Monster Numbers Through the Ages


As focused as I usually am on O/AD&D (1E), I got to wondering how the listed monster numbers appearing evolved over later editions of D&D. Here, have a chart (above). To make this relatively feasible, I'm limiting this to the "normal"-type monsters, i.e., those with generally 1 hit die and appearing in some kind of large-scale society. Along the way here we'll wind up exploring the shift in sensibility around "random encounter tables", the "default ecology" built into monster descriptions and the core rules, and the connection to fighter "sweep/cleave" attacks.

Original D&D

In the table above, I've picked out the 11 "normal" monster types in OD&D, and kept the original order (which is: chaotic types 1st, lawful types 2nd, increasing strength in each group). These are all the monsters that have numbers appearing into the hundreds; and they're also all the types against which fighters get "sweep" attacks, since they're all in the 1-hit-die range. (Exception: you're probably familiar with gnolls having 2 hit dice, but in the pre-publication draft of D&D, they had 1+1, hence the high numbers we presume.) The "Bandits" stands in for the "Men" catch-all of Bandits, Brigands, Buccaneers, Nomads, etc.

It bears keeping in mind that the footnote to the table (Vol-2, p. 4), says the number appearing stat is "used primarily only for out-door encounters", and this detail is maintained in most of the editions we're talking about here. There is of course some amount of debate (given the sketchiness of OD&D; that's literally all it says on the issue) about the intent or utility of these huge numbers. Many people interpret it as only in-lair numbers; Arneson in First Fantasy Campaign kvetches a bit, and stipulates that only 10-60% of these numbers should be encountered wandering outside the lair.

AD&D 1st Edition

The numbers from OD&D above are almost all transcribed identically into 1E. Specially: 7 of 11 (64%) are exactly the same. Some minor modifications are made to bandits, nixies, pixies, and elves -- in each case in the downwards direction. Pixies in particular took a more severe cut than the others. 

The Monster Manual likewise says on the figure (p. 5): "It is not generally recommended for use in establishing the population of dungeon levels." The "sweep" attack rule is explicitly given to all fighters in these rules (albeit limited to under-1-HD types; PHB p. 25).

AD&D 2nd Edition

In 2E, designer Zeb Cook et. al. start to shake things up -- in a way that's inconsistent. In some cases they've dialed down the numbers appearing in the stat block significantly, and in other cases they haven't. Most of the monstrous types were reduced in numbers (exception: orcs), while most of the demi-human types were not (exception: gnomes). That said, even for the types that were downsized in the stat block, the text entry under "Habitat/Society" in every case specifies a lair group that's back to the 1E numbers. As a result: if you merge the 2E "Stat" and "Text" columns in the chart above (take the maximum in each case), then you perfectly recreate the 1E numbers.

For this survey, I'm looking at both the 1989 Monstrous Compendium (looseleaf binder) and the 1993 Monstrous Manual (hardcover book) products. The stats and descriptions all seem to be identical. Both of them still say the number appearing stat "indicates an average encounter size for a wilderness encounter... This should not be used for dungeon encounters". 

So it appears that Zeb & co. mostly just reduced the numbers of the hostile monsters you're expected to fight in random encounters in the wilderness (exceptions as above), while keeping the lair numbers the same as in 1E. Also, the given ratios of leaders, chieftans, wives, etc. seem to be identical as in the 1E text. Parallel to this: note that in 2E the fighter "sweep" attack mode becomes an optional variant for the first time (and kind of hard to find in the DMG). 

And this overall strategy is the same that Zeb used in his earlier D&D Expert set rules, as part of the B/X series. Monsters there have a fairly small standard number range, a parenthetical larger number for lair-or-wilderness encounters, and a frontispiece text note to multiply that number by five for lair-and-wilderness events. E.g: Basic game orcs have numbers 2-8 (randomly around the 1st level), or 10-60 for lairs-or-wilderness, or a product of 50-300 for lairs-and-wilderness. Cook in the Expert rules fielded the Men entry, such as Brigands, Buccaneers, Dervishes, etc., and in the their text blocks gave additional guidance for camp numbers, echoing the maximum 300 number from OD&D (even though this doesn't exactly line up with the multiply-by-five formula)

Note the (*) in the entry for orcs in the table above. Uniquely, the "Habitat/Society" text has this bit of extra love for the orcs:

Orc communities range from small forts with 100-400 orcs to mining communities with 500-2,000 orcs to huge cities (partially underground and partially above ground) with 2,000 to 20,000 orcs.

