CR of Mites with class levels


Rules Questions


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I'm a bit confused on calculating CR when adding class levels to a normally super-weak monster like the CR 1/4 Mite, and was looking for some clarification.

For example, I want to make a Mite Ranger. Is it's CR increased to 1/3 from one level of ranger? And thus a Mite Ranger 3 is CR 1, ranger 4 is CR 2, and so on? Seems a little off at first glance, but then again considering a Human Ranger 3 is CR 2, not so much.

Or would it be that adding a level of Ranger adds 1 to CR. Thus a Mite Ranger 1 is CR 1, and a Mite Ranger 3 is CR 3. This actually makes it 1 CR stronger than the comparative human ranger of the same level, and I'm not sure if that's the way it should be or not.

So... I can't decide which method is correct in this case. Both seem plausible to a degree. Anyone else know which it is?


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I have the same problem with templates. They appear to adjust the CR for sub-1/2 creatures inconsistently depending on the entry/tool/whatever.

I would suggest comparing it to other creatures of its supposed CR and using the tables for monster creation as guides. For that matter, I would suggest doing that for any modified creature, as frequently the template is more or less dangerous than expected on certain creatures. (Example: a young rat swarm is arguably more dangerous than a plain rat swarm due to weapon immunity.)


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That said, I did notice the few times I've seen a goblin NPC with a PC class, it rose from 1/3 to 1/2 when it goes from warrior to PC-class. Take from that what you will. So basically, I'd go with 1/3 for ranger 1, 1/2 for ranger 2, and so on, keeping an eye out for the point at which being a mite no longer makes it appreciably less dangerous than, e.g., a gnome ranger. At that point, bump the CR by 1 and you're good.


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Goblins are defined by their class levels though, so that makes sense. A goblin warrior 1 is CR 1/3 just like a human warrior 1, an elven warrior 1, and anything else, and a goblin [insert PC class level] 1 is CR 1/2 just like any other 1st level member of a PC, or monster-as-PC race.

Mites aren't defined by their class levels, so I can only assume they don't work the same, and thus a goblin can't be used as reference.


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As I understood it, any monster with class levels that only has one hit die without them basically replaces the racial hit die with the class hit die. I must admit, I'm having trouble finding text to support it, though. But it's how I construct monstrous PCs.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
blahpers wrote:
As I understood it, any monster with class levels that only has one hit die without them basically replaces the racial hit die with the class hit die. I must admit, I'm having trouble finding text to support it, though. But it's how I construct monstrous PCs.

That's kind of true. For monsters that are defined by their class level, such as goblins or tieflings, you build them like an NPC. (Goblins are such a low CR because of their 3 point buy used for stats)

However, for monsters that have racial hit dice, such as Mites, you would add class hit dice on top of their racial hit dice, and then adjust CR. So a mite with a class level in fighter would increase his CR by 1 (which raises it from a 1/3 to a 1/2, if I understand CR correctly). Interestingly, if he's given a PC class level, then his stats change (+4, +4, +2, +2, +0, and –2). If he gets an NPC level, his stats don't change, but he still would get the same CR increase.

So a level 1 fighter (or warrior) mite has 2 HD (1d6+1d10) and is CR 1/2, according to the monster advancement rules.

That's according to the rules anyways (unless I am misreading). There are methods that will work better or be more balanced that I'm sure you can come up with. The CR advancement stuff is a bit weird at really low CRs.


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Castarr4 wrote:
blahpers wrote:
As I understood it, any monster with class levels that only has one hit die without them basically replaces the racial hit die with the class hit die. I must admit, I'm having trouble finding text to support it, though. But it's how I construct monstrous PCs.

That's kind of true. For monsters that are defined by their class level, such as goblins or tieflings, you build them like an NPC. (Goblins are such a low CR because of their 3 point buy used for stats)

However, for monsters that have racial hit dice, such as Mites, you would add class hit dice on top of their racial hit dice, and then adjust CR. So a mite with a class level in fighter would increase his CR by 1 (which raises it from a 1/3 to a 1/2, if I understand CR correctly). Interestingly, if he's given a PC class level, then his stats change (+4, +4, +2, +2, +0, and –2). If he gets an NPC level, his stats don't change, but he still would get the same CR increase.

