Surf13's D&D Next monster analysis and monster math articles...

I figured I'd share the work I've been doing on monster analysis with the wider D&D Next community, in the hope that others might gain some value from them.

 

As an index...

 

I'll be keeping this first post up to date with edits as new installments are posted.

 

 

Please note that I'm not a professional game designer or statistician, just a hobbyist who's loving this iteration of the game so far... But really, really needs to know how to build and customise monsters with some reliability. So all constructive feedback is appreciated.

 

 

Feel free to discuss!

 

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

That was a really good read. Thanks for putting all the effort in to the explanations
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it and really do appreciate the feedback!

I'm striving to post at least one installment every few days, while preparing for my main game (which is 2 weeks away).  Factoring in what I have finished writing I think the main body of the whole series will be up by then. After that it should be odd articles based on discussion from... well mainly from here Laughing

Hopefully folks don't get sick of all the numbers Tongue Out

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

Interesting!  We found that at levels 8-10 the fighter was out-damaging the rogue but that might have been because  she was using isolated strike and our fighter had defensive abilities to improve her AC if he was next to her so she had to balance offence against defence.
@pauln6

It kinda sounds like maybe your Fighter or your Rogue aren't being played according to the current packet...

Fighter (Level 9)


  • Death Dealer (DD): Deep Wound: +1 Expertise Dice/hit

  • Deadly Strike (DS): Double weapon damage 1/turn

  • Multiattack (Ma): 2 attacks/round

  • Weapon (W): Assume 1d10 (avg 5 damage)

  • Strength (S): Assume 20 (+5 damage)

  • Assuming 4 rounds of combat (so only using one ED/round)


Deadly Strike DPR = DD+DS+W+S = 3+3+5+5 = 16
Multiattack DPR = (W+Sx2)+DD = (5+5x2)+3 = 23

Which averages to 19.5/round damage for a L9 fighter.

The fighter can upsize to a 1d12 weapon taking numbers to 18/24, avg 21.

Rogue (Level 9)


  • Sneak Attack (SA): 5d6 = 15

  • Dexterity (D): Assume 20 (+5 damage for finesse weapons)

  • Weapon (W): Assume 1d4 (avg 2 damage)

  • Deadly Strike (DS): Add 1 W damage


DPR = SA+D+W+DS = 15+5+2+2 = 24

If the Rogue goes to a Rapier the W becomes 4 and DPR is 28. If they then add a Dagegr to their off hand it's 30.


At least, that's my take on the current packet.

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

@pauln6

It kinda sounds like maybe your Fighter or your Rogue aren't being played according to the current packet...

Fighter (Level 9)


  • Death Dealer (DD): Deep Wound: +1 Expertise Dice/hit

  • Deadly Strike (DS): Double weapon damage 1/turn

  • Multiattack (Ma): 2 attacks/round

  • Weapon (W): Assume 1d10 (avg 5 damage)

  • Strength (S): Assume 20 (+5 damage)

  • Assuming 4 rounds of combat (so only using one ED/round)


Deadly Strike DPR = DD+DS+W+S = 3+3+5+5 = 16
Multiattack DPR = (W+Sx2)+DD = (5+5x2)+3 = 23

Which averages to 19.5/round damage for a L9 fighter.

The fighter can upsize to a 1d12 weapon taking numbers to 18/24, avg 21.

Rogue (Level 9)


  • Sneak Attack (SA): 5d6 = 15

  • Dexterity (D): Assume 20 (+5 damage for finesse weapons)

  • Weapon (W): Assume 1d4 (avg 2 damage)

  • Deadly Strike (DS): Add 1 W damage


DPR = SA+D+W+DS = 15+5+2+2 = 24

If the Rogue goes to a Rapier the W becomes 4 and DPR is 28. If they then add a Dagegr to their off hand it's 30.


At least, that's my take on the current packet.



Your assumption is partly correct.  The rogue infilcts less damage because
a) She was level 8 and the fighter was level 10
b) She had Dex 16 and the fighter had Str15 with Gauntlets of Ogre Power (Str19)
c) Rogues don't get sneak attack every round
d) The fighter used a longsword +1
e) The rogue used non-magical rapier and dagger
f) The fighter used defensive abilities to protect other PCs rather than death dealer
g) The fighter had 3 attacks but sometimes wasted one because only 2 enemies were in range.
h) I used half stat bonus on attack rolls
i) I used half dex bonus on dex damage rolls
h) I used half dex bonus to AC unless spending your reaction to dodge against a particular attack.