Also: Did Jim Holloway illustrate every single monster in the entire Monstrous Compendium!? Holy smoke, that's a lot of art! I shudder to even think about it.

D&D 3rd Edition

Now, in 3E, the monster stat blocks tend not to have just one number appearing value, but several, for an array of different grouping structures. For example, here's the one for goblins:

Organization: Gang (4-9), band (10-100 plus 100% noncombatants plus 1 3rd-level sergeant per 20 adults and 1 leader of 4th-6th level), warband (10-24 with worg mounts), or tribe (40-400 plus 1 3rd-level sergeant per 20 adults, 1 or 2 lieutenants of 4th or 5th level, 1 leader of 6th-8th level, 10-24 worgs, and 2-4 dire wolves)
Sort of makes sense, and gives the DM some ecology-sensible different options for the situation that presents itself. In the chart at the top I've just taken the highest grouping for each monster. Note again that in a number of cases (4 of 11) this winds up being a restatement of the numbers from back in 1E, and in the others, the numbers are modifications on about the same scale. There's no strict consistency to the modifications: orcs go down, gnolls stay the same, hobgoblins go up, etc.

A major thing that changes with 3E is this: Whereas all the prior editions had a "baseline world ecology" baked into the core rules in the form of comprehensive wilderness encounter tables (which went on for many pages in various AD&D books), 3E ends that practice. Instead (DMG Ch. 4), the DM must build their own, with a guideline that each terrain type should have a constant Encounter Level (EL) range -- and the numbers for each monster filled in appropriately to meet that EL. There's no explicit tie-in to the Organization grouping from the Monster Manual either: the important thing is that the EL be right, regardless of other ecology issues. 

Jointly with the preceding fact, there's no need to state that the numbers appearing are wilderness-only -- they may or may not be, as the area-based Encounter Level requires. (In contrast, there are comprehensive default dungeon encounter tables given in the DMG.) In addition: These rules have no general feature of fighter "sweep" attacks (Fighters must choose to spend a Feat slot on either the Cleave or Whirlwind Attack ability for that).

D&D 4th Edition

The remaining editions are left out of my chart at the top for a simple reason: they just don't have any "number appearing" stats in the monster descriptions at all. And they also don't have any premade encounter tables of any sort -- either for the dungeon or wilderness. 

What 4E does have (DMG Ch. 10) is a brief section describing how DMs might randomize encounters on the fly, by first rolling a difficulty level relative to the PCs, then an encounter template specifying the "roles" of the monsters in question, and then picking from appropriate-level monsters on an ad-hoc basis from the Monster Manual. So at this point we have no broad sense of "ecology" for different monsters, except insofar as they interact in a balanced fashion when fighting against PCs (as represented by the 5 "[combat] role" classifications in the game). We don't even have the 3E recommendation that different regions have different native danger levels -- rather, wherever the PCs go, that's how strong the monsters are.

D&D 5th Edition 

Like 4th edition, the 5E game has no built-in stock numbers for monster listings, and no premade encounter tables. In fact, there's even less guidance on the issue than in 4E. There's only 3 brief pages on the issue (DMG Ch. 2), with no distinction between dungeon/wilderness, no guidelines to gauge danger levels as in 3E/4E, and even a broad discouragement against the very idea:

Not every DM likes to use random encounters. You might find that they distract from your game or are otherwise causing more trouble than you want. If random encounters don't work for you, don't use them. 

And with that, the whole presentation of a sample world "ecology", monster organization by type, and random encounters in general, seems to be pretty much dead and buried.


In O/AD&D, the very idea of a monster included an inherent (if sketchy) idea of the "ecology" in terms of some kind of grouping behavior for the type, at least in the wilderness. Admittedly these numbers were connected/balanced to the presence of the fighter "sweep" attack mechanic. With 2E, as the "sweep" rule became non-core, the default wandering numbers were generally reduced for hostile normal monsters (and the same in B/X), even while lair numbers were kept identical. Later editions continued to squeeze the whole idea out of the system, until the only important thing was how balanced any given fight was against the PCs, or maybe that random wandering monsters should be disposed of entirely.

How do your prefer your wandering monster number stipulations? Should each monster type have a default "ecology" in terms of its grouping in the wilderness in the core rules? Or should it be left to individual DMs and campaigns? Should the monsters appearing be based more on the monster itself, the region of the campaign, or balanced to the PCs in the game at all times?


