Okay, after my initial outing I realized that I needed less information than I was recording. Plus, the stuff I was getting stopped being super-helpful after a couple hundred entries.

So I went back to concept.

I realized I didn’t want or need every monster in the book, and moreover I didn’t every iteration of every monster in the book. Sometimes a gnoll is just a gnoll, and sometimes a hooked horror really isn’t worth mentioning.

Last night I actually started my spreadsheet over from scratch and I finished it, too. So, what did I learn from it?

4e spread some things out, made some monsters tougher to fill out the tiers of play. I’ve always thought grimlocks, kuo-toa, and troglodytes were kinda phoned-in as far as high concept is concerned, and I was surprised to find them all scaled to the late-Heroic, to mid-Paragon tier.

In retrospect though, I think that’s okay. In a lot of ways, those underworld critters are just supposed to be the humans of a different, much deadlier world.

So, of course they’re just kind of bigger and badder than what you’d get on the surface world.

The other thing I got out of it was something so painfully obvious I might have experienced some very real pain when I realized it: a conversion metric for monsters from 4e to 5e.

Halve the level.

I guess it came to me in part because I’ve been mulling over the reason WotC decided to design their new campaign thingies to run from 1st to 15th rather than 1st to 20th.

I wrote all about it in my notebook, tried to size it up, tried to look at it from different angles.

And I don’t think I necessarily get it, but it did help me realize that 15th level is like the new 20th/30th level. It’s the new level cap.

In effect, the levels from 16th to 20th are just gravy.

I’ll have to review the 5e character classes to know for sure, but I was getting this impression as I was transcribing monster data from book to spreadsheet.

It actually makes me wonder what it does to the campaign arc (mathematically, mechanically) to have adventures span levels 1-15 instead of 1-20 or 1-30.

In essence, it should be half what you’d expect from a 4e campaign arc, but things in D&D don’t always scale well. Or at all.

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In other news, I’ve also done some more work on the dungeon our group should be plumbing tonight (and hopefully the next few weeks). I don’t know why I don’t work on these things when I have more time, it’s like I get distracted worn other projects or something.

What I did was roll for room contents and make notes on my maps about where monsters and treasure are located. That’s good, that’s something I should definitely have worked out ahead of time. ;)

I’m also working on some of the factions and uh, themes I want to explore. But that will require a little more investigation, I think.

Not just on my part, but once the players actually get down in there.