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Calculating Challenge Rating


Rules Questions


I apologize up front for such a simple question, but how do you calculate an encounter's challenge rating? Searching through my CRB and my Game Mastery Guide, though, has yielded no results (due to the fact that my brain may be shrinking). Is there a formula to it?

I remember in 3.5 they had an Encounter Level (EL) system that always went over my head as I would stare at that convoluted table.

The scenario I am creating is a level 4 Tiefling Elemental Fire Wizard (out of the APG) surrounded by 4 burning skeletons. What would the challenge rating be for that specific encounter?

I DM a lot of published adventures, but now that I am more comfortable with the rules and systems I have begun to create my own scenarios for my players.

I am tired, so hopefully the question I have posed is coherent and easy to understand. Thanks for your time!


Pathfinder uses an XP Budget system. Simply add the XP reward listed for all the creatures in the encounter together and check against the chart in Encounter Design to get the nearest CR for that amount of XP. You may need to add or take away creatures to get an exact CR.


Great! That makes complete sense - a very simple method.

Thanks so much!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Robot GoGo Funshine wrote:

The scenario I am creating is a level 4 Tiefling Elemental Fire Wizard (out of the APG) surrounded by 4 burning skeletons. What would the challenge rating be for that specific encounter?

Here's the answer:

Spoiler:
A Level 4 NPC with a PC class is CR 3 = 800 xp
Burning skeletons are each CR 1/2 = 200 xp (800 xo total)

Total XP for the encounter is 1600, which is CR 5.


So...I have a Level 3 Master Summoner (Ifrit) with Improved Inititive and Extra Summoning Feats. He has a Level 1 Eidlon quadreped.

No magic items.

CR for this encounter?

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

A Level 3 Master Summoner ought to be CR 2. If he doesn't have the magic items commensurate with his station, he should be CR 1.


Sorry to revive a thread well answered, but how do you do the same for encounters involving neutral (or possibly hostile) NPCs where you can get help, or perhaps build a favorable relationship? The PC walks into a smithy, and rather than just purchase an item, the PC actually *talks* with the blacksmith and wins over a friend? Or say there is a puzzle lock to a door... "Speak, friend, and enter" http://bellsouthpwp.net/d/p/dptolar/friend.htm would be an example. I want to put stuff like this in my campaign, but I'm not clear how to reward XP for figuring things out or role-playing.


When I still used XP, I awarded full XP for a fight that was avoided through non-violent means, (this counts only if the obstacle represented by that fight was overcome. The players can't say "hey, I see a dragon, over there and by running from him i have avoided the fight and thus receive XP) sometimes I even awarded a bonus for especially clever solutions.
In case of roleplaying- or skill challenges, just figure out how hard it was for the PCs and award XP based on a fight of the appropriate difficulty. Was that blacksmith in a good mood anyway? Easy encounter then. Was he so lonely, he desperately wanted a friend and the PC would have to punch him in the face to keep him from becoming his friend? No challenge, -> no XP. Was he in such a violently bad mood that he would have smashed the pcs face in with his hammer on first wrong word? Challenging or Hard.
Worked pretty well.


I'll work with it. If I can get together a group for Rise of the Runelords, it would help for me to have that as a good base benchmark to work with. I only read the first chapter and I saw some fantastic stuff of what kinds of things I would *LIKE* to do, and it has the XP/ CR already in there with suggestions on modifiers. But not very much of RotRL translates into a solo game in the iddle of the Algid Wastes. :( Thank you for the advice. I'll work on it from "if a fight were to break out" angle until I can get a better feel for it.

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