Monster Attack Bonus?

I haven't played D&D next yet, but I've read the packet.  I like the direction its taking, but I'm hung up on the attack bonuses for monsters.   Seems like a flat +5 bonus?  A level 1 fighter gets a +1 and a goblin gets a +5?  I just CANNOT wrap my head around that.  It may or may not be balanced, but the divergence in attack "skill" is so mind-numbinlgy wrong that it hurts my head.

Anyone else have this problem?  Has it been discussed, defended, explained?  Thanks for any information.
The monster attack bonus is just random.
The +'to-hit' for monsters are so players keep within the bounded accuracy theory. I doubt they're random but they can fluctuate wildly all because the developers want level 3 characters to be the same as level 17 characters when dealing with encounters. The end result should be no easy way to make a creature without a gene-splitting matrix-mapping algorithm.

 

I just said something and you just read it. Sorry about that.

Monsters get +4 to hit at level 1, +5 at level 2, +6 at level 5, +7 at level 7, +8 at level 13, and +10 at level 20. These values are modified by up to 2 points based on the designer's whimsy, and the monster's ability score rarely enters the math. The new monsters in the dungeon bestiaries have higher attack scores, so they probably adjusted the progression but haven't updated the older monsters yet.
Monsters get +4 to hit at level 1, +5 at level 2, +6 at level 5, +7 at level 7, +8 at level 13, and +10 at level 20. These values are modified by up to 2 points based on the designer's whimsy...



That would've been nice. The theory broke down by the time I looked at the 2nd entry though I was very excited for the first few seconds.

 

I just said something and you just read it. Sorry about that.

It's not the lack of consistency among monsters that hurts my head, but the lack of same between monsters and pcs. I can tell you that if my players find out that a lowly goblin has a lowly +4 attack bonus at strength 9, they're going to be annoyed, considering that their strength 16 fighter has the same bonus.

I understand that the fighter is better in every other respect, but games love to compare stats and this lack of parity is quite jarring.
I understand that the fighter is better in every other respect, but games love to compare stats and this lack of parity is quite jarring.



Well said, so the base question I have had for months now has been to get the reasoning on how the to-hit is calculated then move from there to other questions.

 

I just said something and you just read it. Sorry about that.

They could use the same formula for monsters attack than for PC's if the PCs would use the same AC value mean than the monsters - that is 11-12. As it seems, having an AC above 14 and leaning towards the 15-16 is the base for nearly every character in next - appart for the one guy who didn't understand that a wizard without DEX nor magical armor spell would have 9-10 AC. This only makes sense if you have monsters getting at leat a +4 to attacks.

That's really a weird way to model attack and defenses but this is what they are presenting us so far.

Btw, I think armor as it exists for now is just wildly overlooked in the playtest. Probably something that will be adress later. Or so I hope.
I expect a lot of monster stats to be completely overhauled towards the end of the playtest so this issue might disappear. The designers have said frequently that the monsters as we see them now are simply placeholders until they get the PC designs nailed down and then they'll do an overhaul of the monster month.

I don't know that this will bring monster +X to hit in line with PC values, but it might.

One thing is for sure, you will not see a 4e style number progression for monster math. The designers have said they want to make monsters a little more variable.  As a fan of 4e I'm actually okay with that as long as they also give DM's some quick guidelines they can use to put together a monster on the fly with appropriate numbers.
I expect a lot of monster stats to be completely overhauled towards the end of the playtest so this issue might disappear. The designers have said frequently that the monsters as we see them now are simply placeholders until they get the PC designs nailed down and then they'll do an overhaul of the monster month.

I don't know that this will bring monster +X to hit in line with PC values, but it might.

One thing is for sure, you will not see a 4e style number progression for monster math. The designers have said they want to make monsters a little more variable.  As a fan of 4e I'm actually okay with that as long as they also give DM's some quick guidelines they can use to put together a monster on the fly with appropriate numbers.



That's my fear too. For the moment it is not really possible to build our own monsters from scratch. Attack bonus don't make sense, nor do XP. As I stated in the report, it is impossible to grasp the difference between a Rat and a Dire Rat when the two share the same XP value but not the same numbers. I do think this is intentionnal from the dev, they just want to deliver monsters than can be used for playtest and not really show their design process.

I hope that at 5e launch there will be hard coded guidelines to make sand box monsters, as it has always been in DMG.


Placeholder DDN monster:

HP = Level x8
AC = 14-16
Saving throws: usually +2, but +5 if its the "good" stat.
Attack +4 to +8 vs AC & 1d6+2 damage per every 2-3 levels.

Might as well use this until we get some REAL monsters, anyway.

Note- this is generic baddies. Not for bosses or NPC villains, etc.
Monsters get +4 to hit at level 1, +5 at level 2, +6 at level 5, +7 at level 7, +8 at level 13, and +10 at level 20. These values are modified by up to 2 points based on the designer's whimsy...



That would've been nice. The theory broke down by the time I looked at the 2nd entry though I was very excited for the first few seconds.