So a level 1 fighter (or warrior) mite has 2 HD (1d6+1d10) and is CR 1/2, according to the monster advancement rules.

That's according to the rules anyways (unless I am misreading). There are methods that will work better or be more balanced that I'm sure you can come up with. The CR advancement stuff is a bit weird at really low CRs.

I think you're right, but since you're designing the thing you can do whatever you want. : D In any case, the only thing I found regarding 1 HD monsters not "really" having racial hit dice was from 3.5's rules on monsters with classes. That part of the rules apparently didn't make the port to Pathfinder.

Either way, it all comes down to your assessment of the creature's danger factor. I could build a 20th-level human oracle that doesn't warrant more than a CR 5 with little effort.


Necroing the thread because I'm unsure what to do here. I was planning on giving mites class levels, but am unsure what CR they will be (and what classes they would likely take in the first place)


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Hero Lab's usually pretty good about this. Let's see, testing it...

One class level brings it up to CR 1/2, then CR 1, and presumably it goes up normally from there.


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Good question!

First off, Mites are 1/4 CR and their "monster role" is "combat".

I think that technically each PC class level increases the CR by 1. So a Mite who has one level of fighter, is CR 1 1/4, and the fraction is dropped, so I think CR 1. On the other hand, a non key class like rogue would only add 1 to the CR per two class levels. So I think you could have a mite with 1 level of rogue who is still only CR 1/4, but the next level would bump the CR up to 1.

I would say that the "rules" for determining CR is more of a suggestion. I'm under the impression that they were designed for adding levels to tougher creatures, not fractional CR monsters. Build the creature as you would for adding class levels to any creature with racial HD - Ability score bonuses, equipment, all class benefits, etc. Then take a good look at how it compares to similar monsters to determine CR.

EDIT: I think rogue is the most intuitive fit for mites, with ranger being a close second. Some sort of vermin druid is also a good fit. The are oddly well set up to be monks, which is unusual for fey. Due to low Int and Ch, they don't take to arcane classes as well. I would also be inclined to stay away from the heavy armor classes.


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GM Rednal wrote:

Hero Lab's usually pretty good about this. Let's see, testing it...

One class level brings it up to CR 1/2, then CR 1, and presumably it goes up normally from there.

What are the results for a combat class, and a non-combat class?


CR 1/4 Mite wrote:

I think that technically each PC class level increases the CR by 1. So a Mite who has one level of fighter, is CR 1 1/4, and the fraction is dropped, so I think CR 1. On the other hand, a non-key class like rogue would only add 1 to the CR per two class levels. So I think you could have a mite with 1 level of rogue who is still only CR 1/4, but the next level would bump the CR up to 1.

I know that rogues are considered a weak class, but I thought the CR system treated them the same as other PC classes (which is what I assume you mean by 'combat classes')

*Edit: for practical use, I'm trying to create CR 6 mites - say about a half-dozen or so. What classes would mites be inclined to level in?


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My opinion on is it is that being a mite is only as much a detriment as being a gnome or halfling is roughly.

At worst I would say they would be 1 CR behind another creature of the same class level. Probably by level 5 it doesn't matter anymore and their CR is equal to their class levels -1.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A Mite is a CR 1/4 monster. Adding a PC class level increases its CR by one step per class level (we can ignore the non-key class rules since the Mite's CR is too low for them to apply). Therefor a Mite with 1 PC class level would be CR 1/3. That's the technical RAW answer, but GM's should always sanity check the final CR. Being a Mite isn't too disadvantageous when compared to standard races, so whether or not it's worth a CR drop is a subjective question. The best way to determine CR is always to analyze the actual capabilities of the resulting creature/character and determine which CR best fits its level of power.

Both Hero Lab and PCGen frequently get CR's wrong for monsters with templates and PC class levels. I would not rely on them for that purpose.

Dark Archive

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Scroll down to the adding class levels bit. I'd start at CR1/2 or CR1 for 1 class level, and then go up by 1 for each class level after that. Don't forget that it's racial hit dice don't add that much so the slight boost that it has is negligable at higher levels.
Substituting the racial hit die with class levels was a D&D 3.5 thing, I think.
There are also class templates in the Monster Codex, if you want a simple way to make slightly different monsters.


