The rampaging beast - Damage Reduction

I was reading Mike Mearls' latest Legends & Lore column, and started thinking about how high level monsters can be taken down by being swarmed by several weaker foes. In general I like this idea a lot, and for most monsters I believe it makes sense. However, if all high monsters are designed this way (High HP, relatively low AC) I feel we will be missing an iconic monster; that of the rampaging beast. If any monster can be taken down by a sufficcient number of town guards, or peasants with pitch forks, it will make less sense for needing to call in adventurers to kill for instance a huge monster rampaging in a town.

Some creatures in mythology are also defined by their resistance to feeble attacks. The impenetrable scales of a monstrous dragon is perhaps the most obvious example. I believe solving this problem is quite easy. Since damage and HP scale with level, giving some high level monsters a moderate amount of damage resistance will make them much harder for weaker enemies, but to a much lesser extent for higher level players.

I believe granting damage reduction rather than high armour class also fits the feel of a trully tough monster better. This will also create a class of monsters that you will want to send your heavy damage dealers at, creating more tactical opportunities. I think that we should by all means keep high level monsters without damage reduction, and also have this be true for the majority of foes, but I feel we will be missing something if every huge beast can be killed by goblins and the like. 

Link to the article in question:

wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/2...
Pretty much what I was thinking.  A simple DR 5/magic would solve this problem nicely.

Wounds Module [updated for Basic]

Proficiency Module

I was reading Mike Mearls' latest Legends & Lore column, and started thinking about how high level monsters can be taken down by being swarmed by several weaker foes. In general I like this idea a lot, and for most monsters I believe it makes sense. However, if all high monsters are designed this way (High HP, relatively low AC) I feel we will be missing an iconic monster; that of the rampaging beast. If any monster can be taken down by a sufficcient number of town guards, or peasants with pitch forks, it will make less sense for needing to call in adventurers to kill for instance a huge monster rampaging in a town.



How many times is this going to come up?

  1. Mearls article mentions soldiers, not commoners.  The commoners are going to run and flee because they are nto trained soldiers.  

  2. Half of those human warriors perish when they swarm onto a hill giant or the Calydonian Boar.  

Could the Greeks have sent a phalanx of hoplites in to take out the Calydonian Boar?  Absolutely, but scores of men would have perished in the process.  Instead, Theseus gathered a whole mess of heroes (between 20 and 30) to go on a boar hunt.  And they vanquished the boar without losing a single hero.  (A bunch of the heroes killed one another contesting the spoils, but that's another tale.)

And that's the reason towns need heroes.  A hill giant will kill a dozen soldiers before he is taken down.  That's a dozen fathers, sons, daughters, mothers, friends, and companions.  Why not pay some strangers to do it... especially if they can do it without dying?

But if you want a creature that no common soldier can kill, give it the following trait:

Legendary Creature: This creature is immune to attacks and spells cast by characters with less than 20 hp.

Ta-da!
How many times is this going to come up?



Well, pardon if this has come up many times before, but I am very new to Next. I think we might agree more than you might think. As I said, many, if not most of high level monsters should be possible to fell by overwhelming force, like your example of the Caledonian bear. Your suggestion of the legendary creature trait is one solution, true. I do believe damage reduction is more elegant, however, and it has more of the intuitive feel of toughness, compared to only being hurt by characters of 20 hp or above. Your solution seems more appropriate for a creature with a certain destiny or some such, where it can only be killed by a great hero.
I was reading Mike Mearls' latest Legends & Lore column, and started thinking about how high level monsters can be taken down by being swarmed by several weaker foes. In general I like this idea a lot, and for most monsters I believe it makes sense. However, if all high monsters are designed this way (High HP, relatively low AC) I feel we will be missing an iconic monster; that of the rampaging beast. If any monster can be taken down by a sufficcient number of town guards, or peasants with pitch forks, it will make less sense for needing to call in adventurers to kill for instance a huge monster rampaging in a town.



How many times is this going to come up?

