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Project_Mayhem
2008-12-14, 01:51 PM
Short, easy question here - would making hobgoblins +0 LA require changing them at all? I know they're among the weakest +1 races, but would just dropping it with no changes work?

Mark Hall
2008-12-14, 01:59 PM
I see no problem with doing it. They've got good stat bonuses, but their racial skill bonus doesn't synergize well with their favored class (or usual role), and they don't have much that's inspiring.

The only reason they're LA +1 is because Half-orcs suck so hard.

Project_Mayhem
2008-12-14, 02:09 PM
Right, that makes sense. Thanks

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-14, 02:52 PM
Someone in a PBP game I'm running wanted to use one, so I just suggested they added a -2 Cha penalty (admittedly, they would probably still practically be LA 0 without that penalty).

mikeejimbo
2008-12-14, 03:00 PM
Hmm... would there be any problem with giving Half-Orcs an LA of -1?

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-14, 03:04 PM
How would you handle negative LA? I'd personally just boost the race (eg: dunping the Cha penalty and giving them a couple of skill bonuses would probably just about be enough).

xPANCAKEx
2008-12-14, 03:23 PM
Hmm... would there be any problem with giving Half-Orcs an LA of -1?

it would make wotc cry?

mikeejimbo
2008-12-14, 03:53 PM
How would you handle negative LA? I'd personally just boost the race (eg: dunping the Cha penalty and giving them a couple of skill bonuses would probably just about be enough).

They would get an extra level, thereby being effectively one level higher than LA+0 races, I suppose? That sounds cheesy.

thegurullamen
2008-12-14, 03:55 PM
Hmm... would there be any problem with giving Half-Orcs an LA of -1?

At least three:
-Ruling a -1 LA
--Spellcaster levels
-What do you do with kobolds?

vanyell
2008-12-14, 03:56 PM
things with a negative LA mean it subtracts 1 from the cost of another template.

so a half orc (proposed -1) with the feral template (+1) can be played at first level

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-14, 03:57 PM
Regarding Kobolds, my version looks like this: +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Str and Con, +2 to all Trapmaking, Search and Mining checks, 40 ft. movement/round (or 30 ft/round movement and +1 Natural Armour). I think using a negative LA for templates would be too broken to be honest.

mikeejimbo
2008-12-14, 04:16 PM
Regarding Kobolds, my version looks like this: +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Str and Con, +2 to all Trapmaking, Search and Mining checks, 40 ft. movement/round (or 30 ft/round movement and +1 Natural Armour). I think using a negative LA for templates would be too broken to be honest.

Most likely. You'd get races with -2 STR, maybe some other stuff, and -1 LA getting an extra caster level.

Meat Shield
2008-12-14, 04:41 PM
I believe hobgobs are treated as LA +0 in the Kingdoms of Kalamar setting. They also have half-hobgobs in that setting @ LA +0.

I believe there is a fluff reason for this as well as not deserving a full +1 LA. Hobgobs in that world have large empires that probably control a full third of the surface. An LA for that much population would probably screw the mechanics somehow.

Satyr
2008-12-14, 05:25 PM
The Hobgoblins and Half-Hobgoblins in Kingdoms of Kalamar are worse than Half-Orcs. It is a bit like a punishment for those insolent players who dare to play an ugly creature and foolishly anticipate that they could be treated equally.
We started with our homebrew D20 version with a rebalance (and general tuning) of the Kalamr race packages, because in our party, the general consense was that hobgoblins are much more intersting raw material for characters than, let's say halflings (which are which are quite overpowered in Kalamar...)

Yes, you can take Hobgoblins as written and just ignore the Level adjustment. They aren't even extraordniary powerful characters for LA 0 characters, but it seems to be the official D&D policy that the ugly and icky people are automatically evil and have to be worse than the beautiful, good people.

