Too much power?

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I'm relatively new as a DM, but not to the game in general. In my homebrew game, I have come up with some homebrew monsters to serve as the endboss. The real question is if I am pouring on too much power. The party for this game is set to be a group of 4 at level 2.


Level 5 Elite Soldier
Medium Shadow Humanoid
HP: 67 AP: 1 Init: +6
AC 26 Fort 20 Ref 22 Will 21
Speed 6 Darkvision.

Aura 1: Area is difficult terrain to enemies, and enemies that end their turn in the aura takes 5 damage that cant be negated. In addition, Enemies in the aura grant CA to me.

Bonus to hit is +10 vs AC/+7 vs NAC

Do you guys think this is too hard?
RPGtable username : RTiger
Depends on the party, but it's probably going to be nuked with status effects into insignificance.

Also, you haven't said how much damage it deals, what its attacks are, what status effects it applies, what else is happening in the encounter etc etc etc.  It's very difficult to judge difficult based on 'party of 4' and some bare stats.

Why not use a monster from one of the manuals, reflavouring if necessary?
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
A close in aura like that won't see much effect in certain parties. If you don't have at least 2 melee combatants in the party, you might want to consider incresing the size, and removing the difficult terrain effect.

Aside from this, Spaceinvader said it best as far as how much help we can offer without knowing more about the monster, the PCs and the encounter setting. Off a glance, the monster seems up to par with what it should be doing, though the Defenses are a bit too high. AC for a level 5 soldier should be 20, Fort Ref and Will should be around 18, plus or minus about 2 depending on the best and worst defenses said monster has. If you haven't been building with the updated monster creation rules in the DMG rules update, I suggest grabbing it off of the wizards main site before trying out more home brew baddies.

Hope this helps a bit, and hope to be able to help more. Happy Gaming
Alternatively, google MM3 on a business card.  It will give you all you need to build the basics of a monster...
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Grind... 26AC at level 2? Level+6 is a decent accuracy vs AC, so the PCs are on +8, which means hitting on 18s. That's boring for all concerned.

 
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Oh, I missed that this was for a level 2 party.  Yeah, AC 26 is stupid-high, and 70-odd HP is quite a lot at that level.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
I started with a blackguard/Warlock MC swordmage in the CB, then increased the HP by 50%. After that I applied all the self buffs, which is why those defenses are so high. Normally its 19/18/18/19. I can drop MC swordmage to make the AC more reasonable.

Damage is in the 1d8+5 range. +d6 on warlock powers, and +6 for paladin powers when I have CA. The monster an also counterattack as an at will reaction for 9 autodamage. It can inflict a -2 penalty to attacks on a single target, and ignores opportunity attacks, but otherwise does little in terms of status effects besides the aura above.

Storywise, the characters smash a crystal contaminating the land, but the crystal is actually a prison, holding an enemy. This is a monster that, at their current level, they shouldn't be able to defeat. Should the group decide to attack, I wanted to give them a taste of its overwhelming power, while still making it quite possible to beat. I intend to run the above as a single monster encounter, and designed in a way the party can choose to avoid it. I am going mostly by generalization here. What an average party should be able to do.
RPGtable username : RTiger
Don't build monsters like PCs.  Monsters are not PCs.  Build monsters like monsters.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Actually, if I lower the AC by 3, it becomes closer to what one would expect for a soldier at that level. I really should come up with more status effects though.
RPGtable username : RTiger
Try to consider the numbers players have to roll against it, and keep it in parity with the players bonuses. If this monster is "above the norm", perhaps like a "boss" of sorts, try to consider another way to defeat it.

Maybe it "spends a turn to charge" for a powerful blast, giving players a free round.

Maybe it has 2 modes: It might be vulnerable to physical damage and immune to spells, then its aura flickers, and it becomes immune to physical damage but 2x damage from energy/spells, etc. (You could rule that when immune to physical hits, it will still take damage from the energy portion of the weapon. A weapon that does +1d6 fire damage in addition to normal damage would deal +2d6 fire because of double energy weakness).

Maybe it takes 3x damage from all effects when a Bard is playing its Bardic Music. You might rule the monster gets a will save, DC equal to the bards perform check for 1/2.

When defeated, it might "shatter like glass" and in 3 rounds, reform.

Within; Without.

Indeed - a boss doesn't mean 'can't be hurt' it means 'has ways of mitigating being hurt, when it is hurt.  Having to roll a 17 to hit is boring.