I've made an example mite, with one level of fighter if anyone is interested

here

*Edit - adding +4/4/2/2/0/-2 to mite stats, as detailed in monster advancement


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magispitt wrote:
I know that rogues are considered a weak class, but I thought the CR system treated them the same as other PC classes (which is what I assume you mean by 'combat classes')

The CR system treats classes differently depending on how well the new class meshes with the creatures racial abilities.

Beastiary wrote:

Adding Class Levels

Of all the methods of advancing a monster, adding class levels requires the most adjudication and careful comparison. Some classes truly add to the power and abilities of some monster types, while others do not. For example, adding levels of barbarian to a hill giant can be a great addition, whereas adding levels of sorcerer is less useful. When adding class levels to a creature, take the following three steps.
Step 1: Determine Creature's Role

When adding class levels to a creature, the first step is to determine what role the base creature fulfills. There are three basic roles into which a creature might fall. A creature can fall into more than one role if its abilities are diverse.

Combat: This creature is designed to be good at melee or ranged combat with a weapon or its natural weapons. In either case, these monsters have a number of feats and abilities to enhance their combat prowess (or are good simply by nature of their Hit Dice and ability scores). If a creature does not possess many spells, special abilities, or skills, it is a combat monster.

Most animals, constructs, dragons, humanoids, magical beasts, monstrous humanoids, plants, and vermin fall into this role, as do some creatures of all the other types.

Spell: Spell creatures possess a large number of spells that allow them to attack or harass their enemies. These creatures usually have lower hit points and relatively weak attacks as compared to the averages for creatures of their CR. Note that creatures that only possess spell-like abilities do not fall into this role, and are usually considered combat or special.

Most dragons and outsiders fall into this role, but any creature that has a list of spells prepared or spells known likely falls under this heading as well.

Skill: Creatures of this type rely on skills (usually Stealth) to ambush or take down their prey. This also includes creatures who take advantage of the environment or spells, such as fog or invisibility.

Some aberrations, fey, magical beasts, monstrous humanoids, and outsiders fall into this role.

Special: Creatures that do not fall into any of the other categories usually rely on special abilities and powers to attack their foes. They might be tough or dangerous in physical combat, but the threat is greatly increased by their special abilities.

A list of monster roles for determining key classes appears in Appendix 13.

I think the idea is that an ogre gets much more nasty when you add Barbarian, but adding wizard doesn't make much difference. Note, when the number of class levels passes the original CR, then you count the effect on CR the same.

Again, this is far more based on art then math, so use your judgement, not a calculator.

[Note: I had always wanted to write up a semi official adventure featuring mites, so I would love to find out the correct method from a designer or developer.]


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@Fergie: I think "Combat" and "Non-Combat" is the wrong way to describe it. "PC" and "NPC" classes are probably more accurate.

A level in Commoner brings the Mite up to... 1/4, still. Then 1/3, then 1/3 again, then 1/2, increasing by one rank every two class levels.

(Seems about right to me. A weaker-than-what-players-usually-play race with only NPC levels? Not a big threat even with more HD than most other things its CR.)

Dark Archive

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I think I need to clarify a bit. The CR for any class + race combo is level -1, with a CR of 1/2 for a first level character and a CR of 19 for a 20th level character. A level 1 mite ranger would have at least a CR of 1/2, and at most a CR of 1. If he'd have 20 levels of ranger, I'd put him at CR19 because one fey racial hit die wouldn't make that much difference at this point.

Remember that some of this is still a guessing game as not all classes and monsters are created equally.


Alright - I'll assume that an advanced mite with one PC class level is CR 1, it's stats will be 12/17/13/10/17/12.

What classes would mites take, thematically?


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With those stats, things that require dex and wisdom.

An archery focused Inquisitor would be pretty strong. Not at level 1 as much, but in general. Also Unchained Rogues. Archer warpriests.


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GM Rednal wrote:

@Fergie: I think "Combat" and "Non-Combat" is the wrong way to describe it. "PC" and "NPC" classes are probably more accurate.

A level in Commoner brings the Mite up to... 1/4, still. Then 1/3, then 1/3 again, then 1/2, increasing by one rank every two class levels.

