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Weirdness in the encounter calculator

bhu

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Anyone else use the d20 srd encounter calculator? I was asked to do a critter suitable for 5 fifteenth level PC's and it says CR 15 is easy, but 16 is 'very difficult.'

Anyone else notice stuff like this?
 

Uqbarian

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I think it's because you have five PCs and the 3.5 difficulty band for 'challenging' is narrow (EL = APL). For four PCs of level 15, a single CR 14 opponent would be 'easy', a single CR 15 opponent would be 'challenging' and a single CR 16 opponent would be 'very difficult'. The adjustment for a fifth PC means the CR 15 opponent slides in under the 'easy' mark but the CR 16 opponent remains 'very difficult'.
 

bhu

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Well shoot. I've been asked to design a boss encounter for five level 15 PC's.
 

Uqbarian

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I'm more accustomed to Pathfinder, but I'd say a single CR 16 would be fine and might feel challenging without being very difficult. If the party was at a lower level, I'd be more worried about matching the EL, but high-level characters have more options and will punch a bit higher above their weight, more so if they're optimised (though the game also gets more rocket-taggy). Maybe avoid monsters that are overclocked for their CR, such as dragons. If you have some idea of what the PCs can do, you can check if the monster has abilities they can't easily counter.
 

bhu

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It'll be a homebrew critter. It's a giant self-aware spellbook.
 

Stattick

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Book flips to pg 69. It's a racy picture. Book casts Charm Person.
Book flips to pg 13. It's the Grim Reaper. Book casts Finger of Death.
Book flips to pg 666. It's a fiery hellscape. Book casts Fireball.

(You can totally use these, or the idea, if you want.)
 

Dweller in Darkness

Excelsior
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Fights with a single boss are almost always over far faster than the DM is prepared for unless there's something to keep at least a couple of the PCs distracted, but you can make it work.
 

Stattick

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Especially if the book can "Concentrate" on two spells at once. Oh. Maybe it cast two spells per turn? Maybe treat it like two wizards in one skin. Ah, one wizard was skinned to bind the book, and a different wizard was skinned to provide the vellum that the text is written on.
 

Dudde

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Nice idea!
I like solos that can split up as the encounter progresses - after X amount of turns, a few pages leap out to become sepparate monsters. Or maybe the giant book starts to command lesser books to start attacking the characters?
 
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