In 4e, minions don't roll for their damage. They just do a number. That's convenient when there's a bunch of puny dudes. The variability comes not in what they roll, but in how many of them hit you.
In Next, monster damage is expressed as things like "11 (2d8 + 2) damage". I've been rolling the dice, of course, because that's how D&D works. You roll the dice for monster damage.
What would happen if we didn't, though? Has anybody been running sessions just using the flat number? Is that what I'm supposed to be doing? It is the thing not in parens, after all. Obviously it'd speed things up at the cost of (I assume) making monsters more predictable. I don't really want to create situations where it's like, "It doesn't matter if it hits me. It does nine damage", but the speedup is tempting. (Although Next combats are already fast.) Has anybody experimented with this? (Or has everyone but me been doing it this way?)
I haven't personally, but I believe 13th Age may have switched to static monster damage at some point. And another game I enjoy, OldSchoolHack, has player-characters with only like 5 hit points, enemies with between 1 and 10 (and I guess more, sometimes), and attacks that generally do 1 or 2 damage (with some capable of getting all the way up to 4 or 5 with a lot of talents stacked together).
The number outside the parentheses is the average. On average, you should be getting a number close to that when you roll for damage. So really, other than the damage being more consistent with each hit, there really shouldn't be an real change.
I get that in the aggregate it's the same amount of damage and that it shouldn't be anything of a balance concern. I'm curious if people have found that using flat damage makes the monsters less exciting or too predictable or shifts things to too much of a metagamey level when players have too clear an idea of how much damage something will do if it hits.
Also, some googling suggests that 13th Age does have flat damage for monsters, or at least it did at some point. This article actually discusses flat damage, and it seems pretty on board with it. (Although you'd assume it would be, or they wouldn't have gone with flat damage.)
I have used both damage roll and used static damage for monsters. Static damage is faster, more stable and predictable, while damage roll takes slightly longer to resolve (especially with multiple monsters) and his random thus more swingy and unpredictable.
Same for monsters Hit Points. Its really a matter of preferances. But i think its great to have both options in the statblocks.
As bounded accuracy is designed to make running larger encounters of lower-level enemies feasible from a math perspective, I find the option for static damage to encourage this possibility further--When I have to deal with a dozen plus weak creatures with decent chance to hit, static damage can allow me to cruise through their turns and maintain good speeds.
It's a small thing, but there is good value in it me thinks.
I used the flat numbers when I was running a session and we really needed to wrap up. It worked pretty well; the fights didn't last long enough for the players to really notice that I wasn't rolling, let alone start predicting monster damage in metagame.
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