Monday, September 24, 2007

Math is hard!

Having only now gotten to the latest Design & Development article, I figure I should jot down my thoughts on it before I go tackle the dozen or more blog entries I've missed over the last four or five days.

I've mentioned before my love for the math behind the CR and EL from 3rd edition D&D. While the Monster Manuals are my favorite books, a close "second" would be the Savage Species book. It attempted to provide you with the formulas needed to make a class out of a monster, which was the deepest insight to design that the developers provided to us geeks that enjoy that kind of thing.

Along the lines of finding a class progression and calculating level adjustments is how to calculate the challenge rating of a monster, and it sounds like they've made that much more formulaic than it used to be. I spent a good amount of time and energy trying to deduce the formula for a creature's CR, and concluded in the end what Mearls admits in the article -- that it was up to the designer's "best guess."

With the introduction of roles helping to make encounters, and the inclusion of traps and hazards into the encounter calculations, I can only hope that they divulge their formulae for level or challenge rating or encounter level or whatever they end up calling it. While perhaps they might want to keep this "intellectual property" secret, this game is all about imagination in the end, and if a DM wants to imagine this foe with extra arms or that foe ten feet taller, then they would only be helping out the players and the game as a whole if they provide these calculations right up front.

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