If it's meant to be something they simply can't hurt, don't have them fight it.  Make it clear through narration that the first attack attempted, does nothing, then make it a skill challenge to get away without being pasted.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
the forum ate my first attempt at posting

none of this is making a lot of sense to me...


its not supposed to be fought, why spend so much time on it?

if its fought its not supposed to be defeatable, sounds frustrating, and the mechanics of its extremely high defenses are inherently frustrating

since it is built like a PC instead of a monster it will just pinprick them to death with its low damage attacks while they repeatedly miss, I don't see this going over well, I wouldn't use a soldier template, better off with something they can hit if you want it to be that much higher a level than them, making a monster that can't be hit is not going to be fun for them, and is it reasonable to expect your group to go for the opportunity to avoid the fight? I find most groups would eagerly attack it, if yours is different in this regard it might be relevant
The reason why I am spending some time now on it, is cause I am likely to use this again later. The actual monster is going to be solo level, not this. This is just an aspect, setting up some sort of framework to use later,, more an if it happens measure then anything else. Indeed, even if the party manages to suceed to "kill" This thing, it will have little overall impact on the story.

Overall damage is pretty good. Either 12-20, or 7-20 damage when using at wills. That can take down a PC character in 2-4 hits, average.
RPGtable username : RTiger
Is there a reason you're not just using a published monster?
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
I'm reminded of DM safety rule nr. 1: "never point a loaded party at a plot you're not willing to shoot". 
I'm reminded of DM safety rule nr. 1: "never point a loaded party at a plot you're not willing to shoot". 




Sure wish I could +1 this.

Or +10.

Within; Without.

I'm reminded of DM safety rule nr. 1: "never point a loaded party at a plot you're not willing to shoot". 

Sure wish I could +1 this.

Or +10.

Somehow, I think you just did ;)

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

I'm relatively new as a DM, but not to the game in general. In my homebrew game, I have come up with some homebrew monsters to serve as the endboss. The real question is if I am pouring on too much power. The party for this game is set to be a group of 4 at level 2.


Level 5 Elite Soldier
Medium Shadow Humanoid
HP: 67 AP: 1 Init: +6
AC 26 Fort 20 Ref 22 Will 21
Speed 6 Darkvision.

Aura 1: Area is difficult terrain to enemies, and enemies that end their turn in the aura takes 5 damage that cant be negated. In addition, Enemies in the aura grant CA to me.

Bonus to hit is +10 vs AC/+7 vs NAC

Do you guys think this is too hard?




Level 5 elite soldier should have 
AC 21 and NADS (within a point of) 19
A standard soldier should have about 60hp's, an elite should have 120. 

Even using actual post-errata values i listed, i wouldn't recommend throwing a level 5 elite soldier at a level 2 party.
But as others have said the mob as you posted it is a complete grind and everyone in the party will need to roll 17+ to hit him. That's about as tedious as it gets...
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
Storywise, the characters smash a crystal contaminating the land, but the crystal is actually a prison, holding an enemy. This is a monster that, at their current level, they shouldn't be able to defeat. Should the group decide to attack, I wanted to give them a taste of its overwhelming power, while still making it quite possible to beat. I intend to run the above as a single monster encounter, and designed in a way the party can choose to avoid it. I am going mostly by generalization here. What an average party should be able to do.

This will not go as expected. Even if you received precise, tailored monster design instructions, it would not go as expected.

Whenever you find yourself describing a scenario that uses the words "shouldn't be able to" or "should be able to" you might as well stop working on it by yourself, because those things are not going to hold. This is the time to talk to your group about the kind of scenario you want to create, because the reason it won't work as expected is because the players are not working with you and may be working against you. If you talk to them and come to an agreement as to what you would all like the scene to be like, then the players are working with you and will make sure the scene works as it "should" because everyone has a vested interest in seeing it play out that way.

