anonymous asks: What would be the estimated CR rating for fighting the 4 ancient dragons of the Chroma Conspiracy? Worse than a Tarrasque? (Consider: the green had an AC one higher than listed in the book.)
Oh, we’re definitely considering the increased AC. On top of that, let’s even, temporarily, consider HP. Rimefang was a mere adult white dragon (compared to the more-powerful-than-ancient Conclave), and his health was approximately three times that of an adult white dragon (about 625, compared to the suggested average of 200). If we give the Ancient White the same treatment… It has over 1000 HP.
But, let’s pretend that their HP was modified only a tiny bit, all their ACs went up by 1, and their individual challenge ratings increased by a mere 1 point each. With these modifications (XP totals indicated by the table on DMG p.275), let’s go with the extremely optimistic set of the following challenge ratings:
- Supreme Ancient White, CR 21 (33,000 XP)
- Supreme Ancient Black, CR 22 (41,000 XP)
- Supreme Ancient Green, CR 23 (50,000 XP)
- Supreme Ancient Red, CR 25 (75,000 XP)
The sum of all together is 199,000 XP. Using the Encounter Calculator on DMG page 82, we know that we have a Large party of 7 facing an encounter of four hostile creatures. This will result in a difficulty modifier of 1.5, which, when applied to the sum of the four dragons, results in a difficulty encounter of 298,500 XP.
For those completely new to D&D, the Tarrasque is the single most powerful creature in the Monster Manual. It has a challenge rating of 30 (155,000 XP), and is only brought out by DMs who are ready to give their capped-out level 20 players an end boss that has a high probability of ending in a TPK. A party of 7 facing a tarrasque will actually bring down difficulty rating to half, or 77,500 XP. Two tarrasques will actually balance the scale, making the experience gained and the difficulty XP rating 310,000 XP.
So. Between fighting one tarrasque, four more-powerful-than-ancient dragons, and two tarrasques, the first is definitely preferred.
Bonus: For a party of six level 12 PCs and one level 11 PC, we can calculate (DMG p.82) that an encounter of difficulty rating 30,600 XP will be deadly for Vox Machina, meaning the Chroma Conclave is 10 times worse than a Deadly Encounter. (For a party of seven level 20 PCs, 88,900 XP is considered deadly; one tarrasque would be somewhere between deadly and hard.)
Obviously, they were not meant to be taken on in a straight fight.
We know, that was a lot of math that relies on the DM side of the screen. We’re working on a series of articles that are a bit more detailed on encounter creation to expand on Matthew Mercer’s excellent first video on Building Encounters and explain where all these ridiculous numbers come from. Stay tuned!