Balor all have AC under 17.
They don't even have particularly good AC for a first level character.
If somebody played a Martial character and he had a 14 AC you'd be like...
"Hey buddy, you need to get that up or you're gonna get killed."
For a level 1 guy! Balor has a worse AC than basically any 1st level Dex guy or Mountain Dwarf period.
You get a 16 AC if you show up in chain mail. Nalfeshnee have lower AC than a first level guy in chain mail.
Holy mother of God!



 
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