How To Calculate Challenge Rating in 5e? [EASY EXPLANATION]

How To Calculate Challenge Rating in 5e

There are board games and then there is Dungeons and Dragons. Right from comic books to Hollywood, Dungeons and Dragons have caught hold everywhere. If you are a D&D player, you know that there are plenty of characters in the game to play as. You can opt to play as a monster or any other creature in the game. Those seasoned in D&D know that there are multiple characters, creatures, and classes to choose from.

Every villain and monster in the game has its unique set of strengths and weaknesses. The Dungeon Master decides accordingly what exactly to throw at their players. However, the challenge rating 5e is designed explicitly to help the DM decide what to throw a player’s way. The Challenge Rating determines the level a party of 4 will be affected by.

If you aren’t familiar with the Challenge Rating 5e, we are here for you. This article will walk you through how to determine challenge rating 5e. 

How Does Challenge Rating Work? How To Use The Challenge Rating?

As we mentioned earlier, the 5e challenge rating helps the DM determine the exact level which can affect a party of 4 people. It is an effective method to balance every campaign in DnD 5e.

The D&D 5e Challenge Rating covers everything right from a trap to the impact of an encounter. The higher the challenge rating, the more difficult the traps (Check Goblin Traps) will be and the higher will be the impact of that encounter. As a DnD player, you should ensure that your party level should always be higher than the Challenge rating

The D&D 5e Challenge Rating is automatically generated and inserted into the monster logs. You can check the dnd challenge rating in the Monster Manual, Tame Of Foes, or in any other compendium, you’re using. In addition, you can use the dnd 5e Challenge Rating to help guide progression and determine when a level up is needed. Challenge Ratings rank NPCs and monsters as per their threat level

For example: If a monster has a 1 Challenge Rating, it is suitable to be thrown at a party of 4 Level 1 characters. Challenge Rating is also used when you summon creatures using Bard, Wizard, Druid & Sorcerer spells

When you look at it, the d&d 5e Challenge Rating is pretty straightforward initially. However, it tends to become more complicated when there are multiple monsters involved, playing abilities, party composition, and many more. A designated amount of XP is granted to people between level 1 to 30 every time they defeat a particular monster.

Monsters that pose a low threat level tend to have a 0 dnd challenge rating. Those with a few attacks up their arsenal tend to have 10 XP. However, the ones without an attack have 0 XP. A monster’s CR ultimately determines his proficiency bonus. This is similar to how players determine their attack bonus. 

Example: If a party (4 people) defeat a monster with CR 3, the entire party receives 700 XP in total. 

Unless specified otherwise by the DM, each member of the party receives an equal share of 175 XP each. As players gain XP, they level up, gaining more abilities and growing in power. This, in turn, allows them to take on monsters of higher CR.

Here is the full list of CR:

CRXPProficiency Bonus
00 or 10+2

How To Calculate Challenge Rating 5e?

How To Calculate CR 5e

This challenge rating is prebuilt into the monsters and other creatures. You can refer to the above table to determine the dnd challenge rating. Every monster has a solid number. A monster’s CR is calculated by the XP values of the monster. A party can choose to face one of four difficulties; easy, medium, hard, and deadly. You need to choose your CR level as per the overall XP rating of your party. 

The Challenge Rating is generally determined by the Danger (Setback, Dangerous, Deadly) and the character levels. Setbacks refer to the average traps that are used generally to knock out the pawns. Meanwhile, the dangerous traps are useful in knocking out the Barbarian.

Deadly traps surely guarantee an Instant Death to your enemies. Setbacks and Dangerous traps are advised to be used generally during dungeoneering. As per the name, the deadly traps should be reserved only for deadly situations. 

It is difficult for players to calculate the CR during battle. However, if you are in combat with a single monster which is matching up to your healings and spells, then the monster’s CR is equal to your level. Meanwhile, if the monster keeps knocking you out, it means that the monster’s CR is twice your strength. 

The Bottom Line

We hope our article was able to walk you through on to how to calculate CR 5e. The CR is generally an important factor when dealing with intense situations. It refers to the level of NPCs and monsters within the game.

Therefore, ensure that your Challenge Rating is always higher than the monsters. In simple words, calculating the Challenge Rating allows you to know how much a player can handle on any given day. Once you know how difficult an encounter is going to be, you can prepare yourself accordingly. 

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One Comment

  1. Hi Tom!
    Thanks for the video – well done. Regarding your thoughts on challenging vs. curated encounters for for a 1st level group:

    Everyone remembers their first car–Drives to the beach, the way it smelled, the friends that rode shotgun, etc. People get pretty emotionally attached to their first set of wheels just like first time players do with their first character(s). You could really ruin someone’s introduction into TRPGs by having them clobbered by an unfair fight, while more experienced players are always eyeballing their next ride and wont be heartbroken to total their Cherokee because they were looking at a sweet build on an EV6 anyway. A low level TPK may be a hilarious evening for a group of barnacle-covered, seasoned vets just as much as it could be a unfair and frustrating event for others. It just comes down to knowing your group and having fun.

    Happy gaming – Ken