D&D doesn't always play the same in reality as it does on paper!  And thank the gods we don't have to build boring PCs with 20 in their prime stat to be functional in DDN.  The level disparity was a deliberate act to see if the characters played ok becuase in 4e that seemed to be a problem and they seemed fine.  The half stat thing was satisfactory to me in this playtest at least.
@pauln6

It kinda sounds like maybe your Fighter or your Rogue aren't being played according to the current packet...

Fighter (Level 9)


  • Death Dealer (DD): Deep Wound: +1 Expertise Dice/hit

  • Deadly Strike (DS): Double weapon damage 1/turn

  • Multiattack (Ma): 2 attacks/round

  • Weapon (W): Assume 1d10 (avg 5 damage)

  • Strength (S): Assume 20 (+5 damage)

  • Assuming 4 rounds of combat (so only using one ED/round)


Deadly Strike DPR = DD+DS+W+S = 3+3+5+5 = 16
Multiattack DPR = (W+Sx2)+DD = (5+5x2)+3 = 23

Which averages to 19.5/round damage for a L9 fighter.

The fighter can upsize to a 1d12 weapon taking numbers to 18/24, avg 21.

Rogue (Level 9)


  • Sneak Attack (SA): 5d6 = 15

  • Dexterity (D): Assume 20 (+5 damage for finesse weapons)

  • Weapon (W): Assume 1d4 (avg 2 damage)

  • Deadly Strike (DS): Add 1 W damage


DPR = SA+D+W+DS = 15+5+2+2 = 24

If the Rogue goes to a Rapier the W becomes 4 and DPR is 28. If they then add a Dagegr to their off hand it's 30.


At least, that's my take on the current packet.



Your assumption is partly correct.  The rogue infilcts less damage because
a) She was level 8 and the fighter was level 10
b) She had Dex 16 and the fighter had Str15 with Gauntlets of Ogre Power (Str19)
c) Rogues don't get sneak attack every round
d) The fighter used a longsword +1
e) The rogue used non-magical rapier and dagger
f) The fighter used defensive abilities to protect other PCs rather than death dealer
g) The fighter had 3 attacks but sometimes wasted one because only 2 enemies were in range.
h) I used half stat bonus on attack rolls
i) I used half dex bonus on dex damage rolls
h) I used half dex bonus to AC unless spending your reaction to dodge against a particular attack.

D&D doesn't always play the same in reality as it does on paper!  And thank the gods we don't have to build boring PCs with 20 in their prime stat to be functional in DDN.  The level disparity was a deliberate act to see if the characters played ok becuase in 4e that seemed to be a problem and they seemed fine.  The half stat thing was satisfactory to me in this playtest at least.



I think thats far too much of a discrepancy between the two characters, due to magic items and house rule nerfs to the rogue, to place the blame on isolated strike.

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My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke
Yeah I agree with @sleypy. You are comparing apples and tomatoes. With all those differences you just can't expect them to measure up against each other anyway.

Isolated Strike doesn't work well in some groups, but works perfectly in others. We had a rogue who used it to great effect, specialising in ranged attack from cover with a blowgun. Backstab and Tumbling Strike seem to be easier for many players/groups to use.

In my current level 8 group the Rogue gets Sneak Attack about 95% of the time using Backstab.

From the perspective of calculating average class damage for level we assume "all things being equal on a best case basis". So the Rogue gets Sneak Attack and the Fighter gets Death Dealer.

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

I think thats far too much of a discrepancy between the two characters, due to magic items and house rule nerfs to the rogue, to place the blame on isolated strike.




Possibly true but aplogies if you thought I was criticising the rogue as being underpowered.  Quite the contrary, she performed just fine in our opinion.  She was desgined as an investigator not a combat specialsit in any event.

However, magic items aren't assumed in Next so any imbalance they provide must not unbalance the game.  From that perspective, I was equally not unhappy at how she performed with no magic items.  The nerf to the gauntlets helps.  I think I'm going to retain it going forward.  The AC nerf is still up for grabs depending on what they do to armour in future.  Cureent packet suggests not much.

Great work!  This is really interesting to me, and I think it'll be useful when I'm trying to customize monsters for my players.  Thanks!
Tiny nitpick. They are not assumed, so any benefit they give unbalances the game, you as a DM is supposed to just take that in to account when giving them
Just posted Part 4: AC Analysis...

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

Brilliant analysis, thank you.

My Next game is at level 8 now, and finally I can see why I'm struggling to convert monsters into decent encounters! 
Finally! Something to read! RPG Treehouse
Very helpfull information!  I've shared this with one of my DM peers.  Looking forward to seeing the rest of your analysis.
Glad folks are finding it of interest!

