View Full Version : When does LA & Racial HD pay?

shaka gl
2007-01-21, 12:51 AM
I have heard around here, everytime someone asks about playing a high LA or Racial HD, theres someone saying that its just not worth it. My question is: what races do you think make the LA and/or Racial HD a fair price?

2007-01-21, 12:56 AM
I think the Draconic template is somewhat fair.

purple gelatinous cube o' Doom
2007-01-21, 01:05 AM
personally, I think the LA for a thri-kreen is more than fair. I'm not big on psionics myself, so I usually opt for the non psionic version when I get a chance to play one.

2007-01-21, 01:08 AM
Well, the undead templates are excellent deals for several classes, simply because it gives you stuff like a d12 HD and tons of immunities. Of course it's all very dependent (a barbarian undead is horrible)

For full casters it very rarely pays to have even LA +1 (there are exceptions), simply because it's nearly impossible to 'substitute' caster levels and each caster level does so much for them. A fighter might sacrifice a point of BAB and some saves and skills, but ability score bonuses can counteract the loss, and racial abilities make up for the feats. But there's nothing to give a spellcaster back his lost abilities except more spellcaster levels.

On the flip side, combat oriented classes often can make excellent use of a LA 1 or 2 no HD (or good HD) monster race, because like I said, their abilities are easily substitutable. A fighter just has to worry about whether or not his HP and attack bonus will stay relatively on par with his ECL, and with Strength and Con boosts this is rarely a problem.

Rogues and skill monkeys can suffer or thrive from an LA race mostly depending on the race in question. It all comes down to loss vs. gain. enough ability bonuses can make up for lost skill points/class abilities. And certain monster abilities can grant them a lot of extra flexability. But it just depends.

However, a good general rule is that anything with more than +3 LA is never worth it, and racial HD are almost never a good deal.

2007-01-21, 01:51 AM
Note that some LA creatures can use certain abilities "at will", which does mitigate some of the loss. Most noteable is "Charm {anything}" at will. Being able to fling around attack spells all day(albeit rather poorly-damaging ones) can also make up somewhat if your "caster" was only interested in being a blaster anyway.

2007-01-21, 02:25 AM
I find that over time a lycanthrope can pay off if your DM allows LA buyback and you use a low HD creature with disproportionally high stats (Dog comes to mind, +2 Str, +6 Dex, +4 Con for 1 HD, not too shabby).

Aasimar and Tiefling(spelling?) also both work well if LA buyback is allowed.

Really, givin a long enough period of time, and LA buyback, any template will be worthwhile, if you go far enough into epic levels to get your LA back the half-celestial/half-fiend templates are wonderful as you get a bunch of cool spells.

2007-01-21, 03:29 AM
It entirely depends on what class you are.

Combat class (fighter, Barbarian etc);
Tends to be okay for the most part. A str bonus race tends to give HD that also increase AB, though have less HP. Overall along with LA they'll be a hard hitter with a glass jaw compared to a non HD/LA'd fighting type.

Overall, they're okay as a fighter.

Healing Type (Cleric/Druid)
Overall, being a full caster they're going to suck. The racial HD/LA don pay off with spell levels. They still have 3/4 AB though, and with the race and physical stats they're going to be average mellee. Thoguh with less HP and spells sub-par for their level.

Arcane Caster (Sorc/Wizard)
Overall they're pointless. Even races with an int/cha bonus such as an illithid dont cut it. Some races such as the illithid have powers that are useful, but none of it compares to a full caster leveled race.

Overall, casters get totally shafted by HD/LA. Een LA buyoff doesnt fix this. Fighting types are alright, they essentially trade hit points and feats / abilities for some extra stats/natural armor. Other classes tend to be unplayable however.

2007-01-21, 03:39 AM
Overall, casters get totally shafted by HD/LA.

Considering how powerful casters are I don't think it's that bad of a deal, though it is funny how a Lichs LA cripples it from becoming a decent casters.

2007-01-21, 03:59 AM
Actually, it probably doesn't from the liches perspective, it sucks when you've got an ECL 20 game and if you want to be a lich you're at 20-LA in level, but when you become a lich you don't actually lose any levels, the LA isn't retroactive. So basically becoming a lich is like gaining 4 levels. True they're suboptimal compared to gaining 4 levels of wizard, but the lich doesn't actually lose anything, he just starts gaining less experience so his advancement slows (but he gets the power now, and the advancement doens't slow so drastically that he won't be a bit of ahead of any teammates for a long time to come)

And of course from an NPC perspective it's a great deal because they gain their powers through some odd method that shockingly enough doesn't seem to revolve around slaughtering things.

2007-01-21, 05:15 AM
As has been said before, LA for casters is almost never worth it. The exception is classes that grant casting... the Sylph, for example, grants casting as a Sorcerer, so that's going to be helpful.

With LA Paydown rules, LA becomes a lot more attractive (see Unearthed Arcana).

Also, for non casting melee types, there are some nice choices. Offhand, Draconic, Mineral Warrior, and Ferral are all great LA+1 templates. Goliath is a decent LA +1 race.