How To Determine Challenge Rating 5e


Challenge Rating, or CR, is an effective method of making primary 5e campaigns balanced and determine whether an encounter is difficult. The Challenge rating of traps and encounters is a symbol of how easy or difficult an encounter will be. If the encounter’s CR is under the party’s level, it should be easy mode. If the CR is of the same value with the party’s level, the party might want to consider using a resource or two. When it is beyond the party’s level, then you have to get ready for an all-out

In this new 5e’s method of calculating attack and AC, there is no such thing as an impossible encounter for any Player Character (PC). However, it’s better to consider using spells if you encounter a dangerous monster or enemy.

But, how do you determine the best option to decide whether or not you’re in trouble? Check down below and read how to determine challenge rating.

How to Calculate Challenge Rating 5e

First and foremost, the Challenge Rating (CR) is instantly included in the monster’s logs of the Monster Manual, Tome of Foes, or any other manual your party is using. If you’ve chosen prebuilt monsters and hazards, then each of these will have a substantial number.

After that, you can start to determine the Challenge Rating of an encounter by your XP values that the monsters provided. This falls under four categories—Easy, Medium, Hard, Deadly—that are recommended for the party to face. Remember that anything below easy and beyond Deadly isn’t recommended by a party to play. 

To determine the Hazard CR, the “Danger” categorized by Setback, Dangerous, and Deadly is checked. Besides this, the Character level with 4 ranges of 4-6 levels is included. Setbacks are typical traps. Dangerous traps are when you choose to knock the Barbarian unconscious. Meanwhile, Deadly traps are almost ensured to affect Instant Death rules. Your GM would only be using these Setbacks and Dangerous traps for generic dungeoneering. Note that the Deadly traps should be used for dangerous situations where you should listen to the DM.`

Players Calculating Challenge Rating

Generally, it’s hard for players to calculate CR while in a duel. If you’re combating a single monster and it looks like it’s an imposing threat, then it’s a sign that the CR is equal to your level. If the monster is consistently throwing spells and knocking you unconscious, then they have a CR that’s almost double your level.

Meanwhile, Trap CR only requires the DMG to obtain specific ranges based on effects to calculate.

Aiding GMs for Challenge Ratings

It is advised that if you’re a GM, you should not calculate CR by yourself but just use a website to do so. If you really want to calculate by yourself, use the DMG’s table to calculate how much XP an encounter will have for Easy, Medium, Hard, and Deadly encounters. The standard to obtain is 3 Mediums and 2 Hards per day or 4 Mediums and 1 Deadly.


Calculating the CR is 5e’s method of knowing how much a character can handle. The calculation is mostly done by the GM. But, it never hurts if you know the basics of how difficult an encounter is supposed to be. It can aid you in understanding your campaign.

Want more information about challenge ratings? Check out this thread from Reddit and watch the video below to learn more. Happy playing!

Related Content:


Your #1 source for the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons! Visit the about us site for more on the project!

Latest news