Just posted Part 5: Attack Bonus Analysis.

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

Just wanted to say that these analyses are super useful... carry on being awesome!
Thanks!

Just posted Part 7: Damage Analysis...

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

Hey all! 

I just posted Part 8: Putting It All Together

Git yer Monster Baseline Table here!

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

These are great. Thank you.
Thanks Surf!

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke
Glad folks are finding it useful!

It's taking me a bit longer than expected to get the XP post sorted... There's some... uh... idiosyncrasies in the data :D

Folks interested in using or helping build an unofficial Bestiary (lord knows we need more higher level creatures) should check out the D&D Next Bestiary... I've joined and will be posting monsters there. I'd encourage others to do the same.

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

Looks like the board migration killed a lot of the updates to my first post.

 

So I've redone them!

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

Hows the progress on the next instalment coming?


I had to put it on hold a couple of times but it is progressing. All creatures have been entered, all reference data (e.g., class stats) have been crunched. I'm in the final stages of the process now - actually crunching the monster data (about half way through this) and then holding it up against extrapolated class data. After that it's writing blog posts! So not too far to go :-) 

 

If real life can hold off for a while I should be posting the update in about a week!

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

Thank you so much Surf. I need info like this as I start to plan to take my D&D Next campaign to higher levels. I'm using modules until around level 10 but then I need to do some monster conversions. I really appreciate the work you've put in here and the link to the unofficial monsters.

Cool. That is good news.

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

Glad it's interesting and, hopefully, useful. Apologies again for the delays but 60+ hour weeks (some as hated night shifts) makes it pretty difficult to do much else. I am now able to spend some time most days on the review so I'm confident I'll be able to post some stuff quite soon...

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

surf13 wrote:


I had to put it on hold a couple of times but it is progressing. All creatures have been entered, all reference data (e.g., class stats) have been crunched. I'm in the final stages of the process now - actually crunching the monster data (about half way through this) and then holding it up against extrapolated class data. After that it's writing blog posts! So not too far to go :-) 

 

If real life can hold off for a while I should be posting the update in about a week!

 

Very cool! I wish you the best of luck in the Real Life™ department... I know how that always seems to get in the way of geekdom.

 

And I just want to say that I appreciate that you're doing this—it is qute useful and very interesting for those of us that love to tinker with the system.

I've lurked in this thread since the beginning, and I thought I should say that it's already helped me out a huge amount-and that I am far too excited for these final few updates.

Thanks for the kind words and well wishes all.

 

Here's a belated Christmas Present for you all -> Part 10: Final Packet Analysis is up!

 

Hope you all have a great New Year!... Look for part 11 in a couple of weeks or so.

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

Very cool! Thank you, Surf.

Hi Surf,

 

That was a great read, thanks for all the hard work and have a great newyear's!

 

-Cav

Surf,

Do you think your analysis is strong enough for people (me) to use it as the baseline for "leveling up" monsters? I really wanted to jack a vampire up to level 10 and make it a BBEG so I can run Expedition to Castle Ravenloft for D&DNext.

Clockwork.

Cool. Thanks Surf.

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

Thanks for the kind words, gang.

 

@ClockworkSaber yes it should be fine for levelling monsters up, within the current parameters of D&D Next. Note that you'll be well into the "weak zone", where monsters feel significantly easier for same-level parties to defeat than at earlier levels.

 

My next installment should provide a solid table for addressing that. ETA is about Friday this week...

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

Uh... I got a little carried away proving some aspects of the new table to myself. As in a few days of "carried away" just reviewing and tweaking numbers

 

So I've only just started writing the other parts of the new blog article. It should be posted Monday or Tuesday.

 

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?

surf13 wrote:

Uh... I got a little carried away proving some aspects of the new table to myself. As in a few days of "carried away" just reviewing and tweaking numbers

 

So I've only just started writing the other parts of the new blog article. It should be posted Monday or Tuesday.

 

S'okay, dude, your analysis it well worth the wait. You getting "carried away" seems more like good thing than not. :-)

Thanks for being so understanding Azzy1974 (and everyone else)...

 

Unfortunately there's been more delays - my spare time has been compromised by work (yet again) and I'm also struggling to articulate some of what I want to say. Lol. I'm about 3/4s through the first cut and hope to complete the thing...

 

Heck I don't want to give a timeframe just to disappoint again. Is "pretty soon" ok for everyone??

Need a D&D Next DM's screen?? Want to understand D&D Next monsters?