But as long as you don't really care what happens in the scene, the monster you wrote up looks fine. Difficult terrain is very annoying and the players will probably try to find ways around it, inside or outside of the rules.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I introduced a powerful vampire to my level 2 party in a weakened state.  They fought, he fled, and then once he'd regained his power, the party spent the majority of heroic tier finding items and gaining knowledge that would help them put him down for good.  In the fight, he knocked one character unconscious and killed another PC.  Here are his stats

Show




































































Vraise Mackelray (weakened)



Level  Elite Lurker  



Medium undead humanoid



XP 720



Initiative +12



Senses Perception +10; darkvision



HP 122; Bloodied 61


AC 19; Fortitude 19, Reflex 17, Will 16
Saving Throws +2
Speed 8 4 Spiderclimb
Action Points 1


Immune: Disease, Poison Resist: 10 Necrotic Vulnrable: 10 Radiant



M Thunderwave (standard; at-will) * Close Blast 3



+8 vs. FORT; 1d6 + 6 damage and the target is pushed 3 squares.



r Chill Strike (standard; encounter) * Cold



Range 10; +8 vs. Fortitude; 2d8 + 8 cold damage and the target is dazed until the end of the vampire’s next turn.



c Dominating Gaze (minor; recharge 6) * Charm



Range 5; +13 vs. Will; and the target is dominated(save ends with a -2 penalty).  Aftereffect: the target is dazed (save ends).  Vraise can only dominate 1 target at a time.



a Blood Drain (standard; recharges when an enemy becomes bloodied) * Melee



Requires combat advantage; +13 vs. Fortitude; 2d12 + 8 damage,


the target is weakened (save ends), and the vampire lord regains


46 hit points; see also combat advantage.



Combat Advantage



Vraise deals an extra 3d6 when he has combat advantage against a target



Alignment Evil



Languages Common



Skills Athletics +6



Str 12 (+6)



Dex 20 (+1)



Wis 11 (+5)



Con 13 (+6)



Int 26 (+13)



Cha 16 (+8) 





While his defences were high, even at level 2 the party had some good ways to buff themselves up and hit pretty often.  The fight was placed in a cave with vampire spawn, so it was helpful to only have minions as the other monsters.  If I was to do it again, I would definitely scale back the vampire's damage output, but I was pretty new to building monsters at that point and didn't have the MM3 update to the DMG, which I would suggest you use.

Also, I wouldn't recommend placing monsters in encounters that you expect the PCs to avoid.  If they shouldn't fight the thing, don't stat it.

Edit: ninja'd by Centauri.  Also, that. 

Also, I wouldn't recommend placing monsters in encounters that you expect the PCs to avoid.  If they shouldn't fight the thing, don't stat it.



Do you have any tips for making sure they don't fight it if they shouldn't?

Also, I wouldn't recommend placing monsters in encounters that you expect the PCs to avoid.  If they shouldn't fight the thing, don't stat it.



Do you have any tips for making sure they don't fight it if they shouldn't?



What the PCs should or shouldn't do shouldn't be a concern of the DM unless that DM has a plot-based adventure, in which case, he should have already told the players what their PCs should or shouldn't do to stay on the plot.

Otherwise, if you need your NPC or monster to not be attacked by PCs, then don't put it in front of them. Anything else is a risk to your plot or whatever. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

Here, Have Some Free Material From Me: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Dark Sun Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Generated D&D 5e PCs

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith


Also, I wouldn't recommend placing monsters in encounters that you expect the PCs to avoid.  If they shouldn't fight the thing, don't stat it.



Do you have any tips for making sure they don't fight it if they shouldn't?



What the PCs should or shouldn't do shouldn't be a concern of the DM unless that DM has a plot-based adventure, in which case, he should have already told the players what their PCs should or shouldn't do to stay on the plot.

Otherwise, if you need your NPC or monster to not be attacked by PCs, then don't put it in front of them. Anything else is a risk to your plot or whatever. 



I was thinking more of a villain that is much too difficult for the party to deal with at the moment - as in, they're completely at liberty to attack it but they'll die abruptly and messily. That seems like quite a strong story element and it'd be a shame to avoid it altogether.

The obvious solutions are hint really strongly in the description that this is BIG and POWERFUL (but then they might ignore you), come right out and tell them OOC they should run away (seems unsatisfying, they might still ignore you), or employ some kind of deus ex machina (seems even more unsatisfying). Have any of those worked well for anybody?

I was thinking more of a villain that is much too difficult for the party to deal with at the moment - as in, they're completely at liberty to attack it but they'll die abruptly and messily. That seems like quite a strong story element and it'd be a shame to avoid it altogether.

The obvious solutions are hint really strongly in the description that this is BIG and POWERFUL (but then they might ignore you), come right out and tell them OOC they should run away (seems unsatisfying, they might still ignore you), or employ some kind of deus ex machina (seems even more unsatisfying). Have any of those worked well for anybody?