  1. Mearls article mentions soldiers, not commoners.  The commoners are going to run and flee because they are nto trained soldiers.  

  2. Half of those human warriors perish when they swarm onto a hill giant or the Calydonian Boar.  

Could the Greeks have sent a phalanx of hoplites in to take out the Calydonian Boar?  Absolutely, but scores of men would have perished in the process.  Instead, Theseus gathered a whole mess of heroes (between 20 and 30) to go on a boar hunt.  And they vanquished the boar without losing a single hero.  (A bunch of the heroes killed one another contesting the spoils, but that's another tale.)

And that's the reason towns need heroes.  A hill giant will kill a dozen soldiers before he is taken down.  That's a dozen fathers, sons, daughters, mothers, friends, and companions.  Why not pay some strangers to do it... especially if they can do it without dying?

But if you want a creature that no common soldier can kill, give it the following trait:

Legendary Creature: This creature is immune to attacks and spells cast by characters with less than 20 hp.

Ta-da!




that could work, but i think a dr-5 would feel a little less gamey and arbitrary.

Happy to be back on the best D&D forum on the internet!

Well, pardon if this has come up many times before, but I am very new to Next.


I'm sorry.  That was an overreaction because there's a really long discussion abotu this very topic on the official thread discussing this Mearls' article.

I do believe damage reduction is more elegant, however, and it has more of the intuitive feel of toughness, compared to only being hurt by characters of 20 hp or above.


The problem with DR is that it can really penalize small weapon fighters and it's basically just giving a creature more hit points.  And it obligates everyone to do an extra step of math every time they hit with an attack.  And it favors spellcasters.

Your solution seems more appropriate for a creature with a certain destiny or some such, where it can only be killed by a great hero.


I'm a big fan of not trying to do indirectly what should be done directly because indirect things always feel a little passive aggressive and often have lots of unintended consequences.

You want a creature that commoners can't kill.  Just declare that commoners can't kill it.

Truly, the DR thing shouldn't stop a bunch of commoners from killing the Calydonian Boar.  They just have to make a really big boar pit, trap it, and then pelt it with heavy stones until they crush it.  (The way neolithic man would hunt down mammoths.)  DR will not explain why commoners can't kill a creature.  It just requires them to get more creative.
I remember playing the Heroes Might and Might games.

Pikeman/footman dealt so much damage but Oh BOY!! if a dragon/angel/devil hits the pikeman stack. You could loose like 50 men in one shot.

That is a lot of of letters to widows, orphans, and mothers.

That is how Next should be.

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!


I'm sorry.  That was an overreaction because there's a really long discussion abotu this very topic on the official thread discussing this Mearls' article.



Thats fine. I know how annoying it is having to defend the same point over and over. Has this been discussed so much that it is pointless for me to continue the discussion in this post?

The problem with DR is that it can really penalize small weapon fighters and it's basically just giving a creature more hit points.  And it obligates everyone to do an extra step of math every time they hit with an attack.  And it favors spellcasters.



What you see as a problem I see as a benefit. As I mentioned earlier, penalizing small weapon fighters would make it necessary to make more tactical decisions in combat concerning who attacks what monster. However, I can see that this might be a bit of a balance problem. To compensate, small weapon users would probably have to have a slight damage bonus at the levels in which creatures with DR appear, against creatures without DR. I agree that this might not be a satisfactory solution to everyone, but it is one i personally prefer.

You want a creature that commoners can't kill.  Just declare that commoners can't kill it.

Truly, the DR thing shouldn't stop a bunch of commoners from killing the Calydonian Boar.  They just have to make a really big boar pit, trap it, and then pelt it with heavy stones until they crush it.  (The way neolithic man would hunt down mammoths.)  DR will not explain why commoners can't kill a creature.  It just requires them to get more creative.