  1. Some indication of the range of group sizes would help, even if wide. Variety can be had from different sized patrol and base configurations, with some very rare huge groups gathering for a ritual, political moot, or warfare. Monster books could certainly use ecological data on typical group sizes for animals, and then make up similar stats for monsters.

  2. I prefer not to "should" on how other DM's do things. It does depend on what kind of game you want to play. Personally, I have an intense dislike for the idea that wandering monster encounters should be balanced to the PCs. I want to create a feeling that the world exists independent of the PCs. There is a Japanese word for this I like "sekaikan." If everything the characters encounter is tuned to their ability to fight it, then that reduces the sekaikan of the game.

    Generally, the way I calibrate encounter difficulty and monster numbers is based on the distance away from civilization one gets. The further you are, the more dangerous it is.

    If you are in a well protected kingdom, you aren't going to run across 300 orcs because the king/queen is going to send out their retainers to wipe the marauders out before they destroy the tax base. You don't see brown bears mauling shoppers coming out of a bodega in Brooklyn. One presumes the city, as dysfunctional as it may be, won't allow that sort of thing. It's bad PR.

    If the kingdom is in turmoil then yes, 300 orcs might be a possibility because their leader sees an opportunity to plunder and grab slaves without much risk.

    It does require balance. The DM does need to offer fights the PCs can win or the players will get bored or angry and not play. I like to make the mechanisms fit the narrative concept of the setting rather fitting the narrative concept to the mechanisms.

    1. Nice -- I think that's the way I lean myself (which is sort of the middle option in my question above). Actually, when I analyzed the OD&D wandering charts, I was kind of surprised that wasn't the case.

      And I think I learned a new word, thank you! :-)

  3. Wandering monsters serve multiple purposes, purposes that have changed over time. OD&D, I'd argue, is a rather simple form of the RPG...much more an expanded wargame...that needed a quick method of generating encounters. And it works (providing "fun"), I think; I'm mainly taking YOUR observations from your Dungeon Spoliation game as evidence. I've never run a truly BTB random OD&D campaign.

    But with the game's development into a "true" RPG (circa 1E) the purpose of wandering monsters became more crystalized:

    - they serve a real mechanical (game) purpose of putting pressure on players
    - they provide an idea of the setting ecology (both by numbers, location, and frequency of appearance)

    The latter of which can be adjusted as needed (per Gygax's advice in the DMG) to fit the needs of the DM's campaign. This becomes a necessity based on the desire to create a living game world in which to adventure.

    That style/objective of play, however, has gone out the win with every published version since. Even though 2E retained much of 1E's mechanics (I leave it to others if this was laziness or a purposeful desire to retain familiarity) the emphasis in its products was on "story telling" (as were most RPGs of the 1990s), and wandering monsters or random population samplings based on a "fantasy ecology" aren't really conducive to heroic storytelling. DMs wanted to create armies of orcs, or undead, or draconians 10,000 strong that no party of PC adventurers could stand against without finding magical McGuffins...likewise, they saw no benefit to a group of 3rd level heroes getting wiped out by a nest of 1d4 owl bears, etc.

    3E shifted the paradigm again, but this time placed the emphasis on creating "appropriate" (i.e. "fair") challenges. Creative use of mechanics was deemed an unbiased way of leveling such challenges, and the system is quite mathematically based, much as is/was the Magic the Gathering card system, whose publishers became the shepherds of the brand. But randomness is an enemy when trying to establish mathematic probabilities (a fair challenge needs to be SET first, then one can see how the whims of fate...coupled with strategy...plays out). Hence the de-valuing, de-emphasis of wandering monsters, save within acceptable parameters and only for purposes of appearing to offer a verisimilitude of actual "world building" (i.e. "goblins wouldn't just sit in a room, waiting to die; they should wander the hallways on occasion"). Actual world building, however, was no longer a priority...only so much as needed to paint the "color" of the campaign (the campaign consisting of a system-derived string of challenges culminating in 20th level or, perhaps, "Epic level" beyond).

    4E's system built on the premise of 3E, even as it shifted focus even further into the combat realm. Ecology, resource management, "pressure"...none of these things mattered, nor were they important. In fact, randomization went directly against the objective/goals of the game (setting up balanced skirmish encounters).

    5E is a mess, retaining many of the worst parts of all the editions and coupling it with a poor understanding of how/why D&D works or works best. How D&D works is unimportant to the publishers at this point: they are solely driven by the need to reap money from their "fans." Every decision made had been with regard to this objective...entirely reactionary (starting with a reaction to the Pathfinder "mutiny") rather than being forward-thinking with regard to design. The idea of "wandering monsters" or randomization of monster populations doesn't merit a blip on their radar as they try to squeeze every red cent they can from a consumer base by "giving them what they want." No one is clamoring for wandering monsters, so it doesn't make the cut.