Check out the Monster Advancment and scroll down to the "Adding Class Levels" section.

Step 1 is "Determine Creature's Role"
These are predefined for each creature listed in the Bestiaries.

Mites are listed as "combat" (as opposed to spell, skill, special, any, and no role). Therefore adding a combat (fighter, barbarian, ranger, etc.) class increase the CR on a 1:1 ratio. Adding PC classes that are not "combat" adds to the CR on a 2:1 ratio. NPC classes always only add at the 2:1 ratio, because they are never considered "key". Once you add enough non-key levels that you pass the original CR, then they become key, and add on a 1:1 ratio after that.

EDIT: Note that I would personally throw mites in the skill category, as they come with Darkvision 120, a racial bonus to stealth and sleight of hand, and a climb speed of 20.


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magispitt wrote:
What classes would mites take, thematically?

In addition to what I listed above:

I think rogue is the most intuitive fit for mites, with ranger being a close second. Some sort of vermin druid is also a good fit. The are oddly well set up to be monks, which is unusual for fey. Due to low Int and Ch, they don't take to arcane classes as well. I would also be inclined to stay away from the heavy armor classes.

I would also throw out that mites mounted on vermin are very classic, so a cavalier mite mounted on a giant centipede or giant spider would be awesome!

Scarab Sages

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Gluttony wrote:

I'm a bit confused on calculating CR when adding class levels to a normally super-weak monster like the CR 1/4 Mite, and was looking for some clarification.

For example, I want to make a Mite Ranger. Is it's CR increased to 1/3 from one level of ranger? And thus a Mite Ranger 3 is CR 1, ranger 4 is CR 2, and so on? Seems a little off at first glance, but then again considering a Human Ranger 3 is CR 2, not so much.

Or would it be that adding a level of Ranger adds 1 to CR. Thus a Mite Ranger 1 is CR 1, and a Mite Ranger 3 is CR 3. This actually makes it 1 CR stronger than the comparative human ranger of the same level, and I'm not sure if that's the way it should be or not.

So... I can't decide which method is correct in this case. Both seem plausible to a degree. Anyone else know which it is?

Amazed the GM is allowing mites.

Those are a very strong PC option. As NPCs they are usually weak, but as PCs they have lots of exploitable abilities.

Using Race Points from ARG, Mites are:

Mite
Fey (2rp)
Small (0rp)
Unsure on Ability scores
Xenophobic (only start with Undercommon) (0rp)
Fey Damage Resistance (DR 5/Cold Iron) (3rp)
Spell Light Ability At-will (2rp)
Spell Light Ability, Lesser (1rp)
Darkvision 120ft (3rp)
Scent (4rp)
Low Light Vision (1rp)
Hatred (1rp)
Climb Speed (2rp)
Light Sensitivity (-1rp)
Vermin Empathy (Unknown)

The DR for Mites is DR2/Cold Iron, so ignoring the 3rp for DR5/Cold Iron above and Vermin Empathy, plus not working out the ability scores, Mites are RP 18. Putting them just above Fetchlings and Ratfolk.


1. Mites have a high RP, but this is a prime example of the race builder gone awry. DR 2/Cold Iron is somewhat strong, but the spell-like abilities suck and the rest is circumstantial.

They'd be stronger in a Second Darkness campaign, but most campaigns take place in daylight above ground so the light sensitivity hurts. Their ability modifiers: -2/+2/+0/-2/+2/-2 are quite frankly horrendous, no other race gets a deal that bad. All they're really good for are divine archers, and a few other niche classes

2. I'm the GM, and I'm creating NPC's for a Kingmaker campaign - not a player

What are the exploitable abilities you're concerned about? I'm giving them 4 class levels to pose a challenge, but I can barely make them scrape CR 3

Scarab Sages

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Exploits for PCs are mainly in the redundant sensory abilities. Especially if combined with an archetype that further boosts these. A pretty strong set of long range set of options, then obscuring mist and scent to evade return attacks. Nothing huge for an npc, but a PC could break those.

Also, by not having common, they are immune to language based spells not spoken in under common. Again, not huge for an npc, but a PC could break it with the right build.