Again, forcing weaker creatures (and characters) to be creative I see as a benefit, not a hindrance. I think the way you are thinking about the problem, creating the simplest possible rule to achieve a result, is very sensible. However I do prefer the DR mechanic, as I agree with trebor that your solutions seems a bit arbitrary (though perhaps thematically fitting for some monsters). I also do not think that having the DM subtract 5 when noting damage is that much of a slowdown. Avoiding any type of slowdown, no matter how small, should still be something to strive for, as these things tend to add up. However, I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks in this particular case.
Again, forcing weaker creatures (and characters) to be creative I see as a benefit, not a hindrance.


Well, except the point of the exercise originally was that you wanted to justify the need for adventurers on the gorunds that there were creatures that commmonfolk can't kill.  but we just established that DR doesn't mean that commonfolk need adventurers.  They just need shovels.

However, I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks in this particular case.


What benefits?  DR doesn't do what you wanted it to do.

It appears you just like DR and want a reason to bring it back into the game, not that you think bounded accuracy renders heroes superfluous and want a mechanic that will justify their existence.

The designers have said they have made resistabnce half-damage, rather than DR specifically because they've found that DR slows the game down.  So I really don't see them bringing DR back. 
The best DR systems are percentage based but percents slow down the damage too much.

Percentage based DR is better than Bounded accuracy and Scaling damage for displaying the differences between commoners, normal soldiers, heroes, and legendary monsters. But you would definitely need a computer to run the calculations.

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!

I was reading Mike Mearls' latest Legends & Lore column, and started thinking about how high level monsters can be taken down by being swarmed by several weaker foes. In general I like this idea a lot, and for most monsters I believe it makes sense. However, if all high monsters are designed this way (High HP, relatively low AC) I feel we will be missing an iconic monster; that of the rampaging beast. If any monster can be taken down by a sufficcient number of town guards, or peasants with pitch forks, it will make less sense for needing to call in adventurers to kill for instance a huge monster rampaging in a town.



How many times is this going to come up?

  1. Mearls article mentions soldiers, not commoners.  The commoners are going to run and flee because they are nto trained soldiers.  

  2. Half of those human warriors perish when they swarm onto a hill giant or the Calydonian Boar.  

Could the Greeks have sent a phalanx of hoplites in to take out the Calydonian Boar?  Absolutely, but scores of men would have perished in the process.  Instead, Theseus gathered a whole mess of heroes (between 20 and 30) to go on a boar hunt.  And they vanquished the boar without losing a single hero.  (A bunch of the heroes killed one another contesting the spoils, but that's another tale.)

And that's the reason towns need heroes.  A hill giant will kill a dozen soldiers before he is taken down.  That's a dozen fathers, sons, daughters, mothers, friends, and companions.  Why not pay some strangers to do it... especially if they can do it without dying?

But if you want a creature that no common soldier can kill, give it the following trait:

Legendary Creature: This creature is immune to attacks and spells cast by characters with less than 20 hp.

Ta-da!




that could work, but i think a dr-5 would feel a little less gamey and arbitrary.




I agree.

I'm not sure I can express how much I dislike the idea of a mechanic that is based on the number of hit points the attacker has.  Words fail...

On the other hand, DR/5 is not the appropriate mechanic for 5E.

But if you give the rampaging monster a decent AC (18ish) and resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing it would probably have little trouble running over most armies of 'warriors' while a party of mid-level PCs could take (exact level needed depending on its hp and attacks).

Add in a decent overrun/ trample attack so it can take out swaths of the army in each round - and you have a true rampager.


(I also think Wrecan is starting to see arguments where they don't exist as the OP clearly indicated that he was in favor of the idea that many low level creatures can take out most higher level creatures.  Perhaps he's been banging his head against that wall a bit too long....)

Carl
I believe monsters should be built with the assumption of fighting a party and have the appropriate abilties or defenses to offer a challenge. Any additonal attacks against a monster beyond the default party will result in more hits and the creature dying faster. However, the problem presented is the creature may be to hard to hit for the average soldier (NPC). Therefore, they can also add additional rules for mass combat when numbers are overwhelming where a bonus to hit is added. That type of rule will distinguish mass combat versus normal, versus a monster always being the same AC regardless of the amount of opponents attacking it. It also distinguishes the ebb of battle should the large creature survive the initial onslaught and widdle the numbers down where the numbers bonus is neutralized.