Project_Mayhem
2008-12-14, 05:29 PM
Yeah, in the end, I decided just to cut the LA with no changes. Social predudice should be enough of an issue to counterbalance

Devils_Advocate
2008-12-14, 11:10 PM
How would you handle negative LA?
Um, easily? Just like you handle positive LA, with the formula Effective Character Level = Total Hit Dice + Level Adjustment? An ECL 6 character with LA -1 would get 7 character levels, just like an ECL 6 character with LA +1 gets 5 character levels. There's nothing complicated about this, and in principle there really is no reason to be scared of giving a negative Level Adjustment to a race so subpar that it really does need a whole extra level to be as powerful as a human.

That's true of no D&D race that I know of, but theoretically you could design one that weak.

Of course... you'd want to specifically make sure that it's balanced against LA 0 races as a spellcaster, like LA 0 races aren't balanced against, say, drow. Because whether you see it as regrettable, acceptable, or outright desirable to discourage players to make LA > 0 spellcasters, you probably don't want them to encourage them to make a bunch of even more overpowered than usual spellcasters of your weird LA -1 race. So it would need to have, like, -4 to all mental stats, or irremovable, unavoidable blindness or something. So... maybe not a good idea in practice, really.

If you want to de-nerf half-orcs, though, just give them the same bonus skill points that humans get, or even just remove their Int penalty. As it is, they get as few skill points as orcs do, which is dumb. The amount of skill points that half-orcs get should be between how many humans get and how many orcs get. Duh.


Yeah, in the end, I decided just to cut the LA with no changes. Social predudice should be enough of an issue to counterbalance
Mechanically, that could mean that NPCs often start out with an attitude one step worse than they otherwise would. Unless you're ditching the Diplomacy skill, in which case there's no real need to categorize attitudes like that.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-12-14, 11:16 PM
I'd take off 2 from an attribute at least. Looking at them now, they get +4 physicals(the second and third most important caster stats, too), Darkvision, and nothing else. Pretty good for +0(I'd say better than dwarfs, barely), but not LA 1. Toss in -2 Cha or Int and you've got +0.

Iku Rex
2008-12-14, 11:36 PM
Hobgoblins were +0 in 3.0. It didn't break anything.

Waspinator
2008-12-15, 01:04 AM
It is pretty silly that in a game where supposedly all enemies and characters work on the same mechanics, the "enemy" races tend to be inferior to the "good" ones. Especially since there's nothing forcing any race to be any particular alignment. If I make the gang of thieves that attacks the party humans instead of hobgoblins, that shouldn't make them tougher automatically.

Nerd-o-rama
2008-12-15, 01:11 AM
-What do you do with kobolds?Fanboy over them and give them so many powerup options that they lose what made them cool in the first place?

That's WotC's strategy, at least.

Thurbane
2008-12-15, 01:25 AM
Hobgoblins are definitely the lower-end of +1 LA, especially compared to races like the Goliath.

However, be advised that if you make them +0 (i.e. a race with two bonuses and no negatives), a your players are likely to start taking a LOT of Hobbie characters. +2 DEX and +2 CON is great for casters and melee types, and +4 to MS is great for stealth/Rogue types...

mabriss lethe
2008-12-15, 02:33 AM
Hobgoblins are definitely the lower-end of +1 LA, especially compared to races like the Goliath.

However, be advised that if you make them +0 (i.e. a race with two bonuses and no negatives), a your players are likely to start taking a LOT of Hobbie characters. +2 DEX and +2 CON is great for casters and melee types, and +4 to MS is great for stealth/Rogue types...

Also balance it against the fact that two of the PHB races (dwarves and gnomes) have a combat bonus against goblinoids. It's not a huge thing, but since no goblinoid race that I know of in 3.5 gets a bonus agains their mutual enemies..That should count for at least a little something.

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-15, 03:00 AM
To be honest, I just tend to ignore listed alignments in my setting due to classing them as unrealistic. Regarding WotC's policies concerning Kobolds and ugly races being evil, this is why I tend not to see them as having much credability (admittedly, I tend to clas Gnolls as cute, so I'm probably unusual here).