You mean the carnivorous ape? That one follows the pattern pretty well. Trust me, I wrote all the monster hit values from all the bestiaries  into a spreadsheet, took the average, and graphed hit bonus against level.

Or better yet, don't trust me. I'll just post the graph.

 Hit Bonus Chart

There are 2 or fewer monsters at levels 8, 11, and 13-19, which is where all the weird spikes happen. Ignoring those levels, average monster hit bonus scales almost linearly by level. I won't copy the entire data set here, but I will say that allowing 2 points for variation was overestimating.

I don't have pretty graphs for them, but the new monsters in the campaign bestiaries are clearly using a different progression rate.
So how does "average" explain anything?

I too have a MySQL filled with every stat, and aspect. I too find many rolling themes of reason only to have it obliterated. Even gave creatures classes to experiment with formula's, removed named stuff, etc. Sure, I find some consistency but no reason why it is in the first place otherthan to ensure BA.

 

I just said something and you just read it. Sorry about that.

I haven't played D&D next yet, but I've read the packet.  I like the direction its taking, but I'm hung up on the attack bonuses for monsters.   Seems like a flat +5 bonus?  A level 1 fighter gets a +1 and a goblin gets a +5?  I just CANNOT wrap my head around that.  It may or may not be balanced, but the divergence in attack "skill" is so mind-numbinlgy wrong that it hurts my head.

Anyone else have this problem?  Has it been discussed, defended, explained?  Thanks for any information.


I think yes it's for balance reasons. Since there isn't any mention for Monster lvl advancement. A Goblin won't have an Elite form, (maybe double hps and attack bonus), only Boss forms like Goblin leader, shaman etc. But these essentialy are different monsters (if they have different traits). So from the early beginning it should have something to 'defend' it self...or actually be an encounter even for levels above it's own lvl 1.

But the balance is truly lost/difficult to explain, when a Goblin with a mace has +4 attack bonus, Str 8 and 3 hps. And the BAB of Fighter 20 lvl is +5 and his hp around 150hp.



I don't think monsters use the same rules as PCs at all.

I'd like to see what the monster-gen rules are, but right now I think it's just, "That seems about right."
 I suppose: "wait and see" is the best answer.  I truly hope they don't stick with this format though.  It doesn't matter if they want monsters and PCs to have different rules, players will balk.  A Player likes his fighter to be the best at what he does and it will rankle if every piddly monster out there has the same (or higher) attack bonus.

I appreciate all the replies.  Thanks for taking the time to discuss it.
I truly hope they don't stick with this format...



I'm sure they won't, but the sooner they let the DM's know how they're coming up with to-hit/exp/etc the better the results for the playtest. Then once we have that we can move on to why a Lich is level 7. Ya know, other ridiculous stuff.

 

I just said something and you just read it. Sorry about that.

So how does "average" explain anything?

I too have a MySQL filled with every stat, and aspect. I too find many rolling themes of reason only to have it obliterated. Even gave creatures classes to experiment with formula's, removed named stuff, etc. Sure, I find some consistency but no reason why it is in the first place otherthan to ensure BA.


No idea. I mean, it's easy to see where those numbers came from (it's a function of level). It's easy to see why the designers chose those numbers (those are the numbers you need to keep up with the PC's scaling armor values). Both of those explanations imply that these creatures only exist to serve as obstacles for players. Technically it's true, but it really kills immersion to say it.

(It's kind of like how the PC human race is completely different from the bestiary human commoner, and the best reason anyone has is that PC humans are actually space aliens so much more heroic than commoners.)

3E built all monsters sort of like PCs, which helped with its status as a world building system at the expense of some readability. 4E settled for the illusion that monsters were like PCs, giving just enough information to make them realistic for the few rounds they would be alive. Right now, 5E just has mathematically correct obstacles.

I'd like it if one day, the monsters of D&D Next were not only mathematically correct, but also gave the semblance of following the same rules that players do.
It's kind of like how the PC human race is completely different from the bestiary human commoner, and the best reason anyone has is that PC humans are actually space aliens so much more heroic than commoners.



I like this outlook, as I have the same veiw myself.

But my case is how they're determining the attribute array outcome. The how part. I know why.

 

I just said something and you just read it. Sorry about that.

I agree with all of your comments about the monster attack bonuses.
But it isn't impossible to make your own monsters.
Just use the "Create a Character" rules.
Since most monsters have no class (huh, huh), give them an attack+spell bonus of +1 at 1st, 6th, 11th, 16th, and 20th level.

It is a good rule of thumb to set monster levels about 3 levels below the average character level when trying this.

My Proposal for the D&D5 Game @ Kira3696.Tripod.Com


I'm fairly confident that all monster to-hit numbers include an arbitrary bonus as a direct result of feedback from prior packets. One or two packets ago, there was a significant distraction from testing because the logical math created a situation where level 1 monsters could not hit frequently enough to be a threat. 

 And of course, the reason they couldn't hit is because PCs gain the vast majority of their armor bonus at level 1, while bonuses to hit are parsed out slowly over the course of twenty levels.

The metagame is not the game.