Since mass combat is not a reoccuring feature of an average adventure, this gives you the tool when it is needed, but monsters are still a challenge for the party at the same time. DR does a similar thing, so it has an appropriate use depending on the type of creature, and if DR makes sense as a defense mechanism. Versus just adding DR to address durability in mass combat, because the creature has a low AC.
If you look at D&D Next, what legendary monsters do to show their might is their offense. Almost every level 5+ monster has a multiattack which each one "autokilling" a commoner or 1st level warrior on hit.

Look at the hill giant. It has 2 greatclub attacks a turn, each of which have good accuracy on commoners and basic warriors. Basically every round, the giant is killing 1-2 guys. Combine that with it's 70+ HP, it'll slay dozens of commoners before going down and several guardsman if in a city.

So a town could defeat a hill giant but unless they all stay back and chuck rock for 10 turns, the giant will slay 30 men.

Same while the town guard. Crossbow hell or 15 coffins per giant.

In older editions, the designers used defense for shows of power. Although it did make monsters more fearsome to regular folk, it worked tooo well and the monsters where practically immune to normals. Then it had the side effect that if heroes could bypass the defense somehow, the monster was helpless (unless they had cheap/broken magic powerz).

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!

I agree with wrecan on this.  Applying damage reduction is missing the entire point of what the OP wants accomplished.  He doesn't just want a monster that is harder to kill (which is what DR does).  He wants a monster that requires heroes in order to be killed.  The townsfolk, militia, even the army are all helpless in the face of this beast's onslaught.

DR would certainly accomplish this.  Take the highest damage the militia can do, and set the DR at that value.  But all this really does is make the fight against the PCs take longer.

Instead, just skip the middle man, as it were, and say that the beast isn't harmed by their attacks.  It is a common enough trope in fantasy that your players shouldn't bat an eye.  If want, describe it getting nicked and scrated, but hardly bothered, as it tears through the ranks of defenders.

This is a case where you don't need the system to provide you with numbers, because it is a story element.  You want to have a big scary monster threatening the town, and you don't want the town to be able to kill the monster on their own.  So they can't.  End of story.

Removing the option for higher AC creatures and standardizing on just hit points removes another facet from monster design. But I fealt this would be another discusson on bounded accuracy, and I prefer old school representation of monsters, armor, or defenses. Then you can add items like a mass combat rule or inherent bonus mechanic; to cover the assumption that magic will not be in the game. Either way it gives the table more options versus defenses will alway be penetrated and hit points will compensate. So your mileage will vary depending on how simple you want the game to be.

Again, forcing weaker creatures (and characters) to be creative I see as a benefit, not a hindrance.


Well, except the point of the exercise originally was that you wanted to justify the need for adventurers on the gorunds that there were creatures that commmonfolk can't kill.  but we just established that DR doesn't mean that commonfolk need adventurers.  They just need shovels.

However, I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks in this particular case.


What benefits?  DR doesn't do what you wanted it to do.

It appears you just like DR and want a reason to bring it back into the game, not that you think bounded accuracy renders heroes superfluous and want a mechanic that will justify their existence.

The designers have said they have made resistabnce half-damage, rather than DR specifically because they've found that DR slows the game down.  So I really don't see them bringing DR back. 



While this would be true of older editions, the large amount of damage afforded by martial murder dice means that even knife-fighters would be scarcely impeded.

Furthermore, that even that minor impediment would be obviated by a magic weapon.  While magic weapons are not an assumed part of the game, they still are a part of the game and the DM could use both, either, or neither as they saw fit.

The "template" would be simple and the DM could add it to any monster that, in their opinion, deserved it.  It wouldn't be a part of any creature's stats unless a particular DM chose to add it in.

Magic Toughness
A creature with this trait reduces all non-magical weapon damage dealt to it by 5 points.  All damage dealt by a magic weapon is considered magical.