Dumbledore lives
2008-12-15, 04:19 AM
That's true of no D&D race that I know of, but theoretically you could design one that weak.



Actually at Crystal keep there is apparently one with negative LA. Though it is from Dragon Magazine so take from it what you will. It is called a Xvart and has -2 level adjustment, though it looks like a weak 0. It probably has some details about it in the Dragon issue it was in, Dragon 339, pg. 64.

Bayar
2008-12-15, 04:24 AM
I always ruled Hobgoblins to be LA 0. Yes, even fire ones. I know they make good wizards...


And kobolds. They dont need LA -1. Do you want them to get more caster level than they get with white dragonspawn and greater draconic rite of passage ?

Satyr
2008-12-15, 04:29 AM
To be honest, I just tend to ignore listed alignments in my setting due to classing them as unrealistic. Regarding WotC's policies concerning Kobolds and ugly races being evil, this is why I tend not to see them as having much credability (admittedly, I tend to clas Gnolls as cute, so I'm probably unusual here).

Yes, it is another step down towards real stupidity from the already brainhurtingly simlified allignment system.
A setting where different species live in strive because of plausible fields of conflicts (e.g. land, ressources, centuries of ensavement) is much more plastic and interesting than the simple setting, that one group is evil and the other one is good (and therefore completely justified to kill and marginalize the first group). Stuff like that seems to me as a sign that the average D&D author doesn't have a particularly high opinion about the intelligence of the average gamer...

The negative level adjustment is not trul one; that is the adjustment of the CR of this creature with NPC classes.
And before I would think for more than a few moment how to implement negative Level adjustments, I would prefer to spend my time to readjust the racial templates to even out the more grotesque official ideas.
And Gnolls are even worse constructed than hobgoblins. They are not only mechanially bad, their abilities (or the lack of certain abilities) doesn't make any sense at all.

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-15, 04:58 AM
Which abilities were you thinking of regarding Gnolls, Satyr? My LA 0 verson has +2 Str and Con, -2 Int and Cha, Darkvision 60', +1 NA and a 1d6 Bite attack. I never honestly liked the Races of the Dragon bonuses for Kobolds (the fact that some of those cost you HPs can be a problem, especially if you're an Arcanist).

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-12-15, 05:16 AM
I never honestly liked the Races of the Dragon bonuses for Kobolds (the fact that some of those cost you HPs can be a problem, especially if you're an Arcanist)."I have a Con penalty and d4 HD. Do you think I care about hit points?"

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-15, 05:23 AM
That's precisely why I'd never use them (some of them don't look that great to me either).

Satyr
2008-12-15, 05:27 AM
Which abilities were you thinking of regarding Gnolls, Satyr? My LA 0 verson has +2 Str and Con, -2 Int and Cha, Darkvision 60', +1 NA and a 1d6 Bite attack.

My version seems similar (it is overall more powerful, but that is valid for all our species, so that we can add more cool stuff), but I would also replace Darkvision by Lowlight Vision and Scent and add a small set of skill bonuses to it (Survial, Listen or Jump would make sense). The basic Gnoll has neither Scent nor a Bite attack, which is ridiculously. For me, your version is already a great improvement.


I never honestly liked the Races of the Dragon bonuses for Kobolds.

Me too. In or campaign setting, kobolds are more rat-like and have absolutely nothing to do with dragons and are generally conscidered the humanoid equivalent of plague rats.

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-15, 05:39 AM
I'm pleased you like my version.:smallsmile: Some people thought my version was boarderline LA 1, though. Kobolds haven't really featured in my campaign setting yet (someone is playing as one in a PBP game which I'm hosting, and they were going with the idea that they are reptillian). What are your other races like?