    1. Hmm. Not sure I answered the question. Apologies. To be clear:

      I believe every DM should adjust their own monster populations based on their campaigns, and use the numbers appearing in the 1E MMs as "guides" for the game's presumed (default) setting...the setting that supposes paladins and assassins guilds and archdruids, etc.

      I think wandering monsters should be based on location, and locations of danger should be telegraphed to players so that they can make informed choices of where they wish to venture.

      Um. Yep. That's about it.

      [man, I always seem to show up as a "Negative Nelly" in folks' comments section. Maybe it's the coffee I've been drinking lately?]

    2. Not sure which DMG are you referencing, but the 3e DMG doesn't exactly read (nor play) as you suggest.
      For starters, on p.100 there's a clear distinction between Tailored and Status Quo encounters, with the latter being compatible with a "verisimiliar" ecology, and where it's noted that some encounters will be of a level appropriate to the PCs, but others might not, and the decision is up to the players to go in such areaa; quoted: "Bugbears live on Clover Hill, and if the PCs go there, they encounter bugbears, whether bugbears are an appropriate encounter for them or not."

      P.102 Table 4-2 outlines the difficulty spread of encounters in such a way that not all of them are "balanced"; in fact, only 50% of the encounters are supposed to be challenging (i.e. such that four of them consume the daily resources of a party.) People arguing that 3e assumes four encounters per day are therefore dead wrong.

      P.133 Table 4-37 outlines the encounter levels by terrain, and it notes what's likely to be the more "dangerous" terrain. So, Plains can have encounter levels 1 to 6, wheareas Mountains may range from 7 to 12; clearly exceptions are possible by DM choice (e.g. civilised Mountains). You can (as I have done plenty of times) easily build random encounter tables both inside and outside the dungeon using the dungeone encounter tables and wilderness encounter lists as building blocks. Table 4-36 outlines the chances of wilderness encounters with a % chance per hour.

      The justification to use wandering monster rolls are outlined on p.118. Quoted: "[...]to add an unpredictable element to a dungeon delve, to encourage characters to keep moving, and to put a price on being noisy".
      This blog goes into an indepth analysis of the issues behind wandering monsters and the fallacy that seems to be behind 3e encounter design (which makes me wonder whether anyone has ever read the DMG?): https://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/1668/roleplaying-games/the-death-of-the-wandering-monster

    3. @ Antonio:

      I *have* read the 3E DMG...it's just been 16-18 years since I have. My off-the-cuff comments were based on memory of game play.

      I don't disagree with the passages you're quoting above, but there's a strong implications in the 3E text that attention will be paid to appropriate Encounter Levels. Experience point awards for CRs of more than 7 levels difference "aren't supported" by the rules. A "well-constructed adventure" has a variety of encounters, but only 20% should be of greater CR than the party and only 5% should be "overpowering."

      The Random Encounter Master Table 4-13 (page 120) are based on these mathematical equations...the Dungeon Encounter Tables (pages 122-125) are based on PARTY LEVEL not the level of the dungeon, with encounters listed firmly in line with appropriate or expected EL based on CR. Contrast this with 1E's tables based on the level (depth) of the DUNGEON, i.e. encounters deemed appropriate based on the presumed default "setting" (little that it is) for the game.

      Despite discussions of setting "status quo" encounters, my memories of 3E adventures were that they were all of the "tailored" variety, which promotes a certain mindset in DMs looking for examples of how to run an adventure. Likewise, while the text says that PCs have "of course" have the ability to decide to "run away and fight another day" (as of course they "should" when facing an "overpowering" encounter), the illustrations of heroic PCs in both the 3E PHB and 3E DMG show exactly this number of player characters running:


      What does that communicate in the minds of the reader learning to play (or the DM learning to DM?)? That sometimes encounters are too tough? Or that PCs should always be equal to the challenge presented (implied: because the challenges are appropriate based on the system's mathematics).

      It is the same with treasure stocking: all PCs are expected to possess a certain amount of wealth and "All published adventures for this edition of D&D use this "wealth by level" guideline as a basis for balance in adventures." (p.145) How does using Status Quo encounters (i.e. those that do not account for PC level) balance rewards for such encounters? They can't (with regard to treasure) if they are using NPCs with the expected NPC gear value (table 2-44 on page 58), all of which can right be counted as "treasure."