Bear in mind that we are both largely in agreement regarding this topic, so consider this a bone thrown to the DMs and players out there who just can't wrap their heads around the idea that a mob of soldiers can effectively defend their home town, even with great casualties.

Wounds Module [updated for Basic]

Proficiency Module

The designers have said they have made resistance half-damage, rather than DR specifically because they've found that DR slows the game down.  So I really don't see them bringing DR back. 


The "template" would be simple and the DM could add it to any monster that, in their opinion, deserved it.  It wouldn't be a part of any creature's stats unless a particular DM chose to add it in.

Magic Toughness
A creature with this trait reduces all non-magical weapon damage dealt to it by 5 points.  All damage dealt by a magic weapon is considered magical.


Again, the designers have said they have made resistance half-damage, rather than DR specifically because they've found that DR slows the game down.  So I really don't see them bringing DR back.
Oh, I don't really expect them to. I also don't expect to rely on them for all modules I plan on using, such as my Wounds mod or Orzel's Favored Enemy mod. Modules are little more than professionally-designed house rules, so I see no reason to not crowd-source our own mods to patch the game in ways that WotC isn't willing to officially endorse.

Wounds Module [updated for Basic]

Proficiency Module

The problem with DR is that it can really penalize small weapon fighters and it's basically just giving a creature more hit points.  And it obligates everyone to do an extra step of math every time they hit with an attack.  And it favors spellcasters.



 

All easy to mitigate except the extra math but then I would reduce hp and hits so its not a significant boost.

Here's a line of thought I haven't seen suggested before: tally damage on a per ROUND basis, applying at the end of a round (since it all more or less happens simultaneously anyway). Put damage into two camps: normal and resisted. Resisted damage is halved at the end of the round, normal isn't. Any mid-combat healing gets applied after damage, but before you resolve death/dying. So, if you have 10 HP, takes 16 resisted damage, 5 normal damage, and get healed for 8, the end result would be 10 - 16/2 - 5 + 8 = 5 HP left, and is still left standing. While it might look complicated, asking people to keep a per-round tally of two numbers is far from the most complicated request D&D demands of its players. The DM would also need to keep extra numbers for the enemy as well, but IMO it's not asking for a crazy amount more.

It creates one side effect of particular note: everyone gets to do their action on that round, even if the damage would have KOd them. This could work for and against the PCs, so IMO it is a wash. D&D has always used round-based combat, and this would speed up the mid-round number crunching by shifting it to the end of the round.

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I agree with wrecan on this.  Applying damage reduction is missing the entire point of what the OP wants accomplished.  He doesn't just want a monster that is harder to kill (which is what DR does).  He wants a monster that requires heroes in order to be killed.  The townsfolk, militia, even the army are all helpless in the face of this beast's onslaught.

DR would certainly accomplish this.  Take the highest damage the militia can do, and set the DR at that value.  But all this really does is make the fight against the PCs take longer.

Instead, just skip the middle man, as it were, and say that the beast isn't harmed by their attacks.  It is a common enough trope in fantasy that your players shouldn't bat an eye.  If want, describe it getting nicked and scrated, but hardly bothered, as it tears through the ranks of defenders.

This is a case where you don't need the system to provide you with numbers, because it is a story element.  You want to have a big scary monster threatening the town, and you don't want the town to be able to kill the monster on their own.  So they can't.  End of story.



With damage at its current level, fights taking longer would be a big plus.  Specifically, for monsters that are intended to be singular and not fought in groups.  DR is a great way to fix two problems at once.  Sometimes you want more than a 2-3 round fight.
You could make it a damage threshold instead of DR. "this creature negates any attack that does less than 5 damage." Although I agree it's unnecessary.
I still think that if you need a special monster like this for some purpose a combination of high AC and resistance to slashing, piercing and bludgeoning would do it.

Add in some regeneration if you think the little bit of damage that slips through might eventually let the army kill it.

The PCs will have spells, much higher damage and perhaps even the ability to stop the regenerations - noe of which the army of 'regulars' would have.

Carl
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