Level 1 Giant Killer and Level 1 Large Monsters

The Giant Killer has a level 1 ability that lets them use their reaction to take half damage from a large monster. There is exactly one level 1 monster that's large...a horse. Pretty funny. 
Small Target doesn't require the monster to be at level though.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

No, but this party of adventurers is very fragile (as level one characters usually are), and I didn't want to risk a TPK to level 2 monsters.
Provided they survive to grow into level 2 adventurers, the giantslayer will get plenty of mileage out of his selected FA.  It's a very strong option for midlevel play, especially if your ranger likes TWF.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
Remember the XP guideline is 40XP per player, for a total of 160; and the DM guidelines for a tough encounter are conservative. these are all large creatures that are 200 XP or less:

Ankheg (1)
Ape, Carnivorus (1)
Carrion Crawler (1-2)
Great Cat: Tiger (1)
Ochre Jelly (1)
Ogre (1)
Snake, Giant (2-3)
Spider, Giant (3-4)
Wolf, Dire (2)

(also...why post the same thing in both DM and playtest packet?) 
Why post in both? Because people give very different feedback in the two forums. In this forum, we're talking about the playtest packets, and changes that the playtest packet might need. Is small target too limited to be a level 1 ability? Do there need to be more large level one monsters in the Bestiary? In the DM playtest, I got more of a critique of my DMing style, which is helpful, but a different topic.

If monsters that are higher than level one are meant to be reasonable to throw at your party at level 1, why have monster levels at all? Why not just have XP values? All of these monsters not only could one shot a level 1 character, but has a high chance of doing just that. Level 2 monsters can deal twice as much damage as level 1 monsters without being any more dangerous.

They could add a level 1 monster that is worth 160 xp for example that doesn't deal enough damage to consistantly kill level 1 characters, but has enough HP to survive a few rounds against level 1 characters.
Why post in both? Because people give very different feedback in the two forums. In this forum, we're talking about the playtest packets, and changes that the playtest packet might need. Is small target too limited to be a level 1 ability? Do there need to be more large level one monsters in the Bestiary? In the DM playtest, I got more of a critique of my DMing style, which is helpful, but a different topic.

If monsters that are higher than level one are meant to be reasonable to throw at your party at level 1, why have monster levels at all? Why not just have XP values? All of these monsters not only could one shot a level 1 character, but has a high chance of doing just that. Level 2 monsters can deal twice as much damage as level 1 monsters without being any more dangerous.

They could add a level 1 monster that is worth 160 xp for example that doesn't deal enough damage to consistantly kill level 1 characters, but has enough HP to survive a few rounds against level 1 characters.



One level 1 character can fight 1 level 1 monster. Two level 1 PC's can fight 2 level 1 monsters. You have four players; four level 1 PC's can take on one level 2-3 monster.

Almost anything can one or two-shot a first level character. That's what makes them first level characters. It's more exciting for your characters that way. If they can't handle it, then maybe they shouldn't be adventuring anyway. It's not called "boring", it's an adventure! And adventure means risk. 

Some of the monsters I listed may be too hard; give them the chance to run away, or catch the monster unawares, or to choose not to fight it, or to lay a trap. They should learn strategy and tactics. A Dire wolf can one-shot a 1st level PC, but a sleep spell has a very good chance of dropping it, too. And then your other characters can CdG the wolf and use a healer's kit on the downed player.
Low level 5e is very dangerous. If you want the players to be able to fight a larger variety of foes, start them at level three or four outside of the "apprentice tier".
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
I'm not actually seeking advice. I'm making an observation and giving feedback about the playtest materials.

I think that the game is designed to be introduced to new players at level 1. This is when their character's abilities are the least complicated, and gives them time to get accustom to what they are capable of. I'm not complaining about monsters one shotting characters, nor am I complaining about the lack of variety of level 1 monsters.

I'm pointing out that the Giant Killer level 1 ability has exactly one target, and that's a horse. In the playtest materials as is. I have no doubt they will expand the bestiary.

If level 1 characters are meant to battle level 2 or 3 monsters, why give monster's levels at all? Why not give them XP values only? I'm not saying you can't give your players challenges that are outside of the guidelines, but the game should be playable inside the guidelines.

I think that saying that a level 1 ability will be useful later, or is useful because it can be used against higher level threats, is a cop-out. I think it's a hole that requires some attention. 
I'm not actually seeking advice. I'm making an observation and giving feedback about the playtest materials.

If level 1 characters are meant to battle level 2 or 3 monsters, why give monster's levels at all? Why not give them XP values only?



And you're completely ignoring my observation and feedback.

I'll say it again:

One level 1 character can fight 1 level 1 monster. Two level 1 PC's can fight 2 level 1 monsters. Monster levels are valid when you want to stack up a number of monsters equal to the number of players, and of the same level as the characters they are fighting. 
They're kinda like challenge ratings from 3e. A party of 4 level 8 characters could fairly easily defeat a CR 8 monster, but one level 8 character would find himself in a very difficult fight. If you want to have a boss fight against a giant monster, it shouldn't be a level one monster because those are too weak for a party of four. Instead, it should be a level two or three monster to give the party a challenge.
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
If monsters that are higher than level one are meant to be reasonable to throw at your party at level 1, why have monster levels at all? Why not just have XP values?



I'm going to guess it's for ease of reference, especially when searching through the bestiary in a digital medium.  Having monster levels saves me from having to remember, for instance, that a level+0 monster for a lv. 11 party is worth 4,930 XP - I can just search lv. 11 monsters if I want one in that range.  If an online tool is provided at some point (which is likely, given they were selling subscriptions to one in 4e,) having monster levels makes sorting and searching much faster, and takes the burden of memorizing XP values off the DM.

The only edition that has included monster levels was 4e, and in that edition it was never intended for characters only to encounter monsters of their level.  You can rest assured that in the final publication they'll have a chapter about encounter building in the DMG that explains that to the reader.  The 4e DMG, for instance, advised that most encounters should include monsters of the average PC's level +/- 3.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
I for one love the level based challenge rating system. It's basically this guy and this guy are an even match. CR worked the same way (a level 1 NPC = a CR 1 encounter) but nobody wanted to cop to that...there was all this weird arcane Monte Cookian math about four PCs expending one third of their resources to fight a CR1 fight. Argh. Everything got really screwed up, leading to the weird 3e LA mechanics...all sorts of weirdness.

As is what you do is form teams, like in wargaming. The PCs have 4, 1st level characters, you pick four 1st level (or a single 4th level, or a 2nd level and two 1st level) badguys and go! So much nicer!

Now if only they'd do the same thing with magic items--make them worth the equivalent of a level and just add them into the budget. So you go: four players + three levels of magic items equals seven levels of monsters. Right there you have a nice goal for magic item design, make items worth the same as a level/extra player.

Want to fight a level 11 dragon at first level? Outfit your three players with 8 levels of magic items. Easy peasy.
Now with 100% more Vorthos!