View Full Version : How To: The level adjustment blues.

2010-11-10, 11:46 PM
I'm having a little trouble finding out how homebrew level adjustments work.
I'm trying to do my due diligence and look through any mention of LA mechanics in the 3.5 core books and various homebrew sites, but the easy answers are all to questions that are slightly different then mine, it seems.
What I'm trying to figure out is the generally acceptable, and balanced (relatively) definition of what constitutes a level adjustment, the standards by which they are judged, and the differences between them (LA+0, LA+1, and LA+2 mostly).
Almost all information I'm finding is related to the operation or exploitation of an existing level adjustment. I haven't yet found good guidelines for what the LA should be, given a list of abilities, or what options would be available (and somewhat balanced against other monster LA's) at a certain LA without exceeding it.
If I just want to play a new race of my own creation and I know what LA I'm willing to go up to (lets assume I don't want to go any higher than LA+1), then what attributes or features might I be able to choose and combine without exceeding LA +1?
Is there a good method of looking at a pool of options such as Stat Bonuses, Size bonuses, Extra Arms (or Legs, Wings, Tails), Defenses, Ex./Sp. abilities, etc. and saying I can get this, that, and those without exceeding LA+X?
It might be more easy to look at things like attributes and say "well, if +2 DEX,+2 CHA is LA+1, then I should be able to make an LA+2 with +4 DEX,+4 CHA", but how would that work if I want to look at the difference between +2 to two stats and a size modifier vs. just +4 to two stats without a size modifier?
What are the impacts that various features have on LA, and how can I pick the features I want without exceeding a certain LA?

2010-11-11, 02:06 AM
Savage Species can give you an idea on LAs, but thats about as far as my knowledge on it goes so maybe someone else can clarify more.

2010-11-11, 03:22 AM
There's no real formula they go by (as evidenced by hobgoblins being LA+1), you just have to eyeball it.

As a rule of thumb, though, about half the LAs set by WotC are a level high, so take the official LAs with a grain of salt.

2010-11-11, 05:51 AM
Being large is an automatic plus one to your level adjustment.

Otherwise, savage species tries to give a formula, just like the DM's guide tries to give a formula for making magic items. WotC writers are not mathematicians, and fail at creating logical formulas.

2010-11-11, 11:30 AM
I guess what I'm wondering is how can I tell if I should be able to add more features without exceeding an LA? So if I look at just base attributes and I pick a set that seems to fit the upper bounds of what LA+1 is, how do I determine if I could add a skill bonus or environment bonus? I have a short attention span, and prefer to play something original (my last character was essentially a Nightwalker broken down into a level-by-level growth progression with an alignment reversal for any "evil abilities", :smallbiggrin: ) so I'd like to figure out some good guidelines for quickly building and balancing whenever my tastes change gears.

My DM has started a campaign based on my idea of competing adventurer teams participating in an interplanar sporting event in which teams of heroes are either sent out to random campaign settings or run through an illusory gauntlet holodeck full of traps and lethal ambushes, with all the actions broadcast to every plane by ScrynetTM, in an effort to boost ratings of the failing broadcast station (hoping for Brawndo sponsorship /crosses fingers). So it's going to be really easy to add and remove characters from the team and try new things when we get bored.

One feature I've found that I want to include in my next concept is the Powerful Build feature of the Goliath from Races of Stone. It essentially provides you with some of the benefits of being one size larger without actually being one size larger (essentially because the character would be pushing the upper bounds of medium size, in that case). In that case would it still be an automatic +1LA? Because that seems a little odd with that race already getting an effective +6 to stats, an environment bonus, and a couple skill bonuses.

Are there any good tips or tricks people have come up with to simplify or streamline this? If the goal is to make something more "monstery" could a variation of rules for evolving/mutating eidolons be made to fit?

2010-11-11, 12:31 PM
Ask yourself "would I be willing to sacrifice a level to acquire this set of bonuses instead of what I'd get from a normal level?"

If "yes," it's probably about LA +1.

If "no," then it's probably fine at LA 0.

If "there's no way I WOULDN'T take these instead of a single level," then it's probably more than +1. Ask yourself how many levels you'd be willing to sacrifice to get all those bonuses.

There are no hard rules for it, you just have to eyeball it.

2010-11-11, 04:46 PM
When I first read the thread title I thought 'Don't. The one powerpoint at first level isn't worth it. They (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/monsters/blue.htm)don't deserve LA at all.'

A good way to figure out the LA of a creature is to Build it, guess, follow some of the guidelines here. Then present it on homebrew forums, like this one, and ask people what they think.

2010-11-12, 07:40 AM
I typically use BESM rules, with 0-14 Character points for buying the species' abilities makes it a +0, 15-22 is +1, 16 to 23 is +2, 24 to 30 is plus three and so on...