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Murdock Mudeater wrote:

Exploits for PCs are mainly in the redundant sensory abilities. Especially if combined with an archetype that further boosts these. A pretty strong set of long range set of options, then obscuring mist and scent to evade return attacks. Nothing huge for an npc, but a PC could break those.

Also, by not having common, they are immune to language based spells not spoken in under common. Again, not huge for an npc, but a PC could break it with the right build.

They are immune to language-based spells not spoken in undercommon?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
They are immune to language-based spells not spoken in undercommon?

Language-based spells only affect creatures that can actually understand the language. If the caster of the spell speaks it in common and you don't understand common, it fails. It's a niche application of races that lack the common tongue. Personally I don't think this is worth it, and there will be more situations in which not knowing common will be detrimental.

Dark Archive

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Mites have DR 2/Cold Iron, which doesn't have a listed RP. DR 5/Cold Iron costs 3, so they're cheaper (so to speak) than you have listed. Yay pedantry!

Maggispit, where did you get the racial stat modifiers you listed for mites?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ectar wrote:
Maggispit, where did you get the racial stat modifiers you listed for mites?

From the bestiary. All monsters in the bestiary are built the following array: 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10. This makes it easy to reverse-engineer the racial modifiers from the statblock. The bestiary mite has the following stats:

Str 8, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 8

We ignore the odd numbers (drop them down to the nearest even number) and then everything left is a racial modifer, so -2 Str, +2 Dex, -2 Int, +2 Wis, and -2 Cha.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

I created a Mite druid (level 4 or 5,) as a gremlin villain for a homebrew setting I was running for a while. He had a giant ant companion and used summon swarm (guided with vermin empathy.)

The players did not want to fight him. I might still have the stats kicking around somewhere.

Scarab Sages

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Ectar wrote:
Mites have DR 2/Cold Iron, which doesn't have a listed RP. DR 5/Cold Iron costs 3, so they're cheaper (so to speak) than you have listed. Yay pedantry!

My 18rp doesn't include the 3rp for that when totalling, becuase as you say, they are different. They'd be 21rp with DR 5/cold iron. Even if we call the DR2/Cold Iron only 1 RP of value, you still have the Vermin Empathy unaccounted for (which is especially potent considering it is based on character levels, not class levels as per the Druid version). And their attribute array isn't an option.

Personally, I suggest they be considered 20rp creatures. Which is to say, they are +1 CR/level vs low level parties and encounters. As per the advanced race guide, a 20rp race is only considered +1 CR/level for parties 1-5th level. At 6+ level, it reverts to a +0 CR/Level adjustment.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
Personally, I suggest they be considered 20rp creatures. Which is to say, they are +1 CR/level vs low level parties and encounters.

Mites are nowhere near that strong.

The RP system is a rough guideline at best and GM's always need to consider it critically. You need to look at the race in its entirety and how those racial abilities can be used as part of a larger character build. The human is the perfect example for this, since all its racial features can be easily customized to the needs of your character. The bonus attribute, the bonus feat, and the bonus skill points will always go in the most optimal place for whatever character you're building. As a result, humans pack a punch far above their ostensible 9 RP.

The Mite is quite the opposite. There is almost nothing to work with here beyond those lovely senses and the stealth skill bonus (which you missed; that'd add more RP). The Climb speed is nice, but climb is arguably the least useful skill in Pathfinder and notably goes obsolete at relatively low levels (some time between level 5-10, depending on party composition). Those SLA's are insignificant, and as a practical matter are probably worth less than most 1 RP abilities. Vermin Empathy is thematic but there's not a whole lot you can do with it, and nothing that other characters can't already do with animals by use of the handle animal skill. Most importantly for our discussion, it has no bearing on the CR of an NPC, as any creature tamed by the Mite would count separately towards the encounter's CR.

What really scuttles this, though, is that attribute lineup. +2/+2/-2/-2/-2 is a deeply unfavorable attribute spread, one that would require strong general-purpose abilities to compensate for. The Mite doesn't really have any. Overall, I would say that Mites are distinctly weaker than the CRB races. Whether they're weak enough to justify a CR reduction is another matter, but they aren't even arguably close to being worth a CR increase.

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