The obvious and only guaranteed solution is to state the situation clearly out-of-game and ask for buy-in. "This NPC right here is practically impossible for you to defeat mechanically compared to your current power level. You can certainly defeat him in other ways, if you choose to try and you succeed. But as of right now, he's designed to be nigh untouchable to you through the standard means of tactical combat. Do you understand?"

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

Here, Have Some Free Material From Me: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Dark Sun Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Generated D&D 5e PCs

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith


Also, I wouldn't recommend placing monsters in encounters that you expect the PCs to avoid.  If they shouldn't fight the thing, don't stat it.



Do you have any tips for making sure they don't fight it if they shouldn't?



The heroes can tell by looking at the thing that it's power is beyond their capabilities. . .for now.  If one of them decides to give it a shot anyway, don't ask for a roll and say that the monster brushes the attack away and laughs in the hero's face, says something insulting and moves on its way.  

Generally, I don't like to bring in monsters that are way out of the hero's league, as it robs the players of their agency.  If you want to introduce the next BBEG in this way, build it in a scene without any combat dice rolling, and tell the PCs about this.  Another way to go, and what I did with the monster I showed above, was to first put the monster in the PC's path in a weakened state, or somehow not able to bring its full force to bear on the PCs.  If you do it that way, be prepared that the PCs may kill your BBEG before he gets to be the BBEG, and that's ok.  Again, in my example above, the party really put a hurting on the weakened vampire and bloodied him in two rounds.  He was able to put a hurting on them as well, but had he not had an out, he would have gone down.  

Edit: Iserith's advice above is really solid.  Introducing recurring villains is hard because heroes slay villains.  It's generally best to let the PCs know what's going on and have them help you make the encounter as cinematic and engaging as possible.  Usually with the extra heads involved in making the scene work it ends up better than it did in your mind, though it will undoubtedly be different. 


Also, I wouldn't recommend placing monsters in encounters that you expect the PCs to avoid.  If they shouldn't fight the thing, don't stat it.

Do you have any tips for making sure they don't fight it if they shouldn't?

Talking to the players and agreeing with them on some other goal for the scene that doesn't require or benefit from the death of the other side, and agreeing that the monster will get away.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

You could make it clear at the begining of the encounter "This is a chase scene." and notify them that the victory condition of successful escape will be rewarded as "defeating the enemy" and yield full exp.

The other day, I had a chase scene.

There was a battle featuring a Juggernaut (A tank-like orkish war machine). When it appeared to the west, I notified them of the scene:

Allies to the east are signalling you to rejoin the flank.
There are several scattered flasks of alchemist fire to the east, on the way to the allies.
There was a "gunner" on a hwacha at top firing spears.


This meant the players while running, weren't being cowards and "running".  Instead, they were making a strategic retreat, with targets to shoot and a known "endpoint" of the chase. Give the players a couple of goals to be achieved during the chase.

Think about an action movie, where the hero runs out of bullets in a gunfight with the mafia.

First, the chase begins. Hero runs past a barrage of gunfire down a crooked path and the 5 villains chase.
Hero finds a gun with 3 shots on a corpse while running, a villain makes it up and begins shooting. Hero kills the villain. Villains guns are jammed.
Hero finds a gun on the villain with 5 shots, and while running, runs into 2 other villains. He shoots them dead. While looting one, a gun is pointed in his head. Making a reflex save, he grabs the barrel pushing up, while ducking down and springs up. His ally misidentified him, and they are glad to see each other, even if the moment is awkward. Then, the other villains show up with machine guns and the chase is over. Battle begins.


Point is, the hero almost never "just runs" but has a lot of different things to do while running. One way to help is using a turn timer or taking advantage of a collapsing tunnel or something else in the environment that "forces" all parties to flee. The point is, players often don't mind being chased if they aren't being made to look/feel like cowards for it.

Within; Without.

On a more game mechanical note, that aura is NOT a soldier aura. It rewards players who stay away from the monster and the whole goal of a soldier is to get PCs to attack it. Soldiers auras should do things like 'slow', create difficult terrain, prevent the enemy from spotting others outside the aura, and so on. Your aura is something you would give to skirmishers, artillery, or some type of controllers; monsters that you want to have the freedom to move around. Remove the damage and combat advantage and you have something more soldier like, although an aura 1 with difficult terrain is not particular effective. It only prevents PCs from easily outflanking it. Getting away is as easy as normal.