Satyr
2008-12-15, 05:53 AM
We generally emphasized the ida, that what really matters is the character and what he or sha can do, not what equipment they carry. So we generally made all posible player species more powerful and installed witzh a broader range of diverse features, so that the choice of the species remain a more important important factor than in the Vanilla D&D setup; in direct comparision, our basic species wil probably be closer to LA 1 than LA 0 in the traditional game, but that was an intended upgrade, on the one hand to make the species more relevant and on the other hand to have more free space to include diverse traits and features - the higher power does generally not derive from a single, powerful trait, but from a broader range of bonuses and abilities for a stronger diversification of species. What's more, we have a progression scheme of species, so that characters gain additional species features when they advance in level, which offers a cosntant input on this layer of the character.

What we do not have though are different subspecies and cultual or regional varieties. We only offer basic packages, which are modifed by another layer of the character creation, to further the diversity and multidimensionality of characters.

But since we put more emphasis on diversity, versimilitude and the identification of the players with their characters, balance is not one of the most important prioritites of our homebrew.

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-15, 05:58 AM
Thanks for telling me (I attempt to balance races with Halflings or Elves due to considering them to be balanced LA 0 races). Just thinking, which stats would you give to Dragonborns if you wanted to eliminate the existing fluff? (Bahamut doesn't exist in my world). I was thinking +2 Con, -2 Dex, Darkvision 60', +2 to saves vs. Sleep, Paralysis and Fear effects and the Dragonborn's Heart Breath weapon* would just about work out as LA 0.

* It's a line which has a range of 5 feet/level, and it initislly deals 1d8 HPs of damage while gaining an extra d8 every 3 levels with a Reflex save halfing damage and the save being equal to 10+ half level+Con mod. I'd have the damage type as fixed while possibly raising the recovery time from 1d4 rounds, though.

Aquillion
2008-12-15, 06:43 AM
I think the Hobgoblin stat bonuses would need to be fiddled with a little before they could be +0 LA (the +2 / +2 to two stats with no penalties in no way justifies a +1 LA, but it's still too good for +0 -- they should at the very least get a -2 elsewhere.)


I see no problem with doing it. They've got good stat bonuses, but their racial skill bonus doesn't synergize well with their favored class (or usual role), and they don't have much that's inspiring.

The only reason they're LA +1 is because Half-orcs suck so hard.
Maybe not thematically, but mechanically a +0 LA hobgoblin would make a perfectly decent rogue -- +2 dex is good for a rogue-type, +2 con is good for everyone (but especially for a rogue's low HD), and +4 to move silently, while not overwhelming, is still very nice. There's nothing in there that would make them bad at being a rogue/skill-monkey type, either.

Sure, their favored class is fighter, but who pays attention to favored class? For many builds it just doesn't matter anyway, and even when it does, many groups ignore the xp penalty for multiclassing.

Project_Mayhem
2008-12-15, 07:19 AM
Mechanically, that could mean that NPCs often start out with an attitude one step worse than they otherwise would. Unless you're ditching the Diplomacy skill, in which case there's no real need to categorize attitudes like that.

Yeah, mechanically shmechanically. I knock down the power of diplomacy a lot.

Anyways, its Eberron, and I think a large percent of the population of Khorvaire would be biased against Hobs. What with the revolt and slavery thing



However, be advised that if you make them +0 (i.e. a race with two bonuses and no negatives), a your players are likely to start taking a LOT of Hobbie characters. +2 DEX and +2 CON is great for casters and melee types, and +4 to MS is great for stealth/Rogue types...

Well, I wouldn't neccesarily always do it, but this campaign starts at level 1, and Hobgoblin Warblades are cool.

Devils_Advocate
2008-12-15, 04:37 PM
The ugly races don't look all that unbalanced when you consider how useful darkvision is for a scout. Or maybe they do. How cheap is a magic item that grants permanent darkvision? I know that there are classes and templates that grant it, anyway.

Not that considering this makes half-orcs look non-sucky. The problem with them isn't that +2 Str, -2 Int, -2 Cha isn't balanced, it's that that and darkvision are all they get. The other non-human PHB races get several other bonuses in addition to their ability score adjustments.

Goblins, on the other hand, aren't bad. +2 Dex, penalties to fairly dumpable stats, Small size in combination with 30 ft. movement rate, Darkvision, and +4 Move Silently. They're better than any PHB race at stealth.