      Anyway: YES. 3E does, in fact, have random tables for encountering wandering monsters. And the 3E DMG talks about why those things should exist (to "add unpredictability and action" to adventures, helping circumvent some of the issues mentioned in The Alexandrian's essay). But the EMPHASIS in 3E is on designing and setting appropriate encounters for the players at the table, and the DMG is explicit that official published adventures will attempt to follow those guidelines (see sidebar on p.169).

    4. Deleted the previous comment as it wasn't very clear.
      Regarding Dungeon Level vs Party Level: regardless of whether it's created looking at party level, or creating a new definition of "level", the end result is really the same: low level characters will tend to go on the lowest-numbered levels of the dungeon, and the higher level characters will tend to go on the highest-numbered levels of the dungeons. This is one of those cases where (speaking in mathematical terms) the distinction between causality and association is in practice meaningless. Point in case: the 1e DMG p.174 dungeon random monster level, to the 1st dungeon level assigns a range of monster levels from 1 to 3. You won't find a pit fiend at 1st level, and if there's a dragon, it's very young. That's almost exactly (mutatis mutandis) like the 3e DMG dungeon tables. As far as I can tell, TSR pioneered the idea of scenario levels; right there on the covers of scenarios we read "for character levels X-Y"; there may not have been an EXPLICIT mathematical formula, but the designers (including Gary) must have had in mind the general idea that dungeon/scenario level and character level are close to a one-to-one map.

    5. JB, that's such a great analysis, thanks a bunch for writing that!

      Antonio's got a point with the 3E DMG p. 133 table that sp[ecifies particular EL's per terrain type (irrespective of PC levels), which I alluded to briedly in the main post. But on the other hand, post core rule publication, it seems like most published stuff from WOTC ignored that and got locked pretty hard into ELs-match-PCs all the time. In particular I remember raising an eyebrow at Monte Cook's "Demon God's Fane" (ok, Malhavoc Press) being locked firmly into EL 14 for every room in the complex.

  4. You're correct that the Monstrous Compendium and Monstrous Manual are the same, with the possible exception of minor errata. The Monstrous Manual was just a repackaging of the "Best Of" from the monster books that came before it, since the Monstrous Compendium format didn't hit the "core hardcover" sales numbers that management wanted to see. They continued to use the Monstrous Compendium format for monsters specific to particular campaign settings, though, and also released a Monstrous Compendium Annual compiling monsters printed in modules, supplements, and magazine articles in the past year (four volumes total, covering 1993 to 1996).

    As for Jim Holloway, that's correct - he also did all of Monstrous Compendium Volume 2, which was released in the same year, 1989. Daniel Horne is also credited as an interior artist, but as far as I can tell he only contributed a few full-color pieces and Holloway did all the black-and-white pictures for the individual monsters. This seemed to be typical practice at TSR at the time; many of the later books credit Tom Baxa or Mark Nelson as the sole interior artist, and some of the remainder are the two of them working together. Mind you, there were an average of three Monstrous Compendium books coming out per year between 1989 and 1996.

    As a final note, Monstrous Compendium Volume 2 has some cool stuff in the first dozen pages, if you have the time take a look. There's a much less fiddly NPC Party creation system than the one in the 1E DMG that has all the needed information on a single page, no flipping around necessary. On the following page, there's a similarly one-page set of tables for generating the size and inhabitants of a random castle or fortress in the wilderness.

    1. Thanks for that added info on the 2E monster books! Definitely not my most familiar works.

      And truly unreal about Holloway doing all that art. Jeepers creepers. (!)

  5. Your statement about the 3e wilderness encounter setup is not entirely accurate. The DMG does give a suggested EL range (which is quite wide), but it also suggests that the DM adjust based on circumstances. In fact, the example (Table 4-39: Dark Mountains) has entries with encounter levels outside the suggested EL range for mountains (7-12, but the table has a range of 4-23).

  6. I will also mention that I used the tools and suggestions in the 3e DMG to produce "ecologies" like the ones in the Basic/Expert sets, and the game didn't "break" in any way; the experience at the table was practically the same as when playing B/X or AD&D.

    1. @ Antonio:

      Probably depends on what one considers "breaking" the game. I don't doubt that 3E can be built (using the rules) to model fantasy ecologies in a functional manner.

      Is 3E particularly supportive of this approach? Mm...that's (perhaps) a matter of opinion.