It makes sense to give hobgoblins -2 Cha, since goblins and bugbears get that. Then again, I can kinda see hobgobs being more decisive and persuasive than their cousins. But not any more so than dwarves. But then, I think that dwarves should get -2 Dex, not -2 Cha. Um, well, anyway, that penalty might be appropriate depending on how you imagine the races' personalities.


Actually at Crystal keep there is apparently one with negative LA. Though it is from Dragon Magazine so take from it what you will. It is called a Xvart and has -2 level adjustment, though it looks like a weak 0. It probably has some details about it in the Dragon issue it was in, Dragon 339, pg. 64.
Well, that's obviously some sort of error/misprint. As you said, it looks like a weak LA +0, and you could argue for LA -1, but LA -2 is both ridiculous and clearly unintended.


My LA 0 verson has +2 Str and Con, -2 Int and Cha, Darkvision 60', +1 NA and a 1d6 Bite attack.
That looks significantly better than any of the PHB races for straight-up melee damage-dealing and damage-taking. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with a race being especially strong in one role. The extra attack, in particular, looks better than any of the boosts that high elves and lightfoot halflings get. Like dwarves' +2 bonus to all saves vs. spellls, spell-like abilities, and poison, it prompts a "Woah, that's pretty good" response from me. Followed by "Ooh, and it comes with other good stuff and probably-meaningless penalties, too..."


Anyways, its Eberron, and I think a large percent of the population of Khorvaire would be biased against Hobs. What with the revolt and slavery thing
I had gathered that Eberron was less racist than other settings, to the extent that the average person isn't really likely to be significantly hostile or helpful to you just because of your race. Did I err in my understanding?

Bayar
2008-12-15, 04:51 PM
I think the Hobgoblin stat bonuses would need to be fiddled with a little before they could be +0 LA (the +2 / +2 to two stats with no penalties in no way justifies a +1 LA, but it's still too good for +0 -- they should at the very least get a -2 elsewhere.)


Guess what. Everybody has that in 4th edition...

K. If you say that "OMG hobos are IMBA if LA = 0", take a look at the catfolk. LA 1. +4 DEX +2 CHA, 40 ft movement speed, low light vision, skill bonuses...

Project_Mayhem
2008-12-15, 04:58 PM
I had gathered that Eberron was less racist than other settings, to the extent that the average person isn't really likely to be significantly hostile or helpful to you just because of your race. Did I err in my understanding?

Well your technically right - Orcs and goblins at the least are normally fine. The hobgoblins are a major power group in Darguun, and are mostly accepted as people by the more pretty races. However, they basically carved their society out of Cyre land, killing and enslaving the humans. While a truce was declared, I'm pretty sure theres gonna be some racial tension there.

Satyr
2008-12-15, 05:04 PM
On the other hand a fearsome reputation for conquering a kingdom with the sword make sure that the descendants have a reputation as fearsome warriors which makes then the en vogue bodyguards and palace guardians for those who can afford them.
And it is an incredible picture as well - think of the rich prince in his throne room, flanked by two large and fearsome looking hobgoblins on his sides.

Project_Mayhem
2008-12-15, 05:20 PM
True. I still think most folk would be uncomfortable around them.

AslanCross
2008-12-15, 05:32 PM
On the other hand a fearsome reputation for conquering a kingdom with the sword make sure that the descendants have a reputation as fearsome warriors which makes then the en vogue bodyguards and palace guardians for those who can afford them.
And it is an incredible picture as well - think of the rich prince in his throne room, flanked by two large and fearsome looking hobgoblins on his sides.

Well, House Deneith, the bodyguard/mercenary Dragonmarked house in Eberron, actually employs a lot of hobgoblins on account of general badasses. Just because a global power employs them and people have a healthy fear of them doesn't mean people necessarily like them.

That and people still wouldn't want to walk into Darguun and invite themselves to tea with the warlords. It's a harsh and cruel land. The Eberron Explorer's Handbook even has a sidebar entitled "How to Survive Slavery in Darguun."

Aquillion
2008-12-15, 08:44 PM
Guess what. Everybody has that in 4th edition...

K. If you say that "OMG hobos are IMBA if LA = 0", take a look at the catfolk. LA 1. +4 DEX +2 CHA, 40 ft movement speed, low light vision, skill bonuses...Well, 4th edition is completely differently balanced. In 3.5, as far as I know +0 LA races don't get a net +4 stat bonus with no penalties anywhere.

And of course, like I said, it's way below LA 1... it can't possibly compare to catfolk. Hobos are seriously underpowered at LA 1 (while catfolk are one of the more decent LA 1 races); but they're still too powerful for LA 0 without a few small stat tweaks. Right now they're somewhere around LA 0.5 or something, but you can't have that.

Thurbane
2008-12-15, 08:55 PM
Guess what. Everybody has that in 4th edition...
Key word there - everybody. The problem is if you make one race clearly more attractive than others, it can lead to problems: mainly, a distinct lack of variety in PC races.

IIRC, Pathfinder gives most (all?) races two abiltity bonuses as well...

Devils_Advocate
2008-12-15, 09:01 PM
Guess what. Everybody has that in 4th edition...
Yeah, and that helps races to be balanced against each other in 4th Ed. It's sort of irrelevant to a discussion of the relative power of 3rd Ed. races.

I'm not sure whether you meant to suggest that 4E's races somehow imply that +2/+2 is balanced for LA +0 3E races, or that 4E's races are overpowered, but either way, you're wrong. Races should balanced against other races in the same campaign.


K. If you say that "OMG hobos are IMBA if LA = 0", take a look at the catfolk. LA 1. +4 DEX +2 CHA, 40 ft movement speed, low light vision, skill bonuses...
Darkvision > low light vision. +2 Con > +2 Cha for most builds. +4 Move Silently is about on par with +2 Move Silently, +2 Listen.

Is +2 Dex, +10 ft. movement, and +1 Natural Armor worth a level? Arguably.

Actually, that's a good way of looking at it. That's about what hobgoblins get over dwarves, 'cept hobs get +4 Move Silently instead of +1 NA, and they don't get a bunch of stuff that dwarves do get. And there's no movement difference if they're both wearing medium or heavy armor. Give hobs -2 Cha and the comparison is even more direct.

Edit:


Right now they're somewhere around LA 0.5 or something, but you can't have that.

Overpowered Race [General]

Benefit
The DM allows you to play a more powerful race or subrace (e.g. whisper gnome, grey elf, aasimar, tiefling) than (s)he would normally allow you to play. Your level adjustment is reduced by 1, unless the race in question was already overpowered at its listed LA.

Normal
Your DM puts the kibosh on that cheese.

Aquillion
2008-12-16, 03:24 AM
Also, isn't there some catfolk-only feat that gives them pounce? That's the main reason to be a catfolk, IIRC -- pounce for one feat is pretty good, good enough to justify being a catfolk if you don't want to / can't use the Lion Totem Barbarian route for whatever reason (truthfully, Catfolk probably gives many builds better benefits than Barb 1 overall anyway, if you don't mind the feat. Although I sorta recall that Catfolk Pounce had some limitations...)

Tempest Fennac
2008-12-16, 03:29 AM
CF Pounce only works against Flat-footed opponants, so it's not going to be useful that often.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-12-16, 09:21 AM
Also, isn't there some catfolk-only feat that gives them pounce? That's the main reason to be a catfolk, IIRC -- pounce for one feat is pretty good, good enough to justify being a catfolk if you don't want to / can't use the Lion Totem Barbarian route for whatever reason (truthfully, Catfolk probably gives many builds better benefits than Barb 1 overall anyway, if you don't mind the feat. Although I sorta recall that Catfolk Pounce had some limitations...)Only works v. flatfooted. And that OP Race feat actually seems balanced, at least with Hobgoblins, Aasimar and Tieflings.