  7. The perfect wandering monster entry, imho, would have 4 ranges; dungeon encounters, dungeon lairs,wilderness encounters, and wilderness lairs.It would also include a % lair number to help with dynamic hex stocking in the wilderness (determine content in hex crawls randomly during play).

    That also provides hunting vs raiding parties and outpost vs settlement numbers. Add in a sprinkle of leader numbers for each category and viola' - what I need to get to work.

    1. Ah, that would great. It almost seems like the 3E idiom is stumbling through the dark in that direction.

  8. I kind of love the idea of a party being swarmed by up to 100 invisible pixies! The fighter "cleave" ability in AD&D is really nerfed by the less than 1 HD rule. I'm sure there was some sort of reasoning there (was it the invention of the less than 1 HD Normal Man?) but it really made the ability pretty useless by the time a character was a high enough level to make it effective. Not to mention severely limited the number of foes it would apply to.

    1. High level characters vs hordes of monsters has been a useful tool for me.

      They serve different functions than they did at 1st level. They can be setting information and scenario hooks, "How, exactly, did 200 goblins get in this warehouse on the wharf?" They can also be a distraction, a resource depletion tool (mid level area effect spells, wand charges, a potion or two), and they can also be minions for more powerful monsters who are carrying around information about their boss (a symbol on their shields).

      I had a party of 15+ level characters recently. They exploring a city recently destroyed by a magical Chaos storm. There were large packs of zombies. When the first 300 showed up, they decided to make a fighting withdraw before more came. A few fireballs and the fighters mowing through 15 zombies a round put a good dent in the numbers but it made a lot of noise and smoke. There were far worse things in that city and the party was concerned that the commotion would draw attention.

    2. That's great. I agree that the 1E under-1-HD nerfing is perplexing (and most likely due to the under-1-HD "normal man" status). So much so I almost don't want to think of it most days, but the 1E afficionados jump on me if I don't express that detail exactly right.

  9. Been bouncing this one around in my head.
    For me, part of it hinges on these numbers as "content" generators to fill a world.
    One the one hand, if I want a horde of Ogres over the next ridge, or 3 orcs in the next cave, then the listed numbers don't matter.
    But as a way to set a default ecology, they inform a story about this type of fantasy world. I used to love pouring over the ecology and society bits in the 2e MM.
    Getting to the question though, I think you have to at least have different numbers/expectations per region. As someone said above, it is unlikely that you will have a band of hundreds of orcs too close to civilized lands (for long). But a few dozen in a nearby series of caves that are a bit out of the way....or 2d6 out as a hunting party fall more in line with my idea of "wandering" monsters. They you can have a note that these creature may form camps of up to Xd10*10 if left on their own.
    Is some ways you could make the assumption that default monster numbers are already designated for "borderlands" and "wild lands".
    I also liked the stipulations that for every X Creature there is a lieutenant of Z hit Die, and a spellcaster of Y level, etc.

    1. Yeah, in some ways I kind of most attracted by the 3E DMG idiom of a certain threat range per territory (although not used much in later products; comments above by JB & Antonio). Crunching numbers on the OD&D wilderness tables in the past, I was kind of surprised to see how "flat" and same-y the danger in all the different environments was.

  10. I feel like it's important to note the effect of the removal of the gold for xp rule on wandering monsters. They went from a hindrance to getting the treasure (where you get the real XP from) to a farmable and reliable source of good XP. It's no wonder recent editions and adventures downplay or discuss removing them.

    1. That's a good point, I see what you're saying there. On the other hand you have the little pre-Greyhawk window for OD&D (before change in XP chart) where small monsters were still significant XP, maybe as much as gold was providing. But it's a fair argument for motivating the reduced monster XP afterward.

  11. I like the lair numbers, and usually divided them by 10 for random encounters. So a 30-300 became 3-30. ~Korvin

    1. That's not bad. Following Arneson, I've tried to divide by 3. Halving would be easier but that's still a lot.

  12. Did this analysis ever take into account that in B/X, wilderness lairs quintuple the stat-block entry? E.g., the № appearing for orcs is listed in Basic as "2–8 (10–60)", which means 2–8 orcs wandering in a dungeon, 10–60 orcs in a dungeon lair or wandering in the wilderness, or 50–300 orcs in a wilderness lair (pretty close to the 0e/1e numbers).

    1. This is a good point I may have overlooked earlier. I have those clauses underlined in my books now, but maybe weren't on my mind when I first wrote this? I've updated that paragraph to clarify that, thanks for pointing it out.